Archive for the ‘Anxiety’ Category

PSYCHOSOMATIC DISORDERS: the mind-body connection!

Friday, July 7th, 2017

Doctors to whom I speak to are more aware now of the mind-body connection and are noticing people who attend their clinics with physical symptoms driven from psychological issues rather than medical ones.

Did you know that nearly 50% of heart tissue is made up of brain neurons?  Now we know why we FEEL with our hearts

They are recognising how phantom symptoms which are real for the sufferer are not showing up as organic diseases measured in blood tests, hormonal in-balances or the presence of a primary disease. What we know is that brain through its thinking mechanisms, and our bodies via emotions and feelings, are able to produce other effects and symptoms of what may mimic a known disease or disorder. The problem is that when you investigate or use a conventional treatment on the assumed problem it does not resolve the issue. We know the types of conditions include seizures, paralysis, blindness, deafness, headaches, severe pain and many other bodily symptoms such as sweating, stomach cramps, palpitations and bloating.

It is a hard diagnosis to convey that is all in your head or psychologically linked but yet true. This does not diminish or negate the issue but simply switches the approach and emphasis of how to look at where the treatment approach should focus and work from. The issue is real and is treated as such by body centric psychotherapy and it is an area where success has been obtained by considering such a cause may exist where conventional medicine cannot achieve healing of whatever condition exists.

So, how can we help with psychosomatic symptoms?

At New Leaf we do lots of techniques to help you find and work through psychosomatic illnesses….

Kinesiology – helps to find old patterns, beliefs, disconnections that are not allowing us to live our best life.  Kinesiology also helps us target the source of the problem and work out supplements which are most effective for you

Quantum Consciousness healings – Rob helps clients find their way, heal the past through a talk-therapy-visualisation process that helps to look at the root causes of addictions, stress and pain

LEAP – helps to integrate pathways of the brain which aren’t working – and are stopping logical and creative thinking in order to find solutions

Flower Essence Combinations – we design flower essences specifically for you and the emotional issues you need to work through!

Call us on 3348 6098 or email on healthteam@newleafnaturaltherapies.com.au to chat about what appointment will be best for you.

Madonna Guy ND
New Leaf Natural Therapies

 

 

LEAP: The Learning Enhancement Acupressure Program – by Dr Charles T. Krebs

Tuesday, July 26th, 2016

We’ve been doing kinesiology at New Leaf Natural Therapies for 20 years.  LEAP is an integrative approach to supporting better brain function – for moods, stress, survival patterns, learning problems, damaging behaviours, anxiety, suicidal thoughts…

LEAP®: The Learning Enhancement Acupressure Program: Correcting

Learning and Memory Problems with Acupressure and Kinesiology.

By Dr. Charles T. Krebs

ABSTRACT:

The Learning Enhancement Acupressure Program, or LEAP®, has been developed since 1985 inconjunction with clinical psychologists, speech pathologists, neurologists and other health professionals, as a very effective program for the correction of most learning difficulties. LEAP® is based on a new model of learning integrating recent concepts in neurophysiology of the brain and uses highly specific acupressure formatting to address stress within specific brain structures. The application of specific non-invasive acupressure and other energetic techniques can then resolve these stresses resulting in a return to normal function.

In the LEAP® model of learning Gestalt and Logic functions are not simply localised in the right or left cerebral hemisphere as in the popular Right Brain/Left Brain model of learning. But rather, each type of conscious brain function or process appears to have a cerebral “lead” function that is either predominantly Gestalt (Visuo-spatial, Global) or Logic (Linear, Sequential) in nature. These cortical “lead” functions provide a “point of entry” into a widely distributed system comprising many subconscious cortical sub-modules in both hemispheres and many subconscious subcortical modules throughout the limbic system and brainstem.

While the Gestalt and Logic “lead” functions are conscious, these functions are dependent upon many levels of subconscious sensory processing at many levels within the nervous system. While this processing through multiplexing and parallel processing at many different levels is highly efficient, it means that brain processing is “time bound”. Since many components of any mental function are performed in many different parts of the brain, and often at different speeds, coherent output in the form of “thinking” requires integration and synchronisation of all of these separate processes.

Loss of integrated brain function, termed loss of Brain Integration in LEAP®, thus results in the loss of a specific mental capacity, the ability to perform a specific type of mental task. When these specific mental capacities are required for academic performance, their loss can result in Specifi Learning Disabilities.

Specific Learning Disabilities (SLDs) arise in this model by either lack of access to specific subconscious processing modules, either cortical or subcortical, or the de-synchronisation of neural flows in the integrative pathways linking processing modules. Thus to resolve SLDs, you need only “open up” access to the “blocked” processing modules or re-synchronise the timing of information flow between them to re-instate integrated brain function.

The LEAP® program provides an integrated acupressure protocol using direct muscle biofeedback (kinesiology) as a tool to identify “stress” within specific brain nuclei and areas that have “blocked” integrated function. The application of the LEAP® acupressure protocol using acupressure and other energetic based techniques to re-synchronise brain function resolves learning and memory problems in a high percent of cases.

HISTORY OF SPECIFIC LEARNING DIFFICULTIES.

Difficulties with learning academic tasks such as reading, spelling and mathematics have been recognised for over a century, with Kussmaul in 1877 ascribed as the first person to specifically describe an inability to read, that persisted in the presence of intact sight and speech, as word blindness.1 The word dyslexia was coined by Berlin in 1887.2 Within a decade a Glasgow eye surgeon James Hinschelwood (1895) and a Seaford General Practitioner Pringle Morgan (1896) observed students who were incapable of learning to read and hypothesised that this was based on a failure of development of the relevant brain areas which were believed to be absent or abnormal.

This model was based on the assumption that developmental dyslexia (congenital dyslexia) was similar in form to acquired dyslexia, which is dyslexia due to brain damage after a person has already learned to read. Deficits in other types of learning, such as mathematics, would also result from some other underlying brain damage or abnormality.3

Work in the early part of the twentieth century, particularly by Samuel T. Orton in the 1920s and 1930s suggested that learning difficulties such as dyslexia were not based on anatomical absence or abnormality, but rather it was delay in the development of various areas that caused these dysfunctions. This belief was largely ignored until the 1960s when it was revived by a growing interest in neuropsychology. However, more recent developments in neuropsychology and neurophysiology support the hypothesis that dysfunctions within the brain, both anatomical and developmental, may be causal in many learning problems.4

It was not until 1963, in an address given by Samuel Kirk, who argued for better descriptions of children’s school problems that the term “learning disabilities” originated. Since that time there’s been a proliferation of labels that attempt to dissociate the learning disabled from the retarded and brain damaged.

Definitions

In the context of this synopsis, Specific Learning Disorders or Disabilities (SLDs) relates to problems with physical co-ordination and acquiring the academic skills of reading, writing, spelling and mathematics including both Dyslexia and Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) with or without hyperactivity. ADD with hyperactivity is now commonly called Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or hyperkinetic disorder in Europe. Historically, Dyslexia has been widely defined in terms of deficits in the areas of reading, spelling and language. However, more recent conceptualisations have included a definition that also encompasses a wide range of problems, including clumsiness and difficulty with rote learning.5 Fawcett and Nicolson have also challenged the prevailing hypothesis that Dyslexia is merely a language based problem, suggesting that it might be a more generalised deficit in the acquisition of skills.6

The term Dyslexia is not defined in the DSM IV (1994) although it is still commonly used in literature discussing various learning difficulties. The term Learning Disorders (DSM IV) currently encompasses various types of learning difficulties including dyslexia and Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). Learning Disorders are defined in the DSM IV as being essentially a persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that is more frequent and severe than is typically observed in individuals at a comparable level of development. The performance of these individuals on standardised tests for reading, mathematics, or written expression is substantially below, more than 2 standard deviations (SDs), same age peers even though their IQ scores are average or above average.7

Incidence

Frequently, children diagnosed as learning disabled are also inattentive and deficient in linguistic skills, most often in reading.8 Rutter and Yule examined a large population of children from a number of different studies and found 3.5% of Isle of Wight 10-year-olds, 4.5% of 14-year-olds and over 6% of London 10-year-olds showed reading difficulties.9 Gaddes looked at the proportion of children with learning disorders in various studies in both North America and Europe and found that the need for special training for learning disorders ranged between 10-15% of the school age population.10 However, estimates of the prevalence of learning disorders for broad age ranges is problematic because a learning disability is an emergent problem that is often not evident until later years in schooling. Using the criteria of defining learning disorders as being two years behind on standardised tests, less than 1% of 6-year-olds are disabled, 2% of 7-year-olds and so on until at age 19, 25% would be classified as learning disabled. So these children fall progressively behind as they mature and the complexity of work increases.11 In an address given by the Australian Federal Schools Minister, Dr David Kemp, in October 1996, Kemp stated that a study of 28,000 students in four surveys in Australia found 30% of year 9 students lacked basic literacy skills. This high incidence of learning disorders in school children indicates a need for effective treatment. Studies in other countries, both English, French and German support these figures, so specific learning difficulties, which cover all types of learning disabilities from dyslexia, reading problems, ADD to ADHD, probably represent greater than 15% of school-aged children, and may be as high as one third of all school-aged children.

Causes

Currently hypotheses concerning learning disorders suggest that they are primarily the result of one or more of five major factors;

1) structural damage,
2) brain dysfunction,
3) abnormal cerebral lateralisation,
4) maturational lag and
5) environment deprivation.

While none of these theories is unequivocally supported by current data, all of these factors may contribute in varying degrees to learning disabilities.12

Brain damage and overt brain dysfunction would appear to account for a relatively small percentage of children with learning disorders. The great majority of other children with learning disorders do not typically show many of the neurological symptoms associated with brain damage in adults. For instance, EEG and CT studies have not shown structural damage and abnormal EEGs correlated with known brain damage are not consistently observed in children with learning disorders.13 Rather than direct brain damage, there is evidence that abnormal physiological or biochemical processes may be responsible for malfunction in some part of the cerebral cortex.

Electrophysiological recording studies have associated specific high frequency EEG and AEP (averaged evoked potentials) abnormalities with various types of learning disorders.14 Recent studies with SSVEP (Steady state visual evoked potential) have shown that children diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder demonstrate similar abnormal SSVEP patterns when compared to normal subjects while performing the same cognitive task.15 The brain dysfunction hypothesis suggests that the dysfunction may be a consequence of defective arousal mechanisms resulting in some form of inadequate cerebral activation.16

This is supported by studies of children with learning disorders that show they have difficulty on continuous performance tests requiring attention and low distractibility; had slower reaction times to stimuli, and increased errors due to impulsivity on tests of visual searching.17 Douglas proposed that the deficits on these tasks resulted from inadequate cerebral activation. Learning disorders of some types at least, do improve with drugs like amphetamines that cause cerebral activation via increasing subcortical arousal. In fact this is the basis of treating hyperactive children with Ritalin.18

An alternative model of learning disorders is based on recent neurophysiological findings that suggest it is the timing and synchronisation of neural activity in separate brain areas that creates high order cognitive functions. Any loss or malfunction of the timing mechanism may cause disintegration of neural activity and hence dysfunction in cognitive tasks.19 Clearly, brain dysfunction due to inadequate cerebral activation may indeed lead to disruption of the timing and synchronisation of neural flows, and thus these two hypotheses may just be different aspects of the same process.

This model supports the approach in the Learning Enhancement Advanced Program (LEAP®) that Dr. Krebs developed in the late 1980s early 1990s.20 In the LEAP® Model, Specific Learning Disorders are based on the disruption or loss of timing and synchronisation between the neural activity in the diverse brain regions, both cortical and subcortical, that must be synchronised in order for successful integration to produce normal cognitive activity. Learning disorders would arise in this model from a lack of integration of functions that occur simultaneously in separate brain regions.

If the brain does integrate separate processes into meaningful combinations we call ‘thought’ or cognitive ability, then the main risk is mis-timing or loss of synchronisation between these processes. To quote Damasio “any malfunction of the timing mechanism would be likely to create spurious integration or disintegration”.21 For synchronous firing of neurons in many separate brain areas to create cognitive functions would require maintenance of focused activity at these different sites long enough for meaningful integration of disparate information and decisions to be made.

THE LEAP® MODEL OF LEARNING:

From a review of the major brain structures and the workings of learning and memory in the neurological literature, it is clear that both memory and learning do not involve a single, global hierarchical system in the brain. But rather, learning involves interplay between many inter-linked sub-systems or modules.22 Also, the timing and synchronisation of information flow between these sub-systems and modules appears to be critical to the success of learning and coherent cognitive function.

However, the sub-systems or modules underlying both learning and memory are both conscious and subconscious with most of the early leveling processing being totally subconscious, and only the highest levels of neural processing reaching consciousness. Yet, it is indeed these conscious modules that initiate and direct the processing to be done by the subconscious modules, as both learning and memory require “conscious” effort to occur. This means that the memory and learning processes can be disrupted at both the conscious and subconscious levels, depending upon which neural substrates or integrative pathways are disrupted.

Sensory processing of all types is initially a relatively linear chain of neural impulses originating from a generator potential of the sensory receptor, and following a chain of neurons into the Central Nervous System (CNS) and brain. However, this initially linear stream of nerve impulses, the data of the CNS, rapidly becomes divergent and multiplexed at higher levels of cortical processing.

Conscious perception only arises at the highest levels of these multiplexed data flows as they are reintegrated back into unified conscious perception by the cortical columns directing all conscious brain activity. Thinking and other cognitive abilities rely upon all of the proceeding levels of subconscious sensory processing, which are predominately bilateral initially, but which become progressively asymmetrical and lateralised with increasing levels of conscious awareness. Sensory information is processed initially as neural flows of increasing complexity that generate preverbal images and symbols, but becomes increasingly defined by language in higher level cognitive processes. And language by its very nature is based upon abstract representations of external reality (called words), that follow linear rules (grammar), and word order linked to meaning (syntax). Hence it is predominately sequential and linear in form, which permits analytical evaluation of the thoughts generated following rational rules of Logic. From the perspective of Logic, the world is interpreted as parts that can be constructed into a whole via deductive reasoning.

Sensory and other mental data not suitable for language-based rational processing is processed via visuo-spatial image and symbols that permit global, holistic comprehension of the whole and is inherently non-rational.23 This global, simultaneous, non-rational visuo-spatial processing has been termed Gestalt (German for pattern or form), with the meaning of the whole extracted via inductive reasoning. From the Gestalt perspective, the world is seen as a “whole” with intuitive understanding of the properties of the whole. There is no rational analysis of “Why?”, it just “Is”.

In the LEAP® Model of Learning, it is recognized that most of the lower level linear sensory processing occurs below conscious perception, that is either subcortical, being processed in the brainstem or other brain nuclei like the hypothalamus, thalamus, basal ganglia, etc., or is palaeocortical and limbic. Even the basal levels of cortical processing are largely bilateral and subconscious, and thus occur outside of conscious perception. All higher level cortical processing, which may become conscious, is thus reliant upon maintenance of integrated function and neural flows at these subconscious levels.

However, the more overtly cognitive components of learning rapidly become lateralised with processing dominated by activation of cortical columns, the functional units of the neocortex, in one hemisphere of the brain or the other. In right-handed people, Logic processing typically activates cortical columns in the left hemisphere, that then process the data in a linear analytical way, while activation of cortical columns in the right hemisphere process data in a Gestalt, visuo-spatial way.

Thus, at the highest levels of conscious neural processing underlying cognition and thought, whether that “thought” be verbally based language of Logic, or global intuitively based “knowing” of Gestalt, the neural processing is highly lateralised and is predominately processed in the right or left hemisphere.

The neural substrates for all “conscious” functions therefore are cortical columns of the neocortex (Fig. 1). Conscious activation of a cortical column acts to initiate a cascade of neural flows that rapidly spread to other cortical areas both conscious and subconscious in both hemispheres, and also into many subcortical structures as well. These consciously activated cortical columns initiate either Gestalt or Logic functions depending in which hemisphere they are located.

In LEAP® we term cortical columns activating Logic functions, Logic “lead” functions, and those activating Gestalt functions, Gestalt “lead” functions. These “lead” functions provide points of entry into an inter-linked set of cortical and subcortical modules that then perform our mental functions.

Figure 1. Cortical Columns. Vertical slabs of cortex consisting of all six distinct cell layers, called cortical columns, are the functional units of the cerebral cortex. Some of the cells like the large pyramidal cells have dendrites that extend through almost all layers and axons that exit the gray matter to become part of the white matter tracts carrying information to other parts of the brain and body. There are also innumerable interneurons connecting the cells within each cell layer and between the layers.

Indeed, it was a misunderstanding about the nature of these “lead” functions from which the popular “Right Brain – Left Brain” model of learning and brain function arose. Because damage to specific cortical columns caused loss of specific conscious functions, e.g. the ability to form an image, or figure out certain types of problems or solve certain types of puzzles, it was assumed that the damaged area actually did that specific function. In reality, all that cortical column did was provide a point of entry into these inter-linked sets of cortical and subcortical modules that actually performed the function lost because of the damage to the cortical “lead” function.

An analogy would be damage to the “K” key on your keyboard. Your consciousness is still intact and able to initiate “K” questions, and your computer system is still able to process and answer “K” questions, but the interface to initiate “K” processing in the computer has been damaged. Like wise, if a Gestalt “lead” function is damaged, the process initiated by this “lead” function no longer activates the inter-linked cortical and subcortical functions that are required for this process to occur. Thus, while damage to the area initiating a function, “blocks” the rest of the processing needed to perform the function, the area initiating function never actually ever “did” the function in the first place. To continue this analogy, in most cases it is not overt “damage” to the cortical “lead” function or subcortical brain areas that prevents effective thinking, but rather “blocked” access to these brain areas due to some stressor that is the problem. Thus, much in the same way a “sticky” key blocks fluent typing, “blocked access” to specific brain areas blocks effective thinking and problem-solving.

Synopsis of the LEAP® Model of Learning:

In summary, the LEAP® Model of Learning is based on the following suppositions about the nature and location of neural processing underlying learning and memory:

Sensory processing initiated by sensory receptors generates initially linear neural flows that rapidly diverge at each successive processing centre (spinal and cranial nerve ganglia, brainstem nuclei, subcortical nuclei, limbic cortices, and finally neocortical columns) into a number of different complex data streams. All processing below the neocortex is subconscious.

Each processing centre, at each successive level within the spinal cord, brainstem, diencephalon, basal forebrain and cortex elaborates the sensory data, defining some aspect more than another, or adds additional types of information needed to define the sensory data further at the next level of processing. All processing below the neocortex is subconscious.

At the higher cortical levels, input from many lower levels both cortical and subcortical is integrated to form a conscious perception of the initial sensory experience.

These higher cortical levels not only integrate processing of the “raw” sensory data, but also include integration of input from memory areas about past experiences with similar sensory stimuli.

At the highest cortical levels the conscious perceptions formed at lower cortical levels are further processed asymmetrically in either Gestalt or Logic cortical columns, and hence perceived as a visuos-patial pattern or a Gestalt, or abstractly as a verbal word based language or an abstract symbol based mathematical language.

The very highest levels of conscious processing that underlie our thinking about conscious perceptions, while dependent upon input from all areas of the brain, are generally frontal lobe and particularly involve working memory areas in the Dorsolateral Frontal Cortex.

A whole set of basal brainstem mechanisms maintain the organism in a state of homeostasis, such that higher level conscious sensory processing can proceed effectively:

These include the Reticular Activating System, the Periventricular Survival System, the Vestibular System and the Sensory-Motor System. Imbalances within or between these systems may disrupt on-going sensory processing and integration at this and higher levels. Processing at this level is totally subconscious.

The initial “raw” data stream is “sampled” by the Amygdala and other survival centres in the brainstem, and coloured by the survival emotions paired or associated with the sensory stimuli being analyzed, including the physiological responses to these emotions, and is the basis of Conditioned Learning. These primary survival emotions may disrupt on-going sensory processing and integration at this and higher levels. Processing at this level is subconscious.

When survival emotions of the Fight or Flight response are activated above some “threshold” value, the amygdala and other brainstem structures such as the Periaqueductal Grey Matter of the midbrain inhibit frontal cortical processing, interfering with reasoning and problem-solving. The cause of this loss of higher level conscious cortical processing is a direct consequence of activation of the subconscious primary survival emotions of the Limbic System and Brainstem.

Secondary processing of the sensory stimuli in the Brainstem, Limbic System and lower cortical levels generates a series of control functions defining the nature of the sensory data stream (e.g. control of pupils in vision) and second-order integration of this sensory data (e.g. movement, shape and location of object in space). Processing at this level is subconscious.

Further processing in the palaecortical components of the Limbic System (e.g. hippocampus, cingulate, subcallosal and orbitofrontal cortices) generates secondary emotions relative to the sensory data stream and primary emotions already supplied by the amygdala and other brainstem areas via sampling memory of related events. These secondary limbic emotions may disrupt on-going sensory processing and integration at this and higher levels. Processing at this level is largely subconscious.

Initial cortical processing is predominately bilateral and subconscious, and is dependent upon earlier processing at brainstem and subcortical levels. Emotions, either primary or secondary, may disrupt on-going sensory processing and integration at this and higher levels.

At some level of cortical processing the sensory data stream emerges into a conscious perception, and is dependent upon earlier processing at brainstem, subcortical, and earlier cortical levels. Emotions, either primary or secondary, may disrupt on-going integration at this and higher levels

At the highest levels of cortical processing, the processing is largely done in one hemisphere or the other and perceived consciously as a logical, rational thought or a visuospatial Gestalt, and is dependent upon earlier processing at brainstem, subcortical and cortical levels. Emotions, either primary or secondary, may disrupt on-going integration at this level, and any “thinking” dependent upon this level of processing.

Thinking about the fully processed and integrated sensory experience in the frontal lobes, based upon remembered sensory experiences relevant to the current experience may lead to decisions, which will be represented neurologically by activation of either Logic or Gestalt “lead” functions or both.

These “lead” functions will then initiate a cascade of neurological flow, which is initially frontal cortical, but rapidly flows into other cortical areas and subcortical structures like the basal ganglia, thalamus, and cerebellum, which in turn feedback to the cortex and each other. Emotions, either primary or secondary, may disrupt on-going processing and integration at any level of this process, and thus overtly affect the final outcome of the cognitive functions taking place.

Coherent neurological processing at any stage of the above process is dependent upon both uninterrupted flows along integrative pathways and within integrative processing centres. Disruption or de-synchronisation of the timing of these integrative neural flows or disruption or de-synchronisation of processing in any of the integrative centres may result in loss of cognitive function.

Maintaining integration along all integrative pathways and within all integrative centres produces optimum function, a state called Brain Integration in LEAP.

Loss of integrated brain function is the principal cause of dysfunction in both mental and physical performance, called Loss of Brain Integration in LEAP.

The primary mechanism causing Loss of Brain Integration is de-synchronisation and loss of timing of neural flows along integrative pathways and within integrative centres by inhibition or excitation of these pathways and centres by neural flows originating from brainstem and limbic survival related emotions.

On-going Loss of Brain Integration is often generated by early childhood trauma that creates long-term disruption of Brain Integration as a mechanism of coping.

Other factors affecting Brain Integration are genetic, structural, organic brain damage, and environmental stressors:

o Structural defects or abnormalities can be of developmental origin, e.g. neuronal migration problems, or result from toxin exposure at specific critical periods of development, e.g. fetal alcohol syndrome. Many cognitive defects have been shown to correlate with abnormalities in brain structure.24

o Organic Brain Damage may result from a head injury, and this damage often results in sclerosis that disrupts neural flows underlying Brain Integration (e.g. hippocampal sclerosis and subsequent epilepsy are often associated with learning disorders).

o Genetic Factors affecting Brain Integration are often genes that code for specific alleles for specific enzymes involved in maintaining normal levels of neurotransmitters or receptors in brain circuits.25 Deficiencies in either neurotransmitters or receptors will compromise Brain Integration, and have behavioural consequences. This is both the basis of much ADHD behaviour and the justification for drug use to ameliorate these behaviours.26

Other genes may code for alleles that affect fatty acid metabolism and utilisation, especially in maintaining neuronal membrane stability and function. This affects predominately physical co-ordination and reading.27

o Diet and nutritional deficiencies may also compromise brain function and result in loss of Brain Integration. Diets rich in fast or junk foods often create marginal nutritional deficiencies that may disrupt brain function, and often contain various preservatives and additives, like the azo-food dye tartrazine, that may cause a total loss of brain integration in sensitive individuals28.

Indeed, the misbehaviour and academic performance of children and young adults have been shown to improve significantly with diet change or nutritional supplementation29, and several recent books have discussed this aspect of behaviour and learning problems30.

o Environmental factors such as electromagnetic fields emitted from man-made electronic equipment and Geopathic stress from distortions in the earth’s electromagnetic fields may affect the brain integration of sensitive individuals and result in learning problems. 31

Loss of Brain Integration and Compensation

When Brain Integration is lost via disruption of the most efficient neural pathways and/or centres, either by organic damage or by functional inhibition of cortical or subcortical functions due to outputs from survival centres in the brain, specific conscious functions dependent upon this integration is also disrupted. The overt loss of conscious function is, however, often far less than the degree of interference with underlying functions might suggest because the brain is a master at compensation and will automatically compensate for these disrupted flows by using other areas of the brain, both conscious and subconscious to produce the most efficient processing possible.

Thus, even children with considerable organic brain damage will often establish compensatory neurological patterns of activity to produce varying levels of function in spite of massive disruption of neural pathways underlying normal function, e.g. children with cerebral palsy may learn to walk and talk. It is indeed this tremendous compensatory capacity of the brain that allows even highly disintegrated brains to produce some degree of function, however, the level of dysfunction controls the degree of compensation. Thus, the greater the degree of dysfunction present, the lesscompensation that is possible.

If the disruption of integrated function is at the more basal levels of integration, the ability to compensate for the resulting dysfunction is much more limited than if the loss of integration is at a higher level of processing because all higher levels of processing are dependent upon the quality of the data integrated at earlier levels of processing. For instance, while damage to an early component of vision, say the retina or optic nerve totally disrupts sight, damage and hence loss of integration in the V3 area of the occipital cortex may leave the image fully intact, but disrupt only colour vision.

When the highest levels of cortical integration are disrupted directly or lower level cortical or subcortical functions underlying these higher cortical functions are disrupted, we may lose the capacity to “think” in certain ways. For instance, we may maintain Gestalt creative abilities (e.g. be good at art and design), but lose the ability to perform even simple mathematics because of the loss of the ability to abstract (e.g. are hopeless at maths). Specific Learning Disorders result from the loss of integration in of higher-level cortical functions or lower-level subconscious cortical or subcortical functions supporting these higher-level functions directly activated by consciousness.

Children and adults suffering Specific Learning Disorders usually know what they need to do, often even how to do it (e.g. I want to spell this word, so I need to sequence the letters and remember this sequence). But they just cannot activate the necessary subcortical and cortical processing to do what they know how and want to do consciously because of loss of integration at some level of neural processing required to do this function. When this loss of Brain Integration affects their ability to read, spell, write or do mathematics, it results in SLDs. However, they will still attempt to perform these functions, but in some compensated way. For instance, a child that cannot spell words correctly (that is, visually in English), still attempts to spell words, but using phonetics to compensate for the “mind’s eye” image he/she cannot create.

Because the level at which the integration is disrupted is unknown to the consciousness and compensation is largely subconscious and automatic, a person with Specific Learning Disorders is only aware that some function is difficult or not possible to perform, but not why this is so. Most often Brain Integration is lost in subconscious functions that were never accessible to our consciousness in the first place.

The Average Teenage Brain – Great Article!

Tuesday, July 26th, 2016

I found this fantastic article about the teenage brain – how tough is it being a parent these days? There’s more anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts and damaging behaviours – our children are suffering.   Children respond so well to kinesiology – it helps to diffuse the stress patterns, naturopathically we can support better mood and hormone levels and energetically we can support keeping kids balanced.  Eventually teenage stress leads to adrenal exhaustion or immune dysfunction, creating challenges in their early adult years.

Luckily at New Leaf Natural Therapies there are many things we can do to help teenagers – treatments and nutrients.  Call us on 3348 6098 to discuss how we can help your child.

“During adolescence the brain’s ability to change is especially pronounced—and that can be a double-edged sword. Jay N. Giedd, a child and adolescent psychiatrist at the National Institute of Mental Health who specializes in brain imaging, points out that the brain’s plasticity allows adolescents to learn and adapt, which paves the way for independence. But it also poses dangers: different rates of development can lead to poor decision making, risk taking—and, in some cases, diagnosable disorders.

Across cultures and millennia, the teen years have been noted as a time of dramatic changes in body and behaviour. During this time most people successfully navigate the transition from depending upon family to becoming a self-sufficient adult member of the society. However, adolescence is also a time of increased conflicts with parents, mood volatility, risky behaviour and, for some, the emergence of psychopathology.

The physical changes associated with puberty are conspicuous and well described. The brain’s transformation is every bit as dramatic but, to the unaided eye, is visible only in terms of new and different behaviour. The teen brain is not broken or defective. Rather, it is wonderfully optimised to promote our success as a species.

Beginning in childhood and continuing through adolescence, dynamic processes drive brain development, creating the flexibility that allows the brain to refine itself, specialize and sharpen its functions for the specific demands of its environment. Maturing connections pave the way for increased communication among brain regions, enabling greater integration and complexity of thought. When what we call adolescence arrives, a changing balance between brain systems involved in emotion and regulating emotion spawns increased novelty seeking, risk taking and a shift toward peer-based interactions.

These behaviours, found in all social mammals, encourage separating from the comfort and safety of our families to explore new environments and seek unrelated mates.1 However, these potentially adaptive behaviours also pose substantial dangers, especially when mixed with modern temptations and easy access to potent substances of abuse, firearms and high-speed motor vehicles.

In many ways adolescence is the healthiest time of life. The immune system, resistance to cancer, tolerance for heat and cold and several other variables are at their peak. Despite physical strengths, however, illness and mortality increase 200 percent to 300 percent. As of 2005, the most recent year for which statistics are available, motor vehicle accidents, the No. 1 cause, accounted for about half of deaths. Nos. 2 and 3 were homicide and suicide.2 Understanding this healthy-body, risk-taking-brain paradox will require greater insight into how the brain changes during this period of life. Such enhanced understanding may help to guide interventions when illnesses emerge or to inform parenting or educational approaches to encourage healthy development.

Adolescent Neurobiology: Three Themes

The brain, the most protected organ of the body, has been particularly opaque to investigation of what occurs during adolescence. But now the picture emerging from the science of adolescent neurobiology highlights both the brain’s capacity to handle increasing cognitive complexity and an enormous potential for plasticity—the brain’s ongoing ability to change. The advent of structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), which combines a powerful magnet, radio waves, and sophisticated computer technology to provide exquisitely accurate pictures of brain anatomy and physiology, has opened an unprecedented window into the biology of the brain, including how its tissues function and how particular mental or physical activities change blood flow. Because the technique does not use ionizing radiation, it is well suited for pediatric studies and has launched a new era of neuroscience. Three themes emerge from neuroimaging research in adolescents:

  1. Brain cells, their connections and receptors for chemical messengers called neurotransmitters peak during childhood, then decline in adolescence.
  2. Connectivity among brain regions increases.
  3. The balance among frontal (executive-control) and limbic (emotional) systems changes.

These themes appear again and again in our studies of the biological underpinnings for cognitive and behavioral changes in teenagers.

Theme 1: Childhood Peaks Followed by Adolescent Declines in Cells, Connections and Receptors

The brain’s 100 billion neurons and quadrillion synapses create a multitude of potential connection patterns. As teens interact with the unique challenges of their environment, these connections form and re-form, giving rise to specific behaviors—with positive or negative outcomes. This plasticity is the essence of adolescent neurobiology and underlies both the enormous learning potential and the vulnerability of the teen years.

Neuroimaging reveals that gray matter volumes—which reflect the size and number of branches of brain cells—increase during childhood, peak at different times depending on the location in the brain, decline through adolescence, level off during adulthood and then decline somewhat further in senescence. This pattern of childhood peaks followed by adolescent declines occurs not only in gray matter volumes but also in the number of synapses and the densities of neurotransmitter receptors.3 This one-two punch—overproduction followed by competitive elimination—drives complexity not only in brain development but also across myriad natural systems.

Theme 2: Increased Connectivity

Many cognitive advances during adolescence stem from faster communication in brain circuitry and increased integration of brain activity. To use a language metaphor, brain maturation is not so much a matter of adding new letters as it is one of combining existing letters into words, words into sentences and sentences into paragraphs.

“Connectivity” characterizes several neuroscience concepts. In anatomic studies connectivity can mean a physical link between areas of the brain that share common developmental trajectories. In studies of brain function, connectivity describes the relationship between different parts of the brain that activate together during a task. In genetic studies it refers to different regions that are influenced by the same genetic or environmental factors. All of these types of connectivity increase during adolescence.

In structural magnetic resonance imaging studies of brain anatomy, connectivity, as indicated by the volume of white matter—bundles of nerve cells’ axons, which link various regions or areas of the brain—increases throughout childhood and adolescence and continues to grow until women reach their 40s and men their 30s. The foundation of this increase in wiring is myelination, the formation of a fatty sheath of electrical insulation around axons, which speeds conduction of nerve impulses. The increase is not subtle—myelinated axons transmit impulses up to 100 times faster than unmyelinated axons. Myelination also accelerates the brain’s information processing via a decrease in the recovery time between firings. That allows up to a 30-fold increase in the frequency with which a given neuron can transmit information. This combination—the increase in speed and the decrease in recovery time—is roughly equivalent to a 3,000-fold increase in computer bandwidth.

However, recent investigations into white matter are revealing a much more nuanced role for myelin than a simple “pedal to the metal” increase in transmission speed. Neurons integrate information from other neurons by summing excitatory and inhibitory input. If excitatory input exceeds a certain threshold, the receiving neuron fires and initiates a series of molecular changes that strengthens the synapses, or connections, from the input neurons. Donald Hebb famously described this process in 1940 as “cells that fire together wire together.” It forms the basis for learning. In order for input from nearby and more distant neurons to arrive simultaneously, the transmission must be exquisitely timed. Myelin is intimately involved in the fine-tuning of this timing, which encodes the basis for thought, consciousness and meaning in the brain. The dynamic activity of myelination during adolescence reflects how much new wiring is occurring.

On the flip side, recent research reveals that myelination also helps close the windows of plasticity by inhibiting axon sprouting and the creation of new synapses.4 Thus, as myelination proceeds, circuitry that is used the most becomes faster, but at the cost of decreased plasticity.

Advances in imaging techniques such as diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and magnetization transfer (MT) imaging have helped spark interest in these processes by allowing researchers to characterize the direction of axons and the microstructure of white matter. These new techniques further confirm an increase in white matter organization during adolescence, which correlates in specific brain regions with improvements in language,5 reading,6 ability to inhibit a response7 and memory.5

Functional magnetic resonance imaging studies also consistently demonstrate increasing and more efficient communication among brain regions during child and adolescent development. We can measure this communication by comparing regions’ activation during a task. In studies assessing memory8 and resistance to peer pressure,9 the efficiency of communication in the relevant circuitry was a better predictor of how teens performed than was a measurement of metabolic activity in the regions involved.

These lines of investigation, along with EEG studies indicating increased linking of electrical activity in different brain regions, converge to establish a fundamental maturation pattern in the brain: an increase in cognitive activity that relies on tying together and integrating information from multiple sources. These changes allow for greater complexity and depth of thought.

Theme 3: Changing Frontal/Limbic Balance

The relationship between earlier-maturing limbic system networks, which are the seat of emotion, and later-maturing frontal lobe networks, which help regulate emotion, is dynamic. Appreciating the interplay between limbic and cognitive systems is imperative for understanding decision making during adolescence. Psychological tests are usually conducted under conditions of “cold cognition”—hypothetical, low-emotion situations. However, real-world decision making often occurs under conditions of “hot cognition”—high arousal, with peer pressure and real consequences. Neuroimaging investigations continue to discern the different biological circuitry involved in hot and cold cognition and are beginning to map how the parts of the brain involved in decision making mature.

Frontal lobe circuitry mediates “executive functioning,” a term encompassing a broad array of abilities, including attention, response inhibition, regulation of emotion, organization and long-range planning. Structural MRI studies of cortical thickness indicate that areas involved in high-level integration of input from disparate parts of the brain mature particularly late and do not reach adult levels until the mid 20s

Across a wide variety of tasks, fMRI studies consistently show an increasing proportion of frontal versus striatal or limbic activity as we progress from childhood to adulthood. For example, among 37 study participants aged 7–29, the response to rewards in the nucleus accumbens (related to pleasure seeking) of adolescents was equivalent to that in adults, but activity in the adolescent orbitofrontal cortex (involved in motivation) was similar to that in children.11 The changing balance between frontal and limbic systems helps us understand many of the cognitive and behavioral changes of adolescence.

Normal Changes versus Pathology

One of the greatest challenges for parents and others who work with teens is to distinguish sometimes exasperating behavior from genuine pathology. Against the backdrop of healthy adolescence, which includes a wide range of mood fluctuations and occasional poor judgment, is the reality that many types of pathology emerge during adolescence, including anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, depression, eating disorders, psychosis, and substance abuse. The relationship between normal neurobiological variations and the onset of psychopathology is complicated, but one underlying theme may be that “moving parts get broken.” In other words, development may go awry, predisposing adolescents to disorders. Although neuroimaging is beginning to establish correlations between brain structure or function and behavior, a link between typical behavioral variations and psychopathology has not been firmly established. For example, the neural circuitry underlying teen moodiness may not be the same circuitry involved in depression or bipolar disorder. A greater understanding of the relationship between specific adolescent brain changes and their specific cognitive, behavioral and emotional consequences may provide insight into prevention or treatment.

In the meantime, late maturation of the prefrontal cortex, which is essential in judgment, decision making and impulse control, has prominently entered discourse affecting the social, legislative, judicial, parenting and educational realms. Despite the temptation to trade the complexity and ambiguity of human behavior for the clarity and aesthetic beauty of colorful brain images, we must be careful not to over-interpret the neuroimaging findings as they relate to public policy. Age-of-consent questions are particularly enmeshed in political and social contexts. For example, currently in the United States a person must be at least 15 to 17 years old (depending on the state) to drive, at least 18 to vote, buy cigarettes, or be in the military, and at least 21 to drink alcohol. The minimum age for holding political office varies as well: some municipalities allow mayors as young as 16, and the minimum age for governors ranges from 18 to 30. (On the national level, 25 is the minimum age to be a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, and 35 to be a senator or the president.) The age to consent to sexual relations varies worldwide from puberty (with no specific age attached) to age 18. In most laws the age at which a female can consent to sexual relations is lower than the age for a male. In the United States the legal age to consent to sexual intercourse varies by state from 14 to 17 for females and from 15 to 18 for males. Clearly, these demarcations reflect strong societal influences and do not pinpoint a biological “age of maturation.” For instance, the age of majority was increased from 15 to 21 in 13th-century England because one needed both to be strong enough to bear the weight of protective armor and to acquire the necessary skills for combat. Societal influences also contributed to the 26th Amendment to the United States Constitution, which in 1971 lowered the voting age from 21 to 18 to address the discrepancy between being able to be drafted and being able to vote. Delineating the proper role of developmental neuroscience, particularly neuroimaging, in informing public policy on age-of-consent issues will require extensive deliberation with input from many disciplines.

From the perspective of evolutionary adaptation, it is not surprising that the brain is particularly changeable during adolescence—a time when we need to learn how to survive independently in whatever environment we find ourselves. Humans can survive in the frozen tundra of the North Pole or in the balmy tropics on the equator. With the aid of technologies that began as ideas from our brains, we can even survive in outer space. Ten thousand years ago, a blink of an eye in evolutionary time spans, our brains may have been optimized for hunting or for gathering berries. Now our brains may be fine-tuned for reading or programming computers. This incredible changeability, or plasticity, of the human brain is perhaps the most distinctive feature of our species. It makes adolescence a time of great risk and great opportunity.

 

References

1. L. P. Spear, “The Adolescent Brain and Age-Related Behavioral Manifestations,” Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews 24, no. 4 (2000): 417.

2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Health Data Interactive, http://205.207.175.93/hdi/ReportFolders/ReportFolders.aspx?IF_ActivePath=P,21, Mortality by underlying and multiple cause, ages 18+: US, 1981-2005 (Source: NVSS); accessed February 23, 2009.

3. F. M. Benes, in C. A. Nelson and M. Luciana, eds., Handbook of Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2001), 79.

4. R. D. Fields, “White Matter in Learning, Cognition, and Psychiatric Disorders,” Trends in Neurosciences 31, no. 7 (2008): 361.

5. Z. Nagy, H. Westerberg, and T. Klingberg, “Maturation of White Matter Is Associated with the Development of Cognitive Functions during Childhood,” Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 16, no. 7 (2004): 1227.

6. G. K. Deutsch, R. F. Dougherty, R. Bammer, W. T. Siok, J. D. E. Gabrieli1,  B. Wandell, “Children’s Reading Performance Is Correlated with White Matter Structure Measured by Diffusion Tensor Imaging,” Cortex 41, no. 3 (2005): 354.

7. C. Liston, R. Watts, N. Tottenham, M. C. Davidson, S. Niogi, A. M. U., B.J. Casey, “Frontostriatal Microstructure Modulates Efficient Recruitment of Cognitive Control,” Cerebral Cortex 16, no. 4 (2006): 553.

8. V. Menon and S. Crottaz-Herbette, “Combined EEG and fMRI Studies of Human Brain Function,” International Review of Neurobiology 66 (2005): 291.

9. M. H. Grosbras, M. Jansen, G. Leonard, A. McIntosh, K. Osswald, C. Poulsen, L. Steinberg, R. Toro, and T. Paus, “Neural Mechanisms of Resistance to Peer Influence in Early Adolescence,” Journal of Neuroscience 27, no. 30 (2007): 8040.

10. N. Gogtay, J. N. Giedd*, L. Lusk, K. M. Hayashi, D. Greenstein, A. C. Vaituzis, T. F. Nugent III, D. H. Herman, L. S. Clasen, A.r W. Toga, J. L. Rapoport, and P. M. Thompson, “Dynamic Mapping of Human Cortical Development during Childhood through Early Adulthood,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 101, no. 21 (2004): 8174.

11. J. M. Bjork, B. Knutson, G. W. Fong, D. M. Caggiano, S. M. Bennett, and D. W. Hommer, “Incentive-Elicited Brain Activation in Adolescents: Similarities and Differences from Young Adults,” Journal of Neuroscience 24, no. 8 (2004): 1793.

Weight loss – time to kick in for summer?

Tuesday, September 15th, 2015

healthy foodIt’s hard to imagine a life without fun, happiness, family and friend connection – or activity.  But once we start not being able to do anything due to weight, it becomes a vicious cycles.  Have you seen any of ‘The Biggest Loser’ this week – it’s easy to lose sight of health and happiness in the food-addiction-cycle.  People with weight issues suffer a higher amount of depression and anxiety, phobia of going outdoors, fear of being unloved and unlovable.

We have several weight loss processes which increase / maintain muscle mass and muscle quality whilst decreasing fat mass.  But where do we start?

Work out which weight loss process is for you…  Consolidation (maintaining weight) MUST be done in order to maintain re-sizing of your fat cells regardless of what process you choose to do.  Both Georgia and Madonna can help you make this decision

  • HCG Weight Loss loses 7 kilos on average in 23 days and 12 kilos on average in 40 days.
  • Shake It weight loss loses 500g – 1 kilo on average per week
  • 5 / 2 diet utilises a 500 calorie day twice to week to take the load off the digestive tract and liver.  Many people lose weight slowly over a period of time and feel better in their skin while doing it.
  • Intermittent fasting / Hump day fasting – choose a day per week where you ONLY drink herbal teas that detoxify – dandelion teas, ginger teas, juniper tea etc
  • Food Intolerances and Allergies – these can be causing you inflammation on a daily basis, slowing down your metabolism, without you suffering any symptoms.  Our food intolerance testing can let you know which foods do not support your weight loss goals.
  • De-stressing techniques – did you know that stress increases cortisol, which is a fat-storing hormone.  Having excess fat on the tummy and hips is simply one sign of hormonal dysfunction…it doesn’t just make shopping for clothes challenging!

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2014

December is upon us and with this comes what is commonly referred to as the silly season. Many will try to avoid the excesses of the period and other’s will embrace and go along for the ride. Either way when it comes to the actual holidays often we find ourselves exhausted, body aches and pains come back demanding attention and yet, the Christmas celebrations still must go ahead. So where do we muster this energy from? And how can we do it all without falling in a heap when we want to enjoy ourselves?

Building blocks

Good nutrition is the building blocks for the fuel for our bodies to run on. That is, if we give our bodies good quality fuel it will be able to do more and cope with increased stressors. Stressors can include:

  • Increased celebrations and alcohol consumption over the course of the month
  • Increased rich foods
  • Less sleep
  • Deadlines for work all before the Christmas break
  • Increased driving time driving kids, partners, friends and family around
  • Christmas shopping, crowds, shopping malls and parking
  • Mental/emotional stress
  • Travelling. Including radiation exposure when flying. Or just sitting for long periods of time in one position such as on road trips.

Whether the stressor is physiological or mental/emotional it all counts. They all make an impact on digesting, breaking down foods and absorbing nutrients properly, and how fast we utilise and need our nutrients replenished. Therefore there is an increased demand.

Where to start

Where to start? With the basics. As water soluble nutrients and vitamins are not stored in body and will be under increased demand these are a good place to start. These are vitamin B’s, vitamin C, magnesium and zinc (amongst others). All of these are in high demand with alcohol consumption and as they are water soluble there will also be an increase of them washed out as alcohol is a diuretic. Therefore replenishment is a must.

Vitamin Bs are a group of water soluble nutrients which are essential to many enzymatic reactions around the body. They are implicated in systems such as energy production, digestion, neurotransmitter production, and hormonal balance. Foods such as whole grains and organ meats are often high in most of these foods. However, it can be challenging to have these every day. Therefore, purchasing a good quality supplement through these busy times might be the most convenient.

Vitamin C is one of the most underrated vitamin we know! It is a fantastic antioxidant, helps replenish the adrenals and plays an important role in immunity.

Magnesium is utilised in many systems in the body including energy, hormonal and neurotransmitter production. Magnesium is also very important in muscle relaxation. Therefore if feeling tired and needing of replenishment after the windup to the end of year magnesium is a good start.

Zinc is in high demand around the body especially in times of stress, alcohol and increased food consumption. Zinc is used in many different systems around the body, it is used in the detoxification processes, in skin and wound healing, immunity and a lot of enzymatic processes around the body and digestion. Zinc is found  along side many animal based proteins but in particularly oysters are very high in zinc. Plus for the vegetarians sunflower and pumpkin seeds. So bring those freshly shucked oysters to the summer barbeques.. for therapeutic reasons of course!

Herbs that Matter

Everyone has differently demands on their bodies and everyone’s body’s are individual. Therefore, different people require different types of support. However there are a few good go to herbs which almost everyone can benefit from.

Milk Thistle is a herb widely known for its support to the liver and to digestion. It is not stimulating which makes it mild and gently strong in its action. It is the go to herb before and after consumption of alcohol. As a herbal tincture of tea it has a natural bitter flavour however in our modern times we have some very good supplements in the form of capsules which means we can bypass the bitter taste.

Withania is what we call an adaptogenic herb. That is, it helps as adapt to stress in our lives. There are a number of herbs that fall under this banner however Withania is a nice soothing herb which will helps calm the particularly stressed person, especially if there is difficulty sleeping. For the exhausted person adaptogens such as Licorice and the Ginseng’s are strong candidates to help support energy and clarity of mind. Siberian ginseng, Korean Ginseng, American Ginseng and Rhodiola would also fall under this banner.
Echinacea is a great herb to have on the shelf, just in case a cold starts to take hold! It helps to regulate, stimulate and support the immune system. A herb that also helps the lymphatics to drain contributing to upper respiratory congestion.

Goals for the Holidays

Enjoying some down time and allowing oneself to relax at this time of year can be recharging and refreshing. This can also be a time of reflection to add to the contrast of what is wanted for the next year making way for clarity and then direction. 

Chi Nei Tsang –Why it is so beneficial for stress and anxiety

Friday, September 12th, 2014

Chi Nei Tsang works specifically on the abdomen using techniques derived from Chinese massage techniques and theory. The theory around this technique focuses largely on the detoxification of toxic energies or ‘winds’, by massaging the abdomen with specific techniques. But what does this mean and how does it help us? While this is a hard definition to understand, we certainly see wonderful benefits in people receiving this treatment. So how can we understand this in physiological terms?

What a large number of our clients find when receiving this treatment is generally two main effects; in the short term, relaxation and stress relief, and in the longer term, greatly improved digestive function. A lot of our clients also experience greater body awareness, such as better and more aware breathing patterns, and better understanding how certain foods and stresses impact their digestive function. These are invaluable tools on the path to self care. This is our ultimate goal – to help others find the tools they need to take charge of their own health. That’s why we love Chi Nei Tsang!

As a practitioner of this technique I have been searching for the ‘why’ of this – these benefits, what is actually happening in the body when they occur? Why is this seemingly simple technique so beneficial? Through further reading and clinical practice, this is what I come to understand:

Chi Nei Tsang is working on the enteric nervous system, or the so-called ‘second brain’ or ‘gut brain’. This system is becoming increasingly recognised as closely linked to the actual brain, and that the two systems interact and influence each other. It’s also working on the diaphragm, reducing tension in this important muscle.

The Second Brain

While the enteric nervous system cannot think or process the way our actual brain can, it is responsible for a large portion of our neurotransmitter production, including about 95% of the body’s production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that is involved in the regulation of mood, appetite, and sleep. Serotonin also has some cognitive functions, including memory and learning, and is generally considered our ‘feel good’ hormone. Many anti-depressant or anti-anxiety hormones work by sparing the amount of serotonin that is broken down by the body. The main two factors that affect the production of neurotransmitters in the gut are stress and nutrition. Simply put, if we eat poorly and don’t relax, both our gut and our brain suffer. With Nutritional guidance and Chi Nei Tsang, we can change our brain chemistry for the better.  

The diaphragm and breathing

The diaphragm is a key muscle for the function of breathing, and needs to be used properly for deep breathing to occur. When the diaphragm is tense or not used effectively, shallow chest breathing results. This is an issue for us because our breathing pattern predisposes us to either relaxation or to the stress response, depending on how it is that we breathe and how we use the diaphragm.

Deep, abdominal diaphragmatic breathing puts the nervous system in parasympathetic mode, which could be called our ‘tend and befriend’ mode – where the body is calms, regulates its functions better and heals better. When we breathe in the chest and use the diaphragm poorly, we increase the sympathetic response, the stress response. Chest breathing predisposes us towards anxiety and stress. For susceptible people, proper breathing can make a huge difference to quality of life in terms of managing anxiety and stress. Chi Nei Tsang helps to release tension in the diaphragm and in the process of the treatment we teach proper breathing patterns.  It is however not easy to breathe deeply when the digestive system is in distress. This is why Chi Nei Tsang helps so much – by working on both the diaphragm and on releasing tension from the digestive system, we optimise breathing and calm the ‘second brain’.

When treating our clients with Chi Nei Tsang, we learn a lot about how the body manifests and unravels the effects of stress and improper breathing. We’ve seen severe menstrual pain disappear, and chronic back pain resolve. Of course, digestive issues improve significantly with this treatment, as well as anxiety, energy levels and overall sense of wellbeing.

For further questions or to book an appointment, please contact us!

 New Leaf Natural Therapies

3348 6098

Madonna on 4BC Health Talk…

Sunday, June 29th, 2014

Tonight we’re chatting about a couple of topics we’ve seen lots of in the clinic lately:

Topic # 1 – Vitamin D deficiency and winter depression. I’ve taken the following article from Dr Mercola.com Vitamin D is incredible – it affects all of our hormonal and immune functions, is involved in mental health and leaky gut. It improves our genes and is something to definitiely take into consideration for cancer prevention – all cancers!

Vitamin D deficiency is one of those things that many Aussies have and is becoming more prevalent worldwide.

Vitamin D influences over 10 percent of your genes. Vitamin D deficiency is epidemic across the world and could be contributing to hundreds of common health problems. There are 33,800 medical papers on vitamin D, and this veritable mountain of research shows that vitamin D has far-reaching benefits to your physical and mental health.

Recent research found significant interaction between vitamin D levels and inflammatory bowel disease
Vitamin D supplementation has also been found to reduce both depression and pain in diabetic women
Studies show that vitamin D has tremendous protective effects against a variety of different cancers, including pancreatic, lung, ovarian, breast, prostate, and skin cancers

Vitamin D Might Be Able to Slash Your Breast Cancer Risk by 90 Percent

Vitamin D research continues to impress upon us the importance of appropriate sun exposure as the ideal way to optimize your vitamin D levels.

Winter limits sun exposure for many up to six months of the year. Even in states such as Queensland there is a massive vitamin D deficiency.

It has become abundantly clear that vitamin D deficiency is a growing epidemic across the world and could be contributing to hundreds of common health problems. In fact, correcting your vitamin D deficiency may cut your risk of dying from any cause by 50 percent, according to one analysis.

If this sounds too incredible to be true, consider that vitamin D influences nearly 3,000 of your 24,000 genes. This occurs via vitamin D receptors, which can be found throughout your body, and should come as no great surprise given that humans evolved in the sun.

Vitamin D Beneficially Affects Gene Activity

Just one example of an important gene that vitamin D up-regulates is your ability to fight infections and chronic inflammation. It also produces over 200 anti-microbial peptides, the most important of which is cathelicidin, a naturally-occurring broad-spectrum antibiotic.

This is one of the explanations for why vitamin D is so effective against colds and influenza.

According to a January 2013 press release by Orthomolecular Medicine, there are now 33,800 medical papers with vitamin D in the title or abstract, and this veritable mountain of research shows that vitamin D has far-reaching benefits to your physical and mental health. Such research has shown that vitamin D can improve:

•Pregnancy outcomes (reduced risk of Cesarean section and pre-eclampsia)
•Type 1 and 2 diabetes
•Heart disease and stroke
•Autism, Alzheimer’s, and other brain dysfunction
•Bacterial and viral infections

Some of the most recently published studies, which I’ll review here, demonstrate how boosting your vitamin D levels can improve depression and pain in diabetics, Crohn’s disease, and breast cancer.

Relevance of Vitamin D in Crohn’s Disease

While previous research has associated low vitamin D levels with an increased risk of Crohn’s disease and shown that correcting your vitamin D deficiency can improve symptoms of the disease, one of the most recent studies found a “significant interaction between vitamin D levels and Crohn’s disease susceptibility, as well as a significant association between vitamin D levels and genotype.”

Serum vitamin D levels were found to be significantly lower in patients with Crohn’s disease. Of the seven DNA sequence variations examined for effects, two variants showed a significant association with vitamin D levels in those with Crohn’s, and four variants were associated with vitamin D levels among controls.

In short, it shows that vitamin D can affect genetic expression associated with Crohn’s disease, and make matters either better or worse, depending on whether you have enough of it or not.

Vitamin D May Reduce Depression and Pain

In related news, vitamin D supplementation has been found to reduce both depression and pain in diabetic women. As reported by PsychCentral:

“The investigators set out to determine how vitamin D supplementation might affect women with type 2 diabetes who were also suffering from depression.

At the beginning of the study, 61 percent of women reported neuropathic pain, such as shooting or burning pain in their legs and feet, and 74 percent had sensory pain, such as numbness and tingling in their hands, fingers and legs.

During the course of the study, the participants took a 50,000 IU vitamin D2 supplement every week for 6 months (7,000 iu daily). By the end of the study, the women’s depression levels had significantly improved following the supplementation.

Furthermore, participants who suffered from neuropathic and/or sensory pain at the beginning of the study reported that these symptoms decreased at 3 and 6 months following vitamin D2 supplementation.”

Additional support for the theory that vitamin D can be beneficial in the fight against type 2 diabetes was published in last year. Here, the researchers found “a strong additive interaction between abdominal obesity and insufficient 25(OH)D in regard to insulin resistance.” They also claim 47 percent of the increased odds of insulin resistance can be explained by the interaction between insufficient vitamin D levels and a high body mass index (BMI).

Yet another study published in Diabetes Care also suggests vitamin D supplements may help prevent type 2 diabetes mellitus in people with pre-diabetes. While the study is only an observational one and cannot establish causality, the researchers report that the participants who had the highest vitamin D levels were 30 percent less likely to develop diabetes during the three-year evaluation period, compared to those with the lowest levels.

Cut Your Breast Cancer Risk with Vitamin D, Cancer Surgeon Suggests

Meanwhile, a recent Science World Report highlighted the recommendation by British breast cancer surgeon, Professor Kefah Mokbel, who urges women to take daily vitamin D supplements to cut their risk of breast cancer. According to the featured article:

“Prof. Mokbel has also requested Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, to make [vitamin D] pills freely available as this would result in saving about a 1,000 lives annually. ‘I am calling for all women from the age of 20 to be given free vitamin D supplements on the NHS because it is effective in protecting against breast cancer,’ Prof. Mokbel said.

Vitamin D Is Critical for Cancer Prevention

Indeed, an ever growing number of studies show that vitamin D has tremendous protective effects against a variety of different cancers, including pancreatic, lung, ovarian, breast, prostate, and skin cancers. Theories linking vitamin D deficiency to cancer have been tested and confirmed in more than 200 epidemiological studies, and understanding of its physiological basis stems from more than 2,500 laboratory trials.

For example, a 2007 study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine concluded that a serum 25(OH)D level of more than 33 ng/mL was associated with a 50 percent lower risk of colorectal cancer. And research published in the International Journal of Cancer two years ago found that a mere 10 ng/ml increase in serum vitamin D levels was associated with a 15 percent reduction in colorectal cancer incidence and 11 percent reduction in breast cancer incidence.

Another 2007 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that after four years of follow up, cancer-free survival was 77 percent higher in women who received 1,100 IU vitamin D and 1,450 mg calcium per day, compared to those who received either a placebo or calcium by itself. According to Carole Baggerly, founder of GrassrootsHealth, as much as 90 percent of ordinary breast cancer may in fact be related to vitamin D deficiency. Breast cancer has even been described as a “vitamin D deficiency syndrome,” much like the commoncold and seasonal flu.

Most Important—Maintaining Optimal Vitamin D Serum Levels

Of utmost importance is the maintenance of a therapeutically beneficial serum level year-round. Here, studies indicate that the bare minimum for cancer prevention is around 40 ng/ml. Research suggests an ideal level might be around 60-80 ng/ml. A 2009 review article15 titled: “Vitamin D for Cancer Prevention: Global Perspective,” published in Annals of Epidemiology states that:

“Higher serum levels of the main circulating form of vitamin D, 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D), are associated with substantially lower incidence rates of colon, breast, ovarian, renal, pancreatic, aggressive prostate and other cancers. Epidemiological findings combined with newly discovered mechanisms suggest a new model of cancer etiology that accounts for these actions of 25(OH)D and calcium. Its seven phases are disjunction, initiation, natural selection, overgrowth, metastasis, involution, and transition (abbreviated DINOMIT). Vitamin D metabolites prevent disjunction of cells and are beneficial in other phases.

It is projected that raising the minimum year-around serum 25(OH)D level to 40 to 60 ng/mL (100–150 nmol/L) would prevent approximately 58,000 new cases of breast cancer and 49,000 new cases of colorectal cancer each year, and three fourths of deaths from these diseases in the United States and Canada, based on observational studies combined with a randomized trial.

Such intakes also are expected to reduce case-fatality rates of patients who have breast, colorectal, or prostate cancer by half… The time has arrived for nationally coordinated action to substantially increase intake of vitamin D and calcium.” [Emphasis mine]

Buy PROVEN vitamin D which is cleansed, which works, which doesn’t add toxins to your body. Call us on 3348 6098 to discuss your nutritional needs.

Madonna Guy ND
New Leaf Natural Therapies
3348 6098
94 Edith Street, Wynnum 4179

Healing Hormones

Friday, June 20th, 2014

A lot of clients having been coming in lately with menstrual and hormonal imbalances. Clinically, things often tend to come in waves, but the more women I treat the more I realise how timeless and important it is that we care for our hormonal health.  A woman experiences on average, 300 to 400 menstrual cycles in her lifetime, so from that perceptive, it makes sense to make menstrual and hormonal wellness a priority if we are seeking a balanced, healthy life, whatever your health goal may be.

Ovulation and menstruation are processes in the body that connect in with our emotional life, our stress, and how we feed our bodies. It’s important that we listen to signs and symptoms, as they can be extremely useful pointers to things that are out of balance, either physically or emotionally.

The traditional medical answer to menstrual issues and contraception is synthetic hormones. Tolerability to these does vary considerably between women, depending on genetics, and often on detoxification ability.  It’s astonishing the number of women who are taking some form of synthetic hormone medication, very often from a young age, to manage (suppress) symptoms of hormonal imbalance. Sometimes coming off hormone medications (including the oral contraceptive, IUDs, or implants) can be a hard road. And it can be long.

Fortunately, there is an enormous amount of natural support available for correcting hormonal imbalances and relieving related symptoms. Herbal medicine is abundant in herbs that support women’s health. Naturopathically we also use specific nutrients for supporting hormones, and Kinesiology to reduce stress, create inner balance and get to the heart of emotional issues fuelling hormone imbalances. We also offer Chi Nei Tsang, a healing abdominal massage to relieve congestion and blockages, with which we have excellent results with menstrual pain.

The keys to treating hormone issues successfully, naturally, are;

–          Get the right prescription from an experienced practitioner. Hormone issues are complex. There are a myriad of herbs and supplements with different actions, so it is essential the right ones are chosen for your unique health picture. At New Leaf we combine decades of study with muscle testing, matching our experience and knowledge with what your body is saying.

–          Stay on track. Take your supplements and herbs, and do your best to stick to a healthy plan. It’s all worth it. It all makes a difference.

–          Trust and Patience. As Hormone issues are often long-standing, it is important to be patient with your body, and trust it is continually striving towards balance. Your body’s natural urge is towards healing. When we identify any blockages to healing, we can remove them, and your body does the rest. It can take time, but it does happen.

–          Develop inner attention. Often when symptoms come up, we immediately want to move away from them, resist them, shut them down.  If we pause for a moment, listen to our symptoms, we can create the space to ask ourselves, ‘what is it my body really needs, right now?’ The answer often comes to us. So often, it is in some way, a call for rest or self-nurture. There is no condition in the body that is not improved by increased rest and stress reduction.

Other things you can do at home:

Actually, what you do day to day can make a huge difference to your menstrual wellbeing;

–          Go on a water diet – meaning, in addition to the food you eat, drink only pure water, and plenty of it. Avoid all other drinks except for herbal teas and green tea. Within a week you can notice changes in your skin tone and hydration, energy, digestion, and concentration. Always drink water at room temperature and away from meals.  

–          Sleep in total darkness. For hormones to balance well, we need to create a natural, healthy balance of light when we are sleeping. Avoid LCD screens or TV late at night, and ensure your bedroom is dark. The exception to this is during full moon, where allowing moonlight into your room if possible is recommended, or alternatively putting on a small nightlight to mimic moonlight.

–          Eat regularly – our hormones are greatly affected by fluctuations in blood sugar. Eating healthily is one thing – we also need to eat regularly to reduce stress on the body caused by big fluctuations in our blood sugar. For many of us, this means breakfast, lunch, a small snack, and dinner. Make dinner a light meal if possible.

–          Quit sugar – Sugar can aggravate hormonal symptoms, particularly skin breakouts, PMS and general irritability. It also has a huge impact on ovarian issues such as PCOS.

–          Take space – Classic author Virginia Woolf wrote that ‘every woman needs a room of her own’. Very wise words indeed. An important part of anyone’s life is having the physical and emotional space to just ‘be’. We all need time out on a regular basis. If there isn’t a spare room to call your own in your house, alternatives could be talking a walk outside, or transforming the bathroom in the evenings with candles, music, essential oils and an Epsom salts bath.    

–          Journal – writing and reflecting can be extremely therapeutic and also quite revealing. Taking time to write down thoughts and feelings can help reveal recurrent patterns over the course of the month. Often we write off intense emotions as simply part of PMS, but often there are deeper and very real issues that then remain unaddressed. Journaling can help identify these so that they can be processed.

–          Practice Yoga – Yoga is enormously beneficial for hormonal health. By increasing circulation and calming the mind, yoga can help to reduce pain, bloating, PMS and improve energy and overall sense of wellbeing.

We are here to help!

Call us for an assessment, consultation and personalised treatment plan.

HCG Weight Loss Linked with Better Hormonal Control, Less Stress, Less Depression and Less Anxiety!

Wednesday, July 10th, 2013

HCG Helps with Hormonal Control!!  Lose 10-20 kilos in 40 days!

There’s a lot of interesting information out there about HCG.  We’ve been using it clinically for 2 years with VLA Bioimpedance Analysis Screenings & Insulin Resistance Testing and find it amazing.  It works correctly for long-term weight loss when the plan is followed correctly!  We also find that higher fat mass is linked with stress hormones so unexpected benefits include less anxiety, less depression and less stress!

There are many positive impact of HCG has on all of our hormones as our weight reduces.  When our BMI is over 30 our fat mass becomes the number one hormone producing tissue in our bodies – controlling so many things:

*  Supports fertility for both men and women – losing 6+ kilos can increase chances of falling pregnant by a whopping 40%.  IVF is only successful in around 5% of cases.  The combination of weight loss and IVF definitely improves outcomes for our clients.

*  feel good hormones – that’s why weight is directly linked with anxiety, depression, stress, frustration and irritability

*  Pain & Inflammation:  when our BMI is over 30 we are constantly releasing inflammatory hormones – our body then stores fluid to dilute these hormones.  Eventually it raises our BP and this can be the first indication of inflammation.

*  Weight is also linked to immune system issues.  When our feel good hormones are down and our stress levels are high (BMI over 30 does this) then our immune system takes its cue from the hormones and starts to shut down.  Like a petulant teenager, the immune system says ‘you don’t want to be here? me neither!’

*  Blood Sugar Balancing:  we’ve found pre-diabetic/diabetic clients can come off their medication (not Type 1) after HCG.  Because fat mass controls so many hormones in the body, insulin resistance is a huge problem upsetting sleep, energy, stress levels and other hormones.  HCG often takes people back into normal cholesterol levels as well as less insulin resistance!

*  Energy Improvement:  because fat mass increases adrenalin and stress hormones, it tends to switch off/down our thyroid and energy production pathways.  As the fat mass reduces energy generally improves – especially when combined with detoxification supplements throughout the process.

Always find out what supplements will be most appropriate for you throughout the HCG process.  Phone consultations available at New Leaf.

HCG Specialists at New Leaf Natural Therapies Wynnum, Brisbane 3348 6098

 

Madonna Guy ND
Join us on Facebook:  New Leaf Natural Therapies  AND  HCG Weight Loss Support Group

LEAP Assessment: What do we do?

Friday, June 7th, 2013

LEAP Assessment

LEAP (Learning Enhancement Acupressure Programme) is a process based on core neurology of the brain.  We use a muscle monitoring process which has been used on tens of thousands of people to find which areas of the brain are functioning, and which aren’t.  We initially do an assessment on your or your family member and find where the deficits are:

  • where is the logic in the brain?
  • where is the gestalt/visual-spatial part of the brain?
  • what is the dominant hand? eye?
  • how much function is there in some connecting pathways?
  • are the visual memory areas of the brain functioning?
  • how is comprehension?
  • how is problem solving?

Our process has been developed by Dr Charles Krebs over the past 28 years.  Charles is a researcher who’s life has been working towards helping people reach their potential, finding the ways of testing and correcting neurology imbalances that stress us when we are trying to do something new.  Charles’ book ‘A Revolutionary Way of Thinking’ was released over 10 years ago and really gives a great understanding of the brain, its potential, what shuts down its potential – it’s a great read!

What stresses you in life?

  • bookwork
  • paperwork
  • your kids homework
  • helping your child to do their maths or spelling
  • feeling like your child just isn’t remembering properly? (It feels sometimes like they’re just not trying!?)
  • stress in exams
  • stress in meetings
  • stress in front of a room full of people
  • avoidance of anything new
  • anxiety? depression? panic attacks? behavioural changes at school/work compared to at home?
  • memory – walking into one room and not being able to remember properly

These are the type of issues that the LEAP Programme helps to correct.  It is aimed at helping people reach their potential – the potential of their individual brain!  Not everyone is an Einstein (not that we’d want to be) but we can always find ways of improving the way our brain works.

Call us to book an assessment today!

3348 6098
Madonna Guy ND
New Leaf Natural Therapies

LEAP Practitioners, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia!