Brain Food

Neurofeedback, nutrition, natural health and wellness techniques

the work November 2, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — jharr @ 4:55 pm

The body tells us things in a tone we may ignore for years. So when it yells and goes into nervous/immune system overwhelm, it may finally have our attention. By the second week under the tender loving care of Jan and Jaclyn, I felt in tune with whether I needed to eat or take a nap – whether I should officially address my state of constipation or ignore it until I had to be rushed to the hospital – whether I was too hot or too cold or just right – if I needed to exercise or check my emails – basic, but I had worked myself into such a paralyzed state that even the simplest buttons on the control panel seemed confusing and chaotic to me. So after the first week and the initial delight over the changes taking place in my body and brain, the hard work of listening began – mindfulness. It made me sleepy. I fought it – the letting go – the surrender to symptoms – the change in beliefs (this can’t possibly work for me). The second week was all about getting out of my own way – hearing, “The brain is wired to heal” – trusting that.

 

Body wise October 23, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — jharr @ 9:18 pm

This past week has been a restorative and rigorous mind-body experience. First of all, the setting for this work is ideal.  I truly feel “away” in this tiny hot springs town, where the coffee is good and the mountains are close.  When I first arrived I was a ball of nerves and my Parkinson’s symptoms were raging.  I was stiff, my walk was slow and my speech was slurred.  After one week of “trainings” (treatments), I feel the return of fluidity in my body, my walking is steady and driven, and my speech has gotten less garbled. One week!  

The confidence and nurture that Rocky Mountain Neuroadvantage exudes is inspiring and motivates me to dive in full weight to their methodology.  I am awakened from the blind faith I’ve had in traditional medicine as the only way to treat Parkinson’s.

So, it is a brilliant afternoon here in Glenwood Springs, Colorado – warm and vibrant with autumnal palettes.  As I look at the lunch menu in a tucked away cafe, my mouth waters from all the possibilities. Choices.  And suddenly it pops in my head that Parkinson’s doesn’t have to be a cascade of pre-ordered symptoms or it’s even that those symptoms don’t have to be on the menu at all. The week has filled me with hope and restored my faith in the holy wisdom of the body.

 

from the parkinson’s perch October 19, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — jharr @ 7:27 pm

I have Parkinson’s.  I was diagnosed at 44 by a series of experts in the field.  “You have Parkinson’s.”  It was decided and agreed upon.  “She has Parkinson’s.”  I started getting books from friends and family like RADICAL ACCEPTANCE and WHEN THINGS FALL APART and 100 QUESTIONS ABOUT PARKINSON’S.  What?  Surely there has been a huge mistake.  This was my resounding thought for the first several years.  I kept trying to prove to myself and the world that nothing was wrong.  I was perfectly fine, in fact, thriving.   My life was too busy to revolve around medication and health insurance.  Around then is when I saw the blue lights whirring in my rear view mirror.  Really.  I had recently and irreverently taken my meds and was driving to my aunt’s house for lunch.  Someone had called 911 and reported weaving to the police.  Truth is, I was avoiding potholes – singing out to my radio.  The blue lights pressed down.  “Someone is in trouble,” I thought and tried to get out of their way.  Then, as if choreographed, they circled my car and herded me into a mini-mall parking lot.  Deaf to my excuses of prescribed medication and poor balance issues, I was arrested for a DUI and sat in jail with no food, water, or medication for 12 hours –  guilty until proven innocent.  My  body had finally gotten my attention.  Of course, it took me another year of bad drug reactions, serious falls, and social anxieties to realize that I didn’t have to be a victim with this diagnosis.  Other people were actually taking care of me better than I was caring for myself and that had to change. I could actually open my eyes and seek out options.

I had heard about the work being done at Rocky Mountain Neuro Advantage through a friend and it intrigued me.  A couple of months later, everything fell into place and suddenly I’m on a plane to Denver.  Rocky Mountain high for sure.  The drive from Denver to Glenwood Springs is a visual initiation into the wonder that follows. I’m here until November 6.   I have just completed day 2 and the following posts will attempt to articulate my experience here.  Stay tuned.

 

Are Meds A Good Intervention For ADHD? November 21, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — jharr @ 12:00 pm

     We do a lot of brain mapping in our clinic in the course of neurofeedback delivery. In mapping the brain activity of ADHD clients, we find that a large majority of those clients carry the marker for a strong propensity for addiction.  We warn our clients about this propensity when we see it, and challenge them to identify any addictive behaviors they might already display: non-stop video games, shopping, gambling, sex, drugs, alcohol, excessive exercise, texting continually…you name it. Some addictions are more socially acceptable than others, however, the point is a person with this brain wave activity can literally become addicted to almost anything! 

     Therapists and psychiatrists typically recommend drug intervention for clients that struggle with ADHD.  Children especially are placed on meds because ADHD tends to have behavioral aspects with it that make education in the traditional public school setting problematic for teachers.  Parents also like the “better behavior” that comes with medicating their children.  And granted, the meds do seem to help the child settle down and focus better. 

     However, I would question whether or not good old common sense wouldn’t demand that we not resort to addictive drugs to treat a child who comes prepackaged with a propensity to develop addictions.  It seems very counterintuitive to me. 

     When my son was struggling in school with fairly severe ADHD, we opted to follow the medication regimen for a short time. We did what all parents do. We relied on the information from the “experts”, and we caved to pressure from his teachers to treat him with medication.  His school mates picked up on the fact that he was taking meds immediately.  In part because, each day his teacher “kindly” reminded him to visit the school nurse for his afternoon meds.  Since he already had a reputation for being the “class bad boy”, he was further targeted by the other second graders in his home room for this perceived problem he had. 

     As is typical with stimulant medications like Ritalin and Concerta my son lost his appetite, lost weight and had difficulty sleeping.  He was more irritable and emotional.  If we decreased the amount of the medication, his behavior deteriorated.  However, at the full recommended dosage, the sleep deprivation and the weight loss quickly became problematic enough to leave the meds as a “non-0ption” anyway.  I was rethinking my strategy and looking for other answers.

     We were rescued by Divine intervention when he refused to take the medication any longer because of the teasing that he was getting about it.  It was about that time that we discovered neurofeedback.  My son had only trained for a short time when we began to notice the differences in his behavior and his ability to focus, retain, and learn.  The changes were remarkable…all the improvement, without any of the side effects.  Here was something we could get behind.  And I did just that!  I quit my day job, went back to school, and became a neurofeedback trainer. The ability of neurofeedback to improve the lives of those who use it never ceases to amaze me.

     If you have a child with ADHD, I encourage you to rethink the medication route for treatment. Of the 12 subtypes of ADD/ADHD, only 2 require the use of meds to come into good control…these subtypes can only be determined reliably with brain mapping, SPECT or PET scanning, etc. Instead of meds, seek out a neurofeedback practitioner in your area, and get your child involved in brain training.  Be sure that he or she is taking Omega-3 oil daily, a good whole-food derived multivitamin, and we recommend a product called Brain-On (a blue-green algae product) produced by E3Live ( http://www.E3Live.com ).  It delivers a concentrated dose of PEA, essential for the brain for focus and attention. 

     In addition, look at educational alternatives for your child.  The traditional public school setting is rarely the best environment for kids who struggle with ADHD.  The brain pattern usually seen in ADHD is dominant slow wave activity at the front of the brain…this means that your hyperactive child is actually UNDERAROUSED, not over aroused.  This is why the stimulants produce a calmer child.  This is also why a child with ADHD may seek an outside modulator like drugs or alcohol to stimulate faster activity at the front of the brain. Likewise, it may be biologically necessary for your child to create a little novel chaos in the surrounding environment in order to produce faster waves at the front of the brain.  Those slow waves are for sleeping!  The brain recognizes that walking around in a near sleep-state is not conducive to being awake and functioning.  This is why your kid seems so impulsive and out of control.  His biology is driving the behavior! Most of these kids function far better in fast-paced, high demand environment! So seek out educational alternatives that utilize small group settings as a main educational method.  The interaction and conversation within those small groups keep that brain running at a faster speed throughout the day and help eliminate the need to create novelty in the evironment to address the onset of slow wave activity.  Additionally, many ADHD kids benefit from learning to type.  The writing process is too slow for them to stick with, and quickly becomes frustrating.  They do much better when their typing skills allow them to write almost as fast as they can talk.  Encourage teachers to allow typed papers and assignments when possible.  Also, utilize graph paper for math assignments. It allows a visual system for organizing the mathematical calculations, and helps kids practice positioning their equations in an orderly and sequential way.  And, most importantly, limit the amount of time spent in front of TV and video games.  The games induce the same slow wave activity that’s causing the focus problems and make the issues worse.

     These are just a few basic interventions that help ADHD kids function at a higher level in school without the use of addictive drugs.  Given the unique brain wave patterns of kids with an over-aroused subtype of ADHD….it only makes sense to me.

     Next week, I’ll discuss the significance of optimizing intestinal function in the management of ADHD.  So if your child experiences gastric distress along with the ADHD symptoms, be sure to check the blog next week for important information about the ways in which healing the gut can alleviate the focus and behavioral issues of ADHD.

     As always, we are available for additional questions, concerns or information.  Feel free to contact us via the comment section below, or through our website: http://ow.ly/zf26 .  Our office address and phone info appear in the “About Rocky Mtn. NeuroAdvantage” section above.

    Take good care of your “bio-soul” and it will serve you well.   Have a great week!

Jan

 

What’s Love Got To Do With It? November 18, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — jharr @ 12:39 am

       I remember desperately wanting to extract myself from a job that had lost its appeal.  I had held the job for close to 20 years.  I suddenly knew that I was in the wrong place, doing the wrong thing. Thoughts of leaving filled my every waking hour.  Circumstances, however, prevented my immediate departure.  As the days and weeks went by even more obstacles appeared, seemingly bent on keeping me stuck in my current position.  I was quickly becoming hopeless about ever getting free of this position and moving in a new direction with my life. 

     At the time, I was reading a book called Creating Money by Sanaya Roman and Duane Packer.  In a chapter entitled Trusting the Flow I read: “You can’t be free of something until you love it”.  I immediately bristled.  “That’s ridiculous”, I thought.   How in the world could I love something that was such a drag?  How was I supposed to develop warm, fuzzy feelings for a job that made me feel unchallenged, undervalued, and held me back from following the direction that I wanted to go? I was sick of hearing that love would conquer all.

     I was with friends one morning and the subject of the job came up.  I complained bitterly about the situation and mentioned what the book had suggested.  I voiced my contempt for the advise, and told them I had not bothered to read the rest of the book.  “I don’t believe you can flit around telling people how much you ‘love’ your job, and magically find yourself in a better career as a result!”, I said. 

     Friends are in a unique position to challenge your beliefs. “You aren’t quite grasping the meaning of the word love, in the sense that it’s being used here”, one of my friends told me.  “The book is not talking about a romantic love. It’s talking about a doing kind of love. Do you see the difference?”  “I’m clueless”, I answered.  “Well”, she said, “you don’t have to like your job in order to love it…you don’t have to have warm and fuzzy feelings for it in order to love it.  Love, in this case, is a doing word. You do what’s right by your job and in doing so, you will be loving it!  It works the same for people you don’t particularly like.  We’re told to love one another, but the guy that lives next door is a real jerk.  So how are you supposed love that guy?  I think you do it by realizing, as he is going off in your face, that he is coming from a place of fear or woundedness, and projecting that negativity into your space. You realize, from a higher state of consciousness, that it is not about you.  He is expressing his own inner anguish….you just happen to be in the path of it.  It allows you to look at him with greater understanding. You don’t have to like him, or like the way he is behaving, but when you take it out of the personal realm and reach for that understanding, you are loving him! In the same way, as you do the things required of you in your job and you do as good a job as you can, you are loving your job! Love, in this sense, means doing the right thing, even if you don’t like the circumstances around it.”

     I went back to work the next day with a different attitude.  I attacked the stack of files on my desk determined to complete all the loose ends.  I answered the phone with a smile in my voice and jumped on all the projects that I had put on hold.  Over the course of the next several weeks, I continued to love my job by doing  the things that needed to be done to the best of my ability.  The bitterness and regret that I had been carrying around with me, began to drop off.  It didn’t happen immediately.  I had been mired in my negativity about that job for so long, that the Universe wanted to be sure that I was committed.  But evetually, an opportunity arose for me to make my exit from the job.  I might not have seen it, had I not cleared my mind of the constant barrage of victim-talk that had been running for so long.  What I had listed as obstacles to my departure began to drop off the list one-by-one: the perfect replacement person appeared; she just happened to be between jobs and could start training immediatley; the money that I lacked materialized from an unexpected source, etc. 

     In looking back, the chain of events that seemed somewhat miraculous at the time, now seem quite predictable given my actions.  Had I continued to focus on, dwell within and act upon my state of powerlessness and negativity, I would have remained mired in exactly the conditions I co-created so perfectly.  But as soon as I was willing to do (love) it differently, I began to co-create a completely new reality for myself. 

     I am now busy building a new business, doing something that I like and am passionate about – as an added bonus, I even have the warm-fuzzy feelings for it! I love it, in every sense of the word.  Think about what you can do today, in order to love something or someone else. Love really does make a difference between staying stuck and mired, or seeing the opportunities all around you….and that’s what love’s got to do with it!

 

 
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