Mental / emotional distress invariably produces physical symptoms just as physical illness always has a mental / emotional component. Effective treatment addresses the whole person. Behavioral medicine has applications to many chronic health problems. Extensive research in the use of behavioral medicine documents such effects as enhanced immune response, decreased inflammation, and increased relaxation.
My interest in behavioral medicine stems from the physical effects of stress and anxiety on the body. Signs and symptoms of the anxiety disorders can include feeling jittery, unsettled, overwhelmed, excessively worried, preoccupied with catastrophic thoughts, easily startled or being emotionally over reactive. There are often disturbances of sleep, concentration, or mood, which in turn affect social relationships or occupational functioning.
Addressing the Mind-Body connection is an important part of my practice. Changes in thoughts, emotions, behavior and lifestyle can improve health and prevent, reduce or eliminate symptoms of illness. Behavioral medicine interventions empower the client to do what works, thus reducing reliance on medication.
Educating clients about brain science and health introduces a new perspective that often helps a person realize the brain is a unique organ with special needs. Neurotherapy in the form of photic and audio stimulation (entrainment) is another resource for altering brain states and eliciting relaxation. Photic stimulation refers to the use of light (glasses with LEDs) to elicit particular brainwaves; whereas audio refers to the use of sound. It is well known that the human brain experiences a range of frequencies ranging from beta (fast) to delta (sleep / slow) waves. There are corresponding brain states or feelings that are characteristic of each category of brain waves. For example, alpha-theta brainwaves are conducive to relaxation. In turn, the relaxation response puts the brakes on the “fight, flight or freeze” response associated with stress.