Ask me a question
I am available for public talks
I am available for public talks at social clubs and service clubs, health groups, or entertainment venues. Phone (08) 82635735 (South Austraiia). email email@example.com
The current topic is “Why I was invited to design a research project to study chronic fatigue and exercise at the South Australian Institute for Fitness Research and Training in 1982”.
The talk can be modified for half an hour, or one hour, which includes some time for questions.
A notebook computer, projector, and screen would be an advantage.
My public speaking experience
By 1975 I had many health problems which were not responding to treatment, so I decided the study them myself.
About seven years later, in 1982, I had attended a couple of meetings with Tony Sedgewick who was the head of the South Australian Institute for fitness research and training, where I explained how to solve an international research problem. He said that his two researchers didn’t have the time to do a project, and told me that I was a world authority on the subject, and asked me to design and organise it myself, so eventually I did.
The first 12 week program was successful, the second confirmed it, and then he asked me to increase the size of the study to 200 people “to have more influence on world opinion”, but, for reasons which I have explained elsewhere, I decided to stop.
During that time several newspaper articles had been published to initiate and report the progress and success, and one day I received a phone call from the producer of one of Adelaide’s top radio shows, who invited me to an interview with ABC’s Philip Satchel.
She was very flattering in how she described me as a wonderful scientist, and how keen her 20,000 listeners would be to hear me talk.
The interview was arranged for the following week, with several advanced announcements to let the listeners know what I would be discussing. When I arrived I was invited into a studio where there was a large desk, and Philip Satchel on one side, giving me instructions on how to use the microphone on the other, and the talk proceeded for about 20 minutes in a manner that was polite and informative.
It was the first public talk that I had ever given in my life. Some time later the same producer saw another article in the paper, about another topic, and during one of our conversations she described me as having an excellent way of expressing myself, and explaining things about health problems in plain English, that no-one else had been able to explain so clearly before, and suggested that I could make a lot of money by giving public talks at business luncheons in the city.
I did try that some time later, but it didn’t eventuate.
In the meantime, I arranged for some newspaper letters and articles to invite people with chronic fatigue to attend a meeting to set up a self-help group. I had never read or heard the name chronic fatigue syndrome before, and doubt that it had ever been used in Australia, so I called it the “neurasthenia group”, and explained that it was for people who had persistent problems with fatigue.
I hired a hall, set up some chairs, and when people arrived I gave my talk, with the aid of a blackboard and chalk to illustrate my comments.
There were probably 25 – 40 people there, who asked a variety of questions, but my objective was to find other people who could assist me in the research, and I got the impression that they were of average education who didn’t think it was possible.
I therefore set up another meeting later, for academics or businessmen who had chronic fatigue, and a similar number of people attended, but I had much the same response, with a professor of history telling me that he didn’t agree with some of my ideas.
During that time I set up other self-help groups, and gave talks at various venues.
One of them was called The Medical Clients Association, in which I recommended that doctors and psychiatrists needed to treat people with undetectable illness as if they had detectable illness, rather than assume that their problems were imaginary or mental.
I also gave a talk to the staff of the Tea Tree Gully Health Service which was attended by 20 or more people.
A few more years went by when I gave a talk at a Community Centre in Marden, to a group of patients who had chronic back pain, where I discussed The Posture Theory, which is one of my main theories.
I then tried to get some income from talks, so I contacted a public speakers agent, who eventually arranged for me to give a talk about The Posture Theory to the Adelaide West Lions Club, in a room in the top floor of a very tall building on South Terrace.
There were many people in attendance, probably fifty or more, and I was provided with a meal and a drink, and listened to the standard business of the group before giving my talk.
I then answered a lot of questions, and the talk was well received, as evident from some of the people afterwards.
However, I asked the agent if there was any chance of me getting bookings for paid talks in the future. He said that it was not likely because most of the groups required talks from sports or TV stars who described how they became successful.
A few years later, in 1993, I was diagnosed with cancer where a specialist told me that I had only two months to live, with no hope of a cure, but I lived past that time and was eventually given surgery, chemotherapy, and a stem cell transplant by the year 2000. During that time I wrote one edition of a book each year for 8 years, and sold some to schools so that children could learn how to prevent the health problems that I had. Also, in that period, in 1997, I developed chest pains which were eventually diagnosed as angina, due to congestion of the coronary arteries.
A cardiologist advised me to have bypass surgery, but I read a book about Nathan Pritikins vegetarian diet, which he used to add 20 years to his life, so I tried it with success, and six months later I was able to stop taking heart medication without the symptoms returning.
I considered giving a public talk then, and again two years later, but if I died, critics would have said I was foolish and wrong, but six more years went by when I arranged for an article in a newspaper to invite the readers to attend a talk about it in a room in the local library, in about 2005. Only three people attended, but they were very interested in what I had to say and asked a lot of questions. During the next year I did the speech again at home, and recorded it, and published a hundred copies as audio CD’s, and again as an ebook several years after that.
More recently I have given talks to a Rotary club, a Lions club, and two Probus clubs, about my research in chronic fatigue and exercise in 1982 and since, and how many people have been copying my ideas and methods, and have been given the credit.
However they have given them labels and slight changes in emphasis for a condition now called The Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, where aspects of the methods are given labels such as Graded Exercise Therapy, Pacing, and Cognitive Behaviour Therapy.
They refer to the general principle that the problem is physical, not mental, and in some cases the person will respond favorably to mild and gradually improving exercise, while training within their limits etc.
Nevertheless many patients are reporting that they are worse after the exercise program than before, but that would be because the people who have copied my methods don’t understand it as well as I do, and are not copying me properly,
See the webpage which lists some of my publications and newspaper items here