By Ian Hebeisen
At a young age, Matthew Bennett adopted the mindset that “health is wealth”. Several of his family members would get really sick, and watching them combat these illnesses showed Bennett the importance of maintaining healthy habits. “We’re given one body, one life, one brain, one opportunity. That kind of drove me,” said Bennett.
Since then, Bennett has worked with athletes from all around the sporting world. While working as an athletic therapist for the NHL, he treated Sidney Crosby after the hockey player sustained a devastating concussion. Using his background in naturopathic medicine, Bennett gets positive results when helping treat concussion symptoms.
“During the games, [an athletic therapist] helps in an emergency situation,” said Bennett. “Then afterwards it’s a lot of long hours, long days of developing rehab programs – working with the strength and conditioning coach, working now with the nutritionists, and bringing those individuals back into their high performance.” Treatment and recovery vary between patients. Some require chiropractic care; others might need acupuncture. Same goes for recovery speed – one patient might feel better in a matter of months while another takes almost a year.
One client, a boxer, tore their bicep while training, and went home without realizing the damage. He went to a hospital a couple of days later, and doctors submitted him to an emergency surgery almost immediately. However, complications from the surgery made the situation wore.
“The bicep was wrapped around the radial nerve, and the surgeon accidentally hit the nerve. When he woke up from the surgery, he was stuck with his hand completely contracted in a fist,” said Bennett. At the time, the doctor estimated the hand would take two years of recovery in order to move again. The patient turned to Bennett, who says he “just dove into the nervous system.”
Bennett began studying how the nervous system communicated with the body. His research led him to the peripheral nervous system. “I said, ‘Hey, if we can access the brain, then why can’t we help nourish the brain back to health? We are already doing the aligning part of it with the bones and the muscles and the nerves… so why not nourish it like we do our body?’”
The boxer stuck with his exercises, and attended rehabilitation for eight months. He made a remarkable recovery, and ended up winning a belt in his weight division. The question of nourishing the brain stuck with Bennett, and he delved deeper into his research. “I discovered about 40 different ingredients that helped fuel cells to decrease inflammation and help sleep and recovery,” said Bennett, “Then narrowed it down to 16 ingredients.”
From there, Bennett created HAVN Life with a friend. Aligning with both concussion recovery and mental health solutions, HAVN Life provides supplements to naturally reduce inflammation and combat symptoms. They hold a US Patent, a Canadian patent, and approval from Health Canada.
“The main thing that I wanted to do was something that was easy to use, effective, efficient, and accessible,” said Bennett. Each supplement is specially designed, with one product targeting eye inflammation. “As the day gets darker, the eye starts to stimulate glycine to be produced. That goes along the pathway to the middle of the brain to the pineal gland that says, ‘let’s start with that circadian rhythm.’ And the glycine? We actually have that inside the supplement.”
Bennett recommends eating the rainbow to ensure an intake of a variety of nutrients. “Everything has different nutrients in it,” said Bennett. “That will help us pivot faster.” He also emphasizes the importance of forgiveness – of the symptoms, yourself, and the cause of any accident. “Release that space and then focus on you. Do what you need to do to get better.”
To learn more about HAVN life, visit www.yourhavnlife.com. You can listen to the entire conversation on the Faces of TBI podcast, available on Apple Podcasts or wherever you find your podcasts.
Ian Hebeisen is a writer based in the Twin Cities. Graduating in 2020 with a degree in Literature with a Writing Emphasis, Ian spends his time writing for The Brain Health Magazine and JUVEN Press. He also writes comics, zines, short stories, and poetry. He lives with his partner and two cats, and enjoys playing board games and reading.