Dr. Robert Rakowski – Functional Medicine and Human Performance – Podcast #34

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Dr. Justin Marchegiani interviews Dr. Robert Rakowski on this podcast where he addresses the main issues that he's seeing in his practice today including fatigue, thyroid, and adrenal problems.  He also talks about The Magnificent Seven and his 5-minute exam. 
Dr. Robert Rakowski

They also discuss about viscerosomatic reflex, dysbiosis, and factors that affect core strength in athletic performance. Dr. Bob talks about his screening tests and assessment for disc issues in the upper and lower spine. Furthermore, you can learn more about metabolic acidosis and how much we are spending on sick care nowadays. Find out how Dr. Bob extracts information from a scientific literature without being overwhelmed and listen to his awesome advice on how to win in life.

In this episode, topics include:

4:20   All about functional medicine, nutrition, applied kinesiology and chiropractic

13:32   Factors that affect core strength in athletic performance

20:12   Dr. Bob's in-office diagnostics and the big 3 tests

27:45   About the immune system, autoimmunity, gut health and hormones

31:59   Chinese botanicals and medicinal herbs that fight cancer and other diseases








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Info on Dr. Robert Rakowski: Robert A. Rakowski, DC, CCN, DACBN, DIBAK is a Chiropractor, Kinesiologist, Certified Clinical Nutritionist, Certified Biological Terrain Instructor, and the clinic director of the Natural Medicine Center in Houston Texas. In addition to running a busy practice, Dr. Rakowski has lectured internationally for over 20 years on various topics in Natural and Lifestyle Medicine.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Hey, there!  This is Dr. Justin Marchegiani and welcome to another awesome episode of Beyond Wellness Radio.  Again, we have a great show in store for you.  Before, go to beyondwellnessradio.com, click on the Newsletter Sign-Up Button and you could sign up for our newsletter and get show updates right in your inbox before anyone else.  You can also click on the Questions button and even speak questions live and we’ll be able to answer it on the air for you.

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Also, check out JustInHealth.com, which is my personal site.  Again, I have some complimentary functional medicine consults available.  You can also sign up for the Free Thyroid Series and Female Hormones Series as well.

You can also go to ReallyHealthyNow.com.  That’s Baris Harvey’s website where he has some great articles and blogs and videos for you there as well, and even some consultations.

Again, we have an awesome show in store. Stay tuned.

Hey, there! It’s Dr. Justin.  Welcome back to Beyond Wellness Radio.  Today we have an awesome guest, Dr. Robert Rakowski and–and Dr. Bob, as he’s known is an applied kinesiologist, a functional medicine specialist.  He’s lectured all around the world on aspects such as clinic nutrition, functional–functional medicine, human performance.  He has worked with professional athletes in all sports and work with basically anyone that’s trying to achieve peak performance and improve their health. Dr. Bob, how are we doing today?

Dr. Robert Rakowski:  Hey, I’m absolutely fabulous.  I’m honored to be your guest and–and looking forward to sharing.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  That is so great.  Dr. Bob, tell me a little bit about how you got into this field.  I–I heard story, I think once at a lecture, I remember you had headaches or migraines or can you talk about how you got into this field of functional medicine and chiropractic?

Dr. Robert Rakowski:   Well, actually, it actually goes back to sports injury.  I was playing football in college.  Yeah, you know, I got–I got hurt playing football.  Didn’t know anything about chiropractic, went to my medal–medical doctor, gave me muscle relaxers, pain killers; put my neck in a brace, my arm in a sling.  Long story short, I went on a date that night and had one drink.  Just one and fell asleep behind the wheel of my vehicle at 55 mph.  Fortunately, my date grabbed the wheel, shook me, you know, I pulled over the side of the road, and she said, “What happened?”  And I said, “You know, I don’t know.  I just passed out.”  And so, she drove home, and I got back and I picked up this medicine.  It said, well, don’t mix with alcohol, don’t operate heavy machinery.  My bad for not reading that first.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Wow.

Dr. Robert Rakowski:  But I just thought, you know, this stuff almost killed me, and I–I literally threw it away.  I said, “I’m not taking anything like that ever again.”  So I went back to the gym.  I was kind of a gym rat in those days, still love to train daily, but, you know, the owner of the gym looked at me and he says, “Wow!  You look like you’ve been hit by a train.”  And I said, “Yeah, it’s about how I feel.”  He said, “Well, you need a good chiropractor.”  I didn’t even know what one was.  But I said, “Sure, I’ll go.”  And chiropractor Mike Wickers in Milwaukee, Wisconsin helped me so much, so fast, and he worked with a lot of athletes and just by balancing my body not only helped me get over pain but helped me check out my own performance.  And then eventually that led to a passion for nutrition and I saw massive changes in nutrition.  I–I was probably a typically teen eating–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Dr. Robert Rakowski:  Burgers and fries and shakes and–and switching over to a good diet and baseline supplementation took my game to a whole new level so that passion started, you know, about 35 years ago and literally I’ve studied nutrition almost daily.  You know, for that entire period of time and I had been blessed to have been able to teach all over the world and share, and–and help world-champion athletes take up their game as well as people that were supposedly sent home to die, and some of them are still alive 20 years later and, you know, and doing much better.  So, it’s been a great journey.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Very cool and you were actually one of the–one of the physicians that I studied growing up and I chose chiropractic because I wanted to work in the field of functional medicine but I also saw what you were doing with applied kinesiology and helping people at such high levels and I–I imagine you agree when you would–when you add the nutrition element to the applied kinesiology and chiropractic, patients get better so much faster.  Is that true?

Dr. Robert Rakowski:  That’s–that’s an absolutely undisputable fact, you know.  The Journal of American Medical Association has been releasing an article called the Actual Causes of Death, and they do it every decade.  The first time they did it was 1990 and they said the number one cause was cigarette smoking, number two poor diet.  In 2000, it was the same, but there was a flip flop.  In 2010 and the last time it was published and they estimate that 670,000 people per year, US, die from poor diet.  Number two is cigarette smoking at 460,000.  But interesting enough, items that they had on the list were, you know, increased body mass index, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, high blood sugar.  And last I checked, those are all due to poor diet and lack of exercise.  And by the way, lack of exercise was number three.  So you start dealing with diet and exercise, and stress management, and you’ve got the big 3 in helping people get better.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Very cool, very cool.  And you have very interesting strategy in your practice.  You kind of–you have the functional medicine side where you’re really into testing and science, and laboratory evaluation, and then you also married the–the chiropractic in with a really high quality assessment with the kinesiology.  You have also your–your 5-minute and I’ve studied all your kinesiology work.  Can you talk more about how you apply kinesiology with your chiropractic patients and why you’re able to get such great results.

Dr. Robert Rakowski:  Yeah. And you know, I’m gonna–I’m gonna go back to my best instructor in chiropractic college and again, I have many greats.  But Dr. Frank Ferraro, you know, walked into a class of chiropractors and he said, “Hey, I have a question for you.  What do you chiropractors do?”  And ultimately, he would come down to the answer of “chiropractors move bones” then he asked, “What do muscles do?  Well, the answer is muscles move bones.  Who does a better job?  The muscles.  They do it 24/7, 365.  It’s their pure job.”  So he said very simply, “If you’re not working with the muscles, if you’re not assessing the muscles, if you’re not balancing the muscles, you’re missing the body’s own correction, so kinesiology just simply assesses the muscular balance.”  And you know, it’s ancient wisdom.  It goes back to Hippocrates.  He said, “In disease, look to the spine first.”  But really what I think he was saying was look to the paraspinal muscles, the muscles that support and stabilize the spine.  Because I don’t really care who the athlete is, whether they’re going for the fourth or fifth world championship or Weekend Warrior, you can always find that you can improve the paraspinal muscle balance to improve their core strength, stability, function, flexibility and when you do, you improve their performance.  And it–it’s across the board.  Now you start marrying that to clinic nutrition, where you realize that there’s a lot of people that have, you know, most people are familiar with this Vitamin D issue where people are–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Dr. Robert Rakowski:  Vitamin D deficient and people are Omega-3 deficient, and people tend to be generally mineral deficient, even though magnesium–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Dr. Robert Rakowski:  Gets–gets the big rap on that one, but reality is “good baseline nutrition, good detoxification, improving the diet, balancing the core muscles, improving the body chemistry, most of my Olympic athletes have a–have a PR or personal record, personal best, within 2 weeks of seeing me.  And that–that comes in whether they come in injured or healthy, we can move their body to a whole new level within 2 weeks.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  That’s great.  And I know you’re famous for this, the 5-minute exam that you teach all doctoral students.  Can you just walk–just the average person when they’re coming in to see and again, Dr. Bob is in Houston, Texas, so anyone who wants to fly down, Dr. Bob sees patients from all over the world–can you talk about your 5-minute exam, Dr. Bob?

Dr. Robert Rakowski:  Yeah, you know, it–it’s interesting that it takes a little bit of a skill set to get it done in 5 minutes–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Dr. Robert Rakowski:  But literally, I start at the extremities and I look at what are known are myotome indicators or–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Robert Rakowski:  Indi–muscle indicators for every level of the spine related to the lower extremity which is gonna start essentially at about the third lumbar vertebra all the way down to the second sacral verteb–or second sacral neurology segment.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Dr. Robert Rakowski:  In the thora–in the cervical spine, you can easily get the lower cervical spine, the fifth, sixth, seventh, and–and eighth cervical nerve root.  We have a little different for the upper cervical spine which is based on head position and–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Dr. Robert Rakowski:  Neurology and ability to flex, extend, and rotate.  But literally we go through both the extremities and the core in less than 5 minutes and then we also do a screening of–of things that are known as viscerosomatic reflexes.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Robert Rakowski:  Reflexes where the organ systems actually show an imbalance or tender points or active acupuncture points on the outside of the body.  And–and what I’ve told my students for years is my mindset is, my thesis is, in the absence of trauma, bodies break down on the inside before they break down on the outside.  And so we also know that the whole body works together, meaning everything that happens on the inside affects the outside, and if you know how to look at the outside, look at these reflex points, look at the muscles, look at the acupuncture system.  Within 5 minutes, you can determine where the patient’s greatest imbalance is.  And by addressing that, that’s how we get the biggest thing for our buck.  So, you know, I–I had a professional football player come in a couple of years ago.  And I’ve got a video of him, in fact, I technically have a video release so I can probably share his name.  But this guy had a turf toe.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Hmm.

Dr. Robert Rakowski:  And he had been dealing with it for 2 years and he was losing his starting job because he couldn’t push off.  Imagine being a–a defensive end, 280 pounds, and against the guys who are gaining as well.  What we actually found out, it really wasn’t his foot at all even though the manifestation was in his foot.  He had an imbalance in his core, which is actually related to his liver.  That imbalance actually caused a little bit of a nerve pressure that collapsed the arch of his foot and put a lot of pressure on that toe, but literally we made it so much better in one week.  Now this guy went on to win the Superbowl, signed a 28.5 million dollar extension, is considered the number 3 defensive end in all of football right now.  And so going from being in jeopardy of losing his starting position and keep in mind if you’ve got a turf toe, you–you’re gonna modify your step, when you’re on a football field with those kind of animals, who knows if you would have tore up an ankle, a knee, something that could have been career-ending but instead that transitioned to a, you know, 28.5 million dollar extension which is a nice deal.  Just a nice feather in the cap and I always say, I need a better agent, because I probably should somehow negotiated for–for 1% of that or something.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah, I mean, if you can get a fraction or a percent, that would be amazing.  Great, awesome!  Now one of the things that you do that’s really unique and I find a lot of chiropractors missed the boat on this is assessment for disc issues in the lower–lower spine and upper spine.  Can you talk about just how you assess disc and how that that can–disc bulging or protrusion can really shut down the whole nervous system or at least those nerve roots that are involved?

Dr. Robert Rakowski:  Sure, while realistically if you wanna actually really confirm it’s a disc, you want an imaging study–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Dr. Robert Rakowski:  An MRI, which–which, by the way, I rarely order.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Dr. Robert Rakowski:  But when you’re looking at the strength of the lower extremity, what I’ll do is I’ll put the patient in a–in a high pressure circumstance, a compromised circumstance–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Robert Rakowski:  Most chiropractors look at patients when they’re lying down, but what if you have them seated with their knees tucked up to their chest and–and maybe their head flexed forward.  American Family Physician actually showed that that increases the pressure in the lower discs by 600-800%.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Oh, it’s that much, wow!

Dr. Robert Rakowski:  Then we also–it’s–it’s tremendous, I can send you the article.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Wow.

Dr. Robert Rakowski:  And then when you put the leg in a position–I like to test medial and lateral stability of the knee with the rotators, and if you flex the knee all the way up, the most, you know, stable position of the knee is locked but the most unstable is flexed all the way up.  Even with a super strong athlete you can see that there can be a weakness in their ability to stabilize that knee.  The next thing we do is we have to take pressure off the spine by having them lie down or possibly bend their body to the side or maybe even, you know, suck the belly button in, and suddenly you realize, well, there’s an increase in strength.  So they begin to realize that spinal position has something to do with the weakness that they’re experiencing in their lower extremity.  The same is true for the upper extremity, although the pressure is not as great.  We have them sit down, their chin is tucked.  They perform what’s called a Valsalva maneuver.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Dr. Robert Rakowski:  They take a deep breath and hold and squeeze as if they’re trying to use the restroom and–and that will increase the cervical disc pressure, not as much as it does the lumbar but it gives a more compromised circumstance and it’s an easier way to test.  So when I test the bicep, I have–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Dr. Robert Rakowski:  The patient in full flexion with the elbow all the way back.  Tricep is just at about a full extension so that way I give myself a mechanical advantage or testing advantage, because some of the people I test are outrageously strong.  The strongest guy I tested was legitimately the strongest man in the world, 6’2”, 405 lbs, and guess what with that testing protocol, we could identify things that other doctors couldn’t and help him take his game to the next level.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Wow, that’s great.  And you used that term viscerosomatic reflex and just for all the listeners at home, what that is, that’s an organ, viscerosomatic muscle.  So the organs and the muscle are basically on–on two-lane highways regarding the nervous system.  So you talked about core strength, can you touch upon, let’s say we have dysbiosis or a gut infection, maybe a parasite or maybe like an H. Pylori infection, some type of gut inflammation, how does the organs that are inflamed due to all of the stress and antibiotics and high sugar diet and gluten?  How does that affect the core strength in athletic performance?

Dr. Robert Rakowski:  Well, it’s definitely gonna take it down suboptimal.  I like to tell people everything works together and you hit them with some high notes there.  You know, when you start talking about dysbiosis, I’ve lectured at a major international office and that’s one of the greatest areas of research.  That just means essentially bad bug growth.  Dys means bad, bio life, bad life in your gut.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Dr. Robert Rakowski:  And most of us are constantly exposed to antibiotics.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Robert Rakowski:  84% of antiobiotics are used in livestock so then we get antibiotics in the meat when these animals eliminate, even the plants are taking up antibiotics.  But what that cause is a level of gut inflammation.  Now most people probably don’t understand how that would feel, but most people have some familiarity when someone has appendicitis for instance.  You know, they have extreme tenderness in their gut.  Their abdomen is very, very rigid and that’s just simply what you’re describing as a viscerosomatic reflex from an inflamed appendix.  Another thing that people get familiar with is maybe someone with a kidney stone or kidney infection.  Their low back muscles get super, super tight and rigid.  And again, that’s just the organ reflexing back to the muscular system.  The stomach will do it as well.  The small intestines will do it as well.  The large–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  How about a heart attack–

Dr. Robert Rakowski:  Intestine will do it–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  With the left arm-?

Dr. Robert Rakowski:  Yeah, there you go.  That’s–that’s probably the most known viscerosomatic reflex.  Yeah.  You know, suddenly someone feels shortness of breath and pain in their left arm.  You better get to it–you know, pop an aspirin and get to the emergency room as soon as possible, because that’s–that’s likely a very serious life-threatening circumstance.  So yeah, those are all great examples.  But you mentioned so many different things, you know.  You look at gluten and I have been putting people on a gluten-free diet for my entire 23 years in practice.  And even though there’s not a lot of people with celiac disease.  It’s about 1 in a 100 people that have celiac disease.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Robert Rakowski:  What we now know is the study of dysbiosis, is that gluten actually promotes dysbiosis or bad growth of bugs in the gut.  And what I like to tell my patients is the difference between good bugs and bad bugs is what they eat and what they poop.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Mmm.

Dr. Robert Rakowski:  Good–good bugs eat poop and poop nutrients.  Bad bugs eat nutrients and poop toxins.  And those poison our system, increase inflammation, and decrease our performance, function, and wellness.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  I love those little–those little one liners you have there.  I think you’re also famous for the one–the solution to pollution is dilution.  Was that you as well?

Dr. Robert Rakowski:  You know, I’ve said it many, many times–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Oh, okay.

Dr. Robert Rakowski:  But I ca–cannot claim to be the original.  You know, if you–if you study the–the history of human sanitation, humans have lived near water bodies, guess what?  So they use that to dilute all of their wastes.  And they’ve–they’ve known that forever.  You know, the solution to pollution is dilution and where our body comes into place, we’re a closed system.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Dr. Robert Rakowski:  So our bodies will hold water when we’re toxic.  You know, you have plenty of people walk around, at the end of the day they have a ring around their ankle where their socks were.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Dr. Robert Rakowski:  Those are toxic people with extra fluid.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And also the–the allergic shiners around the eyes, too.  That’s notorious.

Dr. Robert Rakowski:  Absolutely.  Yes.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  That last line you just said.  That was just profound.  So good bugs eat poop and excrete nutrition–

Dr. Robert Rakowski:  Exactly.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Where bad bugs eat nutrition and excrete poop.  Is that correct?

Dr. Robert Rakowski:  It’s–that’s exactly that.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Oh, that is just awesome.  Very good, very good.  So what are the main issues that you’re seeing in your practice today?  Is it fatigue, thyroid, adrenal, is it all of the above, a myriad of things?  What are the–what’s the average person walking into your office with today?

Dr. Robert Rakowski:  Well, you know, I see the whole gamut, right?  So for instance this morning I had two Olympic sprinters.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Wow.

Dr. Robert Rakowski:  And they were coming in for, you know, core balance and improve their performance and–and a little bit of lower extremity issues.  Last year–well, even this year, I–I don’t know th

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