Matthew Bourke – Optimum health essentials: brain, nerve and muscle memory

Matthew Bourke from Optimum Health Essentials joins me to talk about his own incredible health journey from debilitating condition to the optimum health he is experiencing now. We chat about chronic pain, the different modalities of chiropractic about muscle testing and kinesiology and what it can help reveal about our bodies, our emotions and our needs. Matthew shares the incredible story of a 14yo patient and the outcomes they had, his experience of children being disconnected, the science of feeling amazing and what’s the biggest challenge for us in this modern world. Note this interview was recorded pre-Covid, which is interesting because Matthew talks about the opportunity to slow down and connect to yourself and what is important for your family.. which is exactly the opportunity that many of us have been in.

Selected Links from the episode:

Dr Ron Ehrlich:

Hello and welcome to Unstress I am Dr Ron Ehrlich. My guest today is Dr Matthew Bourke, and Matthew is the founder and director of Optimum Health Essentials. Matthew specializes in chiropractic in applied kinesiology, neuro-emotional technique, neuro-linguistic programming, positive psychology, peak performance, functional biochemistry and breath enhancement training. He has worked in Europe and Australia and studied Vedic philosophy and meditation in India. We talk a lot about memory, the memory that is kept in your muscles and nerves and ultimately your brain and the impact those memories have on your health, how you recover from injury or illness, mental or physical. Matthew’s passions in life are his family, the ocean, snow-capped mountains and helping people realize the potential. I have been really looking forward to talking with Matthew for some time and sharing his knowledge and experience with you, my dear listener. So I hope you enjoy this conversation I had with Dr Matthew Bourke. 

Welcome to the show, Matthew.

Dr Matthew Bourke:

Thank you, Ron. A pleasure to be here.

Dr Ron Ehrlich:

Matthew, we were on a panel together a few weeks or a month or so ago. And it just struck me when I listened to your answers and, and looked at your background that we actually had a lot in common coming at it from a very different perspective. Now, you know, there’s so much we’re going to talk about the cause you’ve got a lot of really interesting skills, but, you know, I thought as a chiropractor you might just give our listener a little bit of your own journey, you know, from the moment you kind of graduated to, to this point in time, but also to remind us of what the difference is really between a chiropractor and osteopath, the physiotherapists. So I’m wondering if you might share a bit of that with our listener.

Dr Matthew Bourke:

Yeah, sure. I was kinda lucky in my life, on the journey of finding my path in that I, you know, I was pretty, I was very much into my sports when I was young and into surfing a lot. And I had a recurrent low back issue that started to happen. And a friend of the family was a chiropractor and I went and saw him and he practised the technique called Sacro occipital technique. And I was just always sorting of in awe, the way in which I could walk in, in one state and walk out in another with him only using his hands and in what seemed to be an incredibly short amount of time and, how the problem never seemed to be where I thought it was, you know, he would always, you’d adjust something on my skull and my back pain would go away or it fixed something in my foot, and it would correct my knee pain. And I was just fascinated by that. And then I ended up doing work experience with him in year 10 and the more I watched it, the more I just thought it was one of the most incredible things to observe and experience. So, that sort of sparked my interest. And, and then, yeah, then I went to Uni and went to medical science at Sydney first. And, in that stage, there was no sort of undergraduate chiropractic processes there is at Macquarie now. And so I was doing the medical science in Sydney and then some chiropractic courses at night before you go into the masters of chiropractic program, the final two years. So I kind of got to experience that with all the other people doing medical science, which is going into medicine and, and then dentistry and all that kind of stuff.

And, and I, you know, part of me was getting pulled in the direction of, well, maybe I should go and be a doctor or,  you know, do surgery or something like that. And those, there was just no, it was never a compelling pull to do that sort of thing. Cause I loved the style of work that I’d been exposed to and using the body to heal itself and, and working with health and not a disease or just all those sort of principles really appealed to me. So, yeah, so that was my journey through that, that process and how I founded in the first place. And, you know, and I was fortunate to, to finish uni and then start working a really successful practice. In fact, they went away and gave me the keys to their practice and went to Canada for a month.

And that was my first day of work. And I ended up seeing something like 250 people in my first week when I, that was where I’d gone from being at uni, undergrad, seeing five people a week. It was a massive growth curve in how you manage people and stay focused and manage the flow and communicate effectively. And it was, it was huge, but you know, six months into that associate position and my goal was always to work for two years and then go to Europe and go skiing or ski season. And has it been my sort of vision since I was kind of 14 and, six months into it I got this severe side pain, like joint pain that I had trouble walking with and then couldn’t run and then couldn’t do sport. And then it swapped to the other side and then I was seeing all these chiros and various other practitioners and no one could get to the bottom of it.

Dr Matthew Bourke:

And then one night I was rolling in burden and the SI joint kinda just was cracking and falling all over the place feeling so unstable. And I was like, this is not a physical problem, it’s something more complex. And, and then I went and did all my own tests and ended up finding out that I had an autoimmune condition that ankylosing spondylitis, which is for my uni understanding, was pretty intense. And, you know, it looks like my physical life as I know is about to finish because I certainly, what I’d studied about that, it wasn’t a very good prognosis. And so I you know went a saw a rheumatologist 

Dr Ron Ehrlich:

This was Matt. This was how long into how, how far after you graduate, and was this?

Dr Matthew Bourke:

This was like six months in, at first, if the 12 months it’s the symptoms started. And by, by the 12-month mark, I was struggling to hold myself against gravity. I was still working cause I was a determined person,

Dr Ron Ehrlich:

yeah. Wow.

Dr Matthew Bourke:

but I couldn’t run and I couldn’t surf and I couldn’t do any sport. And, know, I was, I was 25 and fit, and at that stage of my life, relatively invincible, you know?

Dr Ron Ehrlich:

Yeah. So this was an auto, an autoimmune condition. The diagnosis being spontaneous mentioned spondylitis,

Dr Matthew Bourke:

ankylosing spondylitis, which is inflammatory arthritis. It tends to affect the spine, primarily. And then, and it results in the fusion of the spine, the stage of it, and it tends to progress up the spine but it can affect peripheral joints as well. And it certainly was in a very painful stage. It’s an autoimmune inflammatory condition. It tends to, one of the hardest things is the burning in your back at nighttime and you’re lying in bed. It’s like someone’s got a hot poker burning you, you know, and, and you just can’t get comfortable and then you don’t get enough sleep. And if you don’t get enough sleep, then your adrenals start to get fatigued and then the whole thing just starts getting worse, you know, and you’re not in that cycle of adrenal fatigue and, and pain and then more pain and more, less sleep. And yeah, it’s pretty hard in that zone. So that was kind of pretty disappointing. And up until that stage of my life, everything had gone according to plan. And, I was used to just sort of setting goals and achieving them and I couldn’t quite believe that that had happened, I didn’t really understand the concept of the hero’s journey at that point. But clearly, I was on it whether I liked it or not, but anyway, I went away to Europe and, cause I, we’re not going to go no matter what and I’ll have fun whilst I can. And, yeah, it has up and down sort of phase when I was away. It got pretty bad and then it would kind of be not too bad. But at one point I ended up in Mykonos in the Greek islands and I got food poisoning and didn’t eat for a week and then had to get up and run to a ferry, going to another Island and I could get up and run with a backpack on. And I hadn’t done that for years, like, at least two years. And, and I was just so excited, I was like, Oh my God, the freedom of movement and the freedom to bounce along and not have sharp stabbing pain. And, and then it just occurred to me, I was like, you know, I’m not powerless in this condition. This condition is affected by what I eat and it’s affected by my gut. And it was just this revelation. And, and this is kind of, you know, 25 years ago,

Dr Ron Ehrlich:

Because I saw you, I saw you a few weeks ago and you looked fabulous. So I, I can that there was a happy ending to this story cause this is quite a shock for a 25-year-old to be diagnosed with the condition that is degenerative and very limiting. And here you were saved by an enforced seven day fast.

Dr Matthew Bourke:

Yeah. You know, and I was also told by my rheumatologist that diet has absolutely nothing to do with it. That is nothing that I could do. And if I just took these drugs that they would keep things at bay for a while and I looked at those drugs and that was pregnazone followed by, you know, methotrexate and higher levels of ibuprofen and then onto, various other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, which quickly demolish my gut to the point where I had blood in my stools and I just went like, I can’t obviously take it. And they stopped working. It was clearly diminishing returns very early on, like within the first three months of attempting that as a solution. I was like, that’s not a solution. This is absolutely exacerbating the problem. And, then I really realized that once I went away and,  started fasting and went, okay, there’s the answer.

So I ended up doing a ski season, in the French Alps and, having a few little flare-ups there. Cause, you know, I hadn’t quite worked out the dietary guidelines there and obviously you can’t fast, you know, the whole time. And, so then ended up going back by Thailand and did a week of fasting and colonics and all that kind of stuff there where it’s clean your gut out and take care of the liver. And then that kind of left me asymptomatic for a couple of years and I got back and came back home and my wife was pregnant and, you know, then we started a business and, and kicked off life in Sydney and, you know, within two years we had 18 staff and two businesses. And everything. Life is crazy.

Dr Ron Ehrlich:

Because you do, you do describe yourself as a functional chiropractor, don’t you?

Dr Matthew Bourke:

Yeah. So my introduction to chiropractic as well as one in which I looked at it as a more holistic kind of thing and I’d been exposed to a technique called neuro-emotional technique, which is looking at using muscle testing to identify the emotional driver of physical problems, which again, just blew me away. How quick and effective that was at fixing something that I didn’t even know I had, but then made so much sense when I was in it. And I was like, okay, here’s how I created that. And again, really empowering. So when I, I went as I sort of fasted my garden and came back home and had time to start to look at this more and investigate and then look at research and start to work out stuff about the microbiome, which definitely wasn’t as popular in understanding as it is now.

And, but there was a few ideas on what was going on. And I started to work out, you know, I couldn’t have grains and I couldn’t have sugar and it had a low starch diet. I was pretty good. But then I kind of worked out that if I had a perfect diet and got really stressed, it still came back anyway. So then I went down the road of doing any neuro-emotional technique and learning all of that and getting that done on myself and did that for quite a few years and had some pretty big, big breakthroughs with how that was affecting my arthritis. And then, and using that clinically. And then I kind of could see that there was an overlying state of consciousness, which brings up particular emotional patterns in the need to upgrade that whole level of consciousness as well.

Dr Matthew Bourke:

So then I sort of got into Vedic philosophy and meditation and those sorts of things to gain some more insights at that level, which was again, insightful and incredible. And then I could, I found when I did that sort of work, then my diet was less important. So kind of that was sort of the path to the functional chiropractic approach that I, that I’ve talked to, everything I was learning was basically on those sort of tracks in time. So initially a lot of biochemistry and nutrition and fasting and that sort of stuff followed by a lot of work around emotions and personality types and different patterns of mind, body kind of things. You know, neuro-linguistic programming and neuro-emotional technique and all those sorts of things and then into more of the daily practice of enhancing the mind and the body and those sorts of things to just create that, that resilience in the system.

So,   I think when you look at chiropractors and osteopaths and, and physiotherapists, there’s a baseline kind of approach that applies to all those things. But every individual takes them on a certain journey often to do with their own health journey or whatever their values are. You know, some people it’s about money, it’s about health. Some people, it’s about trying to fix someone they love, but it takes you on an individual journey, you know, so you can’t say one physio, one Osteo, one Chiro, you know, you can’t sort of apply that across the board to all the different practitioners. So certainly the chiropractic field that I’m in, which is more holistic chiropractic and integrative chiropractic. You’re looking at it and it comes from that chiropractic philosophy, which is what we learned early on from the very foundational days of chiropractic was that healing is above, down, inside out. And it comes from universal intelligence through the innate intelligence of the body expressed through the nervous system. And the body does the healing. It just needs to be free of interference, you know? And that’s the basic premise of chiropractic. That’s chiropractic philosophy 101, and it kind of got a little bit railroaded into this structural model of that interference is always at the spinal level. And  you can have what they call subluxations, which are when the spine is out of alignment and creating some sort of irritation to the neurology, which disrupts the flow of information from the brain to the body or the body back to the brain and therefore disrupting the body’s organizational and adaptive capability. So, but really in reality, those, it’s not limited to physical things. And in fact, in this day and age, the physical elements are much less because our stresses tend to be beyond the physical. A lot of the time they’re there. A lot of it is toxicity, a lot of it is stress, you know, so, cause people just aren’t doing those physical jobs as much and their life is a lot more complex and stressful. So, you know, stress is the main thing that’s causing that interference these days. And so our practices are a lot more centred around giving, having tools to manage that , improving resilience in people on that level.

Dr Ron Ehrlich:

Well, Matt, this is all music to our ears because this is what this program’s about. And I loved that above, down, inside, out, above, down, inside out. That’s a really nice foundational idea. And I know that stress is a big part of your practice. Stress management. What do you do? What do you say to people like we know when they say, Oh, I’m stressed, I think my health is really affected. Where do you start? Where do you start people?

Dr Matthew Bourke:

Well, I guess again, the key start is to, is to really look at, well, ultimately life has no meaning except the meaning we give it. And the stress is really a response by the body to the meaning you gave something. So you need to understand where those meanings come from. And so, you know, I think that’s where applied kinesiology, your emotional techniques are so powerful because it can just go, okay, I’m feeling frustrated about this because, and you find that because it goes back to some other developmental stage of your life and your unconscious mind is generalizing this response to it, you know, and that you have choice around that and you can just let go of that emotion because it isn’t really necessary. It’s not going to help the situation. It’s not serving a solution. And B, it does need to be digested. It does need to be expressed and released in some form. So you need to have outlets for that and helping people just come in and their cups full, you know, that is, they can’t take another thing because they’re so full of unresolved, stressful energy, you know. And I think basically when the stress stressful events happen to us, that energy gets embedded at a cellular level, you know, and, and it, it can be expressed through exercise, meditation through talking things through sometimes, but ultimately we might get 10 units of stress in a particular situation and we might express four units of it through various ways and through sleep and that kind of stuff, we start to build up this reserve of another six and that gets compounded by the next one, the next one, and the next one. And people go through complex life situations and then they get to that point where they’re, they lose adaptation because that amount of energy is now the dominant influence on their consciousness. It’s how they’re experiencing and projecting into reality. And we know that reality is different for everyone. And we know that you know, as you get older, you’re no longer experiencing reality as it is, but you’re projecting more into it based on your previous experience. Your body’s predicting what reality is rather than fully absorbing it through your five senses. So if we have these strong beliefs and we have all this stress and silence, we start to project that into the reality that we are having. And therefore those things tend to show up a lot more for us. So we really need tools for unpacking that kind of stuff out of people, getting them back to where the, you don’t need to fix everything that’s ever happened. You just need to take that load off. That’s the overwhelming component. And then they have adaptation again, and then all of a sudden they can manage and make decisions and they’re not in that overwhelm. And then they start to move forward and then stress becomes wisdom and wisdom becomes meaning. And you know, they end up aware. They’re aware of the hero’s journey and they can look back and go, well, you know, I’m glad that happened to me because now I’m here. Do you know? So that’s the goal. The goal is to acknowledge the perfection in all of it. You know, move about in a functional way and less damaging to those around us. And we take responsibility for it.

Dr Ron Ehrlich:

Hmm. I mean, thank goodness we have an adaptive capacity. It’s when we don’t any more that things start really going wrong. You’ve mentioned the neuro-emotional technique, you’ve mentioned neuro-linguistic programming and kinesiology. I wonder if we might just come back to that and give us a little bit of a, you know, someone walks into your practice and they’ve heard this term neuro-emotional technique and NET,  NLP. Can we go 101… let’s just explain to our listener. I mean, you’ve, you’ve touched on a few of these things already, but let’s just give it a name NET neuro-emotional technique. Tell us…

Dr Matthew Bourke:

Yeah. So neuro-emotional technique is kind of a branch of applied kinesiology in a way. It’s sort of built on those principles. And what it is, is the fact that when you, when you test a muscle in the body and it’s not when you do it, so you do a muscle strength test, but it’s not a test of how strong the muscle is in total. It is how you want to have, say, use the Deltoid, whether you use it as in 90-degree flexion, you’re looking for how well it can lock and be stable. You know, and what you find is that people can hold these beautiful control over that muscle, but if they say something that is not congruent, they say, I’m okay with where my life is at. Now if they’re not okay with that, at an unconscious level, that arm will be weaker. Okay. Yeah, about 20% weight. It just loses that ability to be stable. And it’s really quite obvious. And, or if they think of something that stresses them, like saying, you know, think of, you know, someone you have a grievance with, you know, and you think of them, you go weak and it represents how your body responds to stress. It just weakens the system temporarily. And what happens in that system is it tends to be a binary system. So if you, if you go weak to something, if you find something that relates to it and you’ll go strong again. So, and this is where we start to use the Meridian system. So from Chinese Medicine in that Oriental five element theory, you might think of a person who you had grievances, say your wife and you go, you think of her name and your body goes weak. You come around and you find the Meridian access point of the liver and the body goes strong to that and you, okay, so that person relates to this particular Meridian in your system. This is where the energetic correlation is. Now that the liver, then, which relates to key emotions usually around this theme of injustice. So something that wasn’t fair or I will hurt you in some way like that. So, so, therefore, the primary emotion is anger, but it could also be resentment or frustration or it could be aggression, those sorts of things. So you just test semantically through, through using, just saying those words, the body will respond to the semantics, which is fascinating. So, with that, you can help to map that out. So you would, you would have this subject being, say your wife and then the emotion, which might be frustration. And then you just have to ask the person, okay, how would you put your wife in frustration together in a sentence that makes some sense to you? and then what that does is it opens up the Google inside you, this incredible search engine that we have. We’ve focused intent to, to look at what the correlation is there. And so something very clear pops into your mind. Generally, it will just give a format to this. You know, I feel frustrated because, once we understand what that because is, then we can then we just take that out and generalize a little bit. I feel frustrated because, like this, you know, when, when she does this, it means that, I can’t do this thing that I want to do and affects my freedom. Okay. So when, when my wife says to me, I feel frustrated because I don’t have the freedom to do this in my life. So then we just go for, let’s check for an original time or event in which there was frustration because of someone’s control over your freedom. Okay. Or someone’s perceived control of your freedom. And then an amazing thing the body does when you’re using the mind in this way, you can index for time. So you can say conception to five to 10, 10 to 15, and it will,

Dr Ron Ehrlich:

You’re talking years, you’re talking years in years.

Dr Matthew Bourke:

Yeah. These sort of blocks of time and you can narrow it down to a year, you know,  or close to that depending on what you’re doing with someone. And then,  then you say, so what was, where were you, what were you doing around this time? And again, that just allows the search engine in the mind to go, Oh yeah, this is when, you know, I really wanted to do this in my life that my mom just wouldn’t let me because she spoke to me in this way and I couldn’t do this and she wanted me to do this, you know? And so there was this feeling of that was unfair because my brother got to do that, but now I wasn’t allowed to. And there’s this whole story that exists in there and this whole pattern of frustration that is now showing up in a primary relationship.

Dr Matthew Bourke:

It really, it started when you were 7, you know, and if you look along that timeline, there’s been lots of other kinds of situations that looked like that as well. But when you go back to the original event and you let go of the energy at that point, it tends to clear the other things along that timeline. And, and the body will have a physiological release to that. So what you commonly see, especially with the anger and those sort of emotions is the heat, comes out of the body. As soon as you hit that primary thing, they remember it. They can become emotional. A lot of heat just comes out, they start to sweat and that’s the energy being released from it. So the level you can map that through the body, like key muscles will switch on as a result of clearing an emotional pattern. And things change very, very quickly with that sort of approach. So that’s a, that’s a key way in which, a key technique for really addressing stress at a very specific level, you know, too, to really find out where the unresolved issue is and where it came from and why.

Dr Ron Ehrlich:

Yeah. I mean, I’ve seen practitioners use this and I, I always approach these things with a really open mind and, and I think that it’s interesting because we often hear the things muscles have memory and that memory can go a lifetime. Well, of course, those muscles attached to nerves and, and thoughts are things, it’s another term we hear about and it’s often referred to those things as neurotransmitters, which, which attach to cells and cause them to express themselves in a certain way. But thoughts are also neurons and nervousness. So this memory, muscle memory, soft tissue memory, thoughts of things, you know, it kind of makes sense and it’s a way of very powerful. I’ve seen, I’ve seen the technique and I’ve been very impressed with its power, but I also, you know, I, I, there’s another thing that I’ve heard and that is never asking a question you don’t want to hear the answer to. And, and I mean, in some sense, this is a very powerful tool, as you are unpeeling uncovering a whole range of things, do you find yourself clinically in a situation where, Ooh, hang on, this is perhaps going a little, you know, we’re getting into dangerous territory here, which we may not be able to resolve. What do you say to that?

Dr Matthew Bourke:

Well, yeah, I think this is really important. And I think anyone who chooses to embark on this as a professional choice, as a practitioner, you’ve really got to be willing to do the work on yourself and really go down the rabbit hole of, you know, how you are created your reality and, and everything that you can to personally evolve. Because firstly, when you’re doing muscle testing, you tend to find things, you know, it’s, it’s a, it’s a team kind of… I guess the way it works is that you’ll find what you had the capability of dealing with is, tends to be what comes up.

As a practitioner, if it’s outside of your potential reality, that person doesn’t seem to let that part out of themselves. You know, there’s, there’s definitely this, you know, underlying innate intelligence to the system, you know, which is a guiding principle, which is hard to understand. But I guess it comes down to really more in the realm of quantum physics and, and how we form realities, you know, the different potentials that they can be. And, but what I, I think you really have to be willing to, to be able to deal with whatever comes up. And certainly, if it gets out of your scope of practice, make sure before you even embark on this, you have it. You have a network of people who I consider my A-Team who I can send people to immediately who, when it’s outside my scope or I know they’re going to need more work around because, you know, absolutely.

Dr Matthew Bourke:

When, like I’ll give an example of, this is just the day at the office this week. I had a new patient this week was a 14-year-old girl who was she recently just going to actually come out on Monday from an institutionalized situation for attempted suicide and, and she was 14 years old and, her mum  bought her in and, and she, you know, she was well presented. She was an attractive young girl and she was at a, you know, at a, at a private school. And, but she was just unravelling socially and had been like, she was good until year seven and then just a few things happened in year 7 and 8 and she had fallen apart and then attempted her life. And so, you know, you’re not, and then she was, she was cutting and she has her arms were all bandaged up. And so we went through the workup with her and so work up in that sort of case. Is looking at, you know, those key developmental things in her life and then what’s happening at a, at a gut and digestive system level because of the ways in which the gut inflammation affects the brain. It turned out, you know, she had some pretty clear sensitivities to certain foods cause she, you know, and again, we’re using muscle testing initially to look at that, but we will then quantify that with things like the food inflammatory tests, like an IGG type panel that we’ll do to correlate things. So muscle testing is a good way of screening, but you can’t quantify anything. So we use other pathology too, to follow up and confirm, like everything in, you know, as you would in dentistry.

Dr Matthew Bourke:

And a lot of the medical things like one, one test in and of itself is not necessary. You can’t go off that. You need to put it together with other things. So can you, kinesiology is definitely like that. It’s not a be-all and end-all. It’s not absolute truth. It’s just a guidepost of the direction you’re on. Because you know, there is a degree of subjectivity in it and you need to, to, to counter that. But yeah, in a case like this, we sort of looked at that sort of stuff and then we looked at her reflex pattern around serotonin. So there are body reflexes that relate to serotonin and you can use them to see what, how the bodies, body’s ability to, to form these things. And so in, in her case, we looked at how these reflexes showed up. 

Dr Matthew Bourke:

That was, it had a strong, strong emotional driver. So there’s another thing you correlate with is as a muscle test to see if it’s emotional. So cause it could be nutritional, it could be gut inflammation, could be a microbiome issue. But with her it was, it could be heavy metals, but it was simply primarily emotional. And we looked at what was that came up, you know, here’s where this whole ability to be willing to allow it to go wherever it goes and to frame it correctly to the patient and to the person in the room, which is her mum. Because when this came up, it came up around a topic that really related a lot to her mom. And so luckily they’d been through a lot of intensive psychological work so that it wasn’t new to them. Otherwise, I would never have done this but given their level of understanding where they’re up to with sort of up to, are you okay if we open this up and have them look at what underpins this at the moment?  And when we got into it, it was that she was really attracted to another girl in her in a year who was another 14 year old girl and she was attracted to her and then she’d approached her and, and had been rejected and it tied into all this other objections she was getting. And as we sort of chunked up as to what that was, it was that she was really looking for that intimate connection, with a female, you know, and when you look at that at a higher level, you go, okay, so we didn’t generalize that. Now let’s go back to the original time or event in which there was frustration and as an inability to connect and feel intimate with a, with a female and that indexed for a time back to her first month of life. And when we look at what that was, and that was she was an elective caesar. Her mum couldn’t breastfeed she had a lot of trouble with that. She had reflux when they gave her a bottle, she was in a lot of pain. So she was crying and Mum was overwhelmed with that and wanted just to give her away. In her mum’s words she just wanted to give her away.

Dr Ron Ehrlich:

Yeah.

Dr Matthew Bourke:

You can see the pattern here right.

Dr Ron Ehrlich:

 can, and this is a good example of opening a can of worms.

Dr Matthew Bourke:

Yeah. You know, and, and so this patient presents at 14 with a projected infatuation with a female cause she’s craving intimacy. Now if you crave something, you push it away. Right. So she’s not, you know, not kind of resolve it in that way, but she’s had this craving for that. But really what it was with these unresolved childhood pattern, lack of intimate contact initially in her life. And she also was on Somac now, which was to deal with her, her as she went through this suicidal episode or was it became apparent that she had chronic reflux again. Interesting. You know, cause that also correlated with that time of her life. And unfortunately, if you started to give Somac a lot you affect your body’s ability to break down proteins and therefore you don’t produce enough tryptophan to get your serotonin back on track.

Dr Matthew Bourke:

So that’s another story. But, but yeah, but anyway, so we, when we got to that and all the emotions that came up for her at that time, like she absolutely lit the room up. Like she was kind of just kind of dealing with the feelings coming up at that time, which were things like anger, frustration, rage at not being able to get what she needed, and so she just was sweating and, and so much heat came out of her body. It was incredible, you know. And then we were able to sort of just, you know, break that down with her Mum to say, you know, there’s not about blame. Everyone’s doing the absolute best, but this is when needs are met in life, which happens all the time and in all sorts of ways. But it’s about gaining understanding. Cause when we understand each other, we can heal and we can look at what we actually need and what we need now. And then I had to walk out of the room to get a supplement for her and they were hugging. And I went, wow, that was, that’s the perfect finish to that particular intervention. And her mom said, yeah, but she never wants to hug me.

Dr Matthew Bourke:

And because she’s been holding onto that rage and ever since she was a month old, right? And so that’s where the healing work begins, right? So now we can start to heal the energy between those two and I think that that’ll be the solution for her. So, you know, and the thing with muscle testing and you know, emotional technique, that all came up in 10 minutes, you know, your into that stuff so quick.  And then, you know, that’s where you need to have a good grounding and other sort of, other areas, of study and, and understanding of psychology. So you can, you can work with those sort of things at that point in time. So, but even if you are doing that with just a process, if any, to just the system, I’m just bringing it up and allowing energy to be released and then referring it on to a psychologist at that point with that sort of background really helps that person as well.

Dr Matthew Bourke:

So yeah, that’s how that technique works. And that’s kind of like, that’s a day in the office of a slightly more complex case, but that’s what unfortunately, we’ve got to see a lot of them. And certainly last year I did a little pilot study at Cranbrook School as well. And, and that was again what I was seeing a lot of, which was just disconnected kids, going through complex life situations and really not having the, the capacity to handle it, you know, so sort of checking out, or were attempting to check out, which is terrifying and, and completely unnecessary when you start to understand what’s really going on below it and,  and how to heal that.

Dr Ron Ehrlich:

Mmm. Hmm. Well, you know, that’s a really good example of above, down and inside out. That’s quite a story there Matt. Listen, I know your passion. I know you’re passionate, you’re passionate about empowering people.  Tell us about that, you know, the science of feeling amazing, you know, tell us how, tell us about that. What are some of the prerequisites?

Dr Matthew Bourke:

Well, I guess as you would be aware too when you start to work at a more holistic level, you’ve got to be able to hold a lot on the screen of your mind, right? You’ve really, you can’t oversimplify things and have a cookie-cutter approach to your clinical practice. You really gotta be willing to handle whatever, you know, all the complexity that there is out there, you know, which is a lot and it’s constantly evolving. There’s a lot to learn. So that can be a little bit stressful for yourself. And, and in that, I’ve sort of looked at, well what are the things that you need in life to feel consistently good each day to really have the energy, the resources, the resilience and the mindset to manage life, which changes through all the different chapters you go through.

Dr Matthew Bourke:

You know, being in my kind of second half of my forties now and with kids getting older, it’s, it’s a, you know, it’s a really interesting time to know where you could have mastery over different things and that increasing complexity of life. So I guess really looking at the science of feeling amazing, it’s about looking at where you’re at in that stage of life and what are the physiological requirements that you have and based on the energy output and the kind of things you do and the things you love and how to set up your lifestyle, where you take time to, to curate things, you know, to create habits that just innately embed those things in. You know, cause it really always comes down to just daily habits and routine. And you know, you can never be disciplined with something for very long, but if you embed one thing at a time and keep putting layer upon layer of good habits in place, then yeah, you can find yourself in a much better place.

Dr Matthew Bourke:

So we really focus on that with people, which is not to try and say that there’s a one size fits all approach to this, but to meet them where they’re at, look at what their next step is, embed that and then add the next thing in and then the next thing. So someone might start, yeah, there might be a pretty physical thing. You know, they need to, you know, improve the core. They need to work on some stability exercises and they need to, there’s an adjustment sequence we might be doing with them in order to retrain a pattern. They’ve been in the, once they’ve got that under control then we’ll look now at that chronic back pain, it’s 70% better. They really, this is actually exacerbated by us and gut inflammation. And that’s, you know, we might want to reduce the grain in your diet or take these different foods out that are a bit pro-inflammatory in you and, and start to refine that.

Dr Matthew Bourke:

And now it’s kind of 90% better, you know, and going really well. And, and then you’re like, well, that last 10%, what, what’s that? And that maybe that, that they need to make, emotionally about moving into this higher level of purpose with what they’re doing and, and a higher level of success that they’re creating some area, you know, cause that, an area often relates to insecurity or financial stress and that sort of thing. So, you know, you start to refine that with them and look at what that is and then take them on that journey. So, yeah, it’s, it’s around those sort of principles and looking at, there’s, there’s, there’s, there are physical elements you need to address. There are emotional elements that we need to address. There are toxicity elements these days we always need to address. And then, and then there’s a, you know, there’s a spiritual quest that we’re all kind of on whether we like it or not. So it’s just, helping people become aware of that based on where they’re up to in their journey.

Dr Ron Ehrlich:

Mmm-hmm. I love it. That’s great. Now listen, we have covered some great territory here and we’ve given people a lot of food for thought. And I wondered if we might just before we finish, just take a step back here from your role as a, you know, in, in health care and cause we’re all on this journey together. You know, in life we’re all on a journey. What do you think the biggest challenges for us on our journey through life in our modern world today?

Dr Matthew Bourke:

The biggest challenge?  Wow… I think that’s a big question really, but I guess the, the the biggest challenges, you know, is living our truth in this world of complexity that we’ve created for ourselves, and you know, it’s cause as we get drawn into these, I guess when I look at it, where we’re at now, we’re at now where this place where we’re so connected and we’re so, we’ve got so much information coming at us that we don’t exactly live in a culture that’s enlightened, right? We live in a culture that’s materialistic competitive, and you know, we look at the planetary challenges now and we’re not really going in a direction that’s going to save them, you know, and resolve it. You know, if we keep on that path. And so I guess the key challenge for people is to realize that if they don’t take the time to cultivate their own culture, really be clear on their own values and then set up their habits and their daily routines that reflect those things.

Dr Matthew Bourke:

You know, cause what people do these days is they roll over, they turn their phone on and they start flicking through Instagram and Facebook and this onslaught of information that either makes them jealous, envious, insecure, or want more than they have, you know, and they get dragged into everyone else’s reality. And before they’ve even taken the time to acknowledge where they’re at and, and what they’re grateful for and what’s important to them. You know, so, you know, I think people these days have really got a, you know, it’s a challenge to, to embed yourself in, in what’s in your core values and really take the time to know what they are and what they are for your family so that you, you’re not dragged off in all these different influences that happen to us, you know, that really don’t have our best interest at heart. You know, there really are designed around creating success for others in many cases, you know, so, people need to be conscious of that, you know, and, and have the self-awareness to unplug themselves a little bit and certainly take the time to, to, you know, settle into themselves and know what they need and before they go about connecting at that level.

Dr Ron Ehrlich:

Matthew, what a great note to finish on. Thank you so much for joining us today and sharing your journey, your wisdom, your experience, it’s been terrific. Well, there is a lot there to take in. Now, for the last 40 years in my practice, I’ve been very interested in chronic musculoskeletal pain conditions like chronic tension headaches, neck aches, and jaw aches. An important point that is often overlooked in chronic pain problems is this, muscles have memory and importantly are capable of maintaining an inflammation long after the initiating or triggering event has occurred. That memory can go on for years, five, 10, 20, 30 years, or even a lifetime. So often in my experience, people in chronic muscle pain have had x-rays taken, MRIs, CT scans, they see a doctor, they see many doctors and urologists and sometimes they’re told there’s nothing wrong with you. We can’t find a problem.

Well, here’s the thing, muscle and nerve memory does not show up like that, but that doesn’t mean it’s not vitally important with dealing with the problem in dealing with the problems and often addressing the cause along the way. That’s been part of my approach to these problems for many years. So it was really interesting to hear Matthew approach this from a slightly different direction. We will, of course, have links to Matthew’s website, Optimum Health Essentials, and we’ll be exploring this mind, body, muscle and nerve memory approach in the months ahead. I’m actually writing a book on it. Now don’t forget to download the unstressed app at the app store or Google Play and just keep in touch. Keep up to date with the latest episodes, blogs and events, and, and of course, leave that review on iTunes and help us get the message out to many more people. So until next time, this is Dr Ron Ehrlich. Be well.

This podcast provides general information and discussion about medicine, health and related subjects. The content is not intended and should not be construed as medical advice or as a substitute for care by a qualified medical practitioner. If you or any other person has a medical concern, he or she should consult with an appropriately qualified medical practitioner. Guests who speak in this podcast express their own opinions, experiences, and conclusions.


Dr Ron Ehrlich
Dr Ron Ehrlich
Dr Ron Ehrlich, or ‘Dr Ron’ as he is affectionately known, is one of Australia’s leading holistic health advocates, educators and a holistic dentist. Dr Ron also hosts a free weekly podcast called "Unstress with Dr Ron Ehrlich" and is the author of, "A Life Less Stressed: the 5 pillars of health and wellness".