Tag Archives: acupuncture and psychiatry

Brain food – REALLY

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Welcome to our site:

My Herb professor at my chinese medical school used to say – look at the fruit, leaf, seed or think about what it does in nature to know what to use it for.  And this strategy holds true when discovering  foods that support brain function.  Another trick – think deep red, purple and deep blue – these colors support blood, and good blood flow supports brain function.

So here are my top ten:

Walnuts, look like little brains and it turns out they contain  ala- alpha-linolenic acid, and important anti-oxidants:  “Walnuts are a nutrient dense food that contain numerous potentially neuroprotective compounds including antioxidants, polyphenols and the plant-based omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid. These components may all work together to promote brain health,” says lead researcher Dr. Peter PribisPR Newswire (http://s.tt/1sbDU).  This study corroborates a previous study,  Willis L, Shukitt-Hale B,Cheng V, Joseph J. Dose-dependent effects of walnuts on motor and cognitive function in aged rats. Br J Nutr. 2009; 101:1140-1164, (British Journal of Nutrition, 2009) that indicates about an ounce of walnuts a day can have anti-aging effects, protect against oxidative stress, Pribis. PR Newswire (http://s.tt/1sbDU).

Pecans, also have a corrugated  brain look, and it turns out they are super food for your brain with high in omega-3 and also promote neurological protection through vitamin E and 19 other vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A, folic acid, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc and several B vitamins that are key in supporting brain health.  And they are super rich in antioxidants.  http://organicjar.com/2010/2567/

Cacao beans when opened have the same visual quality of the walnut and pecan.  It turns out that chocolate high in cacao has as much antioxidant effect as red wine and green tea, raw cacao.  Studies have shown that the naturally occurring flavonols in cacao can increase blood flow and help to promote brain health and have protective effects on cognitive function, medical news.

Coffee Beans, they look like little smooth brains.  Turns out coffee is great for brain function.  Unprocessed coffee beans have been found to have 1000 antioxidants, 100s more are developed though in the roasting process, onemedical.com.  And studies indicate it can defer cognitive decline and curb depression – both brain functions.  See also, Protective effects of coffee, Life extension 2012.

Eggs  because of  just the ‘right kind’ of cholesterol for brain cellular function- it incorporates into the myelin sheath, which is a protective covering for your nerve cells. As part of the myelin sheath, cholesterol plays a role in helping your brain cells communicate effectively.

  • Choline is another great reason to eat eggs. Choline is a fat critical to maintain brain cell structure and incorporates, like cholesterol, into the myelin sheath.  It’s also used to produce acetylcholine, an important neurotransmitter.
  • Acetylcholine plays a role in concentration, focus, learning, and memory.  As a matter of fact, age-related diseases like Alzheimer’s are often characterized by low levels of acetylcholine.

Kidney beans, dark red and lobe-like, the image will make you think of the kidney but a well-functioning brain requires lots of kidney power according to Chinese medicine so these guys are a go to food for brain health.  Turns out they have highly positive effects on the brain through choline, acetylcholine, and “good” fat and glucose to power the brain.

White Beans help brain-cell communication.  They’re a great source of phosphatidylserine, a brain-building nutrient.

  • Phosphatidylserine supports cell to cell communication, which is important for your brain cells. And, like acetylcholine, it’s also important for concentration, learning, and memory.
  • In a double-blind, placebo-controlled study, researchers gave 300 mg of phosphatidylserine daily to people experiencing cognitive decline. After a period of several months, the treatment group showed significant improvements in learning and memory.(Aging (Milano). 1993 Apr;5(2):123-33).

Here is one you may not have heard about Goji Berries – also known as wolfberries.  I learned about these in Chinese medical school – these dark red berries are perfect for brain health and are loaded with antioxidants.

  • Studies show that goji berries help support cognitive function in animals and protect brain cells against amyloid plaque,5 a precursor to Alzheimer’s disease.  (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16139464)
  • Goji berries have also been shown to protect brain tissue from low oxygen states and strengthen the blood-brain barrier — a specialized membrane protecting the brain from dangerous toxins.(http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22438957)
  • Goji berries are also worthwhile in treating prenatal stress: ( http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20131093).

Of course beautiful blueberries have loads of antioxidants and are powerful brain food.

Here’s one that doesn’t fit the map:  avocados – they are dark green – but don’t let that fool you – Avocados are fantastic for brain health.  The monounsaturated fat in avocados contribute to healthy blood flow.  Healthy blood flow increases brain health.  Avocados also lower blood pressure.  Hypertension can be a risk factor for decline in cognitive abilities so lowering blood pressure can increase brain health.

The final brain food to consider is cauliflower.  Cauliflower looks like a brain and it is high in Choline like white beans and eggs.  Also high in potassium, which is essential for good nerve function and cognitive function, and phosphorous, and vitamin B 6 which is a building block for a range of neurotransmitterscauliflower brain food, livestrong.

So think about using your visual sense to discern what foods might be great for your brain by looking for the brain image in the food.

You can use this technique to support other organs in your body through the powerful medicine of food.

See you next time, dr beth gineris, www.bethgineris.com and dr ron romanik.

Mood disorders: Using tongue color, quality to anticipate a change in mood

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New Case report:  Treatment of mood-disorder through tongue color and pulse diagnosis.

Mood disorders include Depression, Bi-polar I and Bi-polar II disorders.  Think of these as disorders of mood – which is to say that the individual suffering with these feels their mood overtakes them rather than the other way around.  These are frequently treated with anti-anxiety, anti-depressant, and mood stabilizing psychiatric medicines.

Sometimes, for various reasons, the individual finds that he is behind the curve and a switch in mood is overtaking him.  When this happens one option is to change or adjust medication.  The best thing to do is to avoid the need to increase and decrease dose in a cyclical way to deal with the mood swings.

Using acupuncture, homeopaths, herbs, yoga, and biofeedback can be essential in getting out of this cyclical med-adjustment patterning.

Here are some steps to shift into a more integrative strategy.

First, identify specific triggers for mood changes – these may be emotional, physical or nutritional.

Second,  it is helpful to identify cues that a shift is occurring.  Here is where tongue and pulse can be utilized.  Cues may be emotional or feeling related:  a sense of fatigue, feeling uncomfortable or irritable.

These first two steps assist the individual to get a head of the curve and stave off a shift into Mania or Depression.

Tongue and Pulse keys to CUES:  Typically the tongue change that may indicate a person is shifting into the swing uP may be a red or dark purple – peeled, and dry tongue – black, dark brown, dry tongues are indicative of internal heat and this is the interior of an upward manic swing.  Pulse changes here might be fuller, ropy, and bigger.  The feeling might be irritable, unable to sit, or lay down, a feeling of restlessness.  Remember that hypomania is below (hypo) mania (but above a relaxed normal mood) so irritability, rapid speech, restlessness, and liver yang rising signs and symptoms (red eyes, increased anger, frustration) are present in this state.

Helpful treatments to return to balance for an UP swing:  Biofeedback, acupuncture points that clear heat and calm shen are useful as well as ghost points that feel tight and stagnant on palpation and points that help to anchor the yang and Du 20/kidney 1.  Using exercise and Yoga are very helpful to move the Qi and help to anchor the person.

The tongue change involved in a shift into the swing dOWn may be pale, pale purple, puffy, thick white coat – may be dry or damp with scalloping – the thick white coating and pale color signify a downward swing – this indicates a lack of transporting and transforming and Qi deficiency which are the interior components of a downward depressive swing. Pulse changes may be weaker, slower, and spinny heart pulses.  The feeling might be lack of energy, fatigue, discouragement and a desire for sleep without rest.  Depressive thinking is a sure sign of a depressive swing downward.

With depressive thinking: thinkings and feelings are skewed to the negative, with little to know recollection when things felt better or positive.  Even memories of being successful or things working well are not accessible.  When addressing important aspects of depressive thinking, look for ways to argue with the negative thinking.  Read this short blog for specific ways to work through depressive thinking, Applying Mindfulness to depression, www.instinctivehealthmedicine.com.

Biofeedback, acupuncture to tonify and strengthen – especially the use of moxa – as well as calm shen with a focus on building the middles and stomach/spleen points, and the yuan points are most useful.  Again ghost points can be of service, especially if they are puffy and deficient when evaluated.  Using exercise especially swimming, walking, and Yoga are helpful in rebalancing the person.

The acupuncture treatments can immediately positively affect the person, often in one treatment properly focused, so that the exercise, biofeedback or meditation, journaling, and nutritional therapy can move the person to balance quickly, averting the swing in either direction.
Working directly with the individual’s psychiatrist or therapist will allow a thorough rebalancing for the individual.
We have a number of different protocols that we have developed to deal with these changes and mood fluctuations.  Please contact me through my website,www.bethgineris.com, if you want more specific detail, or you may comment on this blog below.
Remember these structures are spirit, mind, and body integrated so utilizing an integrative medicine strategy will create the best and most effective results.  
Best of luck and see you back here for our next case study posting.  dr beth gineris, dr ron romanik.

Meet your contributors

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Meet your contributors

Dr. Romanik has been in private practice as a board certified psychiatrist for over 25 years.  And was recently named Best Psychiatrist by his colleagues in the Albuquerque Living Monthly Magazine, March 2012 “TOP DOCs” issue.

He taught at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine for 5 years following his residency and has enjoyed throughout his practice mentoring and guiding psychiatric medical students as well as PhD Psychologists and Masters Level therapists in the Art of medicine in the field of psychiatry.

His East-West studies have spanned the whole of his life, beginning in his teens where he pursued Yoga and throughout his medical training where he trained with MD/Acupuncturists.

Dr Romanik has presented papers at the World Psychiatric Association and other conferences.  He uses an innovative and integrative approach to looking for the areas of confluence in Internal Medicine and Psychiatry.

Dr. Gineris has over 20 years of experience as a psychotherapist, communication skills trainer, and parenting trainer, she has over 15 years experience as a strategic management trainer, seminar provider and consultant, and seven years experience as a Doctor of Oriental Medicine.  Her focus is the innovative integration of east-west philosophies to promote health.

Her East-West studies have spanned the length of her career; including a strong emphasis on mindfulness, meditation, and Yoga.

She is an author and has developed and provided education and training seminars since 1992, with a east-west integrative focus to promote health, since 1996.

Dr. Gineris and Dr. Romanik have teamed up to develop  Integrative Medicine Strategies to assist individuals with psychiatric diagnoses.  They work with individuals who have all kinds of issues so you may find great ideas about how to treat sleep disorders, weight loss issues, asthma, intestinal inflammation, blood pressure imbalances and various kinds of pain disorders.

They have collaborated with patients since 2000, and have developed this model over the last seven years.

The blogs that follow will provide insights and techniques that are easily incorporated into integrative medicine practices as well as ideas that individuals can develop with their own practitioners.

The key as you will ascertain is communication.  Team work, excellent listening and observation skills, innovation, and a willingness to follow the thread of information to its unique end, and of course the capacity to paradigm shift in real time  are all important attributes to create a successful complementary – integrative model.   Always address various concerns within a balanced whole perspective to allow for a return to balance fot the patient or individual who is suffering.