Phoenix, AZ, USA
From "So Others May Live" (U.S Navy) to "Healthy Happy and Strong" (Wim Hof).
Early Life and Navy Career
Michael grew up in Queens, NY a concrete jungle and after high school and some local college saw that there was a bigger purpose for him. Michael started to investigate opportunities with each branch of military service and finally chose to enlist in the U.S Navy Search and Rescue program.
Michael finished the rest of military service with the Eighballers where he qualified as a Combat Search and Rescue operator, Naval Aviation Training and Operating Procedures flight instructor and squadron Rescue Swimmer instructor. Michael earned two Navy accommodation medals (Gold Star) for his successful recovery of a downed FA/18 Hornet fighter pilot of the coast of Guam in 2003 and selection for Aircrewman of the year for the United States Navy. Michael was deployed with aircraft carrier USS John C Stennis immediately after 9/11/2001 to the North Arabian sea for Operation Enduring Freedom where they supported combat missions in and out of Afghanistan for 8 months. Michael was also deployed in support of Iraqi Freedom in February 2003 on aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson. Michael finished his Naval career September 2004 and moved to Phoenix, Arizona to start his civilian career and finish his education and work in the civilian sector.
Transition to the civilian sector
Michael would continue working full time as a college advisor for military students and their families and attending class at night for the next 9 years graduating with a bachelor’s degree in business management BSB/M, MBA (master’s degree in business administration) and master’s degree in Adult Education and Training (MaED/AET). Throughout these nine years of continuous education Michael used his benefits earned by his military service to advance his knowledge of the business and education world while also climbing his way up the private education sector ladder eventually earning the responsibility of Senior Director of Military Operations for the Office of Military and Veteran Affairs for University of Phoenix, an organization that had over 600,000 students in 2010 and recently reached their 1,000,000 Alumni throughout the world.
Michael stayed very productive in his civilian transition but did not integrate in a healthy way. Michael kept his “inner struggles” a secret for many years. Michael struggled with depression, anxiety, service connected spinal injury that kept him in pain management clinics, chiropractors, on anti-inflammatory pills, pain medication, psychiatrists office and doctors’ offices dealing with a variety of symptoms that eventually led to an anterior cervical surgery (neck fusion) leaving him with nerve cell damage, clonus and peripheral neuropathy.
From the Arizona desert to the Amazon Jungle
My first stop to natural medicine cures was the beautiful country of Brazil. I was introduced by someone very special to me to learn more about a documentary that I had seen years earlier. The documentary had covered plant medicine of the Amazon jungle. After a variety of life changing experiences, changes in perception and new feelings of self-love and care, Michael continued on this path finding local people in Arizona who were also interested in Amazonian based plant medicine and started taking trips to Iquitos Peru, 100 km from the Brazil border and studying under a Peruvian Mestizo Shaman. Michael had made significant breakthroughs and deeper understanding of self.
Healthy, Happy and Strong
Once again Michael had found himself watching a documentary. This time the man being followed and filmed was a Dutch daredevil by the name of Wim Hof also referred to as the Iceman. Wim had achieved 26 world records, notably for hiking Mount Everest 22,000 ft (6700 meters) in his shorts and no shoes, spending 1:52 minutes in ice, hiked to the top of Mount Killmanjaro Africa within 2 days wearing only shorts, completed a half marathon in the arctic circle of Finland and a full marathon in the Namib desert of Africa with no water and the list goes on. Wim had claimed that he could control his autonomic nervous system, endocrine system and immune system. Wim used Mindset training breathing exercises and cold therapy to gain access to these superhuman abilities. All of his claims were being researched and validated by science which made Wim’s method so unique and fascinating. The process seemed so easy, too good to be true. This sent Michael "down a rabbit hole" into the Wim Hof Method to learn more and gain access to these abilities for inner strength, happiness, discipline and health. Wim mentioned in many interviews that “the cold is my teacher”. This really intrigued Michael since he heard similar language from the shamans of Peru stating that the plants where their teachers.
Shortly after Michael started to implement the WHM into his daily practice of fitness regimens learning about the power of breathing exercises, mindset training and cold water. Michael learned a profound new wisdom that the natural elements can teach us. The stillness, the silence that the meditators and yogis have professed out about since the dawn of human communication was able to be obtained from a routine of deep breaths and retention breaths creating a unique chemistry in the body and allowing ourselves to become fully present. One of the greatest lessons learned was the power of the present moment letting go and surrending to the now.
Wim Hof Academy Certified
Michael has since finished the Wim Hof Academy at Innerfire and become a certified instructor teaching the Wim Hof Method throughout the U.S giving people this unique and ancient technique to fight back against inflammation, autoimmune disease, depression, anxiety, insomnia and many other chronic illnesses that hold us back from living fully. Michael continues to learn and grow gaining a deeper understanding of how the 4 elements of nature can help us to understand our mind, body and soul..
Wim Hof Method Certified Instructor