The brain is ultimately in control of your entire body, and you can tap this power through hypnosis. In this episode, find out how hypnosis can help heal chronic pain with Traci Patterson. Traci is the Founder and Executive Director of Advanced Pathways. Being a sufferer of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) for seven years, she knows pain. Her struggle to find a cure and a little normalcy in life led her to learn hypnosis. Discover a new perspective on this non-invasive treatment and how you can help in the advocacy of making others aware of its potential to heal.
Listen to the podcast here:
Traci Patterson On Healing With Hypnosis
Did you know that hypnosis can be used for anesthesia? There are several reports of people using hypnosis because they either couldn’t use traditional anesthesia or didn’t want to because they’d had adverse effects on it before. I was reading a man who got both a hernia surgery at one point in his life and a hand surgery while just under hypnosis. He says he’s aware that it was happening, but did not experience any of the pain from it, which is very interesting. We can trick the brain or we can induce certain brain states that turn off these pathways. The first account of hypnosis being used that I could find was in ancient Egypt in 1500 BC. They used to have sleep temples where they would place people under a hypnotic state and then use some suggestions to help them with whatever issue they might be dealing with.
The reason we’re bringing up hypnosis is because our guest, Traci Patterson, uses hypnosis in her treatment. This wasn’t just because she fell into hypnosis and learned about it. She was working through a condition on her own called CRPS, which stands for Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. Essentially, she was experiencing chronic debilitating pain. On a scale of one to ten, she says it’s being at a nine or ten a day. She’ll throw a stat in there about it being like giving birth every single moment of every single day is what it’s been attributed to. I don’t know what that’s like, but from what I’ve heard, it’s very painful. In her process of trying to heal herself, she tried tons of various different avenues, medications, nerve stimulators and everything that was traditionally used to treat the syndrome.
She would receive some relief, but mostly all the pain would still be there and keep coming back. She got to a place of desperation where someone said, “Why don’t you go try this guy? He practices hypnosis and sees what he can do for you.” She went and in less than a week like three or four days training with this guy, all her pain was gone. Since then she has used hypnosis to work with other clients as well as other natural holistic healing modalities. Please read on about Traci Patterson and see if hypnosis sounds like something you might want to incorporate in your life or someone you love who might benefit from this. Please share this with anyone who might need to know more about it.
Traci, welcome. How are you doing?
I’m doing fantastic. Thank you for having me.
Will you share a little bit about who you are, what you do and then we can get into your amazing story and the wonderful work that you do for people?
I am the Founder and Executive Director of Advanced Pathways located in Irvine, California. I am working with chronic pain patients on an international basis. Those individuals that have been diagnosed with CRPS, fibromyalgia, neuropathic pain and even chronic migraines. Typically they’re coming and finding me by the time they’ve exhausted everything else and they feel like there’s no hope. What I’ve done is put together a non-invasive and drug-free protocol that allows us to work with them as a whole. That in turn allows them to gain functional levels and regain their life.
It’s unfortunate though that they have to come to you at the last possible moment, when they start sending people to you first. This all came from your own life experience. Will you walk us through what you went through and the experience of learning through your own struggle?
I was in my garage and I stepped over a box and sprained my ankle. Unfortunately, it wasn’t healing right. My physician and I were working together. We did multiple X-rays and found out there’s no fracture, but even after six months, it wasn’t healing. We knew there was something more. I was sent to a podiatrist locally and unfortunately, things went awry from there. I went through a couple of surgeries. There were some mistakes made during the surgery and this wasn’t always the case, but in mine it was. That led to a diagnosis of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, CRPS. That is a pain syndrome that they say there’s no cure for. The majority of people out there have never even heard of it. As somebody who had a healthcare background, I had never heard of it. It’s staggering.
To give everyone who doesn’t necessarily understand it, what is that experience like CRPS?
CRPS runs on fight and flight and there’s some type of miscommunication in the autonomic system. Our body’s not functioning the way it should. It could be the peripheral nervous system. It could be anywhere in the central nervous system. What it feels like is a 24/7 burning, stabbing, annoying pain. Some people experience bone pain with it and it’s unrelenting. The individuals that have experienced it and what information is out there, for example, with a McGill Pain Scale. They’ve put the pain of CRPS above childbirth, amputation of a digit and some other diagnosis that are out there. It is also known as the suicide disease.
Having talked to a number of people who have gone through various things in their life, they always say that it’s not the event itself but it’s the chronic pain that can oftentimes be this driving factor. I haven’t been pregnant so I don’t know, but if it’s chronic pain worse than pregnancy in every moment of every day, I can imagine that would be a natural thought to have.
That’s exactly it. The problem is there are some individuals that may see 50 to 100 doctors before they’re diagnosed. I was fortunate and that wasn’t the case. What you’re told during that initial diagnosis leaves you in awe and your head spinning. I was told that, “We have good news and when we have bad news and that is the fact that there is no cure for it, but we’ll do our best to try and get you to a comfortable state or get you into remission.” After six months went by, that never happened.
Over the course of six months, that’s a very daunting prognosis to get. What treatments were you enduring over the course of six months?
I lived with CRPS for many years from start to the time that I got into long-term remission. During that time, we did medications, high levels of opiates, which isn’t even available to patients at this point in time, local blocks, lumbar sympathetic blocks, spinal cord stimulators, physical therapy. You name it, I did it. I did hyperbaric. I did mud packs for pain. It was supposed to help pull out toxins and decrease inflammation. Unfortunately, it didn’t do anything. I did anything that was available to me within reason both in traditional medicine and also seeking other outside sources. When I put in or had a spinal cord stimulator, it caused my CRPS to move from my left foot and ankle all the way into my back from my hips to my shoulders. I was a hot mess. Eventually, when I had the last spinal cord stimulator removed, I was told by a top neurosurgeon, my pain management doctor and a neurologist, “Traci, I’m sorry, there’s nothing more we can do than keep you comfortable on opiates.”
My response was, “I’m not dying, not at this point.” I knew that I needed to find something and that’s when I started traveling out of the country. I’ve spent many years traveling to Germany, to concierge clinics learning more about integrative and complementary medicine. I was traveling down to Mexico. I was treated at a concierge clinic down there several times. I’m on the search for how do I get my life back because I had a young son at the time who is now 28. It was so important for me to do that and to be able to be there for him as he grew up.
It sounds to me like you tried everything.
There were a couple of things that are more prominent in the industry now such as high dose ketamine infusions. I didn’t do it. At the time, I was on oral ketamine and if that wasn’t working, why would I go with a high dose infusion? I’ve been pain-free for years now and I look at the fact that now there are still no resources or research showing what does high dose ketamine over a long period of time do the human body. I don’t want to go down that road.
Doesn’t that have hallucinogenic effects too?
That doesn’t sound like something you want to be on for a long time.
The problem is that’s where the push is right now, especially with CRPS also known as RSD. A lot of physicians are pushing high dose ketamine infusions, but they’re short-acting. Even if somebody goes in and does a five-day infusion every three months, they’re having to go back and do more infusions to stay at a low pain level. They’re trying to hit a reset button but it’s not working.
It sounds like the common theme for CRPS is pain management or pain reduction or just trying to find any way to get the pain down. In your experience, you discovered a solution for yourself. I would love to hear that a-ha moment of finding a solution for yourself.
I had everybody that knew me in and outside of the healthcare field, friends and family who were always searching for that solution. I had two different individuals come to me within a month of each other saying, “There’s somebody in Tennessee who works with chronic pain via hypnosis.” I tried hypnosis early on in my diagnosis, so I blew him off. I took another trip to Germany and the wheels were coming off the wagon. It wasn’t helping. I was spending hundreds of thousands of dollars and I needed to find another solution. I finally got on the phone with the gentleman in Tennessee who is doing hypnosis. He’s working with neuroplasticity and a little bit with biofeedback. I thought, “It’s one week. I’ve been traveling the globe, so what’s one week in Tennessee?” I went ahead and booked the appointment. I went to Tennessee.\The McGill pain scale puts the pain of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) above childbirth, above amputation of a digit and above some other diagnosis that are out there. It is also known as the suicide disease. Click To Tweet
That’s ultimately what got my life back is doing a five-day intensive with him. Working with heavy hypnosis, neuroplasticity, trying to lessen the impact and also doing some biofeedback in there. When I got home, it’s like the light bulb went off. I lived with this for seven years. I traveled the globe, spent money that was just crazy and something like this work? It made me take that step back and think. That’s when I took the next step and say, “Something else has to be done because we need more resources for other chronic pain patients.” That’s when I went ahead and took the next step and got my credentials in clinical hypnosis hypnotherapy. A year later, I got my instructor certifications.
You said you had tried hypnosis before and it didn’t work. What was different this time when you tried hypnosis again?
The individual that I initially worked with early on didn’t have a background in pain management or working with chronic pain even though they said, “We think we can help.” It did help a little bit with my stress, which is a component of chronic pain. The stuff they were wanting to do was a lot of regression, meaning having me relive this over and over again. I was a chronic pain patient. You want to get rid of the pain. The last thing you want to do is relive it. The direction that we took in Tennessee versus California with the gentleman that I was working with here was looking at the mind-body connection. We looked at both the physiology and the biology of how the body works, how it functions and how the brain is ultimately in control of the entire body.
You mentioned the mind-body connection. First off, I’m going to go back a little bit for anyone who’s not familiar with hypnosis. What is hypnosis as you would say?
Hypnosis is a natural state that our mind goes through every single day. There are a lot of misconceptions about hypnosis because people see it on television, Hollywood movies, even in Las Vegas or the fair. Hypnosis is not mind control. It’s a relaxed state that the mind goes into and changes the brain wave cycle into an alpha and theta brainwave cycle. It’s in those cycles that we can tap into the subconscious mind. People cannot control their thoughts. We cannot read your thoughts. We cannot make you say anything that you do not want to say. I never even had my patients talk when we’re in hypnosis because I need them to absorb what’s being said to them. Most people are familiar with meditation in this day and age because that’s a big thing that’s going on. Meditation and hypnosis go hand-in-hand. The big difference is in hypnosis, we’re providing suggestions for healing and health. The way I tell people is to think about it as planting a garden. We’re planting the seeds in our mind and we’re pulling the weeds at the same time. If we nurse those seeds and give them exactly what they need, they’ll continue to grow. That’s what we want to be able to do.
I love that description because there’s common imagery out there of hypnosis being the pendulum in front of the eyes and this altered state where anything can happen. In my experience, hypnosis is a natural state of the mind that in a healthy circumstance should be functioning every day.
It gives us the ability to tap in and make some subtle adjustments and those are positive adjustments. What I explained to most people that I talk to is think about having your perfect car out in your driveway. For some people, it may be a Lamborghini, Porsche, Audi, BMW or maybe it’s a Honda, whatever their perfect car is. If they don’t maintain the engine of that car and they go out and try and turn it on and the car doesn’t start, what’s the value of that car to that individual? There isn’t any value anymore. That’s the same thing with our brain. Our brain is the engine of that car. The same way we have to maintain the engine of our car, we need to maintain our brain. When we can do that in a positive way and in a healthy way, then our body will heal. The bottom line is our brain controls every function in our body, whether people want to think about that or not. We don’t have to think about blinking when we have dust in our eyes. We don’t have to think about our heart beating or breathing because our body does it. Our body is meant to heal and when we give it the proper tools, our body has the ability to heal.
The philosophy that I approach health in my life is if I can get my body all the foundational resources of health, it knows what to do. All that is required is for me to get out of the way. If the brain is in control, in your experience, why do you think the brain gets stuck in these loops of chronic pain?
What I see with most individuals that I’ve worked with from individuals that are eight years old to individuals in their 80s is it seems like it’s the perfect storm. For most of the individuals that I talk to and treated and going back through a timeline, what I see is right before an incident, something happened that their immune system was down. Somebody had a cold or flu. I’ve had a few parents say they had a vaccine. I’m not saying the vaccine has anything to do with this. What I’m saying is sometimes our immune system can drop because of that, because it’s adapting. Maybe there’s a sports injury and there’s a lot of stress involved at the same time. All of a sudden, it’s the perfect storm and the brain is essentially sending out a wrong signal. The problem is it gets perpetuated and a lot of traditional treatments aren’t helping chronic pain patients. For example, if somebody has CRPS and arrest, they want to treat it as a sprain or fracture. The problem is the pain loop’s coming from the brain and the signals being perpetuated there. We can’t treat chronic pain as a sprain, a strain or break. We need to make that whole mind-body connection.
I know you use hypnosis in your work and it’s different and unique for everyone. Can you give us an example of how you would start to bring someone out of pain through hypnosis?
In my office, we’re using a multimodality protocol, so it’s not just hypnosis. Most chronic pain patients are seeing me for a one-week intensive. That’s five days and they’re working with me for about six hours a day. If we break that down with all the modalities we use, that’s equivalent to seeing five or six different practitioners for a six-month period of time. We are packing a lot into five days. One of the big tools is hypnosis. Hypnosis allows us to get the individual out of fight and flight. We can treat pain and all of this other stuff, stress, anxiety, PTSD, insomnia. Unless the brain is out of fight and flight, it’s not going to hold. The first step is being able to get that individual out of fight and flight. That’s where the other modalities come into play. We’re working with neuroplasticity training called laser that allows us to decrease inflammation, promote blood flow and healing, and also calm down nerves. That combination of neuropathic pain is amazing. Adding in biofeedback, neurofeedback, PMF, which is pulse, electromagnetic frequency and a few other modalities is a great way of being able to put all of our puzzle pieces on the table and putting our puzzle together.
I love that you mentioned in there too that the body isn’t going to be receptive to any healing unless it’s out of fight or flight. That’s an important point for anyone. No matter what you may be going through in life, if you can’t get your body out of stress and get your body out of that anxious, nervous state, your body’s not going to be able to do what it does best, which is heal itself. Your body in those states is focused on surviving.
That’s where the body is meant. I give an example to the people that work with me all the time of thinking about the bunny rabbit going through the clover field, getting chased. They go into fight and flight. As soon as they’re safe, they go back to eating their clover and everything’s grand. With the human body, we have this amazing brain that we can overthink, we can what-if and we can worry. All of those things have the ability to keep us in fight and flight, but our brain will not allow us to be relaxed and be in fight and flight at the same time. Yet as a chronic pain patient, it’s impossible to relax on your own.
I love that you make that distinction of the little bunny rabbit. I was reading a book by Peter Levine and it’s called Waking the Tiger. He studied how animals in nature respond to stressful situations. Essentially, what he realized is that after an animal in nature goes through a stressful situation, they’ll have a moment immediately after almost being paralyzed, but their bodies have the ability to process and let it go immediately after that stressful situation. What you’re indicating with us as human beings is because we have these interesting minds, we can almost create these negative thought patterns and thought loops that keep us perpetually either in the past or in the future.
What I go through to a lot of people is the analogy of if you go into the city and you see the horses that are pulling the carriages, they always have blinders on the horses on the left and right. They’re focused on their path and not focused on pedestrians and cars. Individuals that are dealing with chronic pain, essentially their body put these blinders on them so their focus is getting through that day, that minute and that hour. They’re not thinking about what was it like prior to that diagnosis or prior to that injury. It doesn’t matter if it’s chronic pain, a stroke, chronic anything or whatever we’re dealing with. Even when people have the flu, they’re just worried about getting through this moment. When we’re dealing with something for years and you’re told there’s no cure for it and you’re searching for that cure, you are so focused on just trying to make it through that minute, that hour and that day. You’re much less looking at the week ahead that. You aren’t thinking about what was it like to be healthy and happy. You can’t see yourself in the future doing the things you want to do. That’s part of what we can do with hypnosis employing it full circle. We’re using that ability to have us go back to positive memory. Not reliving the negatives, but going back to that positive and pulling it forward.When you're dealing with something for years that doesn't have a cure, you forget what was it like to be healthy and happy. Click To Tweet
It’s like reshuffling a card deck because in a nanosecond, when we go to reach for something to take a step, our brain is going through these cards or search on a computer to try and figure out a learned response. Dealing with chronic pain is a learned response. The only way that we can overcome that is getting out of fight and flight and flipping that response of pulling these positive memories forward or reshuffling the cards. Our brain starts getting to the positives before it gets to the negatives while you’re working on more positives.
You’re stacking the deck. I love that because it’s been my experience. I’m always exploring and experimenting with things for my own health and well-being. I’ve experienced tapping. To me this sounds not exactly the same but similar in tapping. I like to think of it as you’re chopping up the memory. For anyone who’s never had tapping, it’s basically guiding you through this meditation. It’s almost hypnotic experience but not exactly hypnosis and you’re taken in and out of these memories. In the process of being brought in and out of these memories, someone’s tapping physically on your body. The idea isn’t to draw your awareness to the taps, but it’s creating this interruption of the signal. Do you feel like hypnosis does something similar where it’s interrupting the signal or do you feel like it’s more of just reshuffling the deck and bringing more of the positives to life?
It’s the combination. The tapping that you’re talking about ties into something called EFT or Emotional Freedom Technique where you’re tapping on a Meridian point and that is supposed to send some additional energy through your body, in addition to releasing a negative memory. I know exactly what you’re talking about. With most chronic pain patients, I can’t tap on them or they’d be ready. That’s something that I’m very familiar with, but I can’t utilize it in my office. With hypnosis, it gives us the ability with those people that have a sensitivity to touch, causalgia, to actually work with them in a way that we don’t have to touch them and to be able to use the positive memories to help break up the negatives.
People come to my office all the time and say, “Use hypnosis to delete these memories.” We can’t delete a memory nor would we want to. That’s what molds us into a stronger and better human being. For most people, it allows them to be more empathetic, understanding and compassionate than they may have been before. All the struggles that we go through in our life, whether it’s chronic pain, work-related, personal, etc. helps to mold us into a better person or a different person than when we started out being. Hypnosis is an amazing tool that ties into neuroplasticity and into cell memory. It ties into just about every aspect of our body when we know how to use it correctly.
If someone’s out there looking to start using hypnosis for their chronic pain or health or well-being, what would you say are some things to look out for in terms of finding a practitioner that is going to help?
It’s important to ask questions just the same as you should be able to be your best advocate for yourself, even going to a traditional doctor. A lot of people are told that it’s not okay to ask questions, but we have to. If we want to be our best advocate, that’s us. If you’re thinking about going to somebody who does hypnosis or hypnotherapy, ask them. Have they ever heard of your condition? Ask them if they worked with other chronic pain patients. How many chronic pain patients have they worked with? Feel free to ask those types of questions.
If you talked to somebody and you have CRPS and they go, “What’s that?” You don’t want to work with them. It doesn’t mean that they’ve had to have experienced it as I did, but you have to have a knowledge base of what you’re working with to be able to help the individual overcome it. If you have fibromyalgia and you go to somebody and they said, “I treated somebody that had a headache,” that’s not the right person for you. Somebody else has said, “I’ve just worked with weight loss or smoking,” because that’s what a lot of hypnotherapists are trained in. It’s about asking the right questions, being your best advocate and making sure it’s the right fit for you.
I know you have some incredible stories. You don’t have to mention any names or anything, but I would love to know of people you’ve worked with who have had these amazing recoveries through the techniques that you’ve been using.
I’ve got two people that are at the top of my mind, both of which have done video testimonials for me. One of which, I’ll put her first name out there because it’s on all of our videos. We call it the Shannon video. She’s done two videos for me. She came to me after living with CRPS for many years. She had been seen at some of the top universities, UCLA, Stanford, the list went on and on. It was her husband who found me. Because when you’re in that state of chronic pain and you can barely take a stop, the last thing you’re going to be doing is researching on the internet. A lot of times it’s our loved ones that are looking and searching for us. She finally came to me and her pain level was right around a nine or ten out of ten. It had not dropped from that and it was only getting worse. It’s hard to fathom that but it was a reality. She was skeptical as everybody is walking through the front door. They’re not sure what to expect because they’ve been treated all over the place and nothing else has worked.
As we work through the week working with the hypnosis and a lot of cold laser and biofeedback, neurofeedback, her pain levels were consistently coming down. At the end of the week, she was at zero pain level. The first testimonial video we did with her was at the end of the week. I was in tears standing behind my videographer, trying to keep it together and watching her do a testimonial. At a six-month point, her husband did another update video and sent it to me and said, “Can you put it out?” I said, “Absolutely.” At that point, she was running on a treadmill, had already done a 5K and was living life to its fullest. She’s now over a year out and is amazing. They moved out of state. She’s hiking, working out and running. She’s living her life the way she wants to live it. She’s in what we call long-term remission. Long-term remission is zero pain and being able to function, do all the activities of daily living and do everything that you want to do. That’s the end-goal.
The whole story is getting me chills over here. It’s incredible to think that someone can live through so much pain for ten years, but also that with the resources that we have available to us, they can be taken care of in a week.
I’m also sending them home with a 90-day home program. The majority of the work is done in one week, in five days. Even if they leave my office at a zero pain level, I still reinforce, “You need to do this 90-day home program” because it’s reinforcing what we’ve done and allowed it to become part of their lifestyle. For those individuals that may leave my office at a functionable level, it is imperative that they do that 90-day home program because that’s what’s going to allow them to continue to drop those levels and stay where they want to stay.
What’s involved in the 90-day home program?
The 90-day home program, when somebody comes into my office and they’re working with me, I’m asking permission to audiotape every hypnosis session. When they leave, they have a whole library of personalized MP3s of their hypnosis sessions for them. It’s a lot different than going on the internet and grabbing just a general meditation or hypnosis to listen to. These had been personalized throughout the week and built specifically for them. When we’re working with biofeedback, I’m introducing them to HeartMath. It’s biofeedback that I utilize and they have an app. All they need to do is get the sensor to go with the app. I encourage them to do that.
That’s one of my favorites because of how accessible it makes getting out of fight or flight. They’ve designed this app and this technique. You head over to AdventuresInHealth.tv/affiliates and HeartMath is listed on there. It’s the easiest and fastest way I’ve found that’s accessible to get people out of stress. There are so much science and research behind it and that’s wonderful.
That’s one of the big things that I’m talking to individuals about in my office is people laugh and say, “I’m in Traci’s world,” or “I’m in Traci’s bubble.” You are, but we also need to be able to take that next step out into real life. The individuals that have problems when they get home are individuals that don’t want to change their lifestyles. Because stress is close to an 88% component of pain. I’m not saying stress causes chronic pain, it perpetuates it. The stress cycle plays in the exact same area of the brain in the limbic system as the chronic pain cycle. The reality is most individuals you speak with that are in pain will say, “The more stressed I am, the higher my anxiety goes, the higher my pain level goes.” That’s because it’s all working in the same area of the brain. The only difference is the stress cycle pulls in adrenal glands and some other areas and also releases neurochemicals and cortisol.Wrap your arms around the things that you can enact change on. Click To Tweet
We’ve got to be aware of that and we’ve got to make changes at home to take ourselves off the bottom of the totem pole, as I tell them. Move yourself up a couple of spots and take care of ourselves. That’s a big part of it too. Making those changes at home that you need to make. I’m also teaching them self-hypnosis and meditation. It’s something they need to learn how to do. We can’t always tap into an MP3. We may not have 15 to 30 minutes to listen to an MP3. If it’s a young person or a teenager, they’re at school or even an eight or nine-year-old and something happens that their stress starts going up, I want them to be able to take two minutes and do a quick meditation, self-hypnosis or visualization, something to bring those levels down.
What you’re encouraging is independence. It’s like this tip of this iceberg. I used to be a yoga teacher and I used to teach meditation. To me, the core part of the practice is awareness. You’re helping people bring awareness to the states of being that they may be in or the states of being they can change after they’ve had a week with you to keep this healing process going. Keep their own body and mind engaged in it, but it’s challenging because we are creatures of habit. Anytime we’re trying to break a habit, we have to be in that state of ease. We have to have that persistence and that drive to want to keep showing up and keep breaking the cycle essentially.
Sending them home with what I call tools is being able to go in and grab that toolbox and say, “I had a hard day at school today and I’m pretty stressed out,” whether it was a teacher, another student, an assignment for a younger person, for an adult, real world. We’re all dealing with the real world and the problem is in social media and it’s nonstop. It’s finding those happy mediums of how much time do we spend on social media. How much time do we allow other aspects to influence what we’re doing? I enforce with everybody that I work with is wrap your arms around the things that you can enact change on. The things that you have absolutely no control of, let it go and learn how to let it roll off your back. When we can do those things, it actually puts us in control and allows us to move forward.
I love that because it gives us this, “Here’s what’s within my grasp,” which turns out it’s not that much. I’ve found in my own experience of health and wellness, oftentimes all I have the ability to control is how I’m reacting to situations. I hardly have any control over what’s happening day-to-day in life because I’m only one person of seven billion people and then also only one person on a planet of ever-rotating motion and changes. Within that, I can find that calm in my own little bubble. I find that calm in my own little bubble from the chaos of the world around me. It’s almost like creating a force field around yourself. There’s chaos going on but it’s just bouncing off. The big part of what you’re teaching people is how to create this almost like the bubble of calm around themselves.
I think that’s important. Whether I’m working with a young person who is eight, nine, ten, a teenager or an adult, we have to learn how to live in the world that we’re in without allowing a lot of the outside influences to affect our health, our well-being and our outlook on the future. When we’ve got an open mind and we can figure out how to take some negatives from the past and turn into positives in the present, then all of a sudden it puts us on a completely different path.
I just want to go back and point out how incredible it is that you can take a person from ten years of chronic pain and in five days and a 90-day program. That’s a turnaround that honestly should be making headline news.
Here’s the problem we run into. I’ve got two more examples for you. I worked with a lady who had fibromyalgia for 30 years. She tried everything, did everything and years later, she’s doing everything she wants to do. She’s going to church, traveling, going to concerts and working full-time. She is doing everything she wants to do. For 30 years, she couldn’t find any help. Another patient I saw is she’s about to turn seventeen. She’s a senior in high school. She’s a CRPS patient and her parents flew me to Illinois to see her. She’s on one of two video testimonials that I’ve got. When I arrived she was in a wheelchair because the CRPS again started in a foot and ankle. They did a spinal cord stimulator that caused it to move into her hips. That ultimately is what put her in a wheelchair. I work with each individual to figure out what their goal is for the week. Her goal for the week was to drop her pain level to about a five so she could get back to school. Two weeks before I arrived, she can even sit up in bed. That’s what we were dealing with. One of her other goals, and I saw her a week before Thanksgiving, she wanted to roller skate on New Year’s Eve with her girlfriends. In my mind, I was thinking, “I’m not sure how this one’s going to happen, but let’s do it.”
Halfway through the week, we met her goal of five out of ten. By the end of the week, she was at a zero pain level. Even during the week that I was with her, she had two physical therapy appointments and her physical therapist even saw a difference in what she was able to do with physical therapy. In 90 days or a little over 90 days, her parents sent me an update video. What her dad did when I originally saw her for that five-day intensive is every day he did a quick video of the progress she was making, where she was at her thoughts. They gave me the raw footage and said, “There are a lot more people like her. They need to hear from you and they need the help, so do something with this.” I had my video guy put it together in a format and that was the first video testimonial. The second one was a video that her dad sent me of her shoveling snow. This means she’s no longer in a wheelchair at 90 days. Also, her back at the gym on a treadmill, doing squats, doing lunges, working with weights. She’s about ready to graduate from high school.
She’s taken some amazing trips. She’s back to Tae Kwon Do. She was a black belt. She’s back to everything she wants to do. These are the stories and the things that inspire me to continue doing what I’m doing. It’s unfortunate in the day and age that we’re living in that they’re having to go through what they have before finding treatment options like this. That’s where we need to change that paradigm. We need to make a shift so that patients have access to it and insurance companies will pay for it because they won’t. We’re in an uphill battle trying to get all of the insurance companies to work with something like this. The pieces that they’re putting on the table don’t align. For example, they only want to allow coverage of one mental health session per day, a maximum of three per week. That doesn’t work for our chronic pain patients. If we’re doing multiple things during the week, which we are, we can’t bill for it. We’re trying to shift and change that.
In the interim, unfortunately, it is cash pay. People do have options of being able to, if it’s a child and the parents have a health savings account, they can pull it out of that. Anything over a certain dollar amount, they can work with their accountants and see if they can write part of it off on their taxes. Shannon, her husband said, “We’re going to pull it out of our 401(k) because your life is more important than this amount of money sitting in 401(k). We can always replace that. We can’t replace you.” People get creative and it’s unfortunate that they have to do that, but that’s where people are going to try and get their lives back right now.
It breaks my heart a little bit to hear how much trouble some people have to go through just to get healing.
It is, because when I look at it and I look at everything that I went through and the fact that most people wouldn’t have had access to the resources that I sought and tracked down, it shouldn’t be that difficult. If an insurance company’s going to pay for medications for chronic pain patients over the life of that patient, that’s hundreds of thousands of dollars or more, possibly $1 million. Why are they not willing to pay for a one-week protocol that’s going to allow them to reach a functional level, if not get into long-term remission? It doesn’t make sense.
I’m glad that you’re sharing these stories and I’m glad that we get to bring these to the world because the more stories like this that are heard, the more power we’re giving to shifting that paradigm. To me, that’s what it’s all about. I go back to speaking about awareness, but awareness is our tool for ourselves in terms of our own healing, but it’s also our tool for helping others find healing resources. A huge part of our mission here at the show is bringing awareness to the amazing healing resources out there. Just speaking with you, Traci, what you’re doing is incredible and life-changing. Thank you for having gone through what you’ve gone through, but also on the other side of that saying, “How can we up the level? How can we up the game? How can we bring this to more people?”
I don’t think that’s what we’re in the process of doing. I’ve been in private practice for years and we’re in the process of taking this shift and partnering with some other organizations, some nonprofits, to be able to shift from private practice into a wellness institute. That does multiple things. It allows us to help more people. It allows us to train other people, not just locally but in other areas of the US and even other countries to do what I’m doing and therefore make it more accessible to the people that need it. Those are the shifts that need to happen in addition to not only companies and individuals like us as clinicians and practitioners, but also for the individuals that are dealing with a health issue to go to their insurance company. Because as an advocate for our own health, not only are we or our family members seeking out treatment options. It’s just as important to let the insurance companies know this is available to me and we need to be able to have access to it.
If we look at it, for example, chiropractic care. Many years ago, there was a lot of chiropractic care available just as there is now. Insurance companies didn’t want to cover it. When they saw the means and the outcomes, then all of a sudden they made the resources available as a covered expense. I think it’s the same thing. We’re in that dynamic right now in the country that everybody’s acknowledging the opioid epidemic. Everybody’s acknowledging that unfortunately instead of the pendulum going from one side to the middle, we’ve gone the opposite direction where a lot of physicians are under prescribing medications right now. That’s a whole other story. At the same time, we have NIH, National Institute of Health, we have the government, we have other resources pushing physicians to acknowledge and let their patients know about other non-invasive and drug-free treatments. As they become more aware of that, it’s going to be a continuous shift for people to be able to get it covered.
It’s going to open the door for millions of people to be able to get the care they need. Those are the steps that we’re doing. It’s advocacy. It’s making sure people are aware of the treatment options, but also being able to give outcomes and resources so that people can see. That’s what I’m doing when I go out and do an international talk or talking locally or doing a podcast. I can bring case study after case study and I can bring outcomes. We have over an 85% success rate at my office by getting people to functional levels. Many of those people get into long-term remission and that’s huge. There’s no research right now on the entire protocol I’m doing because I’m the only one in the US doing it right now. Actually, the only one in the world. As we make these shifts, as we can get into a wellness center, as we can open up the time and the resources, then all of a sudden we can start providing research. In the meantime, outcomes and case studies should be enough for insurance companies to say, “A-ha, our light bulb went on. We’re going to cover this.”Awareness is our tool for ourselves in terms of our own healing. Click To Tweet
I’m very much looking forward to all that coming to fruition as I know it will. You’ve talked a little bit about this before, but I’d love to hear one more from the heart, what’s your inspiration, Traci?
For me, it’s everybody that I work with, irregardless if they ended up a functional level or if they end at a zero pain level. When I get the emails and the pictures or the satisfaction of seeing them at the end of the week and a patient that you wouldn’t have touched the first day that they walked into the office and you’ve got hugs going on, especially with an adolescent, an eight-year-old, a nine-year-old, a teenager, and the parents are saying, “I haven’t been able to hug my child in years, Traci.” Everybody’s hugging and we have tears of joy in the office. If that’s not a motivator, nothing is. For me personally, being able to look back and say, “I dealt with this for seven years and I never thought that I’d be able to kayak every weekend, that I’d be horseback riding, that I’d be traveling, that I would have the ability to have total control over my life.” When you bring that together, it’s a full package both personally and also with being able to help the individuals that we see. That’s a big part of what I do and also what Advanced Pathways is doing is bringing it to fruition.
Let everyone know where they can connect with you, where they can find you and where they can send a loved one who might need a little extra assistance.
If they want to visit the website, it’s AdvancedPathways.com. If they want to contact us via email, it’s at Info@AdvancedPathways.com and that way it will give them the ability to look at the website. There’s a ton of written testimonials, a handful of video testimonials and see what we’re doing and what are some of the outcomes. We do offer a free consult on either Skype, FaceTime, or telephone, because it’s important for them to make sure it’s the right fit. It’s an investment of time and money and they need to make sure that they’re comfortable and they feel like it’s the right fit for them. Those are some of the things that we’re providing without cost to be able to open the doors so more people can be aware of it.
Thank you so much. If you’re out there reading and you or a loved one or someone you know would benefit from knowing this wonderful information that Traci has brought to us, please share this because you never know who might need this or who might benefit from this. I believe that if we can start creating more healing in a week, in 90 days afterwards, then that is worth sharing and worth bringing to the world. Thank you so much, Traci.
- Traci Patterson
- Advanced Pathways
- Waking the Tiger
About Traci Patterson
Founder and Executive Director, Advanced Pathways
Traci Patterson is the Founder and Executive Director of Advanced Pathways. She holds an MD, MBA, and is a Certified Instructor and Clinical Hypnotherapist through the National Guild of Hypnotists (NGH) specializing in the treatment of chronic pain patients. She also holds additional certifications and credentials in pain management, cancer patient care, and PTSD. Traci, is helping individuals regain their lives with Hypnosis Combined Therapy (HCT) – multimodality, evidence-based, non-invasive and drug-free treatment protocol.
Traci has a dynamic background from a perspective that few if any other physicians, clinicians or practitioners can offer. Her background as a chronic pain patient diagnosed with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) and is now treating other chronic pain patients is rare. She has patients; pediatrics to geriatrics; which contact her globally searching for answers and relief.
Traci is well known within the CRPS and chronic pain communities as an expert and a patient advocate. She is an Ambassador with the US Pain Foundation and a Delegate with the International Pain Foundation on a volunteer basis, and is very passionate about ensuring the chronic pain community is not left behind.
Traci’s progressive view of pain control has created dramatic results in improving the lives of those who have often exhausted all other options, respect from physicians, and gratitude from patients. Traci has been nominated for numerous WEGO Health Activist Awards. In 2018 Advanced Pathways was nominated and awarded, “Best Pain Control Clinic” in Irvine, California. Traci also received a “Healthcare Innovations” award in 2018 from ABL. In addition, she has been a Keynote speaker at a variety of international healthcare conferences discussing chronic pain, CRPS and integrative treatment options.