Show Notes


Our guest today is a Doctor of Physical Therapy, high level black-belt martial artist, master of somatic awareness, and former Division I college football player at Colorado State University. John Kummrow was destined for the NFL until a violent on-field collision just months before graduation left him with a severe arm injury. The consensus in the medical community was that he would spend the rest of his life with severely limited mobility; this was a conclusion John Kummrow was not willing to accept.

John spent his subsequent years not only proving the medical community wrong but also making sure that others who have found themselves given little hope by the medical community have somewhere to turn in their quest for physical rehabilitation. Defying all odds, John regained full range of motion in his shoulder. He earned his Doctorate in Physical Therapy and is now owner and Lead Physical Therapist at Integrative Physiotherapy LLC in Fort Collins, Colorado. John practices a unique form of physical therapy known as Kinetic Chain Rehabilitation. Kinetic Chain mechanics is a theory that suggests rigid, overlapping segments are connected via joints, and this creates a system whereby movement at one joint produces or affects movement at another joint in the kinetic link.

This week, we’ll be talking about:

Rehabbing an injury through the lens of mind, body, and spirit (2:15).

Responding to injury both mentally and emotionally (3:55).

“It’s still pretty young… we’re addressing the chemical engineering part, the mechanical engineering part, and the emotional engineering part.”

Why rehabilitation has been only about one part of the bigger picture for so long (4:35).

Signals a person’s body or mind give them when the struggles they experience aren’t merely due to physical limitation (5:15).

Challenging athletes to more readily view their injuries, limitations or struggles through a different lens (7:30).

“Sports psychology is something that has been around for a quite some time, but I don’t know much it’s being used… sometimes people feel really forced into it.”

Empowering athletes to find people who will teach them the art of intrinsic motivation (9:00).

“The zen part of it is bringing in the fact that you need to work through emotional dynamics… so that everybody’s really giving a good flow to the game… If there’s a bunch of resistance, you’re going to have a current issue, and then you’re not going to be outputting the kind of force and velocity that you want to.”

Angles and energy transfer (10:37).

Spiritual energy vs. religious; the power to heal (12:08).

“We know if you’re under this glucocorticoid stress system all the time that you’re not gonna be able to get the same sort of cellular transport, blood, and oxygen, and the things that you need to heal.”

Cancer remission, the electromagnetic field of the heart, and the healing properties of belief (13:55).

“It’s really interesting the way that we use imagery to help our bodies be able to heal themselves.”

Cultivating 360° awareness; The Shadow & The Suit (16:30).

Preparing someone to create a shift that will open them up to a holistic perspective (19:00).

“What you’re told and what you can do are two different things.”

Motivation vs. Devastation; making your body do the things you need it to (20:59).

“I’d rather die than be disabled.”

Changing the environment; finding novel experiences that don’t reinforce athletic identity (25:10)

“You’re not just looking at one part of the field, you’re seeing the whole thing, and that field is also life.”

What is Consciousness? (26:08)

How self-awareness plays into the connection with the body (27:00).

Pain as an echo of communication in the body (28:35).

“I’m not a no pain no gain guy; I’m a pain processor… There’s gotta be a method to the madness.”

Stinging vs. Zinging; using qualities of pain to identify injury (30:00).

Focus on the pain (31:35).

The juxtaposition of the on-field athlete and the training athlete: productively cultivating competing mindsets (33:30).

Talking about the role martial arts has played in John’s connection to his body and his ability to get his body to respond to the way he tries to communicate with it (35:15).

“So many times, it wasn’t because I wasn’t capable physically. It’s because my body wasn’t capable of understanding.”

Creating images and techniques to build a bridge that facilitates communication with the body (38:15).

Communicating with our bodies kinetically (41:46).

“You can close your eyes, and for those people, they can be kinetic inside their body without moving by just using imagery.”

What it means to John to be an Omni Athlete (43:37).

You can find John at Integrative Physiotherapy in Fort Collins, Colorado. Thanks so much to John Kummrow for coming on and sharing his insights with us.