John: So before we actually started rolling the cameras, you were telling me a pretty passionate story about freedom and ego release. Can you recap that briefly?
J.R.: Absolutely. From a young age I knew I was called to help people get out of pain. As a child I was bullied and teased and I became an athlete to help me deal with that pain. That was where I invested all my energy and my time. If my jock friends were teasing the kids that didn’t belong to a group, I always wanted to help them. So I was gifted with empathic abilities early on and was always in tune with people’s physical and emotional pain. That allowed me to develop into a leader and gave me the ability to fit in with a lot of different groups.
As a grad student, I really loved personal training and the ability to coach people. But what I recognized was that my clients had physical and mental pain. That was typically the main reason they were coping with addictions to food, alcohol, porn, whatever it may have been to sedate themselves. Then the show The Biggest Loser came out. For the first time, instead of just me trying to tell people to eat right and exercise, a doctor sat in front of them and said, “Do you know you’re at risk of stroke, heart attack and disease? If we don’t do something, these beautiful children are not going to be able to see you flourish in life.” And I was like, “Oh my goodness, that’s it!” When that doctor, who’s an authority source, tells them “you’ve got to make changes” it was like an aha moment for the patient.
I would watch Jillian and Bob try to get to the psychological side, and as a beginning trainer I’d tried to repeat their words because I knew that component always works. About that time I had a client that was diabetic and had a torn rotator cuff but couldn’t have surgery, but he was lifting normally in the gym. He said to me, “You should go see this Dr. Baumgartner. He did prolotherapy and PRP to my shoulder.” My client was lifting with no restrictions while avoiding surgery.
Playing sports was my coping mechanism, even though I knew I was doing damage. I would play all weekend long and I would limp all week. I only knew how to deal with my traumas through sports. That’s what I was really good at and I wasn’t ready to give it up.
So I decided to go see Dr. Baumgartner who was family practice and sports medicine trained. He said, “J.R., if somebody comes in for cholesterol or diabetes medication, or has chronic pain and I give them an epidural, I know I’m just covering it up. If I don’t get them eating healthy or exercising, I’m just covering the symptoms. Do you feel you’d be willing to join me and be a concierge to my patients to teach them lifestyle, nutrition and mindset information that may help change their lives?”
John: Wow. It sounds like that gave you an opportunity to really expand your vision on what it meant to help people.
J.R.: Absolutely. I was just like The Hair Club for Men. I was the first client. I did Prolotherapy and PRP, but he said, “J.R., you already exercise and eat healthy, so that’s going to be a big part of your outcome. But I want to look at your labs, your hormones, your testosterone, your Vitamin D levels, and see if you’re at optimal functioning for the best recovery.” So I went through that process and three months later, I was back to playing rugby at full strength.
And I began working with him. We started advertising medically supervised weight loss. Susan came in as a patient. She was on 17 different medications, had seven joint replacements and said, “J.R., I’m desperate. They call me a drug chaser. There are no more surgeries they can do and I don’t know what to do.” And I said, “I don’t know that I’m equipped to handle you the way you will need right out of the gate.” So I got her over to the physician and they did regenerative medicine and also got her to a functional doctor that looked at her labs. We got her exercising and eating better. Three months later she was off all but two of her medications and had her zest and vitality back, and she was down 50 pounds. That was our aha moment. When we truly combine functional medicine and restoration where we get them exercising, moving right, thinking a little bit better and more positively about their future, we get these amazing outcomes. Outcomes like I experienced.
This is truly the solution to change healthcare but everybody’s ego is standing in the way. The doctor says, “Here’s surgery” or the family practice doctor says, “Oh, that functional medicine doesn’t work.” It’s like they feel that there are not enough patients that are in pain, that are sick and desperate. I’ve had the beauty of now replicating our model and putting it in clinics worldwide to see through my own experiences, that health care truly is going to change. We are the worst at chronic disease and chronic pain in the world from an industrialized standpoint. It’s not going to change until everybody says yes, you need nutrition and exercise and chiropractic and really embraces this comprehensive model that is the solution to changing healthcare. Physical, nutritional, emotional, spiritual, all of that has to be part of the process. Being on the science side, we needed to prove that everything was evidence based. For us the first three years were so research and evidence focused that we had to create our own outcome tracking system when we lost all our insurance contracts because we did not comply with giving up treating patients with stem cells. I didn’t learn the spiritual, the energy, the emotional component until later – how critical that is to somebody’s best and highest self.
John: It sounds like one of the keys to better wellness, better healthcare, better healing is this “Yes, and” approach. Should I talk to a surgeon? The answer is Yes. Yes and… you should do these other things as well. You need all those pieces of the puzzle.
J.R.: And we need them all at one time for radical transformations. But we also have to look at what is safest? What is the most minimally invasive? What are the options that I have? Because we are in an insurance and cash world. Some of the insurance is secondary, because of the FDA, because of politics, because it doesn’t have years and years of research, but people have got to learn how to invest in their health. That’s why mindset is so important. Learn that if we exercise, if we eat better, if we are breathing properly, staying properly hydrated etc…, that’s all stuff we can be responsible for on our own. Simple, easy explanations that aren’t over complex, that are right in front of each and every one of us and that’s a part of healthcare. We believe that any healthcare system that is not addressing nutrition, exercise, mental growth or functional movement is not healthcare. It’s managed care. And that’s where we truly have to get to the point where every healthcare facility in the United States has health coaches, personal trainers, nutritionists, as part of the care team.
John: If you had to say to people who are watching, listening or reading, the one thing that they can do today, if they’re suffering from chronic pain, if they’re feeling hopeless, what is one thing they could do to have better health outcomes in their life?
J.R.: If you go to a doctor right now and they don’t give you options, if they don’t tell you how you can own your health and be part of the care team – and their first response is just, “You have this and here’s the medication.” You deserve better. There are more options, people that are getting to the root cause that are truly not concerned that a referral out means that they have the possibility of not being that patient’s only source of expertise. That may mean less volume in the now, but if you are part of changing that patient’s life they will know you are the catalyst and you will always be the hero. You will be paid in the form of satisfaction and on-going referrals.
There are so many people that are sick and in pain. So if you feel hopeless that you’re missing something, I want you to know that there are solutions and I would want to treat you like my mother, like my children, and give you to somebody that’s going to take care of the entire picture. So anybody, any doctor that you go to that thinks they have the answer, I want you to know you deserve better.
John: Wow. So powerful. Where can folks go to learn more and how to get that whole complete picture?
J.R.: Healthovators.com or jrburgessconsulting.com is where I help physicians all over the world implement lifestyle, regenerative and functional medicine practices so they can get to the root cause. I believe in insurance, it does have a place, but we need the extra care for those that aren’t feeling their best or that need other solutions.
John: Beautiful. Well, it’s certainly powerful and inspiring, so I really appreciate you sharing that.
J.R.: Appreciate it, John. I appreciate all your work. It’s doing amazing things.