I recently had the opportunity to spend my afternoon as an exhibitor at the Brevard County Women’s Expo. The reason for my presence was to provide information and an avenue to pursue natural, holistic healthcare. One of the biggest draws to our booth was the book, “Changer Your Brain, Change Your Life,” by Dr. Daniel Amen. I highly recommend this book, or at the very least checking out our previous post pertaining to it. (https://clarkechiropracticwellness.com/2013/08/08/mental-health-a-new-perspective/)
Basically, the book provided hope by doing two things. Number one it illustrated that areas of decreased blood flow and metabolic activity in the brain do exist. This means that there are portions of the brain not functioning at full capacity. Depending on the location of decreased function, various symptoms will be outwardly exhibited resulting in the diagnosis of conditions like anxiety, ADD/ADHD, depression, anger, obsessive compulsive behavior, sleeping disorders, etc. This is huge because it demonstrates to the individual that there is no inherent character flaw within them, but rather an area of the brain with sluggish function.
The second critical thing this book shows is that therapies can be applied that target the area of decreased function. Dr. Amen’s clinics have functionally scanned over 80,000 brains from 90 countries showing the affects of brain based therapies pre and post treatment. The real testament though is the improvement to the patient’s quality of life. An image showing increased activity is one thing, but it’s pretty much meaningless to the individual if they are still burdened with life altering symptoms.
(It should be noted that when he finds it necessary, Dr. Amen also utilizes pharmaceutical means in conjunction with the therapies to treat his patients. Other patients have responded simply to the brain based therapies and supplementation.)
The universal optimism to be drawn from Dr. Amen’s work is that it provides more proof that the brain can adapt. Application of the correct brain based therapies and exercises can positively take advantage of the brain’s plasticity or adaptability and increase function from the brain and beyond. As we know, the brain serves as the master control center for the entire body, inside and out; making the possibilities endless.
From a functional doctor’s point of view, this ties in phenomenally with what we do and why we do it. Let me explain:
When you seek treatment, you are more than likely looking to address a symptom that has become bothersome in your life. Although bothersome, this symptom is actually a good thing as it is our body’s brilliant way of letting us know something isn’t right. Rather than attempting to silence our body’s inborn alarm system, as a functional doctor, we look to neurologically, nutritionally, and biomechanically analyze the whole picture and discover the breakdown in function that caused the symptom to manifest in the first place. Being trained to identify areas of potential decreased function in the brain, and then apply specific therapeutic exercises and therapies to target that area and take advantage of the brain’s aforementioned plasticity is what functional neurology is all about.
You see, there is no claim being made to cure those conditions mentioned above. The approach is to acknowledge the symptoms, but go beyond them attempting to identify and correct the underlying breakdown in function causing the symptom. The thing about a symptom is that we never know if this is the first identifiable sign of an underlying issue or the 4th or 5th. And if we simply silent the symptom, the internal derangement more than likely still exists and will manifest itself in other, perhaps more severe ways; kind of like the body screaming even louder for our attention.
This all ties into Dr. Amen’s work in that he has contributed to evidence showing the brain can change through therapies. Being that the brain controls all function, effective treatment can not only lead to addressing the presenting complaint, but end up having widespread, favorable consequence throughout the body. Sleep patterns, immune function, digestive issues, blood pressure regulation, name it.
If you’re ready for a change and interested in further exploring the world of natural and holistic healthcare through functional medicine I’d love to talk.
Stay open my friends.