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Wellness for Vets Podcast with James Conner, USMC (Ret.) Cover
Wellness for Vets Podcast with James Conner, USMC (Ret.) Profile

Wellness for Vets Podcast with James Conner, USMC (Ret.)

English, Fitness / Keep-fit, 1 season, 24 episodes, 1 day, 1 hour, 1 minute
"Wellness for Vets" Podcast is a place to share information and experiences to help overcome whatever injuries or ailments we may have sustained through the course of our service.
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Irish Army Ranger Wing Veteran Jeffrey Allen

Jeff is a veteran of the elite Irish Army Ranger Wing. In this episode Jeff discusses how he ended up in the elite special operations force, what learned along the way, and how he used this knowledge building his own brand after retirement. Jeff has authored a book and runs a prep-program where he teaches people how to be confident and builds they're leadership skills by overcoming adversity.
3/18/20241 hour, 13 minutes, 8 seconds
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Home Field Advantage: A Conversation with Steve Trevelise on Sports, Radio, and Staying Connected

In this episode, I welcome Steve Trevelise from 94.1 WIP and New Jersey 101.5 for a deep dive into the unique world of sports talk radio and its ability to connect people with the essence of home, regardless of their location. Whether you're serving overseas, stationed in distant lands, or a first responder working tirelessly through the night and holidays, this conversation is a reminder of the unifying power of sports talk radio. Join us as Steve, a seasoned voice in sports broadcasting, shares his rich experiences and insights on how sports radio transcends physical boundaries, fostering a sense of community and belonging. This episode isn't just about sports however; it's a journey through laughter, music, and camaraderie, as two guys from the mid-Atlantic region discuss everything from the latest games to rock and roll, and the art of comedy. Tune in as Trev and I aim to transport you back to the comforting chatter around the kitchen table, offering a slice of home and familiarity. It's more than a talk show; it's a bridge connecting you to the places and people you cherish, no matter where duty calls you. For those moments when you can't be home, let us bring a piece of home to you.
12/6/202350 minutes, 23 seconds
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Episode #22: Electric Muscle Stimulation with Kalyn Steranko from Amped Advantage in Calgary, Canada

Electric Muscle Stimulation (EMS) is mostly known as a tool used in physical therapy or some form of recovery.  In this episode Kalyn Steranko of Amped Advantage joins me from Calgary, Canada to explain and discuss how how EMS is used in achieving physical fitness as well as overall health and well being. I tried EMS for six weeks when I was living in Romania and now, two years after that experience I get to dive into what EMS is, how it works, what its used for, and what are some of its potential uses. In this episode we discuss the difference between therapeutic EMS and full body EMS, Training to become an EMS provider and how to find a provider in your area, and Success stories from EMS. 5:00 After a bit of an introduction, Kalyn explains some of the training her and her providers went through to become XBody EMS providers. 7:59 We talked briefly about how EMS is still a bit unknown to the greater population so Kalyn offers some guidance on how to locate a provider in your area (XBody or otherwise as sometimes providers go by a name other than EMS). 8:46 We get into the meat and potatoes of what is EMS and how it works. 11:43 Here we Kalyn lays out the difference between therapeutic EMS (what you may receive going to physical therapy) vs full body EMS for health, wellness, and fitness 1410: At this point in the show we get into some special uses for EMS such as working with clients who may have mobility issues or some form of neuromuscular disconnect. 1755: Here we take a deeper look at the actual EMS suit and how it functions. 53:12 I start talking to Kalyn about people such as veterans who may have been sedentary or stagnant for a while and decide to get back into working out, and the role EMS can play in helping to facilitate that lifestyle change. 56:50 Towards the end of the show we encountered a little bit of an echo, but it clears up in time for Kalyn to share some anecdotes of using EMS when working firefighters, police, and military personnel. After listening to this show a few times during the editing process I heard something new each time and this episode is full of great information regarding the use of electric muscle stimulation.
9/25/20201 hour, 8 minutes, 51 seconds
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Episode #21: Trauma Release Exercise (TRE) with Leckey Harrison

Leckey is a 16 year veteran firefighter who joins us to discuss the benefits of practicing TRE. In this episode Leckey explains how he was introduced to TRE, what happens to the body during when it is stuck in a cycle of being in a high alert status, the benefits of, and differences in lifting weights vs. TRE for decompression. Leckey was great during this interview and his fun and zany way of explaining TRE kept my attention by keeping me entertained.  To learn more about TRE, see some videos, or connect with Leckey, you can find more here:  (Subscribe to Leckey's YouTube channel).  (David Berceli's Book)  (Books by Peter Levine)
9/3/20201 hour, 6 minutes, 15 seconds
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Episode #20: Ron Millward of Balanced Veterans talks Cannabis, Medical Marijuana, Alternative Therapies

Ron Millward is a 7.5 year Air Force veteran.  In this episode Ron discusses his handling of his own traumatic experiences, being placed on a cocktail of prescription drugs, a suicide attempt, and eventually a breakthrough using cannabis which lead him to path of emotional healing and an exploration with other mind-body therapies. 6:20 Ron and I highlight the trauma or anxiety that comes from transitioning from the regimented life in the military to going out into the world of the unknown. 10:00 We discuss what goes on when a unit "leaves the wire," even if there was no enemy contact but the stress of operating in a high alert status.  Eventually Ron did make contact and received a traumatic brain injury (TBI).  This conversation then roles right into discussing the amount of veterans who have committed suicide at home.   14:00 Ron shares his own post-military experiences which involved some "reckless behavior" that led to being placed on prescription medications and a suicide attempt. 16:40 Ron is introduced to the idea of using cannabis/marijuana to address his mental health.  From here Ron talks about entering the Pennsylvania medical marijuana program and becomes an advocate for medical marijuana and education on marijuana, and the establishment of Balanced Veterans which promotes not only medical marijuana, but also alternative therapies and the use of mind-body practices for healing from trauma. When we discuss the use of marijuana, Ron is very candid on the pro's and con's of its use, the different ways it can be used or consumed. 34:00 Ron shares his experiences with educating veterans and working with the VA. 39:10 We begin to wrap up the show and talk about the idea of a "wellness concierge" and Ron talks about his experience with acupuncture, yoga, and how to explain alternative forms of treatment and de-mystify the more lesser known about therapies.
8/25/202044 minutes, 21 seconds
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Episode #19: Inflammation with Aimee Dordevic from Monash University

Dr Aimee Dordevic is a Registered Nutritionist with both the Nutrition Society of Australia and the Association for Nutrition (UK). She works in the Department of Nutrition, Dietetics & Food, Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences at Monash University as a Nutrition Science Lecturer and Researcher. Aimee's PhD titled the 'Investigation of the acute nutrigenomic response of adipose tissue' examined the effect of macronutrients on inflammatory and metabolic signalling in human serum and adipose tissue. The project involved treatment of cultured cells with different types of fatty acids as well as collection and subsequent molecular analysis of human tissue samples in the hours immediately following meals that varied in macronutrient composition. Currently Aimee is involved in several projects within the Department of Nutrition and Dietetics using molecular biology techniques to study how nutrients, lifestyle and disease states are linked through nutrigenomic interactions. Research Interests: Aimee's research interests include the role of diet in inflammation and immunity and the analysis of inflammation and metabolism of humans in response to food. Research Expertise: Human clinical trial co-ordination, human tissue protein and gene expression analysis, acute feeding trials, cell culture, adipose tissue biology, nutritional immunology, immunohistochemistry, anthropometry, phlebotomy and dietary analysis. In honor of my guest from Australia the show opens with the 1ST Marine Division Band performing "Waltzing Matilda" followed by a brief history lesson of the US Marines and Australia. In the introduction I discuss Monash University's massive open online course (MOOC) series Food As Medicine. At minute 13 Aimee breaks down what inflammation is including signs, symptoms, and the role of the immune system. 23:30 We start discussing some of the more popular nutrients pertaining to anti-inflammation: curcumin and ginger. 36:25 The conversation turns to antioxidants - what they are, what they do, and where we get them from. 42:10 Bring on the Omega 3 and Omega 6 Fatty Acids!  Here we really get into the Omega's - sources, roles, seafood based EPA and DHA vs. plant and nut based sources of Omega 3's. 1:04:10 We get into the role of sleep on inflammation and Amiee shares some of the research she's currently involved in regarding this topic.
8/18/20201 hour, 14 minutes, 20 seconds
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Episode #18: Ranjana Pomar Part 2 - Using Tantric Practice in Recovery from Sexual Trauma.

In this episode, Ranjana and I pick up our conversation about tantra after a short break, and turn the focus to recovering from sexual trauma.  Ranjana shares how she would assist someone through a progression of being a victim, to recovery, to becoming empowered and taking back control of their life again.  Recognizing the psychological effects sexual trauma can have on people, Ranja explains how tantric meditation practices and her own role as the medicine woman can help previous victims progress toward trusting again and work towards establishing relations with potential partners.
8/13/202033 minutes, 49 seconds
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Episode #17: Ranjana Pomar from Tantra Shamanic Essence - Using Tantric Meditation Practices to Heal Troubled relationships and Recover from Sexual Trauma. Ranjana works as a psychotherapist, and Tantra counselor and facilitator in self-development for individuals and groups. From an early age, she felt a longing to experience life in all its dimensions, where everything is included as ONE, instead of split off from experience. In 1988, she learned about Osho's Active Meditations and began practicing them. Meditation transformed her life, bringing in greater sensitivity, expansion and love. At this time, Ranjana also began neo-shamanism training in the Andes Mountains where she experienced a deep connection with nature. Ranjana has also been living The Tantra Path since 2010, in which she has found unity and sacredness. After experiencing these paths for more than 25 years, she has brought together Asian traditions, Tantra, meditation and the indigenous cosmos-vision where life, love, death, and cycles of nature are living as one into the Great Spirit. Ranjana's workshops aim to integrate them into the way we live our daily lives, even in urban environments. In this episode Ranjana talks growing up in the Andes, shamanism (or as she likes to call herself, the medicine woman), and the use of tantric practices to heal relationships that have been shaken due to the demands of life in the military or as a civil servant, and using her blend of tantric practices, meditation, and other aspects of spiritual journeys to heal and recover from sexual trauma. When the episode opens up, around the 7:40 mark Ranjana treats us to some songs accompanied by drums to honor the male and female polarities or more commonly known as energies. At the 10:20 mark through 21:30 we spend some time discussing her journey to becoming a medicine woman and how that path led her to Tantra.  From 21:30 there we get into the Tantra talk.  In this segment we discussed the demands of military life and life of a civil servant and the stress those jobs can have on a relationship, and how Tantric Mediatiation and workshops like the ones Ranja leads can help couples come back to a place of love, trust, and comfort. Around the 1:06:00 mark we discuss how people who have may have become paralyzed or and amputee can still experience the feelings of physical love without actually being physical. We close out this first of a two part episode discussing Ranjana's workshops, particularly the Sweat Lodge. 
7/29/20201 hour, 28 minutes, 47 seconds
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Episode #16: JESSE GOULD Founder & President of Heroic Hearts Project

In this episode of the Wellness for Vets Podcast, Jesse Gould, former Army Ranger and founder & president of @heroicheartsproject joins me to discuss the use of psychedelics and ayahuasca for treating post traumatic stress. Heroic Hearts Project offers a proprietary program to veterans who are interested in pursuing psychedelic treatment options.  They primarily work with ayahuasca retreat centers due to the powerful effect it has shown to have on healing PTSD. Heroic Hearts Project carefully vetts every center that they work with, also providing veterans with their own proprietary program to enhance their experience through the process.  Help the Heroic Hearts Project in their work to support this nation’s military veterans by becoming an ambassador. More info here ➝➝➝
7/7/202051 minutes, 50 seconds
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Episode #15: Jesse Jordan from Axhead Coffee in Jacksonville, NC talks entrepreneur.

In response to listeners wanting to learn more about entrepreneurship after, or during the military for that matter, my Marine Corps buddy Jesse Jordan joins me to talk about how he got started in coffee and has launched a successful in person and online coffee business.   In this episode Jesse shares with us how he went from being a non-coffee drinker from Alabama to experimenting with coffee roasting under the supervision of a friend and mentor.  With a little confidence under his belt, Jesse began testing his blends out on his co-workers while still putting in long hours as an instructor at the Marine Corps Special Operations Command Raider Training Center and then heading to his friend's coffee shop to roast coffee until the the wee hours of the morning. Jesse walks us through how he got his business started, what administrative process he had to go through, working with a local small business center, and establishing a working website backed by a fully operational supply and distribution chain. Jesse started the business while he was in the Marine Corps and is now living the American dream of being his own boss and doing what he loves.  You can too.
6/30/202059 minutes, 9 seconds
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Episode #14: Exploring Ayahuasca and Plant Medicine for Trauma Recovery with Mike Bruns

Mike Bruns is an Army veteran and a Trauma Focused Therapist specializing in Amazonian Plant Medicine Therapies, Moral Injury, Combat Trauma, Sexual Trauma, Opioid-Addictions Detoxification, Traumatic Brain Injury, Master Past Life Therapist, Mike has done extensive work with veterans suffering from addiction, PTSD, and TBI.  You can read more about his work on his LinkedIn profile. In this episode Mike discusses with me the therapeutic potential of Ayahuasca.  He shares his own experiences with plant medicine, his encounters with veterans who have participated in plant medicine ceremonies, and all the preparatory work that goes into a ceremony before the medicinal plant is ever introduced. We also discuss the individual roles of of the ayahuasca ceremony participants with particular attention given to the leader or spiritual guide. Mike has been kind enough to offer his email to anyone who would like to reach out to him with any questions about PTSD, ayahuasca, plant medicine, or just wanting someone to talk to.  If you would like to reach Mike, please drop me a message at under the contact tab.
6/16/20201 hour, 23 minutes, 54 seconds
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Episode #13: 76th Anniversary of the Normandy Invasion Part 2 with Patrick O'Donnell

In this second part of a two part D-Day special, author and combat historian Patrick O'Donnell joins me to discuss specific events of WWII and the D-Day landing.  Patrick's book catalog is the result of years of making friends with former operatives of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS - predecessor to the Central Intelligence Agency) and veterans of various wars including those who participated in the D-Day landings at Normandy, France. The show opens with General Dwight Eisenhower's speech to the troops before the launch of the invasion followed by authentic sounds of gunfire recorded at Normand in 1944.   Pat shares with listeners the tale of one OSS operative who was tasked to go deep into enemy territory alone to disrupt an German main supply route through the Italian Alps.  When we transition to talking about D-Day we discuss what the landings meant for the world, and what the character traits that can be found in the men who took part in the landings, air drops, and the rest of the war.  This is not a tactical battle study of the D-Day landings but an understanding of the significance of the event and the impact it would have on history and in the future alike. Thought it would be another year before the war in Europe would end, the show closes with President Harry Truman's declaration of victory in Europe (VE). Twitter handle: @combathistorian
6/6/202047 minutes, 7 seconds
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Episode #12: 76th Anniversary of the Normandy Invasion Part 1 with Paul "Barney" Barnes

In this first part of a two part D-Day special, British Army Media Affairs Officer Paul "Barney" Barnes joins me to talk about the British and Canadian role in the Normandy invasion and some of the events leading up to D-Day. From Dunkirk to Africa to Burma the Brits were spread all over the globe before the US joined the fight sending bombers and troops into Britain. The show opens with a segment from Winston Churchill's pre-invasion speech and closes with the playing of "Last Post" by various members of HM Royal Marines.
6/5/20201 hour, 5 minutes, 54 seconds
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Episode #11: Joshua James of American Study Abroad Program LLC - Using the GI Bill to Study Overseas

Joshua James is a former US Army counterintelligence agent and currently pursuing his MBA in Aberdeen, Scotland.  After leaving the Army he worked as a contractor but found getting the positions he wanted difficult due to not having a college degree.  Having spent time visiting Europe he decided if was going to pursue a degree he was going to do it in Europe and eventually earned his bachelors in Romania. In this episode Joshua talks with me about using the post-911 GI Bill to pay for college overseas; how to make sure your school of choice will be covered, what your entitlements are as a veteran, and how to prepare and ultimately execute your move overseas.  Joshua has also formed his own business along with his wife and another partner, the American Study Abroad Program (ASAP) which was established to be a network to help not only veterans but any Americans who wish to pursue overseas education.  During that part of the conversation Joshua talks about what his company does, why they do it, and what their plans for the company's future look like. After an introduction and small talk, at the 13 minute mark we discuss finding English speaking programs in overseas schools an look at the language requirements countries may have. 20:30 Joshua talks about using the VA website site to find VA approved schools and if the program you want is not on an approved list, how to go about getting it approved for funding. At minute 27:15 We discuss the differences between the US university system and some of the systems in Europe, mainly the emphasis on applied learning (in the military we would call this practical application), and Joshua gives advice on how to maximize your GI Bill with a 3 year degree program. The 36:00 minute mark brings to the topic of monies - housing allowances and book grants. Minute 48:30 introduces the American Study Abroad Program (ASAP), Joshua's company and what they do, how they can assist potential students or anyone wanting to relocate overseas. At the 60:00 minute mark before the show closes out Joshua lays out the future of ASAP with the introduction of an "alumni" program, essentially a network of ASAP "graduates" who can help others not only ging to college overseas but also as a post degree resource for things that may job up such as wanting to stay in Europe or job hunting. Link to the American Study Abroad Program:
6/2/20201 hour, 17 minutes, 14 seconds
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Episode #10: Rob Sarra on the Benefits of Being a Veteran First Responder

Rob Sarra is a police officer in Illinois and is a former Marine and fellow 2nd Battalion 1st Marines "Professional."  Rob and I served together during Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003.  In this episode Rob shares his thoughts on the benefits of having veterans in first reponder units to deal with other veterans.   Around 7:08 Rob begins talking about how he handles crisis situations with other veterans; what to say and how to interact and establish rapport. At the 12 minute mark he explains the value of veterans in both a leadership and training capacity.. At minute 13:30 Rob shares his transition from military to civilian life.  Despite transitioning right into a good job with law enforcement Rob underwent some emotional transitions as well and fell in with an veteran activist group that he would learn did not share the same values as he did. At minute 25:50 Rob brings it all home by relaying a story where he responded to a domestic call involving a veteran and eventually, through Rob's intervention and initiative the young man turned his life around and went on to become a business executive of a very well known veteran owned clothing company. Link to Rob and his partners' business, Controlled F.O.R.C.E:
5/26/202041 minutes, 54 seconds
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Episode #9: Sean Protas - From Decoration Day to Memorial Day - A History of the US Memorial Day Holiday

Not only is he a history buff, my old high school class mate Sean Protas is also a Civil War reenactor.  In this episode Sean provides us with a history lesson of the American Civil War leading up to Decoration day which eventually becomes Memorial Day.  The Episode opens with the playing of Taps to mark the solemnity of the holiday and ends with a playing of the US Armed Forces Medley led by Gary Sinise from the 2018 National Memorial Day Concert which aired on PBS. During the first half of the show Sean walks us through some memorable Civil War reenactments which helped lead the country in the healing process following the war. Around the 47 minute mark Sean reads for us General Order #11 from General John A. Logan which "officially unofficially" recognizes a day to memorialize the casualties of the Civil War.
5/25/20201 hour, 12 minutes, 33 seconds
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Episode #8: Fr. Michael Vannicola, OSFS on Spiritual Fitness

My high school classmate, Father Michael Vannicola, OSFS, joins the show to discuss spiritual fitness.  Fr. Michael is an ordained Catholic priest in the Oblates of Saint Francis de Sales, and among his many duties has served as a chaplain for a local police department in one of his previous communities.   In this episode Fr. Michael shares the story of his brother Matthew who took his own life, and relates this story to the stress and angst felt by military members, police, firefighters, and other members of emergency medical services and the importance of ensuring we make sure we are spiritually fit as well as physically and mentally fit.  Deeply rooted in Christianity, the words Fr. Michael shares with us in this episode can be shared and appreciated by members of any faith as he encourages us to simply be kind to one another, lean on one another in tough times, and seek guidance from one's own higher power.  
11/3/201954 minutes, 8 seconds
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Episode #7: Bernadette Soler on the Health Benefits of Yoga

Bernadette is a yogi and a military spouse.  She runs runs her own yoga clothing line, Doll Yoga Wear and has just published an ebook At Ease: Ancient Yoga Tools for Modern Military.  In this episode Bernadette talks with me about the history of yoga, what makes yoga yoga, and what is the difference between doing yoga verses doing exercise.    We also talk about the physiological and mental benefits of yoga and why yoga is a good element of a holistic approach to treating PTSD. You can shop for Doll Yoga Wear and At Ease, and find other yoga information at Bernadette's website:  Follow Bernadette on Instagram at: bernadette_soler
7/23/201951 minutes, 36 seconds
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Episode #3: How the military can combat 2018 spike in suicides

In this episode I reference two news article published in the beginning of 2019 addressing the alarmingly high rates of suicide within the US Special Operations Command and the United States Marine Corps. I offer up my three takeaways on what I believe to be some key missing pieces to a suicide prevention program: 1. Nutritional interventions 2. Examining and monitoring hormones and neurotransmitters 3. Rethinking the way unit physical training is conducted Linked below are the two articles which brought the 2018 suicide rates to light via social media, Wendy Suzuki’s Ted Talk presentation, an explanation of an Organic Acids Test from Dr. David Jockers. In the two news articles are comments about suicide awareness training, resources for service members contemplating suicide, behaviors, stress. What you won’t see are comments or ideas about functional and/or integrative approaches to combating suicide. You won’t see an explanation of what is going on with someone’s physiology that leads to depression, anxiety, and eventually suicidal thoughts. This episode is a quick overview of my three takeaways and a preview of topics I will cover more in depth in future episodes.
4/24/201918 minutes, 12 seconds