Moving Freely and Avoiding Injury with the Franklin Method

EricFranklinEric Franklin is the founder and creator of the Franklin Method, a practice combining movement and visualization. Eric has taught this method all over the world, has authored 19 books and taught thousands of people how to move more freely and avoid injury.

In this interview you’ll find out:

  • How to move freely from whatever stage of pain you’re starting¬†from.
  • Fine tune your running style with some simple exercises…
  • Why understanding anatomy will help you move better

Find out more about the Franklin Method:
Eric’s Books:

Speaker 1: Hello everyone and welcome to the Master Class series. Eric Franklin is the founder and creator of the Franklin Method, a practice combining movement and visualization. Eric has taught this method all over the world, has authored 19 books and taught thousands of people how to move more freely and avoid injury. Welcome Eric.
Eric: Thank you, thank you. It’s great to be here.
Speaker 1: Start off, because I think it’s always interesting finding the origin of where things began. How did you first discover the Franklin Method and how did you develop it?
Eric: Well actually you know, it’s a very organic process. I did not discover the [Franklin Method 00:43] because it didn’t exist when I started out.
I was actually in a very intellectual path. I was at the university in Zurich and going to do more studies, but then I really felt like I wanted to do a movement profession. Something with movement. Way back then, in Switzerland there weren’t that many possibilities and I really liked to dance. I ended up starting to train in dance. You have to go back 30 years. Now there’s more knowledge on how to train effectively.
It’s also not really been informed with that much yet but at least there in knowledge. I just practiced away many hours ever day and basically what happened is you know, I think dance is healthy, but I started like many other dancers, to experience pain and issues in a variety of areas of the body.
Basically this idea, not just in dance but in general, no pain, no gain, which I think is wrong. Of course there can be a good effort feeling. That’s fine. You shouldn’t obviously be doing things that are hurting your body in the long term.
Anyhow, I started training and did a lot of training. I felt a bit of discomfort here and a bit of discomfort there, and when I came to New York University to study there, things got a little more serious. I had knee pain, lower back pain. There was nothing really around that was informing me on what to do. I wish I would have known then what I know now.
I started doing my own research, trying all kinds of things to make me feel better. New York is a laboratory for those kind of things. At that time I was in New York. Then after starting to develop some ideas, I was invited also to teach for example for the Swiss Olympic gymnastics team, or at the American Dance Festival. I saw there is a lot of need for improved movement skills, for pain reduction and a lot of the things were just seemed to be not available.
I started making notes on what I was doing, on the exercises I was kind of coming up with. That eventually turned into books. That eventually turned into more courses. Basically, you see the thing is that, if you take the example of dance and obviously you can use other examples like back pain, which is very common. Dance is basically healthy for you. Yoga is basically healthy for you. Actually very healthy.
The way it is done often leads to problems. Pain, injuries and so forth. That’s the fundamental insight right there. Just doing movement, doing exercise, which you absolutely have to do for your health, doesn’t guarantee that you’re not going to run into problems.
We all know that from sports. We all know that from other modalities. You’ve got to know what you’re doing. That basically was the start of all of it, that I didn’t really know how to train healthfully and efficiently.
To this day, you have a lot of training that is causing problems. Often if you trained badly, you’ll discover that that’s the case after many, many years of doing something that’s not good. Then you have to go back and unravel that to figure out what it was.
That’s of course one type of pain, the one that relates to what I was doing. Pain from long standing, [inaudible 04:23] movement. It’s called overuse pain.
Of course there’s many other kinds of pain. There’s also pain obviously from disease, injury and so forth. There is of course relationships between all the different types of pain. As I got invited to teach in other environments, so also for example, for [physio 04:49] therapists, midwife association, in a variety of contexts, I saw that there were many similar issues floating around and that the [pros 05:02] also used them, looking at the [inaudible 05:03] around pain and using imagery could be extremely helpful.
Speaker 1: OK. That’s a really good introduction. Now I’m curious. How is the way that you would say, approach dance. How’s it different? What do you do differently from the kind of conventional training?
Eric: Well simply stated, and I definitely don’t want to sound like a snob at any level, I know what I’m doing.
A lot of dancers, you start teaching in the beginning and you ask them, ok, where are your hip joints? If you don’t know where your hip joints are it’s going to be difficult to move efficiently as a dancer because you’re going to initiate movement from incorrect places.
A lot of dancers, but also in other modalities, when I start teaching them, I teach a lot in the Pilates environment, the fitness environment, they don’t know where their hip joints is. That’s just a simple example. If you don’t know your body well, the danger of using it incorrectly is greatly increased.
I studied a lot of anatomy, especially what’s called functional anatomy, in others words how does the body work best? Just learning anatomy won’t necessarily make a change. You need to learn how does the body function optimally. That’s the first step.
Then the second step is actually to learn how to take that information into a physical experience.
That is another whole department on its own. Again, you can understand concepts, you can know where the hip joints are and how the knees work best in your lower back, but you can’t bring that into a physical experience, a physical movement. It doesn’t work. An example, there is many places I went to, universities even, where they have anatomy as part of their curriculum but in the classroom you see it hasn’t transferred. They’re still doing the same old thing.
I think that one of the things about the Franklin Method and I’ve worked on this for 30 years, so it’s not just something, oh, my name is Franklin, let’s develop another method. What I’m doing, I don’t think it’s really out there.
I start with OK, where is this person at? What’s their personal starting point? A lot of methods start with the starting point of the person that created it. I think you should do that, look at these great, cool exercises.
In the Franklin Method you start with where is that person starting from? They’re in pain, there are issues, they want improved performance. That’s the first step. Then you look at OK, what do they want to improve? What do they need to improve?
Then you need to teach them the tools. What are the things you can do to create improvement? Knowing your body. Knowing how to use your mind to help your body. That whole interaction which is a whole other discussion.
Then of course practicing and noticing the results. Not all things work for everyone and that’s why there has to be a large variety of interventions. Each individual person is reached from their starting point, with their issues, with their body.
Speaker 1: I’m wondering if, I know that you originally started with dancers and you’ve expanded that hugely to a lot of different movement disciplines. We have a lot of runners in our audience and I’m wondering how your methods would work for people who are really into running?
Eric: Well actually the truth is, I did not start in dance. Actually dance is not even at this point my largest audience. I started actually more with athletes in Switzerland. I worked for example for the Swiss marathon team.
Speaker 1: Oh, OK.
Eric: Yeah. I worked for swimmers, I had workshops with all kinds of different types of teams. Everything from rowing, swimming, running, even track and field athletes. I have a lot of experience in that area too and of course there are similarities.
If you’re a runner and you’re going to do a repetitive motion like running, every small, little, different, so every slight little adjustment you’re making. Adjustments can come from just learning a better running style, or reading some advice, or having someone watch you and give you feedback, but adjustments can also come from you experiencing a little pain somewhere.
You know, you have a little pain in the front of the knee or in the lower back, then you adjust your movement. Through that adjustment you may create another problem aside from the one that created your pain originally. It’s a very complex thing.
What I do again, is I would have a group of runners in front of me. I would first teach them the nuts and bolts of how can you use your mind to support your movement? You have to introduce the different types of imagery. There’s, you know, movement simulation imagery, which is the most familiar. Then there’s of course also anatomical imagery, metaphorical imagery, motivational imagery, very important also of course in running. They have to know those are the mental tools, self taught and these things.
Then I would look at OK, how does the pelvis function, the knee function, the foot function optimally in running. Again there are different styles, different opinions. That’s great, but the body is the body. The hip joint is where it is and the sacroiliac joint is just does what it does, and there’s the sub [inaudible 10:36] joint.
I just did workshop on the foot. A whole day, six, seven hours talking about the foot. That would have been a fabulous experience for runners, for example. Together we rediscover how does the body work best, and then we practice it.
We practice running, using different images, focuses, after we understood how the joints work best. In absolutely most cases, the runners and also the other audiences discover new and better ways to do things.
What I always say is, the first thing to do is look at what am I doing. Is this the best I could be doing or are there options, are there other things I could be doing that are more useful. That’s easier said than done.
As an educator, so if I’m working with the runners, I would give them the experience of a new way, a more efficient way of running and they could choose to adopt it or not.
That’s another important thing. I don’t just tell them, you should run like that or you should do this. We go for a variety of experiences using semantic principles. I said, you know, we touch certain bones, massage, the [inaudible 11:50] imagery and then we all try the new experience out and in most cases, runners and other populations go, wow, OK, it’s so easy now. This is more efficient, this is more fun.
In addition to that, the runners will have images that accompany them as they run to make them more efficient.
There’s many things in that department. For example, I have the runners close their eyes and see if they can run straight. Often even just if you run 50 yards, you’re running in a big curve. Then figuring out, OK, why do I tend to veer the left or the right? What is going on in my pelvis in my legs, because you’re wasting a lot of energy doing that.
We would look at that, we would analyze it, use imagery and so forth to improve the directionality of the running. There’s a whole lot of things you can do for running.
Speaker 1: OK. I felt that exercise where you run with your eyes closed to see if you can run straight. That’s pretty fascinating. Are there any other exercises that you would, I know it’s hard to do over a phone call, but that you could describe that would get people reexamining their movement.
Eric: OK. Yeah. This is probably a little bit difficult just to hear about. The first thing, I would have to, because to go to the major joints, the foot, the sub [inaudible 13:13] joint, the ankle, the [inaudible 13:15]. We have to go through them and get them going more efficiently.
If I were to introduce the foot to runners, first I would ask them, ok, what are the fundamental functions of the foot? I think it’s important that there’s a cognitive element to all of this, so everyone knows OK, this is evidenced based. This is not another person coming in and just telling me some kind of fantasy. Everything is based on science and evidence.
First you assemble the functions of the foot and there’s many functions. We have force absorption, propulsion. The foot functions as a foundation, there’s adaptivity, sensation and so forth. Then we would look, and it’s very entertaining too, because you know, got to be interested in learning about the body.
Then you go OK, why do we have, how do we possibly bring those functions together? If you think of a foundation, like of a building, it’s very solid and wide. Heavy maybe. If you think of a propulsive device, something that will help you run and leap that’s a completely different story. How does the foot bring that together?
Basically the foot brings that together by being a spiral. If you look at the heel, the [inaudible 14:23], it’s in the vertical plane, more on the vertical plane, and the front of the foot is more in the horizontal plane. If you put those two planes together then you have a spiral.
Basically the foot functions by increasing the twist of the spiral and decreasing the twist. The decrease of the twist is also called pronation and the increase you call supination. Those are two modalities. The supinative modality is more the propulsive lever mode, the one you would jump or sprint with. The pronative modality is more the force absorption, foundation mode.
That’s all great. You bring that information in. Then you have the runners sit down and you hold the heel and the forefoot and we twist it. We counter rotate the foot, so we activate what’s called [prophoceptors 15:06] which are the [inaudible 15:08] of movement. We activate them in the foot by twisting the foot. It’s a very gentle twist. The heel goes in one direction, the forefoot in the other direction.
By that, you’re activating the [inaudible 15:18] joint, the [transversal 15:23] joint.
Then the runners stand up and compare feet. They’ll notice that foot is much more agile. They can run better right away. That gets them inside to learn more about their bodies.
Then there’s more things to do. Then you go to the ankle joint. What is happening wish every step you take as a runner in the ankle joint. You would look at how the [talus 15:44], which is the joint between the tibula fibular mortise or the lower leg bones in the foot, how the talus moves.
You would find out how it moves optimally. There’s times when you touch the talus with thumb and as the foot points you feel it sliding forward and as you’re running, and your [inaudible 15:58] over the foot, the talus slides back with the heel. You practice that using imagery and touch and immediately, in 99 percent of the cases, the runners will find it’s easier to run, it’s more efficient using less effort.
That’s a very fast example, but we go through the joints, we discover them, feel them, and we immediately take them into practice. I tend to say the Franklin Method is a start, a start. What that means is, first you sense it. You sense the area of the body, then you process that information there then you apply it.
We would sense the ankle and the [subtailor 16:46] joint, then we would process it with a variety of exercises, then we would apply it to running and notice the different.
They get the immediate benefit of knowing and experiencing that their running has become easier and more efficient. Again, it’s not just an intellectual process. It may start with that. It’s really a process of the runners discovering OK, this is easier, this works better, I’m going to give this a go.
Speaker 1: Right. I think that reminds me of the old saying, if you hear it, then you forget it. If you see it, then you’ll probably remember it. If you experience it, then you really learn it.
Eric: That’s exactly what it’s about, yeah.
Speaker 1: Cool.
Eric: Exactly. The good thing is the experience can always be based on evidence. We’re talking about bio mechanics, we’re talking about functional anatomy, so you’re having an experience. You might be having a metaphor, an image that’s helping you, but it’s not fantasy land. You can always discuss the bio mechanics behind it.
Speaker 1: Now you’ve mentioned imagery several times and I’m really curious about how you use imagery say when you’re trying a different movement pattern or reevaluating how you move.
Eric: Yeah well imagery can be used in very, as I mentioned, different ways, right? As an example I just showed you, you can use it anatomically, so you can imagine how the talus, that bone, slides within the tibia fibula motif. You can imagine that you can see it, feel it, that’s all a type of image, yeah?
However you can also use so-called metaphorical imagery, so as you’re running along, just staying with that image, with that [inaudible 18:39], so if you’re running along, you can imagine winds coming up front behind, blowing against your back and moving you forward.
You can imagine, so you run straighter for example, a little string attached to your navel pulling you forward, straight forward. You can imagine the floor beneath you, whatever you’re running on, the surface, to be very springy and propels you forward. You could also use small little bit of motivational imagery.
You could imagine you’re running towards a great, new experience that if you just keep running at a certain pace, or in the way you planned there’s going to be some kind of reward, or with every step your mood increases. Things like that. You can use motivational imagery.
Again, we’re talking about it and the real thing you need to do is have the actual experience, practice. The problem with a lot of imagery in the beginning is that it’s a completely different one. You actually should start much, much earlier.
The first exercise I always do is just seeing if we can stay with our bodies, stay physically present with our body for one minute. In other words can you not think, not have words in your head, but just be with your breathe, you know, very well known exercise.
We could talk about that one more because it’s relatively undifferentiated.
Just the first thing to do is practice just being present with your body, because if you can’t be present, it’s going to be pretty hard to use body-based imagery. That’s the first step.
Speaker 1: That’s not easy.
Eric: The second step is … It gets better. Usually within a half an hour of the class I teach, people already improved. There are certain things that you can do to improve relatively rapidly. I’m a big fan of things going relatively fast, because people don’t have time these days, so it can go relatively fast.
Once you have that part, once you know how to be focused, then you apply it to movement. In other words you take a movement, for example walking, running, swimming, a dance step, and you notice how it feels to do that movement. You scale it.
For example you say, OK right now, running feels on a scale from one to ten, one being not good at all, ten being brilliant, my running right now feels like a five. Then you make yourself the goal, can I move that up to 5.5. Can you get it a little bit better. Then we try a variety of interventions, self taught, using words in your head like saying, I’m relaxed, I’m smooth, my joints are lubricated. My running is effortless.
Words, metaphors which I’ve mentioned like the wind blowing you. Anatomical imagery, like your ankle joint being very smooth and things like that, and motivational imagery.
I just want to say one more thing before I finish this one, is that motivational imagery is often the tricky one. When people say wow, I feel really great, my running is great today, often what happens you immediately get what’s called a resistor. In other words, a little voice in your head that says oh, that’s baloney. That’s not true. That’s not really how I feel today. We call that the resistor.
That’s the tricky thing about positive thinking. I don’t teach really positive thinking. If you just positively think, another voice in your head will just say oh, that’s not true. The interesting thing is though if you say, I feel really great today and then a little voice is going, ah, I don’t know. The question there is, what do you really think?
For example if I’m teaching people a back workshop. There’s a lot of people with back pain so I do a lot of back workshops on the back. I have everyone move their back and then everyone says aloud, I love to move my back because it’s really healthy and good for me. Everyone says that loud.
Then everyone evaluates how much did they believe that statement. I love to move my back because it’s healthy and good for me. What you find out is that at that point a lot of people discover that they’re actually using some negative imagery.
They really are thinking the opposite. I’m afraid to move my back. It’s uncomfortable. I’m worried about having pain again and so forth. That’s how you smoke out the negative imagery part.
You have all those aspects you need to introduce. Metaphorical, anatomical imagery, self talk, motivational imagery and also negative imagery and how to solve the [inaudible 23:37].
Speaker 1: That is so interesting because I feel like, well the people that we’ve interviewed who have chronic pain, they will say things like they feel like there bodies has let them down, or they don’t really feel connected to that part of them which is sore. Or it’s maybe not even a little voice. It’s a giant, big shouting voice, you know, saying that if …
Eric: It’s a giant, absolutely. It could be a giant, big voice. That’s why it’s so important that you work with your belief systems and what you really believe and start very honestly. Not going around and telling people, oh, just imagine your back is fine. They’re just going to respond either in their head with no, it’s not fine at all. I don’t think that approach really works.
That’s why in the Franklin Method we have like a four step process. The first step is always what I call the status quo. Where are you really at right now, fully acknowledging it. You know, you might feel really bad in your body. You have pain, issues like that.
Then also, a very important part, a lot of evidence for this, what is your outlook. A lot of people, if they have pain, they have a very negative outlook. It’s called catastrophizing. They’re really worried that it’s never going to get better again, their life is over, you know, they’ll have to go through the rest of their life like this.
They have a lot of fear, a lot of words in their head and images in their head around not being able to improve. I think it’s very important to acknowledge where you’re at, but start working on the image, the goal, the idea, that there will be a time sooner rather than later where you will feel better.
There is research on this that people that are able to do that, that are able to have an outlook, even if they have pain, a positive outlook, they heal faster. It’s easier for them to get better than people that are stuck in this oh, it’s over with, I’ve had it, I’m damaged and stuff like that.
It’s not necessarily easy to do when you have pain but it is certainly very useful if you can do that. That’s the second stage.
The third stage is you need to do something. You need to get into action. If you’re going to be passive and just wait for someone else to fix you, there’s also evidence that people who get more involved themselves in helping themselves with pain, they heal faster.
Now you need to have the tools. What I’ve found is it’s really said that there are these really simple tools that cost nothing. It doesn’t cost anything to change a thought in your head.
We can talk about that a little bit right now. People that can’t modulate their thoughts. If you want to ask that question I can maybe help a little with that.
Speaker 1: OK.
Eric: The cheapest thing you can do is think differently. There’s no one telling you how to think. Right at this moment you can have a different though. You have choice in that department. Right there they need to start practicing the new tools and even to use the muscle, using your mind as a muscle so you need to practice. It’s guaranteed you will get some results.
Speaker 1: You’ve brought up some great points here. I’m interested in, you’ve mentioned quite a few times different studies and I’d like to circle back to that in a bit but, do you have any stories of people that you’ve worked with that have maybe had some very limiting beliefs about chronic pain and also maybe had like a serious injury and have been able to really change their mindset and then change their physical condition?
Eric: Yes, definitely. There’s been quite a few people that have, I have a teacher training, it’s a 21 day training where people can learn all these techniques. I’ve had quite a few people come to the training not to become teachers of what I do. They come to the training because they personally had an issue.
I remember one of the first people I’ve had came to me with whiplash. As you know whiplash is a very tricky thing. You know, it’s also labeled as oh, it’s just in your mind and so forth. For the people who have it it’s a very serious issue.
She came to my training. In other words, it wasn’t specifically a therapeutic situation just aimed at her. It was about training people in how to use their mind and energy and learning anatomy. She was healed by going through the process of the training.
It’s kind of very interesting because, if there’s too much focus sometimes on the issue you actually make that issue stronger. I have found that people that come to class, and often they don’t say when they come to class, oh I have a shoulder pain, I have a knee pain. They come to class, we go through the process, so we have a step by step process in the class where we learn the techniques and we just all practice them together.
They come to me during the break or at the end and say, you know I came in here with this pain. My shoulder was hurting, my knee was hurting now for awhile, and it’s gone.
Speaker 1: Huh, right.
Eric: It sort of just got blown away. I think a lot has to do with that cognitive restructuring, the belief system restructure that happens in the class and the ongoing, persistent use of imagery to give the body confidence, give the body and mind confidence in it’s healing powers. In it’s ability to regenerate. Yeah.
Speaker 1: That’s really interesting.
Eric: There’s been many, many examples of that. Certainly many dancers and many athletes that came into the process that have gotten better and their pain has gone away.
Speaker 1: Yeah, because it’s interesting when you have say, a back pain. There are some very interesting studies now on how sometimes a problem is more of a pain sensitization problem or it’s that because of the pain, you’ve tightened that area and then other areas are compensating when you move, so you kind of cascade this whole thing from say a back pain up to shoulder and neck tension and so on.
Anything that can get you back to more natural movement I’m sure is very profoundly helpful.
Eric: Well the people with pain, they tend to do what’s called co-contract muscle. In other words, if you banged your elbow, then the muscles on one side of the elbow [inaudible 30:52] they’re called need to shorten and the muscles on the other side need to lengthen.
People in pain often co-contract the muscles on both sides up at the joint. People in pain tend to reduce obviously the need to protect themselves, they tend to reduce the variability of their movement. In other words, they tend to start moving more in a stereotype, which is a problem in itself because less variability in movement in itself is a particular pain. For example back pain.
It tends to be difficult for them after they do exercises where they use a lot of effort to reduce that effort and relax again.
You always have to be very careful. People that have pain and issues think oh I need to go and increase my strength. They absolutely do, but strength alone will not solve the problem.
If you have someone who’s very tense, has a lot of tension and they go and exercise, often they’re just getting better at their tension. You need to make sure that they have strategies to reduce that tension. In the Franklin Method we have a lot of strategies for that. I could maybe even demonstrate one if you want, tension reduction.
Also if you have pain in one area, and you focus on reducing tension and make yourself more comfortable in other areas, it could be a great distraction and also build your confidence that you can get better, which is a very important thing in people with pain.
They have this experience, oh, I can get better. Let’s say you have pain in the knee and you show them how to feel better in their shoulders and neck or lower back, I think that is very good. That’s a large part of it, that people go wow, I can get better, and I can get better very fast. That’s a big thing that we do in our classes. Giving people confidence that they can improve and feel more comfortable in their body.
Speaker 1: With an experience of actually, yeah, that’s the best way to actually experience the change. I’m wondering, you mentioned before, modulating thoughts to change your belief. How do you actually go about doing that?
Eric: Excuse me? Changing what?
Speaker 1: To changing a belief, modulating your thoughts.
Eric: I don’t think you’re going to, I think as I said, just to tel someone to change their beliefs is not going to change everything.
It all starts with self recognition. If you don’t have any recognition that you have a belief, then it’s not going to really change. We all have beliefs.
One way to explain it is, you know we all have certain styles of clothing we like, so we open our cupboard and we can recognize our clothes. What if we would open our cupboard and we didn’t recognize our clothes? You would say, what is this? These are not my clothes, they are someone else’s. We would immediately recognize the different style.
When it comes to our thinking, so in all the listeners right now, they’re all thinking. They’re thinking about this, listening to this, or spacing out in between, that’s normal. That is being done in a style.
To recognize, OK, I’m listening to what we are saying in this interview maybe with a more critical style. Maybe with a more passive style, maybe with a more positive style. We all have styles of thinking, words that we tend to repeat in our head, thought patterns that we tend to gravitate to.
The first think is recognizing, acknowledging that we do have this style of thinking just like we would wear a certain style of clothes, and we like blue over red or something, or purple over green. We have a style to recognize that.
I think one of the first steps when it comes to belief systems, which manifest to what you’re imaging and thinking about is stopping for a moment, giving yourself a pause in your head. Stopping for a moment your thinking process so that you can refresh and notice what you’re thinking.
I’ll give you an example. Right now we’re all having thoughts. You are thinking maybe about the next question you might ask me. I may be thinking about the next thing I’m going to say and the listener’s thinking about oh, I wish they would address this or that or would it help with my problem what he’s talking about. They’re all having that.
OK. It’s like a roll. It’s like a factory that just keeps going. We need to stop that. The way to do that for example is to label your thoughts. Every time a thought comes, as soon as the thought comes, you say, oh, this is the thought.
Speaker 1: OK.
Eric: Right now, to go back for a moment, so we’re waiting for the next thought and we’re going to call it a thought because that’s what it is.
Speaker 1: Right.
Eric: If you do that, you may stop thinking, because you’re waiting for the thought to come.
Speaker 1: Yeah. I did notice a sort of absence of thought.
Eric: Right. If you don’t have that step in there, you’re not going to change your thinking. You have to first realize it’s like a factory on automatic. It’s like a factory that’s self producing and you have no control. You have to realize.
Another thing you can do is for example, can you focus on two breath cycles. Inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale, without thoughts. Without anything else intruding Let’s give that one a try.
Speaker 1: Ooh, OK. It’s not exactly easy. It does require some practice.
Eric: Well, exactly. That’s a starting point. You can talk about changing beliefs. If you can’t even change your thinking for 20 seconds, good luck, yeah? You first need to realize it’s automatic. I’m just thinking stuff.
Then you need to have a variety of techniques in order to think or just to stay stop in your head, stop, and you have a moment to pause, that this is running on automatic, so you can stop it.
Then, when you have to stop, you can ask yourself, OK, what at this moment would be the most useful thought I could have. Maybe everyone that may be listening to this should think that for a moment. What at this moment would be the most healthy thought I could have. The most useful thought I could have.
Speaker 1: Right.
Eric: What happens then, is often again people really go on a pause and go yeah, what could that be? What could that be? We don’t think that way very often. We don’t go around, don’t necessarily get up in the morning and say OK, today my goal is to have at least 20 really healthy thoughts that are moving my body and mind in the direction I want. We have 60,000 thoughts a day. That’s a lot of thoughts. Right?
There’s different research. Fifty, some say seventy, eighty. That’s a lot of thoughts and images. The question is how many of those are just automatic, they’re just like, rolling through your head, and how many of those are you constantly looking at, OK, that’s a belief. Today I’m going to try a different belief. It’s like changing your clothes.
I’m going to change some of the clothes in my cupboard. I’m going to change some of the beliefs. One of the ways to do it, you can use conscious self talk. You choose certain words. Like you say, I am going to become a person with relaxed shoulders with a relaxed breathing. I’m going to start to become a person who’s breathing and shoulders are relaxed. There you go.
Then you notice how easy that that release goes out. Are you uncomfortable saying that? Then it’s really not maybe something that you really want because you’re so strongly how shall I say invested in the beliefs you have you’re not even ready to try that one out, breathing and relaxed shoulders, which certainly would be good for anyone.
That’s how you approach it. You also do, you know there’s man techniques, writing down what you believe about yourself. I believe that I am a person who, I am a person that likes, or other people see me as. Writing down what you believe about yourself and looking at it on a piece of paper and going OK, are those the most useful beliefs that I have. On and on, many positives.
Speaker 1: I really love that metaphor of looking into your wardrobe and seeing your beliefs as the clothes that you put on everyday because then you realize that they’re things that you choose and you select and wear, but they’re not fixed. That’s just a brilliant metaphor and I love the process, actually.
You’ve gone through some I think incredibly helpful things for anyone to look at and specifically people who are interested in changing their relationship with their body and if they have chronic pain or an injury that they want to sort of transform out of.
Eric: There’s many exercises that we have that not all we could go into. I mentioned a few of them. Maybe one more thing about the clothes in the cupboard. The interesting this is, if you would look at your cupboards ten years ago, it would be different then now for sure, so you have changed your clothes. You probably also have somehow changed your beliefs. Not all your beliefs are the same as ten years ago.
The question is what drove that change? Can you also have some control over the direction of those beliefs. I think that’s an important thing about that.
If you have pain right now, can you imagine a time in the future where you are pain free. What is that like? What are people telling you in the future about you and your body? Can you even imagine someone telling you wow, you look much better now. You overcame that pain. I’m so glad it went away. That’s called auditory imagery, imagine people talking to you.
Then again you know, it’s always tricky calling things techniques, but one classic metaphor technique is, instead of, for example, I’ll give you an example of myself.
I travel a lot and I give presentations all over the world. I love to give presentations so that’s not really the issue. The issue is pulling my suitcase.
I always have this heavy suitcase and pulling my heavy suitcase, you wanted a story, here’s a personal one. I was pulling my suitcase and I had developed this really pretty bad shoulder pain, yeah? An overuse strain and all those kinds of things.
The thing I used, I visualized my shoulder. I looked at it and said what does that look like to me? To me my shoulder looked like this tangled blob of string. Like strings that were all knotted together. I prescribed myself the imagery exercise of unraveling those strings. Like taking knots out of something. We’ve all had that experience like taking our ear phones, like that, so taking the knots out.
I did that twice a day in the area and lo and behold the pain went away. Sometimes making an image of the pain you have. It could be for example it looks like a burning fire and then three times a day you cool it down with ice or you pour cool water over it, things like that.
Those are many techniques. Actually I self-published it, but I’m nearly finishing up a book on imagery in the cells and cellular imagery on the body. There’s exercises where you visualize the cells producing or bathing in endorphins or other healthy, happy neurotransmitters. Serotonin and so forth.
You can use cellular imagery in a variety of areas of the body. There’s other things you can do like that with imagery. Actually if you’re interested in imagery, I have as I said many, many books and they’re chock full of suggestions. Or you can change at least your focus.
Speaker 1: This is fascinating stuff and love that gradually there are more and more studies being done on the effect of the mind body connection and imaging. It’s been around for quite a while but people are really starting to seriously study the effects in a physiological way on what goes on in your mind, how that translates into your physical health.
Eric, I want to say thank you so much for doing this interview. I think you’ve shared some really great points. I’m sure that the people listening will want to find out more. Also guys, if you’ve enjoyed this interview, please just leave some comments underneath the interview here.
Where can people go to find out more about your method and workshops, classes, books, all that good stuff?
Eric: Exactly, right. We have a website of course. It’s, and if you go there what you’re going to find is workshop dates, when I’m going to be teaching. I have a workshop on the heart and one on the kidneys actually coming up in New York. I teach in English and German mostly.
Then you can also find all the teacher trainings if you want to be trained in using imagery and understanding how to use your body more healthfully through [inaudible 46:21] anatomy. We have them in a variety of countries. I have one coming up in New York and also in Toronto and California. Then of course I have a lot of books. You can look up the books. Basically any online bookstore will have most of them.
What also might be interesting, I have online courses where you can see me teaching live. For example I just published an online course that includes my mind/body introduction. In other words I show people how to introduce that connection between the mind and body. How to use imagery. How to use anatomical imagery, metaphorical imagery. Self talk, motivational imagery. That’s very compelling to be able to see that live.
There’s more coming out. I was just producing a course on the foot and also one on breathing. Breathing is a key thing I think in pain. To be able to know how modulate your breath, slow your breath down, focus on your breath. You can even imagine your breath dissipating pain, blowing pain out of your body, like if it were just carried away. Breathing is also a very important thing if you have pain issues.
Speaker 1: Yeah. Sorry, carry one.
Eric: It’s the and you’ll find everything there and then you can go to any bookstores. Some bookstores, even Barnes and Noble has some of our books but probably online is the easiest. Yeah. The best thing is just to show up for a class. Either video class or live class and go for the experience. Have the experience and benefit in your body and mind.
Speaker 1: Yeah. I’ll look up to all of those underneath this interview, but if you’re just listening to this and you’re not on the page, then
Eric thank you very much and we’ll be in touch.
Eric: Thank you [Naomi 48:27]. It’s been great. Bye-bye. Great. Thank you very much.
Speaker 1:

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