When I met Andrew Bloch, ATC, PT, L.Ac., we immediately connected over our shared perspective on the importance of the nervous system. His philosophy on treating pain is very unique and interesting, and I am excited to share this episode with you. As he describes in the podcast, his treatment approach is based on wanting to help people feel better and get out of pain first, so that they can then have the energy to focus on getting well. This approach involves resetting the autonomic nervous system to reduce pain immediately. Typical practice is done in the opposite order, focusing first on the structure (i.e. what is tight/weak) and on fixing those things with the *hope* that it will help the person feel better at the end of the process. With chronic pain, however, it is often more neurological than structural, and a different approach may be needed. He also has an excellent perspective on how to describe pain to patients and use metaphors that resonate with people. Instead of starting with an intimidating diagnosis that may add to the stress of a patient already in pain, he offers tangible descriptions that can demystify pain and help get patients to buy in to their treatment plan.
We have a special guest for this episode of the undercurrent podcast, I’m super excited to introduce Andrew block. And Andrew has a background as a physical therapist, athletic trainer, and an acupuncturist. So you can probably tell from that we’re going to get an interesting perspective today. Andrew, thanks for joining us.
[Andrew Bloch] 1:48
That’s awesome. I appreciate it get. So it’s great to be with you.
Awesome, awesome. Well, I’m excited to dive into this. Before we before we get into, you know, some of your background and different things. Can you share, please, with everyone who’s listening, can you share your perspective on pain and treating pain?
[Andrew Bloch] 2:09
Well, you know, you know, like you said, I started out in the field of Physical Medicine, I think like a lot of traditional people. And I was always on a quest for pain, like always was my greatest interest. I wrestled in high school in college, I always had my aches and pains. And I just was always fascinated with you know, with the body and how the body works. And, you know, from the first part, I was like studying like Joe wieder, and, and going back to, you know, 30 years ago of lifting weights and all that aspect. So my first my first aspect of of knowledge was to learn as an athletic trainer, working with athletes, and that kind of put me on this journey of knowledge of learning about a lot about structure. And when it came out as an athletic trainer, and I finished that schooling,
[Andrew Bloch] 3:02
I was quite knowledgeable about the body. But that was, I really still didn’t feel like I had the ability to treat pain, it kind of took a little bit longer. I was spraining a lot about exercise. So I felt like I just needed more. So I went to physical therapy school almost as soon as I was done with athletic training, as a further quest of knowledge about the body because I wanted to continue this journey. And at the end of PT school, I definitely had a much greater understanding of the body, I can treat spines, I could treat really anything and I knew everything about the body. But I really still didn’t feel like it answered my quest of, you know how to solve this issue of pain, and how to do it quickly without like, bombarding a patient with education and try to explain, you know, what’s wrong with them. And so I graduated in 1994. In December in 1995, I went to acupuncture school because I figured, you know, the western perspective was really great.
[Andrew Bloch] 4:07
But I wanted to understand this kind of unseen world about energy and how the energy in the body works. It’s funny is that even when I was in PT school, I went got board certified hypnotherapy because I believe that the mind also, you know, played a role in it. Were really come to find out even after graduating there at night and studying is I actually had more knowledge and I found the Chinese were very similar to the western approach where, you know, we had to figure out the whys of why someone is broken so then we can fix them. And their wives are different than my wives that I learned in PT school, which was like muscles are like, ligaments or tendons or bones, in in acupuncture schools wind or blood or chi, so that you know the whys were like an unseen or unknown why’s
[Andrew Bloch] 6:09
A little bit humorous, but I really do believe it hits home, if someone came in your office, and they were kind of read and sweating, and they told you, you know, they have a dry tongue. And, you know, they’re, they told you they’ve been working out in the hot sun for like the last, you know, two days, you know, you know, obviously, they’re dehydrated. And if you take that with someone that comes in with pain as an analogy, in the pain world, we tell them all the things that are wrong with them in my dehydration now see, it would be like telling someone like, you know, just so you know, you know, you need you need h2o.
[Andrew Bloch] 6:46
And h2o is high, you know, two atoms of hydrogen and an atom of oxygen. And when you put those together that forms water, and water is what every cell in the body needs. And we’re made up of 70% water. And you know that you need to drink eight glasses of this water a day, so that you can survive. Or you just give him a fucking glass of water. You know, and they actually. And I know it sounds silly, and I really, you know, I love it, because it shows, this is what unfortunately, and I say this with a lot of compassion and empathy. We are forcing down bad news on patients every single day someone is coming in and suffering, they’re in pain, they’re telling you I’m suffering. And all we do for the first usually session to maybe more is telling them all the things that are wrong with them. They’re weak, they’re tight, they’re fat, they’re old, it doesn’t feel good.
[Andrew Bloch] 7:52
And so it’s not that you’re wrong, you’re probably right, they probably are overweight, they are tight, they are weak, just like the person is dehydrated. But the transformation comes is when you give someone a glass of water, they’re really, really thankful. And when they’re really, really thankful, and you gave them something that they really needed, they’re very open to work on whatever you have to do moving forward. So in the physical medicine world, when you get someone to feel better, right away, transformation, they’re very open to doing the stretching, the exercises, the postural work, and all the things that are absolutely needed for them to get well. So I just want to give that example. So you see that, but let’s, let’s talk about what you just said about what makes a transformational work, like what makes it like something that of immediacy.
[Andrew Bloch] 8:48
And this is again, where I think we really resonate, is what I was taught in school is is that I had to work on the somatic nervous system, when I really come to find that as the magic is in the autonomic nervous system. And it makes sense that system is completely magical, it’s fucking insane how all these organs work 24 hours a day 365 Just based off input that comes in, you know, it’s cool that I can lift up something and use my muscles, but it’s really magical, I call that the unseen world you know, i.e. the unseen science which is my brand which you had mentioned but not to get to that is looking at all this stuff that we don’t see which is in his autonomic nervous system, which is so important. So the, the first part is really is defining pain. This is what differentiates the somatic work from I say the autonomic work so I define pain as our body’s way of expressing protection. So pain equals protection. Just like crying was the body’s way of expressing sadness.
[Andrew Bloch] 10:01
To give clarity to the autonomic nervous system is when the autonomic nervous system response is always, always over response. And the example I give patients and I give people if you ate something bad, you don’t get the exact amount of stomach acid, autonomic nervous system, you get flooded, and then your body either has to reabsorb what it produced, or you get acid reflux, you get a problem. It’s the same thing with pain. When you’re in a state of Protection, you’re always when someone is in pain, they are always in a state of over protection. That’s how the autonomic nervous system works. You have local injuries, somatic, but you always have an autonomic over protection. And this is the area that’s really missed in traditional medicine that you hit with direct current. That’s why we’re such a great match
[Andrew Bloch] 11:03
Is we want to work on my opinion, we want to work on the overprotection. So I have an example I give to patients, everything I explained to practitioners, I want to be able to explain it to a patient, because when they’re suffering, it’s got to be easy for them to understand. I say mostly what I say to you, I say to a client coming in about the two different instead of saying autonomic nervous system, I call it an automatic nervous system so they can understand the language. The odor automatic nervous system, when it reacts it always overreact, like we just said. So say you have pain or problem. I call it like a fort.
[Andrew Bloch] 11:44
When we send soldiers out to protect, most of the time, we only need one or two soldiers. But depending on your level of stress, you might get five soldiers, you might get 10 soldiers. And unfortunately, people are so stressed out, they get 100 soldiers for something that they don’t need. And the negative in traditional somatic therapy is that we’re treating the other 99 soldiers that don’t need treatment. And this is what takes so long to get people to feel better. With transformational work, we’re working on the system of the one soldier, the two soldiers or five soldiers, that I would call the real issue of what the problem is, so that we can see immediate results.
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Oh, I like that. I love that the description of how pain and that is absolutely in line with modern neuroscience about how pain is a protection, it’s an over protection many times, you know, so many people have pain that lingers even after the original injury is healed, or pain that comes back to a certain area of the body even though there’s no damage there because it is an overreaction to stress that’s not even physical or it’s you know, things that quote unquote, should not even hurt. And so to be able to have that global approach to calm the autonomic or the automatic nervous system, I think is hugely valuable.
And people who are familiar with new fit will recognize a lot of overlap a lot of parallel. So like you said, you know, I think we both were immediately drawn to each other. When we met, we actually met just for context, we met through the University of Texas, and here in Austin to the Sports Medicine Department, have some mutual colleagues there. And so, you know, when I when I kind of saw it in that context, when you were here doing training with some of their staff members and different things, you know, I was, I was open to it, you know, just because of who was doing it. And then when I got to really dive in, I was super interested.
Can you talk to a little bit of these techniques? No, I think we’re definitely on the same page about wanting to kind of quell or calm that over protective overreaction response. You know, with the newbie, we’re scanning around finding some of these more local places. It sounds like you’re treating it a little more globally. Can you can you talk about some of the actual techniques that you use so our listeners can get a sense of how you actually take those wonderful principles and apply them.
[Andrew Bloch] 15:04
It’s funny, there’s so many different languages and they say, so are gone. The last thing said about techniques and systems. So you know, the hard part for a lot of people is it’s what I do is, is not tech, it’s not a technique, technique is something you do based off of the system. And our system, like we say is based off the wise, the current system, my system is not based off the why. And I try to just the system is based off a new paradigm. So one thing is, is might say techniques are based on a new system.
[Andrew Bloch] 15:39
So I really try to work in for people to really understand this new system. And as part of it, it’s, um, there’s a couple things you said one is about, like, how do we define pain, I think also how we define acute and chronic pain, unfortunately, I define it differently and say, unfortunately, I just do, and we define chronic pain based off a time element, I do not, I define chronic pain based off objective findings. So if someone has pain, their ankle, and everybody looks at that ankle and says there is no redness, there is no swelling, and there is no deformity. And they have pain, I call that chronic pain.
[Andrew Bloch] 16:20
Because they have pain based off no objective findings. Unfortunately, I say unfortunately, but we I say unfortunate, because the patient really suffers from a lot of this stuff. But of this kind of, I would say this misleading information that makes us feel good as clinicians really, really smart, but it doesn’t necessarily value the patient. That’s why I say, unfortunately, is when we talk about pain like that. If I say to a patient, you have pain, but there’s no objective findings. It’s about stress. Again, it makes the patient feel like shit, like, Oh, my God, I’m a mental case. And it’s like, no, this way we’re built, we’re built to actually work with this aspect. So it’s not someone that’s, you know, mentally wrong, or they’re overstressed. It’s just life, life is more stressful now.
[Andrew Bloch] 17:12
And that’s why I have way more chronic pain than we ever have, or pain in general. So I never really talked with a patient about their functional stuff about their stress of I want them to feel better right away, then we can address Hey, are you really rich? Yeah, I really am. I’m going through a divorce. I’m changing a business finance, okay, how, you know, what are some things we can put in place there to work on your stress, but not saying it the other way around. So we’re resetting the nervous system.
[Andrew Bloch] 17:42
We’re not taking making it. We’re not doing anything of with overprotection, but besides creating a new paradigm for the actual client. So if they had 99 soldiers, now all of a sudden, they have five, resetting it just so we’re clear, I want people to really get that so that people don’t start to think that it’s, we’re doing something to the nervous system, the to work on, like overcompensation, or there’s something wrong, there’s not anything wrong. Just on that aspect. Now, you’re asking a question about, about the actual systems. So there’s three systems that I’ve created. One is called reflexive pattern therapy, which kind of works on the global system of resetting the autonomic nervous system, which is where we identify reflexive areas patterns that happen in the body,
[Andrew Bloch] 18:45
That we can immediately reset, but not only immediate reset, we can actually show the patient. And, you know, I did this on you and I do this on a mate, you know, a lot of people and, you know, I always, you know, it’s a really wowing thing. It’s very hard to explain, it’s really incredible to experience and, and from that, it enabled me, which is hard for people to even believe. But I was treating 60 to 80 patients a day, based off of RPT and the systems I create because the results are so immediate, and it makes me feel good that I’m able to do it. I don’t talk about it too much. Because I know most people have a hard time even believing that a physical therapists can treat that volume of patients, but you can. And there’s a big shift in your business model when you do. But the other systems I’ve created is what I call painless dry needling or color mapping.
[Andrew Bloch] 19:45
And this is a system that I think really resonates with the hopefully the newbie and the new fit community because it’s a little more tangible. It’s something that you can explain to the patient a little bit easier. and something that you can use chart wise to understand easier, RPC is a little bit more esoteric. So I, my goal is to work with the newbie in the new fit community is on your mapping program that enables us to utilize that program much more efficiently and effectively, so that you can get results. And it’s based off the concept of what I call embryo logic, or an embryo logical model. It’s the work of one of my mentors, Dr. Richard Todd, who’s just a brilliant acupuncturist and engineer. And what I did was I made my own interpretation of his balance method.
[Andrew Bloch] 20:45
And I call it color mapping. And the idea is, is that our body when we’re formed, a sperm and an egg come together to form one cell, then we go through cell division where one cell becomes two becomes four becomes a, but they’re all identical. Eventually, early on, we go through with cell division, our cells start to separate we become who we are. And to make it very simplistic our hands eventually separate from our feet. So they look very similar, our wrists and ankles, elbows, the knees, hips and shoulders. So hypothetically, if you had an elbow problem, we can then I call that area, the light bulb, the area where there’s pain, we can find different switches in and around the knee that will get you immediate results. And what I’ve come to find out is we can use direct current, and map people to get immediate results. Working none locally, it’s actually so cool, because it’s a really big wowing factor.
[Andrew Bloch] 21:49
I will say, you know, it’s cool to make a quarter disappear, which you can utilize with new fit. But when you can make a card disappear. It’s like Holy mackerel. So when you’re working on a different area in the body, to make that pain disappears, that’s really wowing the example I give to clients as if you came in a room and a light bulb was off, it wasn’t working, would you play with the ball? Or would you hit the switch? And of course, you’d hit the switch in Madison, depending on what your profession is, we all work on the bulb.
[Andrew Bloch] 22:23
And then we try to develop techniques based off of the board, whether you’re a PT, or Cairo, or massage therapist, and or an even new fit of working locally, of how do we work on that local area. And I just train people in a system that works on the switches. And that’s why I think we have a lot of synergy. You know, RPT is more of a global approach, which is a really wow effect, it puts everything together on the autonomic nervous system, which is incredible. But I know that for most people, they’re going to resonate a lot more if we just start recalling, mapping is a really easy way to learn. It’s based off colors. It’s easy to apply. And the best of all, you get a really big wow factor.
And so this is something that, you know, within the new fit kind of hierarchy within our treatment, for example, this would be a place where just kind of for context, you know, if I were working on a wrist injury, for example, you know, this would open up new avenues to where I could use the newbie, perhaps on the opposite ankle, or, you know, on a different limb. And that would create some of these changes.
So it’s really its cool. And like, like you said, I mean, it’s it can be really mind blowing, and really, really profound and interesting for patients. So it’s, it’s really cool. Talk to us a little bit about, you know, you mentioned your clinic. So, so you’ve had for many years clinic in the DC area in Maryland. And can you talk a little bit about how you’ve been, you’ve been treating people doing these techniques, and I know you have a couple of team members using the newbie, can you talk about how you’ve integrated the to your unseen science with the newbie?
[Andrew Bloch] 24:15
Sure. Well, you know, before I tell you my successes, let me tell you my failures. You know, I first started out I you know, I always kind of had the entrepreneurial spirit. I was always a very hard worker, I had a really big quest for knowledge, like I said, all the different schooling I probably took, I would probably say more continued education than and then probably 10 People combined. When I first came out, I was always searching you know, so I got certified in Structural Integration, which is a manual therapy myofascial type system, you know, based off ralphing you know, I got certified in Pilates. You know, I looked at gyro tonics I had a whole clinic implies and Gyrotonic because I thought strengthening and Pilates and core stuff was really important.
[Andrew Bloch] 25:00
You know, I looked into all the functional movement screenings, you know, I was into a whole host of thermography. Neurobiology, the neuro psychology, I suspect, they had a whole host of equipment on side of that, like, so. And you know, had a lot, a lot of knowledge. And in 2008, I went bankrupt, in a clinic in Miami Beach, and, you know, really was a big eye opening experience for me. And what I really figured out was, is that knowledge is really not the key, it’s a found, it’s helpful and important. But it’s really wisdom that really was what I was in search of. And so it was a real slap in the face to close those doors, especially with all that knowledge I knew, so I was completely burned out, I was treating one patient every 45 to 50 minutes, because that’s what I was told I needed to do.
[Andrew Bloch] 26:01
Patients want one on one care, you know, time for money, develop, you know, develop a good service aspect, get more into cash, this whole thing, and I’m not saying that’s wrong, but I for me, it was, I was fried. And, you know, I was really, really tired. And what I’ve came to learn out his business, is that I really put me back in, you know, the good thing is, I’m really a persistent person. So I got back off, you know, back on the horse, and I’m going to figure out these other systems. And from there, once I figured out how I can treat 2030 4050 patients in the day, and give them what they’re asking their glass of water, give them what they’re coming for, which is pain, feel better get well, I was able to increase my volume considerably, where I was now, you know, really was moving towards what I call it, you know, money or cash flow results. And more, in essence, having a model where I can, I can command more pay based off of what I was doing for someone giving them their solutions.
[Andrew Bloch] 27:12
So I do have a clinic, in in, in the DMV area that works on pain. And what I’ve come to see what the new fit is, it’s really, I mean, it’s an awesome piece of machinery, like I, you know, I always acknowledge you and that, you know, I’ll do it on camera, now I have to do it for people of how much respect I have for you, of, you know, someone that’s not necessarily a clinician, but has such respect for clinicians. And I think you’re a really, really special person, because you’re super, super smart, and to take down this ego, you know, of knowing what you know, to start to interact with a lot of people that have a lot of big egos, Madison to say, hey, I want to introduce this product. And I know that it works. And I just I I’ve always liked the first day I got the new fit, I just saw the amazing results. So I absolutely, you know, have just fallen in love not have you as a person and as a leader in this industry, for helping people and making a difference in people’s lives, but also in what you’ve produced.
You know, I think that there’s a really exciting opportunity. And just, you know, to foreshadow, you and I are working together on a few different continuing education offerings, and so that’s something that, you know, is in the works, and so some that we’ll be able to offer to new fit clinicians, you know, at some point in the, in the next many, several months. So I you know, I think that is I think there’s, there’s a couple of different applications. I mean, one is, like you said, other ways to apply mapping and, and then the other is using some of these more global techniques, like we have something we call a master reset RPT is, is even faster, and even faster way to to create some of that global calming of getting those soldiers to come back into the castle, you know, getting them off of high alert.
So it’s I think there’s I think there’s several different ways for several different ways that that, you know, the our certainly our shared philosophies can be applied and how some of these techniques can can fit in and I’m excited to dive in and explore more of that I can say that having had RPT done to me, you know, it’s it’s cool how within a couple minutes of some of these different inputs throughout the body of some quick stretches and some slapping different pressure points and different things about how you know certain points that I had that were sensitive on me as part of my protective pattern, how that they just in the span of a few minutes went away and so, you know, it’s I can tell you from my Own experience and from some of our mutual friends and colleagues, you know, some of the outcomes they’ve gotten to it definitely, definitely can add value. I’m excited to work more closely with you and put together some of these different continuing education modules for the new fit community. In the meantime, for people who are interested in, in learning more and possibly diving into some of your existing continuing education, how can how can people find you, Andrew, if they want to reach out to you and, and learn more about about unseen science?
[Andrew Bloch] 30:32
Well, you know, the brand, the overall like, I’m really almost coming to you like really at the beginning of this aspect of, of working in community of, of the unseen science and the autonomic nervous system. So I really love to, for your community in like your whole tribe that you’ve created, I want to give you my personal email, because I, it’s much easier for me to talk to people that are already working on the autonomic nervous system, very difficult for me to get people that only are working on the somatic system, to say, hey, let’s transfer over and work on this system. That’s what I’ve come to find. So my personal email is a as an apple, oh, as an Oscar, and then my last name, Block B loc email@example.com. I also just given my personal cell phone number, which is 305-788-7961.
[Andrew Bloch] 31:29
And I do that because you guys are like this community is a really, I just love this community, I always have, you know, because I do believe there’s tremendous synergy, we have to on the autonomic world kind of stick together, it’s going to take that to make this transformational change, because we have a lot of forces that hold on to somatic, like, I know why someone is broken, because a lot of ego in that I totally get it I was there. And I don’t want to say that’s a bad thing of knowing the why. But when we get focused on that the patient doesn’t really get the benefit. So anyone that’s involved in new fit to me as like already gets like we need to do something different. And so I’m totally in the Collaborate, you know, collaborative aspect. Some of the first stuff I’m doing is is in color mapping. And what I call painless, dry needling, the reason I call it painless, dry needling is, is dry needling is becoming so popular. So I want people to know, you don’t need to use needles, the color mapping and utilizing new fit, you can actually use electrical stem utilizing and call yourself a painless, dry needling.
[Andrew Bloch] 32:39
So if that helps you to get more clients, because people looking for dry needling was my idea of giving you some initials that might hold some weight, to bring in more clients for yourself, you know, which is just so important. Because I do believe in this resetting of the global. And I know I’m probably because what I don’t see sometimes is how difficult some things are. Because I developed it, I’m sure if you have the same problem, it’s kind of like people call you with an issue and say, Oh, that’s kind of simple. But reality is not really simple. Like a global resetting, it’s simple to put it on, but explaining it to the patient. What happens when you don’t get the results? It’s kind of like it creates a lot of I believe I can create a lot of tension for clinicians more and so time becomes really valuable. So I always value people’s time, I always want to develop systems that decrease your time to get wild results.
[Andrew Bloch] 33:41
And so RPT, which takes literally, you know, when you understand how to do it, definitely less than five minutes, and can get wild results, as opposed to putting stimulants on all these different areas and then turning it off and waiting and see. It’s just a different modality. Now afterwards, what I do recommend is doing RPT and then doing the resetting. Because now you’ve already created the Wow, absolutely the direct current will help in resetting the body, just like you would do to strengthen the local area. So even if you’re even if you’re doing a global resetting, it’s a great way still to integrate it don’t think I’m saying don’t do that. Do this. No, no, we want to do these together. And that’s I hope that’s clear for people that you know, it’s really a collaboration as opposed to one thing or the other.
Absolutely. And the thing I like about this collaboration is that we’re very consistent and we have that same message of nervous system first and particularly the importance of the autonomic nervous system, as you said, so I think that’s fabulous. We’ve covered a lot of ground today. I think that you’ll certainly you will have gotten some people in our community interested and please do that was gracious, very gracious. Have you to give out your email and phone number. So anyone who’s listening to this, if you’re interested in reaching out and talking to Andrew, you know, please do. He’s, he’s the real deal. And we’ll be coming out with a lot more different opportunities.
We’re doing some r&d right now research and development on different ways to apply the newbie in this color mapping framework and with some of these different techniques. So there will definitely be more More to come here. And thank you so much for joining us, Andrew, I really appreciate your perspective. And I want to acknowledge the incredible work that you’ve done to put this together the journey you’ve had, and now the 1000s of people you’ve been able to help. And I’m excited to see this new continuing education platform that you’re launching. And I think its wonderful work. Thank you for joining us today. And thank you for sharing it.
[Andrew Bloch] 35:49
I you know, this is my pleasure. Like it’s always anytime we get together, I just I always learned something, I love the collaboration. And, you know, it’s really an honor to be able to, you know, to walk this journey in this kind of autonomic tech world because it’s, it’s, its transformational work. I’m excited because I know all the people that have you know, newbies and are associated with new fit, align with the same philosophy.
[Andrew Bloch] 36:17
And it’s just exciting to collaborate with everyone and anyone that’s, you know, involved in this work. So I’m just excited to talk with anybody. And I just appreciate acknowledge everything you’re doing and I’m excited for the future.
Awesome. So are we thank you for joining us. Thanks, everyone for tuning in. And this is the undercurrent podcast. Thank you so much for listening to the undercurrent podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, please consider leaving a review and be sure to subscribe to stay up to date as we release future episodes.