Healthy Options Articles:
- Train Your Brain to Feel Better: A conversation with Rachelle Bloksberg, neruotherapist
- Herbs for Health: A chat with local herbalist Pam Caldwell of Herb Lore
- A Look at Balance: Chiropractor (Kris Van Oeveren) practices functional medicine
- Coaching to Empower Radiant Health (Alexandra Epple)
Healthy Options: Train Your Brain to Feel Better
A conversation with Rachelle Bloksberg, neurotherapist.
By Jan Fishler
Although she has little memory of the two years following her accident, she remembers suffering from chronic, debilitating migraines, difficulty communicating, and the inability to walk without assistance. Fatigue, weakness, frustration, and severe depression were daily occurrences. She had trouble with reading comprehension, vision, and speech. The worst part? Medication and traditional treatment options offered no cure or hope.
Unwilling to give up, Rachelle searched for options to help her regain her life. That’s when she discovered neurofeedback, a treatment that eventually repaired the damaged neuropathways in her brain. Having experienced the effectiveness of neurofeedback firsthand, Rachelle put her personal experience to work and became trained as a neurofeedback therapist. In 2008, Rachelle opened Sierra EEG, where she has been helping people manage an array of debilitating symptoms ever since.
In this week’s Healthy Options, we share a short interview with Rachelle Bloksberg, neurotherapist and owner of Sierra EEG.
Q: Why do people come to see you?
A: People want relief from a variety of symptoms. Adults often suffer from severe sleep problems, depression, anxiety, and chronic pain. The children I see often suffer from developmental issues, behavior challenges, attention disorders, sensory processing issues, and autism.
Q: What is neurofeedback and how does it help?
A: Neurofeedback is a learning process that focuses on calming the central nervous system. The process works by measuring brainwave patterns and retraining the brain to better regulate itself. It gives the brain information about how it is functioning in real time. When your brain gets this timely information, it can make changes and get immediate feedback about each change. With the help of a neurofeedback video game program, your brain learns to improve by making small incremental changes. Over time, small changes add up and troubling symptoms are minimized and often disappear.
Q: What happens during a neurofeedback session?
A: I paste EEG (electroencephalogram) sensors on the scalp — no, I don’t shave the hair — and with the help of a computer interface, clients learn to control their brain activity because it’s displayed from moment to moment during a training game. The real-time feedback helps people reproduce normal brain states and is an effective way to make healthy changes without adverse effects. Sessions generally last about an hour, and people usually walk away feeling better than they did when they walked in.
Q: Neurofeedback is symptom-based. What does that mean?
A: We focus on working with the symptoms you have, not a diagnostic label or disease. For example, there are many reasons you might have trouble sleeping. Since sleep is essential to staying well, we focus on helping you sleep through the night. In addition to sleep disorders, neurofeedback is also helpful in treating childhood issues like learning problems and developmental delays, as well as focus, attention, and impulse-control issues.
A lot of people come to me because they need help with anxiety, depression, stress, and anger management. People suffering with eating disorders, cravings, and addiction to drugs and alcohol often experience relief of their symptoms through a series of sessions. Neurofeedback also helps with chronic pain.
Q: Is there research to back up any of the success stories you’ve experienced in your practice?
A: There are many research studies on the effectiveness of neurofeedback. In fact, in November 2012, the American Academy of Pediatrics listed neurofeedback as a Level 1 or “best support” treatment option for children with ADHD. Studies show that neurofeedback training provides the same results for ADHD as medication. For parents who want to avoid giving their child medication, neurofeedback is a drug-free, safe, effective and non-invasive option. And, kids have fun doing it.
Q: Can you tell me how neurofeedback helps with weight loss and addictions?
A: Neurofeedback helps with cravings. We can train your brain to know when you’re hungry and when you’re full. There are usually underlying issues that drive overeating and other addictions. A person may overeat because of anxiety. If we alleviate the stress, then the pressure to overeat will likely be gone. A study conducted at a rehabilitation facility showed that those who add neurofeedback to their treatment plan had a much lower rate of relapse than those using just the traditional rehabilitation program.
To learn more about neurofeedback, contact Rachelle at www.SierraEEG.com or call 530-263-1413 to schedule a free 30-minute consultation.
Jan Fishler is a local author and writing coach. For more about Fishler, go to www.janfishler.net.
By Jan Fishler
As a child, Pam Caldwell was often treated with antibiotics and pharmaceuticals that usually made her feel worse rather than better. When, as a young adult, she watched her grandmother suffer through cancer treatment—only to discover that the drugs she was taking worked against each other—Pam’s journey into the healing property of herbs really began. Raised by a father who was a horticulturist and a mother who was a nurse, for Pam, exploring the use of plants as a healing modality, made complete sense. However it was during her internship as a midwife, when she became pregnant and treated herself with herbs, that she made a commitment to turn her interest in healing into a business. What began in 1996 as a home-based business is now an Herb Lore—an online international company specializing in providing the freshest, highest quality organic herbal products for pregnant, trying to become pregnant and breastfeeding mothers, and their families.
Q: Pam, when did your interest in herbs really blossom?
A: I moved to Hawaii as a young adult and I was thrilled to learn about the various native plants people were using to help with healing. I learned that there were good, supportive alternatives for bringing balance to the body, allowing it to heal and regain its normal state of health. Basically, our bodies are very wise, but sometimes need a gentle herb to restore balance or retain wellness.
Q: If someone has never used herbs before, what is the best way to begin?
A: What I’ve discovered through my work is that it’s best to begin with gentle and supportive means of healing, such as herbs, and then, only if needed, step up to more aggressive means like pharmaceuticals and surgery. Depending on the condition, traditional and herbal medicine work well together.
Q: How can a simple herb help a mom who is having trouble getting pregnant or nursing her baby?
A: Sometimes our bodies need a gentle herb to restore balance. In the case of a pregnant mom or nursing mother, the first step is determining why she is having the issue so that I can address the root cause. What I want to avoid is suppressing or covering up the issue or forcing an issue like most pharmaceuticals do. By supporting the body with nutrition and healing herbs and addressing the root cause of the problem, the body often comes into balance, the symptoms naturally resolve, and the body begins working as it should.
Q:What can someone do to avoid or shorten colds?
A: If someone has been exposed or feels like they are coming down with something, I really like Echinacea, a member of the daisy family. Echinacea kicks the immune system into high gear to fight colds and flu. Other herbs such as Elder, Hyssop and Boneset to name a few, are traditionally used for the same purpose.
Q: Which herb might help avoid the flu?
A: I typically recommend Astragalus, which is a warming and nourishing herb that has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for thousands of years. Because it helps protect the body against stress, it builds and strengthens the immune system, and helps us stay healthy. As an added benefit, Astragalus has also been shown to support learning and memory.
Q: Finding the right herb is sometimes like walking through a maze. Can you help direct the reader?
A: Every person is different. What works for one individual may not work for another. For this reason, it is often necessary to try an herb to see if it is effective. This is why it’s important to consult with an herbalist who can help guide you through the maize and help minimize trial and error. The goal is to restore your body to health as quickly as possible.
Q: How can people learn more about your product?
A: Our website, www.herblore.com, has a lot of information about our products and services as well as articles and information on a variety of relevant topics including a children’s dosage guide and answers to commonly asked I also provide one-on-one herbal phone consultations. Locally, our products are available at HAALo, California Organics and Jacobson Chiropractic. At Herb Lore, we encourage our clients in making educated and informed choices about their health care, and we do everything we can to support them.
Jan Fishler is the author of Searching for Jane, Finding Myself (An Adoption Memoir). She also teaches writing classes and workshops and is a regular contributor to Vietnow National Magazine. For more about Jan, go to www.janfishler.net.
Practicing Functional Medicine – A Look at Balance
A chat with local chiropractor and Functional Medicine specialist Dr. Kris Van Oeveren
By Jan Fishler
As a national competitive gymnast, Dr. Kris Van Oeveren D.C., has been paying attention to how the body performs for a long time. His personal experience in performing at an optimum level and recovering from injuries allowed him to understand the importance of food, supplementation, and a healthy lifestyle, which led him to Chiropractic College where taking care of the body without pharmaceuticals was emphasized.
Like many Chiropractors, Dr. Kris began his practice by focusing on the structure of the body: the muscles, joints, and nerve problems that result in loss of movement, stiffness, inflammation, and pain. However, a desire to do more for his patients led him to The Kalish Institute to study Functional Medicine, a field that focuses on treating the underlying causes of health issues, rather than on symptoms alone.
In this week’s Healthy Options, we share a short interview with Dr. Kris, a local chiropractor who practices Functional Medicine.
Q: What is the goal of Functional Chiropractic Medicine and how does it compare to traditional medicine?
A: The goal is to unravel the root cause of whatever is ailing you. It’s an evidenced-based process to know exactly what therapies to use. My goal as a Functional Medicine Chiropractor is to restore proper physiologic function and maximize the body’s own self-healing capacity. Typically, traditional medicine treats symptoms and doesn’t look at the underlying cause of the problem. Functional Medicine is a very patient-focused process.
Q: What types of problems do you treat most often?
A: Approximately 85% of my patients are female, and most often the underlying problem involves a hormone imbalance. When I say hormones, most people think of estrogen and progesterone, the sex hormones, but I’m also talking about adrenal, thyroid, and sugar-regulating hormones. There’s a symphony of hormones that have to be in sync for the body to stay healthy.
My goal as a “Functional Practitioner” is to integrate the entire hormonal system, including the central nervous system, pituitary, and hypothalamus. Since hormones are messenger molecules that communicate between organs and cells to coordinate proper function, it’s imperative to learn where your hormonal imbalances are. This is why in my practice I don’t provide therapies or supplementation without first testing hormonal levels.
Q: Why is testing so important?
A: Take PMS or Menopausal Symptoms, for example; women can have them for a variety of reasons. It could be a problem with ovarian hormones, estrogen and progesterone balance, or a problem with the adrenal hormones. It’s a little known fact that after menopause, the hormonal work of the ovaries shifts to the adrenal glands. Treating the ovaries in this instance may not be the primary cause of your symptoms. Symptoms can also be caused by problems with the thyroid, blood sugar regulation, or stress. With Functional Medicine, you don’t want to make assumptions; you always want to find the cause and proper lab testing is the best way to do this.
Q: Can functional medicine help younger women who are experiencing problems with infertility?
A: Many times when young women have difficulty conceiving, they turn to in-vitro fertilization clinics. Not only is the in-vitro procedure very expensive, but it bypasses the entire process of identifying the cause of infertility. There are actually some pretty basic tests for determining a women’s capacity to conceive. If, for example, a woman’s estrogen and progesterone are spiking at the wrong times, with relationship to each other or with relationship to the woman’s cycle, then conception will not occur. But sometimes with the use of functional therapies, we can get the hormones in sync, and then, the body has a chance to conceive in a completely natural way.
Q: According to functional medicine, what role does stress play in health?
A: Most people think stress is mental and emotional, but it’s also physical and biomechanical. What’s important to realize is that all types of stress impact our nervous system and hormonal levels, and subsequently our health. Even the food we eat and the air we breathe can stress our bodies. As a practitioner, I have to consider all of these aspects of stress to get to the crux of a particular problem, which again is why Functional Chiropractic Medicine is so important when it comes to really helping people get and stay well.
For more information about Dr. Kris, go to www.drkris.info. Or call 530-478-5893
Jan Fishler is a local author and writing coach. For more about Fishler (and her upcoming Screenwriting class that begins January 20, 2015) go to www.janfishler.net.
Coaching to Empower Radiant Health
A chat with Alexandra Epple
By Jan Fishler
Alexandra Epple, health coach, supports women entrepreneurs who are exhausted and burnt out. Using a simple step-by-step process, she helps women feel better so they can fulfill their vision. Alexandra didn’t start out that way. In 1997, after obtaining a degree in business administration, she left her home in Germany and went on a search for meaning. While travelling in Central America she met her future husband, moved to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and started taking yoga classes, quickly obtaining an advanced degree as a yoga teacher. The practice of yoga led Alexandra to Thailand to learn traditional Thai massage, a form that incorporates yoga moves and rhythmic pressure. When her yoga students and massage clients started asking questions about diet and lifestyle, Alexandra moved to Nevada County to attend the California College of Ayurveda and became a Certified Ayurvedic Specialist. Since completing her degree in 2010, she has been working as a health coach and she has now, clearly, found the meaning she was looking for.
In this week’s Healthy Options, we share a short interview with Alexandra Epple whose work helps women entrepreneurs ignite their energy, sleep deeper, and feel better in their bodies.
Q: Alexandra, what exactly is a wellness coach?
A: The job of a wellness coach is to support you in adopting a healthy diet and lifestyle. Whether you already have a disease or want to prevent one, diet and lifestyle are the foundation of uncovering the root cause of your disease or imbalance and getting well. A wellness coach supports, educates, and guides you to understand the nutrition and lifestyle jungle and, maybe even more importantly, to overcome your inner gremlins so that you can adopt what works for you, stop procrastinating, and finally live the way that makes you feel healthy, alive, and enthusiastic about your life.
Q: What do you find are common obstacles for people trying to improve their health?
A: Many folks know they need to eat better, exercise more, or go to bed earlier, but they just don’t know how to make changes or what changes will work for them. They have good intentions, but life gets in the way or they are overcome by old habits— inner gremlins that sabotage their efforts and keep them from being healthy. Sometimes people have too much conflicting information about their health. As a wellness coach, I can help them figure out what to do based on their constitution and particular imbalance.
Q: If I saw a wellness coach, would I have to give up the things I love like coffee and chocolate?
A: People are very much in love with their rituals and the specific food choices they have made for years. My intention as a coach is to empower you to know the effects your habits have on your health based on your constitution. You don’t have to give up anything, but once you know the effect something has on you, you can make better choices.
For example, I’m a fan of drinking black tea with milk in the morning; however, black tea is astringent, drying and dehydrating, and it aggravates my particular imbalance. It’s not the best thing for me to drink. Knowing this, I still haven’t given it up, but I have made adjustments so that I can keep my imbalance in check. I eat more moistening, warming foods, drink hot water for hydration in the morning, and mix a moistening herb into my tea to counterbalance its drying quality.
Q: What three things can someone do at home to increase their energy levels?
A: There are a multitude of reasons why someone might suffer from fatigue, low energy or exhaustion. Among the most common are what you eat, how much you sleep, and how much you exercise. From an Ayurvedic perspective, we always start by addressing the three pillars of health: food, sleep, and energy expenditure. In other words to have more energy: strengthen your digestive fire, go to bed at a reasonable time, and schedule time for self-care.
Q: How can someone get started with a health coach?
The easiest way to get started is with a free consultation. In my practice, I offer a free 30-minute coaching session. This is a great way to get to know each other and see if a health coaching program is for you. As part of the session you’ll also receive my eBook, Ignite Your Energy: 15 Days Towards Abundant Energy All Day, Every Day.
For more information about Alexandra Epple, go to www.nirvanawellness.org/
Jan Fishler is a local author and writing coach. For more about Fishler, go to www.janfishler.net