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The Melanie Avalon Podcast Episode #11 - Brendon Lundberg 

Brendon Lundberg, a previous chronic pain suffer, co-founded Radiant Pain Relief Centres, along with David Farley, MD, a Harvard-MIT trained physician, with a vision to build the safest, most consistently effective and appealing solution to the epidemic of chronic pain.

Combining a mission to change the way chronic pain is understood treated with deep experience in healthcare management, marketing, business development and sales, Brendon and Dr. David Farley opened Radiant Pain Relief Centres in Portland, Oregon, USA, in February 2014. Following the success of the first center, they are laying out a plan for expansion to open new centers in new markets nationally and internationally. 

Their story and vision for the future of pain management can be understood by reading their Amazon Bestselling book, Radiant Relief – A Case For A Better Solution To Chronic Pain. Inc. Magazine called the book, “A Manifesto” and “an epic example of how to create a movement”.

Previous to founding Radiant, Brendon played key operational and business development roles for two Portland-Area Portland Business Journal and Inc. Magazine Growth Award winning companies, and was the Director of Sales and Marketing for another Portland-based medical device start-up. Brendon holds a BS in business marketing and an MBA.


LEARN MORE AT:

www.radiantrelief.com
www.radiantpainrelief.com
https://www.facebook.com/RadiantPainReliefCentres
https://www.facebook.com/brendon.lundberg
https://www.instagram.com/radiantpainreliefcentres/
https://www.instagram.com/pbrendonlundberg/
Twitter @radiantrelief

SHOWNOTES

2:20 - LISTEN ON HIMALAYA!: Download the free Himalaya App (www.himalaya.fm) to FINALLY keep all your podcasts in one place, follow your favorites, make playlists, leave comments, and more! Follow The Melanie Avalon Podcast in Himalaya For Early Access 24 Hours In Advance! You Can Also Join Melanie's Exclusive Community For Exclusive Monthly Content, Episode Discussion, And Guest Requests! Use The Code MELANIE To Get Your First Month Free!

02:50 - Paleo OMAD Biohackers: Intermittent Fasting + Real Foods + Life: Join Melanie's Facebook group to discuss and learn About all things biohacking! All conversations welcome!

4:30 - Brendon Lundberg's History 

6:15  - What Is Pain: Pain's Protective Purpose 

8:00 - What Is Chronic Pain?

9:50 - How The Brain Begins To Expect Chronic Pain

12:40 - Pain As Credit Card Debt   

15:15 - Using Pharmaceuticals For Pain

21:10 -  Biochemical Changes Of Pain From Our Perception Of Pain 

22:00 - Hypersensitivity, Expectation, And Feedback Loop Of Pain 

27:00 - The Limbic System Connection To Chronic Health Issues 

29:30 - The Political And Cultural Obstacles In Changing The Pain Paradigm

37:45 - JOOVV: Red Light And NIR Therapy For ​ Fat Burning, Muscle Recovery, Mood, Sleep, And More! Use The Link Joovv.com/Melanieavalon With The Code MelanieAvalon For A Free Gift From Joovv, And Also Forward Your Proof Of Purchase To Contact@MelanieAvalon.com, To Receive A Signed Copy Of​ What When Wine: Lose Weight And Feel Great With Paleo-Style Meals, Intermittent Fasting, And Wine!

41:25 - The Pain Food Pleasure Connection - Why Diet Can't Fix Everything?

43:00 - Scrambler Therapy: Scrambling The Pain Message To Reinterpret Pain

50:40 -  Treatment Success And Further Empowerment For Other Health And Lifestyle Changes

56:00 - Radiant Relief Clinics 

57:05 - How Is The Therapy Implemented? 

1:00:00 - Giving People Their Lives Back

1:02:15 - How Pain Becomes Part Of Your Identity 

1:03:35 - Clinical Studies And Success With Radiant Relief 

1:05:00 - Could This Concept Apply To Other Issues? (IBS, Tinnutis, Anxiety, etc.)

1:11:45- How To Get Radiant Relief

Get A Free Copy Of Radiant Relief

TRANSCRIPT 

Melanie Avalon:
Hi, friends, welcome to the show today. So today I am here with Brendon Lundberg, and he has really brought an amazing new awareness and re-understanding of pain, acute pain, chronic pain, how it works in the body, and really how to address is through a really life-changing, revolutionary new method. So, he's the author of Radiant Relief: A Case for a Better Solution to Chronic Pain, and I read that and it was fascinating and I absolutely loved it, and he's also the founder of Radiant Pain Relief Centers, which is actually implementing the techniques that he discusses in that book.

Melanie Avalon:
So we're going to really go into a nitty-gritty of pain and how it works in the body, and I think people might be pretty surprised by Mr. Lundberg's findings. So, thank you so much for being here Brendon.

Brendon Lundberg:
Hi, Melanie, yeah, honored, thank you.

Melanie Avalon:
So, I thought to start things off, if you could just tell listeners a little bit about your history, how you came to be involved with the whole science of pain, everything that led to where you are today?

Brendon Lundberg:
Yeah, awesome. My background is healthcare-related business, I'm not a clinician, but I've spent my entire career in healthcare for the most part, and actually, even prior to that I grew up in healthcare. My dad was the CEO of hospitals as a kid, so I've kind of been in and around doctors and healthcare for a very long time. Through a variety of circumstance, found an opportunity, probably around 2010 or so, to devote time and resource to promoting a technology that's now central to our business to address chronic pain, and I approached it really from a business standpoint. Although, with some personal experience, because I'm a chronic pain sufferer, I have been since I was a teenager, and my wife had gone through a fairly complicated health journey of her own which kind of helped inform what we do. And I spent a few years trying to sell this technology to doctors and found that in most cases, they didn't understand it.

Brendon Lundberg:
There was often an economic disincentive for them to migrate away from the therapies they were currently promoting and pursuing and recommending, to this. So I stepped away from that and thought, "Well, this is interesting, this technology seems to be pretty effective, and this seems very promising, so maybe it's not a matter of efficacy, but a matter of commercialization and just conceptualize a different business concept?" And in that pursuit, really had to get deeper in my own understanding and our team's understanding about modern pain science, which is really quite fascinating because even though we feel pain in the tissue, all pain actually comes from the brain and chronic pain is actually, in most cases, not a tissue problem at all. But really a problem of the brain, so I'm really excited to talk a little bit more about that and, hopefully, if any of your listeners out there are dealing with pain or someone they know, this will be valuable information for them.

Melanie Avalon:
Yeah, I was so fascinated by that, which you discuss right in the beginning of the book, that our understanding of pain may not be what we've been led to believe. So would you like to go a little bit deeper into that? I guess, looking at the traditional model of pain, how we traditionally see pain, and this new idea that actually all pain is in the brain?

Brendon Lundberg:
Yeah, absolutely. Well, first of all, pain is a very human experience, there's not a single person that's ever lived on earth that hasn't experienced pain in some way. So we all have a personal relationship with it as well, and generally speaking, that experience is a negative one. And it hurts, it's uncomfortable, and so none of us like it, we want to mask it or minimize it as quickly as possible and get on with our lives. But pain is a neurogenic, or brain-driven phenomenon that's protective, in the short-term, in acute pain, it's pretty clear why we have pain and it's pretty clear that it is protective. For example, if we have our hand on the hot stove, it's clear why our hand hurts, or if we sprained an ankle or broken a bone, in fact, I fell about a week and a half ago and I have a sprained knee that I've been nursing back to health over the last few weeks. And feeling that pain is uncomfortable, but it's serving a protective function.

Brendon Lundberg:
It's saying, "Hey, you have injured yourself, or there's cancer growing in your tissue, or you're doing something that may cause consequences to your ability to stay functional, and we want to protect you from that, avoid it in the future, learn from it, and let it heal." So in the short term, pain is a neurogenic or brain-driven phenomenon that keeps us alive, and it's important, and I'll come back to this, but it's important to understand that that's the nervous systems primary job is survival, is to keep us alive. So, it's clear that in the short term, that pain experience is one in which the body is trying to protect us, the brain is trying to protect us from something that might make it harder for us to stay alive. And then in chronic pain, essentially what happens is the brain becomes wired to expect and to perpetuate that pain experience.

Brendon Lundberg:
So, if we think back to our caveman ancestors when they were injured or hurt, they realized pretty quickly that if they drank alcohol, or took products like opium, that they could mask the pain and feel better. So industry has really been kind of born out of this analgesic approach via biochemicals, and opioids are not much different than opium, they're an artificial derivative of the same kind of chemical compound. So those things are very effective at masking the problem, so effective, in fact, that it hasn't really created a need for us to understand pain at a deeper level until all of a sudden, now in our modern world, we have not only an enormous pain problem in the United States alone there's over 100 million people who suffer from chronic pain, which is more than cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease combined. So it's staggering numbers, despite the advances that we've made in healthcare, and we have hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people addicted to opioids.

Brendon Lundberg:
So really, it's been the opioid crisis that's caused us to take pause and step back and go, "Wait a second, maybe it's time for a better understanding, and from that better understanding, better approaches to pain." But it is all coming from the brain, that's what modern science makes clear, for sure.

Melanie Avalon:
Yeah, and I think that's reassuring in a way, what you started with by saying, "Pain, it's not a bad thing, it's there to protect us." So, I mean, that's really motivating to know that it's not something we need to necessarily stop completely, we just need to, I guess, address ... Well, in the acute situations it's there for a purpose, but then in the chronic situations, which is, obviously, very different, that there is something awry with that. So, looking more at chronic pain, you were talking about how the brain begins to expect the pain, could you elaborate a little bit more on that process? So, with chronic pain, what's actually going on? Why are with constantly feeling pain in whatever area that we have the chronic pain?

Brendon Lundberg:
Yeah. So I think a simple way to understand this, and we use this as an analogy for many of our clients, if you think about phantom pain, for example, like part of the body's been amputated or lost in an accident and it no longer exists. But many people that experience this still feel sensitivity and particularly explicit pain, let's say, in a foot that no longer exists. So why is that? It's clearly not a tissue problem because the tissue's removed and the nerves are gone. So, why is the pain perpetuating? Well, I'll explain that in a second, but essentially, all chronic pain is kind of like phantom pain, it's existing really regardless of what's happening in the tissue. And in fact, there are a number of studies that show that a high percentage of the population, in fact, close to 80-90% as we get a segment of older population, has tissue abnormality that we would think would cause pain, but it doesn't.

Brendon Lundberg:
So, it's asymptomatic, for example, you could go to Central Park in New York City, you could take 1000 people, and between 60-80% of those people will have arthritis, they'll have herniated disc, they'll have torn meniscus, they'll have some sort of pathology in their tissue that we think would cause pain. But it isn't for them, and conversely, you can take 1000 pain sufferers and image them, and you're going to find a high presentation of people who don't have a correlated presentation of tissue abnormalities. So there's really a disconnect, and again, pain is a phenomenon that's driven by our brain, by our nervous system to protect us, and in chronic pain, the brain becomes wired to expect it. So what is happening, essentially, is the nervous system's primary job, above everything else is survival, and so again, we think of pain as a protective function. It's clear that if we've injured ourselves, we want to know that so that we can take necessary precautions to let that tissue heal, that we can learn from it, we can avoid it.

Brendon Lundberg:
And If we're in a circumstance in which, particularly thinking of us evolutionarily, if we think of our caveman ancestors, if they were injured, they would need to know that so that they could plan appropriately to avoid danger, to flee in the face of some sort of threat. Or just to be able to function differently so that they could hunt and gather food, and keep themselves fed. So, essentially the nervous system, because its job is to keep us alive, it is always working to identify what are threats to its ability to keep us alive? And it records those and then it remembers those, and we think of pain very cause and effect, and we think of it meaning that something is wrong. But a more appropriate analogy, which I made in the book, is really probably credit card debt, do you remember that part, Melanie? I can go into it in detail if you'd like?

Melanie Avalon:
Yes, I do, I thought it was a really great analogy, so go for it.

Brendon Lundberg:
Yeah, okay. So if we get a credit card, and let's say we have a $3000 limit, we start using that credit card to buy gas and groceries and school supplies for our kids, we're racking up charges to that account. As long as we pay the bank at least the minimum payment, but ideally pay the bank off every month, then we have access to this credit and it's supposed to work like it should. So we can think of our nervous system as cataloging and charging events that it perceives as threats to our ability to stay alive, much like charges to a credit card. And again, if we're healthy, if we're sleeping well, we're getting good nutrition and we're moving, and we're avoiding a lot of compounding and chronic stress, then our nervous system works like it's supposed to and it kind of flushes those things away.

Brendon Lundberg:
Well, most of us don't, we live in a world that's high stress, most of us aren't as healthy as we probably should be in terms of weight control, we eat maybe bad, we have chronically disrupted sleep, et cetera, et cetera. So that makes it easier for our bodies to not flush off or resolved those charges to our nervous system account if you will. So now, metaphorically, if we're carrying a balance, problems can occur, so if we go back to the credit card analogy, let's say we have a balance of $1500 or something on a $3000 limit, well that's fine until the car breaks down, and now all of a sudden, we have a $1700 car repair bill for a new transmission, but we only have $1500 of available credit. Metaphorically, this is painful because we have a big bill, and now we may be, probably in this case, over the limit.

Brendon Lundberg:
So maybe there's over-limit fees, and if we're relying upon that credit card to get to work, to buy gas or maybe to pay utilities, or to buy food for our families, because we don't get paid for another two weeks, then the circumstance around this whole situation make this one event of car breaking down even more painful. And if we didn't have the charges on the card, we could have absorbed that charge no problem and been on with our lives. So we think of it, "Well it's because of this card that I'm now in this circumstance, this car repair." But really it's an aggregation of many things, and the same is true with our nervous system, which is why you have somebody that maybe has an injury and that injury doesn't heal like it's supposed to and it becomes this kind of cascading problem. Or like, for example, in fibromyalgia, there's not really a clear cause, there's just kind of spontaneous pain that's beginning to develop.

Brendon Lundberg:
So, its kind of there's been an aggregation of threat experience on our nervous system, and we think of it as a bad thing so we quickly just want to mask it. Well masking it with a drug is not too dissimilar to trying got deal with our credit card debt by drinking a six-pack of beer. We might feel better in the moment, we mask the problem, but we haven't resolved what's the underlying causation to that problem, and in fact, if we put that six-pack of beer on our credit card, we may have actually been making it worse. So that's really what we're seeing happen with pain sufferers is there's been a lack of education and understanding around the multi factors that lead into a chronic pain situation, and we have a social expectation and really kind of a medical establishment that promotes a quick fix of popping a pill that really is just frankly exacerbated the problem long term for all of us.

Melanie Avalon:
Yeah, that was one of the things that really stuck with me when you were talking about the credit card debt and talking about how it explains why some people seemingly can handle stress and pain, I guess, on a case by case basis and they're paying off their credit card debt in a way. Whereas other people, it's like the tipping point, and then they just crash and burn and that that might be because slowly they were accumulating this debt and then when it hit the tipping point, everything just goes haywire.

Brendon Lundberg:
Absolutely, yeah. I mean, if you think about it in these terms, let's say, well, for example, myself, I fell two weeks ago, I was trying to kill a spider on the ceiling and I fell off the stool, it shifted and I landed on my knee and I tweaked my knee out. Okay, so immediately it hurt, and I started thinking, "Holy cow, what if I can't work? What if I can't get around to handle the things I need to do?" I have some trave upcoming for some investor events and things like that, that will impact the business." And so you start talking about these things, and that's what happens for people, is there's an event, but it's more than the event. And then there's a common term that's often used in pain management called catastrophizing the pain, it begins to take on a life of its own. It becomes more than just an event itself, it becomes an impact to so many other aspects, and then because most of us are already stressed and probably not in the best shape we should be.

Brendon Lundberg:
We're not sleeping well, we're probably not minding our nutrition like we should be, we're already in a compromised state and then this, obviously, puts us past that tipping point. And the medications, even if they're helping to mask the pain, they inevitably overtime make us worse because even though over the counter meds can disrupt normal gut functioning, kidney functioning, liver functioning, and the opioids are certainly even worse, they're certainly very constipating. So, there's further comprise to our ability to absorb nutrition and to eliminate waste, which makes weight control even hard. Because of the pain or the medications or both our sleep is probably more disrupted and that exacerbates problems. I mean, the comorbidities or health problems that come from chronically disrupted sleep are well documented and enormous, from cognitive decline to increased risk for diabetes and all sorts of other problems.

Brendon Lundberg:
So if you're not sleeping, and the pain and maybe the medications, you have an emotional toll, kind of compounding cognitive impact that takes place and makes it harder to feel connected to the activities, to the relationships, to the hobbies, to the work. The things that make us feel the most productive and happy and joyful, and then that adds to it, then with start to see, "Oh my gosh, I'm not able to work like I want to, or engage in the relationships like I want to, or make life fulfilling like it once was." So this has a compounding effect that over years or decades, makes pain very, very complicated. En masse, it's pretty hard to think about, "How do we solve this problem?" And again because we're conditioned to think of pills, inevitably by the time we see patients into our clinic after years or decades, they're on cocktail of medications and they pretty complicated and many times depressed and anxious, and it's just grown into this problem that's so much bigger than just a single pain event.

Melanie Avalon:
Yeah, and it's so fascinating that our perception of pain our brain's interpretation of what that pain means for our life, that actually can make it worse, I really identify with this and resonate with this, not on a pain perspective, but with stress. I know for me personally, I used to see myself, in the past, as thriving on stress, which I don't know if that's good or bad, we can make an argument either way. But I didn't see stress really as a negative, and I don't feel like I was accumulating a debt in a way with stress because I just handled it on a case by case basis and I was like, "Oh, I'll come out a little stronger." And then when I started over-analyzing stress and thinking about how, "Oh no, this stress is hurting me." Seeing it as a chronic stress, I started worrying about it, and I think, and again it's not pain, it's stress, but I think my new interpretation of it made it much, much worse in the long run.

Melanie Avalon:
There's such a difference between feeling capable in dealing with a situation versus worrying about it, ruminating and everything that comes from that. So, I guess with the pain it's pretty interesting because A, we're making the argument that pain is all in the brains, to begin with, and then B, our brains can make it even worse by reflecting on it.

Brendon Lundberg:
Yeah, absolutely, and it's not just a matter of even just reflecting on it, although that's part of it because when I talk about in the brain, I mean the brain has multiple parts of its anatomy, right? We have the brain stem, we have the amygdala, we have the cerebellum, the frontal cortex, I mean there's all sorts of different anatomy functions of the brain and they have different purposes. Our heart rate and our breathing are driven by our brain, we don't think of them as driven by the brain, but they are. We're not having to consciously think about those things, they're just done and pain is kind of the same way. So it's not necessarily that it's something that they think about, but if they do think about it, it can impact and make it worse, or frankly, make it better. I mean, there's definitely studies that show meditation can significantly improve a pain experience to profound levels.

Brendon Lundberg:
But when we have chronic pain or chronic stress, it changes also the chemical components of our brain and the body's, and if we have cortisol floating through our bodies, biochemically we begin to change. So, I want to make clear this, it's not like a psychosomatic thing and somebody's allowing or willing the pain to exist because they have negative thought patterns or whatever, it's not that way. But at the same time, our thought process and our approach to it from a cognitive standpoint can significantly impact the pain experience to a pretty profound level. And stress too, I mean, medication, it obviously is very, very effective at helping to reduce the overall stress burden that many of us feel on a daily basis.

Melanie Avalon:
So, it seems to be pretty self-perpetuating once you get in the loop of it?

Brendon Lundberg:
Yeah, 100%, absolutely, and again, the drugs are an effective short term remedy, but inevitably they end up making it worse longterm because they disrupt the other body systems and functions that really we need to have working in order for us to be healthy and thriving, for sure.

Melanie Avalon:
So, before we go into the new way of understanding pain and how you address it now, so quick question to clarify, so with chronic pain, is there literally no stimulus to create the moments when the pain arises, or what starts the brain to keep feeling the pain? What is the cause and effect there?

Brendon Lundberg:
Well, there could be an injury that caused it initially, or a series of injuries is likely as well, or if it could be a combination of many other things that the nervous system has started to change and it begins to be, basically, hypersensitive. So when the brain is expecting pain, or it's hypersensitive to the fact that it is now at the limit of what it's really capable to tolerate and keep functioning, it begins to change physiologically and the starts to interpret normal sensory input like touch, like even a light caress, or movement or laying down to go to sleep, as potential threats. So it becomes a maladapted response to an otherwise healthy system, and the result is that it becomes kind of a feedback loop. So if the brain is expecting pain, the body's looking for pain, then it's experiencing more pain, so it's kind of like that old adage that we don't see the world as the world is, we see the world as we are. And it's true because we're a factor of our environment and our upbringing, and our genetics, and cultural influences, and on, and on, and on, the same is true with pain.

Brendon Lundberg:
We don't feel pain as pain is, we feel pain as we are, and so our nervous systems become conditioned from all the same things that I just talked about, from genetics to cultural expectations, to our own education and understanding about it. Then we interpret the pain through that filter of expectation and belief, bot cognitively, consciously, and unconsciously and subconsciously in our deep, reptilian brain. So, it's pretty complicated, but the nervous system does change and it starts to interpret more things as potential threats, and inevitably, for our chronic pain sufferers, we find that there's oftentimes an underlying disconnect from one of the sensory systems and the brain. For example, so because the nervous system's job is to keep us alive, it has to know what are the threats in our environment that potentially could threaten its ability to keep us alive.

Brendon Lundberg:
So that's our eyes help us see the landscape to know and identify in our surroundings, what are potential threats to us? Our vestibular system, which is the organs of our inner ear, those keep us balanced and upright, and agile and able to move through our environment safely and to avoid danger, and to respond quickly to threats. Our touching feeling senses help us know if we're standing on stable ground or rocky to unstable ground, or if we're standing in a frozen river that could be potentially causing frostbite or damage to our tissue, or standing on hot coals or something else. So the touching feeling sense, and then the last, which is proprioception, or our orientation in space, all of these things are gathering information and input to the brain, to give us a sense of safety.

Brendon Lundberg:
Well, that information is filtered through our brain's experiences that it's learned over time, and so because of that, it could potentially have a misperception of what might be a threat or not. But what happens for a lot of our chronic pain sufferers is that we find that one of those systems, or multiple of those systems and/or the brain aren't gathering, or interpreting, or processing that information in the appropriate way. For example, it's not uncommon to see some of our pain sufferers, that if you were to caress their left forearm and into their right hand, and then do the same thing to the right forearm and into the right hand, they have a different sensory experience, like it feels a little bit differently. Why that happens, it's multifactorial, or again, going back to the phantom pain, we used to think that phantom pain happened because the tissue was damaged and that the nerves were cut, and certainly that was a part of it.

Brendon Lundberg:
But if we think of it under this modern understanding of pain, and the input of sensory info to give the brain a sense of safety, well, if it's been the foot that's been amputated or lost in an accident, that foot that used to gather information about where I'm standing, I'm standing on stable ground or unstable ground or in a bucket of ice, or in fire or something that like. That information is not longer being transmitted to the brain, and so the brain's response is, "Hey, Mr. Or Ms. Human, I can't give a full sense of safety, I don't know what's happened to this part of your body, so what I'm going to do," Just like they have on the hot stove, "is I'm going to generate a pain experience." Because pain is something that gets our attention more than just about anything else, it's very alarming, right? We don't like it, and it's going to cause us to take pause and to try to give our nervous system a sense of input as to what's going on in this area of the body so that it knows what it needs to do to keep us safe and keep us alive.

Melanie Avalon:
That is so fascinating, so basically any of these potential stimuli can come in and then our brain overreacts and freaks out to put it in very casual terminology. So when I was reading the book and you started discussing that concept, that it sounded to me like something I had recently been looking into, which was DNRS, which stands for Dynamic Neural Retraining System. I had actually just looked into that a few weeks prior to reading your book, and then you even said in the book that you're new re-understanding of pain actually started in part when your wife used DNRS to heal her, was it her chronic pain issues?

Brendon Lundberg:
She didn't have chronic pain, but she had anxiety and depression and a lot of other conditions, she has diagnosed with Hashimoto's disease, with chronic inflammatory response syndrome, and she is a yoga instructor. She's super-fit, she's super knowledgeable about anatomy and physiology and mindset, and mindfulness and meditation, she had the ability yo create calm. So from an outsider's perspective, nobody would really know she was dealing with all these things, we sought out care from allopathic to the gamut of alternative medicine. She was gluten-free for close to a decade, certainly mindful of her diet and her overall sense of health and yet none of these things were resolving her conditions, and she was like, "How come nobody can help me understand this? And finally, when she heard about DNRS and went through that process, essentially which is brain retraining, it allowed her nervous system ... Again, because pain and fight or flight or anxiety, these are appropriate biologic conditions that are protective in nature.

Brendon Lundberg:
But what happens is in our modern world, what is a threat or perceived threat is not the same as it was when we were cavemen, and so sometimes these things become maladapted. Essentially for lack of a better term, they get stuck in the on-switch and they get perpetuating a phenomenon in our body that becomes kind of again, like pain, like a feedback loop. So when we expect anxiety or we expect pain, then the nervous system is gathering information that supports that in an effort to keep us safe and keep us alive. But really, it's not serving us in a protective way, and it's really kind of a maladapted response in the brain to what is otherwise a healthy biological system. So DNRS allows people to kind of retrain their brain and ease this limbic response, and we do much the same thing through our therapy at Radiant, yeah.

Melanie Avalon:
Yeah, so with that DNRS, I mean, there's no equipment involved or anything like that, it's all the practices that you do to put in the work, the exercise to retrain your brain. So moving on from that, would you like to talk a little bit about where you went from there with that new understanding, you talked about something called Scrambler Therapy in the book?

Brendon Lundberg:
Well, Scrambler Therapy, actually, yeah, I found out about it before I understood pain, and again, I saw an opportunity to promote this technology to doctors, and I thought I was going to be an instant home run. The pain problem is significant and was significantly known at that time, although the opioid addiction epidemic hadn't made it quite as urgent as we now kind of perceive it to be. And I spent time and my own money and resources going out to doctors and trying to promote and sell them this device. And I found that in many cases, they just didn't understand it because most doctors are trained, literally, A, they get very little pain education in medical school or in their professional training, and what they get is often limited to acute pain, not to chronic pain. And most of it is based upon pain science that was published in the 1960s.

Brendon Lundberg:
So they lag behind in initial education because pain is not terminal in most cases by itself they get very little continuing medical education around pain, and what they get is often funded by the drug companies. So, I mean, in all honesty it's probably not the most neutral, it's probably a little bit biased towards that drug company's product and their perspective on managing the problem. So because of this, there's a lag in understanding amongst the medical establishment about pain, and then on top of that, you have a cultural misunderstanding because we all experience pain, we think it's always a bad thing. We think it's a tissue problem that we shouldn't move, mask it, avoid it, all those types of things as we talked about. So you have a compounding of both of those things, and then like any industry, you have economic drivers.

Brendon Lundberg:
So, industry, generally speaking, doesn't want to disrupt itself, and so there's a hard time taking an established and large infrastructure of industry like you have in healthcare, and getting them to open their mind about new science and then to change science. If we think about this like we once believed that the world was flat, if there's industry built around this idea that the world is flat, then that industry doesn't want to disrupt itself to accommodate a new paradigm because it means taking money out of their own pocket. And I don't mean this necessarily in a derogative way with doctors specifically, I think that they're well-intentioned. But those are the circumstances that surround it, and many doctors are so busy, they're just doing the best they can to try to meet the client needs they have and what that often means, and this is oftentimes driven by insurance mandate is, "What's the fastest way to get you something that's going to manage your symptoms to get you out of my office?"

Brendon Lundberg:
And that's typically a drug, and so we see the drug industry grown and promoted by insurance companies and culturally have an expectation that there's a pill for that and a pill for this, and so we want the quick fix of the pill and it really hasn't been till we go, "Holy cow, in 2017 we had 72,000 people in the United States die of opioid overdoses." That doesn't include the hundreds of thousands, if not millions who are addicted or have become addicted, and then chosen to, when their doctors have said, "No more." Or they're prescription isn't sufficient for them, go out on the street and try to buy it and find that heroin is cheaper. I mean, it's just is turning into this whole social and cultural impact situation because we've been conditioned to just want to pop a pill.

Brendon Lundberg:
So you have a lot of industry drivers that have prevented adoption and innovation the way that we probably need to, and certainly be responsive to the science. I mean, this is not science that I've concocted or created, this is science that's emerged independently from a variety of sources. But it just takes some time to integrate and matriculate into the body of medical education and cultural understanding, and that dissemination is limited or delayed further because of industry drivers.

Melanie Avalon:
Yeah, that was definitely a large part of the book, was explaining all of the obstacles that we face with modern society as far as how it currently addresses pain and then why it's so difficult to introduce these new methods. And I think that's really important for readers and listeners to understand because they may think, "Oh, if there is this solution to chronic pain, why have we not heard about it? Why is nobody using it?" So, just addressing that in detail really explains that, that basically, the system as it is right now is not receptive to this new paradigm.

Brendon Lundberg:
Yeah, I mean, you're exactly right, and again, I think people are well-intentioned, it's just that when you're trained in a certain way, and all of a sudden new information comes along to you, you have two choices. You can unbundle and break down your current training and education and perspective on something, or you can say, "That sounds too good to be true, yeah, thanks but no thanks." Or, "I'll wait and see." And that's what happens in most cases, and again, I think particularly doctors are well-intentioned, they want to do no harm, they want to serve their clients. But because of the factors of education and economic reality, and life reality, it just makes it really hard to disrupt and change. I mean, that's true of any industry, but it's particularly true of healthcare because of the level of education that the professionals and the industry drivers themselves kind of have gone through.

Brendon Lundberg:
But if you think about any industry, I mean, if you think about Airbnb, for example, Airbnb has, obviously, changed the way that many of us stay when we travel. But it wasn't created by the Hilton corporation, it was done by some other outside perspective, or Lyft or Uber, I mean, these weren't driven by the taxi can companies, they were driven by outside perspectives that said, "I can see the opportunity and the market different, and fortunately I'm not handcuffed or constrained to those same economic realities, therefore I have an incentive to want to try to shake things up and disrupt that." And that's really how we're approaching it from Radiant's standpoint.

Melanie Avalon:
Yeah, I always come to health and everything from a food perspective, that's my background. So I have a book about paleo, and intermittent fasting, and using all of that to address chronic health issues. And that's always what I'm thinking about as well is how to change the current system, or where those forces need to come from that can create that revolutionary change, and that's really interesting, I never thought about that with the Uber and the Lyft. I'm always thinking about it from the grocery store perspective.

Brendon Lundberg:
Well, the grocery store perspective is super important, and I just want to talk about that because I have many colleagues and friends who are functional medicine doctors, they're naturopathic doctors, they're focused on nutrition and interventions they're changing the biochemistry via what we're eating, and that's so important. And a couple things I want to say about that, I heard congressman Tim Ryan last year speak at JJ Virgin's My Share Conference, and he and Dr. Mark Hyman, who's head of functional medicine at Cleveland Clinic, they talked about how from a food standpoint, you had industry drivers changing food science. You had studies funded by sugar growers and wheat growers and grain growers and things like that, and it changed to science, I mean, frankly, it skewed the science because it was funded with a specific purpose in mind.

Brendon Lundberg:
They have lobbyists that changed how we approach this from a funding standpoint, from an investment standpoint as a nation to support these types of crop production, and it changed the presentation of food science as a whole. I mean, you think about what probably you are were taught in school, and this food pyramid that had this giant grain structure at the base, and increasingly to the top, finally you get to fat. Well, it's really an understanding of if we kind of reverse that and have a higher fat diet, lower grains, intermittent fasting and things like that, that we can actually get healthier, but we haven't been conditioned that way. Society hasn't been taught that, and in fact, in many cases, the opposite, and the same is really true with pain.

Brendon Lundberg:
The other thing I think that's important to understand about pain and food is that absolutely, I mean, eating good nutrition is a way to ease the body's perception of pain. To give it the fundamental building blocks it needs for healthy cellular functioning and tissue building and all those things. But when you're in excruciating pain, you don't care about that, you just want to find pleasure or ease yourself in any way you can, and I know many pain sufferers who their only pleasure in life is to drink a Coke or to eat a hamburger, or to do some things that maybe aren't the best dietary choices. And they're just doing it because it's the one subtle thing that they can do to find some pleasure in the day. And then again, the drugs are disrupting that because if the body is not absorbing nutrition or eliminating waste, it almost doesn't matter what's going into it, we're not going to be able to process that the way that we need to, to really be healthy.

Melanie Avalon:
I want to say thank you because I really feel like you have completely changed my perception, or you've given me a much more nuanced perception of pain because honestly, until I read your book I was thinking all pain, in theory, could be addressed by an anti-inflammatory diet because if we get rid of all inflammation then there won't be any pain stimulus going on. But reading your book I've realized, "Oh there is this other aspect to it, as far as the interpretation of pain, it might not all be addressable necessarily through dietary means." Which I don't know if I was saying that it could be completely addressed that way, but that as sort of my thinking. So, I just wanted to thank you for giving me a much more nuanced perspective now with pain, especially personally. My mom has a to of chronic pain issues, and she always had them, I mean, she's had them ever since I can remember. In my pipe dream version I was thinking, "Oh, if she just changed her diet or removed all inflammatory compounds, her pain might magically go away."

Melanie Avalon:
A, that's probably not true and B, it's like you were talking about, it's very difficult to follow, for a lot of people, what even is a perfect diet, that it is really hard to implement dietary change consistently and to the level that might even be needed to see a significant reduction in pain. So that brings us to this new system that you have developed and working with, I mentioned the Scrambler Therapy, which it's sort of based on but you have a new implementation of that. So, would you like to talk a little bit about I guess first Scrambler theory, and then what it is, and then what you're doing with that now with your Radiant Relief?

Brendon Lundberg:
Yeah, absolutely. So basically the Scrambler Therapy is a medical technology that was invented in Italy by a biophysicist there, it was taken through the FDA, it has FDA clearance, but when it was taken through the FDA, not by us but by a previous company, it was predicated on something called a TENS Unit, which probably many of your listeners have heard of or used. The TENS has been around probably since the 1950s, maybe even earlier.

Melanie Avalon:
I have one of those units because like I said, I don't have chronic pain, but I have digestive issues, and I think I have a hyper-aware sensation revolving that, which we can talk about that maybe a little bit at the end just because I selfishly want to know your opinion on it. Similar concept as far as over-analyzing stimulus and always feeling this feeling, which is not a pain feeling, but it's a very unpleasant feeling that creates distress for me. So a TENS Unit was something I had tried for that before, but you talk about it in the book, how this is not the same thing as TENS?

Brendon Lundberg:
No, it's not the same TENS, a TENS basically creates an electrical stimulation that kind of masks the pain. So, for example, just to break it down very simply, if I whack my hand on a table and my hand starts to hurt, if I rub my hand, then my brain is getting a different sensory experience, it's feeling the rubbing sensation. So that rubbing sensation can kind of mask the pain sensation that it was feeling just moments before, and so that's essentially how a TENS Unit works, it creates an electrical stimulation that kind of distracts the brain and can kind of ease the pain experience. And it works fairly effectively while it's turned on, but as soon as you turn it off, the efficacy wanes. But because this technology was predicated on that type of technology, on a TENS Unit, it's lagged behind in adoption and understanding, again in the context of most doctors being trained in old science.

Brendon Lundberg:
But insurance hasn't really caught up to this yet at this point, is where I'm headed with this. So there's an economic disincentive for most doctors to be able to effectively integrate it into their clinic.

Melanie Avalon:
So, to clarify for listeners before we move on, basically with TENS Unit it sounds like if chronic pain is one person yelling at you, then a TENS Unit, is it kind of like somebody else coming and talking at the same time so you get kind of distracted and don't really pay attention to the yelling?

Brendon Lundberg:
Oh, that's a great analogy, yeah, that's a good analogy.

Melanie Avalon:
Okay, so that's TENS.

Brendon Lundberg:
Yeah, I mean, the talking may or may not full distract the yelling at us, as the term you used, and as soon as they stop, then it's right back to just where it was, and that's essentially what happens with a TENS Unit, yeah, that's a great analogy.

Melanie Avalon:
So the yelling is still there?

Brendon Lundberg:
Yeah.

Melanie Avalon:
The original yelling, you're just kind of distracted from it.

Brendon Lundberg:
Right, exactly. So rather than trying to do that or to give somebody a pill, which inevitably changed the biochemistry of the body and results in side effects and addiction, or surgically trying to repair, which is probably not the problem. Again, and when you understand the fact that pain and tissue abnormality are not actually correlated the way that we think that they are or kind of conditioned to believe that they are, surgical interventions may or may not resolved the pain. In fact, there's a diagnosis code, because this is such a common thing, failed back surgery syndrome where somebody's had a "herniated disc" or some sort of stenosis or some sort of abnormality in the tissue and it's tried to be repaired surgically and the doctors go, "Oh Ms. Jones, your MRI looks perfect, we did a great job." And Ms. Jones is saying, "I'm in just as much or worse pain."

Brendon Lundberg:
I mean, that happens more than 50% of the time following back surgery, so anyway, my point is we don't go through these difficult interventions. We use a Scrambler Therapy, the way it works is it acts like an artificial nerve, it generates a dynamic set of artificial nerve impulses that essentially mimic natural, no pain or no threat kind of nerve messages, we attach electrodes on the skin, in healthy tissue, so not where it's painful, but near that area, and then we turn the device on and it generates this message. It's sent through the wires of the system, up through the periphery of the body through the central nervous system, spec what's called the C fibers of the nervous system which is where chronic pain is transmitted. The brain receives that information, it interprets it as kind of a self-generated, endogenous nerve message and it begins to ease the pain response.

Brendon Lundberg:
The reason the technology is known as Scrambler Therapy is that the messaging, unlike a TENS Unit and other things out there, is not a static message, it's sent and it's scrambled in the device, and then resent, and then scrambled in the device, and then resent. So over about a 40-minute session, the brain is flooded with a dynamic and changing set of information which it has to work to interpret. If it was unchanging, at this point the brain would probably start to ignore it and say, "Oh yeah, I've heard this before, background noise." And it would start to dismiss it, or if you think of it as the analogy that you used, the voice whispering or talking to you versus somebody yelling at you. If the yelling is more dominant, it's going to go back to the yelling, particularly because the nervous system thinks that pain is protecting us. So, it's going to go back to that as a default because it wants to protect us.

Brendon Lundberg:
Well, because this is changing, it causes the brain to have to work to interpret that, and that works to break up these wiring's, or associations, or what we call neuro tags that are perpetuating the pain experience. And it causes the brain to go through its own natural kind of healing process if you will, and to create a more normalized, healthy perception of pain. We haven't induced any chemicals, injected anything into the body with a needle or given somebody a drug, we haven't cut anybody open, we just basically give them, going back to your analogy, more information that overrides the yelling that's taking place from a variety of places. So the brain goes, "Okay, I can ignore the yelling. The yelling becomes less and less important because now I'm hearing other voices that make more sense to me." And allows the body to heal and normalize.

Brendon Lundberg:
So, we get relief then that becomes durable or lasting through the principles of neuroplasticity. So just like riding a bike or learning algebra or Spanish, over a series of treatments over time, we can cause the brain to change through repetition and exposure and we can get relief that becomes lasting rather than just temporarily masking it.

Melanie Avalon:
Yeah, I love that, and I was also trying to think how we would extend it with analogies, so I guess it's like you're hearing this yelling, this pain, and it's sort of like somebody coming in and being like, "No, actually maybe there's not any yelling go on?" And then I guess, with the Scrambler Therapy you said, it's constantly changing, maybe it's like multiple different people coming in and being like, "Actually, there's not actually any yelling." And then somebody else coming in and saying, "Think about it this way, there's not actually any yelling." And then eventually you're not even hearing the yelling because you completely reframed it.

Brendon Lundberg:
That's a really great analogy, in fact, I'm going to have to steal it, if you don't mind, and use that with some of our clients.

Melanie Avalon:
Okay.

Brendon Lundberg:
I think it's great, and that's how we work in life too, I mean, if somebody tells us one thing and it's different than what we've heard before, depending on who that person is, we may or may not accept it. But if we start to hear it from multiple people, and there becomes more and more social proof of it, then it's natural that we accept it, it becomes much easier to say, "Okay, yeah, I agree with that because everybody else is, so there must be some truth to it." And I think that's a very, very good analogy.

Melanie Avalon:
Exactly, that's like me whenever I find a new topic that I'm really interested in, I know this is a podcast, I love listening to podcasts as well, I will go and find every single podcast I can find on this new topic, and I mean, even if it says the same thing just because it's coming in through a different person saying it, in a slightly different nuance I'm like, "Oh, okay." And it really ingrains it and makes me have a new perspective. So that completely makes sense to me.

Brendon Lundberg:
Yeah, and then what we have, just to bring this full circle and go back to the nutrition stuff, what we is our clients come to us desperate, they feel like they've tried everything, in fact, we've had clients that have taken very drastic procedures after years or a decade in some cases or more, trying to find resolution to their pain, where they've chosen to have a part of their body amputated, trying to cut out the tissue that's painful. Trying to have a better quality of life, and on, and on, and on, and so they come to us skeptical, they come to us exhausted, they come to us, obviously, in pain still and frankly, fairly complicated. Over the years of this, they've gained weight, they've withdrawn from the things and people and relationships and jobs that make them feel really fulfilled and productive. So there's an emotional and oftentimes depresses kind of component to this circumstance with their pain.

Brendon Lundberg:
They're on a cocktail of medications many times, and so to be able to educate them first, and we always talk to each client about their definition of success, their why, and we anchor back into what it is they want to get back to and why that's important to them. And many times they've forgotten about it, that they've deviated so far from that, it's just kind of been about survival, that when we start to kind of help them anchor back into that, we get them focused back on who they want to be, it kind of ignites the spark that's gone fairly dormant. Then you educate them and hope begins to be returned because they're like, "Holy cow, maybe there is a reason that my body is hurting the way it is. And even though my doctors haven't been able to explain it to me prior, there's science that explains this, this makes sense." And so their hope begins to be rekindled.

Brendon Lundberg:
So when you have hope rekindled, you have some education that's empowering, and you're focusing on where you want to do, the paradigm starts to change, and then we give them the first treatment for free. They can experience some level of relief, that accelerates the hope and then the process begins to unfold, and over a matter of weeks, we see people significantly have their pain reduced which is, obviously, the goal. But what also happens is daily, they become more and more empowered to take their life, and it's not just the pendulum swinging back to baseline, but they become hungry to say, "Oh my gosh, if I can change my pain reality so much by changing my brain, what else am I capable of?" And they get educated and they get empowered, and they get hungry in the pursuit of better nutrition, and better mindfulness, and better environmental factors in emotion and relationships.

Brendon Lundberg:
And it begins this cascade of reversing not only the decline they've been into, but kind of a reemerging of a person restored and empowered with tools, and resources, and education where they go out and seek the things that are going to make them really start to thrive again in their life. And it's just a phenomenal thing to be a part of on an individual level, and as we grow the company, to think about our ability to make a social impact and start to see this on the scale of hundreds of thousands, or millions of people's lives is a very, very exciting thing for me, for sure.

Melanie Avalon:
Yes, I love this so much. So, like I said, my mom having always struggled with chronic pain and she doesn't listen to my podcast really, but she might listen to this episode because I'm going to throw it at her. And when I was reading your book I was telling her everything because she had just come to me a few days prior to reading your book and she was like, "I'm so tired and overwhelmed of treating this chronic pain." She has herniated discs, she's had surgery, everything you were talking about, always dealing with pain pills and things working and then not working and just never having any relief. And she had come to me asking if I knew of any other ways to address chronic pain outside of the pain meds.

Melanie Avalon:
So this is right before reading your book, and I was telling her a little bit about red light therapy which, that's a whole tangent, but I'm very passionate about that, and then I read your book and I was like, "Mom, this might be the next thing for you to try." But actually, I feel pretty confident that this could be very effective. So I was so excited, and then like you said, I really think it could be a self-fulfilling prophecy because once you do start making those changes in the brain and having this new experience, I mean, imagine just chronic pain perpetuates itself, I imagine the healing process and the reevaluation would also. I mean, imagine just continue to perpetuate and get better and better.

Brendon Lundberg:
Yeah, absolutely, and I think it's arrogant for anybody to say, "This is the be all end all, one solution for every problem out there." I'm not saying that's what we have, I think that's kind of an arrogant statement to suggest. But I will say that because it doesn't involve drugs, or needles, or surgery, or injections or anything, I mean, it's very safe, it's very, very safe, and it's consistently effective. I mean, we've been doing this now for five years, we've seen many hundreds of patients with almost every type of chronic pain, we average a significant reduction of pain, about an 84%. Most of our clients conclude between 0 and 1, 2 or 3 levels of pain, so even if it's not fully resolved, it's a level of mild pain that most of us can tolerate or live with where we can't at a 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 level pain.

Brendon Lundberg:
We had the confidence to think in this state that we have a safe and consistently effective therapy, and what we've tried to do with Radiant is to build a business model, and to design the mode as elegantly as we can to support a good business delivery system and to support greater care. So again, education, the environment that we create, and so rather than selling this device to a doctor and saying, "Good luck doc, figure it out." We're building our own clinics, and these clinics allow us to create a high level of engagement and customer or client experience if you will, and we have no other drivers. There's no other constraints in our business that are pulling on us in any other way, it's all about how do we deliver the best education, the best experience, and the best therapy that we can? So it entirely designed from top to bottom to support this therapy, and that allows us to be consistent in the results that we achieve. It also allows us to make it affordable regardless of what happens with insurance now or in the future and still build a viable company.

Brendon Lundberg:
So now we have affordability, we have economic sensibility, and we have consistency, and those are the necessary things necessary for us to be able to scale and to create replication, and to be able to build and grow clinics. And I think the analog to this is Starbucks, if you think about Starbucks and the chains they made, for most of us and how with appreciate coffee, the role that it plays in our lives, how much we spend on it et cetera, et cetera, they didn't do that by selling a better coffee product to the local mom and pop diner. They did it by creating their own stores, which created an experience, which created a brand, which allowed them to grow the way that they have.

Melanie Avalon:
So, going a little bit deeper into how your Radiant Relief clinics are set up, what does that process look like for somebody who wanted to undergo the therapy? How many sessions, how do the sessions work? You compared it a little bit to a spa membership, what does it look like on a practical day-to-day level if somebody were to start engaging in this therapy?

Brendon Lundberg:
Yeah, well the experience starts before they even come into the clinic, it starts with education, it starts with understanding some level on insight into the brain's involvement in the pain and at least some hope that we have an approach that's going to be much more safe and effective than what they've tried in the past. We then ask clients again, "What is your definition of success? What does pain cost you? What are you hoping to achieve? Why now?" These types of questions to get them thinking and framing the context around their pain a little bit differently. It's very safe, so unless somebody is pregnant or has an implanted medical device like a pacemaker or something, we can treat them. So there's a very low barrier, we don't charge anything for the initial consultation, which is an hour of education and engagement with the client to understand them and their perspective on it and share with them the modern pain science and our approach to it, and the process that the therapy requires, and then to treat them.

Brendon Lundberg:
So we give every client unless they're disqualified because they're pregnant or have a pacemaker or something, we give them two hours of our time. So that is different than what happens in most places, to begin with, and again it's all kind of focused on focusing back on them and their why, and how we can help them get there. We then treat them and in that process, people get pretty much some level of relief in that first session to get a sense that this is something that's worth pursuing. We sell the therapy on a membership because it really is a process, not a procedure, the process of brain retraining is one that's done over repetition and exposure over time. So typically for most clients, the expectation we said is that it's going to be a daily session for about an hour of their time, it's about 40 minutes actually on the device, but between changing and getting into a gown if necessary or just checking in and out, whatnot, it's about an hour of their time.

Brendon Lundberg:
So, every day for an hour, two or three weeks, Monday through Friday, in most cases we'll achieve a significant reduction in pain that becomes lasting, on average for a few weeks or a few months, but in some cases even longer, including indefinitely. But the expectation we set it daily sessions for a few weeks, you will likely need to come back in periodically for what we call a booster session which is kind of like a refresher course to reinforce the neuroplastic change that's taken place in the brain. And we sell it on this membership which allows us to push the cost out over time, making it much more affordable despite a lack of insurance coverage at this time, and allowing clients to have access to it throughout the year so they can get relief, they can maintain it. And then what happens is, not only are they back to living their lives and like I said, becoming less and less complicated and empowered to make other changes.

Brendon Lundberg:
If pain begins to return because of this prior experience they had that caused them to come in initially, or something else that happens because pain is very human, we all have it, they're not in this place where they feel a loss of control. They feel empowered, they know, "Okay, even if I have to go back into Radiant, I have a tool that I can go back to, it's not going to knock me down the way that it once would have in the past."

Melanie Avalon:
Yeah, no, I think that's a really wonderful model to have, the membership model versus the a la carte basis because it just really provides that access to get the process going without the stress of, "How many sessions do I need? And what if I need more in the future?" Yeah, that makes a lot of sense to me.

Brendon Lundberg:
We try to make it, obviously, as affordable as possible by spreading it out over time, our membership starts at $3500, which includes 20 sessions that they can use throughout the year. Once they've paid for a membership, the cost for additional sessions beyond 20 is discounted pretty significantly versus pain a la carte, so we try to make it affordable. Obviously, we try to create as much value by educating people about what we do and giving them som initial free treatment and education, which is, for many people like I said, very empowering. To the point where it's not uncommon to see tears of hope and tears of joy just in that first consultation because people go, "Oh my gosh, maybe I'm not going to be jailed in this body that's betraying me and hurting me for no explicit reason for the rest of my life."

Brendon Lundberg:
And the truth is because pain is such a complicated and difficult thing to live with, and because people haven't got the answers or the resolution with their pain the way they've hoped to previously, many of our clients tell us that they've thought about suicide, which is just so unfortunate. So again, to be able to see people get their lives back and get restored is a beautiful, beautiful thing. And we're not here to bamboozle people, there is a cost to it, we have to build a business so that we can scale it and deliver it to more and more people, but at $3500, you divide that by 365 days in a year, it's less than $10 a day. So for around $10 a day, for what many of us spend on a couple cups of coffee or lattes or whatever, we can give people their lives back, and it's pretty cool.

Melanie Avalon:
Yeah, from a grand perspective, I think that's a very worthy, and even small investment if you're getting your life back. You can become a whole new person if you don't have this ... Like you said, it's like being let out of jail in a way and not having this issue that defines every moment of your life. That was something that also resonated with me in the book, you were talking about how pain can so easily become part of our identity, there's the chronic pain aspect, and there's also the identity aspect. About how it can just become all-encompassing.

Brendon Lundberg:
Yeah, it's both tragic and interesting, I mean, pain, because we hurt, it makes it harder to stay plugged into the relationships, or the work, or the hobbies, or activities, or whatever it might be and that's hard. And I'm not here necessarily to place judgment on this but to point it out as a reality, there are some people that, while they say they want to get out of pain, they use their pain as a shield, as a reason to not face other things in their life that probably are priorities and may actually be contributing factors to their pain experience. I mean, they could be things that their nervous system is perceiving as a threat, they're not ready or willing to go there, and I'm not here to place judgment on that. But our process is designed to kind of filter those people out and to focus on the people who are really ready to reclaim their lives first.

Brendon Lundberg:
And that way, we're able to deliver as much value to those people as much as possible, and as this becomes more socially accepted as the education curve evolved, then those people right now who are the early adopters we're treated, and those that become more open to it as time goes on, or circumstances change in their life so they're like, "Okay, I really need to address this in a different way." We'll be ready for them at that point too.

Melanie Avalon:
And what are seeing as far as success rates go with your therapy? Are you doing any clinical trials, by the way? How's that looking?

Brendon Lundberg:
We're a consumer business, so we're not necessarily doing our own studies, but there has been research at the Mayo Clinic and Johns Hopkins, and a few other notable institutions and most of those results have been pretty impressive. However, our results on average are even better because this is the only horse that we've been riding, we've really learned a level of clinical efficacy and acumen, and again, we've created a business structure that supports better clinical results. So, I think head to head, even if somebody else has this or the institutions like the Mayo Clinic of Johns Hopkins that have been researching it, our results, by and large, are more consistently effective. We average about an 84% reduction in pain across the board, which is life-changing results.

Brendon Lundberg:
I mean, some of our clients when we ask them, "What is your definition of success?" They're like, "Man if I could get a 50% reduction in pain, and just somewhat tolerate, get through the day a little bit easier, that would make a big difference for me." So to average a significant reduction like 80+% is literally life-changing and life-saving for most of our clients. And even though pain is experienced in many areas of the body, and there's different diagnoses, and there's different contributors to why they've had that pain happen, the commonality is the brain. So generally speaking, we're pretty effective across the board at almost all types of chronic pain.

Melanie Avalon:
Yeah, so that was something, bringing it back around to my own selfish question, so like I said, I don't have pain specifically like chronic pain, but this is something I was actually asking you about, could this concept in a way be applied to other issues? Like I said, like people with IBS or something where they might become hyper sensitized to sensations in their gut, for example, because I know we see in clinical studies that a lot of people with "IBS" they do studies and they realize that these people are actually experiencing more sensations than a person without IBS would have. So I know that's a tangent, but could this concept be applied to something like that do you think?

Brendon Lundberg:
I think in theory, absolutely. I mean, I think you look at conditions like IBS, you look at something like tinnitus, which is ringing in the ear, I mean, you look at anxiety, there's a case to be made that this approach could be effective for a lot of different conditions. So yeah, I think yes, the appropriate answer for me to say is, without further studies and evidence, we don't know. Anecdotally, we have treated people with IBS and we've seen some good results in many of their cases, not as consistently effective as just a pure pain. But there may be other factors that are playing into that too, and that's not necessarily our area of expertise, and we haven't had enough client volume to really give an accurate insight into that if you will. Even things like, for example, we're treating an older gentleman in his late 70s, he'd been experiencing pretty profound pain in his shoulder, frozen shoulder and a variety of other things.

Brendon Lundberg:
And he was also a dementia sufferer, his wife would bring him in for treatment, and we always try to include the spouse or family or companions in the process of care for a variety of reasons. I think it helps the outcomes, it helps the expectations, it helps bring clarity to it. The wife would say she noticed that he was not only complaining less about the pain, but it seemed like he was more present, like the dementia symptoms where a little bit eased. And it's an N of 1, it's not necessarily a study, it's totally anecdotal. But it is interesting, and there are studies that show when somebody's in chronic pain, the brain lights up differently, and parts of the brain that are like our ancestral brains, our limbic brain, the brain stem, these more ancestral anatomy functions of the brain are what are driving chronic pain initially. And when someone's in chronic pain, it makes it harder to be a sensitive person, it makes it harder to feel the nuances of life and certainly the joys of life.

Brendon Lundberg:
So, I think it's possible, in theory, for this to become a catalyst for many other things, and I often joke particularly with my functional medicine friends, I look at us as the gateway non-drug. The average person out there may not care about what they eat, they may not care about their mindset, or their sleep or their movement, they're just trying to survive, they're just getting through the day and they're happy to just kind of keep doing that. But a chronic pain sufferer is motivated, particularly one that feels like they've exhausted their resources, they're desperate to feel better and it's a huge population. So we have an entry point to the populace that's significant and it's desperately seeking something that's safer and better like we have, and as we educate them, it does become this catalyst for change.

Brendon Lundberg:
So, who knows if this could be something that in the next five to 10 years, if it takes off in the way that we hope it does, that it could be something that is really fundamentally, not only just change the way we think about and treat pain, but has been a catalyst for how we approach our brains and our minds in a variety of other things related to overall health.

Melanie Avalon:
Wow, yeah, I am so motivated and encouraged by this. Just for my mom personally, and then now I'm just thinking so much about, like I said, my own thing, t's not chronic pain but it's really interesting because so about four years ago or so I think I pulled am muscle from an ab exercise because that's when the next day I had pain from it. But ever since then, that area would always seemingly flare up with my digestive issues, and so I was convinced that it was a digestion issue, not a sprained muscle or something like that, that would typically manifest a pain. Because it wouldn't manifest as pain, it would manifest as just a feeling or a pressure, and then I would see different practitioners and they would tell me, "Actually ..." It's kind of like what we were talking about with the Scrambler Therapy, people coming in and telling you to reevaluate or rethink something. They would say, "Actually, this isn't digestion, this is from a pulled muscle."

Melanie Avalon:
And I remember the first time I heard that I was like, "No, it's digestion." But then another practitioner said the exact the same thing, they were like, "No, this is the muscle that's pulled." So I tried thinking about it more and more and then that's why I really resonated with this, I was like, "Oh, wow, so maybe this is this concept of a signal constantly being set off by pressure, or digestion or something like that, and my brain registering it, reading it as, in my case, just a sensation that related to digestion, when really maybe it wasn't even that at all." And like I said, that was four years ago, and I think it's crazy that you can still have a sensation from something four years later, but that's something else you talk about in the book. That people have these injuries, and some people heal right away seemingly, and other people, it turns into this chronic pain monster.

Brendon Lundberg:
Yeah, right. So obviously, the tissue in four years would have healed, I mean, it typically will heal in a matter of a few weeks or a few months in most cases. So, essentially what's happened is there's a phantom pain happening in your abdomen, why it's happening nobody can fully understand. But we do know that all pain is neurogenic. Is coming from the brain, and the brain has created this kind of area, this little map there in your abdomen that says, "This is an area of vulnerability or pain." And it's kind of making you always kind of hyper-aware of it so you're going to protect it, I guess if you will. But it doesn't necessarily need that anymore and we can probably, through our therapy, help resolve that and cause it to go away versus what many people again is pop the pill and then they have further gut problems because their body is not absorbing nutrition and eliminating waste and it just becomes an exacerbated problem over years.

Brendon Lundberg:
So I know you haven't gone down that path because you've been so educated about nutrition and made much better choices than most of us probably would have. So congratulations on that, it hasn't probably made that worse, but I think that's the type of thing that we can definitely help, for sure.

Melanie Avalon:
Well, that's the things, it's funny that you touched on that, that's what also really resonated with me is, because I still have these issues with this feeling and the digestion, and people will say to me, they'll say, "Oh, it's not fair because you're doing "right" with diet and everything, but it's not going away." I don't know, just having this new mindset and this new reframing from reading your work, for me personally, and in pain in general, it really adds a nice, new perspective to things. So I really, really thank you for that. So for listeners, if people are interested in trying this therapy, what is the situation right now with your pain centers? Are they in different locations, how can listeners find out more information? What's the plan there?

Brendon Lundberg:
Yeah, well we are, right now only in Portland, Oregon, we're working on a few different growth strategies, one of which I can't disclose yet, but it's going to be very exciting. But in the shorter term, we want to create as much awareness and interest around what we're doing as possible because I think education and hope precede the ability to really make inroads and kind of shift society anyway. Which is why I wrote the book because even if I had all the capital in the world, I can't open clinics overnight, it takes time. So the book is a way to kind of lead the market and educate people about it. So, I'm honored to be on the podcast and to share the story and really appreciate that. But rather than coming in and acting like the people that know everything, we want to create an opportunity to everybody to get involved and to get engaged. So from a consumer standpoint, again, we give the first treatment for free, and even though we're in Portland, we do have people that fly to us from all over the country, and even out of the country to spend some time with us and get treatment.

Brendon Lundberg:
If you're local in the Oregon/Portland area, it certainly makes coming in a no-brainer because other than a little bit of time, there's no obstacle to that. But we hope to be able to grow and open more centers across the country. In addition to the free treatment, we have some other things that are happening in terms of online education, some tools that may be helpful for people. So, you can go to our website and kind of sign up and follow us on there, we also filed the with FCC to begin, essentially, it's a crowdfunded public offering, and once we're approved by that, hopefully very soon, anybody, you don't have to be a rich or accredited investor, anybody for whom this is a relevant problem or of interest can invest as little as $500.

Brendon Lundberg:
And then as we have, hopefully, thousands and thousands of people saying, "Wow, this is cool, I'd like to be part of this." They invest smaller amounts of money, we aggregate a lot of capital and that allows us to grow much faster, and simultaneously create interest and engagement with the audience and with the consumers in the market that are interested in this anyway. And then our business model, instead of selling a device to a doctor, which is quite costly, and saying, "Good luck, figure it out." It's to give them an opportunity to invest in a local center at a much lower cost than what even a single unit cost of a device is, and have economic participation that compliant with Stark laws and anti-kickback laws that regulate physicians and clinicians, and in a way that's completely passive.

Brendon Lundberg:
So we build a clinic, we operate it, we use their capital to do it so it allows us to grow faster because we're using their money versus ours, and we create relationships in the market so they can refer to us, and we can refer back to them when it makes sense, and they don't have to become experts in our therapy or take time out of their busy lives to try to figure out how do they integrate this into their world? So, those are the things that are evolving that will allow us to grow, and then the third is, as I mentioned, something that I can't quite disclose yet. But, hopefully, that comes out in the next few months, and if that happens the way we think that it will, this will allow us to grow much more quickly and reach a lot more people to help them. But if any of this is of interest, please reach out and go to our website and say, "Contact me." And we'll keep in touch.

Melanie Avalon:
Yeah, so for listeners, that website is radiantrelief.com, you've also got radiantpainrelief.com, and I will put links to everything in the show notes. So the show notes will be at melanieavalon.com/radiantrelief, so I'll put links there to the website, to all of the social media handles, and also you are offering our listeners a free digital copy of your book. So thank you so much for that, and that will be available if you go to radiantpainrelief.com/free-book, so again that's radiantpainrelief.com/free-book and I will put links to that in the show notes as well.

Melanie Avalon:
I do have one more last question for you, Brendon. So this is something I like to ask as the last question for everybody, and it's just because I've realized who important mindset is just in everything in life. So I want to ask you, what is something that you're grateful for?

Brendon Lundberg:
Boy, I'm grateful for the opportunity to be the one that gets to help bring this new approach to market. It's a lot of work, to build a company in any circumstance, it can be a very lonely process and a very discouraging process sometimes, and it certainly has been for me. So I've invested very heavily in personal development and managing my mindset, and approaching my day, and my week, and my month, and my year, and my vision from this perspective of taking ownership for that. And it's easy to feel like, "Oh my gosh, it's so hard, where am I going to raise the next round of funding to cover payroll? To meet some growth expectations." Or whatever, and to feel discouraged by that. But the truth is, I'm very grateful that I get the opportunity to do that, and to see people get their lives back, and to think about the idea that this could be something that grows in the coming years and literally can reach and impact millions of people for the better is very exciting.

Brendon Lundberg:
So I'm grateful for that, and if you were to ask me what is one recommendation to any pain sufferer out there, it's the same thing, it's focus on what you're grateful for because pain robs us of that sense of gratitude. It robs us of the things that we really love, including just normal life, and if we can focus on the things that we still have in our lives to be grateful for, it helps shift the perspective of the mind. And it does change the chemistry of the brain, and it changes the chemistry of the body which could result in less pain. So, it's an interesting phenomenon and I'm honored to have been on the podcast and to share this story, thank you so much.

Melanie Avalon:
No, of course, and yeah, I love that so much. I remember when I learned that we cannot be in a state of gratitude and a state of fear simultaneously, and it's kind of like when we were talking about with this fear and anxiety, and this mis-wiring of the brain. So it completely makes sense that cultivating this mindset of gratitude can really, really be a wonderful thing. And thank you so much for everything that you're doing, I'm ecstatic about these new developments and I eagerly await seeing hoe everything goes, and I really wish I was Oregon right now, me and my mom.

Brendon Lundberg:
Well, come hang out. I apologize we're not closer yet, but we're working on it, the next expansion market is expected to be Boston, probably by the end of summer we'll be open there. Still close, but at least on the East Coast, and then we'll just continue to grow as quickly as we can thereafter.

Melanie Avalon:
Awesome. Well, I wish you the best with that, and I am sure, wonderful big things are coming with everything.

Brendon Lundberg:
Thank you, thank you so much.

Melanie Avalon:
Thank you so much.


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