By Melissa Jacobs
Adobe Stock/Marilyn Barbone
Executive and cognitive brain functioning can be improved through neurofeedback, says Dr. Jingduan Yang of Bryn Mawrâs Yang Institute of Integrative Medicine. First, Yang uses 3-D imaging to map brain waves. Then he creates individualized therapeutic plans. On average, patients need 40 one-hour sessions to see lasting results.
Having anxiety is like being stuck in fight-or-flight mode. âAcupuncture releases that stress, strengthening the nervous system and allowing it to function properly,â says Lance Isakov, acupuncturist and founder of Village Wellness in Berwyn. Similarly, âReiki brings you to a relaxed state very quickly, where you can let go of the stress,â says master teacher Laurie Elder. âThat allows you to go into a different mode where you can rest and heal.â
CBD can reduce bone and nerve pain, but only if you use the right product. CBD can come from either hemp or marijuana plants. âItâs the same CBD chemical, but its source has different implications,â says Dr. Ari Greis, an orthopedic expert and director of the Rothman Instituteâs medical cannabis department. Gries advises people to use products that are properly labeled and sourced. âMake sure youâre buying from a legitimate company, so you know what youâre taking,â he says.
Wayneâs Lynn Feinman, who holds a doctorate in naturopathy, uses vitamins, nutrients and herbs to boost clientsâ immune systems. Detoxification is often the first step. âIf our gut and blood are clean, weâre in a good place,â she says. âThe goal is to decrease the bodyâs inflammatory response to histamines.â
Yang believes autoimmune diseases may be caused by âbiochemical imbalances influenced by environmental stressors and genetic predispositions.â Bodies can be overloaded with copper or heavy-metal toxicity and be lacking in other things. After diagnosing patients through blood and urine tests, Yang uses nutrient therapyâtinctures, tablets or capsulesâto help bodies break down and eliminate harmful substances.
Health insurance typically covers acupuncture for the first 12 weeks of a pregnancy. âItâs mostly for the nausea,â says Megan Conover, co-owner of Healing Place Acupuncture in Wayne. âBut acupuncture is a whole-body treatment, so they also get relief from back pain, insomnia, anxiety and blood-sugar imbalances.â Relief is common after one session, but treatment should continue as the body changes.
Ayurvedic practitioners like Bryn Mawrâs Mary Rider are seeing a lot of thyroid disordersâespecially in women. âWorking moms are typically running on caffeine and stress,â Rider says. âTheir thyroids will over-act and go hyper, then go hypo and get sluggish.â Exercise is a must, as are diets focused on portion control and nutrients. Rider also uses herbs, pastes and oils. âIn most cases, we can reverse the thyroid disorder and get it functioning properly again, unless theyâre already on medication.â
Naturopaths like Feinman take a holistic approach to digestive disorders. ââRemove, replace, repair and re-inoculateâ is my mantra,â she says. âWhat are the aggravators? What are the nutrients your body needs to heal?â Each patient gets a unique plan with foods, herbs and vitamins. Rider, an Ayurvedic expert, treats IBS clients with customized diets, plus powders, teas and tablets that aid digestion. She also uses a topical treatment, pouring herb-infused oil over her clientsâ abdomens. âThe oil penetrates deep into their tissue, healing from the outside inward,â Rider says.
Chinese medicine treats bone pain by first expelling cold-and-damp qualities. Then, acupuncture needles bring healing red and white blood cells to the area. âWe create an anti-inflammatory response without medication,â Conover says. Nutritional counseling and dietary changes also help clients manage their pain.
Acupuncture relieves migraine pain by releasing muscle tension in the neck, shoulder and upper back. Getting the muscles to relax and the chi to flow may require several trips to an acupuncturist like Isakov. But clients should feel some relief with a session or two.
Sports medicine acupuncture is specifically designed to relieve overworked muscles. âWhen theyâve been in one position for too long, muscles get stuck and dehydrated from lack of blood flow and chi,â says Isakov. âThrough acupuncture, we release the muscle fibers and fascia.â And that relieves tension, gets blood flowing and promotes healing.
Rider uses Ayurvedic herbs and plants like anantumal and shatavari to regulate a womanâs body temperature. For vaginal dryness, she offers herb-infused suppositories filled with ghee that restore tissue in the female reproductive system. Feinman, meanwhile, deploys herbs like magnolia, ashwagandha, passionflower and chamomile. Vitamins are another must. âYour ovaries arenât the only thing out of whack,â says Feinman. âAll of your hormones can be affected, so we need to nourish and rebalance your body.â
After the birth of her first child, Elder was emotional, exhausted and short-tempered. She turned to Reiki for relief, with treatments once a week for almost four years. âI still didnât sleep. Reiki didnât change my childâs behavior,â Elder says. âBut it changed my experience of it, boosting my energy level, easing my stress and helping me reconnect with my body.â
The problem isnât necessarily what you eat, but when and how much, says Natalie Loschiavo, owner of Balanced Nutrition & Yoga in Newtown Square and West Chester. âIf the stomach is full, it can press on a valve and open it, releasing contents and creating reflux,â she says. And the valve may also not close securely. Nutritionists like Loschiavo customize diets that involve frequent, small, nutrition-packed meals that stop stomachs from getting overly full.
Small nutritional tweaks can make big differences in the health of Type 2 diabetics. Add whole grains, fiber and protein to breakfast by switching cereals and eating fruit with peanut butter. âMost people donât eat enough foodâcertainly not for breakfast,â says Loschiavo. âA nutritionist can create a healthy, balanced plan specifically for Type 2 diabetics.â