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From Chronic Pain To Transformational Coach – Exclusive Interview With Vanda Venta

After suffering from Chronic Pain for 13 years, Vanda Venta embarked on a career in Sports Therapy, helping thousands of people over nearly 2 decades recover from injury and pain. After a life-changing medical condition turned her life upside down, she learned to harness the power of her brain to manage her pain and stun medical professionals with her ability to live life to the fullest and recover from invasive spinal surgery. She is deeply passionate about helping people reach live the life they deserve to live, free from pain.

Image photo of Vanda Venta

Vanda Venta, Transformational Coach and Chronic Pain Specialist

Introduce yourself! Please tell us about you and your life, so we can get to know you better.


In my mid-twenties, still suffering with ongoing pain, I had a brief working student experience on a dressage yard in the Cotswolds and after breaking my foot was advised by my then mentor that it was always worth having something else other than horses to fall back on. I only knew about horses, sport and pain so I decided to embark on a career that could combine the latter two. I started a course in Sports Therapy and was taken on by a local physiotherapist as an apprentice of sorts. For the following few years, I was guided, taught, advised, and supported on a one-to-one basis in my growth as a therapist, and this was an opportunity I feel so privileged to have been given. I later sought the advice of a Biomechanics Specialist for my persistent pain and, over the course of the coming months, was introduced to the concepts of Neuroplasticity, Modern Pain Science and the incredible ability of the brain to create miracles. That was more than 15 years ago and I’ve never had back pain since.


Over the following 18 odd years, I have undertaken many courses to further my professional development as a therapist, sports coach, and transformational coach. My aim has always been to constantly increase my understanding of the brain, the body and the nervous system and I have helped many hundreds of people from all over the world overcome their injuries and pain and the deeper into my career I have gone, the more I have realised how poorly supported people who suffer from Chronic Pain and Illness are supported. This is where you find me now, a mouthpiece for those who suffer and, I hope, a pillar on which they can lean.


What inspired you to start VandaVenta, and how has your personal journey with chronic pain influenced your approach?


I was already deep into the Chronic Pain and Neuroplasticity rabbit hole after recovering from my own chronic back pain, but in 2021, I suffered a Spontaneous Cerebral Spinal Fluid leak. A CSF leak is where there is a tear or hole in your spinal membrane which causes the spinal fluid that surrounds your spinal column and cushions your brain in your skull to drain out every time you sit or stand due to gravitational pull. As the fluid drains from the skull and the brain slumps with no cushion the onset of symptoms is immediate, severe, and totally debilitating. My experience of it was an instant headache on sitting or standing in a way that I have never known. This was accompanied by acute and severe neck spasms, blurred vision, extreme nausea, and dizziness, and often, I would simply throw up or pass out. For the first few months, the only option was to keep my head as low as possible. This meant either being bedbound or crawling on all fours. I had to eat my meals through a straw lying down or off the floor on my hands and knees. The condition leaves its sufferers totally bed-bound and incapable of even basic everyday tasks. A Spontaneous CSF leak is very rare and notoriously difficult to diagnose and whilst I was on this journey of trying to be heard by doctors who didn’t believe me, I had an epiphany of sorts: this condition was going to change my life for the better and over the following 2 years of failed treatments I had to learn to deal with the symptoms and live a very different life. I read everything I could, I watched all the YouTubes I could find, I listened to all the podcasts I could manage, and I educated myself and applied what I learnt and realised that this ‘stuff’ actually worked, I could function, and I shouldn’t have been able to.


That’s not to say it was easy. I resented losing so much of my life just as the world was opening again post-pandemic. I had days of feeling such deep anger and frustration, days of sobbing until I couldn’t breathe, days of feeling so wretched I thought life would never be normal again, but I also knew the role those feelings had to play and overall, I functioned amazingly well. When I finally had spinal surgery in 2023 to patch the tear and fix metal screws and rods to my spine, the surgeon was stunned that the tear was one of the largest he had ever seen and couldn’t believe I was able to even sit up, let alone function and work. It was this experience, the benefits I had from being in the privileged position to know where to look and what questions to ask that made me realise how many people weren’t so fortunate and that there was a gaping hole in mainstream medicine that was overlooking the most powerful medication of all our brain. I launched VandaVenta shortly after I returned to work post-surgery and have been astonished by the staggering way people’s lives can totally transform. It has been an absolute honour to share these incredible journeys.


What sets your approach and programs apart from other chronic pain management solutions?


Very simply put, I believe that if you can truly learn to utilise the unlimited potential of your brain, your body can create miracles. That is why my signature program is called Magic Mind, Miracle Body.


Whilst my program uses evidence-based practices in the fields of pain management, pain perception and nervous system regulation, I also combine the application of graded exposure to build confidence, tolerance and resilience into a prescriptive and progressive program using corrective exercises, functional rehabilitation, and visualisation techniques amongst many more. As well as this and unique to my approach is the blended and truly ‘whole’istic approach of supporting, nurturing, and healing an individual’s emotional wounds to provide a cocoon of reliable safety that they can develop within and for themselves. We look at lifestyle factors including nutrition, sleep and stress and identify goals and dreams and passions so that we can help to provide as close to an optimal environment as possible in order to facilitate the regenerative healing process at a cellular, systemic, structural and emotional level that is, in my opinion, unrivalled in the chronic pain space.


I have provided everything that I felt I needed when I needed it the most. I need evidence but I also need to be human, to be seen and heard as more than a set of data and it is this approach, of truly giving space for someone to be heard and held, that has provided the most profound and astonishing results. To me, this enabling and empowerment of an individual who has felt so disempowered by their pain for so long, is the fundamental point at which we start to build a new belief system and the brain starts to establish new patterns and neural pathways. From this point there are no limits.


How do you tailor your courses to meet the needs of individuals with different types of chronic pain?

My one-to-one programs are a deeply personal and bespoke process, carefully crafted after lengthy consultation to meet the individual’s current situation and work towards specific and targeted goals. Working purely on a one-to-one basis we have in person or online sessions and unlimited access between sessions as well as a progressive program of graded exposure depending on the specific requirements which might include rehabilitation or visualisation or graded exposure to triggers. This process relies on an open, honest, and communicative relationship where no topic is off limits, and no experience or feeling is undervalued.


Within my group coaching there is a progressive framework with accountability through weekly assignments that are submitted for review as well as live weekly Q&A sessions where individual questions can be answered. There is also a community group whereby participants can ask for advice, give each other motivation and support along with my input. For those that are truly struggling I will always make time for personal contact to ensure their needs are being met. The group space is special, bringing people united by a common and shared experience who all believe that better is possible and this creates an environment that adds something just that little bit extra special to the healing process.

Can you share more about the success stories or testimonials from your clients who have benefited from your courses?


I have been so fortunate to work with some amazing humans who have been so dedicated and diligent and part of the success has been finding their ‘why’, identifying true leverage to really motivate them to become as version of themselves they are truly inspired to be.


Most recently I have worked with a male in his 50s who, on first meeting, said he felt he had the body of a 70yr old, that he didn’t trust his body anymore, that he felt fragile and that the arthritis he had been diagnosed with was consuming his body. He couldn’t run at all, or even walk for more than a few minutes because of the pain in his leg and hip.


This weekend past he completed a triathlon, a goal he desperately wanted to achieve, but more than that he wanted to trust his body again, feel agile and like being fit and strong and healthy was possible.


He said: “Holy Moly! This stuff works! I have a body that feels capable of getting where I actually want to go.”


He achieved this in 3 months.


I’ve been working longer term with a gentleman in his 30s who has been suffering with Chronic Pain for nearly 15 years and who has seen nearly every healthcare professional going with no success. He was desperate and couldn’t even play with his young daughter because he would get so much pain and feel so exhausted by the relentless discomfort in his body.


In one of his more profound statements, he said: “I no longer feel like I’m standing on the edge of life anymore.” He went on to say that he “feels more part of the world than he has done for the last 10 years.”


He now plays with his daughter, is trying for another child, has started going out for day trips, weekends away and long walks and, a major goal for him, to plan holidays abroad. All things that had previously been totally out of question for him before.


I have so many more amazing results to share, too many for here, but each one brings me such a sense of pride and a deep gratitude that I have been trusted to share such an incredible journey.

Tell us about your greatest career achievement so far.


In 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, I undertook a mentorship program for Therapists (physiotherapists, chiropractors, osteopaths, sports therapists, etc) to further develop my application of manual therapy techniques as well as corrective exercise. Shortly after I completed the program, I fell ill with the CFS leak and it was through leaning into the community that I found the support and guidance to push for a diagnosis and treatment at a time when I was being sent home with ‘neck pain’ by the NHS system. Through my journey with the CSF leak I continued to grow my sports therapy clinic, to apply myself to the mentorship, engage and help others, develop online programs, and offer free advice.


In the last Quarter of 2022, I was voted Therapist of the Quarter by my peers within the mentorship group. This was a unanimous vote across a global community of over 1000 therapists who all believed that the resilience I showed in building my clinic up at that stage 3 times was worthy of being recognised and it was truly an honour to receive it.


Whilst this has been a highlight of my career, I would also add that starting my clinic in 2018, then closing it again in 2020 due to the pandemic, then closing it again in 2021 due to my CSF leak and then closing it again in 2023 for surgery, my greatest career achievement has been the ability to keep bouncing back from every challenge placed in my way and seeing each situation as an opportunity to learn, evolve and become an even better therapist than ever so I can serve those that need me in ways that no one else can.


If you could change one thing about your industry, what would it be and why?


The Chronic Pain industry is rapidly growing and gaining traction and new studies are showing more and more evidence of the power of our brain to adjust, evolve and adapt and I believe there is so much more to come. More and more people are stepping forward and providing amazing opportunities to help people who are suffering with chronic pain and illness and I’m excited to grow and learn alongside my peers. I’d like to see people who are suffering being treated as people, not data, however. As much as evidence-based practices are critical to creating the lasting change, it’s so important that we continue to honour an individual’s needs, wants, desires, passions and fears that cannot be quantified by data.

Looking forward, what do you hope to achieve for your business?


I would love to simply reach as many people as possible. It’s a selfish enough motive to be obsessed by the feeling of sharing a person’s journey as they change their life for the better. There’s simply no better feeling and I truly believe we are moving into an age, a period of our social development and evolution where more and more people are recognising the potential they have to achieve greatness. I truly believe we have everything we need to heal, to overcome, to adapt and yet we are dependent on medications and diagnosis and treatment. Mainstream medicine saves lives, but what if we were able to combine the power of medical research and development with the potential of our own brain and body to overcome all manner of emotional and physical disorders? Imagine what kind of legacy we would leave our ancestors if we taught them to truly believe in themselves?


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