The Naturodetox Podcast Episode 3: Neuroplasticity and Mindfulness in Healing with Joey Remenyi

The following is a transcript from the NaturoDetox Podcast #3. 

Welcome to the third episode of The NaturoDetox Show. Today, we'll be speaking with Joey Remenyi, a trained vestibular audiologist, a world-leading pioneer in vertigo, dizziness, and tinnitus recovery, and the founder and director of Seeking Balance International. She teaches anyone suffering with chronic symptoms how to change their brain and body by healing with the neuroplasticity recovery process. Joey has presented at medical conferences around the world, authored journal articles, and run workshops internationally. She offers a highly-needed and refreshing perspective on healing people living with debilitating dizziness, vertigo, or tinnitus.

Hi, it's Meghan, and I'm so thrilled today to introduce to you our guest, all the way from Melbourne, Australia, Joey Remenyi, a vestibular audiologist, founder and director of Seeking Balance International, and mindfulness expert, yoga instructor, and, in my mind, a modern-day hero. Thank you, Joey, for being here today.

Joey Remenyi: My pleasure. Thanks for inviting me.

Meghan Kennedy : It's actually Sunday evening on my end, and it's 10:15 in the morning for Joey, so it's kind of odd to see her bright, sunny room and my dark room. I stumbled across Joey and Seeking Balance in my darkest time. I recall lying in bed searching aggressively on the Internet for answers for why I was feeling the way I was feeling. I had suffered on and off for a decade, persistent dizziness, vertigo episodes, and tinnitus, and I just felt lost, and I felt hopeless, and nobody had an answer. You had written an article on neuroplasticity, and I came across it, and I just felt this rise of excitement like somebody not only gets neuroplasticity, because I had been doing a bit of reading on it, but specifically for the conditions that I was experiencing.

       It's such a niche area, and it was just so enlightening to see that somebody understood me for the very first time. I hadn't even met you, not met you, but face-to-face or even chatted with you yet, but there was this connection that I could feel immediately because not only had you experienced it yourself but you just mastered the emotions and the trials and the fears and the helplessness. So it truly is an honor to have you because you've been someone that I've really looked up to, and it's truly taken me from a dark place to where I am today. So thank you again. I really mean that.

Joey Remenyi: My pleasure, and congratulations. I'm a big believer that while I might offer people a pathway, they're doing the work. I give people the resources and education tools and encouragement, but at the end of the day they're the one picking it up and doing it. I'm not really healing anybody, so it's a great pleasure-

Meghan Kennedy :Right, it's about empowerment.

Joey Remenyi: To witness all of these transformations all over the world. It's the best part of my job, actually.

Meghan Kennedy :I can imagine. Can you tell us in your own words why you created Seeking Balance and what it is that you aim to do with your clients? So what is your main goal of having this online community and resource platform that you've developed, and, really, what is the underlying philosophy or the underlying message that you hope to give people who are suffering, whether it's vertigo, whether it's persistent dizziness, tinnitus, or it's any other chronic illness.

Joey Remenyi:Yeah. Well, winding the clock back, I was at Melbourne University and studying audiology, and I took a really keen interest in the vestibular system, which was a smaller part of our study content. Most, like I'm talking 99%, of audiologists work in hearing aids and hearing tests, and then a very small portion of audiologists might work in the vestibular realm. It's this super small part of our community, and most people would work in it part-time as well, so I was one of the only people who took it on full-time. In that process, I was fortunate enough to be at the elite endpoint of the investigation process in Australia, so at the Eye and Ear Hospital within Melbourne University and their Balance Disorders Clinic, which meant we were seeing the most exciting cases, the most interesting people, and, of course, from a humanitarian point of view, hearing the most amazing stories.

      After doing that for eight or so years, which is part of my training, so all up, I think my training was 12 or 13 years, I got to meet literally thousands of people and got to see patterns in their stories, and so what was the human going through, not just the ear, but what was the human actually experiencing? Through my training, we were basically told, "Refer on, refer on, refer on," and then as I worked with the best of the best doctors and the best of the best physiotherapists and the best of the best neurologists, ENT surgeons, psychologists, psychiatrists, they were all referring on. I'm like, "Hang on a minute, every single one of you is referring on. Not one of you is taking these clients and really nurturing them in a cocoon of healing."

       Then because, by serendipity, I didn't plan any of this, of course, I also had a huge background by then ... I would've had at least 15 years experience in the yoga world. I understood embodiment and neuroplasticity and changing the body and healing and a daily practice. There was a lot of the actual body stuff and emotional stuff and mindfulness and neuroplasticity stuff that I understood very deeply through experience that complemented my academic learning at Melbourne University. And my background, of course, is in psychology. My first degree was psychology. So piecing together everything made so much sense to me, it was really obvious, but then I realized, "Well, actually, the doctors have no idea what yoga is." They've never done psychology. They don't get that piece, and the physiotherapists don't do emotions, and the audiologists are generally terrified of emotions and body work. They're much more comfortable fitting devices and sending people home. The EMTs are absolute magicians with the anatomy and the bones and the eardrum and cochlear implant, but when it comes to dealing with the human and emotions and spirituality, they're not trained in that, and we shouldn't expect them to be trained in that.

         So, after a while, I kind of realized there was this white space. There were holes that these clients were falling through, and no one was addressing it. Actually, a couple of really humble doctors pulled me aside and said, "You are highly specialized. You need to put this forward." They're like, "You've got skills we don't have. We actually need you to do this." So that was a really big vote of confidence for me as a very young woman, and I really am grateful to those doctors who did encourage me to take the leap. So, from that place, I started thinking about and researching and interviewing people and seeing what kind of supports they needed. Within my two-year internship, I actually experienced two bouts of BPPV, which is benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, which is absolutely no big deal and easy to treat, especially when you know what's going on. So, for me, that was not so traumatic, but I also had some vestibular migraine and some of the more disconcerting symptoms that would pop up, linger-

Meghan Kennedy : At random?

Joey Remenyi: More random and more related to my emotional context because I did have a bunch of big life traumas happening at that point in my life. One was in a kind of dramatic end of a relationship, and another was my brother becoming quadriplegic and breaking his neck and me being one of his primary carers, so really huge life changes.

Meghan Kennedy:Absolutely.

Joey Remenyi: Then, of course, I had an experience of tinnitus. I'd never had it before, but through studying it and talking about it and shifting my attention into it, I think it kind of self-generated itself. I'm naturally anxious, naturally apprehensive, totally hypochondriac, so, of course, I freak out. Speaking of which, I'm fairly convinced that the reason I got into yoga so young ... I started really diligently studying yoga, not just going to classes but studying yoga as an apprentice at the age of 15, I think, because of my baseline anxiety. So I was really aware of needing self-care and needing to meet myself and self-soothe and come back into my body. I had that call very young.

Meghan Kennedy : I was going to say, that's very impressive at the age of 15 to recognize that there is an outer experience that can provide a little bit of an inner comfort, too, right?

Joey Remenyi: I'm so lucky. I really don't think it was that wise or conscious. I just kept saying yes to things that felt right. Anyway, so I ended up, because of my brother breaking his neck, leaving the city of Melbourne, moving to a coastal town, which is more rural, and then, of course, realizing I had this niche and I had this expertise, but there's no way I could travel to Melbourne every day as well as be available for my brother if he needs me. So there was a geographic issue, and that was when I very skeptically ... And a little bit like you, Meghan, I wasn't super confident with IT and technology, but I tried an online course as a student and was blown away by how much I learned, how connected I felt, how much I admired the teacher. The human connection was all there.

Meghan Kennedy : Well, and you can access it at any time, which is what you always talk about with your program and what I love because at 2:00 in the morning, when I'm panicked about a symptom, guess what I can do? Right?

Joey Remenyi: Exactly. And I was highly skeptical in that. I was like, "I'm not sure about this online learning business." But when I actually tried it out, I was blown away by how effective it was, and I was like, "Okay, I think this could work." So then I started that journey of making a 24/7 accessible, approachable program with hopefully easy to understand language that wasn't overly scientific or overly spiritual, trying to really reach people. It's funny how you say you felt a connection to me because my vision ... And I don't know where this came from, this is just my vision. My vision was of a woman in Finland crying in the middle of the night absolutely desperate. No one can help her. She's got something like vestibular migraine or triple PD, and she Googles and finds me on the Internet and just feels the relief. That was my vision, and I worked towards-

Meghan Kennedy : Wow.

Joey Remenyi: That vision the entire time, and this imaginary woman in Finland was my avatar that I was talking to and connecting to.

Meghan Kennedy: That's incredible.

Joey Remenyi: You have no idea how many people have told me, "I feel like I know you. I feel like you're in the room with me or I'm in the room with you." They're like, "You say exactly what I'm feeling. It's like you read my mind."

Meghan Kennedy:Always.

Joey Remenyi: So it's really, really interesting. Basically, all that comes down to is I'm not psychic, I'm not incredibly special. I was just very good at pattern recognition. I have been through it, and I understand the emotional process. I understand the mental, emotional, spiritual aspects of healing because that's ... I think the medical world does quite well with the physical and naturopathy and physiotherapy. They're going to look at your diet. They're going to look at your posture. They're going to look at medications. They're going to look at surgeries. I feel like that's relatively well-captured, but it's the mental, emotional, spiritual that is often really poorly managed, and, unfortunately, even my colleagues in the world of psychology, because of their protocols and things that they have to follow and timelines and all sorts of limitations, I find even psychologists end up going down a route of avoidance and distraction methods to help people manage symptoms instead of totally rewire them, reset them, and heal them. That was the expertise that I grew into by accident.

Meghan Kennedy: Wow. That's incredible. So it wasn't just the professional piece. There was also that personal connection as well, which I think, as healers, we often have a story of suffering or a story that brings us to this direction in some way, so it sort of sounds like you had a little bit of both, which is really interesting. And when you describe that woman in Finland, I feel like ... I literally just said that to you. That was me. That was me at night, in bed, on my computer, in desperation because I had totally lost myself from these symptoms. I was drowning in them, and I was like, "Who is this woman?" And, actually, I had a call with you. You might not even remember, but you had a call to me at one point in that very early time after I had found you, and we did a body scan together, which maybe we'll get a chance to talk about on this episode. But that tool alone was life-saving, and I'm hoping we can get to that, too.

        But I know mindfulness and neuroplasticity are a really big part of Seeking Balance, and I think the term neuroplasticity is thrown around a lot right now. It seems to be becoming more popular. I don't want to use the word trendy, but there's a lot more on it, which I think is fantastic. Can you describe what neuroplasticity means to you in layman's terms for people who don't really get how this all works?

Joey Remenyi:Yeah. Well, neuroplasticity is a word that really describes our body's capacity to change, and it's referring to our neurons, which are cells within our body. Just like we have muscle cells and skin cells, we have neuronal cells, and our neural or nervous system is responsible for communicating up and down, head to toe, throughout our brain, throughout our thoughts, our emotions. It's our neurons that tell our muscles to move, it's our neurons that detect heat changes in our environment or hear sounds or see things, so it's very much a part of our sensory input system as well as our motor, movement, speech output system. Without our nervous system, we would all be just like rocks and inert, unable to do anything. So the nervous system really makes us the living, breathing, incredible beings that we are.

Our neurons are mapped ... You can think of them as really complex roadmaps or spiderwebs. They have these incredible networks, and the more we fine-tune and use a network, the stronger and more robust that becomes. So, for example, if we think about ... A lot of my clients want to feel confident or steady or sturdy, and if they have not felt that in a few years, that neuronal mapping or network will be very weak, and you can think of it as a little tiny hiking track that doesn't get used very often. So messages are not traveling along that track from A to B along the brain and body. It's not a used pathway, whereas, instead, they might feel queasy, not quite right, nauseous, lack of confidence, fearful, and so those pathways for not quite right, dizzy, unconfident, they're going to be really robust and like super highways, if you think about New York or Los Angeles with these just multiple car lanes with lots and lots of messages going simultaneously all at the one time. It's a very strong network.

       So the little pieces of information traveling along our nervous cells are neurotransmitters, and then we also have hormones moving and all these cocktails of little messengers passing from nerve to nerve and through our bloodstream. This is where the mind and the body are connected, in that there's a very physical process of neurotransmitters and vitamins and minerals and oxygens and sugars and things getting used at the cellular level in order for the information to travel. But it's also a mental, emotional, spiritual process in that, depending on what we believe in, depending on what thoughts we have about ourselves, depending on how we treat ourselves, the story we have in our life and in our mind actually dictate that physical chemical cocktail process. So the mind and the body are literally working together as a team.

        I would say the vast majority of my clients do not have mind/body teamwork. They're living in a conflict. They're basically self-rejecting, self-hating, and the story's like, "I'm broken, I'm abnormal, something or someone needs to fix me," and that's leading to more neurochemical cocktails of feeling helpless, hopeless, depressed, anxious, lack of confidence, fearful, et cetera. So that Seeking ... The Rock Steady program, which Meghan's gone through, is really about nurturing people to change the story, to address limiting beliefs, to address avoidance behaviors, and to start introducing gentle courage and gentle confidence back into the inner world so we can change those chemical cocktails and create more superhighways that feel steady, sturdy, confident, happy, joyful, peaceful more of the time.

Meghan Kennedy: Right. And so with neuroplasticity, in your opinion, is it something that people need to practice daily in order to begin to transform those hiking trails to superhighways, or what is your take on that?

Joey Remenyi: Well, neuroplasticity happens whether we like it or not, so someone can be completely unconscious and building neuro ... So, remember, neuroplasticity is the capacity to change. It doesn't mean you're changing for the better.

Meghan Kennedy:True. Yes. Right.

Joey Remenyi: So neuroplasticity happens to all of us every day. What I teach people to do is to consciously use neuroplasticity to change in ways that are helpful for them. I'm not going to call it good or bad because I really like to shift away from judgmental languaging. But if we can say, "You know what, this is not working for me, I don't like to feel anxious and fearful all the time, it's like my life has shrunk, this is unhelpful," right, it's not good, it's not bad, it just is what it is. So then that person might say, "All right, well, what kind of supports do I need? What new stories do I need to enable myself to get out of the house more, to feel supported, to get more self-soothing, to change my emotions from fearful to courageous or confident? How can I practice that?"

       That then becomes a daily exploration, and it's much more than just vestibular physiotherapy or taking a vitamin supplement or medicating. It really becomes that holistic journey of not only changing the belief and the story, but that belief or story then feeds whole new behaviors and actions and then feeds whole new feelings and inner thought processes. I think one of the most common changes I would see in my clients ... This is all around the world, mind you. I've got clients on every single continent except Antarctica, and they all have the same stories. It's really quite remarkable.

Meghan Kennedy :Wow. Wow.

Joey Remenyi:The most common thing they say is they put themselves first more often, like once they get through the program, they stop giving their power away to others and doing whatever other people want and need. They stop living by shoulds and start doing what they actually feel they desire and want and what feeds them and is in alignment with their values. They start to respect themselves more, honor what they feel, trust what they feel, and not judge their body.

     So instead of feeling these sensations and these emotions, instead of going, "Oh my God, you're so abnormal, you shouldn't feel this, why am I like this, why me," we start dropping into a space of wisdom and saying, "Okay, well, my body's giving me this changing sensation. I'm just going to breathe into it. I'm going to describe it. I'm going to give it a color and shape. I'm going to ask it what it needs. I'm going to support my body. I'm going to take time to get to know what my body's communicating to me." We start to become a mind/body chain where we're getting biofeedback loops that we actually use instead of ignore, dismiss, deny, numb, medicate, or judge.

Meghan Kennedy:Right. I love that.

Joey Remenyi: So, to answer your question, no, you don't need to practice neuroplasticity, but if you want it to be helpful and effective and give you the kind of feelings and sensations that you desire, then, sure, you're probably going to have to have clarity and daily practice.

Meghan Kennedy: Okay. So mindfulness versus neuroplasticity, how does mindfulness play into the neuroplastic changes, or what's the relationship there so we can separate that if it needs to be separated, or is it something that we use together?

Joey Remenyi:Yeah, no, it's good. I mean, mindfulness is kind of a buzzword that's come up, and it's a really friendly, non-intimidating word that I feel a lot of the Buddhist researchers like Jon Kabat-Zinn have made quite popular in the last decade or so. But mindfulness is really being able to pay attention, to have a single task and concentration and focused on one thing at a time without bias or judgment. So it's all about awareness that has curiosity, openness, gentleness, and I'd like to put in words like kindness because if ... And I'm sure a lot of listeners here are hypochondriacs and anxious like I was-

Meghan Kennedy: Absolutely.

Joey Remenyi: and still am. I'm pregnant right now, and any chance I get, I'm hypochondriac about everything.

Meghan Kennedy :I know. Wait till the baby comes, Joey. It's a whole new world, but it's the best.

Joey Remenyi:Yeah, no, I mean, I'm really enjoying the whole process. But every time my brain brings up those worries and fears, I have to be able to self-soothe them. I have to be able to come back to the body scan or what am I actually feeling, what is actually real, instead of buying into that story. That's where mindfulness helps us see and feel without judgment, and all of the worries, anxieties, and hypochondria stuff comes from judgment. It should be this. Should a doctor tell me, should clear this thing for me, should, should, should, should, should, right? It's all about rules and rigidity and right and wrong and normal and abnormal. When we're in mindfulness, there is no normal and abnormal. There is no positive, negative. There is no better, worse. There is no good, bad. There is no kind of duality or judgment.

      We are literally just feeling things and saying, "Okay, well, I'm noticing this sensation. It has a pink quality. It's kind of fuzzy and circular. I'm noticing it around my left shoulder. I'm noticing it moving a little left to right." So the descriptions are incredibly nonjudgmental, much more childlike and creative, and it doesn't invite in that reactivity of emotion. So we remain curious and open and sometimes awe-filled, and that's where the brain remains in a safe space for healing, repair, for problem-solving, and, neurologically, we can handle that sensation in a very safe and playful way. That's kind of where mindfulness is one of the core skills or qualities needed in order to enable neuroplasticity, but it's not the neuroplasticity itself. It just enables us to remain safe, aware, conscious, and connected without bringing in the fight or flight freeze, which is what judgment does.

Meghan Kennedy: Right. So mindfulness doesn't have to mean meditation either, right?

Joey Remenyi:No.

Meghan Kennedy :For you? Yeah, so I think that's kind of a misconception. I hear that a lot, that we have to meditate in the sense of a formal, traditional meditation sitting on the floor with your eyes closed and your hands up. I think people kind of feel that way. So mindfulness is something, rather, that is an ongoing, continuous process of awareness?

Joey Remenyi: It's just a way of being aware and present without the judgment and bias. Meditation is used in very different ways culturally, like from a yoga point of view, meditation is when we lose all sense of self. We wouldn't even identify as man or woman or ... Yeah, we'd lose our name. A meditative space is a very high level of consciousness that not many people access. It's not like clicking play to a podcast and meditating on an app. So there's different ways of using each word. At the end of the day, they're all labels, so I think as long as we're honest about what we're feeling and how we're responding or reacting to that feeling and, like I say, with me and my hypochondriac ways, as long as we're honest when it's happening and we can meaningfully address it and meet it with a voice of kindness, wisdom, and compassion, it's totally safe and fine, and there is no right or wrong. In fact, arguably, it's a sign we care about ourselves and we're nurturing ourselves. Those worries are coming from a place of deep concern and care. It's a beautiful thing, but if we let the worry take over, then, of course, we end up in the black pit of despair.

Meghan Kennedy :Right. That's an interesting perspective. That's a form of self-care essentially, isn't it, which I've never really thought of, is that worry that we have.

Joey Remenyi:Yeah. And so we have to meet our inner worry self with, I suppose, our inner warrior, inner spiritual warrior context, and they have to be equal so that neither is dominant because I also think if we're completely grandiose and in a space of overconfidence or what could become arrogance, it's like that inner hypochondriac's a bit grounding and keeps us humble. You kind of want the balance of not overlooking and dismissing red flags. It might actually be the body saying, "I'm genuinely dehydrated right now. You need to get me some coconut water or an electrolyte." You wouldn't want to ignore those things either. Do you know what I mean?

Meghan Kennedy:Yep.

Joey Remenyi:It's a reality slap. Sometimes, the information the body gives us is uncomfortable, and you could speak on that.

Meghan Kennedy :Absolutely, yeah.

Joey Remenyi: We have to learn to respond to the uncomfortable feelings and nurture them and support them so the body can regain its equilibrium and homeostasis, not only physically but mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. All that is neuroplasticity because every single thing is connected by a neuron.

Meghan Kennedy :Wow.

Joey Remenyi: The mindfulness piece is just the capacity to stop and be aware and be real without the bias or the judgment.

Meghan Kennedy :Okay. I love that. That's such a great description for people because I think it is clouded. Sometimes, those terms get thrown around a little bit and nobody really gets not only the definition, in quote, of them but the practice of it, so how to actually do that, right, that's challenging for people.

Joey Remenyi: Yeah.

Meghan Kennedy :One of the things I love, too, with you ... Actually, before I was introduced to your program, I was on this kick of, "I have to be positive. I can't be in this negative cycle anymore, so I need to wake up, and I need to be in a good mood, and I need to be happy all day long, and everything's got to be really great." It was exhausting because that's not ... Right? It's not human either. When you introduced to us about the range of emotion and the realness of that and the acceptance of that and that it's taking away the labeling of, "This is good and this is bad," it felt like this huge weight off my shoulders. It's okay for me to be sad. It's okay for me to be scared because I'm feeling unwell, so to work through that and not to savor and sit in it but to be accepting that that's a natural process.

Joey Remenyi: Yeah. And, arguably, I would go so far as to say not only is it okay, it's necessary that we feel sadness. It's necessary that we connect to our anger. It's necessary that we feel the full spectrum of human experience because, otherwise, we're actually blocked and suppressed and our capacity to feel is numbed. I feel that, again, there's no positive and no negative feelings. There's as much richness in connecting to guilt and going, "Wow, what is that guilt teaching me? I think that guilt might be teaching me that I'm giving my power away to that person. I know I'm feeling bad because I didn't do that thing when, really, it's all about them, it's not about me." So by feeling that guilt, I'm actually enriching my self-knowing, my inner knowing, and once I realize that's their stuff, it's not my stuff, I can have that boundary and I can reconnect and realign to my heart. But if I'd never felt the guilt, I may never have had that insight and been able to clarify that boundary.

       Same with anger. When I feel anger and go, "Wow, what's this anger about," I can be like, "Well, someone's really poked my values." There's something that's very dear to me, like maybe it's the environment, and they're just graffitiing or putting litter everywhere or contaminating rivers. That enrages me, and that teaches me that I deeply care about the environment. My connection to the earth and cycles of life is so strong that I need to live in alignment with that. So this anger is teaching me what's meaningful to me. It's helping me get to know myself. So instead of bypassing the anger and trying to be all like, "Oh, I'm fine, it's fine, it's totally fine, I'm just not going to feel it," we can go deeper, really feel into it, really breathe into it.

      I've just been listening to Michael Singer lately, who's the author of The Untethered Soul & The Surrender Experiment, and I love it when he says, "We can feel all emotions, but we don't need to suppress them nor express them. We can experience them." So we can feel the anger without the raging, kicking, screaming polava. We can experience the anger, which is give it color, give it shape, let the neurons fire, listen to the body, fully breathe through it. Most emotions will resolve within 90 seconds if you give them full attention, and in that process, we can have the insights, we can learn, we can say, "Body, what are you teaching me?" So that's where I try and get people to look at all emotions as valuable messengers rather than saying, "Well, I shouldn't feel that, and I should feel this, and I'm going to go to K-Mart, and I'm going to buy happiness."

      In that regard, society's done us a great disservice. Most of us need emotional reeducation. We think we should be one way when, really, our body is living, breathing GPS system that tells us when we're out of alignment. When we're out of alignment, we lose our balance. We feel not quite right. We feel off because we're not really in connection with our soul and our emotions are calling us back home to our truth. That might be frustration, it might be sleepiness, it might be boredom, it might be bewilderment or rejection or criticism or skepticism. All of those feelings are actually drawing us back to our truth, and that's why when, actually, people contact me, "Is your program for me, should I do it," I'm like, "Look, I really can't answer that question for you. Just listen to my podcast and see if it feels right because trust what you're feeling in your body. It will bring you back to your truth, and if that includes my program, sure, go for it, but if it doesn't, that's fine, too."

Meghan Kennedy: I love that. And one of the things that you talk about in Seeking Balance International is the chasing game that people with chronic illness tend to do. I do want to back up and just say that Joey expresses the importance of getting medical clearance before you begin the process, truly, of neuroplasticity and specifically her programs. But I think it's really important to address that as a society we do tend to chase. We do want assurance. We want different opinions. We want to know that everything's okay. We want someone to fix us. We use distractions because God forbid we sit and look at what's in front of us. I think that really comes from a sense of lack of confidence in some ways that we are able to really play a vital role in our own healing process. That's the thing I wanted to ask you about, is because you speak a lot about empowerment and finding our answers for our health within us. So I wanted to ask if you could expand on that a little bit and express to else how we begin to tap into that intuitive knowledge that we hold.

Joey Remenyi: Yeah. Well, I mean, the how is going to be different for every person, but most people who resonate with me and the way I work will go through my programs because that is what the programs are about. It's about trusting your inner wisdom and freeing yourself, liberating yourself from the goose chase. But how do we get to the goose chase is, really, from a very young age, essentially, most people ... Very few people are taught to listen to their bodies, trust their inner wisdom, and to really honor what's going on in their natural innate cycles, in their natural gifts. Most of us are taught, "Do what your parents say. Listen to your teachers. Follow the authorities. Ask the doctor." We don't even honor consent for most children in Western countries. We just change nappies when we want to change them. We feed them when we want to feed them. We're not really in that authentic space of honoring each individual and the knowledge they have within themselves from birth.

         Babies know a lot. Children know a lot. Often, as adults, we're imposing our values and judgments onto them without even really giving them a say or checking in with what they're really feeling in alignment with their truth. So, essentially, we're taught to externalize. We're taught to seek external validation. We're taught to seek external reassurance. You're upset? Go to Mummy. Mummy will cuddle you. You win a race, you get a gold medal. We're striving for status. We're striving to be skinnier, to be more beautiful, to have a better partner, to have a better job. It's all about this striving, striving, striving. Where people often need to come back to is coming back to when am I content with me as I am now that I have enough, that I am enough, that I don't need to be prove anything anymore, that I can give myself permission to be validated, that what I feel is normal. This is my normal. This is me right now.

       Even if I'm vomiting and spinning and noisy, this is me right now. I'm having a vomiting, noisy, spinny day, and there's nothing wrong with that. Doesn't make me broken, and I don't need someone else to come and fix me. I can trust that my body is processing something, like if I was a computer right now, I'm going through a software update, and we need to reboot the computer. We need to wait for the algorithms to change. We need to reboot the computer, and then things will flow in a completely different operating system. The software's being updated. Too often, my clients don't want to go through the software update. They're just like, "No, I don't want to feel this. I don't want to feel this. Get rid of it, get rid of it. Run away, run away." I'm like, "Well, what if it was actually perfect for you, and feeling this is your route to healing?" That's most often what we see.

        Once people stop and actually feel and experience that sensory messaging and they allow it to have purpose and meaning that is in association with their healing experience, they're no longer afraid of it, they no longer fight it, and the brain can re-categorize it all. So they get the reboot, and they get to come back to living a clean, clear life, hopefully with more connection to their inner wisdom, instead of seeking that external expert to-

Meghan Kennedy: Cure and fix. Yep. And I think the emotion fear, for me, was probably the biggest because you don't feel in control and you don't know how to handle it. It's a negative emotion, and what you do is you just continuously replay these ... It's like you're living in the past because what happens is you have these symptoms, they occur continuously, at random, and it makes you very vulnerable. So as you continue to think about the way you've experienced these symptoms, it basically creates fear for the present because you just don't know. So I think with your program, because, as Joey said, I did Rock Steady, which is one of her programs that she offers, just the validation of knowing that ...

       I think, for me, I actually had to sit down and face the fear, which was really difficult for me because I'm a bit of a hypochondriac that way, too, like you. Yeah, and I'm sensitive, and I'm just ... Everything impacts me greatly. So to sit down and allow myself to really face it, I remember shaking the first time, sitting there feeling like, "I just want to cry, I'm so scared right now," because I actually just sat with it, which I realized, "Wow, I've never actually just sat with it." I've always been running, even when it was happening, because God forbid, yeah, I felt something.

Joey Remenyi: Yeah, and I would even just encourage the re-languaging. Feeling fear is not negative, and crying is a beautiful reality of release. Often, after the tears comes a period of relief, and going deep into our fears is where we meet our power. I would say fear is one of the most incredible and powerful emotions we have access to because when I've been in spaces of deep self-hatred, deep self-rejection, the nastiest, ugliest, most disturbed parts of my psyche, that is where I meet my love. That is where my self-love rises and says, "Oh, darling, Joey, I can see it's hard for you right now. You're hating yourself, but you don't need to feel this shame. I love you, I see you, you're perfect." That voice inside of me that accesses my real love and my self-love and my self-compassion, she is louder and sharper the more I hate myself. So it's like by accessing all of that fear and discomfort and the deep, dark nasties, the more it gives me access to my lights.

       And, also, when I can face my fear and walk through it and breathe through it and go there, I feel very powerful because I'm like, "I am unstoppable." If I can feel this intense fear, I just feel like nothing can stop me. If I live in fear of it and running away from it, avoiding it, I feel very weak and I feel victim and I feel damsel in distress. So meeting our fears is actually a place of great clarity and healing if we allow it.

Meghan Kennedy: Okay. Yeah. It's so hard to switch your mind to that. Even though I've been through Rock Steady, Joey's caught me a few times still using that same language that we're so programmed to do as fear.

Joey Remenyi: That's the world we live in. We live in a world that judges things as positive or negative, so it's really, really hard to ... I'll say things are good and bad and whatever, but, truly, I'm not meaning that. We have to be able to see the world as it is and really shift out of that biasing language. But the reality is, is it's everywhere. We're swimming in it.

Meghan Kennedy : We are, so it's hard to avoid.

Joey Remenyi: We're bombarded by it, and it's a conscious practice, picking up on our language. I think that's a really important point, is when we engage in neuroplasticity and this healing process, we're seeing ourselves as healed people. We're not actually healing ourselves. We're viewing ourselves as already healed and tapping into that and building on it. We're not deleting anything. We're building new pathways and new sensations and new stories and new beliefs. It's a journey, and it's a journey that never ends. We live it forever. Some people will email me saying, "Oh, I've completed all the exercises in module one." I'm like, "It's not really possible." Because if you complete them mechanically and you're doing them, you're not doing neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity's a way of being and feeling and sensing, and every time we do it, every single day, every hour, every moment is different.

     Coming back to the body scan, which is where we use our proprioceptive senses throughout our skin, muscles, and bones, all of those touch senses, pressure markers, when we feel the furniture and the clothing and the air or the air conditioning on our face or the wind and the breeze, those sensory inputs are changing every time we tune into them. You're never getting the same body scan twice. It's not something you do, complete, take, finish. It's a process that you either engage in or don't engage in. That is neuroplasticity. You're either in it and using it and engaging in it, or you're not. So it kind of never ends. It's not a destination. There's no outcome. There's no rigidity. There's no deadline. But when we truly drop into it, the freedom comes.

Meghan Kennedy : Yeah, that's incredible. I'm always blown away by your words because I don't know your age but I feel like you've been on this earth many times before. Every time I listen to a podcast or a module from Rock Steady, and I've listened to them many times, that's the best part of the online community, is you can just go back and access it, but I learn something every single time. So I'm blown away always by your words. With that being said, with the Rock Steady program and the Beautiful ... Sorry, what is your other-

Joey Remenyi: Beautiful Balance is my private therapy program for clients who work with me one-on-one. Yeah.

Meghan Kennedy :Right. And then the Rock Steady is more of-

Joey Remenyi: Self-study.

Meghan Kennedy :Right. So I guide it on my own as I'm going through it, which is fantastic, and you-

Joey Remenyi: Very powerful. Yeah.

Meghan Kennedy: Yeah. Yeah. It absolutely is. So for people who aren't experiencing dizziness, vertigo, or tinnitus, all of these concepts that you're talking about in terms of neuroplasticity and mindfulness and self-compassion and intention, all these fantastic things, these can really bleed into any chronic illness in a sense. It doesn't have to be-

Joey Remenyi: Definitely. I mean, I get feedback and emails from people all the time saying, "Oh my God, I want to give this to my daughter," or, "I want to pass this on to so-and-so. These are the most amazing life skills." But the other thing is, is anytime someone experiences anxiety, they're in fear and they're in that space that is uncomfortable and generally unhelpful and we don't want to be in. That does result in a form of not quite right dizzy feeling. That's one of the default sensations that the body gives out when we're in worry or anxiety, and most humans experience that.

Meghan Kennedy: Yes.

Joey Remenyi: It doesn't have to come from a vestibular failure or an inner ear spinning condition. There are many people that go through my program who are feeling out of body, this strange, lingering not quite right that no one can explain. It's a light dizziness. Dizziness is a very vague term, and literally everyone experiences dizziness at some point, even if it's just you stand up too quickly or you're dehydrated, all of that. In order to answer your question, it's not really about your label or your diagnosis or what you're feeling. It's about what you want to feel. The Rock Steady program was designed for people who are slipping through the cracks, who have vestibular issues and triple PD or BPPV or vestibular migraine or mal de debarquement, all of these vestibular-centric conditions.

     However, it's not about ... We don't barely talk about that much in the program at all. It's not about your label. It's about what do you want to feel, how are you going to build new pathways so you can do what you want to do and feel what you want to do more often, how are you going to feel through these difficult emotions and have space for them so you can release them and process them, how can you tap into your life force? The healing process is the same for all of us, regardless of what unpleasant sensations we're starting off with. The healing journey, the how-to, is a common human experience.

Meghan Kennedy :Okay. And so in terms of labeling disease, in quote, is that something that you feel passionate that people should let go of in terms of boxing themselves in that category?

Joey Remenyi: I think leave it for the doctors. The doctors are there to take our worries away. Let them write your label down because the doctors need to pigeonhole us and categorize us and document it somehow. So it's kind of essential for our medical colleagues to have a label to use so that they can communicate to each other. We don't need to take it on. They can use it. It can be really helpful for them, but we don't need to become our diagnosis. In fact, that is incredibly toxic and damaging, and that is only ever going to limit us. It's important that we remain as the whole person we are. So it's not about treating the tinnitus or treating the dizziness or treating the vertigo. It's about treating Meghan. Treat the whole person. Treat all of her. Understand her enthusiasm, her inspiration, her motivations, her fears, her desires, her loves. Understand all of her, and through that mental, emotional, spiritual depth, the physical changes. And if you try and change the physical with the physical, we are so incredibly limited and stuck, and we spend a lot of money and we waste a lot of time-

Meghan Kennedy:Absolutely. Yeah, absolutely. And I-

Joey Remenyi: because we're missing three-quarters of the story.

Meghan Kennedy: Abs. And as you know and I know, the medical community is missing that large chunk, but I think that things are changing in the world of health, and I think we're moving in that direction, which is incredible.

Joey Remenyi: I just want to say something there because I feel like it's important. I actually don't think the medical world are missing it because you would be amazed at how many doctors say things like, "There's nothing more I can do for you," although recommend things like, "I think it's really important you don't worry about this." The medical world are actually giving consistent advice with self-responsibility. Doctors will often say, "If I can help you, this is what I can do, blah, blah, blah, and if I can't help you, I can't help you. The ball's in your court now." That is effectively them saying, "Now, it's your job to look at your mental, emotional, spiritual inner world, which is invisible, it's not medical, and it would be arrogant of me to go in there and do that for you." But the doctors cannot do that, and they can never be trained in that. That's not a lack of training. It's just an inner process is an inner process.

Meghan Kennedy: Right. They can't do that for you. Right. I get what you're saying.

Joey Remenyi: And the best doctors will actually give you the ball and say, "I think it's time you ran with it now. This is your body, your inner world, and I can't do that work for you." So that's where I think the best doctors would say, "Find support resources, find supportive people, find ways for you to go to your inner world and safely recalibrate within yourself because from a medical perspective, we've actually cleared you."

Meghan Kennedy: Right. Yeah, absolutely. So I think that's where the education piece comes in then because people need to understand that once they've had that medical clearing, then that's where the empowerment comes in. That's when the intention, that's when the neuroplasticity [crosstalk 00:46:11]-

Joey Remenyi: And there can be resistance to the self-responsibility because we want someone else to fix us. That would be so neat. That would be so nice. It's like, "I've got a splinter in my toe, can you please just take it out, Mum?" If it was a physical situation, that's exactly what the nurses and doctors would do for us.

Meghan Kennedy: Right. I love that because you talk about self-compassion and about, I forget which part I learned about this from you, but speaking to myself as if I were a child. Because I think we're all seeking that, we're seeking love, we're seeking care, we're seeking attention. So, for me, I actually was very emotional when I first started that component of Rock Steady, talking to myself as if I were a child again and showing compassion, because we are so hard on ourselves and we're so negative. When you're actually aware of your thought patterns that ... I think we have 70,000 thoughts on average a day or something around there. When you actually start being aware of how many are self-destructive, it's alarming, and so that's interesting how you made that connection, how it's hard for people to allow the doctors to say, "I've done my part, now it's you." It's like, "No, I need you. I need someone."

Joey Remenyi: And then we get angry at the doctors and we get a second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh opinion because we're not willing to stop and say, "Okay, Joey, this is now you're work. You're in control." We are much more in control than we realize. That's a total illusion, that we're not in control. There's a lot that we actually can, I want to say, at least co-control. There's a co-creating of our future and our neural pathways that we can consciously implement into our lives. There's a lot that we do control, and the things we don't control we learn how to gracefully surrender to. Often, we get better outcomes than we ever could've imagined for ourselves anyway because we're limited in our creativity and what Mother Nature has in plan for us is often much more amazing and bigger and explosive than we ever would've designed if we were in 100% control. So there's a bit of surrender and there's actually a lot of control.

    I think a lot of people give their power away far too quickly, far too young, far too early, and they let the world bash them around. I believe conscious neuroplasticity and this form of integrated holistic healing is what the planet needs for healing. More people need to take their control back, become more self-responsible, take ownership over their fears and really engage with their power, and have the capacity to make much better decisions that are based on very realistic information gathering. That information gathering comes through the body, through sensory input, because we're actually tangibly feeling it in a body scan instead of some external thing, like a Facebook feed or fake news or TV. That's not actually real. To feel it, it comes through the body, and that's how we collect our information and we make decisions.

Meghan Kennedy :Beautiful. I love that.

Joey Remenyi: Through the inner wisdom.

Meghan Kennedy :Right. Well, thank you so much, Joey. I'm going to post Joey's website and resources on the podcast episode description because I think not just for people suffering from tinnitus, dizziness, and vertigo, I think it can be applied in so many areas of chronic illness. I really advise people to take this empowerment and this ownership in their own health because what I do in practice, a lot of it, as a naturopathic profession, it's about, as you said, the diet and the supplements. We weren't really trained to do this mindfulness neuroplastic component. This is what I learned through my own healing experience, and that's why I'm so passionate about sharing this information, because we have this ability. And you've given me that tool. I know I'm doing it, but you've been passing the torch to me over the last two years, really, and I want to pass the torch to other people. So I'm so grateful for you. I'm grateful for the work that you do, and I know you hear this, and I know you know this, but you're truly changing lives.

Joey Remenyi: Thank you so much. Yeah, it's awesome. I really enjoy what I do. It's really been a blessing for me to see people take on an online program and click play and listen to videos and audios or do PDFs in their own time and for it to work. Because, initially, I'm like, "I don't even know if this is going to work. Are people going to even log in? Will they be motivated? Will they care?" It's just amazing, and the number of people who I get emailing me saying, "My entire life has turned around," some people are 60 or 70 and they're like, "This is the first time in my life I've actually felt joy."

Meghan Kennedy :Wow.

Joey Remenyi: "I've actually put myself first. I've actually found a connection to a deeper love or self-kindness." Then we get lots of young people through the program, too, and they're getting a really neat start in life, being able to take their power back and identify their values and alignments, which is a real gift, and I was lucky to have it quite young.

Meghan Kennedy :Well, I'm grateful that you are in this world, and thank you again for your time.

Joey Remenyi: Absolute pleasure. Thank you for inviting me. It was really nice to meet you and be able to chat in a little bit more depth.

Meghan Kennedy :Okay. Thank you so much, Joey.

Joey Remenyi: No worries.

Meghan Kennedy : I'd like to ask you if you enjoyed the show today to please share it with those you love, those that may benefit from this incredible information and also, please, if you have a moment, to give us a review on Apple Podcasts.

Thank you so much for listening.