Habits & Health episode 25 with Elisabeth Kristof who has a holistic practice that combines applied neuroscience with strategic, high-energy workouts to achieve deep and lasting wellbeing which she calls Brain-based wellness.
It involves the integration of neural exercises including vision and balance exercises, breath work, cranial nerve stimulation, and somatic (body-based) meditation, and workouts like Brain-Based Pilates and Toning, cardio and respiration training and intuitive movement flows, BBW teaches the body and the brain to work together for optimal performance.
Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma by Peter Levine
“Trauma is a portal to our spiritual awakening and that we are all inherently capable of healing ourselves. And that trauma healed is a gift from the gods. Trauma relived is hell on earth. But we have the capability of healing ourselves and achieving that spiritual awakening through the resolution of our trauma” – Peter Levine
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Tony Winyard 0:00
Habits and health Episode 25.
Welcome to the habits and health Podcast, where we believe creating healthy habits should be easy. Brought to you by an educator and coach for anyone who wants to create a healthier life. here's your host, Tony Winyard.
Tony Winyard 0:20
Welcome to the 150th edition of the podcast in its various guises. So originally, we were Exceeding Expectations for 100 episodes, we were Happy versus Flourishing for 25 of those. And for the last 25 or this is number 25- Habits and Health. My guest today is Elizabeth Kristof. And she has got a company called Brain Based Wellness, which is a method that has the brain and nervous system at the centre of your movement training and it's about behaviour change practice and mindset coaching. So we're gonna get a lot into functional neurology, training and many other things. As we speak with Elizabeth In this episode, and if you know anyone who you feel will get some value from this, please do share the episode with them. Habits and health My guest today, Elisabeth Kristof. How are you Elisabeth?
Elisabeth Kristof 1:16
I'm doing great. Thank you so much for having me,
Tony Winyard 1:19
It's good to see you here. We just had a quick discussion before we started recording. And it sounds like the weather is vastly different where you are, from, where I am.
Elisabeth Kristof 1:31
It's very hot. I'm in Austin, Texas, and my air conditioner is out. So I am just pushing through the 100 degrees in my house. And you know, I don't mind the heat. So it's not terrible. But it's it's kind of intense.
Tony Winyard 1:47
And are you from Texas?
Elisabeth Kristof 1:50
I'm originally born in Germany, but moved to Texas when I was about five. And so I'm very acclimated to the heat and the humidity.
Tony Winyard 2:06
Elisabeth, tell the listeners what is it that you do? How do you help people?
Elisabeth Kristof 2:12
So I am a practitioner of applied neurology or functional neurology practitioner. And a lot of people haven't even heard of this concept. And what it is, is it's basically taking the latest and brain science and neuro research. I'm breaking it down into very practical tools and exercises that everyday people can use to train their brain and their central nervous system to be more resilient to function better to be able to process stress better, so that you can level up your life you can make changes in your behaviour, you can perform better athletically, because you are reducing the amount of stress that your brain your body and your nervous system are experiencing on a second by second basis. So what I do is I really train people's visual system, their eyes, the balance system inside of their inner ear, and their body mapping system, their proprioceptive system to help them create a better map of where their body is in space. And when all of these systems function better, they give higher quality information to your brain. And your brain is always using that information to create a picture of where you are and the world around you of where your body is in space in the world around you. And then it uses that information to generate an output. And the most important thing about that output is that your survival is the most important thing to your brain. So it's always deciding safe or unsafe, and then making an output based on that decision. So if I can train those systems for people to give better quality information to the brain, then the brain feels safer on a second by second basis and it moves you out of a protective mode like pain, like migraine, like even binge eating or stress eating into a performance mode where you can have more strength, you have greater range of motion through your muscles, you can be more present and connected and just move out of a protective state into a performance state.
Tony Winyard 4:16
There's a lot of things to explore there. So I'm wondering on with most of the people you'll be working with people who have suffered some kind of brain injury or people who are ageing or
Elisabeth Kristof 4:27
no I work mostly with everyday folks who are pretty high driving a lot of my clients are entrepreneurs or creatives and they want to be able to build a business or build their career in a way that reflects their desires, but they push them to a certain point and they start to get held back by by a brain and a nervous system that is incurring too much stress for too long and so they get migraines or they get periods of Where they just go and go and go, and then they crash, they get really tired, they have to go pull the covers over their head, or they experience chronic pain in their body or even anxiety, panic attacks. And all of these are outputs of a of a brain and a nervous system, that is a meeting to reregulate you because our brains and our nervous systems are very smart. And they understand that too much stress for too long is dangerous, it leads to autoimmune disease that leads to inflammation leads to disease, like cancer and heart disease. And so we're, we're built to be resilient, we're built to tolerate a certain amount of stress, but too much stress for too long is dangerous. And so your old brain, not your higher level thinking systems, not your prefrontal cortex, but your old brain, your survival brain will start to generate outputs as behaviour change tools to keep you safe. And if I create pain in the body, if I'm the old brain, and I create pain in the body, that's a really great way to get you to take smaller steps to work out with less intensity to interact less with the world, and to reduce the amount of stimulus coming in, so that all of that stimulus is reduced, and there's less overall stress coming into the nervous system. And it re regulates that way, it keeps you safe in that moment, because our old brain is not concerned with our future goals. It's concerned with keeping us safe right now. So if we can create less stress for the body in the nervous system on a second by second basis, then we can move out of some of those protective outputs. And that's applicable for everyone.
Tony Winyard 6:33
How did you get involved in this? How did this all come about?
Elisabeth Kristof 6:38
Yeah, so I started studying applied neurology, when I was a movement practitioner, I had two Pilates Studios here in Austin, and I'm going to move on my whole life. And I knew enough, I'm always been a big researcher. And I knew enough about movement science to understand that brain science was at the forefront of movement science that we don't ever have, like a tight hip flexor, we have a brain that is telling our hip flexor to maintain a certain level of tension. So I can foam roll it all I want or stretch it out. But unless I'm changing the operating system, the nervous system, then that's just going to keep going back to the way it was. So I started studying applied neurology with an institute in Arizona called z health. And that was mostly for athletic performance and pain management. And then I really went through a period of life where, you know, sometimes things just fall apart. And that was one of those times for me, I ended up having to dissolve my shares in the business. And it was a long period of a lot of financial stress. And then that same week, my fiance at the time, my partner at the time, was diagnosed with a very rare cancer growing around his heart. And we went into, you know, battle against that. And we were living in the hospital a lot, there was very little sleep. And I was just under a lot of stress for a long time. And I started to experience some very severe outputs of my own nervous system, I would almost blacked out, I was constantly being shut down with chronic pain, I was binge eating, I had migraine, and all of that stress also led me back to discovering a lot of my own unresolved childhood trauma. And I went into a long period of research, I had all of this background and applied neurology, and I was able to understand that the nervous system drives the outputs of our body. And so I started to look at things with a lot of curiosity and trying to understand why my body and my behaviour was why, why certain things were happening from a perspective of of the nervous system. And I started reading a lot of books about childhood trauma, and how stress and emotions internalised in the body just regulate the nervous system over time, and just went through a long period of, of healing and exploring all of that and how to use applied neurology for behaviour change and trauma resolution. And then quarantine came and the whole world was experiencing high stress, financial stress health concerns, a lot of change. And I knew that people were going to be experiencing a lot of dysregulation themselves, and that I needed to put these tools out into the world that it's possible to handle this amount of stress and to self regulate, but you need, you need tools, and an understanding that your nervous system is changing all the time, and that you have some agency in the way that it changes depending on the stimulus that you give it and so in March of 2020, when the world here began to close down, I launched the business and, and put these tools out into the world and things have just been growing ever since.
Tony Winyard 9:51
So we've everything that you learn and you know, what you just described what were what were the biggest changes do you think you made in your own life?
Elisabeth Kristof 10:00
Well, even though I was in the mindful movement industry, and I was all about connecting people to their bodies, I learned that for most of my life, I had actually been really dissociated from my own body. I think we live in a society that disconnects us from our bodies. And I also I have a pretty high ACE score, which stands for adverse childhood experience. And so from an early age, my nervous system had been dysregulated. And I've never actually resolved that, definitely not in my body and in my nervous system. And so for most of my life, I used my intellect to push through things, if I could just think my way out of it, figure it out. And that led me into a lot of workaholism, a lot of exertion and exhaustion, and just pushing myself until I until I was totally depleted and shut down. And my old brain, my survival brain was stuck in a mode of fight and flight stuck in a mode of hyper vigilance and my limbic system, my emotional processing centre was just totally frozen and shut down. And so I began a long period of thawing out. And the first thing I had to do was start to create safety inside of my own body make it safe for me to come back into my own body. And that's the work I do with a lot of my clients is body mapping, and stimulating a really important cranial nerve, your vagus nerve, which is very important for your parasympathetic upregulation, your common response network and important in, in creating resilience. So I do a lot of Vegas nerve stimulation and body mapping and respiration training, so that it can start to feel possible to come back into your body and feel safe to connect to your body again, and then from there, I was able to do a lot of the processing of emotions, processing of stress through my body through movement, that then could really resolve that and create a new way of being for myself. And that's what I see in my clients a lot that, that the first thing they have to do is feel safe dropping into their body.
Tony Winyard 12:08
So how, what are the differences in how you're feeling now from how it was before you went on that kind of journey?
Elisabeth Kristof 12:15
Yeah, so I think I constantly lived in a state of hyper vigilance. And by that, I mean, I was never, I never really felt safe just in the moment. And not, it wasn't trauma is not necessarily a big event. But it's the physical response inside of our bodies to an event, it's the state of our nervous system afterwards. So no matter where I was, or what I was doing, I was constantly scanning the room, I was trying to read people's facial expressions all the time trying to understand, you know, trying to figure out what they were thinking about me, and how they were going to react to me. And I was listening to that conversation over there. And I was also keeping my eye on this person over here. And so it was, it was all a lot of stimulus all of the time, and it was exhausting. And then it was also pushing me into these, you know, these deep core beliefs of needing to prove my worth needing to manufacture my safety through the business. And so I was always working, working, working so hard, and really numbed out and disconnected from my body. And now, most of the time, I am able to be present, I'm able, I'm able to sit here and talk with you and like actually listen to what you're saying and connect with you. And I do not I have a business now but I am I have really tight boundaries around my business and around my energy and healthy relationship to my clients. So that I am protecting my own state of being and my wellness. And but that wasn't possible when I was stuck in that other Nervous System state.
Tony Winyard 14:00
So have your people have known you for a long time your family and friends have they noticed quite a change in you.
Elisabeth Kristof 14:07
Oh, absolutely. Yeah. I mean, I think I, I have fun. Now I play, I laugh, I'm able to connect with people. And there's just an ease that I think is present in someone who is has the capacity to regulate themselves. And I see this in a lot of my clients, they, they have built these businesses and these lives that that they want to they're passionate people, and they have a vision and a mission, but they can't experience the felt sense of of, of pleasure and joy that comes from that because they've pushed themselves into such a burnt out state. And so learning how to regulate your nervous system and how to train your different input systems so that your brain and your nervous system are under less threat on a second by second basis. Makes it actually possible to feel the pleasure and the joy of the life that you're creating
Tony Winyard 15:06
is a phrase that I come back to time and time again. And it's probably my favourite phrase maybe of all time, which is the pause between stimulus and response where you can decide your own how to respond. And so and is mean from what you're describing. I mean, there's so many people just have a default response, which is maybe anger or, or sadness, or depression, or whatever it might be. So I'm guessing from what you're describing that you really help people to sort of widen that pause between the stimulus and responding.
Elisabeth Kristof 15:39
That's a beautiful way of putting it. And yeah, a lot of what we initially begin with is very simple tools that can just interrupt that default response. So maybe it's as simple as strong breathing, which is just slowing your exhalation down to be twice as long as your inhalation you breathe in through your nose, you purse, your lips, like you're breathing out of a straw, so it gives the air a little bit of resistance. And then you make your exhalation twice as long as your inhalation. And there have actually been fMRI that shows you is six of those straw breaths can help you to upregulate, your parasympathetic system, your common response network, and take you out of that state of fight and fight. So if you just begin to interrupt it with something as simple as that, it allows you the presence to have that pause, you're no longer driven by the survival part of your brain that's just pushing you into these behaviours with these automatic reactions that you feel like you can't even control. And or maybe it's a very simple Vegas nerve stimulation drill. So our Vegas nerve innervates, the back of our tongue. And so if you a lot of times, what I have my clients do is just make big circles with their tongue over their teeth, keep your mouth closed, and you make the circle a little bit bigger each time you do five circles in each direction. And just that is giving your vagus nerve stimulus, which then again helps to upregulate your parasympathetic system bring you out of your fight and flight and into a calmer state of being where you can make a different reaction.
Tony Winyard 17:11
So what you just described is that as if you're kind of cleaning your teeth with your tongue, like going in different directions, yeah,
Elisabeth Kristof 17:16
so you would just kind of run your tongue over your teeth, try to touch a further back molar each time. So you're making that circle big your tongue is a muscle and it's activated partially by the vagus nerve and some other reverse for other cranial nerves that activate it. But the, it will provide a lot of stimulus for those four cranial nerves. And those nerves need stimulus sometimes. And so if you can just pause and do that, there's little, little tools, little exercises that just give your brain and your nervous system, a little bit of stimulus that it responds well to so that you feel calmer, and you can interrupt those cycles of moving through hyper vigilance down into hypo arousal and kind of cycling through that, you know, push, push, push, be really stressed out and then crash. And so if we can start to recognise to the signals that our body is sending us before we move into those states, so having a little bit of awareness, learning to drop from our head down into our body, and just be curious about the signals that your body is sending, what does it feel like in my stomach? Can I feel my ribs expand and contract with my breath? Can I feel my own heart beating, can I feel what it feels like in my throat, and maybe making a daily practice of just spending about 30 seconds a day, dropping into your body with a mindset of curiosity, not you know, no judgement about any sensations that you feel just wondering what's there and maybe what it has to teach you. But maybe that's too far, for some people, maybe just feel it. And then you'll start to get better and better at recognising little signals that your body gives you before you move into the dysregulated state. So I started to notice, you know, when I was going to have an episode of like emotional eating or stress eating, my body would send me signals first, that it was moving into dysregulation and I would start to feel some pain in my left knee, I would feel tension in the right side of my jaw, I would start to feel really heavy. And so if I could start to hear those signals, then I could stop right then and do something that my nervous system might do some of those tongue circles. So my exhalation down and maybe take a nice long walk and try to see out of my peripheral vision because that's another good way to tell your body that you're not in threat is to expand your visual field to the periphery. And and then I could start to move out of the behaviour, but I had to have some self regulation tools first,
Tony Winyard 19:43
as she was saying that it might be think about, I guess, is related to the phrase I talked about just now because one thing that it seems to me that often happens with many people, is they get pain somewhere in the body. And the automatic reaction is to reach for the painkillers. Instead of to think about, and that's a message from my body, the body is trying to tell me something. But that doesn't really seem to enter the minds of many people, they just aim for the painkillers and stuff.
Elisabeth Kristof 20:11
That's right. So at its most basic nature, pain is an output of our nervous system, not an input. And by that, I mean that we get a bunch of different signals from our body. And we have some receptors called nociceptors. And they signal threat, not necessarily pain, just like, Hey, this is hot, this is sharp, maybe there's a biomechanical issue going on. And then all of that information goes up to your brain and integrates it, and then it produces an output after it's made the decision safe or unsafe. And if your brain feels unsafe, it will produce the output of pain and that output may not come anywhere, it may not have anything to do with where you feel the pain, that may just be a well worn path, that's more efficient for your brain to send a signal there. So that you start to reduce the amount of stress that you're under, because your brain doesn't feel safe. And at the same time, you could have a biomechanical issue, but your brain feels generally safe. And like, there's good information coming in from your eyes, everything else is working really well, you don't have a lot of stress in your job, okay, so you have a little tear in your left knee or something. But it's not that big a deal, I'm not going to produce pain, because you're not under that much threat. And so pain is an action signal from our brain, telling us that we're under too much stress, and we need to do something about it. And it may not have anything to do with really being present.
We hope you're enjoying this episode of the habits and health Podcast, where we believe that creating healthy habits should be easy. If you know a friend or a loved one who might be interested in learning simple habits to improve their health, then please share this podcast with them. We also invite you to subscribe, and to leave us a review on your favourite podcast app. Now, back to the show.
Tony Winyard 22:05
What advice would you give to people who then when they you may have got people thinking nobody I let people are listening to this? And I think, well, so what should I did, and I if I feel pain in my, in my arm or my or wherever it may be so so what should they do, and they when they feel that?
Elisabeth Kristof 22:21
Yeah, I would say, you know, certainly, if you're receiving a lot of pain, go have it checked out, make sure there's nothing that really needs immediate care. But if you find that when you do that they can't find anything wrong, or that you keep doing things to resolve the pain of both at the level of the symptom. And it's just not going away. Think about working with someone who takes a more holistic, integrated approach. And seeing if you can find other deficits in your nervous system, maybe you have a vestibular issue in your left ear, which is your balance system and your inner ear that orients your body with the horizon. And that's giving confusing information to your brain that makes it feel stressed out, maybe you don't have a very good body map of your hand. And so your brain is creating a lot of tension in your shoulder to get you to reduce your range of motion, because it doesn't really know where your hand is in space. So maybe even just some sensory stimulus on your hand rubbing it with a cloth, closing your eyes trying to feel it trying to see where your hand is in space, then notice does that make your shoulder feel better or worse? And so that's a lot of what we do on the site is I teach a whole bunch of different neural exercises that help train these input systems. And then people can assess and reassess. What makes my nervous system get better? What makes my pain go away? Where are my unique deficits in my nervous system? Because everybody's a little bit different?
Tony Winyard 23:53
I'm guessing that some people when they first come to you, especially somebody entrepreneurs, are maybe a little bit sceptical, I think is what a little bit were. And then you've been able to turn them around in some ways. Is there been anything like that?
Elisabeth Kristof 24:06
Yeah, I think that first of all, like this is completely science based. It's based on neuroscience research, a lot of neuroscience research that's just broken down. That information that is taken from you know, double blind control studies made into practical exercises that you can do that you would think about training your nervous system, just like you train your body in the gym. If if we want our nervous system is always changing. And it does respond to the stimulus that we put in. And so we have agency over the direction of that change. And so if you want it to change positively, here are some ways that you can provide stimulus that's going to move it in the direction that you want. But lucky for me, change at the level of the nervous system is instantaneous. And so you can always assess and reassess if something is moving you in the right or wrong erection. So, people may be sceptical at first when they come in, but sometimes I'll do one or two exercises, and all of a sudden, they're able to do a range of motion that they've never been able to do before, all of a sudden pain that they've had for a really long time is greatly diminished. And it's hard to, it's hard to not accept that because you can feel it in your own body.
Tony Winyard 25:25
Can you think of any examples where someone has been really surprised that there's some of the results that they've got working with you?
Elisabeth Kristof 25:32
Yeah, I mean, lots of different examples. But I can think of, you know, I had one client who, she's a hard working Mama, she has kids, and she has a career. And she's someone who really had this deep, ingrained belief that self care was kind of frivolous, it was just this thing that, you know, privileged people do. But you know, her shower could be her self care, time kind of thing. But then she started to experience pain and really bad migraines and some visual stuff going on. And so that was enough to make her see how trying to find some kind of solution, because she didn't want it to rob her time with her daughter Time, time with her career. And so she joined one of the programmes, I have small group neuro coaching programmes. And within a week, after we did some Vegas training and some respiration training, she didn't have migraines anymore. And now it's been almost a year and she has not had a migraine. And so it's, you know, sometimes we were like, how could it be that simple, I don't have to take my medication anymore. And not that I'm saying people shouldn't take their medication, I'm just saying there are tools that you can do to assist, and you may or may not have to take it over time. And it really can be simpler than you might think, if you can start to speak the language of your body and your nervous system, and come back to your body and start to start to feel it and learn from it. Because our bodies are they do have a very high, deep intelligence inside. And I do my belief is that we all know, inherently inside of us how to heal, but we have. We've made it so it's hard for us to hear that.
Tony Winyard 27:20
Meaning the example you just gave of that lady, I imagine. I mean, the quality of her life now must be measurably enhanced in so many different ways that it's Yeah.
Elisabeth Kristof 27:33
It's really neat. I love what I do. I love watching people move out of these things, because then they really start to wake up to their life like now she's at a place where she's like, wait, what are my desires? What do I really want from my life is this is this job, this high stress job in alignment with what my body and my nervous system want. But she couldn't think about all of that when she was still in survival mode and pushing through and disconnected from her body. And so as people start to create safety in their own bodies, and start to resolve all of the emotions and stress that they've been holding on to inside, because we also do a lot of somatic processing on the side of moving the energy of emotions and stress through the body so that it can be resolved. All of a sudden, there's the ability to, to expand to create to have a new experience of the world. And it's it's really powerful. And it's really a privilege to to bear witness to.
Tony Winyard 28:37
An lot of people criticise the word mindfulness. And one of the things that again, I was thinking as you were speaking, and especially going back to some things you said about sort of 1015 minutes ago, you help people to, to live in and now to be in a prison. And so it seems to me that Yeah, so the opposite of mindfulness is mindlessness. where people are just reacting by default, that is mindless in many ways, isn't it? So when you when you help them to be more aware, and to live in the present, they are being more mindful, regardless of whether they like that that word or not.
Elisabeth Kristof 29:17
Yeah, I mean, yes, whether or not you like it, it is powerful to live in the present. And it's also it can be very difficult to do that when we are in Nervous System dysregulation. So I think a lot of times why mindfulness is a hard concept and word for people is that they are in a state of being that makes that very difficult and it can actually be threatening until you have resolved that like so for people who are stuck in a state of hyper vigilance. And they don't have the tools to regulate their emotions or to or to regulate their nervous system to process the stress to process the emotions, sitting quietly in meditation. with your eyes closed, can actually move your body into a higher threat state because it's not ready for that yet. It's not there. And so, or if I asked somebody to drop into their body and become curious about the signals, if they live in a very dissociated state, their body has done that for a protective reason. And so it can actually cause further dysregulation to try to come into the body if they're not also given tools to help regulate their nervous system and to create a sense of safety as they're doing that. And so it is important for people to assess and reassess if some of that stuff is actually making them feel better, or making them more dysregulated. And then how can we help aid them with really practical tools to help in that self regulation to help create that sense of safety so that mindfulness, or reading your body signals is possible without being too threatening for your, for your old brain.
Tony Winyard 31:01
And one problem, and a lot of people have a major issue with negative self talk, and the way they talk to themselves is so destructive, I mean, is this what you do help with stuff along those lines,
Elisabeth Kristof 31:13
I really believe that a lot of those loops are part of part of our nervous system response, they're baked in hardwired, you know, whatever we do, we get better at those neural pathways become more well worn, but I believe that the thoughts are coupled and LinkedIn in neural chunks with the behaviour, and then it all kind of goes together. And so when we move into that dysregulated state, when we engage in the behaviour, we also trigger the thought loops, but then it also when me, when we move into that dysregulated state and we trigger the thought loop, we then trigger that behaviour and it becomes this thing that the more it cycles through that the more well worn that neuro pathway becomes for the brain. And so you need something to interrupt it to make it a new way of thinking possible. And then a lot of what I do too, is once we create safety, once we start to process emotions through the body, then we do some subconscious reprogramming with like EFT or visualisation and inner child work and going back and really starting to address some of those core wounds that get baked in at a very early age that drive us into the dysregulation in the first place. Because at some point, the neuro exercises, the neuro drills and the nervous system dysregulation can become like a band aid, if we're constantly still driving ourselves into dysregulation because of those deep patterned beliefs. And so at some point, yes, we have to go there, and we have to get to the root that is causing the dysregulation. But there's a little bit of work to do first to make that safe and possible so that we're not re traumatising people, by trying to go there.
Tony Winyard 33:00
You mentioned about EFT, I imagine a lot of people who have never come across it before must be a little bit, again sceptical about it. How could that help me? Do you get that kind of reaction?,
Elisabeth Kristof 33:13
EFT can seem really silly. When you first just look at it. What EFT is, is you're tapping on different acupressure points. And you're kind of calming the nervous system as you are working through old beliefs or working through a past memory. And a lot of times, we will go back to like very early experiences. And the way that I do it as I do some really high payoff nerd drills, like maybe some respiration or some Vegas nerve stuff or some body mapping that really makes a person feel calm at the level of their nervous system. They're really in a nice regulated state. And then we go back and do that so that they can experience a different physiological sensation in regards to the event, because it's really important to understand that everything we experience in our brain, we also experience in our body and trauma is is not the event, it's the physiological reaction, it's the energy of the event that gets stuck internalised in our body and then and then gets triggered cycled through and it's those states of dysregulation. It's the tightness in your throat, the racing in your heart, it's the sweating in your palms. That's the trauma and not the event itself. And it doesn't even have to be a singular event. It can be a series of events growing up where you didn't feel seen or you didn't feel taken care of or you didn't feel safe. And so if we can revisit that and work through it in a way that allows them to experience the event but have a different sensation inside of their body a sensation of safety and calm and to show up for themselves in that past memory and give give their inner child What they need at the time and experience it differently in the body, then it starts to neutralise those events so that when something happens that reminds our nervous system that reminds our body if that event, we don't experience the same reaction inside of our body.
Tony Winyard 35:18
We're now going to be describing, EFT. And it got me thinking about acupuncture. And I'm wondering about similarities between the two.
Elisabeth Kristof 35:27
Oh, it's EFT is very much evolved from acupuncture. So it was a psychiatrist or psychotherapist, I can't remember who is working with a client who had come from acupuncture. And he kind of put two and two together that if he could use those acupressure points, to move that energy through the body and speak directly to the nervous system to comment, as she was addressing a phobia that she could neutralise the body's response to it. And so it was very much linked to that. And it's about allowing the energy, making the body feel safe enough to process the energy of the event through to release that energy, and to again, have a different experience inside of yourself, as you experience that energy so that you don't have to replay that same reaction over and over again.
Tony Winyard 36:20
Is there some evidence now behind acupuncture because a lot of people still are very critical of that sort of thing? So is there is there any evidence you're aware of now behind it?
Elisabeth Kristof 36:31
Well, yes, there's there's definitely studies. And there's also studies for EFT there's Dawson church did a lot of studies funded a lot of you know, double blind, controlled studies on EFT. And they are our results where it shows cortisol being lowered by as much as 40%. For people who are doing EFT different outcomes, long term outcomes for people who do this. And so it really does create a different, it lowers the stress response in the body. And cortisol is a stress hormone. So when there's high levels of cortisol, we know were moving into our sympathetic nervous system, our fight and flight response. And that that is that diode is turned up too high and lots of cortisol for a long time is chronic stress. And that's very damaging, it's damaging to our nerves is damaging to our vessels, and it causes long term inflammation and leads to disease stress is at the root of 70 to 95% of disease. And so if by creating this stimulus, whether it's through tapping, or through Vegas, Vegas nerve stimulus, or better body mapping, I knew can lower that stress response to events in current life that are triggered by the past event and you're lowering the cortisol all the time, you're lowering the fight and flight response, then you can have a massive provable impact on someone's health because those, those stress hormones start to lower.
Tony Winyard 38:09
If anyone's listening to this, and they're thinking, this sounds interesting, we do. Do you work with people online? Or is it mostly face to face? Or how do you work?
Elisabeth Kristof 38:19
I everything I do is online. And there's a couple of different options. So I do work with private clients for people who really need a higher touch experience for a little bit. And then we also have small group neuro coaching programmes. So I do one called food freedom that is specifically for people with disordered eating and issues with their body body dysmorphia, and a kind of abusive relationship to your body to resolve that. And then energy creation is my group for people who are leaning towards workaholism, high driving, but getting shut down by their nervous system with either pain, anxiety, migraine or fatigue. And so I do those groups. And then I also just have a membership site where we do regular Nervous System training, I teach you a whole bunch of drills, I teach you how to assess and reassess your own nervous system so that you can become the expert of your nervous system and you can learn tools to help you self regulate and to help you improve the health of your nervous system just on a daily basis so that you're constantly changing your state of being and over time those changes stick because of neuroplasticity.
Tony Winyard 39:33
So anyone who's listening to this and has maybe been feeling a lot of stress and they are unsure where and why and so on. Are they the type of people who probably would really benefit from this or is there and or is there anyone else who could you describe any other sort of symptoms that people might be feeling that would be best served by something not what you do.
Elisabeth Kristof 39:56
I think the best way is to follow your own dysregulation and know that, you know, the nervous system is the operating system. And so all of our life experiences are in some way impacted by our nervous system. So if you have are having an experience of life that doesn't align with what you want, think about training your nervous system to make what you want more possible. So it could present as chronic pain, it could present as migraine, it could present as anxiety, it could present as emotional or binge eating, it could present as brain fog, dissociation, or extreme fatigue. And those are kind of the most common ones, that people who really would benefit from some good Nervous System training can experience and then also to just if you want to perform better if you're an athlete, and you want to be stronger, faster, have better endurance, think about training your nervous system.
Tony Winyard 40:57
So people want to find out more about you where's the best places to look?
Elisabeth Kristof 41:02
The best place to find me is that my website and it's brain based dash wellness calm. And if you go there, I have a free video series that will teach you how to assess and reassess what's working for your own nervous system, I'll just teach you a little bit more about the nervous system and teach five of the drills that I have found to be most high payoff for the largest number of clients so that you can just incorporate that into your own daily practice to make your nervous system feel better every day. And so totally free. Short won't take you more than two or three minutes a day to do this video series. And again, that's it brain based dash wellness calm.
Tony Winyard 41:41
And are you active on social media.
Elisabeth Kristof 41:44
I am on Instagram @ELKristof, and I'm on LinkedIn as Elisabeth Kristof as well. And I think I'm on Facebook, but not too regularly.
Tony Winyard 41:58
And just before we finish a couple of things. One is about books is there is there a book that's really moved you at any time in the last few weeks, months.
Elisabeth Kristof 42:07
One of the most beneficial books that I've read as I was starting this journey of understanding, trauma and stress and the body and the nervous system was "Waking the Tiger" by Peter Levine and he's kind of one of the fathers of the somatic experiencing movement, and it is a beautifully written book. And it really helped me understand how, what trauma is and that it's a response of a physical response, not an event. And then it can come from many different many, many, many different shapes, sizes, experiences, it doesn't always look like what we think it has to look like.
Tony Winyard 42:49
And finally, is there a quotation that you particularly like,
Elisabeth Kristof 42:53
um, I would say my quote would be from from the author of that book, and he says that "Trauma is a portal to our spiritual awakening and that we are all inherently capable of healing ourselves. And that trauma healed is a gift from the gods. Trauma relived is hell on earth. But we have the capability of healing ourselves and achieving that spiritual awakening through the resolution of our trauma", and that quote, or that message, I don't know that I've said it exactly as it is, but that's the message of the quote. And that message really, it really guided me into being able to look at my behaviour with curiosity and to understand that whatever my dysregulation was, it was there to teach me something and then if I could just follow that path, it would lead me to my healing in a way that allowed for my expansion for the expansion of my consciousness for the expansion of my life. And all of these dysregulation symptoms. They were my they were my portals
Tony Winyard 44:05
disappeared. It sounds like you're helping a lot of people. So, thank you for the last 42 minutes.
Elisabeth Kristof 44:14
Thank you so much for having me. It was an honour to be here.
Tony Winyard 44:19
Next week is Episode 26. With Kristi Jaques, she helps people to reduce or eliminate the need for medications around diabetes with her Lifestyle coaching. She was diagnosed with Type One Diabetes when she was just 12 years old. And we talk about her journey. What happened from there, how it is that she helps people, and a lot more less in next week's episode with Kristi Jaques. If you know anyone who would get some more value from some of the information that Elisabeth Kristof shared with us, please do share the episode with them. And why not let them let other people know about the show as well? Especially people who Maybe need to work on their habits to improve their health. Hope you enjoyed this week's special 150th edition of the podcast in all its various guises and see you next week.
Thanks for tuning in to the habits and health podcast where we believe creating healthy habits should be easy. If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe and leave us a review on your favourite podcast app. Sign up for email updates and learn about coaching and workshop opportunities at TonyWinyard.com. See you next time on the habits and health podcast.
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