David Rabin

Taking frequent, short breaks and being as present as possible, as often as possible. We only have so much attention and being present in the moment keeps me on task, efficient, and aware.


Dr. David Rabin MD, Ph.D. is a board-certified psychiatrist, neuroscientist, and inventor specializing in the treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Depression, Anxiety, and Substance Use Disorders. Dr. Rabin has spent the last 14 years researching treatments to combat the negative effects of chronic stress on physical and mental health.

Dr. Rabin received his MD in medicine and his Ph.D. in neuroscience from Albany Medical College and trained in psychiatry at Western Psychiatric Institute & Clinic at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

Dr. Rabin developed Apollo, a breakthrough wearable technology that uses the neuroscience of touch and vibration to combat the negative effects of stress, during his research at the University of Pittsburgh.

Apollo sends gentle waves of vibration to your body that are clinically shown to bring your heart, lungs, and mind into balance. By signaling safety to the body through your sense of touch, Apollo offers you control over your stress, so you can tackle whatever comes next.

After clinical trials of the Apollo technology demonstrating its reliable effects on mood, sleep, and focus, Dr. Rabin co-founded Apollo Neuroscience to make the discovery available to the public.

Dr. Rabin has also organized the world’s largest controlled study of psychedelic medicines in collaboration with colleagues at Yale, the University of Southern California, Mt. Sinai, Modern Spirit, and MAPS (Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies) to determine the mechanisms of the dramatic therapeutic benefits observed following psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy in treatment-resistant mental illness.

The study has begun and is collecting DNA samples from patients with treatment-resistant PTSD who are participating in the MAPS-sponsored Phase 3 FDA trial of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy to evaluate the gene expression changes that result from the therapy.

Dr. Rabin is also the founder and executive director of the Board of Medicine, a nonprofit organization of physicians and scientists spearheading the development of the world’s first evidence-based peer-reviewed clinical guidelines for the safe use of complementary and alternative medicines including medical cannabis.

Where did the idea for Apollo come from?

The ideas for these projects came from my clinical work with patients with treatment-resistant mental illnesses (specifically PTSD, anxiety, depression, and addiction), and my research on chronic stress and resilience. This was also heavily influenced by my training as an MDMA psychotherapist for PTSD. Caring for people with these chronic illnesses taught me that physical, mental, and emotional safety was the most important factor to help them heal. When they felt safe, they were able to make meaningful changes in their lives without fear. When they felt threatened in any way, they fell back into their old habits and symptoms came back.

Both Apollo and MDMA-assisted psychotherapy appear to facilitate rapid and lasting behavior change and healing by increasing feelings of safety. Similarly, the mission of the Board of Medicine is to provide meaningful evidence-based peer-reviewed information about the safe use of natural medicines, like cannabis, which is presently not regulated by the FDA.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

On most days, I work from 6 am-8 pm with frequent, short breaks. I try to take 1 day off each week where I do things that I love like listening to music, reading, cooking, meditating, biking, and dancing.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I surround myself with people who know more than me.

What’s one trend that excites you?

I am most excited about wearable technology and the convergence of psychedelics and altered-state medicine with AI. We are on the verge of big discoveries in science, in large part due to advances in AI and data processing, that are now explaining ancient healing techniques that have been passed down from Eastern Medicine for thousands of years. I believe that it is at this interface between Eastern and Western disciplines that a more complete picture of healing becomes visible, one that is founded in us, that we’ve quite possibly had access to the whole time and forgotten about.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

Taking frequent, short breaks and being as present as possible, as often as possible. We only have so much attention and being present in the moment keeps me on task, efficient, and aware.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Practice makes perfect; The more we practice skills that don’t seem to help us, the better we get at them. This is the same for practicing constructive skills like gratitude, patience, and kindness. The more we practice these skills, the better we get at them. When we only have so much time in the day, we might as well spend it learning to be grateful. After all, gratitude is the foundation of a fulfilling existence.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

Psychedelic medicines are the most effective treatments for mental illness that we have ever witnessed in the field of psychiatry. However, many of my Western Medicine colleagues have not had time to catch up on the scientific literature because they are constantly overwhelmed at work, so the propaganda and politics take precedence by default. Fear inhibits change.

The challenge for all of us in the medical profession is to always reserve some time to keep up with the most meaningful research in our field to always ensure that we are able to deliver the best care to our patients. If we are not willing to open our minds to the wealth of undeniable evidence demonstrating that psychedelic medicines are the closest thing to a cure that we have ever had for mental illness, we are doomed to repeat history.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Intentional breathing. Taking time to focus on our breath immediately signals our brains that we are safe enough to take the time out to focus on our breathing. We couldn’t do this if we were running from a lion in the Sahara. The more we breath intentionally, just focusing on our breath and nothing else, the better we get at controlling our breathing and our bodies in general. This also helps to rapidly calm us down and improve attention and emotion control, which is extraordinarily helpful on a daily basis.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

Spending lots of time surrounding myself with people more knowledgeable and more experienced than myself. I know what I know and I know what I don’t know. This has really helped me to find people who have strengths that support me in areas that I am not as strong in and I can support them with my strengths. That’s when the magic happens!

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

Not being patient enough to let things unfold on their own. Many things in life take longer than we want them to and we tend to try to rush those things along or take shortcuts. Over the years, I have learned that there are no shortcuts and there is no rush. If you want something done right, patiently do it right the first time or you’ll have to do it over again later.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

Organized data is the answer to most of our problems.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

Sound bath

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

Lucidchart. Making flow charts is extremely helpful to explain complex ideas.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

Eric Kandel – In search of memory

What is your favorite quote?

“That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” Nietzsche

Key Learnings:

  • Growth is based on a foundation of trust in ourselves that is supported by the Four Pillars:
  • Gratitude
  • Forgiveness
  • Compassion
  • Self-love
  • The Four Pillars are skills that we can practice at any time starting with being grateful for having the opportunity to take an intentional breath and to be in control of our own sense of safety. Practicing these skills retrains our brains to strengthen our connection to ourselves, and therefore, to our community and the world around us.


Twitter: @daverabin