My guest today is Megan Evans, founder of The MS Stage. She used her background in dance and theater to create a practice that has helped her cope with her own MS challenges, using that to build an empowering mindset that has made a huge difference in her own healing journey. Now, through The MS Stage, she is coaching other people through movement, meditation, and mindfulness practices that have helped them upgrade their beliefs and mindset in ways that have enabled them to take action, make changes, deal with suppressed emotions, and move themselves onto a healing path. (Her courses are for women so far, but she plans to have offerings for men in the future too). In this episode, Megan shares her story, gives us a sample of the movement and meditation practices that are part of her program, and talks about her experience in her first few weeks of using the Neubie! Find out more about her work at www.TheMSStage.com.
Garrett Salpeter (Speaker 1): Welcome to this episode of the New Fit Undercurrent Podcast. I’m joined today by my new friend Megan Heavens, who is a M.S. patient herself, and really use that experience in a powerful way to start her new business, her project called the MS Stage, and she is now helping mostly women so far, but helping people through, I won’t say Heal M S, but helping people manage and improve their symptoms and process their, or optimize their process of dealing with MS through techniques like movement and meditation and some really powerful practices that complement the more medical interventions that people are doing. So I’m excited to dive in here and welcome Megan.
Megan Evans (Speaker 2): Thank you so much. Thank you for having me.
Speaker 1: Yes, yes. So we got connected recently through Terrie Walls and and you came down to our weekend intensive M S boot camp, which you know, we’ll get to talk about here. And certainly I’m excited to share with everyone who’s listening sharing more about your program, which I really like. I mean, the concepts, the approach here I think is really valuable. Before we get into any of that, though, just to set the context, can you please share your story and your journey so far with MS?
Speaker 2: Yes, absolutely. So I was diagnosed almost 19 years ago. It’ll be 19 years in February, and I was 24 years old when I was diagnosed. I was in the process of my first move from New York to LA. At the time I was living in New York City, working, very busy, high powered job as an assistant, as a celebrity publicist assistant, and was in the process of moving to LA for another new job and lost the feeling of left side of my body. And so they didn’t know right away, I only had one lesion, but I was told I either had brain tumor or this is what I was told literally when I went to my GP. He was like, your symptoms seem like you have a brain tumor, you’ve had a stroke or you have a mess. And I was like, Well, I’ll take [00:02:21] number three, I guess. The other two sound really horrible and scary and so does the third, but that sounds better than the other one. So can I have that one, please? And so, I went to… they sent me to a neurologist. He only saw one lesion on my brain and couldn’t officially diagnose me. And so it really took six months. He told me, I end up in a wheelchair one day at 24. And I was, I looked at my mom and I was like, No, I won’t. And I walked out of there and said, I’m never coming back to this man again because I’m not going to have somebody tell me how I’m going to end up. And it took six months for them to officially diagnose me. I got I move eventually got out to LA and got my life going out there and then went to a new neurologist out there who saw striations on my brain. And he said, Well, that’s the first sort of development of a lesion. So I think I can consider. I can officially say you have MS. And so I had multiple episodes over the years, exacerbations, but I was very alternative medicine minded. I did acupuncture. I immediately at 24 started going gluten free. And back then, as you and I talked about a little bit back then, this was 2004….
Speaker 1: Yeah, before it was cool.
Speaker 2: Way before it was cool. There were not restaurants that even knew what that meant. There was not packaged food everywhere that said gluten free. Like, I mean, it was super weird. And now in LA, luckily I had moved to LA and so it was a little more like there were maybe a couple little mom and pop juice bars and things like that. But so there was more health food out there and sort of they were more wellness oriented, way more so than New York City at the time. Now you can find it everywhere, right? But yeah, it was not normal at all, especially for a young person. People were like, who is this person? And I didn’t drink alcohol anymore. You know, at 24 you want to go out and have fun and party with your friends and get to know people and whatever. And I would like go and I’d literally have, I would like ask the bartender for a club soda with like a splash of cranberry to make it look like I was having a cocktail, but I wasn’t actually having a cocktail.
Speaker 1: So funny story. So am I go to, I’ll get, I’ll do the same thing. I’ll get sparkling water and I’ll put bitters in there. So that’s my…
Speaker 2: That’s what my husband does.
Speaker 1: That’s funny.
Speaker 2: Yeah. He’s been sober for five years and today is actually his sobriety anniversary. Not to get off topic, but that’s exactly what he drinks.
Speaker 1: There we go. Good health. Good digestive health benefits, too.
Speaker 2: Yeah, there you go. I don’t like the taste of bitters at all. I’m not a big, I am not a bitters fan, but he loves it. So I’m like, Good for you. That’s great.
Speaker 1: You’re talking about, I guess cranberry juice is probably sweetened a little bit. So if that was like, pure cranberry, that would be….
Speaker 2: I don’t do that anymore. But I mean, now because I don’t, now it’s like I’m trying to watch my sugar. But back then it was like, Well, at least I don’t have alcohol, right? So I would like, make myself look like I was drinking a [00:05:27]. Right? But because I still was young and I was trying to, you know, meet people and have fun and whatever, but so yeah, so that was me. And I was on a path of alternative medicine. And you and I talked about I love the newbie because I’m really into frequency work because I went to a homeopath who my mom discovered back then who was in Florida, who sadly is now retired, but he had created his own computer system with he manually would go in and find frequencies to help kill viruses, bacteria, viruses and bacteria. I don’t think fungus can be killed by frequency. I can’t remember. But anyway. But he would find things to, he would find ways to kill pathogens basically in your body. And he was helping people with M S and with cancer and all kinds of things with frequency work and homeopathy. And so I would go to him as often as I could because I’m from Charleston, South Carolina, so he was only like a four and a half hour drive from here. So when I would come home, I would drive down there and see him. But yeah, so I was very into all of that and it took me 14 years before I would get on an M S drug. So yeah, but I had many relapses over the years, not many. I shouldn’t say that. I probably had, I don’t know, over the 14 years, I probably had four or five bad ones.
Speaker 1: So initially you had the, you said you couldn’t feel your left side. I mean, initially you had the left side of numbness and vertigo. So did that kind of normalize? Did that go away in a period of weeks or months? Or what was the kind of the trajectory of that?
Speaker 2: Yeah, I took well, they put me on steroids I.V. steroids. But also what happened was the doctor, the neurologist, another reason I didn’t like him, he gave me a spinal tap. They then lost the results of the spinal tap. Like they lost it. They put me through it, right? It was horrid. And I ended up. I woke up the next day after the spinal tap in so much pain that I ended up in the hospital for five days because of the pain from the tap. And they had to do two blood patches to put take blood from my arm to put them back into where they had taken out the spinal fluid. And I was in horrid pain and on steroids for five days. So it took me a month probably to get back on track. I didn’t move to LA like my job in LA. My new job had waited on me for a month because I couldn’t. And so literally what I did was when I got out of the hospital a very slowly, my mom was like, you need to go to a trainer. Like I went to a physical trainer and he did balance exercises with me and we slowly got things going again. And I took a bunch of homoeopathy. I took herbs, Chinese herbs and went to acupuncture and just did everything I could possibly do to get back on track. And then eventually, a month later, I moved to LA and I was pretty normal. I was dealing with fatigue and I definitely knew something wasn’t 100% right, but I was pretty normal. I mean, I pretty much got it all back, thank God. Yeah.
Speaker 1: And then you had these flare ups exacerbations over five of them, maybe over those next 14 years.
Speaker 2: Yeah. And I mean, it was like one time I had… it was always stress related every single time. It was always a stressful episode, whether like one time I got in, this was a different job, not that job, but I got in an argument with my boss at the time, and it was the same time that I also didn’t realize I had a gas leak in my apartment. And so I had been sleeping for like two days, basically with a gas leak in my apartment, breathing in the fumes. On top of the fact that there was mold in the apartment, on top of the fact that my boss had, she had kind of exacerbated it even more because we had gotten into this argument, which is so unlike me anyway. But she was like berating me. It was crazy. And it just set me off. And I literally woke up that morning and I couldn’t even make it to I was crawling to the front door of my apartment. I couldn’t even make it to the door. And I called my colleague and I was like, You have to come get me. I got to call 911. And that was a really bad one. And I had double vision for like a month and I couldn’t drive. I had bad double vision for at least a month. So that was a really bad one. Other than that, my worst one ever was five years ago, and that was what really catapulted me to a finally get on an M S drug. Because the neurologist, at that point, we lived in Nashville and my neurologist at Vanderbilt said, It’s [00:10:35] time, like I had fought it for so long, I didn’t want to be on a medication. And she was like, You really? I mean, this time, you’ve got to get on something. And I just believed for so long that I could heal myself, that I could cure it. And I would always say I was diagnosed with MS.. I was never willing to say I have M S.. So as much as I was into, I’m a very spiritual person, as much as I was into spirituality and into positivity and into alternative medicine and all the things and doing all the right things, eating the right food. I resisted it. I resisted the diagnosis for so long, and it took me finally meditating and stopping everything after that last diagnosis in 2017, I mean, I’m sorry, exacerbation in 2017, I literally took a year off. I couldn’t, I was killing myself with work and my family was like, [00:11:38], you have to stop for a while. And I did. And through that I went to therapy. I started meditating and really embracing meditation. And through all of my work through that, I discovered that I finally accepted my diagnosis and I was finally willing to say, I have MS. For so long, I would just say I was diagnosed with MS. Oh, yeah, I was diagnosed five years ago, seven years ago, whatever. And I would act like, oh, it’s not a big deal. Even though I was doing all the things behind the scenes, I didn’t make it a huge part of my existence or my story. And it wasn’t until I fully embraced it that I actually feel like my healing happened on a deeper level.
Speaker 1: Interesting insight there. So you kind of resisted like you thought maybe if you didn’t take it on as part of your identity that I mean, maybe it would go away. I mean, I don’t know if that’s the right way to phrase it, but is it that sort of thing…..
Speaker 2: I mean, I really because I still behind the scenes, I was fighting. I was fighting it, right. I was doing all the things. I was going to acupuncture. I was trying to detox my body, going, doing cleanses, going to taking herbs, doing, you know, I was literally doing everything, going to homeopath like eating the right foods, right. I was doing all the things, but I still feel like I was in fight or flight because I was resisting it all the time, because I was angry about it, I was resisting it, I was fighting it. Like I just felt like deep down, like it wasn’t really if you had met me, you never would have known that. But deep down inside of me, I feel like that’s what was happening. And so that really exacerbated things even more, to be honest with you. And so, yeah, it’s really interesting. So I think my nervous system was like, I mean, yeah, I think I was in fight or flight for so long.
Speaker 1: Yeah. So there’s, I mean, there’s the power of words and not wanting to identify, identify with your illness because there’s more to you than that. But then there’s also that tension between resistance and acceptance. And it sounds like the acceptance is what allowed you to kind of flip that switch.
Speaker 2: Yes.
Speaker 1: To to get out of that fight or flight state as often and make some breakthroughs. Is that…
Speaker 2: Totally. Yes, you said it absolutely right. I mean, I feel like words, I think, and you mention that words are really important. And I teach that in my program, too. Like, I think the way we speak to our bodies is incredibly important because our cells listen. And I discovered that more and more over the years and just our attitude towards it, too. And I feel like as soon as you can really fully accept it. Now, a lot of people say, oh, yeah, I have M S and they think, they’re accepting it. But so many people aren’t really, really, really embracing it. And so what I teach is all about learning how to literally love our symptoms, like love on them as if they’re an entity, as if they’re a human. Give them a name, talk to them, embrace them, so nourish them as much as you’re trying to nourish yourself, so that you’re creating a relationship, a new relationship. It’s a big mindset shift. It’s all about mindfulness, but it’s super empowering and it really can help people. Just like you said, flip the switch. As I say, flip the script, right? You’re changing your script. You’re rewriting your script.
Speaker 1: Well, it’s a good [00:15:12]. We already, just started talking about the M S stage there and your program. So for everybody listening, I would describe it as a coaching program. I mean, you’re not treating people. This is something that this is kind of a coaching program that they would do as a complement to seeing their neurologist or working with their functional medicine doctor and their physical therapist and different things. So I will describe that. So can you, and you’ve already listed or shared some elements of that mindfulness and talked about that, but can you just describe to us the M S stage what the program is, how it works just at a high level that we can drill down on some components?
Speaker 2: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. So I have a background. I’ll just briefly say that I have a background in theater and dance. I grew up acting and dancing when I was young and then wanted to be a director and choreographer and ended up going into theater and then into film, worked as a celebrity publicist, then as a personal wardrobe stylist. So I’ve been sort of in and around the entertainment industry basically my whole life, right? And then I went into styling, which was all about building confidence in people. So segway to after my worst M S episode in 2017 and I took that year off, I really slowed down. I was forced to slow down because my body needed me to. But it also made me sort of realize, What was it that I really wanted to do? Like I’m 43 now at that time. So I was 38, I guess, at the time of that diagnosis. I mean, that exacerbation approaching 40. Right? And it was sort of that like what am I really, really here to do? And I had been styling for over ten years and building confidence in people through their wardrobe, but I just kind of lost my… It was like because I was forced to slow down. My passion for that dulled and my passion to get back to my roots of what I really have loved my whole life in theater and dance and movement and bringing all of that together, started to really come to get spotlighted in my body. And I started working with my own sort of practice around that. And I started meditating a lot on my own, as I mentioned. And through that, I developed this program and the Hero’s journey by Joseph Campbell [00:17:52] and I talked a little bit about that book. The Hero’s Journey is sort of the framework that I use of the program. It’s just a way for people to go from answering the call, right, which is the first stage of the hero’s journey to answer the call. And that call is essentially signing up for the program because that call is taking you on this journey to come back to yourself. Basically, it’s the return. Like the last stage of the journey is going on, is coming to the return. And returning with what he says, returning with the [00:18:28]. And so what I’ve discovered through the M S stage is we work with meditation, we do a meditation with music, which is super empowering because I’m a huge believer in music, speaking to us and speaking to ourselves and our bodies in a different way on a deeper level because our cells listen and the words being important that we use to speak to our bodies. And then movement piece is what I’ve created something called the switch exercise, which works with different emotions. So I teach people to use the emotions to move this with their symptoms. After they’ve named their symptoms, then they move with their symptoms through the different emotions. So that they can see what their symptom is really there to teach them, to show them to be with them, what that, what those feelings represent for them. And so it’s a six week program. It’s 2 hours on Zoom. It’s for six women at a time. There’s women around the world, which is amazing right now I’m working with women in the UK and Ireland. Here in the States, I work with Women Australia, Canada. I mean, it’s incredible what they can create in the community they create together too with the work.
Speaker 1: That’s awesome. And how so it’s a six week program. When was the first one? So you’ve been, has this been going a year or two now or?
Speaker 2: It’s been since last, It’s been, it’ll be a year in January.
Speaker 1: Okay. So just under a year at the time of this recording. And what are some of the success stories, the impact, what are some of the things that you’re hearing from the women who have gone through this program?
Speaker 2: Yeah. So I feel like so by naming their symptom, they can help control it better. That’s one huge shift that many of the women have had. So, like I’ve had women be able to control their fatigue better, which is one of the symptoms that was strong symptom for her. I’ve had two women with bladder control issues, incontinence issues, and being able to control that better by talking to their symptoms. So that’s been a huge shift. And honestly, lifestyle in general has been shift for a lot of women in terms of like one woman, well, actually two women, this was crazy. They were in the same group, had not talked about this. And literally the day after our sixth class, they were both quitting their jobs on the same day. I was like, what? We didn’t even talk about their jobs. I mean, it was like not, it just was like the power of the group. They had not talked about it. I had not talked about it with them. We had I had no idea it was going to happen. And they both quit their jobs. They both got new jobs that they love, that they’re excited about. One woman started swimming. She had always wanted to swim. She started taking swimming lessons. Just really amazing life changes that I think in part because of the M S stage, they became empowered in a new way and felt that they could actually make a change and they started prioritizing themselves. And instead of being negative or being down about certain things, they became positive and felt empowered and they could make the changes on their own. So that’s been really, really awesome to witness and watch.
Speaker 1: That’s awesome. Very cool. Thank you for sharing that. And yeah, I mean, so much we talk on, on our podcast and in our work at New Fit a lot about restoring function in the nervous system and neuromuscular musculoskeletal work. And neurologists are talking about the immune system and nerve tissue and things like that. And this is, I think the third bucket, the psycho emotional spiritual component that is very valuable, very important. And to help empower these women who are going through your program like that, I think is incredible work.
Speaker 2: Thank you so much. Yeah, it means, it feels very important to me. It felt when I created it as I was creating it, I just knew that this was something really important that needed to get out there for women. And eventually I’ll work with men too. I wanted to start with what I knew, you know what I know best. And the people who tend to resonate with the program are either newly diagnosed women or women who’ve had it. It could be ten years or up to as long as me. I think the newer diagnosed women to the ten year mark tends to be the sweet spot of and they tend to be around my age too. But that’s not necessarily what I was searching for. It just tends to be what I attract, I guess. But yeah, it feels like really important work and what I’m doing is mind, body, spirit. It’s not one or the other. There’s all that we share stories with each other. Everyone shares their stories. I use an acting improv exercise to teach them really the power of presence to being present with their story and sharing it in a very methodical, slow way. And I guide them through a practice that helps them do that. And then obviously the movement piece and then the meditation piece is the mind. So it’s all about mindfulness and being present and learning how to be present, which then I think is what transfers into them having the major shifts because they’ve slowed down, right? Because that’s what happened to me. It was as soon as I slowed down, like fully slowed down, I was forced to, but then I actually enjoyed it because I really was able to fully be present. And that’s what, that’s when the real healing begins and that’s when the nervous system begins to heal, too. Right? I mean, you know, from scientific methodology.
Speaker 1: Yeah.
Speaker 2: [00:24:41] more scientifically about that than I can.
Speaker 1: Yeah, well, there’s a really strong connection. I mean, a lot of the meditative or spiritual practices when they lead to spontaneous healings or improvements in health overall. One of the major mechanisms is by increasing activity in the parasympathetic nervous system, the vagus nerve, the rest and digest side of the nervous system that counteracts the ill effects of being in that fight or flight side of the nervous system, the opposite side for too long. And so these types of practices have a, you know, it’s not just like a woo woo thing. It’s both. It’s a two way street. The body effects the spirit and the spirit effects the body and then the mind. You can substitute whatever word you like there, but it makes, it definitely makes a physiological impact. And there’s also a really a study that got published, either Science or Nature, one of the premier that first found this link between the vagus nerve and the immune system so, when the vagus nerve is active, it creates a negative feedback loop with the immune system to quell or reduce immune activity. And of course M S and autoimmune conditions are excess immune function. So increasing activity of the vagus nerve can quell that or calm down that autoimmune state. So that, you know, there’s a direct physiological mechanism there and a powerful one, a really, really powerful one. So I think it’s a cool work and we’ll have a special treat here for our listeners. So if you’re listening this, this will be something that’s best viewed here. But Megan graciously offered to share a demonstration of both the movement practice, which I think you’ll show now and then the meditation, and we’ll do a short guided meditation at the end. And so in case you’re driving in the car or something, you can tune in, you kind of check back in later. But can you share with us the an example of one of your M S stage movement practices now?
Speaker 2: Yeah, absolutely. I want to make sure without these on that you can still hear me. I will say one thing before I start. There is also scientific research that shows dance music and like drama therapy. I am not a therapist, as you said before, but there are methods that actually can help M S symptoms and cognitive, whether it’s cognitively or balance or whatever. So all of these things that I’ve kind of done all together, there is proof that it helps and it can work. So I wanted to mention that since you’re a science guy.
Speaker 1: Awesome. Yes.
Speaker 2: Okay. So I’m going to stand up. Can I take these off? Can you still hear me?
Speaker 1: So far, so good.
Speaker 2: What did you say?
Speaker 1: Yes.
Speaker 2: Now you can. If this is on, what if? What if this is off? Hold on. Can you hear me?
Speaker 1: [00:27:47] still good.
Speaker 2: Okay. Sorry. Well, I’m going to stay attached and I’m going to somehow move attach. Sorry, I don’t have Air Pods on. Okay, So when you’re moving, I’m going to push you back a little bit so you can see a little bit more. So what I like to do is I give people different… I’ll put a song on. I’m not going to do it right now because we talked about that. But I will give you an example of if I had a song on. What I do is every 30 seconds of the song, every 20 to 30 seconds of the song, I call out different words. So for instance, my left leg is my hardest. It’s my biggest issue with my M S. And I’ve given her a name. Her name is Roxy, and my left foot is also I get foot drop on my left foot. So those are my biggest complaints with my M S. So what I’ll do is, I’ll give you an example of what moving with my left leg looks like. So we start with resistance. So with resistance, I, you know, it’s with music on and I don’t have music on right now, but with music on, you have to just do whatever feels right for you in your body. So with resistance, I would. I tend to be tight with resistance, So whether it’s I’m clawing at it. I’m just moving it really slowly and I tell people to go under the beat or with the beat. It depends on what feels good for them.
Speaker 1: So if you’re only listening to the audio and not watching this, Megan, it is, has her hands, you know, kind of pressure, kind of massaging her leg and kind of [00:29:57] with some pressure and effort and movement up and down there.
Speaker 2: And think of like a claw, right. Like you’re clawing almost but very slowly. And then with and then the next emotion, I would say is acceptance. So those are the big things that a lot of people with M S deal with. It’s like first they resist it, then they finally accept it. Like it took me so long to accept it. So with acceptance, you can move with ease, right? It’s like just grace. So whether it’s, I’m moving just with fluidity in my movement. So I like to just kind of. I like to go a little bit in a circle very slowly. You could just love on it. A little more gently instead of the claw feeling and the slowness, maybe you’re doing it a little bit. More steadily. And then you could do hate and love. So sometimes I just tell people to do, like choose a song. And I have playlists, too. They can follow me on Spotify and I have playlists that outline different songs that I think would fall into these categories. So if you want to do a song hating your symptom and then do a song loving your symptom, so always end on a positive note so that your body feels with the positivity of that feels like. Does that make sense?
Speaker 1: I think so, yeah. I think.
Speaker 2: Is that a good example?
Speaker 1: Yeah. So if anyone is just listening to this, there will be a video version on YouTube so you can see some of what Megan was demonstrating there. But yeah, I mean, movement is very powerful. It’s a very powerful way to tap into this psychology. It’s a two way street there for sure, between body and mind. And I think that’s sounds like a powerful practice to.
Speaker 2: Yeah, it is really powerful once music’s behind it. I also do it on Instagram. I have something called Switch Saturday, so I offer it for people to hop on IG Live and do it with me. That’s a good way to get an example of it with music behind it. And yeah, it’s fun too. It’s meant to be fun and it doesn’t have to be all the negative, sad stuff. I want, that’s why it’s called Switch. I want people to experience the negative, then the positive. So go from the resistance to the acceptance. Go from the hate to the love, the frustration to the ease and feel what your symptom, what that feels like emotionally inside your symptom.
Speaker 1: And when you contrast that, do you tend to find or the people in your groups tend to find that one is easier or harder than the other? Is there kind of an element of that that shows up?
Speaker 2: Yeah, I had a, I say client. A student. I said client because I used to. When I was a stylist, I would call them clients. So I had a student on Friday actually, who cried when she danced with hate, when she moved with the hate, with her symptoms. It brought up tears and she was like, I don’t know why I’m crying. And I said, Well, you might still have a little bit of anger towards your M S, toward your symptom, and that’s okay. And now you just got to move through it. So it’s like teaching how to move that. It’s important. It’s super important because it might be deep down. And for her, she had she was like, I didn’t know I hated it at all, but she immediately started crying. So it’s that deep seated stuff that just comes up and the movement helps it move through, right? Instead of resisting it, you’re moving through it and you’re working with it. So it’s super important.
Speaker 1: Yeah, it reminds me there’s times where if we’re doing with the newbie our mapping process, sometimes we’ll scan an area of the body and someone will be like, Oh my gosh, I just remembered when I fell and hurt this or when I had this experience, like there is something to that physiological psychology of experiences being held in the body as we brace against them. The that can be trapped for sure there’s…
Speaker 2: Absolutely it’s really important. Yeah for sure. I had a Reiki session. No I’m sorry. She was creating a sacral therapist. I mean, years ago, many, many, many years ago. And she was working on my foot and she said, what happened here? Like, what’s going on? I’m seeing around age nine. And I was like, I sprained my ankle. It was me. I was like, Oh my gosh, you know? And I mean that was and it was my right, at that time, it was my right foot, my right ankle. I sprained my ankle. I was on crutches for three weeks. I had to miss camp. You know, I couldn’t go to camp that I wanted to go to. And so clearly, I was holding on to that for all those years.
Speaker 1: Well fascinating.
Speaker 2: Right, it’s super important. Yeah. So all that stuff can get trapped. You don’t even realize it. So I told my student on Friday, I said, you’ve got to work with the hate a little bit because clearly it’s coming up. So I want to move through it and then start turning it into love and start turning it into gratitude and be grateful for the symptom. Be grateful for your M S. Thank it for showing up for you. That’s really important because people can learn a lot from their M S.
Speaker 1: Yeah, for sure. And if the emotion doesn’t come up, then you can’t process it and move through it and it’s going to be in there. So that’s super valuable. So we’re talking about movement, the meditation side. We’re going to we’ll say, we’ll do a sample guided meditation at the end. Before we do that, can you share a little bit about your newbie experience so far? So you’ve had your device. I know you mentioned before we started recording, you just completed your second week of at home training and just before that you came down here to Austin to be with us, worked with Dr. Mandy and our team for our weekend intensive, the M S boot camp. So two sessions a day for three days. Can you talk about your experience during the boot camp and then what you’ve noticed? Sounds like there might be a couple things so far.
Speaker 2: Yeah, I am. I loved it. I did the boot camp. So we did two sessions a day for three days. I definitely by the end of the third day, well, I want to say by the end of the second day. I started noticing it was a little easier to get my like, my leg. A lot of times I have to grab my leg and put it in the car. And I noticed. And that night, my husband and I went out to dinner and I crossed my leg without, and sometimes I’ll pick my leg up to cross my leg. And I crossed my leg and I was like, I looked at my husband. I was like, Did I just do that? And he said, Yeah, I think you did. And I was like, Oh, okay, cool. That was cool. So and getting in the car was easier. I didn’t have to lift it as much. It was much easier. So that was really cool. And then now that I’ve had it at home, I wish I had Mandy with me. I wish Mandy just lived with me, working out with me every day because it would make it lot easier. But no, she’s amazing. So anybody who goes there, she’s incredible. I’ve already referred people to you, by the way. But yeah, so I have been working out with it four times a week on the machine. And I have noticed, I think I was telling you, we went to a concert the other night and normally I would take my, and I did take my cane, but because I normally would take it thinking, Oh, I’m definitely going to need it, but I really didn’t need it, I many times just put it sort of in underneath my arm and just like held on to it. I didn’t even need to like, actually use it in the way that it’s meant for. So I was able to move and dance a little bit and be at the concert and didn’t have a problem. And then we also went to a friend’s house last week and I stood up. I noticed I was standing up for like an hour outside. Normally I would need to sit down and so definitely like little things. I mean, I, you know, my walking, I would say is a little bit better maybe, but I’m like, it’s hard to know sometimes. Some days I’m more tired than others. And then my walking is always worse when I’m more tired. But I’ve definitely noticed some shifts for sure. Subtle, but for me that’s big.
Speaker 1: Yeah, well, that’s awesome. I mean to see some progress. I mean, that tells us that the trajectory is changing in a positive direction. But yeah, it’s been two weeks. We don’t expect to reverse, I mean 19 years of M S, you know, five years of since the most kind of serious symptoms. We don’t expect to reverse all that in two weeks. But if we’re making progress, it tells us that we’re stimulating the right areas, doing the right things. Then it’s a matter of doing that consistently, repeatedly enough, and supporting that with all these other health practices that you have the energy and the raw materials to invest in long term growth and repair. And then the consistent right stimulation will direct where that growth and repair, where those efforts and those resources are going to go. And so it’s a good sign. You’re on the right track.
Speaker 2: Yeah, I think so. I mean, at certain, I think certain exercises are already getting a little bit easier, which is great because then that shows me, okay, I’m getting better at that like certain the hip squares. At first I emailed Mandy, I was like, I can’t. I really can barely do this on my left side. And she was like, okay, let’s switch to the [00:40:12] I guess it is, exercise, where we just go in and out with my leg and that’s starting to get a little bit easier. So I’m like, okay, that’s good. So I feel like it’s making progress. Interestingly enough, I actually want to try my switch exercise when I’m hooked up.
Speaker 1: Oh, yes, absolutely.
Speaker 2: And see what happens. So I think that would be very cool. I do. I will let you know because I do want to do that for sure. I want to turn on music. I do turn on music when I’m doing it, but I want to turn on music and hook myself up and actually dance with it and move with my, do my switch exercise. And see what happens because I think, I think it could actually interesting things could really come of that.
Speaker 1: So one of the things that we say to physical therapists or other practitioners who are getting the device individuals like yourself, is that one way to use probably the simplest way to use the newbie is to take the exercise progressions or the movements that you’d already be doing and add the newbie in so that you make them more impactful. Because when you’re getting that more sensory input from that area of your body, it’s going to help you better activate that area. Your brain is going to know that it’s there, you’re going to get this better quality and more significant sensory input from there so your brain can better perceive and control that area of your body. And I think it’ll help make that experience even more powerful. So I’m really excited to hear about that. We’ll have to do a part two here.
Speaker 2: Yeah, I would love that. Yeah. I’ll do it. I’ll practice and I’ll let you know how it goes because I think that would be really cool and really empowering to see how that works. I will also say, and kudos to you because the machine like at first you’re like, Oh yeah, you have to get used to it or whatever, but it’s actually really easy to use. I can see how for older people it might be challenging and they might need their spouse to help a little bit, but it’s actually gotten it’s kind of becoming second nature a little bit. It’s gotten a little easier to use. So well done on that.
Speaker 1: I’m glad to hear that because that means you’ll be more likely to stay with it.
Speaker 2: Oh, I’m like, determined. You can’t meet a more determined person probably than me or my husband. He’s pretty damn determined, too. But yeah. So I’m bound and determined to stick with it. Yeah, it’s a huge investment, too. So, [00:42:36] I’m like, I wouldn’t have made the investment if I wasn’t definitely determined. So. Yes.
Speaker 1: Yes, absolutely. Well, you know, it’s our our job to help you get a return on that investment. And of course, you’re the one doing the work and you’ve got to be consistent with the lifestyle and the work. But we’re certainly happy to support you however we can. And I think your other practices with the M S stage will certainly help you and and as they’ve helped many others so far, too. So I appreciate you sharing that. And as we wind down here, I think now would be a good time for our sample of a guided meditation. So if you’re, if someone’s listening to this while they’re driving or something, we’d probably recommend coming back to this later. Right? Don’t want to do it necessarily doing that while you’re driving, but you can come back to this part of the audio later on and I will yield the floor to you. Megan.
Speaker 2: Okay. Well, I would start by closing your eyes. Put your palms on your knees. I’m sorry. The backs of your hands on your knees with your palms facing upwards. Relax your face. Take a deep breath then. And release. One more deep breath then. And release. Now notice what you notice in your body begin to feel your feet planted on the ground. Feel the energy rising through your legs. Up through your knees. Your quads. Tops of your thighs. Your low back. Your stomach. Begin to feel the energy just swirling around all the way up. Through your chest. Your Collarbone. Up in your shoulders. You can roll your neck if you want to. Up through your neck. Moving your face. Now I want you to begin to envision what your recovery looks like for you. Whether you have a neurological issue, whether you’ve had a trauma, an injury. Whatever it is. See what that looks like for you. Is it a mountain? A valley? Is [00:46:08]? Is it smooth water? What is the road to recovery look like? What do you see on the path that you’re on? Is it a stream? Is it the ocean? Is it loaded with lots of energy? Is it hectic? Is there fear involved or is it just calm? What does that look like? Begin to see yourself walking towards the recovery. Just a slow walk. Look down at your feet. Watch them walking one at a time, very slowly. Pay attention to your toes. The [00:47:07] your feet. Watch as you’re walking on your path. Focusing one step at a time. Now you’ll see yourself skipping. Just skipping. You’re happy. You’re moving with ease. Just skipping along. Maybe you’re playing hopscotch. Now begin to sidestep. See yourself doing the grapevine like your dancing. You begin to dance with your body and recovery. Watch as you begin to go through the phases. Now you begin to jog. Begin to jog with your injury. Now you can just see yourself running as fast as you can. You know, you have to make it to the other side and you will. So keep running. Watch yourself run. Now you can see the rainbow at the end with a pot of gold. Run towards it. When you get to the end, see for yourself fully recovered. The current has run up through your body. The healing has taken place has fully occurred. You’ve gotten to the rainbow, to the pot of gold. Give your body a hug. Thank it and gratitude for staying with you or helping you heal for recovering or getting you to the end of the road. Where there is pain, let there be joy. Where there is disability, let there be ability and confidence. Where there is frustration, let there be hope. Where there is anger, let there be freedom. Now take one last deep breath and envision the energy. Now it’s come all the way up to the crown of your head. Begin to wiggle your fingers and toes coming back into your body. One last deep breath then and let it go with sound. When you’re ready, you can open your eyes.
Speaker 1: Oh, wonderful. Thank you.
Speaker 2: You’re welcome.
Speaker 1: So I got to follow along there. That was an excellent experience. And hopefully everyone listening is in a place where you could participate in that as well. Yeah, the mindfulness bringing their awareness throughout the body visualization. Really powerful and that….
Speaker 2: Okay. I am glad that it served you because that is the work at the M S stage, that’s what I do.
Speaker 1: And just kind of one other perspective on that. The power in lot of this physiological psychology work, there’s kind of this progression that people talk about how our identity creates our beliefs, and our beliefs create or lead to our habits and our actions, which, of course, determine our environment and our reality and what happens there. And being able to and if you can go upstream and shift some of those first dominoes that can certainly influence the downstream and you get more leverage working upstream there and identity and beliefs. And, you know, that’s visualization. And those meditative practices plays a lot of play a big role in that. So that’s really cool. All right. For everybody listening, what’s the best way to find you, Megan?
Speaker 2: Thank you so much. Yeah. On Instagram at the M S stage, there my website www.themsstage.com. You can sign up for my newsletter there to receive a free meditation and you’ll get the monthly as well. You can follow me on Spotify and you can link into my playlists there, which is a fun way to move with your symptoms.
Speaker 1: Is that the M S stage also on Spotify or is that, do you name?
Speaker 2: Yeah, that’s the M S stage too. Yeah. So easy to remember, I think. Hopefully.
Speaker 1: Awesome. Yeah. Well, thank you so much. I think your story will really resonate certainly with other people who are dealing with M S specifically and more generally with people who have other health challenges and are on parallel paths. I think it’ll really resonate and bring hope and inspiration to people. So I really appreciate you coming on the podcast.
Speaker 2: Thank you so much. Thank you so much for having me. Thank you for your work and all that you do because you’re doing incredible work too. And I’m really excited to see where it goes.
Speaker 1: Thank you. I appreciate that very much. Yeah, I appreciate that. And I’m excited to see how it can help you. And it’s good, good, good partnership here.
Speaker 2: Yes, absolutely. Please stay in touch.
Speaker 1: Yes, absolutely. We’ll do. Thank you, Megan. And thank you, everyone, for tuning in to this episode of The Undercurrent Podcast.