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We often look directly to traditional western medicine when it comes to treating our ailments, but sometimes these methods are not only the least cost-effective, but also the least efficient. In this episode of The Brain Warrior’s Way Podcast, Dr. Daniel Amen and Tana Amen discuss some of the alternative therapies that may provide relief without resorting to medication or surgery.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Welcome to the Brain Warrior's Way podcast. I'm Dr. Daniel Amen.
Tana Amen: And I'm Tana Amen. Here we teach you how to win the fight for your brain to defeat anxiety, depression, memory loss, ADHD and addictions.
Dr. Daniel Amen: The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast is brought to you by Amen Clinics, where we've transformed lives for three decades using brain SPECT imaging to better target treatment, and natural ways to heal the brain. For more information visit Amenclinics.com.
Tana Amen: The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast is also brought to you by Brain MD, where we produce the highest quality nutraceuticals products to support the health of your brain and body. For more information visit Brainmdhealth.com. Welcome to the Brain Warrior's Way Podcast. Stay tuned for a special code for a discount to Amen Clinics for a full evaluation, as well as any of our supplements at Brainhealthmd.com.
Welcome back. Today I actually want to talk to you. I want to ask you questions about alternative therapies, because I am addicted to the chiropractor. I often say it's like back sex. I know it sounds weird, but it's like the only thing that gives you this-
Dr. Daniel Amen: That actually sounds really weird.
Tana Amen: It does, but it's like instant relief when you're in pain. Right? You're in pain. You go in, and it's like the only thing that gives me this instant relief. I've been addicted to going to the chiropractor because of my scoliosis, for so long. It's amazing.
Dr. Daniel Amen: So why do you have scoliosis?
Tana Amen: I don't know why I have scoliosis.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Yes you do.
Tana Amen: It's a curvature of my spine.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Why?
Tana Amen: I know you think it's because I was born breech.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Yeah. You were born doing the splits. That is not good for your spine.
Tana Amen: Well, I was sort of born ... Well, I was being born butt first, but the doctor reached in and grabbed my foot and pulled me out splits first. I don't know. There's some theory that that might be why. I have no idea. All I know, going to the chiropractor makes me feel so much better. And then, while I'm at the chiropractor, something that in my mind makes zero rational sense, because I'm very ... Well, less these days, but I used to be so science minded. The chiropractor starts doing some weird thing. I came home and you're like, why do you have bruises all over your back? He did cupping on my back, and it was amazing, like it was amazing. It felt so good. Then I went recently ,and I hear people all the time talking about acupuncture. I've never really taken the time to do it. I did acupuncture, and I'm telling you, it cured everything.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Do you know what you sound like right now?
Tana Amen: I know.
Dr. Daniel Amen: You sound wacko.
Tana Amen: I know. I know. I'm not-
Dr. Daniel Amen: Is my science [crosstalk 00:02:50]
Tana Amen: I am not one of those people. I am not one of those people, but I slept so good.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Well, I think a lot of people find great benefit from their chiropractor. I have my own chiropractor. We share, Dr. Zappala, and we love him. I think that's often the first thing to do when you're in pain, rather than go to the orthopedic doctor who might recommend surgery, which can help a lot of people, but it's not the first thing you think about. I think chiropractic in many ways can be very helpful. A lot of people don't know this, I actually went to the Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine, because I loved the osteopathic-
Tana Amen: ... approach.
Dr. Daniel Amen: ... approach. I was there two months before I got accepted to Oral Roberts University, to the medical school there, which was my first choice. I really wanted to go there. I've been a fan of getting your spine adjusted for four decades. There's a lot of really good science about that. Cupping, people will recognize that's what Michael Phelps did.
Tana Amen: It makes no sense why it works.
Dr. Daniel Amen: If you take the world's most decorated Olympic athlete, who is smart, who has access to any kind of coaching in the world, and he has these big red dots all over his body.
Tana Amen: It feels amazing, and I don't know why.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Because it increases blood flow to areas that are vulnerable.
Tana Amen: It was so awesome.
Dr. Daniel Amen: My daughter actually found great relief from her headaches using cupping.
Tana Amen: So, the acupuncture though, here's the thing. I have stenosis because of the scoliosis, which means I get tingling and numbness and cold feeling in my foot, in one of my feet. I still don't understand and maybe it's all in my head. I'm willing to accept that maybe it's in my head, because it still does not make sense to me.
Dr. Daniel Amen: That means there's something in your head.
Tana Amen: Okay. It still makes no sense in my head why this is true.
Dr. Daniel Amen: All right. So, let me tell you.
Tana Amen: No wait. After the acupuncture, I slept like a baby.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Let me tell you.
Tana Amen: And I still don't have tingling in my foot.
Dr. Daniel Amen: I'm a huge fan. I've been a fan of acupuncture and acupressure for many years. It is really not-
Tana Amen: But why didn't you tell me to go sooner?
Dr. Daniel Amen: Alternative medicine, it's medicine.
Tana Amen: Well, why didn't you tell me to go sooner?
Dr. Daniel Amen: There's a large science base for it, and if you have pain, acupuncture, acupressure is one of the treatments you should try. If you have depression-
Tana Amen: Well, now I'm just mad at you.
Dr. Daniel Amen: So, why is that different?
Tana Amen: You should have made me go sooner.
Dr. Daniel Amen: I can make you do what? What are the things that I can actually make you do.
Tana Amen: All right. That's fair. That's fair. That's fair.
Dr. Daniel Amen: You should actually read my books.
Tana Amen: No. I hear you recommending it, and I just never went.
Dr. Daniel Amen: I recommend it all the time.
Tana Amen: It's true, you do. Yeah.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Because it's been shown to be helpful for addictions. It can help with pain. How I first got interested in acupuncture was for mood. I had a number of patients who had resistant depression. Like nothing I was doing was working. All the antidepressants, the psychotherapy, nothing was working. Then what happened was they'd go to the dentist and they'd have one of their wisdom teeth out and the dentist would give them Vicodin as a painkiller, which is an opiate, and their depression went away. They felt normal. Now, please don't give them Vicodin, because they'll get addicted to opiates. That's a bad thing. Then I learned that acupuncture actually works through the endorphins' system.
Tana Amen: Oh my gosh.
Dr. Daniel Amen: ... in the brain. It can naturally increase your own endogenous, or your own personal opiates that your brain produces. Instead of opiates, which decrease brain function and ultimately make you stupid over time, acupuncture increases blood flow to the brain.
Tana Amen: Oh, I slept like a baby. It was amazing.
Dr. Daniel Amen: So, it helps your brain and issues like depression, addictions, pain, acupuncture can be really helpful.
Tana Amen: So, the gal that was actually doing the acupuncture, she's this Asian gal. She's really cute. She's really sweet. But, I'm like, this doesn't make any sense to me why this is going to work. I was very skeptical. She was like putting these needles in my body. I probably should have been nicer to her. She kind of looked at me like ... And she's like well, I guess it's got no history, only a couple thousand years.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Right. We think if we didn't learn it in a western medical school, then obviously it's no good.
Tana Amen: Oh, it's awesome.
Dr. Daniel Amen: That is just not the case. That there are so many things ... When we think of alternative treatments we think of using natural supplements. I remember being in a debate. You were actually there with me. We were debating at the American Psychiatric Association, using brain SPECT imaging in psychiatry, and the head of the University of Texas, Houston, he's like, oh, there's no science. I look at him and I go, do you read? Right? If you go to PubMed today, and just type in brain SPECT, you will get 13,903 scientific abstracts. It's like, seriously, there's no science? You need to actually be more informed. He goes, oh yeah, imagining, it's just like supplements. There's no science behind supplements. I'm like, seriously, do you read? Things like St. John's Wort, 29 randomized placebo controlled trials and 4,500 patients showing equal efficacy to antidepressants, with dramatically fewer side effects.
Tana Amen: But think about it. There are still-
Dr. Daniel Amen: Just because your doctor doesn't know about it, doesn't mean that there's not science. Now, the internet is actually evened the playing field. One of my favorite sites is Pubmed.com, which is produced by the National Library of Medicine. You can see, well, what's the science? While we're talking, I'll actually put in acupuncture.
Tana Amen: So while you're doing that, it amazes me how many ... Just last week when I went with someone to a doctor's appointment. It amazes me how many doctors still say, nutrition will have zero effect on your health. It just drives me crazy. How often do you hear that? Doctors say that nutrition has zero effect on someone's health.
Dr. Daniel Amen: So, I just typed in-
Tana Amen: Wait. Answer the question first.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Hang on. Acupuncture. Oh, you can't see this, but I just typed it into PubMed. It returned 27,816 references.
Tana Amen: Oh my gosh. So, it's being studied a lot.
Dr. Daniel Amen: It's being studied a lot, and can be helpful. Now, it's just something to try to see if it's helpful for you. If you struggle with pain, if you struggle with depression, if you struggle with an addiction, this can be part of the treatment protocol.
Tana Amen: Well, I'm skeptical, and I'm telling you it did something.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Yeah, you're not what I would consider a placebo responder.
Tana Amen: No. Definitely not because I am super skeptical. But, now you need to answer my question. How many times have you heard a doctor say, nutrition has zero effect on treatment?
Dr. Daniel Amen: None, because I don't hangout with them. Those would not be the people-
Tana Amen: Well, didn't someone say it to your dad not too long ago, that nutrition's not going to help?
Dr. Daniel Amen: I don't think so.
Tana Amen: Oh, well, I hear it all the time, so forget that that I just asked him that. But I hear it a lot actually, that doctors will frequently say nutrition has really not much to do with it.
Dr. Daniel Amen: So, some other complimentary and alternative medicine practices. Yoga can be very helpful.
Tana Amen: Oh yeah. If you can slow your brain down enough. I can't slow my brain down that much.
Dr. Daniel Amen: You can. You just have to commit yourself to it.
Tana Amen: I can't.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Once you commit yourself to it, you'll love it.
Tana Amen: Karate lessons, too.
Dr. Daniel Amen: You don't always have to be hitting things.
Tana Amen: I do actually.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Meditation is an alternative medicine treatment.
Tana Amen: That I love. That I love. Yes.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Hypnosis.
Tana Amen: Yes.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Diaphragmatic breathing.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Aroma therapy can be very helpful for people. Music therapy can be extremely helpful to people.
Tana Amen: It's really anything that gets your mind into that kind of Zen state.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Puts your brain into a healing state. In, Feel Better Fast, I actually have sort of the ultimate brain therapy. It's five sense immersion therapy. What are the visual things that make you happy? So for me when I look at you, that makes me happy. What are the sounds that make you happy? And actually nature sounds-
Tana Amen: ... the ocean. Yes.
Dr. Daniel Amen: ... make people happy. What are the sensory things that make people happy, so if you get a massage. Or, we talked about this earlier, if you hold the hand of someone, your brain actually begins to take on those brainwave patterns, so you have to be very careful whose hand you hole.
Tana Amen: It's also why pets are so important, because petting, stroking pets is-
Dr. Daniel Amen: Well, I've notice that Aslan, our white shepherd, every about 20 minutes he just comes over and it's like, pet me.
Tana Amen: No reason.
Dr. Daniel Amen: I don't know if he's doing it for him, or he's doing it for me.
Tana Amen: But then he goes and lays down.
Dr. Daniel Amen: And he's fine.
Tana Amen: He comes and then he goes, every 20 minutes.
Dr. Daniel Amen: It's being connected. There are smells that are healing. Obviously there's smells that are toxic, which is why you have to be careful with the [crosstalk 00:12:53]
Tana Amen: Like when we go for a walk, and I smell jasmine. It's just like, oh, or sage. I love it.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Or honeysuckle. Or the smell of the ocean, on a good day. Smells are really important. And taste, which is why when I first married you, you couldn't cook. Now you're just an awesome cook. I'm so happy about that. Right? Because things you taste can be really awesome. Just please don't cook with [crosstalk 00:13:28]
Tana Amen: That's why you still don't ... But think about it. That's why you still love going to your mother's house for dinner.
Dr. Daniel Amen: And the tastes actually trigger-
Tana Amen: ... memories.
Dr. Daniel Amen: ... memories, as do certain smells. What we want you to do if you're listening, or watching now, is write down each of your five senses and what are the things that will make you happy. When you're feeling down, work on putting those things in your lives immediately.
Tana Amen: And open your mind. Try something new. Don't be stubborn like I have been, and wait until you're almost 50 to try acupuncture.
Dr. Daniel Amen: I didn't say that. Did not say that.
Tana Amen: ... or cupping.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Stay with us.