Monday, December 19, 2011

Occupy Your Life

Occupy Your Life

If it were up to me the word of the year for 2011 would be Occupy, consistent with Time Magazine's designated Person of the Year: The Protestor.

I fully support and embrace The Occupy Movement and have written my own manifesto of grievances and demands, excerpted below:
Of this we are certain:

1. The system is broken and corrupt and the fix will NOT come from those who created these problems.
2. The status quo will only guarantee and accelerate our demise and as such, is unacceptable.
3. The fix requires a new paradigm; one that values people over profits, and sustainability of life on the planet over unsustainable corporate growth/profits.


We are part of a global movement. It is our responsibility, as American and World Citizens and patriots, to reclaim our democracy and restore world peace, social and environmental justice.


As environmentalist/activist Paul Hawkin said: “The solution will be found in diversity. This movement is humanity’s immune response to resist and heal political disease, economic infection and ecologic corruption caused by ideology.”

Fixing the daunting problems we face will require that we work both within and outside of the system.

(For the purpose of this blog, Occupy Your Life, I will skip to the relevant changes at the personal level that I deem necessary to facilitate and create the global change we need.)

The single greatest thing we can do outside of the system is to unite in our vision, cause efforts, and voice.

Along the way to the revolution, we too have to change. It would be hypocritical to believe and act otherwise. We cannot do business as usual and expect different results and things around us to change. As Gandhi said: “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”

Things we can do:

1. Make your health a top priority; take personal responsibility for your life and health, to the extent that you are able.
2. Become a critical thinker: actively resist and then analyze ALL information and the source (i.e.: follow the money), rather than passively accepting and absorbing whatever you hear, from whatever source.
3. Learn more and raise your standards of what you demand of yourself.
4. Make your family and your children a top priority; spend time with, and educate, your children.
5. Turn off the TV. Stop listening to the propaganda and fear mongering.
6. Create, or join, an employee union.
7. Become a political activist; find and join causes that support humanity and our planet.
8. VOTE! And, vote out all career politicians (more than 10-15 years in office).
9. Socialize: find reasons to unite with people to find commonality.
10. Buy local: support small local businesses and farms.
11. Go green.
12. Plant your own garden and learn how to cook good food. Minimize eating of all crap processed foods.
13. Vote with your dollars. Do not support any corporation or financial institution that undermines our personal and/or financial health and new our world order of We The People.
14. Repeatedly and relentlessly, call and lobby your politicians, at every level, to represent the interests of We the People…and inform them of the consequences of their failure to do so.
15. Generally, as best possible, spend less and save more. Buy within your means. Buy less of what you want, and focus on what you need.

If not me, then who?
If not now, then when?    Hillel

Friday, December 16, 2011

A Doctor's Touch

A Doctor's Touch
One of the most important things in life anyone can have is a caring and competent medical doctor, the likes of Dr. Abraham Verghese, the doctor in this video.
His call for touch, while foreign to medical doctors today, is routine to chiropractors. In fact, it is the origin of the word (from the Greek: cheir- referring to the hand, and praktos, meaning; done by hand).
As a chiropractor I have always been honored and moved by the doctor-patient relationship; the histories and emotions patients share; the trust they place in me, and that they let me touch them, to examine and treat them.
Sadly, for many people, I may be the only other human contact they have that, or any other, day. And, the importance of caring human touch/contact, in our culture, is way undervalued and poorly understood. I know, and am acutely aware, that I too, benefit from that very human contact and connection with my patients.
In early childhood touch could actually be considered a vital nutrient. ”Failure to thrive is a medical condition where an infant/child fails to grow or gain weight appropriately over a consistent period of time. In orphanages, the number one cause of Failure to Thrive is simply a lack of touch, stimulation and love. A child may even die due to missing these essential requirements for growth.
I would suggest that older children and adults also fail to thrive without contact and touch. In fact, research indicates that even owning a pet (which implies contact and touch) helps the elderly live longer. That’s how important touch is!.
Recall the rush of holding the hand of someone you love; the healing touch of your mother's hand when you bumped your head or hurt yourself; the energy that passes between two people in a caring embrace.
We are electro-chemical--energy beings and what passes between us in a touch with good intentions, has very nurturing and healing properties.
It is more than obvious that working with patients goes beyond technology and absolutely requires a healing touch. I feel privileged to be licensed to speak with and to touch people in the context of helping them reclaim their lives by reclaiming their health.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Another Deadly Medical Fraud Exposed

Another Deadly Medical Fraud Exposed

Oops! The medical science/pharmaceutical industry, as enabled by doctors, has perpetrated yet another massive fraud that, once again, has cost untold numbers of lives while generating astronomical profits for their industry and doctors.

We live in a for-profit-at-any-cost, corporate-created, media-perpetuated delusional world; a world in which so-called scientific research shows that only natural things such as the sun, our own genes, natural remedies, even natural drugs like marijuana, etc., can cause us harm, create cancers, and kill us. But somehow, inexplicably, in the realm of corporate-sponsored non-sense non-science, chemically and known carcinogen laden processed foods, personal care body products, pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines, etc., are safe, and even good for us…nothing to fear there.

In this delusional world doctors used science to promote cigarettes as “smooth and soothing to the back of your throat”…Oops, a cancer epidemic! Doctors used science to scare us away from natural animal fats, in favor of chemically synthesized trans-fats. Oops; skyrocketing increase in heart disease and death! Sorry! And, most recently and ongoing, doctors use science to make us afraid of the sun, having us opt instead to coat our bodies, from infancy and throughout our lives, with chemically laden sun-screens. Unsurprisingly, oops and more deaths, yet again!

Recent research published in the British Journal of Dermatology shows that garbage science and rampant misdiagnosis, NOT the sun, are responsible for the statistical rise in rates of melanoma, the deadliest from of skin cancer. They wrote: “We conclude that the large increase in reported incidence is likely to be due to diagnostic drift, which classifies benign (non-cancerous) lesions as stage 1 melanoma.”

In fact, there is good scientific evidence that appropriate exposure to the sun prevents skin and other cancers, while rates of melanoma are rising among indoor workers with less sun exposure!

It defies common sense, let alone good science, to believe that after tens of thousands of years, within the last 75 years, our genes have gone haywire and are now killing us; that naturally occurring foods and remedies are more dangerous than their synthetic chemically altered versions; and that the sun, the source of life on our planet and many documented health benefiting and protective properties, has recently and suddenly turned against us.

What has changed in the past 75 years are:

1. The industrial revolution, including the industrialization of our food supply, and the concomitant rise of pervasive highly toxic pollutants and carcinogens in our air, soil, water, and foods

2. The corporate sponsored scientific revolution in which our carefully cultivated unquestioning belief in what is largely corrupt and self-serving science is used against us.

3. The rise of corporate medical care that emphasizes profits over patient lives and thrives on creating and perpetuating diseases rather than cures. Its nemesis is health!

Our trust in nature has been severely undermined. Nature has imbued all life forms with an adaptive code for survival. Nature’s most basic survival mechanism, hardwired into that code, is health. We have been given a miraculous gift and personal responsibility to nurture and safeguard our own health. The more we accept that responsibility, the more we optimize our own genetic potential for health throughout our lives.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Ergonomics: Computer Workstation Set-up

Ergonomics: Computer Workstation Set-up
The basics of health are simple, seemingly too simple for most people to believe.
We are, as all living things, hardwired for one thing only; survival. And, health is nature’s most basic survival mechanism. Health is nature’s default or set-point.
Nurturing our own health means taking active steps to optimize our own specific genetic potential for health. The foundation of health is based upon the daily and consistent lifestyle choices we make, throughout our lives, in terms of how we think, what we choose to eat, and how we use our bodies.
Each of these broad categories can be broken down into smaller sub-categories. For instance, how we think includes how we handle all stress, how we cope with life’s challenges, the caring relationships we have with family, friends and co-workers, etc.
What to eat is best summed up by Michael Pollan: “Eat real food (not processed crap), not too much, mostly plants.”
Biomechanics refers to how we use our bodies. Biomechanics is based on using ideal body posture at all times: sleeping, sitting, during exercise, in all work and play activities, etc.
Ergonomics has to do with how we use tools and set up our workstations to support good posture; to minimize unnecessary and harmful chronic and/or repetitive strain to our bodies.
Biomechanics and ergonomics all begin and end with good posture.
The following video is a great tool to help with computer workstation setups.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Saturday, October 1, 2011

All About LENS: 1 Hour Interview

The following links are to a 1 hour radio interview on local radio station WBTN (am 1370) from Bennington, VT. The interview was with John Hearst, MD., on his show Natural Instincts.

Enjoy! And, I welcome your feedback.

Or, if you are more visually oriented, you can watch a 1 hour tv interview at the link below. After you link to the site, type: smile with b-mile into the show search, and then scroll down until you see my name (show ID 15691, 08-08-2011).

*Important Note: After watching the tv interview I decided that I have a great face for radio!!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Placebo & Research

Placebo & Research

It has been my experience that two of the most common questions asked of alternative health practitioners are:
1. What is the research?
2. Is it placebo?
These are excellent and appropriate questions. But, with that said, these questions are ingrained in us, like knee-jerk responses, to ask of all alternative therapies, serving as tools/weapons used by the prevailing medical paradigm to undermine alternative treatments and distract from the dangers of allopathic medicine.
Let me explain.
First, and most obviously, I am reasonably sure that most patients are not asking these same questions of their doctors about all prescribed drugs and recommended courses of care; from statins to anti-depressants, from chemotherapy to radiation, from cardiac catheterization to bypass, from mammograms to prostate screens, and on-and-on. It is assumed that the research exists and supports the treatment, and that treatment is, not only, not placebo, but better than placebo.
In the same way the knee-jerk response has been ingrained to ask alternative practitioners, it has been ingrained into us to trust medicine, and specifically not ask doctors.
Throughout their history, the AMA and its extension, the FDA, have suppressed and persecuted alternative treatments that challenge medical dominance. One of their most powerful tools has been controlling and denying funds to research alternative therapies. Their consistent justification has been: ‘just by looking at it gives it a level of credibility we don’t want to promote.’ The self-serving result has been their mantra ‘there is no research to support... (fill in the alternative therapy).’ How convenient?
At the same time, the quality and reliability of medical research and its peer review have been totally corrupted by their highly profitable incestuous relationship with BigPharma. It is corporate science, plain and simple. And, it has emphasized research on dangerous pharmaceuticals and invasive medical procedures to the willful exclusion of the empirical and scientific evidence of natural remedies that work.
In what I believe is one of the most damning statements ever made, in September 2001, the editors of the 12 most prestigious medical journals published a unified message titled Sponsorship, Authorship and Accountability:
“We are concerned that the current intellectual environment in which clinical research is conceived, study subjects are recruited and the data analyzed and reported (or, not reported) may threaten (scientific) objectivity….In light of that truth, the use of clinical trials primarily for marketing makes a mockery of clinical investigation and is a misuse of a powerful tool.”
And yet, they continue to print and disseminate what they know to be fraudulent research that results in widespread use of unsupported and lethal treatments. At the same time they propagate skepticism, doubt and fear about alternative therapies.

As for the dreaded placebo…
The fundamental principle and underlying effect of placebo is as a catalyst that activates the mind/body’s innate capacity for self-regulation and self-healing. Placebo pills alone have been 30 to 90% effective. And, the placebo effect for successful outcomes has been estimated to occur in 30 to 70% of all therapeutic treatments. That is, that the patient got better because of the placebo effect, and not the specific treatment. In addition, “A paper published in the October 19 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine – entitled “What’s In Placebos: Who Knows?” calls into question the foundation upon which much of medicine rests (comparative testing to placebo), by showing that there is no standard behind the standard – no standard for the placebo.”
It is sad and emblematic of the major problem of the medical model that it denigrates the placebo effect and uses it in a pejorative manner to undermine and cast doubt on other effective forms of therapy, up to and including alternative treatments for cancer. And while patients routinely ask alternative practitioners whether or not their treatment is placebo, the patients are distracted from asking their medical doctor critical questions regarding their medical treatment:
1. What are my absolute risks verses benefits of treatment?
2. What is the NNT? the number of patients needed to treat to see the outcome you are saying?
Bearing in mind that hospitals are killing 12,000 patients per week (624,000/year), as a result of the care they received and not because of what brought them to the hospital in the first place, one can see the supreme importance of these questions!
In my opinion there is no better treatment than placebo to activate the mind/body’s life-force capacity to heal itself. The question then becomes not if the therapy is placebo, but (with, or without, supporting research) how often does it succeed in improving the health of the patient?

Saturday, August 20, 2011



I can't say it any better than this!

"Psycho/pharma spends billions of dollars a year marketing mental 'disorders' & drugs for kids -- yet these drugs are documented by international drug regulatory agencies to cause mania, psychosis, hallucinations, suicide, violence, homicidal ideation, heart attack, stroke and death. What's more, they are being prescribed for psychiatric disorders that are simply a checklist of behaviors."
Watch these compelling videos! (double click on video for full screen)

There is a better way:

1. Love
2. Safety
3. Respect
4. Education
5. Wholesome Food
6. Hope
7. LENS Neurofeedback

Monday, July 18, 2011

LENS Neurofeedback- David Dubin, MD

LENS Neurofeedback

I have known Dr. Dubin since junior high school. We have had a lifetime of many shared adventures as close personal friends. He has been, and continues to be, a powerful force and influence in my life.

In October of 2010, after many months of cajoling, he got me interested in, and then, with significant training by LENS creator, Len Ochs, got me certified as a LENS Neurofeedback practitioner.

LENS has changed my life, and has given me a new, and powerful, tool to help patients reclaim their health and improve their lives.

Dr. Dubin is on a mission: to "get LENS out to the public, to help as many people as possible," with this incredible, life-altering treatment technology.

The following is Dr. David Dubin introducing you to LENS Neurofeedback:

(double click on video picture for full screen)

Monday, July 4, 2011

The Goal is Health

The Goal Is Health
As a chiropractor and health coach I routinely ask patients a few simple questions
Do you want to be healthy? Or, do you want to be sick?
How much do you value your health?
It’s a no-brainer! Everyone says they want to be healthy, and that they value their health.
And yet, so many of us are so sick; struggling with a host of daily symptoms, aches, pains, fatigue and stress, spending huge sums of money and innumerable hours and days of our lives in doctors' offices, hospitals and pharmacies, and even more time wrestling with insurance companies; living lives propped up on, and clouded by, a multi-pharmacy of lifetime medications. Not to mention, the time, money and effort spent caring for other sick family members. There are many reasons for this which I will expand upon in future blogs, but for now, let’s start at the beginning.

So, if everyone says they want to be healthy, and that they value their health, the real question is why are we so sick?

The bottom line is that we have lost sight, and understanding, of the real goal. How so?
What is your definition of health?
If you are like most of my patients, and the many health professionals I have asked, you are struggling with an answer to this simple, and most basic, question. I encourage you to ask others, especially your doctor.
The most common responses being:
1. the off the cuff answer: “feeling good.”
2. the dictionary answer: “the state of mental, physical and spiritual well being.”
3. the medical answer: “the absence of disease.”
None of these answers, least of all the medical one, define health. If anything, they describe some of the positive 'side-effects' of being healthy.
Lack of a clear definition almost certainly puts the goal out of reach. After all, one can 'feel good,' and be very unhealthy; a ticking time-bomb. The 'absence of disease,'..that merely indicates a sub-clinical condition, without overt symptoms, but not remotely robust health. Again, a ticking time bomb. 'A state of well being;' closer, but really only substitutes the words well being for health, and skirts the definition.
The more clearly a goal is defined and understood, the more likely it will be achieved.
Health is your body's innate capacity to maintain homeostasis (balance), and adapt to chemical, physical and emotional stressors that challenge that balance. Health, in other words, is your genetically hardwired set-point. You do not get healthy. You become sick. Disease is the absence of health!
Understanding this simple truth changes the paradigm. We can move away from our current failed disease-based , sickness care, so-called prevention oriented medical model as providers of health to a wellness model in which we nurture our innate capacity for health through informed and healthy daily lifestyle choices and actions.
After all, what's more important for, and will have a greater impact on, your health; worrying about your blood pressure, cholesterol, sugar and your weight, and taking a lifetime of multiple daily medications? Or, actively living a lifestyle that promotes health?
The question isn't so much; Do you want to be healthy? Or, do you value your health? as it is:
What are you WILLING TO DO, to change your life to nurture health verses create disease?

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Featured Blogger

Featured Blogger
"Never before have so many people written so much to be read by so few." (Katie Hafner, NYTimes)

I have been in communication with, and if all goes well, I may be one of their featured bloggers.
Below is my intro and first submission. I will keep you posted.
Introducing: Hardwired4Health
I am writing this blog to help me express, and share, my evolving understanding of human health.
My opinions and original articles are based on my 25 years working as a chiropractor and health coach to thousands of patients and are supported by the literature I have read including articles, books, printed and on-line news, etc., and the information I have learned in the many seminars I have taken over the years.
As a holistic health practitioner, I see myself primarily as a health coach; as a guide to better health. It is my mission to help transform the lives of my patients by educating, motivating, coaching and successfully treating them so that they can live full, active and healthy lives.
My goals in writing this blog are simple:
1. To provide information to motivate you, and more importantly, to ignite positive action for you, to reclaim your health and the health of your family.
2. To expose and explode perpetuated medical misperceptions, mythologies and lies that distract us from our goal of health, undermine our instincts, and disarm us from taking personal responsibility for our health and living healthy lives.
How to BE healthy is no mystery, and is within grasp for most of us. After all, health is our set-point, our birth-right. Or, as the author/activist Michael Pollan so eloquently states, “Nature’s default is health.” Why so few of us believe that, and why health eludes most of us, is the bigger mystery.
The key to unraveling that mystery begins and ends in examining the sources and content of our beliefs that drive our habits. The bottom line is that health, for the most part, is a lifetime, lifestyle habit.
My blog may be challenging. I am honest, direct and blunt, and I will support my writing with links to respected sources.
As Morpheus says to Neo in The Matrix: “Remember, all I’m offering is the truth, nothing else.” And, as they say, the truth isn’t always pretty. But, knowing the truth, and acting on it, is the only way forward.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Friday, May 13, 2011

Fraud: Plain $ Simple

FRAUD: Plain $ Simple

Let's say you went to a car dealer and bought a new car that included a CD player that you paid for, as listed on the spec sheet. When the car was delivered there was no CD player.

Mistake, or fraud?

Let's say that this happened not just this once, and not just to you...but, that car dealers were doing this 10 million times per year.

Mistake, or fraud?

Now, let's imagine that in some bizarre way the car dealers not only kept the money, but blamed their customers for this problem. What do you think would follow? I'm thinking national news and prosecution for fraud.

Where's this going? Hold that thought, and read on....


10 Million Women Who Lack a Cervix Still Get Pap Tests

June 23, 2004
As many as 10 million women who have had hysterectomies and who no longer
have a cervix are still getting Pap tests, a new study finds.
The screening Pap test looks for precancerous cells in tissue scraped from a woman's cervix and can prevent what would otherwise be a common and deadly cancer. But testing most women without a cervix makes little sense, leads to false positives and wastes money.
The women in question do not include the 1.1 million who had a hysterectomy and still have a cervix, which is at the base of the uterus, nor the 2.2 million who had their uteruses and cervices removed because they had cancer or precancerous cells in their cervix. In both of these groups, Pap tests are warranted.
These women are being screened for cancer in an organ that they don't have.
No professional organization recommends Pap tests for most women without a cervix. The screening guidelines ''either have not been heard or have been ignored,'' the investigators wrote. No one is suggesting fraud or mendacity on the part of the doctors or laboratories (WHAT? WHY NOT? This isn't only unmitigated FRAUD, but also malpractice, and sexual assault!). Instead, Dr. Sirovich and others say,the situation seems to reflect doctors' habits (what about standards of care?!) and women's expectations.(Say what?! = blaming the patient!!)
When a woman does not have a cervix, a doctor scrapes cells from her vagina instead, sending them off to be examined. And that, cancer experts say, is problematic.
Vaginal cancer is exceedingly rare, and tests of vaginal cells are much more likely to result in false positives than they are to find vaginal cancers. A result is unnecessary vaginal biopsies that can result in their own false positives. As a result, women can end up having vaginal tissue removed to treat a cancer that is not even present. (Not to mention unnecessary procedures causing adverse events, psychological harm, and death!)
Dr. Alfred Berg, the former chairman of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, which issues medical practice guidelines, said Pap tests in women without a cervix has been a longstanding issue. Since 1988 (23 years of fraud, and counting!), Dr. Berg said, the task force has issued more and more adamant statements against it, to little avail. (charge the docs with fraud, and it would stop tomorrow!)
''We're all fascinated as to why this should be,'' Dr. Berg said. In part, he said, it might be because the American public is convinced that cancer screening is an unmitigated good, making women and their doctors reluctant to give up a test as simple and popular as the Pap.
''We have a thing in this country about cancer screening (A thing? Medical disease screening, of all types, is their largest recruitment tool for care.) ,'' Dr. Berg said. ''It has a deep social value, and when evidence points in another direction (BS! There never was ANY evidence supporting the use of Pap tests in women without a cervix!) , people are very skeptical.''
Another possibility, Dr. Sirovich said, is that evaluations of doctors and health care systems count the percentage of women who have Pap tests, giving little incentive to advise against the tests. (treating the wallet and not the patient)
Gynecologists are also puzzled.
Dr. Kenneth Noller, an author of the cervical cancer screening guidelines issued by the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, which does not recommend Pap tests for most women who have had hysterectomies, said he suspected that a reason the test was being done in these women anyway was that doctors were used to it.
''It's a relatively cheap (at about $100 per test x 10 million/year = $ 1 billion dollars. That ain't cheap.)and easy procedure,'' he explained. ''It's sort of become a habit.'' (They're kidding, right? FRAUD: pure and simple, and generating big $$$)
Dr. Alan Waxman, another author of the obstetricians and gynecologists' guidelines said women expected the test. ''Many women equate the Pap test with the pelvic exam,'' Dr. Waxman said. ''So they come in every year for their Pap test even if they don't need it any more.''(Blame the patient! Who's in charge here?!)
Instead, he explained, doctors worry about the consequences for themselves if they counsel against a Pap test for the rare woman who turns out to have vaginal cancer. ''If the doctor didn't do a Pap test, then there's the litigation threat,'' he said. (Not true: the standard of care does NOT recommend a PAP test for women without a cervix)
Dr. Noller said he tried to dissuade women who do not need Pap tests. ''I will present the facts to them,'' he said. ''I will try to talk them out of it.'' But, he said, ''if they still insist, I would probably do it.'' (Say What?!! What self-serving nonsense and bad medical judgment! If they insisted on a leg amputation or kidney transplant, would he just go ahead and do it?)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Beyond Neurofeedback

The following is a brief, and fascinating, glimpse into the future of brain imaging and neurofeedback

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Irony of Alternative Health

The Irony of Alternative Care
As a chiropractor and LENS neurofeedback practitioner for many years, I have observed an interesting, and bizarre, irony related to many patients making a first time foray into alternative health. Fed up with years of invasive medical testing and procedures, unsuccessful care, and a plethora of drug cocktails (and their side effects), they enter the office apprehensive and skeptical.
And therein lies the first bit of irony.
I embrace their apprehension and skepticism, and wonder why it didn’t kick in years ago relative to their ongoing complaints and years of failed medical care; not to mention the more significant risks they accepted associated with that care.
But the real irony lies in their expectations of alternative care. They tend to hold alternative care in very low esteem (hence its last resort status), but at the same time, they expect it to fix them quickly; as in a matter of days, at most. In short, they expect a miracle. This always makes me wonder…if they thought it would help them that quickly, why didn’t they try it first?!
However, the ultimate irony, as I see it, must be from the patient’s perspective because a large number of them, with these chronic complaints, respond extremely well to a short course (within 4-6 weeks for chiropractic patients, and 4-6 visits with LENS patients) of non-invasive, extremely low risk conservative care in combination with practical self-help measures (with acute cases, most often, responding faster)....and leave wondering: "why didn't I try this a long time ago?"

Monday, March 21, 2011

Pure Joy!

Pure Joy, A Magical Moment in Life...My beautiful daughter got married!

April May & Eric Schwarz

It doesn't get any better than this!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Optimizing the Brain

LENS: Optimizing the Brain

The following is an article from the Berkshire Eagle:

Optimizing the Brain: process goes after negative effects of mental illness

By Amanda Korman, Berkshire Eagle Staff, Feb 28, 2011

The brain is a complicated country, the tools for treating its maladies always in rapid evolution. One man here has been utilizing a "low-energy" neurofeedback system, or LENS, since October to treat patients with mental illness. The apparently simple program of receiving frequencies to "correct" the brain's negative patterns, gaining ground in the medical community, has also yielded largely positive patient response.

North Adams practitioner Peter May said that LENS is applicable to problems including attention deficit, autism, migraines, insomnia, brain injury and anxiety.
"The brain sometimes gets stuck in maladaptive patterns," said May, a chiropractor by training. "[LENS] acts as a catalyst to activate your brain's self-regulatory capacity to optimize brain function."
May wields the LENS computer program and series of sensors that attach to the patient's earlobes and around the skull over a series of treatments.
Dr. Mary O'Malley, a psychiatrist at Berkshire Medical Center who has trained in neurofeedback, said LENS has a good reputation in her field. Its practitioners need not be physicians, she added.
"These [neurofeedback] are potent tools, and it's great to see that they're getting more use out in the medical system and elsewhere," she said.
O'Malley explained the process simply: "It looks at how the brain is a little bit stuck ... then asks the brain to shift out of being stuckusing low-impulse frequencies."
LENS won't help everybody, May said, but out of the 60 or so people he's treated since he started in October, only about 10 percent haven't seen improvements.
O'Malley pointed out that LENS is often used in conjunction with other clinical diagnosing techniques -- which May doesn't do. However, she said, even just the technology itself can be helpful.
That said, not all those who work with the brain feel as confident in LENS's potency on its own.
Beth Adams, a neuro-trauma rehabilitation specialist in Salem, is more circumspect that neurofeedback alone could create lasting change in a patient with a brain injury, which is one of the ailments May lists as being able to treat.
Adams, who is also on the board of directors for the Brain Injury Association of Massachusetts, wasn't familiar with LENS specifically, but said that a combination of therapy, medications and neuro-psychological evaluation are methods that could better facilitate brain-injury healing.
"If somebody is wanting to facilitate neurofeedback, look at the big picture to encompass all types of therapies," she said.
May feels that the patient responses speak for themselves.
May's patient Ashley, 17, who requested not to have her last name printed to protect her privacy, came to May for LENS treatment after years of poor luck treating ADD, depression and anxiety. She dropped out of high school after her junior year because of emotional problems that medications like Wellbutrin and Paxil weren't ameliorating.
As of this week, Ashley has received four LENS treatments, and her mother said her improvement in mood was almost instant.
"She used to say, ‘I just want to know what's wrong with my brain,'" her mother said. "When we left his office [the first time], she said, ‘I feel like a weight's been lifted off my shoulders."
At May's request, patients write a record of their feelings after treatment, and the compilation has a litany of stories like Ashley's -- the somber, difficult child who suddenly is willing to rake leaves with his siblings; the parents who stop yelling at their children; the depressive kid who begins to take an interest in a sick relative. People also reported negative effects, like spikes in anger, which May believes is the brain's way of beginning to address its dysfunction.
"This is the most amazing thing I've ever seen," May said, gesturing at the book of comments he keeps in his office. "I could read this forever."
Ashley's mother said she is still somewhat dubious of the method. However, she pointed out, the price of treatment -- $160 the first time; $60 after that -- is on par with what she'd spend on her daughter's medications anyway, and May never promised her instant healing.
In short, it doesn't seem like a gimmick, she said -- that, and it seems to be working.
"I was very skeptical, and I still am," her mother said. "But I can honestly say that I have seen a change in [Ashley] since we started the program."
Ashley said that her anxiety is gone, she's more comfortable in social situations and is having an easier time concentrating while working toward her GED and looking for a job. She's still seeing her psychiatrist but is off all her medications, her mother said.
"This has helped me more than any medication or any therapy session has in my entire life," Ashley said.
O'Malley, the BMC psychiatrist, said that LENS and neurofeedback is a treatment alternative that she views as a useful tool in the difficult terrain of mental illness.
"In general, I think people should be their own judge and not look to this as a panacea, obviously," she said. "But very plausibly it could be a better solution to existing problems if they haven't gotten relief elsewhere."

Sunday, February 20, 2011

LENS: Up Close & Personal

LENS: Up Close & Personal

I continue to be amazed at the results I am getting with patients using LENS (Low Energy Neurofeedback System).
Most recently, I am most amazed by my own experience.
In early October 2010, I was trained and certified as a LENS Practitioner. It was also the last time I was treated. Since then patients in my office often ask; “Were you treated with LENS? And, what did it do for you?”
Up until recently, my response has been:
“Personally, I am sleeping much better. I had been waking up every 90 minutes throughout the night. Since LENS, I wake only 1-2 times a night. My dreams have become incredibly vivid to the extent that when I do wake at night, I can go back to sleep and pick up my dream where I left off…and, there is nothing better than me as an action hero, in tights, all night long. Also, my reading retention has improved.”
That’s all well and good, but nothing compared to some of the profound life-changing results many of my patients are experiencing. It’s almost the more dysfunctional the brain is, the more ‘like-wow!’ the response to LENS.
My improvement, like that of my patients, has been consistent after treatment, with one new, quite shocking, personal realization.
In the past 4-6 weeks I have encountered a major life stressor. For several reasons, I had to close my practice in Northampton, MA. As you would imagine, deciding to close, facing up to my decisions and choices, confronting co-tenants, and walking away from a big investment were all very stressful. About two weeks into the close/move, I realized something remarkable. I was going through the process without any of the anxiety and insanity that have characterized me in the past in similar stressful situations. No second guessing, anxiety, or depression about my decision. No bolting awake at night. No minor panic attacks, cold sweats or nervous stomach. And, no irritability, or acting-out, at home.
It took me ‘hitting a wall of stress’ to unveil my personal ‘like-wow’ experience, to realize the profound ways in which LENS has helped me.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Tribute to Jack LaLanne

My Tribute to Jack LaLanne
Jack LaLanne, ‘the founder of the modern fitness movement,’ died at the age of 96. He was a showman and a salesman. He was passionate in his message, and his message was spot on correct. It was a message of health.
In 1936 Jack LaLanne opened the prototype for the fitness spas to come — a gym, juice bar and health food store — in an old office building in Oakland. The Jack LaLanne Show made its debut in 1951 as a local program in the San Francisco area, and then went nationwide on daytime television in 1959.
Had Americans heeded his advice back then, and ignored the advice of their doctors and the AMA, we would have been a much healthier nation and tens of millions of lives would have been spared the devastation and death of the chronic lifestyle degenerative diseases of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, obesity and more.
According to Jack LaLanne, the doctors were against me — they said that working out with weights would give people heart attacks and they would lose their sex drive.” Oops. What an amazing, glaring, costly (in terms of disease, death and money) and self-serving ignorance of health that turned out to be a financial bonanza for the medical-pharmaceutical-insurance industrial complex.
And this was far from the first, or last, time they have been so wrong. In fact, I refer to it as ‘creating the next generation of users’ (of medical/pharmaceutical care and insurance).
Back in the 1930’s, the AMA played a role in establishing cigarettes as a popular product. The AMA helped develop, and then accepted in its journal, advertisements that made cigarettes appear to be a physician endorsed product.” In fact, in the 1940’s, cigarette makers regularly used ‘science’ and physicians in their ads to sell cigarettes. “More doctors smoke Camels than any other cigarette,” "cool and soothing to the back of the throat"…fueling the rise of lung disease and death from emphysema and cancer. Oops.
The 1950’s brought the cholesterol scare. The combination of food industry and medical science and doctors began to scare people away from eating natural animal fats in favor of the synthetic trans fats vastly contributing to the rise of obesity, cardiovascular disease, and death over the subsequent decades. Oops.
And now, doctors are scaring people out of the sun in favor of the full-body application of chemical sunscreens for life, creating a pandemic of vitamin D deficiency. Individuals with low levels of vitamin D appear to have a higher risk of death from all causes, according to a report in the Archives of Internal Medicine.” Oops.
Why is none of this surprising? What would you expect from an industry that focuses on, and profits from, disease and disease care; generating $2.6 trillion dollars in 2006 ($86,000/second), projected to be $4.3 trillion ($136,000/second) by 2017?
Jack LaLanne was a chiropractor. His message was/is the message of chiropractic health; that health is the innate set-point and possible throughout our lives if we safeguard and nurture it with proper exercise and nutrition…a simple, elegant, and irrefutable message. Why is it so hard for people to believe?
Worth watching. As they say, it harks back to a more innocent time.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Lies & Illusions

One of my missions in my practice is to help patients reclaim and improve their lives by understanding and reclaiming their health.

My other mission is to respond to all fraudulent, irresponsible and misleading stories about health in the media that distort the truth and perpetuate medical mythology.

The following is another letter to the editor about an AP article that appeared in my local papers.
Statistics are most often used as a drunk uses a lamppost, more for support than illumination.” So it is with your story “Alternative Meds Can Harm Children,” supporting the false notion that natural and alternative therapies are dangerous and medical procedures and drugs are safe. This article is misleading in that it lacks perspective.
An article in JAMA: Vol 284, No 4, 07/26/2000 by Dr Barbara Starfield, MD, of Johns Hopkins, shows that medical errors may be the third leading cause of death in the United States.

There are 2,000 deaths/year from unnecessary surgery; 7000 deaths/year from medication errors in hospitals; 20,000 deaths/year from other errors in hospitals; 80,000 deaths/year from infections in hospitals; 106,000 deaths/year from non-error, adverse effects of medications - these total up to 225,000 deaths per year in the US from iatrogenic causes which ranks these deaths as the # 3 killer. More than two million American hospitalized patients suffered a serious adverse drug reaction (ADR) within the 12-month period of the study and, of these, over 100,000 died as a result. Over 75 per cent of these ADRs were dose-dependent, which suggests they were due to the inherent toxicity of the drugs rather than to allergic reactions. The data did not include fatal reactions caused by accidental overdoses or errors in administration of the drugs. If these had been included, it is estimated that another 100,000 deaths would be added to the total every year.”
Shockingly, all medical adverse events are reported voluntarily; estimated at only 1 to 10% of the real problem. So, the actual number of doctor-induced deaths is a multiple of that reported. And, there is no way to know how many of those who die are children.
Anything can harm children, and many things do. It is wrong to scare people away from natural treatments. In many, if not most, cases they are superior to, and less dangerous than, medical approaches in that they rely on the body’s innate capacity for healing. On the other hand, good parenting acknowledges the important role of medical care in emergencies and life-threatening illness.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

My Year (2010) in Quotes

As I speak with patients, sometimes I am surprised what comes out of my mouth. The following are what I believe to be original quotes:

Life is an Education: So Live and Learn, and Learn to Live

To become the person you want to be, you first have to know the person you are.
The fountain of youth is health.
If you don’t put your health first, at some point everything else will be second.
Your life is a work in progress. If you are willing to do the work, you will see the progress.
Health is a lifetime, lifestyle commitment.
If you are not in control of your health, someone else is.

Intuition is hardwired.

How can we expect to have a healthy planet, when we don’t understand how to create health within ourselves?
How can we expect responsible corporations and government, when we ourselves are irresponsible?
How can we expect honesty from others, when we are dishonest with ourselves?
How can we have respect for a higher power, when we so disrespect the miraculous gifts we have been given in our health, our life, and our world?

The Golden Rule: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."
My Platinum Rule: Take personal responsibility in all aspects of your life.