The Resilient Brain

Coping with Concussion and Mild Traumatic Brain Injury

Brain Injury: Methods and Treatment Part Five

A look at alternative approaches to treating brain injury symptoms

Alternative approaches to wellness after a concussion are best tried after a diagnosis has been made through conventional and complementary means, and after conventional therapeutic approaches have been tried. Most alternative approaches to coping with post concussion syndrome (PCS) are individualized treatments that focus on the natural healing of the whole person rather than correcting individual symptoms. As such, alternative approaches can offer additional paths to relief from lingering complaints, as well as a stronger measure of control over your recovery.

The alternative approaches and practical suggestions in this blog are presented in-depth in my book Coping with Concussion and Mild Traumatic Brain Injury. As mentioned in my previous posts all these various methods and treatments are widely accepted by professionals in the respective areas, and have been successful in helping myself and my patients/clients regain our lives. Many of the alternative approaches presented in this post I’ve been personally trained in and have used as part of my clinical practice. I will note the areas where I’ve been trained. 

Alternative approaches are the last form of treatment for some, while for many others it is the first. The following alternative approaches are rarely covered by health insurance. If you choose to use them it is usually fee for service.  

  • Body Work: This is much different than massage therapy. There are two main types: The Feldenkrais Method and The Bowen Technique
  • Energy Healing involves your (qi) pronounced “chee” and various acupuncture points.   The following methods of energy healing are very effective for treating the symptoms of PCS and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
  • The Callahan Technique, later called Thought Field Therapy (TFT) was developed by Roger Callahan.
  • Emotional Freedom Therapy (EFT) developed by Gary Craig
  • Energy Medicine developed by Donna Eden and Dr. David Feinstein
  • Energy Psychology is a term coined by Fred P. Gallo, PhD. who was trained by Dr. Callahan. Dr. Gallo’s approach is sometimes referred to as Advanced Energy Psychology (AEP) or Energy Diagnostic and Treatment Methods (EDxTm) and/or NeuroSomatic Stimulation.
  • Kyusho is an ancient form of Chinese self-defense and healing that involves tapping of acupuncture points and is an excellent method of self-protection. It is also very effective  in healing many of the symptoms of PCS and PTSD.

*I would like to note that I feel honored and blessed to have had personal extensive training in all the above mentioned areas by each of the developers of the various techniques. In the area of Kyusho and QiGong, I was trained by Evan Pantazi of Kyusho International. In addition, I learned Balinese QiGong by healers in Bali.

  • Reiki is very effective for stress reduction, pain control and relaxation.
  • Polarity Therapy is based on the Eastern philosophy that everyone has an internal blueprint that controls everything from personal achievement to healing. The goal of this therapy is to identify blockage of internal energy and treat the resulting symptoms by putting you more in touch with your internal blueprint
  • Qi Gong pronounced Chi Gong, was developed in China and, along with acupuncture, was for centuries the main form of healing of physical and psychological diseases and problems. QiGong is a system of exercise that incorporates physical postures, breathing techniques, and focused intentions to balance the energy in the body.
  • Quantum Touch is a method that amplifies life-force energy (Qi, Bioenergy, or Prana) by combining various breathing and energy awareness exercises. 

EyeQ

This software consists of a series of high-speed imaging exercises that use graphics and text to improve the brain’s learning and processing abilities. EyeQ exercises promote concentration, focus, and memory much like physical exercise helps an athlete’s performance. It is highly effective in recovering from a wide range of PCS symptoms, and it also improves performance afterward in the workplace, classroom, or sport/recreational activity. In fact, EyeQ is popular among athletes because it enhances peripheral vision and reaction time. In addition, it can improve reading speed and comprehension and increase the ability to process information quickly and efficiently. 

Faith Healing

Faith healing is a way of improving health through spiritual means. Many people throughout the world have found vast relief from symptoms of PCS and PTSD through this alternative. Faith healing can include laying on of hands, which is described in the Bible as the blessing of healing by a spiritual leader through actual touch or intent. Also included is prayer, an active solemn request to God or a deity.  Research done in 1993 by Larry Dorsey showed the effectiveness of prayer in healing many forms of illness, including the symptoms of PCS and PTSD. 

Herbology

This practice combines age-old insight into healing with modern pharmacological research.  Today, many herbs are also prepared in tincture, powder, or pill form. No specific training is required of herbalists, though some states offer optional certification programs.  It is recommended that you thoroughly check an herbalist’s experience level before taking his or her advice. 

Homeopathy

This approach is based on the view that symptoms provide information about the body’s attempts to heal itself. Homeopathic treatment involves the use of remedies made from naturally occurring substances that would create particular symptoms if taken in large amounts, but that stimulate healing of those same symptoms if taken in minute amounts in a highly diluted form.

Irlen Method

This method, founded by Helen Irlen, uses colored lenses to help with Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome, difficulty with the brain’s ability to process visual information and involved light sensitivity.  This symptom is one of the aftereffects of PCS, and the Irlen Method is a highly effective treatment. 

Life Vessel/Life Force

This approach combines vibration energy, using sound/light frequency, with Rife electrical therapy. The person lies in a box to receive simultaneous vibration, sound and light that creates a resonant frequency by which the body’s autonomic nervous system (ANS) comes into balance and is reregulated.

Naturopathy (Naturopathic Medicine)

This method is based on the belief that the body has an innate healing ability. Naturopathic doctors, or NDs, teach their patients to use diet, exercise, lifestyle changes, and cutting-edge natural therapies to enhance their ability to ward off and combat disease. 

NeuroTone, or LACE

LACE, an acronym for Listening and Communication Enhancement, was conceived by audiologists at the University of California at San Francisco.  LACE includes interactive computerized aural rehabilitation programs that help people living with hearing loss increase listening skills by up to 45 percent. Since hearing is really done in the brain, and since a major symptom of PCS is difficulty with auditory processing, LACE develops skills and strategies for situations in which hearing is inadequate—just as physical therapy helps compensate for physical weakness or injury.

 

Rife Therapy

Rife is a form of electrical therapy in which specific electrical frequency protocols are used to relieve certain illnesses and the symptoms seen in PCS and PTSD.  The Rife Machine was invented by Royal Raymond Rife in 1930.

Solaris HealthBlanket

This device was based on Dr. William Reich’s research in the 1940s and re-emerged within the Russian Space Program when it was discovered that cosmonauts tended to recover from strenuous activity more quickly when they remained in their space suits longer. The HealthBlanket contains reflective metallic material similar to that used in the lining of space suits and helps to activate and balance energy flow through the body.  The blanket material acts as an electro-magnetic mirror, reflecting the body’s energy and optimizing adaptive reactions. It is highly effective in promoting recovery in PCS and PTSD.

*Side note:  I was very skeptical about this blanket and it costs a lot.  Yet, every single one of my patients asks for the blanket during their neurofeedback session regardless of the season or temperature. They all agree it makes them feel great and want to take it home.

 

Aromatherapy using Essential Oils

These were the first medical treatments written about in Egypt and China, and the Bible contains 188 references to essential oils. Aromatherapy is the practice of using natural oils extracted from flowers, bark, stems, leaves, roots, or other plan parts to enhance psychological and physical well-being. This approach works well against many of the symptoms of PCS and PTSD.

Bach Flower Remedies

These remedies were developed in 1926 by Edward Bach, MD, a physician, bacteriologist, and homeopath. His thirty-eight Bach Flower remedies each include a specific flower essence that works in a way similar to homeopathy. You can purchase Bach Flower Remedies over the counter to combat many symptoms of PCS and PTSD. However, for the best results, you may wish to visit a trained Bach Flower Practitioner who will develop a customized combination specifically for your symptoms. 

*I am a Bach Flower Practitioner and make custom formulas for all my patients, all of whom have found them extremely effective

 

Knowing that these approaches are effective is one thing, but it is also very important to find practitioners who have had prior experience working with individuals with PCS or PTSD.  As mentioned in my previous posts, all too often the method or approach being prescribed or performed is done on a generic basis for a specific symptom that never takes into account the individual differences of people. 

As with conventional and complimentary methods and treatment, it is extremely important in choosing an alternative approach to discover why the various methods are being used for your individual needs. Explore with the clinicians their various options and special training. What is the clinician’s experience working with a person with a brain injury? Do they understand the various symptoms, such as brain fatigue and mental confusion? 

The method or treatment that is best for you depends on what makes you a unique individual.  My book Coping with Concussion and Mild Traumatic Brain Injury presents a generic recommendation for conventional, complimentary, and alternative treatments and provides practical suggestions for every symptom of Post Concussion Syndrome (PCS). However it is not the same as the individual consult I provide using my 5 Prong Approach, where your history and what makes you unique interplay with the various symptoms of PCS.  

Based on what you need, can the clinician make an adaption to their standard protocols and methods to adjust to your specific needs and limitations? Lastly, and possibly most importantly, do you feel the clinician cares about you as a person and your welfare and not just doing the treatment or approach? As stated in my previous blog, please remember the treatment or approach is only as good as the person giving it to you. Often people will say one approach works better than another only to know it has more to do with who it is being done by rather than the method or approach. Love, concern, respect, and positive energy go a long, long way in healing the body, heart and soul that has been severely traumatized by a brain injury.

Diane Roberts Stoler, Ed.D., is a Neuropsychologist, Board Certified Health Psychologist, Board Certified Sports Psychologist, and Trauma Therapist with over 35 years experience.

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