Episode #18 - An Interview with Allyson Chrystal and Dr. Aaron Blaisdell


Today's podcast features two close friends of mine, Allyson Chrystal and Dr. Aaron Blaisdell. We recorded this podcast a couple of months ago, since then, we have learned that the Ancestral Health Symposium will be hosted in Seattle Washington. I will be presenting alongside both Dr. Blaisdell and Allyson Chrystal. 

For more information, check out the AHS website http://www.ancestralhealth.org 

If you use the code " AHSstrong " you will receive a discount on the conference price, and for every ticket sold using the code, I will make a donation to a mental health organization!


Allyson Chrystal is an occupational therapist and clinical instructor specializing in pediatrics.

In her clinical work and research, Allyson has focused on sensory integration and self-regulation in children with behavioral and developmental disorders. More recently, she has expanded her work with self-regulation to typically developing children and adolescents.

Allyson is also currently completing a Master’s degree in Functional Medicine and Clinical Nutrition.

Understanding a child’s story is the first step in effective treatment. What are the barriers to this child’s success? What are the root causes of dysfunction or disorder? What are the environmental factors that are contributing to imbalance? And most importantly, how does a child’s behavior give clues to the underlying concerns?

In pediatric treatment, it’s crucial to address a child’s physiological, emotional, social, and environmental needs. The combination of occupational therapy and functional medicine provides a comprehensive and holistic treatment approach. When we truly understand a child’s story, healing can begin.


After receiving his BA and MA in Biological Anthropology (at SUNY Stony Brook and Kent State University, respectively), Dr. Blaisdell realized that animal cognition was even more interesting than dead humans. So he trekked on over to SUNY Binghamton for his Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology with Dr. Ralph Miller, where he studied learning, memory, and cognition in the rat. This was followed by a brief stint as an NRSA Postdoctoral Fellow with Dr. Robert Cook, an expert on Avian Visual Cognition at Tufts University, where he learned how pigeons perceive and think about the world, and how to tell one end of the pigeon from the other. In 2001, Dr. Blaisdell emigrated to the climatological and cultural paradise of sunny LA where he has remained ever since. Dr. Blaisdell is a Professor in Learning & Behavior and Behavioral Neuroscience in the UCLA Psychology Department. He presides over the Comparative Cognition Lab, studying cognitive processes in rats, pigeons, mice, hermit crabs, and humans.

A second interest of Dr. Blaisdell’s is in how human ancestry and evolution can inform us about health and well being in the modern world. He is currently studying the interaction between diet and cognition. He is a founding member and Past President of the Ancestral Health Society, Past President of the International Society for Comparative Psychology, Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Evolution and Health, and a member of the Brain Research Institute, the Integrative Center for Learning & Memory, and the Evolutionary Medicine program all at UCLA.

Dr. Blaisdell is also co-founder of HealthCrowdsTM, a one-stop-shop online database that aggregates personal n=1 experiences regarding health symptoms and effective treatments. 

Aaron Blaisdell photo (#5) small.jpg