Nikhil Torsekar: Hi, this is Nikhil coming to you from Chicago with The Shelly Story. My wife Shelly and I wrote a book and are currently working on a movie about our journeys with mental health- specifically bipolar disorder. As an offshoot of that, we’ve developed a podcast called The Shelly Story where we speak to people from a broad variety of backgrounds about diverse issues most notably mental health.
One of the key topics on our podcast is the importance of owning your own health. As we’ve discussed, Western medicine does provide a number of advantages. However, it’s important to take advantage of all resources for optimizing our body, mind, and soul.
Traditional therapy, such as surgery, medication, and cognitive behavioral therapy don’t always provide all the answers we need. Shelly was motivated by the story of helping me seek diagnosis and treatment for bipolar disorder to launch GIOSTAR Chicago, which is the first US clinical center of the Global Institute of Stem Cell Therapy and Research. This journey really opened our eyes to the power of therapies that are outside the norm of the tried and true such as the ones that I had mentioned earlier, like surgery and medication.
A lot of this is covered in Eastern medicine. And we’ve spoken with experts on a lot of these philosophies, such as meditation, Ayurveda, and Vedic astrology. So in this vein, I’m delighted to speak to today’s guest William J Kaplanidis. We had met through our mutual friend Neelam Singh, who had been on The Shelly Story previously to discuss Ayurveda.
William’s got an incredible story to share about the power of Eastern medicine has applied to his own life and many those many others. So I’ll go ahead and tell you a little bit about William. William J Kaplanidis is an internationally known teacher, healer, public speaker and author with over 30 years of clinical experience.
Helping thousands heal and transform their lives, his own traumas and near death experiences motivated him to find the best ways to rapidly heal himself, as well as others. He’s the author of the book How to Be a Great Parent to Your Inner Child, Connect with Your Heart and Higher Purpose. William holds a BA in Psychology from Binghamton University, an MA in Rehabilitation Counseling from NYU and a Master of Science from the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine.
William has also studied here and abroad with high level masters and has advanced training in several healing and martial arts, including Tai Chi, Qigong meditation, acupuncture pressure, hypnotherapy, aromatherapy and the Sandin technique.
He’s taught and spoke at Brown, NYU, Rutgers, and many other leading universities. He also provides workshops for corporations, nonprofit agencies, and private groups on Oriental medicine, stress management Tai Chi, Qi Gong, and mind, body healing. He’s considered one of the experts on mind, body and spirit connection as a licensed acupuncturist and therapist and private practice in, in New York city, William treats numerous physical and emotional ailments, helping people cope with life’s challenges.
He examines how emotional wounds manifest, physically and affect our ability to reach our full potential. His patients come from all walks of life and all over the world to experience profound shifts in awareness and a deep state of relaxation and healing. William developed the Acudragon wellness system, a fusion of Eastern and Western approaches to rapidly and safely assist people on their paths to healing and transformation.
As part of this system, William has written books and articles and created self-help tools, including five proprietary, topical blends of essential oils, herbs, and homeopathic dilutions known as acuformulas, as well as instructional self-help acupuncture and therapeutic exercise videos.
So William it’s an incredible background. Is there anything you want to tell us a little bit more about yourself beyond what I had just shared?
William J Kaplanidis: I’ve been doing this stuff for a really long time. And I’ve really tried to find the essence of what works both from a Western psychology, native American standpoint and also from Eastern medicine standpoints.
And I feel like I’ve found ways to really accelerate people’s process and healing. And I’ve been doing it a long time now and I’ve seen some amazing things and I’m very grateful to share what I can share and maybe help a few other people that I might not otherwise get to meet.
Nikhil Torsekar: They sometimes say that trauma leads people to find their purpose in life. So in our case my wife, Shelly, she went through hell and high water to convince me to get a proper diagnosis and get treatment for bipolar disorder.
And so this led her to launch GIOSTAR. And it sounds like trauma definitely played a large part in your career path on a variety of levels. Was wondering if you could tell us a little bit more about that journey.
William J Kaplanidis: So first I was born with a congenital disease called Ehlers–Danlos syndrome where my ligaments were very loose. And so I was prone to my knees popping out when I was a kid and a lot of accidents and injuries. And it was part of my life.
And when I was 11, I couldn’t walk, I got outta bed and I just fell. I was like the scarecrow from Wizard of Oz. I was very active, very athletic as a kid and going into high school.
I was trying to see if I could get a scholarship in varsity soccer. And then I had an injury playing soccer that just changed my trajectory. I tore all the ligaments to my right ankle.
I couldn’t walk for over a year. And then it became a domino effect, my left knee and my right knee. Then my groin, then my shoulder, then my C3, then my ribs. So by 17, I was on crutches, knee braces and ankle brace, neck brace. And I was told I was never walking again. And that was not an option for me. I went into a very deep rage, very deep depression.
And was thinking about killing myself. And so I did all kinds of bargaining. I went through Elizabeth Kübler-Ross stages, all of them except acceptance. I did the denial, I did the bargaining. So I tried to make a deal with the devil, make the deal with God.
I was going to be a nuclear physicist. My uncle was an engineer and he was grooming me to go into that realm of energy and nuclear power but that accident changed my trajectory. So now I really got more into psychology how to manage pain because I didn’t wanna take any Western drugs because the ones I tried just upset my stomach, they, they didn’t work for me.
Nikhil Torsekar: You’re talking about for you’re talking about for pain management or.
William J Kaplanidis: For pain development, Tylenol with, all those kinds of things that were available back then. And the surgical options were not very promising. They were talking about knee replacements when I was still young and I would’ve had two by now if I did that.
Nikhil Torsekar: A lot of times with a lot of those interventional surgeries, the cure is sometimes worse than the disease. Sometimes the surgery’s very painful and a lot of times people spend the rest of their life just trying to get back to normal. And it’s never the same when you have something that’s not yours in your body.
William J Kaplanidis: Yeah. And this was before arthroscopic surgery. So what they would’ve done wouldn’t have worked for me. They would’ve taken out all the cartilage. I would’ve been on bone. Now they have much better techniques, as far as surgical interventions, they’re not as aggressive, back then, like with Joe Namath, they just take out everything or your meniscus, your cartilage.
So at that point I started getting into psychology and Eastern philosophy. And I started to work in a state psychiatric hospital locked towards including a violent ward. And I also was working as an assistant athletic trainer helping injured athletes. Because I figured I could relate to them and help them with their mind part of it, not just wrapping them up and icing them, be stemming and teaching them exercises.
Yeah. But talking to them about how they were feeling, not being able to play. And that was how I began my journey. And I started working in psychiatry and I had a hypnotherapy practice and I would teach, martial arts to kids and, I got into herbs and things like that, but it wasn’t until I had an accident in Nepal.
I had gone to China in 1988 and. That was when I experienced acupuncture for the first time because I got had problems there and I couldn’t walk.
Nikhil Torsekar: What was it that motivated the trip to China? Was it to explore different treatment modalities or was there a different reason?
William J Kaplanidis: No, I was, I had been studying Tai Chi for several years at that point. And there was an opportunity to go to this program for six weeks where you would take classes in different areas from Tai Chi to calligraphy, to history. And it was an opportunity where I thought, my last summer vacation, before I’d have to work in the real world.
I was riding a bicycle there and I thought I could get away with it. And I ended up having to go to the hospital and they gave me a choice of Western or Eastern hospitals. And I said when in Rome let’s go Chinese.
I didn’t believe in acupuncture at the time. I was doing Tai Chi, I was studying meditation and Shiatsu, acupressure, hypnotherapy guided visualization, all kinds of mind tricks to deal with the pain. But after two treatments, I was like, oh, there’s something to this acupuncture. I could feel a difference.
And then I couldn’t go back to the hospital because they couldn’t drive me. I had to ride the bicycle. So then they said for me to buy needles and they had someone come to my room and teach me how to needle myself. So I had these big needles and I was literally, she did one leg. I did the other leg one at a time.
And that’s how I started. And then when I came back to New York, I had been studying Tai Chi in the Buddhist temple in Chinatown and the basement. And it turned out there was an acupuncturist right upstairs. And so they introduced me to him.
I worked with him for eight months. I got rid of my knee braces, got rid of my ankle brace and I was walking for the first time in seven years, without any canes or anything. And I was jumping.
Nikhil Torsekar: How old were you at the time?
William J Kaplanidis: About 24 years old. So then I was walking from around 24 to 28. I was able to walk and then I went back to China. I went to India, I went to Nepal. I went to Tibet. I was studying with, amazing teachers and came back into Nepal from Tibet and got into a car accident.
Yeah. And then I ended up in a wheelchair and I had eight major injuries from here down. And I became homeless. I couldn’t go home because I lived in a walkup. I couldn’t even go to my parents’ home because they had stairs and I was just couch surfing and I needed to be taken care of. I couldn’t wheel myself in the wheelchair.
Because I couldn’t use this hand. And this clavicle dislocated, and it was a mess. It was a mess. And that’s when I had to decide east or west, because I didn’t have the energy to keep doing both, one by day, one by night. And so at that moment, two acupuncture schools opened up in New York. The same time I had the accident that same year.
A good friend of mine helped me find these Chiang masters and this Cherokee mystic woman. And they started putting Humpty Dumpty back together again. And I went back to school to, to study it for real.
And because I had been doing it on myself in my hypnotherapy practice. I’d add in some active pressure on people and things like that. But I didn’t need a other people. Cause I knew, we needed more training for that. So then I went back to school and got my license and now I’m able to integrate everything together and that’s yeah.
And that was that part. And then a few years ago I died, I was poisoned and I was like, okay, what lesson do I need to learn from that? And that was to write my books.
Nikhil Torsekar: Did you say you got poisoned and you almost died? I don’t think I, I read about that.
William J Kaplanidis: No, no, that, that won’t be, what’s gonna be another book that I have to finish it.
Few more books before I lay that on people too. Yeah. I stopped breathing for two days. I was intubated. I was poisoned. My body was in shock and it was starting to break down. yeah. Anyway, horrible. I’ll tell that story another time.
Nikhil Torsekar: That’s wild. You definitely have nine lives and then some that’s for sure.
I love the name of your company. Acudragon. Can you tell us a little bit more about what it means exactly?
William J Kaplanidis: I came up with Acudragon for a couple of reasons. One is because I do acupuncture and pressure is one of my primary tools.
And when I was in China, they gave me the name “little dragon” as a Chinese name. And I didn’t wanna take it at first because that’s Bruce Lee’s nickname. He was one of my idols growing up and. I thought about the Eastern dragon, the Asian dragon, and it’s made up of different parts. It has the deer antlers, it’s got the snake body, it’s got the eagle claws. And each of those things represent different things, power transformation, healing, and I thought multifaceted creature.
Yeah. And I felt like that’s where we are, we’re multifaceted, we’re made of different parts, you’re, you’re a husband, you’re a teacher.
Nikhil Torsekar: A lot of different avatars.
William J Kaplanidis: Yes. Archetypes, avatars. And so I thought that dragon would be a good symbol for both my healing arts and my martial arts, because it represents power and healing and transf.
Nikhil Torsekar: As I was telling you, before I read your book How to Be a Great Parent to Your Inner Child, Connect with Your Heart and Higher Purpose. As I mentioned I’ve had a pretty long journey with mental health and I’m at a transition point right now, because for the last couple years, I’ve been trying to just focus.
Stabilizing . And so I gave a little bit of a short shrift to inner child issues because I’m trying to look forward as opposed to, getting mired in the past. But now I’m at the point where, okay, I think we’ve addressed a lot of the surface level issues; let’s focus on the core and what’s underneath the surface.
Maybe in a nutshell, you can talk about your approach to inner child therapy and maybe like how it relates to trauma and how it relates to like the different functions of the body.
That’s another thing I found very fascinating, like different.
William J Kaplanidis: Yeah. So from the very beginning, right when I began studying Tai Chi . So I also studied Zen Buddhism with a Japanese master merging psychology and Eastern philosophy. So right from the beginning, that was a passion of mine to merge the east and the west.
And so as I studied psychology, I realized that China had fallen behind in psychology. They made strides in medicine, with developing acupuncture and herbal medicine and massage , but they left behind the mental health part of things.
So I felt psychology filled that gap. So that’s when I started really merging the two together. I saw that they had plenty of knowledge about psychology in ancient China about how the emotions affect the body. And a lot of what I ended up reading was I had already experienced that through my patients, that they had this knowledge thousands of years ago.
And I thought, wow, this is amazing. So when I was thinking what I could contribute to the world, given I do have, a few lives and I thought, I better get some stuff out there just in case the next one I don’t come through. I thought what could be the most important message and it’s really how to be a good parent to yourself, to your inner child or, children even.
And so what I found. developmentally from zero to eight, let’s say, just give a number. You’re all heart. You’re just expressing who you are. There’s no catches, you’re not thinking about consequence, you’re just developing, you’re learning and you’re just expressing you wanna take your pen and start singing, or you wanna dance or play a drum.
Kind of an unfettered, uninhibited existence.
Yeah. Just expressing who you are. So that’s coming from your heart and in Chinese medicine, the heart is the ruler. The heart is the king, the queen, the sovereign. And so when we’re younger, when we have insults or traumas, whether it’s physical abuse, sexual abuse, or emotional abuse, or even as you quoted in the email that guy whose teacher insulted him. That can break your heart into pieces or that can make your heart retreat.
So if you imagine a little queen or king. Their parent died and now the child’s in charge of the kingdom, they may say, oh, I don’t wanna come out. And they go hide in the cage. So part of you that’s traumatized may stay behind the rest of you has to keep going.
Maybe another part of your heart moves forward, but usually it’s another part of your body. So for example, the liver is your general. And usually the general takes over and life becomes very practical and you’re not really pursuing creative arts and things like that.
Nikhil Torsekar: You suppress that passion because you gotta pay the bills. Basically general is their accountant, CFO.
William J Kaplanidis: Exactly, and makes things happen. But if the heart is traumatized, the General’s supposed to take orders from the heart. But if the heart’s not available, it will just, do its best.
So each of the organs have these archetypal energies. And so what I found is people’s hearts can be broken into pieces if they have multiple traumas over the early periods of their life. Sure. The age does matter, like from zero to one is really more devastating than after one years old.
just to give an example because your body is receiving it. You’re pre-verbal. So depending on where you are in your developmental stage, the trauma can affect you differently. And so what happens is these pieces are in you, but they didn’t come forward with you.
So now you’re going through seasons of life, so springtime, you’re just happy to go, lucky kid. And then you get to teenage years and you’re dealing with teenage issues. And then you get to twenties. That’s summertime that’s when you have energy and you’re like, expand, maybe you wanna travel.
But a lot of times what happens is these pieces are left behind. And so usually emotional trauma takes about 20 years to manifest physically as an illness or as some kind of problem with your body. And so they’re initially stuck. But stuck energy over time blocks blood flow, blocks energy flow. And when you combine it with other things like in the body, like damp or other cold, or whatever it can form into, let’s say a tumor or it can form into blockage of flow.
So you get headaches or back pain or whatever it is, stomach issues. Depending on the type of trauma, it may go to different parts of your body. It could be anything from just a muscle ache, all the way to a system problem with your lungs or your digestion or whatever. And each of them have correlations to the organs and those archetypes.
And so what happens is, now you’re in your forties, you’re going through the fall season of life and you’re having that midlife crisis. And all that is, is that child that didn’t get to express. That child that didn’t come along. So it’s another opportunity to heal that inner child you see.
And then the last season is winter. That’s like 63 and on, and again, you have another chance to heal the inner children. And so what I found is first you have to find which parts of you are willing to help your little king or your little queen, because all healing is self healing. You can have people help you with your healing process, but the healing is all done by you.
And so the first thing I do is try to see what’s the problem: where did this child get stuck? What are the emotions? Where are they in the body? How are they manifesting now, either in behavior, maybe you’ll keep picking an abusive boyfriend because your father was abusive and you’re trying to heal that.
But it’s a little child making those choices, because he’s the king or she’s the queen. So the general and all the other parts can’t object. You could have a eating disorder and wanna have ice cream all the time. And they’re like, but we know better. We know we shouldn’t be eating that. We have diabetes.
They have this, but it’s a queen, it’s a king. That’s the piece that most people don’t get in the Western side. And the Eastern part by understanding that your wounded inner child is the king or queen of your body is the ruler. You will treat that part of you a lot different. Like if your parents knew you were the next Dalai Lama or you were the next Jesus, they’d be raising you a lot differently. Right?
Nikhil Torsekar: Yeah, a little bit.
William J Kaplanidis: So that’s how you have to be to your inner child. But a lot of times we take on the criticisms of our parents. And our parts inside now criticize ourself. So the liver might take on your father’s voice and be critical towards that child not being good enough or smart enough or whatever.
And then maybe if the mom energy’s affected, maybe you’re not nurturing yourself properly, maybe not eating right. Maybe not sleeping. Right. And then there’s a judge, we have the lungs, that’s like a judge, very judgemental. And so each of these things are in our bodies and can affect us in different ways.
Nikhil Torsekar: What’s interesting. You mentioned about how some of these imbalances can lead to physical disturbances, like you mentioned tumor or backache. Like with bipolar disorder, for instance. How would you back that into imbalances in the different parts of the body?
William J Kaplanidis: In Chinese medicine, there are three main causes of disease. One is external pathogens.
So in Chinese we would call that wind or cold or heat, which is basically like viruses, bacteria, things like that. The second is emotions and the third is lifestyle. So lifestyle could be overworking and pushing yourself too hard, or you’re not eating properly or you get poisoned or something like that.
So bipolar is actually one, one of the mental health issues that Chinese medicine has explanations for, let’s say. And so it’s one of the ones that would be caused by emotions. And so what happens is sometimes physical issues can cause emotion problems. So like for example, when an athlete gets injured or dancer gets injured, then they might get depressed or angry like that.
But emotions can cause physical problems. So with bipolar, you have the depressive aspect and you have the manic aspect, right? So in Chinese medicine the there’s different energies in your body. We have phlegm, just like there’s water outside and wind and cold and damp. We have that inside our bodies as well.
So sometimes the phlegm and the energy can get stuck. And so the heart is connected to all the emotions, and then each emotion has a particular organ that it resonates with, let’s say so the heart and the spleen, the spleen is the mother energy, the nurturing, the caretaker in charge of digestion in charge of holding the blood in.
And usually over time when the heart energy and the spleen energy become tired because of this blockage, you can feel depressed. You could have insomnia, you have no appetite. The other aspect of the heart, besides it being the ruler, it’s the house of your spirit. So the spirit lives with the heart.
And so if there’s some emotional issues, the spirit may not be able to go home. And so when there’s imbalance in what we call the yin energy, which is the coolant energy, there could be an excess in heat energy, which is a fire. And so if you imagine your house is on fire. And your spirit is trying to go home, but it can’t because the house is on fire.
So it can be manic or it could either turn into insomnia or it can turn into restlessness or it can go towards the manic side of bipolar. So usually the depressive side is more the spleen and the heart just getting tired, tired, tired. And then, and the liver sometimes is in depression because liver involved with a smooth flow of energy.
So when the energy gets stuck the liver can’t go. But usually that kind of depression sometimes is shown as anger. Like somebody is angry, but they’re actually depressed because their wheels are spinning, but they’re not going anywhere. Usually it’s hard and spleen, and then the kidneys yin energy, the coolant energy gets worn down.
And so there’s excess fire, excess young energy, and that’s the back and forth, the depressed, and then the manic episodes. Cause those energies get imbalanced. And so it’s like a ping pong thing. You’re tired, you’re depressed. But then there’s so little energy supporting the yin that then the fire rises too much and it goes back and forth.
So if somebody comes to you with bipolar disorder, obviously every patient is gonna be different, but in general, what would be your approach to handling someone with that versus somebody who comes to you with, knee pain or a back ache or something like that.
So it’s interesting because I do the opposite. So what I mean by that, if someone comes to me with a mental health issue, like bipolar, for example, I need to know the physical system very, very well. So for example, one of my more recent patients she’s in stage four, kidney failure because she was on lithium for so long, and that was the main drug back in the day for bipolar.
Yeah. And it’s still used, but it’s, it’s, it comes with risks. Most psychiatric drugs are, like you said, you can get to the stable place, sometimes you need certain drugs and interventions to get there. But if you can, you’d like to in the long run, manage it and be in a better place without the drugs.
So with her, the kidneys energy is basically non-existent and that connects with fear and she’s going through a divorce and her son has issues. And, and so it’s a lot of energy that’s needed right now; she has to get it from other places.
She can’t get it from her batteries. The kidneys are like your batteries. And so it’s really important for her to eat well, really important for her to sleep well. But her liver energy is strong. So she’s getting things done. Now she’s talking to lawyers, she’s getting back to work, so I’m able to help that energy continue to be strong while I try to recharge the batteries to give her a better foundation so that she doesn’t have these slips.
But is it almost like she’s running on fumes? Maybe that sympathetic nervous system is activating and there’s a lot of going through. So like you said, a lot of the things like the executive functioning capabilities, those are getting handled. Very well, but then the self care is being neglected.
So there’s probably gonna be a boomerang effect if there hasn’t already.
Right. So I’m working on minimizing that boomerang effect and nourishing all the other parts of her, allowing that liver energy to go forward, but supporting the kidneys energy, which is the water, which generates the wood, which is the liver, they all interact with each other.
Only organs. One is the parent of the, other of the, other of the other like that. So recently, because of the stress with her husband and her son, she felt like she was slipping, but she didn’t go as low or stay as long in a depressed state. She was able to pick herself up and get back up. And so both with mental health and substance abuse, slipping and relapse is part of the process.
First you realize you have got something you need to deal with . And then you have an interest maybe in doing something about it, then you get motivated and actually take some action. And then you get to a certain place and then there’s the relapse.
And this is true of everyone. Everyone has an addictive part. So that’s whether not you’re on a diet or you wanna quit sugar or smoking, whatever it is. But the relapse doesn’t have to be going back to where you were a long time ago. So you may slip, but you’re only slipping here. You’re not slipping here anymore.
We make a different baseline. So we see what are the patterns. So I get to know the pattern. that gets you in the worst place. So we see along this pattern, where can we stop it? Where can we shift it? So you don’t keep going backwards. And once you’re strong enough, once you have enough energy, then we can actually go back and go to where it started and heal that part of you, and see, if there were some things that happened in your childhood, with this kind of thing, sometimes there are ancestral things, there’s genetics involved.
And so sometimes when I go down the rabbit hole, where we check in the body, we scan the body, look where the emotions are or if the, or where the pain might be. And if it had an emotion, I ask certain questions that bring in the right brain. Like if like your anger had a color, if it had a shape left, brain’s going, what the Hells he talking about, you know?
Cause I gotta get the, gotta get the left brain outta the way too logical. Yeah. Yeah. I gotta get to the heart. We gotta get past the guards and the gateways. Yeah. Yeah. We have to open the gate. Yeah, exactly. And I’ve been very fortunate and lucky that most people’s inner children trust me right away.
Or within one of two sessions. I get to hear things that no one else has ever heard in their life, even their husbands, wives, whoever. So then we go back and depending on what’s needed, your adult self could be there with your inner self. You could have power animals, a pet tiger with you to go talk to you, father, your mother, or your teacher, or, and so we create a situation where you get to express and complete the experience.
Sometimes it’s rewinding it before the experience happened and we stop it happening. I had a woman who was sodomized by her father when she was three months old and left for dead. Her mother was schizophrenic leaving bowls with pebbles.
There was dirt and pebbles in the bowls for breakfast, you know? Yeah. And her sister stitched her up. She didn’t even get to a hospital. And so this manifested as an adult with men abusing her.
She was a business owner. She was functioning individual. I’ve had people like that who are just in psychiatric hospitals and never coming out. They’re just in those loops. But she was actually out here functioning, she had her idiosyncrasies, but she was, powerful.
So it wouldn’t have been obvious to the uninitiated or someone who’s not familiar with her situation, not at all that she had been through, not at all. That’s frightening how much trauma we keep bottled up. And it’s, even though it’s not visible to the naked eye, how much is really brewing under the surface.
Yeah. And so eventually it comes out one way or the other inner child’s gonna get your attention. So if you’re ignoring it or repressing, it you’re gonna get a stomach ache or you’re gonna get a headache or migraine. And it’s just trying to get your attention.
So a lot of times that’s all it is. And they talk about shadow and people being afraid of their shadow and all that. That’s just a little kid in an alleyway making a scary shadow and the adults are afraid to go down into the alleyway. What all the kid needs is some love, some support and protection, some nurturing, whatever it is that the child needs.
So. part of, what I have to do is figure out which part of you is willing to go back. And then sometimes what I’ve done is go back to the time you’re born and we go back with a posse of your parts and we take that child.
And is that through like hypnotherapy? Like what are some of the actual activities?
Yeah. So if someone comes in person, they’ll lie down on my massage table, I’ll sit behind their head and I’m gonna hold different points along your shoulders, under your head. And that’s called the Sandlin technique.
There’s structural physical aspects. There’s emotional mental aspects and there’s spiritual aspects to the work, but you can apply it to anything you do. So I can do it with acupuncture. I can do it with hypnotherapy. It just elevates whatever work you’re doing, body work or whatever, because you are putting yourself into a Delta state and disappearing, basically becoming one with the person becoming one with the environment, all this information starts flowing. And it’s really not me at that point. I’m talking, you’re talking, but it’s a different experience. Like it’s hard to put into words so I can do that in person, but I can also do that remotely where you just close your eyes and I’ll just speak to you and I can help you get into that state relatively quickly.
And then we go slowly at first, it depends if the person’s ready or not, and it’s up to them. So when I’m asking questions, if the anger had a color, the sadness, and also the emotion is relevant. So I found that sadness is usually the root emotion of all injuries. And then anger could be on top or like for example, anxiety is more of a superficial one and usually that’s a one session, boom gone.
Like, but the other ones may take a few layers to get to the roots, you know? Sure. And so what happens is the person’s in this deep, relaxed state, you could call it hypnosis or even deeper than that, whether I’m doing it on the phone zoom or the table, and then, we scan the right, we go back in time and then I’ll ask them questions. So first I have them have an image.
So maybe the anger is a big red ball, for example, and then we go back and see a time in the past that connected either to that image or that. and whatever comes up, comes up. So it could be recent past, it could be, twenties teenage. It could be earlier. Sometimes it can even be past lives.
So it really depends on the patient. It depends on the trauma. I had a woman who was an attending physician. Immunology was her specialty and she had a lump here in her throat, like a knot. And she had been through like Ralphs, massage, everything nobody could get in there.
So she was curious to do the rabbit hole. There was another doctor observing from Beth Israel hospital sitting and watching me work. And when I asked her the questions and so forth, what came up was her brother choking her and raping her. Wow. So the poor woman watching was eight months pregnant.
The, and she was like pressed against the wall, freaking out. I told her to be quiet, not to try to leave. And instantly the woman went from that moment of being raped by her brother to being in France with her throat on the guillo team in the 17 hundreds. Oh gosh. Wow. Like in an instant. And I was like, whoa.
Okay. So we quickly got her head out of there before the blade came down. And then I had her complete the experience in France during that time. And this went away and she never had to, she never had to deal with the abuse from her brother that automatically cleared. She went back, she went back to her Rolpher and he was like, I can’t believe it.
I can get in here now. What did you do?
Nikhil Torsekar: So she never had that neck problem again, after that. Wow. That’s, it’s incredible.
William J Kaplanidis: Yeah, migraines, 18 years, 20 years gone. Once you find the root and you complete it and you fully complete it, it doesn’t come back. You may have other stuff underneath but that’s done with, so you’re at a new baseline.
It never goes backwards. because now you’re at a new baseline.
Nikhil Torsekar: With your patients with mental health issues with Western medicine. I think what a lot of times people are in a very dire state, they’re contemplating suicide or they can’t get out of bed.
So they definitely need some radical intervention to get them out of that. They might go to inpatient therapy, they might get E C T treatments, electroconvulsive therapy. But over time, if they stay on those very harsh medications it can introduce a lot of issues in other parts of your body.
Like lithium, that’s prescribed a lot for people with bipolar disorder and that can cause kidney failure. So I’d like to understand a little bit more about with your patients what, what ends up happening in terms of the regimen that they’re on the medications? Are you able to get them to get off those medications?
Do they stay on them, but maybe at a lower dosage?
William J Kaplanidis: Right. So again, first I’ll go to the physical. So I need to know what you’re eating. Are you sleeping? I, I really try to get to the physical part of you in order.
Let’s say, get that as best we can and see what changes we can make. Like you were saying earlier, like in the here and now, what can we do now? Like sometimes people are living with their parents who are still abusing. I’ve had patients where they come to me, but then they go home to like crazy abuse.
So that’s like one step forward, two steps backward, one step forward.
Yeah. Their relationships sometimes are just as, if not more of an impact on the human psyche than medication or therapy.
Yeah. So with that, the first thing I have to do is figure out how we can get that person out of that house.
So these are the kind, these are kind of interventions that I need to begin with before we can even think about medication and things and rabbit hole and things like that. We have to first find a better place , you know what I mean? So, so once we have that, whether it’s divorce and getting away from that situation or whatever, you’re in your own place, you feel safe then we can work with your doctor and start to see where we can change and reduce medications.
So I’ve had patients that have reduced or got rid of one medication, but are still on one and at a low dose. And I’ve had people get off all their medications. It really depends on the diagnosis, how long they’ve had it. Sure. And how severe it is.
Because as with bipolar, there’s a range.
With most doctors in Western medicine, usually people will get on their insurance website and they’ll have a list of doctors that are covered by their plan or they’ll find location. How are people finding out about your services?
Is it through referrals? Obviously you’re not assuming you’re not covered by of the big insurance plans, but how are people coming to you?
Right. So I chose in the beginning not to be in network because I saw what happened with that.
So as my acupuncture license, I can help people as out of network provider where they can get reimbursed if their insurance covers that I can provide super bill for them to get reimbursed, whatever percentage, 80%, whatever it is. But I’m a one man show and dealing with insurance is like another whole other job.
I haven’t really advertise my practice. So it’s usually patient referrals. I also teach, so students may become patient or send me their family members. And then I have certain doctors and therapists and acupunctures who actually refer to me. So up till now knock on wood. It’s been through word of mouth and referrals.
I am on Instagram. I’m also on Facebook. And Twitter and LinkedIn, but those, I use really for my classes. I don’t really promote my practice with those social media things. Because I feel it’s very personal and individualized, the work that I do.
Right. And again, the type of stuff I do, even just the acupuncture alone is very personal.
You offer a broad variety of services from hypnotherapy to acupuncture to Qi Gong. Let’s say if a family member of mine in Florida or in Ohio or something are you able to do that remote work?
Because what I was really interested in understanding is like for pressure, for acupuncture, for instance, Obviously, we don’t have the technology where you can put the needle through zoom yet. right, exactly.
Stand by your window.
Nikhil Torsekar: I’m just curious to know how do you straddle that geographic divide, right?
William J Kaplanidis: So again, depending on what the person needs. So for example, I’ve treated someone recently in Bulgaria, someone recently in the Netherlands Florida, California. And this is before zoom, I was doing that . Zoom gave me another. Now I could see. So channel. Yeah. So most when I do hypnotherapy a rabbit hole, I, I prefer that over the phone, because my eyes are closed and their eyes are closed anyway.
But if I’m going to add Qi Gong or acupressure, I can teach you how to press on points or I can show you where to put one of my oils. That’s good for depression, let’s say, or that’s good for that, that anger energy or whatever. So I’ll show you like, okay, put some here, put some here, like that I can talk to you over the phone and then I can guide you through certain Chi on exercises, in here I’ll exhale, as if we’re doing a one on one class and then I could, and then I could guide you through visualization so we can use oils on the points instead of the needles.
And that will stimulate the point. And if it’s not my oils, I can tell you what oils you can get at your local health food store and how to use it. And then I would just guide you through, relaxing into it. And then if you wanted to go down the rabbit hole, we could do that as well.
Nikhil Torsekar: The rabbit hole, I wanted to make sure I understood what that was I, used to be in consulting. Right. And that was one of the things that we always counseled our corporate clients not to do is, don’t go down the rabbit hole in these meetings because it’s like, you can sit there and discuss trivial issues till the cows come home.
And there’s no progress, but it sounds like with your approach, rabbit hole is a key part of your practice. So can you tell me a little bit more about what the rabbit hole is? Yeah.
William J Kaplanidis: I just use that term, loosely because you never know what’s gonna come up, when you’re going down there.
So part of it is hypnotherapy. Part of it is coming from a native American approach. Part of it is Chinese medicine. So it’s those three things that I’ve combined. So it could be done with touch. It could be done with needles. It could be done remotely. Okay. And basically there’s three levels of mental emotional work that I do.
The first level is just teaching someone some basic self hypnosis, progressive relaxation, taking negative energies, putting in helium balloon, let it fly away, go to a place where you feel safe, create your own beach place or indoor, outdoor, whatever it is. And then that becomes a tool you can use to calm yourself, to help you sleep.
To go on an interview, to manifest whatever second level I call it. Parts therapy comes from gestalt psychology, where we would have a meeting. Let’s say you want to quit smoking. Let’s have a meeting which parts want to quit, which parts don’t want to quit. And that we negotiate. We find who’s the hold out and we’ll negotiate bottom line and see what we can.
Maybe they go to one cigarette a day, or maybe we wean or they quit right then and there. And then the rabbit hole is where I’ll ask you about emotions in your body or I’ll ask you what physic the, like you present with a physical symptom, let’s say stomach pain. I’ll ask you if there was an emotion associated with that stomach pain.
And you might say disappointment, but that’s not an emotion. That’s a mental construct. So I keep going until we find the emotion. Then I ask you questions that bring in the right brain. And then we go back in time. But let’s say you come to me with the emotion. You say I’m angry. I have anger issues. So I may say, where is, have you scan your body?
And if you were holding your body where it would be, so those are the starting points, either from the physical to the emotion or the emotion to the body. I ask you some questions. So we have an image of it. and then at the end, after you go back in time, you complete the experience. We might cut cords of suffering between you and that person get pieces back of yourself that you lost along the way.
Maybe part of you that couldn’t stand up for yourself, courage or loving yourself, taking care of yourself. We get those pieces back, put ’em back inside you. We go through a forgiveness process; either you’re forgiving them. You’re forgiving a part of yourself.
It doesn’t have to be a hundred percent. You don’t have to forgive them, but it’s part of letting go. So we go through that and then we check in and we see, and sometimes that red ball is completely gone. Then I know we’re done with anger, but now maybe it’s a little yellow ball and now it’s, so we cleared the anger.
Now we have to go back for sadness. So maybe we do that next visit, or if we made good time and that we both have energy, we’ll go for it right then. And there. and then once that’s clear and there’s nothing left to say for that situation, then I might have the adult self speak to that inner child reassure that inner child that they got you.
Now they’re gonna take care of they’re gonna protect you. These people can no longer hurt you. You’re gonna move forward now with your pet tiger, your dragon, your adult self, all the different parts that we might have brought in to help during that process are now going to rally around your heart, your inner child.
And maybe you’re gonna go to a party and take your kid out to play. Maybe you’re gonna go have some ice cream. Maybe you’re gonna go do some drawing class or some dance class, or, go play some hockey or baseball, whatever it is. So you get to start that child becomes part of the mix.
Maybe you take that child to work. Then you show the child, look what I do here at work. And so now the inner child becomes part of you and your day to day process more in more integrated, it sounds like. And then it can grow up and then it can become the king again or the queen again and start telling you, oh, you know what, I wanna do.
I wanna do this. And then the adult parts will say, okay, we can do that. Or it might be something totally ridiculous and say, oh, maybe we’ll do this instead. Would that be okay? you have like an inner dialogue with that part, you know?
Nikhil Torsekar: William, I really enjoyed the conversation.
You have so much knowledge to share and so much insight. I did want to put your information – acudragonnyc.com. As you mentioned, you’re on Instagram at @acudragonnyc. Your email address is william@acudragon. us.
And then your phone number is 646 265 0606 . If there’s something you’d like to share, any words of wisdom to wrap it up what would that be?
William J Kaplanidis: Maybe to understand that we’re all one that we’re all interconnected. It’s really important to take care of yourself as a way to help take care of the people around you. Anything you do to yourself will affect other people, whether you think it does or not. And so the better you can take care of yourself, the better you’ll be helping others as well.
Nikhil Torsekar: Yep. That’s very important. It’s so easy to get caught up in that caretaker role and try to be a people pleaser. And as they say if you try to please everybody you’ll end up making yourself miserable.
And then your book it’s available on. Yeah. Perfect. How to be a great parent to your inner child? Like I said, I read it, it’s a great book and that’s available at Amazon, I’m assuming and Barnes & Noble and all places online.
The last thing I want to ask is what’s next for you? You mentioned that you are working on a memoir. What, what are some other plans for the future?
William J Kaplanidis: So two of my closest friends and mentors passed.
And they took with them a lot of knowledge that, that no one else has. And they were able to share a lot of it with me. And I was able to incorporate it and create the Acudragon system. And I feel given the way my life goes, that it’s really important that I start teaching some of this stuff in a way that other practitioners and just people at home can use these tools.
So my next step, besides finishing the books that I have in my head and that I’ve started is to create a body mind spirit program. So some people can come and learn the body aspects of taking care of yourself. The mental, emotional aspects and the spiritual aspects. And you could choose if you wanna do all three or just focus on one at a time, or, and then hopefully, I would do like a certification class so that I give my blessing to you then to then teach it, or then use it with your friends, your family, your patients, and so forth.
Nikhil Torsekar: Well William again, thank you so much. It was a real pleasure to have you on. You’ve been through an incredible journey and had so many amazing insights to share.
So I really appreciate that and I’m sure this will resonate with a lot of people. So I wanna say thanks so much again. Yeah. Thank you. And I’ll thank Neelam again for, yep. Absolutely.