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Democratizing Wellness With Dr. Rich Joseph

This week, we chat with Dr. Rich Joseph, the Chief Medical Officer at Restore Hyper Wellness, founder of vim Medicine, and co-founder of Vital CxNs. David made ample use of the Restore facilities during his recovery from knee surgery, and we like how their business helps to make treatments like hyperbaric oxygen therapy, red light therapy, IV drips, and others accessible to the public. During our conversation, Rich shares his view on the literature supporting up-and-coming therapy treatments, the importance of challenging oneself at any age, biomarkers, and his nonprofit work with underserved populations in Boston. 

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Get in touch with Dr. Joseph
Restore Hyper Wellness
vim Performance Medicine
Vital CxNs

Dr Rich Joseph, it is a pleasure to have you on the show. Thank you for your time today. It’s a pleasure to be here. Thanks for hosting me, david. Absolutely, I’m a huge fan of your work. The reason I’m having you on is because I am a fan and I’m a long-time customer of one of your businesses and I thought, well, let’s have the guy on here who designed this thing. 

Speaker 2: 9:46

I’m not going to take credit for designing it, but I think you know I’m so excited that you’re a restore member and I know that it’s you know you’ve benefited from the services. 

Speaker 1: 9:56

Tell us a little bit about your background. Rich we’re sorry. 

Speaker 2: 9:59

So I guess probably the easiest way to think about me is that I am a doctor, I’m a trained internist and that’s where my my trade and everything that I do sort of branches off of that training. I have my own clinic where I work with a small number of individuals. My sort of biggest day job is as the chief medical officer for restore hyper wellness, which is a you know we’ll talk more about restore, but it’s a large franchise system over about 240 locations now it’s helping to democratize a lot of these new wellness modalities. And then I’m the proud sort of founding director of a local nonprofit based here in Boston that does collected impact, health, equity projects and some of Boston’s more underserved and under resourced neighborhoods. All of those things have been made possible by the fact that I’m a physician, and so I’m really grateful for the training that I’ve had. 

Speaker 1: 10:49

Wonderful. I haven’t mentioned restore in the past, but when I talk to people about places I’ve gone, so I’m in a sort of a privileged position in that I have access to a lot of awesome docs and I had knee surgery back the end of August and one of my docs, dr Scott Sher, who does high-level athletes recover. Well, scott Sher, scott’s brilliant, scott’s a great guy yeah, scott’s a great guy. And Scott told me hyperbaric oxygen therapy to recover from surgery and because I’m not a super rich guy and I don’t have an HBOT tank in my place although I know people who do I went to restore hyper wellness and one of the things that I really like about restore is you use the word democratizing wellness, democratizing these modalities that, like I don’t have to own an HBOT tank. I don’t have to. I guess people own cryotherapy tanks. It seems like a little nuts, but maybe some people do. 

Speaker 2: 11:44

I think a lot more people own have cold plunges these days. 

Speaker 1: 11:46

Or cold plunges right, but these facilities all around where I can just go there and I don’t have to own all this stuff, I can just go in, which I think is like super cool. 

Speaker 2: 11:57

I think that’s one of the biggest values is putting these different therapies under one roof for people. And, just to be clear, Restore has cryotherapy, which is a form of cold therapy. We have heat therapy in the form of sauna, compression therapy, IV therapy, photobiomodulation of red light therapy and then hyperbaric oxygen, which you mentioned, and again, with about 240 locations now across the country, I mean I think we’re not everywhere, but we’re getting close to most people, and so the ability for people to access our studios and do all these things in one place I think is a real benefit. 

Speaker 1: 12:36

I don’t want to turn this into too much of a commercial for Restore, but that’s what’s going to end up happening here, because I think it’s great. That’s okay, it’s a worthy commercial. Yeah, I know three people off the top of my head who have, or sort of like, in my age groups I’m 64, who have osteoarthritis and they go to cryo. And you mentioned cold therapy, sort of two kinds. There’s the cold water version and then there’s cryo, which is a tank and your tanks are regular air, so it’s full body and it’s like minus 220, I think, and you do it for about three minutes. And they have found tremendous relief. Like they’re not. They’re not taking abuprofen anymore, they just do cryo once or twice a week. My recollection is cryo was developed for that right. Am I wrong? 

Speaker 2: 13:27

Yeah, cryo does have its origins as a form of pain therapy, for sure, and you know, we all, I think, understand, I mean from when you were younger and when you got hurt someone said, hey, put an ice pack on it, right, Something like that. And so cold certainly has the anti-inflammatory benefit for people and for our bodies. And so the opportunity then to give it to sort of the full body therapy I think is what makes it novel. And, as you mentioned, cold water therapy is sort of similar right, it’s a fact on helping to, you know, release a bunch of chemicals that help with anti-inflammation. And many folks who come to benefit from cryotherapy, like you mentioned, are folks who have chronic pain, often, you know, autoimmune conditions, osteoarthritis, things like that, that. So, rather than being on either chronic pain therapy or anti-inflammatory or something like that, this ends up being a replacement for, at least a compliment, to some of the other therapies that they have to take daily. 

Speaker 1: 14:24

Anadotally the people that I know with osteoarthritis. They feel more relieved from the cryo than from cold plunge. Do you have any thoughts on that? I don’t know why it is. 

Speaker 2: 14:34

I don’t know why that is either. I mean, I think that unfortunately I mean, you know, most of the data to date around cold therapy has been done with cold water immersion. Because cryotherapy is a bit newer Cold water immersion has been around for a long time. It’s a little bit more controllable in sort of research conditions. However, if you think about it mechanistically, they’re probably quite similar in terms of their effects on the body. So I’m not entirely sure why that would be, but in my local Restore Studio here I see tons of people coming in for cryotherapy who have pain right, and that’s what they’re dealing with day to day and this has been a mainstay of their routine. 

Speaker 1: 15:12

I’ve done both quite a bit and I find that the sort of brain effects from the cold water are stronger. Like when I get out of running cold water, like you know, 35 degrees for I don’t know two minutes or so I get out. My brain is just lit up. It’s amazing. 

Speaker 2: 15:31

Yeah, totally, and I think that you know cold therapy and heat therapy and even had barric therapy at Restore. They sort of leveraged this concept of hormesis, which is something I think we should talk about. And you know how do you push the body into stress right in a way that’s adaptive for the body, right, and that’s what cold therapy does, is what heat therapy does. This is sort of perturbing our homeostasis so that the body becomes more adaptive over time, is able to better regulate itself. And I think you know, for the context of thinking about aging and a lot of what you talk about on the podcast, where you have to think about how to intentionally, sort of deliberately, stress the body so that it stays more resilient over time, I think, ultimately, as you think about, as I thought about Restore and sort of how to have all these therapies under one umbrella and sort of how to describe them, hormesis comes to mind to me as a key scientific concept that I think more people should understand and think about. I mean, exercise is probably the best example of it, right, pushing your body into stress. But cold therapy, heat therapy, hyperbaric therapy, they all leverage a similar concept. 

Speaker 1: 16:36

Hormesis is one of my favorite words. 

Speaker 2: 16:39

It’s the best, right. I think we should have all marketing, all the gear at Restore should be leveraging. We should talk about hormesis, that’s right, you know. It’s interesting. It comes from the world of toxicology, right, and the idea. I think it was Peraklius, who’s like this Swiss chemist, like 500 years ago, who had the quote that it’s really the dose that makes the poison right. So anything that we do, like everything, is poisonous, right, if you do it to an extent, right. Too much of anything is not great for anyone, right. And so it’s all about how do we give people the right dose of stressors to that’s adaptive for them in the long term? And I think one more, as we think about aging and how to age intentionally and how to just live better over time and deal with the stressors of modern life, we have to push back against those by deliberately stressing ourselves and building our adaptive capacity over time. 

Speaker 1: 17:29

Yeah, and I look at hormesis in a physical realm, but also in other realms. I think that this idea that you know, do hard things, like learn a language, that’s hard. And I think the same hormesis graph applies that you know, if somebody dropped me into rural China and said, learn Mandarin or something, that’s too much dose, right, Overload, can’t do it. But if I’m, you know, but over three years I can probably learn a language or learn something. But it’s, I think, getting used to this idea of doing hard things and uncomfortable things, and it’s one of the things that we talk a lot about at ages, that total comfort leads to total decay and we’re sort of conditioned to this idea that you know which is the most comfortable chair, which is the most comfortable, whatever, then we in our minds put up this value paradigm that comfort is good, and, yeah, some comfort is good, but also doing hard things and being uncomfortable I think that’s one of the ways that we push back on. The decay of aging is, you know, like we were when we were 10, we were used to on, everything was uncomfortable, all right. 

Speaker 2: 18:45

Totally, Totally. I mean I think you know, even in my clinic and when I work with individual clients, like the idea that either you’re growing or you’re decaying, right in some way, and like I think that that’s true, it’s like it’s not stagnant right, Like entropy is working on us all the time and so you have to push back against that and that’s uncomfortable, right. That means welcoming and inviting discomfort into your life and to your day and that, to your point, sort of like against everything that we’re sold right now and what we’re taught to believe is best. You know, and I do worry about that right, Because we used to live in a world where that discomfort was natural to something that we couldn’t avoid. It was something that was part of our daily lives and it’s been amazing that we’ve been able to create the world we live in now, but we’ve also sort of engineered a lot of that discomfort out of our lives and I do think that that contributes to a lot of, obviously, the disease and dysfunction that we see in the world today and I think what’s sort of interesting anti-aging and longevity sees the pendulum sort of shift back a little bit, People trying to counter that, which I think is encouraging. 

Speaker 1: 19:55

And I think that you know again, it’s not just a physical thing, I think it’s emotionally how much people avoid emotional uncomfortability and that can lead through a relationship to decay. 

Speaker 2: 20:11

Totally. Yeah, I think that’s so essential. I mean, I’m glad you mentioned the emotional and for me it’s also, you know, the emotional, the spiritual, the mental realm. I think it’s very easy to think when we’re talking about health and longevity. It’s really, you know, people often gravitate towards the physical realm. I think things like, like you know, exercise and like the importance of discomfort with that are tangible for people. But how do you build more deliberate discomfort into these other realms of life? I think is an important thing to think about and to actually take some time to structure so that you can put that into more of your routine. Otherwise, you’re right, like you don’t touch those parts of your life and a lot of the maybe the behaviors and thought patterns that you once have, that once had that were adaptive for you can become maladaptive over time, based off of you know, your phase of life and circumstances of your life, and because we’re always changing right and we have to adapt accordingly. 

Speaker 1: 21:09

Yeah, that’s right. I have a couple of questions about some of the modalities. If that’s all right, Please, please please Tell me. Dr Scott, like he had me when I was in H-Bot tanks that I’ve been in. I’ve actually been in a lot of different ones, so I’ve been in sort of the medical ones that are, like you know, three, three atmospheres full oxygen. That’s like a serious medical thing. And then there’s the 1.3 atmospheres and then there are two kinds. There’s the sort of tube variety and then there’s my favorite kind. It’s more triangular and I can sit in it. Oh, interesting, I haven’t experienced that one. 

Speaker 2: 21:43

Oh, they’re great man. 

Speaker 1: 21:45

So you, there’s like it’s sort of a triangular thing and they put a little chair in there and you know you have an oxygen condenser that you’re breathing. But because there’s a chair I can have my laptop and there’s something about the pressure plus the oxygen Boy. Does my brain work well in there? Totally. You know, he suggested to me that we stack modality, so there was sort of like a red light wrap thing that would that I put on my knee while I was in there. Red light is something that’s a bit of a mystery to me. When I’ve been in Restore, there are large panels and you stand between them. Yeah, what’s going on there? 

Speaker 2: 22:24

That’s right. So red light therapy, just to sort of think about the science of it and that I think and this is something I’ve been trying to help just the system at large to understand, because I think some of these things can be quite complicated. But once you actually understand sort of the foundational science and how mechanistically how these things are working, I think it’s much easier to talk about them with clients and then, you know, amongst studio staff. And so red light therapy it’s red light, because we’re using either red, the red spectrum of light, or near infrared light, which is actually a small part of the light spectrum, and those wavelengths are actually better able to penetrate deeper within the skin. And so that’s why you see actually infrared saunas. The reasons that they’re not as hot as traditional saunas is because basically the red light helps to sort of heat the body from inside Right, and so you actually need a lower temperature. But the pure red light therapy with the panels that you’re talking about is that red light actually penetrates deeper into the cells and it activates the mitochondria. And the mitochondria are sort of our energy factories within our cell, and if you look at some of the sort of cellular harm works of aging. One of them is sort of the mitochondria just don’t function quite as well as they once did and, as you think about it, they’re the. They’re responsible for producing ATP, which is our body’s energy currency. It allows us to do everything that we do, and so the idea behind red light is that it, by activating the mitochondria and enhancing their ability to produce ATP, we’re better able to generate cellular energy, which is essential, obviously, for all of life’s processes, and so, whether it’s from, is often used for healing for people, right? Because in areas that are injured or hurt, there’s often less blood flow getting to that area. So that’s why I think probably Scott combined it with the hyperbaric therapy, because it’s the combination of both the red light, which is activating the mitochondria, plus the additional oxygen from a hyperbaric tank is a pretty potent combination for healing. 

Speaker 1: 24:29

I read a I think it was a NASA study on red light. I think you’ve know more about this than I do, but I recall something about if people are in space for long periods of time, they want them exposed to red light, and I think there was quite a bit of science on that, as I recall. 

Speaker 2: 24:48

I know I can imagine that’s true. I’m not entirely sure that you have science that you’re referring to, but I guess someone who came in to again like I was trained as a traditional internist. Right, we didn’t learn anything about red light therapy or hyperbaric therapy and things like that in my training, and so Restore has really pushed me to learn about these modalities and these alternate therapies and dig into the science behind them, and I must say that one of the interesting things is that there’s not giant randomized clinical trials around a lot of this stuff. There are for a lot of pharmaceutical therapies that people are familiar with and there probably won’t ever be because there’s not much of an incentive to do that. You can’t patent these things, et cetera. However, mechanistically, if you look into the data, it’s quite compelling what these things do on a cellular level and in terms of thinking about all the clients who’ve come in to Restore and the benefits that they’ve received, and some of just the client testimonials, which you can call case studies or anecdotal data, are so powerful around a lot of what we do, though a lot of my job internally is thinking about how do we use Restore’s platform with the amount of studios that it has, the amount of people who are coming in to do hyperbaric therapy, cryotherapy, red light therapy, et cetera, to actually advance the evidence, advance the scientific literature there, because my colleague Rachel and I always say that a lot of these things are suffering from an absence of evidence. It’s not that these things don’t work, it’s just that there’s not much scientific literature out there looking at their effects in humans, in large populations, and so that’s something that we’re hoping to help advance with Restore’s platform. 

Speaker 1: 26:38

Just staying on the red light. What’s the dosage and the frequency that you feel is optimal on this? 

Speaker 2: 26:43

With red light. I think the more you do the better. Truthfully, like I don’t think that there’s like an upper limit. I don’t think we know sort of like what the upper limit is, but from all that I’ve seen, it’s more of like how often can you do it, how much can you afford to do, how much time do you have to do it? But I think that honestly, the more the better with red light. I wouldn’t say that about everything that we do, but from what I’ve seen for red light, people benefit If we go back to Hormesis. 

Speaker 1: 27:14

There isn’t a toxic load from the red light or some maladaptive thing if you have too much of it. I mean honestly. 

Speaker 2: 27:20

I mean, it’s not like everyone’s going to stay in red light all day. So I think the hard part is that we don’t have data to really show like when do you get to a point of diminishing returns? I haven’t seen much in terms of the actual. I don’t have safety considerations about it, right, I don’t say, hey, this is a toxic dose if you stay in it for longer than 30 minutes or something like that. So I think for folks that we’re working with at Restore who come in, obviously they’re coming in at some frequency during the week and so the more they can do it, the better often because it’s not something they’re being exposed to outside of Restore. And so I think the hard part for me and as we think about our protocols honestly going forward and it gets back to this absence of evidence piece is that there’s really not good evidence around, sort of what is that higher? What’s the upper dose? Right, what’s the? But I think you know I feel very good about everything that we’re doing from a safety consideration standpoint, right, and now it’s about how do we refine the science space off of the number of people coming in to use these things, to actually do a better job of saying, hey, you know, we have better data around this now and we recommend X and X. You know this much time, each time you come in, or something like that. 

Speaker 1: 28:35

Let’s take that to the cryo tank. So my recollection is I think it’s like minus 220, I think it’s three minutes. Are you seeing, if you do it like every day or something, do you sort of build up? Are you not getting the shock effect? Do you get too used to it? What are you seeing there? 

Speaker 2: 28:53

Yeah, I think that definitely happens for folks and it’s the same thing. You know, I’ve talked to folks who do a bunch of cold water immersion. Your body gets used to it over time, right. Even for me and I’m someone who hates cold, to be clear, like I’m a baby with the cold but if I’ve taken cold showers for a while, it’s like it just gets easier to do and that’s your body adapting to it, right. And so a lot of folks who come in like often ask hey, can I do it for longer, or can I stay in for a little bit longer, can I get a little bit colder, et cetera. And unfortunately we have to say no to a lot of that because there are risks with cryo, right, and you can get frostbite, you can get burned, and so you know, as opposed to red light, where they were. Yeah, fill up. Yeah, there’s less sort of safety consideration around that, but cryo, for sure, people can get injured, right, staying in there for too long and so. But I know that it makes people feel good, right, and it’s part of their routine, so we want to encourage it, but we don’t want to do anything that’s not safe. 

Speaker 1: 29:58

I just want to touch on the frequency on that. So what’s the space between people going in so they don’t become habituated to it Like every three days, once a week? What are you seeing? 

Speaker 2: 30:15

Yeah, I think it’s. I hate to like say this, but I think it’s about you have to experiment and know yourself, right, I don’t know if there’s like clear data on how long people will habituate to the tape, to the habituate to cold therapy, right, everyone’s different, everyone’s bodies are different. I think that with anything that you do in life the stressor right you want to get to a point where either you’re able to up the ante in a safe way, right, or you’re doing it with a certain frequency, such that you’re still getting those adaptive benefits right Over time. And so, for people who love cryo, great, but at some point you might want to take a pause from cryo and try something else and then come back to it, right, so that you can keep letting your body adapt over time. And so I do think it’s like very subjective and different person to person. And again, someone who who feels, who hates cold therapy and loves heat therapy, like I can sit in a sauna all day, like I cannot sit in the crowd chamber all day, and so for me, like that’s where I have to put you know, I have to deliver say, hey, well, I’m going to restore my new cryo because I don’t like it right, and I think that’s. I think ultimately, like that’s how, how we should think about sort of this idea of hormesis and causing adaptive stress for ourselves. It’s like when you go in ask yourself, oh, what’s the thing? Like I really don’t want much and like maybe that’s your body telling you this is the thing that you might actually need, right, and and so that’s sort of how I do it for myself. But I think you know there’s been interesting. You know, cold therapy, I think, can have very useful benefits for people, especially if they’re, you know, doing their competitive athletes. They’re doing, obviously, what we talked about pain, but for for performance purposes, right? So if people have multiple competitions during a day like that, if you want to get like an infinite, pretty immediate anti inflammatory benefit, I think it’s, it’s really beneficial. So I think it’s about you have to know what you’re using it for, right. Are you using it for, you know, this idea of hormesis, with the idea that you’re going to become a cold adaptive over time, or is it more? Hey, I have this acute thing that I’m trying to do. I’m trying to deal with whether it’s pain, whether it’s. I’m trying to recover immediately, for the competition is going to happen later that day, et cetera. And so I think it’s about being sort of mindful and intentional about the way you use the therapies as well. 

Speaker 1: 32:32

I’ll tell you some more anecdotal information from my friends. They so my Australia friends. They tell me like once a week or so is good and, what’s interesting, the effect doesn’t take, doesn’t happen immediately. It’s about two days later is when all the pain goes away, and then they’re good for like another week and it starts to sort of fade and then they go back. 

Speaker 2: 32:55

Yeah, totally and I think I think to your point, like you have to. I mean, we talked a little bit about frequency and I can’t really give like a you know best frequency for all people. But I think one common thing here is that you have to keep doing these things over time so I can sort of like exercise right, Like you can’t just do it once and expect that it’s going to make the big change for you. So these need to be part of the habit, they need to be part of routine. For people with some regular frequency we’ll say I mean, you did HBOT right. Like you know, most of the HBOT data shows, until it’s about, you know, at least 20 sessions, but more likely 40 to 60 sessions, and people are going to really see a benefit from HBOT and so they require an investment an investment, obviously, of time and money, but also of just sort of the willingness to do something over and over again, which is you have to ask for people. But I think once they start to feel the benefit, it becomes self-reinforcing. 

Speaker 1: 33:55

I think Scott was telling me about HBOT, especially with traumatic brain injury. A lot of sessions, Lots of sessions. 

Speaker 2: 34:05

Yeah, most of the protocols are up to about like 60, 60 sessions, you know, and it’s pretty intensive. Sometimes people are doing it twice a day, at least once a day, but you know they’re like 90 minute sessions, right. So that’s a big investment it is. But people I mean people have tremendous benefits, right, and I think that you know, in a lot of ways, I think a lot of people are rightfully frustrated with the approach of traditional medicine. And you know, traditional medicine this is coming from, obviously, someone who’s trained in evidence-based medicine. It’s wonderful for a lot of things, right. But there are a lot of other issues that people have whether they’re in autoimmune conditions or, you know, called brain fog or even TBI or things like that that just are not comprehensively treated within our traditional medical paradigm. And I think that’s where a lot of these, you know, call them interventional wellness therapies, some of what Restore does fit. They’re standalone or as an add-on, sort of integrated approach for someone, and I think that that’s tremendously powerful. 

Speaker 1: 35:14

No, another woman who has a child who has horrendous ADHD, and they tried all kinds of things and the only thing they worked was H-Bot. Nobody knows why, but it does yeah. 

Speaker 2: 35:28

Yeah, I think those stories are so powerful, right, and I think that I would love if we can get to the point where we had more rigorous data around that, because I think that, you know, all of us have our case studies and our anecdotal evidence and those are powerful signals right. We shouldn’t ignore those things. But I think now it’s on us as Restore, as wellness companies generally, to help build the evidence around some of these case studies so that, because I think they’re still, if they don’t have that evidence base, they’re still relegated to sort of, oh, that’s wellness, so that’s, you know, does that really work for people? And like there’s still this friction between, sort of the traditional medical system and, you know, these types of clinics and therapies, and I think it’s unfortunate because, done the right way, like Scott did, and how I approach it with my clients is like they can be integrated as sort of a very powerful combination for people rather than either, or you alluded to early on in our conversation about, you know, trying to understand some of this better, and if you have, what did you say? 

Speaker 1: 36:35

250 of these, about 240. That’s a big number and a lot of people use one of them, so that’s a lot of people going through. Are you able to accumulate data on that in some way? 

Speaker 2: 36:53

Yeah, we are working on it, for sure, and it’s something that is top of mind for me. My colleague, rachel Pagenik she’s a PhD and I brought her in early when I started at Restore and that was part of the deal for me and I said, hey, like you know, love what you’re doing. I already use a bunch of some of this stuff with my own clients. It fits in sort of my philosophy and approach to care. But I think it’s incumbent upon these companies not just restore, but companies in the wellness space generally to help advance the evidence in a thoughtful way around what they’re doing, capture data, and I think that customers and clients want to participate in that right, especially if they’re getting benefit out of these things and they feel like it’s they’re not heard right or that you know that you know they’re not given their, their fair share by some of their, you know, official doctors or something like that. I think that they want to participate in helping to advance the literature and make these available to more folks who also have their struggles, and so that is something that we’re certainly pushing internally. I think, as you can, as you can probably imagine, it’s still a challenge because the business has more you know, sometimes more immediate needs of things that needs to do, and so this is a longer term play right. It’s sort of advancing the science. I think it’s. It’s essential and I also firmly believe that by doing it you help establish authority right and I think that more and more consumers who care about their health and want more agency around their health also care about Going to the most trusted sources for their health and their health care. I’m trying to fight the good fight and advance the science for sure. 

Speaker 1: 38:32

I think that that’s one of the issues I have with this sort of whole sector is that you can say anything. Yeah yeah and just say whatever and I think that having you know, I can imagine having With the company like restore. You know there’s a lot of privacy issues there’s. How do you actually collect data on this? What’s the before, what’s the after Figuring this stuff out? It’s, it’s not like you’re doing it. Huge science, you know, controlled science, experiments it’s. It’s harder. But I think that, as I’m on board with what you’re saying like increase the credibility, it’s one of the things that I find is very difficult within the whole wellness sector is the idea of credibility, and there’s been a lot of Sort of big name people out there who said a lot of goofy stuff. It’s really injured the credibility of the whole area. 

Speaker 2: 39:28

Totally. It’s really frustrating for me and then obviously, someone, my whole background is like having Walking this fine line sort of, between the traditional medical system and the wellness industry, and I was a personal trainer for a long time and that that sort of was my first foray into health and wellness and then Only after becoming a doctor, and so I always sort of like naturally been part of Walking this, trying to walk this middle ground and help bridge the gap between these two sides. And you know I’m also. I think we have to be humble, right like the more, the more I learn, the less I know about this stuff, right like it’s just complicated and Human health and our biology is very complicated, and so I think it’s, you know, unfortunately still this imperative to like make claims and to say you know it, to be bold and, if it can, order, to like get people’s attention. These days you have to be Very quick and say something, and you know two words is going to grab people’s attention. But this stuff is nuanced and we hope and I hope that people who really take their health seriously Also have the responsibility of helping, of helping to advance the data and dig into the data, right like, I think, if you want to own your health right and you want to turn toward the wellness industry to help you do that, and it’s your responsibility as a consumer to also understand the data and not just take it as gospel. And I just like need to be honest with that. You know with people about that. I think you know all credit to restore for allowing me to sort of be myself and maintain that mission even within the, you know, within the company. 

Speaker 1: 41:03

And I think a lot of this comes down to biomarkers and tracking what? Some mitochondrial biomarker? Maybe there’s one out there, I don’t know what it is. How would you try and how do you track? 

Speaker 2: 41:14

Yeah, I think it’s hard. I think that, to your point, like there are, there is a, there aren’t that many things you can track with with some of what is being done out there? Right, I think that you know you can track, and one of the things we are looking to do is to add more. I mean, I think just client reported outcomes are powerful, right, do you feel better? I mean that that alone is it like just to, because, again, like I don’t know why you feel better, and I mean I mean particularly care from a scientific lens, like why you feel better, but you feel better and that’s great, and so you know, I think that that alone is publishable, right, but as we think about understanding from sort of like a biochemical perspective, it’s it is challenging to your point. I think that we could do more with blood markers, for sure, even things like dry blood spot testing and things that have become available now, and there’s a lot of ways To look under the hood for someone. And and then, yeah, there are also all the wearable data out there now to and thinking about, you know, even things like HRV and sleep and things like that which we know are correlated to people’s health outcomes right and how do we Look at our services and people who are wearing some of those? You know those, those devices and even do correlations right, like we’re not going to have Giant randomized consult files around what we do. Like the farm industry needs to release a drug, but that’s okay. You know, that’s okay. I think we have to acknowledge limitations to the types of research we can do, but that’s not a reason that we shouldn’t do it. 

Speaker 1: 42:41

Yeah, are there other Technologies, modalities out there that you’re seeing that you feel should be democratized, that more people should have access to that? Maybe we don’t know about. 

Speaker 2: 42:57

Yeah, I mean, I think it’s philosophically I’m very much like a. You need to major in the majors of health and wellness and I think that a lot of we know a lot of those rights. It’s how you move, it’s what you put in your body, it’s how you sleep, it’s the relationships you have, like nothing’s going to replace those, right? And I think you know one of the things I love, that restore has democratized cold therapy, heat therapy and some of these other things. I do think, as we’re living longer as a species, I do. You know this content. The form is just an adaptive stress they think is critical, right, so they’ve, they’ve allowed people to access that more readily. That said, I think you know there are a lot of interesting. You know it’s been interesting in this role candidly to see some of what’s out there. Think things like that type therapy or ozone therapy or things that people are doing. People are trying, right, they don’t have a ton of evidence behind them. The FDA doesn’t look fondly on them and even has banned quite a few of them. And I think you see the challenge of the regulatory issue. You know regulations In some ways, right, I think again, if you look at Europe, they were using ozone therapy for a long time during the context of covid. They have a lot of data around things like that and that’s another great you know, therapy that leverages the content, the form uses, and so I don’t think any of those things replace again these major, the big rocks that we just talked about, but I think that they’re interesting and I think they can be very helpful for certain people who aren’t getting comprehensive treatment around conditions that they have and are, you know, feel like they just need to try something different and like nothing else that they’ve done is working right, and I think it’s often. It’s sad that there’s not incentive to study those things and there’s no sort of safer spaces in which to try them. I hope for store can be become one of those places, but I think it’s hard. You do see how sort of the regulatory issues and state by state guidelines do impede some of that progress, and so I think it’s a careful balance that we have to strike. 

Speaker 1: 45:15

I like what you said major in the majors and you got a major in the majors. 

Speaker 2: 45:19

I think I think I struggle because it’s like again, like I love everything that restores doing, but I think that you know, still, if you look at like you look at the blue zones right, and if you’ve seen there’s work, but it’s like that’s the main, those are doing the majors and I think that I think, unfortunately, like anti-aging and longevity has become quite commercialized and therefore it’s become like, you know, something that we have to sell to people and we have to sell things that people want to sort of undercat, like the rules of capitalism, then perverse incentive also become a part of the equation, I think in some ways, and so I think you know all credit to restore for, even with a lot of the work that I’ve done and thinking about how we tackle weight management and other issues for clients that restore, still being very focused on how we talk to clients about, about the majors and making sure people understand that a lot of what we’re doing at restore our adjuncts for people and not a replacement for healthy, for healthier lifestyle. 

Speaker 1: 46:18

For us here we talk about sleep, we talk about nutrition, how you moving, how you dealing with your stress load and what’s your sense of purpose and community, like that stuff lined up and then we can talk about the exotics. 

Speaker 2: 46:30

but until you got that lined up, I know and it’s hard and I get it people are very interested in the exotics and I think again, I think there’s a lot of interesting stuff out there in the exotics, truthfully, and I think it’s been interesting. You know, as we age, right like our growth, hormone levels decrease. I think there’s a role for all this. I think it’s a role for hormone replacement, I think it’s a role for a lot of what’s out there right now. But I also think a lot of those things are exacerbated by the lifestyle that we live. And so I can fit, before we turn to sort of the exotic treatments and the replacements, I do think if people can get some of those life, those big rocks in their lifestyle in place, it’s more empowering for them. Ultimately, they feel more agency around their health, which ultimately is sort of my mission is to give them that agency. 

Speaker 1: 47:16

I had Scott on the podcast once and he was saying huge fan of each, each bot, but he’s like I don’t put anybody in the tank until they’re optimized, like they gotta get all this other stuff figured out and then we’ll talk about the tank. 

Speaker 2: 47:29

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, I’ve always been. Yes, he told the same thing to me and I always appreciate that. I felt like we connected philosophically because of that and, yeah, I really do appreciate that. Unfortunately, it’s not as sexy and doesn’t sell quite as well, but it’s what people need to do. 

Speaker 1: 47:46

Yeah, talk to me about this other work that you’re doing, the health equity work. What does that look like? 

Speaker 2: 47:54

Yeah, I mean it’s very separate from a lot of the clinical work and the work that I do at Restore. But I trained here in Boston. My training was at one of the large academic centers here and I don’t know. I know you’re familiar with Boston, but for listeners, boston is really the medical mecca of our country in a lot of ways and, like you, think about all the institutions, the hospitals, the biosciences that are here and it’s very interesting dynamic work. In such a small geography and in basically not even a mile distance there’s a drop in about 30 year life expectancy. So if you look at back Bay, boston, average life expectancy is in the mid 90s. If you look at Roxbury, which is right down the street, it’s it’s like the mid 60s and I think it was very glaring. I think if you’re here training in one of the giant hospitals, you can’t help but notice that in a lot of ways and for me, I was very struck by that and I spent a lot of time in the community when I was in residency here in Boston and you know, one of the things that I realized was spending time in areas like Roxbury and Dorchester is that there are amazing people, amazing programs, amazing resources, even in those communities. We call them under resource but they’re not really. They have a mate. You know a lot of a lot of the health disparities or a legacy of systemic racism policies that have been enacted over time. Truthfully, and so a lot of the work that I did was what I realized by spending time in the community was that all these resources existed and they weren’t really connected in a lot of efficient ways. There’s a lot of duplication of effort. There is some you know call it territorialness, or amongst different nonprofits and different programs, and there wasn’t that much connection between a lot of that community based resources and healthcare system. And so the work that I started in residency was all about I mean really about bringing more efficiency to the health ecosystem here in Boston and helping different organizations and different programs link up together and connect. We call it the name of the of our organization, called vital connections, and it’s really it’s not meant to add another direct service here in Boston. All that already exists. We already have all that we need. It’s more. How do we bring efficiencies to those resources and help them allocate better ways? And then how do we make sure that any sort of larger, more collective action projects that take place in the community with all of our network and partners, our first built in community and only then will we bring them to sort of the city to the large healthcare systems to say, hey, help sustain this work going forward. And so it really is about connecting the pieces both on the community level and then across sectors to make the work sustainable. And so that was a big. You know, I spent my first three years at a residency building that, and we have an amazing executive director now. But I think it gets back on the same, the same issues that I’ve always been interested in. It’s like agency around how how do we help people, you know, have more agency around their health and feel empowered by their health? And For me that’s been my whole story, right. So once I learned about my health and understood it and felt like I had some more control over it, knew what I had to do to take better care of myself, it gave me the confidence and power of me to do, you know, everything that I’ve done in my life today and it’s been a big source of confidence for me, and so I want to help get that back to others who who and we all need it right. The folks at restores them to restore needed the folks I work within my practice needed the folks who I work with in Dorchester and Roxbury. We all have our own issues that we’re struggling with, but we want to definitely level the playing field, so people have to. We all have the same opportunity ultimately. 

Speaker 1: 51:42

Believe in agency. Yes, I mean, it’s something that we come up against a lot here. Some people in the world that I deal with feel that aging is a grim reality to be accepted and other few people feel that they have agency over that trajectory. 

Speaker 2: 51:59

I love what. I love what you’re doing with ages. I mean, I think that don’t throw the questions back on you, but how you look at this, this sort of this idea of like anti aging right, because for me, my perspective is that aging is beautiful in a lot of ways. I think that if you look at other cultures, they really celebrate people who are all they celebrate aged elders and there’s so much wisdom to learn from those folks. And Also, I think as I go about my life, I’m still pretty young, but I think as I get older I learn to live better, right, and so, like you, get better at this art of living and that really only comes with wisdom and time right, so something to be celebrated. So it’s been interesting for me thinking about like this anti aging movement, because I also think age and sort of the finitude of life is what makes it meaningful in some ways for people at least, like helps you find the meaning in their life, and I’m curious how, like, you think about that. 

Speaker 1: 52:52

This is a really complicated question. Sorry, it’s just a lot of. I mean, we have a lot of different things here. So there’s accumulated wisdom, which is great. Younger people like to speak, older people like to listen, sort of learning, that being able to have a fairly highly developed, you know, emotional intelligence and just a knowledge base, this is great. Getting sick and dying less great. Of course, the. I think that there’s something to be said about the. I like the word you use finitude. Yes, time is getting short. Therefore, we focus, people tend to focus. They tend to cut down the things that are not serving them. Well, is that the ones who do this? Well, that’s what they do. But, on the other hand, I think that preserving life and preserving this knowledge base, preserving wisdom, I’m a big fan of that. I’m not one of those people that think like well, you know, god designed me to die at whatever. Seventy five. Therefore, that’s the right answer. No, I mean, I think that this is tremendously exciting. Rich if you have. There’s certain developmental stages that people go through. But what is the developmental stage between ninety and a hundred and ten? I don’t know what’s that gonna look like if we have a large population of people that are between a hundred and a hundred and ten. They’re healthy and they’re dynamic and they’re able to transmit that wisdom, to mentor the people younger. That’s that’s never happened. I think that’s super exciting. I’m very excited. I also think there’s the great hazards in a, in a gerontocracy. I don’t think that’s a good thing at all. We see that in our congressional leaders. What happens there, that’s not so great. So we need to be careful of that, so as to allow opportunity for younger people to move up. We don’t want to clog that up with a bunch of old people. I mean, I’m an old person, I can say this, but I Well, you look great thank you, older, but I think that this, these things that we’re looking at right now, rich, the sort of stuff that we’re both, that we know is happening out there and I think that the possibility Increasing the probability of people living, you know, not forever, but significantly longer, is super exciting. Never happened before the human species. It’s gonna be tremendously disruptive for a lot of things. There’s gonna be huge like To the sort of, you know, health equality Initiatives that you’re looking at. They’re gonna be huge disparities here. How do we deal with that, with the economic implications of this, the the social implications? That stuff, I think, is super exciting to me and also problematic. I think that anti age your question about anti aging generally goes to aesthetics. I take Botox. My dermatologist like zap stuff off my face. My teeth are great, right in the line last year at sixty four. I like to have my external appearance harmonized with my way I feel about myself. So I feel a certain age and I would like to have these two things match up. 

Speaker 2: 56:17

That’s, that’s my feeling on I think that we’ve certainly realized that our biological age and chronological age are different and they can be different. We can sort of create a wide gap between us to write, and I think People often ask me, even at restores, like how to sort of be the aesthetic side of our business, fit with sort of your philosophy around this and how we’re talking about it and our brand etc. I think to your same point. I mean, people look good and then looking good helps them feel good, right, it’s a good, it’s a positive cycle and I think that there’s nothing wrong with that honestly at all. I think that my question, more on the anti aging, was just that I think I worry about sort of a denialism of death and some of some. In some ways you know what I mean because I think that it’s something even in my training. Right, it’s like death happens in hospitals, like it’s not something we really like Isolated death and cornered off and put it behind closed door in our society, and I think I do worry about that. I think it’s an important thing to contemplate in a lot of ways and I don’t think we should. We should change. We should change, trying to improve our health and live as long as we can, but I think it can be both, both. 

Speaker 1: 57:27

I think that anyone who’s my age has you certainly lost parents by this age. You probably lost a lot of friends, people you know. I wouldn’t say it’s something that I think about every day, but it’s something that I’m aware of in a way that I was not when I was 30. And I think that does that find that what’s the word you use, finetism. 

Speaker 2: 57:51

And finitude finitude. 

Speaker 1: 57:53

Oh god has a new word for the day. 

Speaker 2: 57:54

that’s a word right Now, I’m pretty sure. Yeah, now it is. 

Speaker 1: 58:00

I think that’s a real motivating factor. What I tell people rich is all this stuff that we do this, trying to stay healthy. It’s not about putting numbers up on a scoreboard like how many years it’s how useful you can be. It’s that’s the point, right be helpful to other people, and the only way you can do that is take you got to take care of yourself, so somebody’s not taking care of you and you can help other people. 

Speaker 2: 58:23

Yeah, it’s so true, and I’m very encouraged by the enthusiasm that I see amongst people wanting to take better care of their health. I think you know Restore has ridden that wave for sure. I think that a number of companies out there and just like the whole health and wellness ecosystem, is benefiting a lot from sort of a collective consumer conscience around improving their health, taking a more proactive approach to their health, and I think that that’s an amazing thing and I’m excited to be a part of it right now. Power of Reican and so having for these multiple platforms or what should do it has been an awesome experience for me, yeah. 

Speaker 1: 59:07

I know you’re a busy guy. Is there anything you want to leave my people with today? 

Speaker 2: 59:11

Well, I think we did a good job of plugging Restore right. I think we did a good job. I’ll still plug it. I think it’s an amazing what they’ve been able to achieve at this scale. That they’ve been able to achieve to help democratize some of these services, I think is really powerful. And I think really sort of double clicking on this idea of form. Isis and the importance of deliberately and intentionally stressing your body over time is going to be, you know, because age is one factor, but modern life and just the wear and tear of life takes this toll on people right, and entropy is idea, sort of a tendency towards disruption is real, and so we have to counteract that. If we want to stay healthy and be healthy for the long run so that we can be useful to your term day, I think that we have to be very intentional and deliberate about how we do that, and for the modern world that we’ve created isn’t really helping us in many ways, and so I do look at Restore. Just given its scale is like, hopefully, a bit of an oasis for people as a place to come to really think about that, and I think that we all need those spaces in our life where we can do that and then connect as community to talk about it and learn about it from each other, right, which is why you know such a privilege to be here with you to be able to talk about it. Yes, I think that that’s what I would say is like get into discomfort, right, keep. Whenever it doesn’t feel good, right, keep pushing into that and your body will adapt and thank you later. 

Speaker 1: 1:00:43

That’s right, rich. It’s been a pleasure having you on today, my pleasure. 

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The ideas expressed here are solely the opinions of the author and are not researched or verified by AGEIST LLC, or anyone associated with AGEIST LLC. This material should not be construed as medical advice or recommendation, it is for informational use only. We encourage all readers to discuss with your qualified practitioners the relevance of the application of any of these ideas to your life. The recommendations contained herein are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. You should always consult your physician or other qualified health provider before starting any new treatment or stopping any treatment that has been prescribed for you by your physician or other qualified health provider. Please call your doctor or 911 immediately if you think you may have a medical or psychiatric emergency.



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