Amy Novotny

Habits & Health episode 67 - Amy Novotny

Habits & Health episode 67 with Dr Amy Novotny, who founded the PABR® Institute with the mission to provide pain, stress and anxiety relief to those who seek a naturalistic form of treatment
when other treatment methods have fallen short. 

Her methods have helped countless people reduce and eliminate pain, stress, anxiety, orthopedic surgeries, sleep issues and the need for medications.
She co-authored two Amazon #1 Best-Selling books, “Don’t Quit: Stories of Persistence, Courage and Faith” and “Success Habits of Super Achievers”, which share her journey on how and why she developed the PABR® Method.
Her ability to speak French and Spanish has allowed her to communicate with and help various clients from all around the world, including France, Mexico, Central America and South America.
In addition Amy has ran 40+ marathons, 10 ultra marathons (including two 100 milers), completed an Ironman triathlon, photographed wildlife and landscapes all over the world that has led to several of her images being chosen as Photos of the Day, most notably National Geographic Your Shot World Top Photo of the Day.

Favourite Quote

“Take care of your body. It's the only place you have to live.”

Related episode:

Tony Winyard: [00:00:00] Habits and health episode 67.

Tony Winyard: Welcome to another edition of habits and health. My guest today is Amy Novotny. She founded the PABR Institute. with a mission to provide pain, stress, and anxiety relief to those who seek a naturalistic form of treatment where other treatment methods may be, haven’t been able to work for, for whatever reason.

So we talk more about how that came about. What kind of people it is that she helps and how she actually helps people with pain, stress, and anxiety. If you know anyone who would get some value from this episode please do share the episode with them and hope you enjoy the show

Habits and health. My guest today, Amy Novotny. How are you Amy?

Amy Novotny: I’m doing well, Tony. Thank you so much for having me on

Tony Winyard: We were just chatting before we recorded. And it [00:01:00] sounds like you’re quite a traveler. You’re getting all over the place and in the states. So where was it you are at the moment?

Amy Novotny: I’m currently in Portland, Oregon, visiting some friends and enjoying the Pacific Northwest.

Tony Winyard: Where did you grow up?

Amy Novotny: I grew up in Arizona. And so that’s the desert climate, very hot, very arid, dry. And I grew up there, went to undergraduate there, but then I went to the east coast to get my doctorate and over in Delaware, which is probably a little bit more, it’s a little cloudy Rainier, probably a little bit closer to the UK in some regards.

Tony Winyard: Oh well, my commisserations then, if it’s weather like the UK, so what is it that allows you to travel so much? What is it you’re doing when you’re traveling?

Amy Novotny: Sure. So there’s a couple of reasons. I, one, I work with clients all over the world. I present at various masterminds, conferences and events on how to calm down the fight or flight nervous system to alleviate pain, stress, anxiety, the need for [00:02:00] certain orthopedic surgeries insomnia. Medication use. And so a lot of times when I’m traveling, it is to different events to present in person.

But I also do photography on the side. Nature, photography and travel is one of my greatest loves as well as, nature and wildlife photography. So I go to different places to be able to do that, but at the same time, it doesn’t interrupt my ability to work with clients all over the world, because everything we do is virtual through zoom.

Tony Winyard: You talked about the pain relief and so on. How did you first get into that and what was it that attracted you about that?

Amy Novotny: Yeah. So when I was an undergraduate, I wasn’t really sure if I wanted to go into the ecology and study do research in the biological sciences. More ecological oriented or if I wanted to do something with humans and they eventually decided that I’d like to work with humans. And at the time I was hired as a Spanish interpreter at a clinic that worked with [00:03:00] a lot of hand injuries, hand replants finger replants so eye injuries.

And so I realized how much I enjoyed working with people to help them out of whatever pain they’re in. And so I did get my doctorate in physical therapy, but I transitioned out of that when I realized that I can go even further by addressing the nervous system. And I was training for the Boston marathon or qualifying for it at the time where I realized I could calm down my nervous system by changing the mechanics of my breathing. So not traditional breathwork in the sense of changing your rhythm, but the mechanics and how I positioned to my body. Once I realized I could calm down my nervous system, I got rid of all the pains and aches. Long distance running. I ran faster. I blew through the qualifying marks for Boston and I was able to run marathons 50 milers pain-free.

And so I started really diving into it and saying, okay, how can I learn more [00:04:00] about this? How can I create a methodology for helping others get out of these situations where their body’s stressed or in pain?

Tony Winyard: Initially, were you just helping other athletes or how did that develop?

Amy Novotny: So initially I was still working as a traditional physical therapist and I was playing on myself first. And then I started asking a few of the, my patients at the time and said, do you mind if we try this on you? And some said, no, I said, okay. And the other side. Yes. And the ones that said yes, they got better so much faster and people who had nerve injuries that normally would take a year to heal. They got better in a couple months. And so different doctors, physicians, neurologists, some of the top ones in the Phoenix, Arizona area started to take note and say who are you working with? What are you doing?

And so they started sending me all of their most complicated and difficult cases of people who weren’t getting better. And so that’s how I started shifting away from physical therapy into [00:05:00] developing this modality of calming the nervous system down to alleviate these various body conditions.

Tony Winyard: When you were doing the actual running and so you talked about pain relief and so on, I’m wondering is there much connection there between running in an aerobic state as opposed to anaerobic.

Amy Novotny: Yeah. So there are times where you want to sprint. So let’s say your sprinting is more anaerobic and you’re trying to get somewhere as fast as possible. So that puts you in a fight or flight mode that kicks in the sympathetic nervous system that puts you into fight or flight mode and is going to cause everything to tighten up in your body to be ready to go.

And to just leave as fast as you can, that also changes the way you hold your body and the way you breathe as well. And so when you do that, that sets the stage for existing a certain way. Now let’s say you want to do more long distance running. You want to be able to last for 10 miles, 20 miles, a hundred miles.[00:06:00]

You have to shift everything into more parasympathetics you won’t be completely in parasympathetic because you’re moving, but you want to shift more into it. So that’s more of a dominant. Factor. And as you do that, you want to change how you position your ribs, change your breathing mechanics, to reflect that change how your nervous system works.

So you sense muscles relaxing more. So you use them, then they relax, you use them. Then they relax. You get into this rhythmical pattern where you feel like your body is flowing. That’s going to be more aerobic versus anaerobic.

Tony Winyard: What kind of people is it that you’re helping now?

Amy Novotny: Honestly, every all different types. I have situations where people who just have, who have chronic pain, someone who just had a, a fall has acute pain, insomnia people with stress, people with trauma abuse, sexual, emotional abuse, who have no. Injury or body pain, but just the trauma of it. People who are looking to avoid a [00:07:00] knee replacement or any joint replacement who want to avoid a neck back surgery, ACL tear surgery, rotator cuff surgery tear.

And even sometimes I work with people who want to improve their ability to speak. So they don’t get nervous on stage or even I work with parents and their kids who have ADHD and they want to improve the focus attention and the calm and their kids. It’s the whole gamut that I got. I pretty much anyone can use us.

Tony Winyard: There’s about three or four things you just said that I want to explore. So let’s start with the last one. So you talked about ADHD and focus and attention. Many young kids are just full of energy, what is the difference between a kid that’s simply full of energy and a kid that has ADHD?

Amy Novotny: So one thing with a kid with ADHD is their hyperactivity. Doesn’t allow them to stay focused and hold attention on something for a period of time when you’re interacting with a [00:08:00] kid with ADHD. It’s not as if they receive and can understand and process and hold attention to when you’re talking to them.

If you want to explain something to them or teach them something, they’re usually they’re flinging, their arms are moving around. They can’t just pause. And part of it is if you watch a kid with ADHD, move their movement patterns, and the way they set themselves up is in a fight or flight. Everything that they do.

They’re typically walking on their toes or back as arch. Their chest is out. Their shoulders are slung back, they’re moving. And when they sit, they’re sitting on the edge of the chair, they’re throwing their chest out or they’re laying on their stomach with their back are their patterns of the way they move.

It’s all set in fight or flight mode. So then their brain reflects that as well as they’re breathing does. And so it’s hard for them to hold attention because everything is set up to be wild, to be [00:09:00] moving, to be hyperactive. Now, a kid that doesn’t have that basis and doesn’t have that set up. They can sit there and they can listen to a story.

They can learn a lesson and apply it. So they’re able to hold attention along enough and focus enough that they can receive the information and then implement. And so there is work that can be done on how a child holds himself or herself and positions her body and the way they breathe to allow them to improve their focus and attention.

And I have to say a lot of times we have to work on the parents first because the children perceive the energy of the parents and mirror a lot of the motions, behavior activity of the parents, which sets up the mine.

Tony Winyard: I guess this might be asking how long is a piece of string, but I’m just wondering how long it would take to help a child with that. Is it a case [00:10:00] that you just eradicate the ADHD or just they help the child to handle it better?

Amy Novotny: it’s a process. So it depends on the parent and the parent’s dedication and time. We all live busy lives and so something to help a child get rid of it or eliminate it or reduce it, it requires consistent effort. So it means the parent must do some practice and change. And then the parent needs to work with the child and guide the child in that practice and change.

Now we can create a change very quickly in a session and get the child to calm down more and maybe even fall asleep. Depending on the child, depending on what’s going on. But. It depends is the parent going to practices on a regular basis with the child and is the child going to practice on the regular basis?

Can the two work together? And I like it because the parent, if the parent is practicing, having the child practice, it’s a bonding experience for [00:11:00] them. And they’re both doing to work, to calm themselves down, but the more the parent can do to change their energy state, their calm and their nervous system, the easier it will be to get the child on board.

But it can happen quickly. It just depends on how much time is allocated towards it.

Tony Winyard: Is there any genetic link to ADHD? So is it likely that the parents will have something similar?

Amy Novotny: I don’t know for sure. All the genetic components. I do know that there is a lot that’s passed down genetically. So there’s a study. I don’t remember it, but it shows that. It was done in mice and basically they took mice and they stimulated the mice and have it, had it learn a response, a stress response to something.

And then they allowed the mice reproduce and that stress response showed up 14 generations later. And there is evidence out there that [00:12:00] how we are taught to respond does affect later generations. So how you and I respond to stress? How emotionally reactive we are. There’s an environmental component, but there’s also something that’s been ingrained in us based on our ancestors.

But the key is you can shift and change it. So just because there’s something that may have been passed down, that is not the end game. There’s a huge field of epigenetics going on right now, looking at okay. You are given genes but what can we do? We can really change the expression of those genes. So I try to shift people away from thinking, oh, let me just blame my genes and my genetics.

I try to get people out of that thinking completely.

Tony Winyard: I know you founded something called the PABR Institute. Can you tell me a bit about that?

Amy Novotny: Yeah, so PABR or Pabber. It stands for pain awareness, breathing relief. So we’re taking whatever your pain is, whether it’s physical, [00:13:00] mental, emotional, intellectual, social, whatever your pain is, we want to get you to relief, but we have to work on your awareness of your nervous system, awareness of your body, state awareness of your body position, awareness of your muscle contractions.

And breathing change the way you breathe, the mechanics of it to affect your nervous system, to get you to relate, to go from pain to relief. And so I’m working on getting this message out. So I started this a few years ago to get this message out, to get people, to shift the way they approach healthcare, the way they approach the ailments that are afflicting.

Tony Winyard: I guess, typically the reaction to pain is simply to reach for the painkillers. And so you’re showing people a different approach to this.

Amy Novotny: absolutely. There is so much message that comes from our body [00:14:00] that we often ignore that message, anxiety, stress, pain. It’s a signal that something is often our body. You can take a pain pill. And mask it like a band-aid or you can say, okay, what’s underneath the band-aid, what do I need to shift or change?

Because I had an existence prior to that. So how do I get my body to exist in a state that’s prior to what it is now, how do we undo some of the habits that have formed that have created the state I’m currently in? And when we start to approach it that way and shift our mindset on how. Our bodies showing up, then you start to gain control and you start to get yourself out of the situation.

Tony Winyard: Would I be right in saying if you’re feeling some kind of pain and you take some kind of pain relief? And as you say, you’re just masking that pain by doing that. It’s only going to get worse, and so you [00:15:00] may start taking those pain relievers for months or years, but what was causing that in the first place, it just going to get worse.

So you need to get to the root of it.

Amy Novotny: You really do. So when you’re taking these pain killers and you’re working on trying to just mask the pain, a couple of things can happen. So sometimes painkillers can relax you in that. That you might change the original problem so that maybe the pain does go goes away. So sometimes that does happen sometimes though, when you’re taking the painkillers, your nervous system doesn’t change its habits.

And so you’re just masking it and then you need more and more pain medications because your body gets used to a certain dosage. So it really can go either way. Sometimes you take pain killers enough and. Your whole situation that caused the stress that caused the body pain. That completely changes.

And you’re fine too. So I don’t like medication. For the [00:16:00] sake that there is a side effect, if you don’t feel it, that doesn’t mean the side effect isn’t there. It could be that your body has so many chemicals that you just don’t recognize a side effect. So I’m always really cautious when I S when someone turns to medications, because just know you’re putting a chemical in your body that really shouldn’t be there.

Tony Winyard: Is it always hands-on are you able to work with people online?

Amy Novotny: Oh, yeah, everything is online. So I actually prefer doing it online and I literally have clients all over the world where we work through zoom. So nothing’s in person anymore, unless I’m presenting to a large group, but everything is online because if I were to put my hands on your body or show you something in person, you become reliant on me to generate that feeling in you with doing this online.

Now you are being forced to learn. You are being forced to change. And as you [00:17:00] sense and feel the changes, guess what? No one can take that away from you. It’s all you. And then we can also record it. So you can go back and listen to the recordings and play the recordings to really help your body

Tony Winyard: I dunno if you refer to them as clients or patients, but are they surprised that just by showing them a different way to breathe, can eliminate pain?

Amy Novotny: Yeah. They’re always shocked by it. And because we take it for granted, we’re like, okay, wait, I breathe to get oxygen in. Why in the world would I ever even want to work with someone, pay someone to learn how to breathe differently. But what people don’t realize is your body shifts over time. How you walk right now.

It’s very different than how you walked as a toddler. It shifts over time and you may not realize it. Someone who’s maybe a 90 or a hundred years old who is shuffling and maybe bent over or using a Walker. They may recognize that their walking pattern shifted over time [00:18:00] and they probably wished they had someone.

30 years prior to help them work on how they walk. So they don’t get to the point where they’re shuffling, tripping, and falling. Same thing with your breathing as a baby, and as a little toddler is very different than your breathing right now. It starts to shift over time. It becomes more shallow based on what we are taught.

Over time. And so our breathing pattern changes. And a lot of times when someone tells me they’re stiff, they’re tight all over. They feel like they’re 120 years old. Their hamstrings are tight. They can’t bend over. That is an indication to me that their breathing pattern has changed and has led to a position of tightness shiftiness high alert system.

Tony Winyard: I asked you, are people really surprised. I’m wondering, there seems to be, and I’m presuming it’s the same in the states. I don’t know that there’s a lot more awareness about breathing in the last few years. Then there was say. 10 years ago is that the [00:19:00] case?

Amy Novotny: Absolutely. As meditation has come to the forefront to help people calm down and mindset training there, and even yoga. There’s a component in each of those modalities for breathing. And so breath work is becoming more popular in the sense of let’s breathe in for four seconds, hold for four seconds, blow out for four seconds, like box breathing.

So a lot of people have played with the timing. Of breathing and breath work. And so it is becoming popular.

Tony Winyard: Anything that becomes popular sometimes the message can be delivered incorrectly. So do you ever come across people who have tried to take steps to correct it, using things like breath work, but they’re doing it in a way that is actually hampering them in some way?

Amy Novotny: Yes. I have seen that where there is this idea that. Diaphragmatic breathing is belly breathing and it’s not [00:20:00] so belly breathing when you’re trying to breathe in and you’re shoving your belly out, trying to push your belly out. You’re actually kicking in your back muscles and causing abdominal distension, which is actually detracts from your diaphragm and decreases the support for your diaphragm.

So in that sense, I’ll see people who do breath work. Where they’re taught as you exhale, suck your gut in as you inhale, push that belly out. And that actually creates more tension in your nervous system and stimulates that fight or flight nervous system to contribute to tightness in your body. So I try to educate people and say let’s look at the physiology.

I’m not going to say you’re doing it wrong because maybe you want to tighten yourself up. So then I say, yeah, go breathe that way. But if you want to calm yourself down, we need to change your mechanics so that you stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system. [00:21:00] So I look at well, what is your intention?

Same thing with meditation. People are often taught. Sit up really straight when you’re meditating, cross your legs, hold your gut, hold your core. And when you do that, you’re not in coherence. So when you do that, you’re teaching your body to be rigid and in high alert, fight or flight mode.

And then you’re meditating to try to clear your mind and relax. So you’re butting heads with your purpose. So why not change meditation? If you want to do meditation where you’re calming the mind, you’re calming your thoughts. Why not put your body in a state that reflects that so that your breathing reflects in everything’s in coherence.

Tony Winyard: You mentioned before you been traveling all around the world and you’ve got clients in many places, and I believe did you actually travel to Antarctica or you’ve got clients in Antartica?

Amy Novotny: I traveled to Antarctica to photograph some emperor penguins, but I was [00:22:00] hired by a world renowned photographer to calm his nervous system down to teach him. And so I traveled around with him for about six months and it, one of his trips was to go to Antarctica to photograph the emperor penguins. And so I went down there with him.

I’m also a photographer. In addition to helping him, I did some photography of the emperor penguin. So it, so my work did take me down to Antarctica.

It was phenomenal. I highly recommend anyone who has the ability to go down there. It is a lifetime special trip. It is unique, beautiful beyond words.

And it’s hard to describe because it’s another world you feel like you’re walking into another planet. The beauty is just beyond words.

Tony Winyard: And how were the temperatures?

Amy Novotny: Unfortunately, they were too warm, yes, with climate change going on, it was supposed to be probably for Fahrenheit like in the teens, the twenties. So [00:23:00] well below zero for centigrade and it was 55 degrees Fahrenheit, which I can’t remember what that is for centigrade, but it was way too warm.

Tony Winyard: time of year was that?

Amy Novotny: This was October. So this was just getting out of their winter, going into spring time for them. And it should have been about, probably about 40 degrees cooler. wasn’t the sea ice is melting. There should have been blizzards there wasn’t, there were some storms that we had, trouble crossing the Drake passage and got caught in a storm for 25 hours.

But there, there should’ve been a lot more ice there should’ve been a lot more snow on the, on top of the ice. There was a lot of areas where. It was a lot of muddy and mucky from all of the melt. And the penguins are now they call an ice on ice at emperor penguins. They colonize on ice. And they’re the only creature where they live their whole life on either ice or basically in water.

And so there, because the [00:24:00] ice is not spreading out as far from the land, they’re getting closer and closer to the land. So it’s hurting their life cycle.

Tony Winyard: Wow. You expect maybe a few degrees difference, but that’s a massive difference.

Amy Novotny: It’s significant and there’s a do presentations and talks on it as well, because there’s something called sea ice ecology where the sea ice, it actually affects the current the moderation of hot temperatures all based on whether it’s reflecting sun or not. And it’s really impactful. What’s happening here.

And there were all interconnected. And once you understand that ecology it’s really powerful and makes you want to change your habits.

Tony Winyard: [00:25:00] So you talk about pain relief and one of the major components of pain, it seems to me is stress causes a lot of pain. So I know that you help people with that.

Amy Novotny: Yeah. So what happens when you have stress, whether it’s physical, mental, emotional, intellectual all the different types that are out there. Relational. When you have something that’s perceived as a stressor in your body, there’s a lot of things that happened. We’re familiar with maybe cortisol levels going up your adrenaline spiking, but on another level, When you have a stressor, your nervous system tells your muscles to contract to prepare you to fight flee, freeze or something called Fon, which is people pleasing just to like calm, make things more peaceful.

So when that happens to your muscles, start to [00:26:00] contract, they pull on your bones in your joints. If. The stressor stays there. That process continues to happen. If the stressor goes away and you perceive it going away and you know how to release those muscles, then your body goes back to normal. But what often happens is either the stressor stays there or maybe the stressor goes away, but you don’t pause to release that tension.

If you don’t do that, your nervous system keeps telling the muscles to stay in that contracted, guarded high alert state. This is what happens to most people. And you go about your day. And what happens is a stressor layers on top of a stressor on top of the stressor. And by the time you get to the end of the day, you feel tight, you feel buzzed, you feel ramped up your muscles have been taught all day to continue contracting.

And the problem [00:27:00] is you forget to release it or you don’t know how to release it, or you weren’t taught to release it, or you’re just unaware. And so your nervous system has now learned a new pattern of existence, and it’s going to keep giving the signal to the muscles, to contract. And that what happens is your bones start to shift slightly.

They start to shift slightly. You might feel them feel stiffer. They don’t have as much mobility in them and they start to pull you out of position. And what I often see is people, this has happened. They haven’t had any physical injury or any issues. They all of a sudden, let’s say they have a fight.

Maybe they lose her job. Okay. They go to bed, they’re super stressed. They wake up the next morning oh my gosh, I have this back pain or this neck pain, where did that come from? I didn’t get injured. I didn’t do anything. And then they’re like it’ll go away. But it doesn’t. And it stays and stays and stays.

And then it turns into a chronic problem. And what happened was when they had that big stressor, [00:28:00] muscles contracted enough, they went to bed, they were stationary. The muscles just continued to contract because that’s what the information they were told to do. That was the instructions. They wake up the next day, they go to get up, all the muscles have contracted and pulled the bones out of position.

Just enough. They go to move. Now the tissues butt up against each other and cause pain. And because they forgot and they didn’t release those muscles. The muscles only know how to behave that way. The body’s changed positions. They can’t get out of it. And that’s how stress can lead to pain. And when people say, oh, it’s just all in your head.

I say, no, it’s not just all in your head. It started in your head because you perceive something as a stressor, but that caused a physiological change in the way that your body. Holds itself. So that pain is real. It truly is. It did come from stress, but that pain is a real thing because it’s interconnected.

So that’s how the two [00:29:00] are related.

Tony Winyard: So at that stage, so someone wakes up and as you, you described there, in a much worse state, typically, most people won’t do anything about that. And they’ll just carry on their day and say, it’ll just progressively get worse and worse. Is at that stage, is it best for them just to do some kind of relaxation technique or what would they do?

Amy Novotny: So obviously, cause I’m, I like to work with people, I would say, find someone like me work with someone. if You don’t know how to do this, but some simple free things. One relax. It’s harder to do than just saying it. A lot of people don’t know how to relax because their body is not set up to relax.

If I tell you right now, just go relax. It is possible that you would not know how to do that. If you are used to carrying yourself in a fight or flight state. So it’s not, it’s just as simple as say. Yeah. Because if your rib cage is elevated, if your gut sucked [00:30:00] in, you cannot relax because your body is not set up to allow that to happen.

So one, you have to learn how to relax. Some people know how to some people don’t. So that’s one thing that you can do. The other thing is you can do something to. To start to minimize whatever that stressor is. If it means writing down the stressors, what actions you’re going to take to help alleviate it.

If it means talking to someone, getting a therapist, a counselor, a psychologist by all means do that. If it means learning to meditate, do that. If you were in nature oriented person, go out, walk in nature. So start to find things that ease your mind a little bit. If you have a time pressure. Find ways to get time back, whatever that is to take away that original stressor that is always helpful, then learn how to change your body.

So your body [00:31:00] can calm the nervous system to learn, to relax.

Tony Winyard: Because if someone does ignore that, it’s gonna affect the digestion and microbiome and sleep and just leads to chronic issues isn’t it?

Amy Novotny: Absolutely. You’re a hundred percent correct. Our gut microbiome is very tied to our mental state, the other end, as well as our stomach, as well as our sleep. So if our body is ramped up and you’re sucking up your gut. You’re decreasing space for your digestive track to work. So one of the things I tell people is stop sucking your gut up and in stop sitting at the edge of your chair, trying to lift your up your rib cage, because you’re decreasing the space for your digestive track.

You’re also telling your body to be in fight or flight mode. So that’s going to decrease Paris, salsas and absorption because your body is in. Okay. Just get me out of the situation. That’s all affected. The other thing was sleep is if you’re ramped up all day [00:32:00] long and your body’s in that state, just because you close your eyeballs, doesn’t mean your body suddenly remembers how to calm down and let go.

You have to have some practice during the daytime in order for it to be beneficial for your sleep.

Tony Winyard: You talked a lot about stress there and there’s obviously close connections with emotions. So how does emotions come into all of this?

Amy Novotny: Sure. So when we have an emotional response to something. That typically sets off that cycle of muscles contracting. And so that can get stored in your body in different places. There’s a great book called the body, keeps the score that goes into the whole trauma response, but even on a more simple level, let’s say you watched a sad movie.

You have emotional response to that? And it can get stored in different areas, at your breast bone, in your arm, pit, underneath your breastbone, just right where your ribs meet together in the front of your hips. Those are [00:33:00] very common areas where we store emotions. And if you do this long enough, you can almost become numb to your emotions.

And there are ways that we work on releasing so that you gain some freedom. But alongside that you might have some releases, you might feel vulnerable, you might cry, you might get angry because as you release your body from the store to emotions, your body needs to express that.

Tony Winyard: Are you familiar with the Wim Hoff technique or Wim Hof?

Amy Novotny: Absolutely. Yes. Yes.

Tony Winyard: So there’s been a programme on British television recently, with Wim Hof working with some celebrities and he’s been getting them to do ice baths and Actually jump in holes that he’s cut in the ice. And then he’s also getting them to do his breathing techniques and so on.

I got into this quite a few years ago, but it was interesting watching these celebrities. And when they did the hyperventilation the controlled hyperventilation. [00:34:00] Some of them were getting extremely emotional and there was all sorts of tears. And so maybe a lot of people were watching this and had no understanding, why is that happening?

So could you explain what that was about?

Amy Novotny: absolutely. So one thing about Wim Hoff and his technique is when you hyperventilate, you are going into fight or flight. So if we think about it as a scale, let’s say zero is your impair sympathetic relaxation digestion. Let’s say 50 is you’re in fight or flight mode at your limit. What Wim Hoff does and his method of hyperventilation.

He’s taking you and saying, okay, maybe you’re existing at 45 right now. Let’s really hyperventilate you. And let’s shove you up to a hundred. So that you can withstand this extreme cold. So you can withstand an ecoli injection. So it boosts you up so high to [00:35:00] increase that barrier so that when you can survive, whatever hard thing that you’re doing, it may create some emotional response.

And then. When you stop, it drops you back down, maybe back to your 45. Maybe it drops you back down to 40, something like that. So it pushes that level up so that maybe it drops you down to 60 or something, but because your limit went up, you perceive a great drop and you feel more relaxed and you just survive something.

So that’s why that method is used for extreme conditions. Running a marathon in a blizzard doing something that you normally didn’t think you would be capable of because he pushes the sympathetic threshold. Which is different from my approach of, let’s say, you’re your limits are zero to 50. I say, I want to teach you how to control yourself back down to [00:36:00] 20 10, 5, 0.

So you feel, and you can control it. So it’s a completely different approach where he’s doing something X to force you to drop down. That you don’t really necessarily control it, but you just push the barrier up to something so extreme that anything that gets you out of that extreme drops you down. So it depends.

And the other thing is with that method with Wim Hoff, you want to make sure you’re in extremely good health before you do anything like that. Because if there’s any other underlying conditions, you have to be extremely careful. You don’t want to do damage to your body.

Tony Winyard: And what is it though? That when they’re doing that controlled hyperventilation, that is causing emotions to be so extreme?

Amy Novotny: So anytime you are in fight or flight mode your emotions are going to be heightened because you’re at that breaking point barrier. So one sign or symptom of fight or flight mode is emotional [00:37:00] reactivity. So anything can trigger you because you don’t have the ability to calm yourself and regulate yourself.

You’re basically dysregulated. So anything can make you be really giggly or anything can make you just cry on a whim or making me like, oh, like you’re just so emotionally reactive. You’ve lost the ability to control. So that’s why that would be.

Tony Winyard: So his method is very much about hormesis. So is yours about hormesis as well, or less so?

Amy Novotny: I would say mine is about let’s calm yourself down and get you more regulated. Like I want you to control your ability to determine your state.

Tony Winyard: Okay.

Amy Novotny: His, I would say is less. in the sense that he’s trying to broaden the spectrum of your nervous system to achieve something, but it’s not necessarily let’s control it and sense and feel it.[00:38:00]

It’s just a different approach in a different outcome.

Tony Winyard: And do you think not necessarily Wim Hof, but do you think there is a place for hormesis for most people? Maybe, actually if you could explain what it is, cause someone might be listening and wondering what is this?

Amy Novotny: Yeah. So when you’re doing, like, when you’re stimulating something you want to stimulate and then come off. So when you’re working through something, our bodies typically like to turn on and turn off, turn on and turn off. And there’s this balance with it. What happens is if you look at heart rate variability.

Okay. So heart rate variability is an indication of your fight or flight search system versus parasympathetic the higher your heart rate variability. That means you’re more in parasympathetic mode. Okay. So when your heart rate can change, Your heartbeat can either be faster or slower. That [00:39:00] means you have more flexibility.

You can accommodate the changing environment. We want to be able to do that. But if you’re in fight or flight mode, your heart rates like boom. There’s no flexibility. Our body doesn’t do well in that. So when we have more control of going into a stimulation versus an inhibition, and you’re stimulating yourself, you’re inhibiting, you have more control.

You have more flexibility.

Tony Winyard: yeah.

Amy Novotny: Human suffer the most when you’re in this constant state in you’re completely inflexible and rigid. That’s where we have a huge problem. So with hormesis, there’s usually. A change, you go one way, you go another way. And so we want to be able to exist where you can go up and down.

You can make changes where you don’t have this rigidity.

Tony Winyard: I believe you’ve got some kind of a course haven’t you?

Amy Novotny: Yes. Yes.

Tony Winyard: an online course.

Amy Novotny: [00:40:00] Yes. Yeah. So it’s an online course. We’re launching in July just after the 4th of July. So we’re creating this kind of more of a group situation where people can feed off of each other and we’re guiding people into learning how to regulate and calm down the nervous system.

It will be online. So they’ll get instructions on what to do and it’s guided and practice. And then there’ll be coaching calls where you ask questions. And one of the benefits of this is I have done many presentations and I share, I give information and it’s at the Q and a afterwards where people are like, wait, what about that?

Can you explain this? Why is this happening? And that’s when everyone’s oh yeah, I didn’t even think about that. Okay. Now I can just took that idea. Okay. She said that, okay. Now if I apply this, oh my gosh, it makes more sense. And so by doing this group format, everyone’s going to be learning. And the other thing that’s beneficial is we’ll be doing pairs, whereas I practice and put you in a certain position and you’re guiding me through it.[00:41:00]

You’re going to practice with each other so that you’re observing what happens to the body on someone else. Then you vice versa, you switch and then you practice that the other person gets to see it. We know when you’re learning something. If you want to really learn it, you need to incorporate as many of the senses as possible.

And part of it is, if you can teach someone something, you grasp it better. So I’m trying to improve a person’s ability to learn this as quickly as possible.

Tony Winyard: And how long is the duration of the course.

Amy Novotny: So we’re going to start out with a, have it set right now for four weeks. I might extend it to six weeks, but right now it’s set for four weeks. Cause I. It needs to be at least several weeks to get a transformation because the nervous system doesn’t flip the switch as quickly as we would like it to. It needs some time.

Also, I’m trying to be considerate of people not wanting to do too long of a course, but also long enough to actually get some change, but not overwhelmed in their [00:42:00] life. It’s a game playing without one.

Tony Winyard: So as we come in towards the end, I can see behind you a whole load of books. So on the topic of books, is there a book that comes to mind that has really moved you in any way?

Amy Novotny: Yeah. So a couple of years ago, I read a book called rich dad, poor dad by Robert Kiyosaki. It’s in the investing and financial world, which may seem a little bit weird about, me being in a health world. But in that book, it goes along with a story about how to change your life a way in it’s basically about changing your mindset to.

Away from being in a job where someone’s telling you what to do into becoming an entrepreneur or a business owner. And the reason I say that’s important is because for me, it was an impetus to start my own business and to start to get this message out so I can impact more people. And Robert Kiyosaki is one of the best financial.

Um, Authors in the world. [00:43:00] And because I read this I approached him and I talked to him and got him to sign a book that on an event. And it gave him the opportunity to ask me what I do. And that led to us, me helping him and for him calling me and he, his body healer, a lot of different things that helped me launch and give me more confidence to, what I do need to have the courage and be brave.

Give up my life and go into the entrepreneur world and start to share this message. So that book was impactful in many different ways.

Tony Winyard: That’s pretty cool. So you’ve been working with Robert Kiyosaki.

Amy Novotny: He’s a good friend of mine now. Yeah.

Tony Winyard: Very nice. So if people want to find about, more about you and your courses and so on where should they go.

Amy Novotny: Sure my website that they could go to is and feel free to reach out to me. I always do 15 minute free consults. Just let me know. They heard me on your podcast, Tony, and they know what [00:44:00] I’ve shared with them and we can go from there and see how I can best suit their needs, whether it’s free resources, a course or one-on-one.

Tony Winyard: And are you on social?

Amy Novotny: I am all over on social media. Yes. Just look up Dr. Amy Novotny and you’ll find me.

Tony Winyard: Do you have a quote that resonates with you?

Amy Novotny: Yeah. So some people have heard of Jim Rohn he’s has since passed, but he is a personal development speaker. And before I even knew who Jim Rowan was that I had heard his quote of take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live. And it’s really resonates with me because we can take care of our body when we have the correct tools. And sometimes it means just finding that right person to guide you to understand how your body works and to regain those tools that you may have forgotten. But Jim Roan, he put it succinctly. And what’s interesting is now I work with his [00:45:00] his promoter and business partner, Kyle Wilson, and part of his mastermind.

So it’s come full circle.

Tony Winyard: Amy. I really appreciate your time. So Thank you for sharing your wisdom and experience with the audience. so thank you very much

Amy Novotny: Thank you so much for having me on Tony it’s a pleasure and an honour. Thank you.

Tony Winyard: Thank you.

Next week is episode 68. With Luke Chao. Luke founded the Morpheus clinic for hypnosis in 2006 and has been practicing hypnotherapy since then under the philosophy of we make hypnosis make sense. And we talk about hypnosis, what it can be used for the, maybe the misunderstandings. And we actually get into philosophy, and also habits and many other areas it’s quite an interesting episode, especially if you like Stoicism, you might find it interesting.

So that’s next week, episode 68, with Luke Chao. If you know anyone who’d get some value from this week s episode with [00:46:00] Amy Novotny, please do share share it with them. And i hope you have a great week

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