Healing The Body Through Neuroscience with Alyssa Chang

Did you know that stress ultimately comes from the brain?

Yet we rarely focus on the brain when it comes to the root cause of not only stress and nervous system dysregulation, but long-standing pain in the body.

And we’re not referring to talk therapy here. There are specific brain exercises we can do to help process old trauma and rewire the nervous system. And they are so cool!

I talk all about it with Alyssa Chang, a neuroscience health coach who specializes in helping people connect with their bodies’ unique needs.

Neuroscience health coaching involves delving deep into the inner workings of our nervous system, including how it governs our thoughts, behaviors, feelings, and movements. By taking a brain-based approach to understanding trauma and how it affects us, we can learn to trust ourselves and live a life designed around our intuition and inner guidance.

What We Discuss:

✨What vision therapy is and experience Alyssa walking Christine through an exercise

✨Why massage therapy won’t get to the root of musculoskeletal pain, and how to get rid of the issue permanently

How pain impacts us from a cellular level

What vestibular training is, and how it can help with things like balance

Whether you’re interested in learning more about neuroscience health coaching or simply want to take a step towards greater self-awareness and connection with your body, we invite you to join us for this exciting conversation with Alyssa Chang. Watch below to learn more:

Alyssa Chang is a neuroscience health coach for those seeking a scientific, compassionate, and whole human approach to health and healing, so you can learn how to live a life designed with listening and attuning to your body’s unique needs.

Neuroscience health coaching involves deeply understanding the inner-workings of the nervous system and its role in how it governs the way we think, behave, feel in our body and move through the world.

A brain based approach allows us to deeply understand the way trauma has shifted our ability to embody intuition, access safety and trust ourselves while also providing us a path forward to heal and thrive.

Learn more about Alyssa and neruscience health coaching at her website.

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Transcript:

Christine Garvin 0:00
That’s like what’s happening. Hey, everyone, and welcome to this week’s episode of hormone we speaking, you know how I love to talk about stress and the endocrine system and all of these things that impact our hormones. And today we’re going to be diving into something that’s even. I don’t want to say more powerful, but it is sort of the epicenter of a lot of what is going on in our body, and how things impact us. And it’s just such an exciting new area that I know we haven’t covered on the podcast before. So I’m super pumped to talk about it with today’s guest, who’s Alyssa Chang, who’s a neuroscience health coach for those seeking a scientific, compassionate and whole human approach to health and healing. So you can learn how to live a life designed with listening and tuning to your body’s unique needs. Neuroscience health coaching involves deeply understanding the inner workings of the nervous system, and its role and how it governs the way that we think behave, feel on our body and move through the world. A brain based approach allows us to deeply understand the way trauma has shifted our ability to embody intuition, set access safely and trust ourselves, while also providing us a path forward to heal and thrive. You can find out more at coach Elissa chang.com. Welcome.

Alyssa Chang 1:18
Thank you, Christine.

Christine Garvin 1:20
So excited that you’re here talking about this. So we Yeah, and it was we were kind of like talking about before we started hitting record. This this area of neuroscience and sort of, you know, how you got into it, and how you but as you were telling me kind of realized it was a game changer. Let’s talk about a what it is and what you feel like was such a game changer and learning about it.

Alyssa Chang 1:48
Yeah, I think a large part of that is kind of like my own personal journey. I was a competitive athlete. So I was definitely in that perfectionism, no pain, no gain type of mentality that just drove me to burnout and overtraining. And then I stepped into figure competitions, because I thought why not? Right?

Christine Garvin 2:08
Already fit. Let’s do this. While it was already

Alyssa Chang 2:11
like it was also just this, like, why don’t I just push my body even more to that extreme? Right, right? Oh, did you know traditional dieting, packaging the food, excessive exercise, and exited competitions as what they coined it as metabolic damage. So I had this severe, you know, rebound experience of leaky gut syndrome, depression, high anxiety, chronic, I mean, so much fatigue, that it was like debilitating, I’m sleeping so much yet still never feeling better. Yeah, a really rapid weight gain, where I just felt like my body was, you know, taking over and I had absolutely no control. So I was resorting back to just training traditionally, right? doing the things that I knew how to work. Yeah, yeah. And I kept getting sicker. And I was like, what is happening like, this stuff is supposed to work. And so I had a wonderful mentor at that time that kind of presented this certification, I was naming to use Z health performance in education. And they all all they talked about was the importance of addressing the nervous system, the importance of understanding that inherently, our brain and body are always trying to work with us, protect us and keep us alive. And I was like, but all the things that she’s trying to do, I don’t get like

Christine Garvin 3:33
she’s not on my side right now at all. Yeah,

Alyssa Chang 3:36
it was this combative relationship. And as I learned a lot more about the brain and these, you know, structures and the responsibilities of each of these lobes, I was able to actually cross that bridge over to working with my body. So I started to learn a lot more about, you know, what pain really was, you know, why were these symptoms coming up? And how do I create a very non traditional approach to healing my metabolism and obviously living a much more aligned life with what truly mattered to me. So, neuroscience health coaching is Yeah, adopting that lens of looking at everything from this lens of, you know, she’s, she’s working with you, she’s trying to keep you alive, like, leading to those symptoms as helpful data points.

Christine Garvin 4:22
So can you tell us some of the things that you actually started doing to help heal your body in that process?

Alyssa Chang 4:29
Yeah, I mean, that coming off of such a regimented, you know, structured perfection, you know, like the dieting all the things were so regimented, I had to like really take basically time off from cardio because that just escalated my anxiety my cravings. I had I gained weight when I did cardio and most people right we read articles, it’s like do cardio for weight loss or body champ changes. And so I you know, scaled back extensively. You’re on traditional forms of movement. And I literally had to create a much safer word. I had to relearn, I should say how to safely move my body again, because exercise was such a big threat to my nervous system, right? That it just pushed me into more starvation mode, it pushed me into survival mode. So I had to walk. And even at at at the beginning of my journey, walking was so threatening, like being in like, moving my body just in that capacity, because I was so tired. Yeah, so I worked a lot on relearning how to properly breathe from my nervous

Christine Garvin 5:36
system. Back to the breath. Yeah,

Alyssa Chang 5:39
I, Z Hill talks a lot about vision therapy. So I do a lot of vision therapy. I do a lot of vestibular training, and really was in a jump. For My Journey of just like blank canvas, you are learning a brand new body, like, forget everything that you’ve trained in the past. And let’s like actually take inventory of like, what’s showing up now? And how do I tend to those symptoms?

Christine Garvin 6:05
Okay, sorry, I’m writing things down, because I have so many questions. They just came up and the things that you said, so first, can I ask you, how old were you when this occurred?

Alyssa Chang 6:19
I competed in 2010. Okay, so that was yeah, like 13 years ago? Yeah. For a year, and then prior to that, I was also in that extreme mentality, because I was training as like an intense athlete. And then I my rebound lasted probably about like, and when I say rebound, that’s where like, I felt like my body was fighting me, like, two ish years. And I was also very stubborn. So I take full responsibility for not listening to my body.

Christine Garvin 6:48
super common. Yeah. Well, I’m I was asking, because I think I see, probably not that quite as extreme, because nurses, you know, they may not have been competitive athletes or anything like that. But I see this in clients a lot, right? Just especially as you get to your mid 30s. And later, you know, the cardio thing that stops working, right. And it’s the same kind of idea. It’s just like, your body needs to feel safe. And this is going against that safety, right? It’s like hilar. And so many women come to me, and they’re like, I don’t understand. Cardio was like what I’ve done for the last 15 years, and it always works. And suddenly it’s not working. And I’m like, Okay, so there’s multiple factors going on here. But part of that is, you know, as you move into the peri menopausal stage of life, your body’s needs change dramatically. And that like safety, security, walking, you know, things like that, that we’re like, Are you kidding me, that doesn’t do anything it does so much for your nervous system, and that retraining possibility, you know, and I always tell women, it’s not like, you’re never going to be able to do cardio again. But if you’re in this state, from the cortisol perspective, where you’re either way, high cortisol, or what I often see, by the time they come to me, way, low cortisol, if you’re trying to like, do hit with way low cortisol, you’re gonna be exhausted, right? It’s just you have no oomph in there. And so you need to replenish your system, you know? And then I know you’re talking about some of the ways that you can do that. But yeah, that’s what I was interested in. I was like, Oh, I wonder if she was younger? Or if you were a little bit further along. Yeah. can happen at any time. It doesn’t have to be about eight. Yeah,

Alyssa Chang 8:32
totally. And I think that’s where, like, our unique health history, like a lot of clients that I will work with will be like, Why didn’t compete, and I was like, that’s like, that doesn’t create, like the identity that this is now your, you know, future, it’s just the amount of like trauma, we independently carry, how our brain has adapted. And then we can present very similar experiences and symptoms, regardless of the path that we took to get there. But the story of you know, this used to work now it doesn’t, right, there’s nothing more fearful or, you know, anxiety provoking than feeling like you don’t have control over your body. Right, that it seems to be on its own agenda. And you’re like, I’m out of options. What do I do now? Right,

Christine Garvin 9:18
right. Yeah. And can you talk more about the trauma piece and how that fits in?

Alyssa Chang 9:23
Yeah, so you know, trauma is such a nuanced very kind of gray space. And so how I like to define it is the definition I do appreciate is naming that trauma is not necessarily happened to you, it’s what happens inside of you. And I like to kind of evolve that into and then it’s also the way that your brain has been adapted and attuned to safety. So when we experience something traumatic, and people will coined it as big T little T but I think it’s just trauma and it will shift How our nervous system basically is going to move through the world. So it’s highly independent, it’s very unique, we catalog a lot of different traumas over the course of our life. And if we are with the understanding that the brain is always working for and with us, a lot of the ways we cope and self soothe is a result of our brain feeling some sort of threat, or stress or danger. And so sometimes write all these habits, we want to break free, we want to, you know, not, you know, cope with mindless scrolling on social media, and we want to take care of ourselves. Before we can change, we want to, you know, hold really compassionate space to understand like, oh, this has shown up to protect me. And so trauma kind of has this really ironic way of showing up for us because it has proven to keep us alive. And as more healed evolved, self aware person, we then want to acknowledge for our brain and body like that was in the past are much safer right now and getting that logical and survival brain to almost meet on the same path. So that healing is right, in our trajectory in our path forward.

Christine Garvin 11:06
Absolutely. So you talked about some of the things that played a role for you like the breathing, and we certainly can talk more about that. But I’m curious about vision training you mentioned and then the vestibular something. Yeah, the stimulator something.

Alyssa Chang 11:25
It’s so interesting, because when people ask like, Well, how did you you know, heal your metabolism, I was like, wow, how to create safety in my body. And as I started studying the nervous system, we want to understand that your visual system which is housed in our occipital lobe is our windows, our brains first window into understanding how safe we are, we have two eyes that are taking so much input in from colors from moving objects from shapes, etc. If our eyes however, do not work well, by themselves don’t work well together can’t see clearly, we will automatically navigate the world with more threat. So they always get headaches. And then on, you know, on top of that, we’re all on Zoom, right? We’re on screen. It’s like how much of our world so our eyes are just like muscles in the rest of our body that for some reason, right? fitness and health culture, we’re not really encouraged to train them as often. Right? Right. So as a result, just like muscles, right, they get tight, when my muscles get tight, our range of motion, motion decreases, our pain probably increases. And then we again move through the world with more rigidity, and hyper vigilance, both common side effects of trauma. So our vision therapy, there’s these four specific categories, we can learn how to move our eyes better through similar to how we would want to, you know, strengthen our hamstrings to be a better runner that we want to address, like our healing process and our health journey from like this whole human approach and not necessarily Forget everything from the neck down, right, our, our tongue, our eyes, our ears, our nose all play a very, very big role in our brain understanding how safe we are

Christine Garvin 13:06
interesting. Yeah, you don’t really think about the the I mean, the senses, right? It makes sense. Like you’re taking things in via your senses. And so there are, you know, just all these traditional ideas of the things that we should be working out and focusing on that kind of thing. And yeah, it makes perfect sense to me, of course, like your vision is going to is going to have an impact, a huge impact on the situation. So are there like eye exercises in in that man? Yeah. Can you show us one?

Alyssa Chang 13:36
Yeah, yeah. So the nervous system moves exponentially fast. So I always encourage clients to basically assess something before we do any type of movement, both objectively and subjectively. So while you’re here with me, you can sit up nice and tall, and they will see just rotate your head to the right and then to the left. And then all you’re doing is taking inventory of how you feel. Do you feel any tension or pain? How does your range of motion feel on one side versus the other? How does it feel?

Christine Garvin 14:06
So I yeah, I definitely so my right side is tighter, I can feel it in here. And then so my range of motion is definitely better on the left side.

Alyssa Chang 14:16
Okay, great. So, what we want to do is I’m going to take you through a very quick kind of vision exercise, you’re basically going to follow your thumb, head and neck stay nice and still okay, and you’re going to track your thumb in a circle. Okay. And to do this, again, your neck stay still and their eyes just moving through this range of motion will go three in each direction. Okay. I’m just going to watch you. And then if you can, Christine, let’s go a little slower and then a little bigger with your circle. And all I want you to track for yourself is at any point does the circle feel tighter? Is it up into the left, it feels a little more eyestrain, maybe start to hold your breath maybe heart rate changes.

Christine Garvin 15:05
Yeah, I noticed more tightness up on this right hand side, like, all the way up on the side

Alyssa Chang 15:18
and then all I’m doing is I’m just watching and assessing you.

Christine Garvin 15:21
That’s great. So yeah, and I would say definitely more tightness here. And then almost across the top, too. Yeah, yeah.

Alyssa Chang 15:29
Right and check your neck. So you’re just gonna reassess to see how this feels? Do you feel any less grippy or tension in the back the right side?

Christine Garvin 15:37
I have more range of motion for sure. On the right side, like, I still feel some stuff in there. But it’s definitely I can take it further than I could. Yeah,

Alyssa Chang 15:46
right. So here’s the interesting thing, muscles will become tight as a protective response. If our eyes we did a quick vision drill, I could have done maybe a vestibular drill, I could have done a breathwork drill anything that can decrease your level of threat and improve map clarity, brain map clarity, we’re talking about visions, we did a vision circle. But when we reduce tension, all we want to catalog for our brain is like, Oh, our brain really liked that it helped him remove our visual map. And as a result, Christine’s body didn’t have to create muscle tension. So in many cases, right, we go to massage therapist, maybe we roll on the muscle, but is the muscle just the symptom, right? That’s not the root issue. So neuroscience health coaching allows us to get a much deeper understanding of someone’s brain and why symptoms are presenting itself so that we can actually rewire from a much more foundational level. And then hopefully, right, most, a lot of my clients end up walk away with a lot of tools so that then they’re like, Oh, I feel creaky in my neck. Instead of modifying their posture, right? Maybe they hold excess tension, which just is them placing themselves more in that survival state. If we reduce muscular tension, our brain is expending less energy, which can then be focused on, you know, client calls, executing tasks at work, whatever it may be, that they become more efficient and movers and efficient people during the day. So one thing as I was assessing your eyes is I could definitely tell right that the upper right quadrant, and then as you went into AI extension, which is just the upper half of the circle, your eyes had a harder time staying on the target point. Or to skip ahead, which is a very normal thing that the brain will do when it doesn’t like to keep its eyes in a spot. Yeah, some follow up questions I would inquire about you is, you know, have you had any kind of trauma stress or anything that happened above you? That’s one thought question we could entertain. And then also kind of what has happened up to the right so the brain will always kind of chunk these traumatic events with maybe eye position. So up to the right is a common area, especially if it’s a client’s have had like a car accident or they were rear ended. They looked in the rearview mirror saw that the kind of wasn’t stopping rear ended them the brain chunk looking up to the right with something bad happening.

Christine Garvin 18:08
I definitely had that happened to me in San Francisco. Listening we were talking that we both used to live in San Francisco before we got on I was like, Yep, got rear ended twice. But the first time was me. I saw it happen like, because I was looking at a mirror. Yeah, interesting.

Alyssa Chang 18:25
So how we want to understand this is that when we’ve experienced something unpredictable, that we have that reflexive startle response, and our eyes are locked in a position, the brain may now chunk right Oh, looking up to the right for Christine is not a safe eye position. So then over the course of years going by, you don’t look up to the right. Don’t look up to the right, right, you lose that ability to utilize your peripheral vision to take an input right then what we could notice is you have a lot of right sided tension or pain, right? You have like oh your migraines tend to sit on the right side you have right shoulder issue, your right hip often bothers you, etc, etc. So

Christine Garvin 19:08
yeah, well, and it’s interesting too, because kind of a lot has happened on the right side of my body, right. So they, when I was mentioning to you the surgery that I went through the main area that they burned me was in the right side on my colon. And basically when I was having you know, everything dumping out into my abdominal cavity a lot of it was on that right side definitely built up. I had multiple abscesses that ended up happening under my liver on that right side. So there’s a lot going on, you know, and then actually I mean, this is maybe way off and not in your you know, views but I just had a friend remind me recently that years ago, I had a reading done where in a past life I had a literal like disk thrown into me on my right side. So essentially, there’s a lot. Yeah, from on that, right?

Alyssa Chang 20:07
Yeah. Do you’ve ever read any books or research around generation or lineage trauma, a lot of a lot of how we show up in the world? Kind of isn’t I mean, I should say, kind of isn’t all ours. Yeah, carry a lot of these generations of very, you know, triggering events happening, that we, how we show up in the world really provides us, hopefully that compassionate space to be like, Wow, I’m doing an amazing job. Given all the stuff I hear. Yeah, no doubt, I kind of like, my philosophy is that I have some clients that are so so in tune, they have like, these experiences that, to me, I’m like, wow, that makes a lot of sense for what I’m assessing for movement that may come in, right. It’s generational trauma that was influencing your nervous system, that how you show up, right? Someone could do soft tissue on you over and over again. But if it’s not addressed from the deeper roots of how this has impacted you, right, it’s gonna continue to show up again, right,

Christine Garvin 21:13
right. It’s like, it’s, you know, especially if you think genetically, it’s, it’s literally on a cellular level, right. So it’s like, you have to change these things. Yeah, I mean, the massage is is helpful in the moment, or the chiropractic work or any of those things, but for it to actually stick and be something different. Yeah, you have to go to that deeper level. Yeah. Amazing. So what’s the vestibular training?

Alyssa Chang 21:38
Yeah, so the vestibular system is your inner ear, okay, which is responsible for us understanding our relationship to gravity. So it’s as big as like the pinky fingernail in you, and it lives in your inner ear. And when I take someone’s health history form, what I’m looking for is the symptoms that they name and where I know the symptoms to live in the body. So let’s say someone is like, Oh, I always get motion sickness, I hate roller coaster rides, I could never be a passenger driving, I hate windy roads, I have a high pain threshold. Those are very characteristic symptoms. Someone’s vestibular system, not working well for them. So they may take drama being right, they may start to remove enjoyable options from their life as a result of their brain being compromised. So, you know, when I think about what I do, yes, I work with the brain and body. But ultimately, I want to create so much expertise and comfort and safety for your brain and body so that then you don’t have to say no to the things that ultimately would bring you joy, or would connect you to the people and relationships in your life. So not saying that we all need to be comfortable riding on roller coaster rides. But But yeah, you know, maybe we want to take that windy car ride to the beach that’s on the other side of the road, you know, so Right? Yeah. So the vestibular system is commonly, again, linked to those symptoms, I tend to attract a lot of clients who have as tubular deficits and how we change that is really looking at different head, nodding and head and move motions. If you just think about like, jump roping, that’s a vestibular input system, when we people who say they hate running, usually, it’s not necessarily that you’re not a skilled runner, but maybe your breathing is dysfunctional at rest, that would make you feel so challenging, could also be a balance thing. So if yes, running is a single like exercise. If your inner ear isn’t appropriately interpreting your environment, running is going to be an extreme amount of threat. So I recently started to dabble back into running. And I was like, Well, let me start from the fundamentals. Let me look at my breathing at Ross. Let me assess that. Let me start my breathwork training. Let me assess my vestibular system. Okay, let me start adding in all the vestibular inputs, and I have not run in a really long time. And I was like, oh my god, I have no pain. I feel like I’m more in shape than I would anticipate given that I have not run in a really long time. Right, right. Because I’m laying the foundations to make running right. Feel safe.

Christine Garvin 24:19
Interesting. Well, and the reason that I was like, oh, yeah, about the inner ear thing. aspect is because my mom, you know, just started having these balance issues. And PT friend of mine was like, oh, yeah, you know, you can go to physical therapy that and they can lead to the vestibular, I guess, physical therapy, because so much of the balance stuff is is what’s happening in there and not necessarily, you know, on the outside of our bodies, which we nest, we might think is sort of stemming from

Alyssa Chang 24:53
totally and a lot of like fitting cell culture will prioritize proprioception which is like, you know, joint mechanics mobility, stretch Seeing right. And that is a very valuable component to moving through the world safely in connection to ourselves in our body. However, if we look at the neural hierarchy, so the hierarchy of how the brain inputs information vision is at the top, then the muscular system and it’s our proprioceptive system. So proprioception is actually a lowered need of how the nervous system depends, I should say how the nervous system depends on creating safety is actually lower end. So we want to prioritize vision and vestibular input. The hard part is that not many people, like I’ll go to like the gym, and I’m doing all my vision stuff. And I’m like people. Weird, you know? What? I have no pain.

Christine Garvin 25:45
Yeah, you’re like this is working for me. Let me so can you show us a vestibular exercise?

Alyssa Chang 25:52
Yeah. What I’ll have to do is something called vor. So we actually have two tiny little organs inside of our inner ear, one that controls up and down motion and one that controls kind of forward and back translation. So we’re going to isolate, or we’re just works to get it it’s going to be a combination of vision, vestibular. So, again, we’re gonna assess you so just check your neck rotation. So side to side, we’re gauging again, how does you know Christine’s body feel right now? Does she still have that lack of tensioning? In the right side?

Christine Garvin 26:25
There’s still some tension there. I can, yeah, I can go further still, but there’s still some tension there. Yeah. Okay.

Alyssa Chang 26:32
So what I’m gonna have you do is your eyes are going to stay on a target point straight ahead. Okay, your head is going to actually move so you see how my eyes see on the target. And then I’m going to switch sides. So we’re doing via our drill, okay. And it’s called vestibular ocular reflex. Good and just switching. Good. And Christine, as you feel more comfortable, you’re just going to increase the tempo. So what we want to do is we want to get that food in the inner your ear canal. So just mood and the way we do that is just gently increasing speed. And we want to stay on that target point. Good. And as you continue to move through, this will go a few more times on each direction. You’re paying attention to how each side feels. And then we can walk through what I’m noticing in your assessment or in this drill. Okay.

Christine Garvin 27:25
I definitely noticed like just like being, it’s like smooth, smooth, not smooth, smooth. Yeah, I love

Alyssa Chang 27:31
that you can attune to the very end range of motion, right? There was like a specific tempo and then like, yeah, okay, just check your neck to see how that feels. Second, we’re noting how that Yeah, any tensioning in the back of the right.

Christine Garvin 27:48
Less. There’s it’s just tiny, little tiny bit now. But yeah, definitely, you’re gonna feel much better than it was. Yeah.

Alyssa Chang 27:55
Yeah, yeah. So that’s a very quick vestibular drill, we’re getting moving the inner ear canal, it gets a big, there’s a big eyes stretch in combination with this. So it’s a, it’s a pretty demanding drug for the nervous system. Because for some people, they’ve never stretched or mobilize their eyes. And we’ve been also having you isolate your eye position while moving your head, you know, so there’s a lot of things going on. Yeah, not met in many cases, people will feel kind of like this kind of fatigue and tiredness after. And it’s like a tiredness that’s kind of desirable in a way. And it’s really because your nervous system has gotten out of being like, very, like, you know, so

Christine Garvin 28:36
yeah, I’m just thinking about how important this kind of work is for people that are, you know, like, so many of my clients are trying to calm their nervous systems, right and doing doing things like meditation, visualization, EFT, all which I love taking adaptogenic, herbs, things like that, you know, but I think a lot of people can get stuck and say, Well, I’m kind of doing all those things, and I’m still in this place, you know, so it’s really interesting to really think about these kinds of exercises that are getting at the areas that we’re not necessarily working with normally is so hugely impactful and helpful. So I’m super excited that people get to listen and hear about this today, because I think it’ll be it’s just another layer and level, right?

Alyssa Chang 29:29
Yeah. And, you know, it’s like, the interesting thing is with traditional ways of like, okay, I’m going to meditate to de stress. A lot of clients, you probably have a very similar, you know, kind of like funnel of people where they are freelance or not,

Christine Garvin 29:44
as I say, it’s not distressed, taking them down, because they’re like, I’m stressed out how bad I am that it’s

Alyssa Chang 29:51
like, oh, this is like missing the point. Yeah. So it’s like, you know, when we understand that there’s like these different trauma responses. We carry a lot of the flight response Here’s where they like, self soothe by moving their energy. So they’re fidgety, they’re multitasking. They’re decluttering their closet at 10 o’clock at night when they feel something’s right here. meditation becomes one of the worst things, right? The biggest thing or your stress, and you know, the hyper vigilance, you have right relearning authentic ways to rush your brain and body is a such a priority, because rest is where, you know, a lot of the healing happens. But if our we’re forcing ourselves to fit into a box of rest, it’s like, oh, you will always feel bad at it. But it’s not you. Right? It’s just the tool. Yeah,

Christine Garvin 30:36
right. Right. Yeah, absolutely. And I think that that is it, finding that true rest is hard for a lot of people, you know, because of all the things happening outside of us all the time. And then, you know, particularly if we’re talking about hormones, as you age, and sleep, it becomes harder. And so we just have this sort of constant, you know, building of that being in your sympathetic nervous system, you know, way, way too often. And so you’re missing out on all that rest. I mean, that repair that happens during rest. Yeah. And then that just throws hormones off even more, you know,

Alyssa Chang 31:16
it’s so hard because so many of us right have learned to survive at a specific pace that our brain has so much more repetition in hustling or like disregarding the pings for slowing down. Just the pace of how we move, and we’re trying to reestablish a different rhythm to move through life. What we want to recognize is that any change initially will be interpreted as a threat by the nervous system,

Christine Garvin 31:43
like, oh, is this, like, is this noon? And we don’t know. Yeah.

Alyssa Chang 31:48
So all of that unknown, right, normalizing that if when you choose to change the pace, the style, etc. It’s okay, if your first response is anxiety, or nervousness, right? Read through that, name it and then reassure yourself and in some capacity, whether it’s a vision, drug, breathwork, drill, something that you are safe in this moment is so important.

Christine Garvin 32:11
I love that. So are these exercises that you do daily for yourself? Or, you know, I guess probably a lot of people are wondering like, does this become a part of my daily routine? Or is it something I do for a period of time? Etc?

Alyssa Chang 32:25
Yeah, great question. So, you know, for me, there’s like a repertoire of drills that I know are high payoff. So I know that if I do them, I will immediately feel my anxiety take a notch down, I’ll feel more embodied, I’ll probably reduce, you know, any type of nagging pain. So there’s a repertoire that I love doing every day, and I love doing it. It’s not something I’m like, Oh, I have to do my brain. Right. It’s like something that I crave the upkeep of it. If we kind of can set conceptualize like, what is neuroplasticity and changing the rewiring of the brain. There has to be upkeep in some regard. But we want to make it practical, right realistic. So if I have like a strength training day, I’ll just insert all my vision and breathwork within my movement practice. So that like, I also am recovering faster. I’m resetting, quote, unquote, resetting my nervous system so that every time I set back up to do a squat or lift, whatever, I feel the like it’s set one, run one. So I can build resiliency in a much more efficient way. Because I’m always tending to right the capacity and load I’m building in a workout. So yes, I do them almost every day. And they’re practical, they’re super easy. Like you did three circles, each direction, reduced or improved your range of motion, you can do three circles, you know, throughout the day, and it takes a couple of seconds. So right, right. Like it from that standpoint, that it’s like very practical and digestible.

Christine Garvin 33:55
Yeah. And I like the idea of doing it before a workout. I mean, that, you know, I think there’s a lot of talk recently to in particular, around weight training for women, you know, as they age, it can help so much with your bone health and your testosterone, all those things. And, you know, sometimes I think we can jump into these things, when our body is not fully ready and kind of like you said it, you know, may have a intense reaction because it may be kicking you into more of your sympathetic nervous system. So, I like the idea of using this as a foundation before you hit the weights, you know, and, and really, in talking about neuroplasticity, we know now, right? That that continues through the rest of our lives. It’s not like they used to think Oh, once you get old brain doesn’t change at all right? It’s just it just gets worse, you know? And it’s like, no, we know that’s not the case. So it’s like, we, you know, I think we know in general, like we’re not going to maintain muscle in our arm. As if we don’t go to the gym consistently and lift some weights or do do some kind of workout. The same is true for all these other things. It’s like it has to become a part of who we are. And, and I’m sure to like changing things up sometimes is helpful. Right?

Alyssa Chang 35:16
On that way. Yeah. So it’s interesting, my name that the brain will interpret. Any initial change is threatening, but the brain also deeply craves novelty, right. 100, right.

Christine Garvin 35:26
Like that. So we get our dopamine hits, like get nothing new. Yeah,

Alyssa Chang 35:30
right. Right. And so it’s like that balance for each of us to be able to identify like, what’s enough new things I can I personally have the capacity to intake appropriately, before it, you know, exceeds my own capacity where it becomes threatening, right? And that’s visualized as well,

Christine Garvin 35:47
absolutely something you have to just deeply pay attention to, in your own life on a kind of continuous basis. So you obviously work with one people one on one on these things. You also do group programs. Yeah,

Alyssa Chang 36:01
yeah. So I just closed doors on my six month brain based group coaching program called Better expert, where we run through brain based assessments, we’re looking at three specific pillars that I believe are very foundational for creating this plasticity, plasticity change. So we look at things from a neuro nutrition lens as well. So you know, hunger and fullness cues, obviously, with you being such an expert in hormones, right, understanding that hormones are really driving how we feel. And if we understand that the brain governs everything underneath that, and including hormones, let’s look at the system. So yeah. And then movement, obviously. And then we also explore this mindfulness piece around, you know, things like boundary setting, like how long is too great, as a way to create safety, like for your brain body to learn safety, right? And if you can create boundaries, and one avenue of your life, your boundaries with movement, exercise, nutrition are all going to line up and be paralleled with that. So,

Christine Garvin 37:08
yes. Oh, I love it. So will you do? I know you said it just closed for six months? Will you do another one? Not long after that, or? Yeah, okay. Okay. Yeah,

Alyssa Chang 37:18
definitely, I run it. I think this is my seventh round of it. And it’s, you know, obviously, every time I closed doors, I’m like, ooh, time to revamp it, improve it, get feedback. And as a result, a better expert, because it’s such I coined it as you going to school for your body. So we’re working on training the brain to heal the body. But I realized that a lot of the demographic I work with are the ones that are really navigating a lot of survival. So sometimes the container better expert is intensive, and their brain isn’t at the space to actually be that student of their body yet. So I created a much more kind of self paced, there’s calls within it, but you can move really at a pace that honors yourself and your nervous system expedition, which then allows you to get familiarized with neuroscience and why I take this brain based approach so that then you can build some building blocks. And then maybe by the time the next time better expert rolls around, you’re like, Oh, I get it. I’m much more, you know, in this kind of stable place with my brain and body that better experts seems much more at a better time.

Christine Garvin 38:25
Gotcha. Gotcha. Very cool. This is amazing, amazing work that you’re doing. I’m so happy that you’re doing it and sharing it with the world because I know that, you know, we need we need a lot of support around our nervous system. And it really is the the centerpiece of our Hormonal Health. I always say, you know, but so much of our health in general. So thank you. Yeah, and thank you for breaking it all down for us so well in showing these exercises, too. So let people know how they can get in touch with you.

Alyssa Chang 38:59
Yes. So as you mentioned, my website is Coach Alyssa chang.com. I am on Instagram at coach Alyssa Chang. And then, on my website, there’s different options to you know, subscribe to a newsletter called nerdy notes where I send over weekly digestible neuroscience topics. Usually, it’s stuff that you know, I’m noticing come up in my community, maybe personally for myself, and I try to break it down in a way that is digestible. So have some sort of conceptual, actionable step to take as you’re moving through a very messy part of like healing, right? Trauma, trauma, healing the brain working with the body. So those are kind of like my ways of, you know, sharing content that hopefully we can create with time, right, some shifts in how we start to relate to the body.

Christine Garvin 39:49
Nice, perfect. Well, I appreciate your time today being here with us and I know everybody’s gonna have some great takeaways. So then awesome, absolutely. All right you guys I will see you next week

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

 

 

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