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Jason Tafler - Neural Solutions for Stronger Resilience - Podcast

sound healing vagus nerve May 28, 2021

Jason Tafler almost left us at age 40.

A severe inflammatory disease just about took his life.

Jason used meditation in his healing process to reduce his physical pain.

His experience ultimately led him to found Unyte, a company that creates neural solutions to help people feel safer, regulated, and resilient.

Jason also talks about acquiring another company doing important and groundbreaking work with people with Autism, ADD, and ADHD called Integrated Listening Systems

Jason's personal story of transformation encompasses everything we talk about here. His work is further evidence that sound and music strengthens connections in the brain.

Today you'll learn about how investing just 1% of your daily waking hours to nurturing your nervous system can help you experience 100% of life.

Let the joy begin!

 

Show Outline:

4:00 Jason’s story personal and spiritual transformation after near death experience 

5:00 The role of meditation in the healing process. Mentions Ram Das - Be here Now

8:00 How meditation helped to increase awareness, reduce physical pain mentions Dr. Dan Siegal

 

16:53  How your nervous system is your “interface” to the world and how it is able to be strengthened from the bottom up through tools like meditation 

17:35 why the vagus nerve is the most important nerve in the body

19:10 How Jason’s Unyte/Integrated Listening Systems helps people to learn how to strengthen the nervous system through a bottom up approach.  Mentions “Your Body Keeps the Score”.

And how doing so, helps a person to be more accessible to other therapies and learning.

24:07 Jason explains how biofeedback helps people become more in touch with how to be more effective in strengthening their nervous system —through active correction.

27:20 How often should you use a biofeedback device and how does it help

31:00 How investing just 1% of your daily waking hours into strengthening your nervous system can help you better experience life no matter what your gifts and challenges might be

32:00 About integrated listening systems and their work with people with Autism, ADD, ADHD as well as general population

34:00 The role of music and frequencies in helping people heal from emotional and nervous system dysregulation.

36:00  How music and frequency can help strengthen the connections between the hemispheres of the brain and body and brain interaction.

41:00 How and where to connect with Unyte Ils www.integratedlistening.com

 

Jason Tafler Bio

After surviving a near-death experience at the age of 40 caused by a severe inflammatory disease, Jason has fully recovered, largely through the use of a wide variety of health modalities. 

This experience led him to found Unyte in 2017 to fulfill his passion for improving health and wellness. Backed by the Canadian Business Growth Fund, Unyte is building and acquiring a suite of neural solutions that help people rewire their nervous systems so they can feel more safe, regulated and resilient and better respond to life’s challenges. 

Prior to founding Unyte, Jason was EVP, Customer Experience and Chief Digital Officer at Rogers Communications, a $30 billion Canadian telco and media company, overseeing customer experience and digital strategy, user experience and design, customer intelligence, and digital channels. Prior to joining Rogers, Jason was CEO of PointRoll, a leading U.S.-based provider of innovative digital marketing solutions. Under Jason’s leadership, PointRoll grew to 450 employees and $120 million in revenue. 

Prior to joining PointRoll, he specialized in mergers and acquisitions and venture capital with The Jordan, Edmiston Group, Inc. (JEGI), a boutique investment bank in New York. Before moving to the U.S., Jason played a key role in building lifestyle publisher Zoomer Media and worked in investment banking for First Marathon Securities. He received his Bachelor of Business Administration from the Schulich School of Business and holds the Chartered Financial Analyst designation. Jason joined Baycrest’s Centre for Aging & Brain Health Innovation Advisory Council in 2017 and the Jamieson Wellness (TSX: JWEL) Board of Directors in 2017. 

He currently lives in Toronto with his wife Afshan and son Aydan.

Transcript:

Jason Tafler:

The breathing and meditation combined are very powerful because 80% of the nerve fibers in the vagus nerve, this is the most important nerve in the body, as you know, from all your writings and everything you do, which is wonderful, 80% of the fibers go from the body to the brain. So, if you're breathing calmly and into the diaphragm, it's sending signals of safety. It's sending signals that you're okay, and then the brain sends signals back to the body that it can relax, it can heal, it can regenerate, restore, have social connection. So, it's really all interconnected, and these tools are a way of strengthening the nervous system so that we can better respond to life's challenges and better experience life.

Jim Donovan:

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Jim Donovan:

Hey there, this is Jim Donovan. Welcome to the show. I am glad you're here. We've got a powerful and hopeful show for you today with our guest, Jason Tafler. Jason survived a near death experience at the age of 40 caused by a severe inflammatory disease, largely through the use of a wide variety of health modalities. That experience led him to found a company that's doing groundbreaking and important work called Unyte Integrated Listening Systems. They create neural solutions that help people rewire their nervous systems so they can feel more safe, regulated and resilient and better respond to life's challenges. Jason shares a ton of valuable information with us today that you should know about. Let's get started.

Jim Donovan:

Jason, welcome to the show. It is so good to have you here. How are you today?

Jason Tafler:

I'm feeling great today. Thanks. Thanks for having me. It's exciting to be here.

Jim Donovan:

My pleasure. I know that you're up in Canada. How have you and your family been doing through the whole Coronavirus thing?

Jason Tafler:

Well, we've been very fortunate. I know a lot of people are really struggling. We in Toronto, Canada has done a pretty good job managing the Coronavirus and keeping it under control. So we've been lucky. And also with our company, we've been able to work remotely, which has been at first a test and now a great experience. So we're very fortunate and grateful to be healthy and doing what we're doing.

Jim Donovan:

I take pause every day realizing that I get to work every day, like I get to do that, it's not that I have to do it. I get to see other people, I have other people in my house, all these things that are really easy to take for granted until you realize there are people out there that are just having a heck of a time. Yeah, just kind of leaning back into the gratitude and just kind of reminding myself over and over and over again how good it is to have what I've got here.

Jason Tafler:

Yeah, and for me as a parent, a father of a 12 year old boy, Aiden, who has many special gifts and needs, and is on the autism spectrum, it's been wonderful to be able to spend more time with him and continue to build that connection and trust and bond with him, and challenges at time because his nervous system can be quite dysregulated, which we work on. But a real blessing.

Jim Donovan:

There's nothing like time with somebody. There isn't any other replacement for that. I've got three kids myself, two of them are still home. And same thing, just getting hang time. My son will come down, he'll flop himself on the couch, and I'll sit in the floor and we'll just shoot the breeze. That's something we just weren't doing before all this. Just happy that we have the temporary time.

Jim Donovan:

You and your company are doing such great work in the world. You're helping a whole lot of people. And I always ask people when I see folks like you, you seem incredibly driven to do what you do, you're devoting a lifetime to it. And I'm just wondering, what brought you to this point? When did that light bulb go off?

Jason Tafler:

Well, for me, it's been quite a journey. The light bulb, I wish I could say it was a dim ball, but it was more like a smack in the face. Almost five years ago, January 8th, 2016, I survived a near death experience. And up until that point, I had spent, I just had had my 40th birthday at that time a month before, I had spent 20 years as a full on kind of workaholic, very driven in the finance world and building technology companies and executive other big company. And I was very, very driven.

Jason Tafler:

And I think through all the belief systems we're raised with that more is better and achievement is everything and competition, I just was climbing up this ladder seeing how fast and how high it could go. I wasn't really that happy with where I was, and obviously, I wasn't healthy because I had held all my stress and anxiety and frustration and anger inside. And even though I thought I was healthy with food and supplements and exercise, I really had no idea and no awareness of my stress levels and what they were doing to my body.

Jason Tafler:

One day, I was at work on a Friday and started turning yellow and having internal bleeding, and ended up rushed to the ER, and I almost bled to death. I lost half my blood volume, four blood transfusions. At one point, I was laying there not sure if I would make it out to see my wife and my son again. And eventually, after a while, they figured out it was an inflammatory bowel disease called Crohn's, which is partially genetic, and like everything else, also lifestyle and stress and other things. And so, I was just very fortunate that I was able to survive that, and had some real epiphanies. It was also a personal and spiritual transformation, where I had some epiphanies in the almost week that I was in the hospital, just how I had really focused my life around achievement and work and success and the western definitions of those. And that was my entire life.

Jason Tafler:

And then I saw sort of flip upside down and say, if I get out of here, I need to focus on my health and happiness, my soul first, my family. And then if I'm fortunate enough, I really want to do what I'm passionate about. And since I was a teenager, I was very interested in health and helping people and neuroscience. I ignored all that and all the voices in my head over the next 20 years that said, hey, you want to help people, you're interested in health and the mind-body connection. And so, I said, you know what, once I get healthy, if I can overcome, I'm going to try to help people, and that was the beginning of this journey.

Jim Donovan:

I'm so glad that you're here.

Jason Tafler:

Me too.

Jim Donovan:

It's always a blessing to get those messages loud and clear. And I know for me, just feeling those times when you feel like you're the most helpless can be the clearest.

Jason Tafler:

Yes, yes.

Jim Donovan:

I appreciate you sharing that too. Thank you for that. I think a lot of people out there that listen, I've had a lot of people write in and talk about how they appreciate when others share about stuff like this because it makes them feel not alone in their experience. So when you're in the hospital, was there anything that you did to help yourself besides, of course, lay there and watch television and eat all the great food that they've got there?

Jason Tafler:

Well, I'll tell you, I had tried to meditate off and on for many years, but my mind was just constantly active, constantly thoughts. We have over 60,000 thoughts a day on average, and mine was always going, always going, was very rarely in the present. But laying there in the hospital, I was an executive at the time of a 30,000 person company, and you can't really do anything, and I kind of shut down, I'm not going to look at emails or anything, and I'm laying there and very weak.

Jason Tafler:

So, someone gave me some meditation audio, some Tibetan monk chants, and a book by Ram Dass, Be Here Now. And that really starting to kind of, it was the first time in my life I could really feel my mind quiet down and create a little space between who I am and my thoughts and my emotions. And I thought, geez, I guess if I couldn't do it then in the hospital, I wasn't going to be able to do it, because I was laying there, couldn't do anything. But I figured, geez, there's really something to this, and since then I've been meditating every day. So there have been many helpful tools along my journey to recovery and full health now, including all types of approaches and diets and supplements and pharmaceutical drugs for a short while. But the main transformational tool for me has been meditation, and just how powerful it is in changing your life.

Jim Donovan:

What are some things that you noticed that happened when you began to do it regularly? I know there's people out there that have tried it and that have had the same failures that many people have had where they couldn't get their mind to be quiet. You seem like it's really taken root in you and I can even see your peacefulness as we talk here, we're on Zoom right now talking. And I just wonder, what are some things that you noticed emerge, especially at first?

Jason Tafler:

At first, what was interesting was, I think the word I would use is awareness, or mindfulness. At first, it was really back to, geez, these thoughts are coming, I don't necessarily have to give them attention or energy or attached to them. And these thoughts are generally are emotions about four or five of the same things, about my work, or financials or family or health obviously. But it was the same themes coming back and back again, and you kind of start to create a little bit of space. And I had gone to a Dr. Dan Siegel workshop at some point talking about kind of, you can kind of be the witness. So I think witnessing awareness was probably the biggest first thing I noticed.

Jason Tafler:

Beyond that, secondly, I noticed it had an incredible effect on my physical health and state. I didn't realize, as I said, how much stress and anxiety and tension I had been holding in my body. And so, just being able to be aware of where the tension was, if I had abdominal or GI pain, going into that, breathing into it, accepting it, doing visualizations, which I found very helpful in terms of visualizing good health, because the brain doesn't always know the past, present, or future. So if you can visualize, it actually does help bring that to reality at some points.

Jason Tafler:

And the third thing I'd say, so awareness, physical health and peace. The third was really being more in touch with my true self. It helped me go deeper in meditation and contemplation around the big questions that I had kind of avoided for so long. Who am I? Why am I here? What's important to me? What's meaningful in this life? And I kind of came to this state where, call it the true self, the authentic self, the soul. I was able to more regularly get in touch with that without the noise. And from there, I found it was much easier, clarity as you mentioned, to have clarity to make decisions about your life, including your health, your relationships, how you want to prioritize things or spend your time. And so, those were three really big ones for me.

Jason Tafler:

And the last was breathing, which we can talk about more, but I found that it helped me really become more aware of my breathing and slow down my breathing. And as you know, the average human breaths over 20,000 times a day. I don't breathe more than 7000 times a day now, that took five years, it's not a competition. As goes your breath, so goes your mind. If you can regulate your breath, you can regulate your life. So breathing to me has become incredibly important.

Jim Donovan:

Thank you for that. I heard you say this term, true self. So, can you dig down a little bit on that? So for someone who is just hearing that for the first time, how would you explain it to someone who's maybe never encountered that part of themselves?

Jason Tafler:

Well, I would say for people who are not overly spiritual, or maybe do not believe in a higher power source, I would call it authentic self, that inner voice of truth, that inner voice that maybe when you face a decision in life or you meet someone, that automatic kind of, that inner authentic voice that kind of gives you a sense of is this a good thing for you to do or not. How does your body respond? Does it expand with the notion of something or does it contract and get into certain nervous system states, which we can talk about? It also can be akin, not fully, but to your nervous system state. If you're feeling calm, peaceful, safe, and in ventral vagal or parasympathetic, you generally have more access to that more authentic voice and self.

Jason Tafler:

From a spiritual perspective, and I've become much more spiritual in the past five years since that experience, I look at it as akin to the soul, the soul that is a witness to this life that is more than just the mind or the body, is more than our thoughts or emotions or external interactions. Who we truly are at the end of the day and how that soul might be connected to some sort of higher power or greater level of consciousness or intelligence or energy.

Jim Donovan:

So it seems like it's not the dramas that are going on in our lives, and it's not the roles we play in life. It's that part of us that supports all of that.

Jason Tafler:

Yeah, I'd say you're right, it's at the core, it's at the center, beyond our identity or our beliefs, or who other people might think we are. It's who we truly are. And in that state, we are very connected. And as Dr. Stephen Porges, our Chief Scientific adviser and founder of the Polyvagal Theory says, in that state, we're much more able to have deep connections, social relationships, intimacy, because we feel safe, we feel like everything is okay, even if the world around us is quite challenging.

Jim Donovan:

Makes sense that meditation would be soothing for you having gone through a situation where it probably didn't feel so safe for a while there, when you didn't know if you're going to make it or not. That's a pretty jarring experience.

Jason Tafler:

I feel like meditation and other similar tools, really, it's like exercise. So the way I would describe it and a lot of the tools that we offer that are out there is your nervous system is your interface to the world, and life experiences. And if your nervous system isn't functioning well, you can easily get overwhelmed and have trouble with your perceptions, what you're sensing. You can easily get into fight or flight or freeze states, sympathetic or dorsal. And so, I like to think of the nervous system, which includes the brain, as a muscle. If you define it, it's something that can be strengthened, something that can be exercised.

Jason Tafler:

And so, meditation is one of those great tools that exercises the nervous system from the bottom up. The breathing and meditation combined are very powerful because 80% of the nerve fibers in the vagus nerve, this is the most important nerve in the body, as you know from all your writings and everything you do, which is wonderful, 80% of the fibers go from the body to the brain. So if you're breathing calmly and into the diaphragm, it's sending signals of safety. It's sending signals that you're okay. And then the brain sends signals back to the body that it can relax, it can heal, it can regenerate, restore, have social connection.

Jason Tafler:

So, it's really all interconnected, and these tools are a way of strengthening the nervous system so that we can better respond to life's challenges and better experience life. And they're cumulative in that the more we learn how to self-regulate, we build resilience. And it is like exercise. And over time, my resilience now is much greater than it was five years ago. So they're just great tools to build regulation, resilience, and to get back in touch with that true self and what's important to you.

Jim Donovan:

I'm glad that you explained that because I think for a lot of folks, myself included for a long time, thinking about meditation, I think about it as a brain thing, which it is, but what you just said, which was so helpful is that, it is also very much a nervous system thing in that that nervous system runs throughout the body and it is affected by things that happen below the neck. It's not all up in the top of the head.

Jason Tafler:

Yes. One of the things we're excited about with our company Unyte and Integrated Listening Systems is that, listen most traditional psychology and mental health treatments and even autism treatments are really geared towards the frontal lobe, the cerebral cortex, the executive function part of the brain. But we all know that when you or your child is in a panic state or a fight or flight state or really stressed or anxious, how easy is it to talk to them or to talk to their frontal lobe? It's impossible because the way the nervous system works is in a hierarchical fashion, and you can't access the higher functions if you're not in a safe state.

Jason Tafler:

So really, there's a lot of trend, there's great research happening on how to work around these bottom up approaches, whereas top down would be from the frontal lobe, down bottom up is from the nervous system up to the brainstem. And basically what happens is, there's a great book by Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, K-O-L-K, called The Body Keeps the Score. He's from Harvard, psychiatrists, great book on the bottom up. But really what we're trying to do here and others are trying to do is help rewire, retrain the nervous system from the bottom up so that the brain and the mind and the person becomes more accessible to other forms of treatment or therapies, because if you can make them more ready, nourish the nervous system, help them become more ready, all types of therapies, talk therapies, body therapies, even drugs and other interventions could be more effective because the nervous system is in a safe, regulated, healthy, accessible state.

Jim Donovan:

That's really interesting because I find the same thing in education. So, I'm a professor at St. Francis University. I know a lot of my colleagues, I noticed that they teach from a top-down perspective, where they're just focusing on getting knowledge into someone's head and power-pointing them and talking at them. Everybody knows that the attention span of an 18 year old has dropped significantly, it wasn't good to begin with, but it keeps dropping. And what I find is that if I prepare them to learn through physical activity, through interaction, where we're actually up and about in the room or we're using our voices or playing instruments or whatever it is, then they're ready. They're ready to learn and they learn more efficiently, they retain more, and they enjoy it more.

Jason Tafler:

Yes, you nailed it. You nailed it. And that body organization and that bottom up has to come before the higher brain functions are at least in parallel with it. That reminds me of a partner of ours, Dr. Mona Delahooke, who wrote a book, Beyond Behavior, which is all about this and the education system, trying to lobby for change. It's not always the behavior or their child's inability to concentrate or to act in a certain way. It's what's happening underneath with the nervous system. So I think you're definitely on to something there, and in that book I mentioned, The Body Keep Score, he talks a lot about things like yoga, martial arts, other sorts of physical activities, especially for people who've had trauma or have really challenged nervous systems to try to help them process and get to the higher brain states.

Jim Donovan:

I'm glad that there are partners here in the world that are on this, and that we're seeing it from a lot of different directions. I can see, even in my own kids who are, they're pretty aware of what's good and what's kind of BS and old. And I can see them pushing back against some of their high school experience going, what in the world are these folks trying to do? We're not actually learning anything. My son told me that his chemistry teacher doesn't actually teach them at all, he gives them a packet, and they're to read the packet and then they are to take the test on the packet. And if he asks the teacher a question, the teacher says, well, go figure it out. So he won't ask questions anymore because ... Anyway, I went a little small rant there, but it's just that same idea, and I watch students get frustrated, I watch my own kids get frustrated. So, not a moment too soon for this stuff as far as I'm concerned.

Jim Donovan:

I know that Unyte has this really interesting device, it's called Iom2. Would you consider this a biofeedback device?

Jason Tafler:

Yes.

Jim Donovan:

How does this play into what we're talking about with the nervous system and trying to understand how we can better regulate ourselves?

Jason Tafler:

So what we're trying to do at Unyte is build a suite of these types of nervous system solutions that can help with regulation, resilience, etc. One of them that we have, the Iom2, is a device that measures your heart rate variability, which is a good correlate for your nervous system state, and how kind of resilient you are. And we've integrated that with various kind of meditation and breathing, training and exercises. So I would call it a breathing and meditation training tool. Lots of people try to meditate and try many different ways. And we think any form of meditation is great, by the way. For those who struggle or want to know if it's really working or might have more challenging psychological and/or physical ailments, biofeedback has proven over 50 years to be a very powerful way to retrain the nervous system.

Jason Tafler:

And so, what we're doing is with a simple ear clip, or you can clip it on your finger, we have experiences where people can slow down their breathing and start to try to get to certain breathing patterns. And they're trying to match up their breathing rate with their heart rate in a certain way, and there's visuals and interactivity. And it basically is an easy way to learn effective breathing and meditation. And that then biofeedback is really clearly proven because it's so scientific in how it works, it's giving you real time feedback on how you're breathing, how your heart rate is, so you can correct it in real time. And that act of correction has proven to be very powerful as part of a healthy lifestyle, with all types of mental health challenges, anxiety, depression, hypertension on the physical side, pain, gut issues. It also can be a good complement to any other sorts of therapies or techniques.

Jim Donovan:

To me, that sounds like a learning tool. If I'm watching myself and then I'm making corrections and then I'm getting feedback, that's immediate learning. And if I do it even a few times, I'm probably going to have a behavior adjustment.

Jason Tafler:

Yes, yes. It's like a video game controller joystick for your body effectively, and in that real time feedback, and you're effectively controlling your physiology once again by doing these types of techniques, by watching what's happening. You're getting into these calmer states, and it's cumulative over time just like exercise.

Jim Donovan:

Is there a recommended amount of time that I should use it? Is it once a day, a couple times a day, a couple times a week?

Jason Tafler:

I think anything is better than nothing. But yeah, a lot of the studies show three, four times a week, if you're kind of doing it as part of a regular routine. I think with any of these things, it's trying to create a habit. How I think about it is, generally, humans are awake for 1000 minutes a day, give or take. So, even starting with 10 minutes a day, three, four or five times a week, it's 1% of your available waking hours. Now I know everyone's busy, but can we invest 1% of our waking hours in something that can have a material impact on our lives? I think it's just trying to create a habit, even starting small and trying to get up to at least a few times a week.

Jim Donovan:

That's helpful. What are the kinds of things that you see for people when they begin to use the devices? In real time, how does it help them?

Jason Tafler:

With this Iom2 device or even our other listening therapy programs, the Safe and Sound Protocol or the Focus System, we find that in general, people start to feel more calm, they start to feel more regulated, they feel more aware of their bodies. They generally kind of get into the states, which can be uncomfortable for some people at first if they're so used to being in a fight or flight state, or if they've had significant trauma in their lives. That's why it's sometimes good to work with a coach or a professional, and a lot of our programs are done through health professionals, whether psychologists, psychotherapists, counselors, occupational therapists, coaches, just so that people can kind of build up these approaches. You really start to feel more regulated, more calm, more peace, more awareness. That tends to build over time.

Jim Donovan:

So, it sounds to me like you have systems for people who are in health care doing work with clients, but you have stuff for anybody that wants to experience this.

Jason Tafler:

Yeah, effectively, what we're trying to do whether it's someone struggling and going to a health care professional, and some of our tools are part of their program or protocol, or working directly with people, we work a lot with moms and parents for kids that have autism or anxiety or ADHD or sensory challenges. What we're trying to do is effectively, whether it's direct or through the healthcare provider, as we said, we can't really always control what's happening around us in the world, and there will be challenges that come at us or our kids every day. We're just trying to help them learn some of these skills so that they can better respond to those challenges, and not get so caught up in them or overwhelmed with what life brings. And obviously 2020 has brought a lot of challenges with COVID and many other things. We work through our great health care provider partners, 1000s of them, and directly with parents and families in some cases.

Jim Donovan:

So it sounds to me like when you take the time, that 1% of your day, it's like an investment where the payoff is that if I get stressed out, it doesn't take me down. I build some resilience to the stressors of life because those aren't going to stop ever.

Jason Tafler:

Yes, exactly. So to give an example, let's take a child that's on the autism spectrum. Let's say they're working with certain types of therapies, let's say occupational therapy. That occupational therapist, let's say they're working with that child over six months, or whatever it is, we'll integrate some of our listening products, maybe some breathing and biofeedback into the program and protocols so that over time, the child's body and nervous system learn how to regulate, they don't get dysregulated as easily. We hear a lot of feedback from parents that say their space between stimulus and response has grown. We hear from teachers saying that they're better able to stay regulated in class and not have challenges.

Jason Tafler:

If the child on the autism spectrum has sensory challenges and gets overwhelmed easily, these are just tools that can help their nervous system get into a state where it feels more safe and calm and regulated. Over time, that can have a big impact on their lives and their families and the schools they go to and their friendships. And once again, it's not the holy grail on its own, but these are important tools that can work really well with other things that families or parents are doing.

Jim Donovan:

Right. It's not like we're claiming that we're curing things, but we're making life more livable.

Jason Tafler:

Exactly. We're helping people better experience life no matter what their gifts and challenges or needs are. This is a great company that we acquired in May 2019. It's called Integrated Listening System, the website's integratedlistening.com. And the great thing about the different products we have is they are very well based in science, with Dr. Stephen Porges as our Chief Scientific advisor, and the founders of Integrated Listening Systems, Dr. Ron Minson, a psychiatrist and listening therapy pioneer, and Kate Minson and others.

Jason Tafler:

And really, Integrated Listening, that has been a game changer for us because for over a decade, they had helped so many families and children and individuals in so many different ways with their listening therapies. Integrated Listening Systems historically focused on kids and younger adults who had either features of autism, sensory processing challenges, ADHD, anxiety, dysregulation. And the products actually work really well for anyone, including for performance and aging and sports, because they really through a combination of special music and frequencies in your ear, through your ear to the brain, and exercises, whether movement or cognitive exercises, they really stimulate many parts of the nervous system and brain and help build that body-brain integration that we spoke about before, integrating the brain. The sensory system works better if people can sense and perceive and understand more of the world around them in a way that's not as stressful.

Jason Tafler:

So yeah, it's been a wonderful company and great team. It's very unique in that it really impacts a lot of different areas of the brain involved in these important areas.

Jim Donovan:

What function does the music play in all of that?

Jason Tafler:

Well, the music plays an incredibly important role, and as you know from all of your great work and teachings, music on its own can be anything to anyone, can drive a lot of emotions. But it can be very calming and peaceful. And our brains seem to have, and body seem to have a really positive response to lots of lots of types of music. So, now when we layer in these special frequencies, which are based on decades of science and research and experience, these frequencies combined with the music make it even more powerful because what they're effectively doing is stimulating, as I said, certain parts of the brain and nervous system. And in some cases, people with autism or other similar gifts and challenges have trouble processing the human voice.

Jason Tafler:

So in some cases, like with our Safe and Sound Protocol product, SSP, what we're trying to do is exercise the vagus nerve through the ears, through the middle ear muscles, so that people can really better process and understand human voice, human language. So often this can help with language, it can help with communication, it can help with learning, it can help with not getting as dysregulated because oftentimes, people who are struggling have a tough time listening to the human voice, but they can hear other frequencies of sounds that are lower or higher that might be dysregulating. Think of a growl or think of a ...

Jason Tafler:

And so part of this whole approach is the music's important, the frequencies are important. Having someone in many cases to co-regulate with you with kind eyes and smile and face, which gives signals of safety to the person doing it is important. So it's a combination of different things that really make it powerful, but music is a key part of it.

Jim Donovan:

Is it accurate to say that it's kind of a brain rewiring for a person who's listening to these frequencies and then doing these other modalities at the same time?

Jason Tafler:

Yes. It's basically using the principles of neuroplasticity and Polyvagal Theory, Dr. Porges' theory, to basically strengthen the nervous system, strengthen the connections between the left and right hemispheres of the brain, strengthen the body and brain integration. And it's basically rewiring, rewiring those. And there's so much great research on neuroplasticity in the past decade or two, with Dr. Norman Doidge's book, the Brain's Way of Healing, and he featured Integrated Listening Systems in that book. But it's just this, one of our products, the Focus System, because we have bone conduction headphones, it actually uses, it affects the vestibular system, which is very important to movement and learning. It affects the visual system when you're doing exercises. It affects the auditory system. It's a multi sensory way of getting to rewire the brain and can have very powerful impact over time.

Jim Donovan:

And again, I'm hearing, it's not all just in the brain.

Jason Tafler:

No.

Jim Donovan:

It's nervous system which connects to every single part of the torso.

Jason Tafler:

Something people would say it's too good to be true because how could I listen to music and all of a sudden my life changes. And it's not that simple but over a period of days or weeks or months, sometimes years, the brain is plastic and it does change. The body even is constantly changing. Cells are dying and being reborn. So, it is a very powerful kind of natural approach.

Jim Donovan:

And plus, I don't think those folks that say that have ever been to a Grateful Dead show. It only takes one, or only took one. This is exciting. I love talking about this stuff, I love what you're doing up there. I really like just that there's this suite of ideas for a lot of different kinds of people. It's got something for everybody. These days, there isn't any shortage of intensity of stress, name the mental health problem, there's no shortage of it right now. And so, just that you are all taking so much time and resource to develop and to refine what you're doing up there, I think it's one of the greatest services we can do for each other right now is to help in that way, because there is too much suffering. So thank you for that.

Jason Tafler:

I agree. And thank you for all the great work you're doing in a similar way. There is so much suffering out there, so much struggling. We're just trying to help as many people as we can with these great evidence-based approaches, and spread the word about these and others, because as you said so eloquently, we can't necessarily change the world around us, or what happens to us. What we can change truly is our response to that. And if we can strengthen our nervous systems and brains, we can better respond to those challenges, better experience life. And whether you're spiritual or not, more deeply connect with your authentic true self. And that generally does lead to more meaningful life and health and happiness over time, and all the research shows that.

Jason Tafler:

So, just so grateful to be part of this journey, and that there are other folks out there like you and so many others pioneering with this work. Just hopefully, we can continue to help as many people as possible.

Jim Donovan:

Definitely. And I would love to, anytime you've got something going on, let's talk, I'd love to shine a light on it because, I mean, this is what it's all about. We're here for a short time, got to do as much good as we can in the time that we've got, and hopefully we leave this a little bit better. Before I let you go here, what's the very best way for people to connect with you and to connect with all this work we've been talking about?

Jason Tafler:

The best place is to go to www.integratedlistening.com. That's where we have the full suite of these products, all types of information. They can reach out easily to talk to one of our team members or to me. That's the best place to kind of get a really good feeling for what we're doing.

Jim Donovan:

Jason, it's been a pleasure. Hang on the line for a moment while I sign off here. And just to everyone out there, thank you for tuning in. If you enjoyed today's episode, of course, let people know about it, write a review, all that stuff, that helps us a lot. And above all, please take impeccable care of yourself, and we will see you next time. Much love.

Jim Donovan:

Well, that's it for today's show. Thank you so much for joining us. And I'm wondering if you would do as a quick favor and follow, rate and review the show. When you do that, it really helps us to spread the word. Also, come and visit us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Just search Jim Donovan sound health.

Jim Donovan:

Before you go, I want to let you know about a resource that I made for you, especially if you've been suffering from things like anxiety and stress, mood problems, brain fog, and racing thoughts, sleeplessness, low energy, and even chronic pain. I put together a full collection of easy to follow tutorials and audio tools that use the power of sound to help you feel better every day, guaranteed. I call it the Donovan Healing Circle. It's kind of like having your own digital medicine cabinet full of sound supplements. When you become a subscriber, you'll receive unlimited access to an entire suite of easy to follow tutorials, audio tools, research reports, plus my brand new ebook, Whole Life Sound Healing. Just visit donovanhealth.com to get started, that's donovanhealth.com.

 

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