The Center for Mind-Body Medicine

Gaza Mind-Body Training in the News

Dear Friends,

Check out the great AP story by Karin Laub about our Gaza training–

At the Washington Post (you may have to close an ad first to read it)

Or at Google News

It’s an great take on how our mind-body skills training is an unconventional fit, but an immense help, to people within the Palestinian culture. (Great picture of me shaking & dancing up front, too (!!!))

We’re in Israel now—flying back to the States soon. More soon.

All the best,

Jim

Health care reform cannot wait, must not wait, and will not wait

Dear Friends,

 I spent Monday afternoon, February 23, 2009, testifying on the strengths of integrative healthcare and our hope for healthcare reform at the hearing, “Principles of Integrative Health: A Path to Health Care Reform” by the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP). The video is comprehensive—click to read shorter coverage in the Huffington Post.

 My colleagues (including Wayne Jonas, M.D. of the Samueli Institute, Robert Duggan, M.A., M.Ac. (UK), Dipl.Ac. (NCCA), of Tai Sophia, and others from institutions and the private sector) and I sincerely hope the time has come to change from a “disease-care” system to one truly centered on the patient and our wellness as a nation. Our current system is expensive, and ineffective at keeping us healthy. Turning to costly drugs ridden with side effects before trying natural approaches and wellness techniques is bankrupting our treasury and our health as a nation.

 More to come—check out the video, and check back here for updates. It’s a very busy time for us here at the Center!

 Best,

Jim

The UltraMind Solution: Fix Your Broken Brain by Healing Your Body First by Mark Hyman, MD Review by James S. Gordon, MD

The UltraMind Solution: Fix Your Broken Brain by Healing Your Body First
by Mark Hyman, MD, Scribner’s: New York: 2009

Review by James S. Gordon, MD

I just finished The UltraMind Solution, a wonderful, ground breaking book that gives new and eminently practical insight into the causes and treatment of mood, behavior, and cognitive disorders. It’s a book I recommend to all of you without reservation.

The UltraMind Solution is by Mark Hyman, MD, a highly skilled, integrated Family physician who is a Center for Mind-Body Medicine Board Member, and a core faculty person in our Food As Medicine training. In The UltraMind Solution, Mark suggests that the most effective and, indeed, scientific way to address the epidemic of psychiatric disorders (affecting 1.1 billion people worldwide) is not with psychotropic drugs that treat postulated alterations in neurotransmitters, but with nutritional therapies that address the underlying biological imbalances that ultimately may disturb neurotransmitter functioning.

The UltraMind Solution is based on the principles of “functional medicine,” a systems approach to chronic disease and to the physical and emotional problems that beset our population. It is a road map for both patients and practitioners, a clear, thoughtful, guide to the ways the body can become imbalanced, and to the simple, natural methods-largely food and supplements-that can be used to restore the imbalances in the entire body, and most particularly, the brain. It’s a book that significantly deepened my own understanding of biological factors in depression. I believe, as well, it will enhance the information on biology that I present in my book Unstuck: Your Guide to the Seven Stage Journey Out of Depression.

In a series of clear, well documented chapters, Mark discusses the “7 keys” to his program, and the ways that readers can use them. These keys include optimal nutrition, hormone balancing, decreasing inflammation, improving digestion, enhancing detoxification, increasing energy metabolism, and calming the mind. In The UltraMind Solution, Mark includes more than 400 well-chosen scientific references and dozens of case studies, together with diagnostic questionnaires. He offers as well clear steps that readers can take to use this information to help and heal themselves. You can learn more about The UltraMind Solution by going to the following website: http://www.ultramindhealth.com/cmbm.

Mark is also presenting a six part webinar series for clinicians on applications of functional medicine to brain and mood disorders. In particular, he will discuss diagnostic and therapeutic approaches to ADD/ADHD, autism, dementia, and depression. Access to these webinars is complimentary for practitioners who obtain a copy of The UltraMind Solution by going to the website below.

http://www.ultramindhealth.com/cmbm

Teleclass: "An Introduction to Mind-Body Health"

Title: Teleclass: “An Introduction to Mind-Body Health”
Location: http://www.mblwellness.com/about-Best-of-Stress-Management/teleclass.htm
Description: This introductory teleclass is perfect for beginners who want to learn about mind-body health and how simple relaxation exercises can improve their health. Participants will receive a free “Mind-Body Mini Kit,” which includes a downloadable audio meditation, a video on stress, and written materials. Participants can also listen to the class on the internet.
Start Time: 08:30:00pm EST
Date: 2008-11-12

Free Webinar Lesson 4: Other Useful Techniques and Advice for Participants

Title: Free Webinar Lesson 4: Other Useful Techniques and Advice for Participants
Location: http://www.mblwellness.com/unstuck
Description: The last free webinar in a four-part series, “A Natural Approach to Treating Depression,” Dr. Gordon offers more resources and guidelines to help you on your journey.

Lesson 4: Other Useful Techniques and Advice for Participants

Key lessons: Dr. Gordon discusses a variety of other techniques that are effective in treating depression; he provides some final advice and words of encouragement for participants.

Download pack still available at www.mblwellness.com!
Start Time: 8:30pm EST
Date: November 24, 2008

Free Webinar Lesson 3: Exercise and Movement

Title: Free Webinar Lesson 3: Exercise and Movement
Location: http://www.mblwellness.com/unstuck
Description: The third free webinar in a 4-part series; tune in to hear Dr. James Gordon discuss the mental and physical benefits of exercise, and offer some easy guidelines for getting started.

Lesson 3: Exercise and Movement

Key Lessons: Physical exercise can significantly improve mood; Dr. Gordon provides advice on how to start an exercise program; Dr. Gordon shows a movement technique he has taught around the world.

The free download pack available at www.mblwellness.com includes MP3 relaxation exercises and guides to meditation!!

Start Time: 06:30:00 pm EST (note time change)
Date: November 22, 2008

Free Webinar Lesson 2: Relaxation/Stress Management

Title: Free Webinar Lesson 2–Relaxation/Stress Management
Location: http://www.mblwellness.com/unstuck
Description: The second free webinar in a 4-part series, Dr. Gordon discusses relaxation and stress reduction techniques and exercises in handy video form.

Lesson 2: Relaxation/Stress Management

Key lessons: Stress and depression are connected; simple relaxation exercises can help with the symptoms of depression; Dr. Gordon teaches a relaxation exercise. (The Unstuck pack contains useful tools for this lesson.)

Don’t forget to download the free Unstuck resource pack at www.mblwellness.com!
Start Time: 8:30pm EST
Date: November 20, 2008

Free Webinar, Lesson 1: "A Natural Approach for Treating Depression" series

Title: Webinar: “A Natural Approach for Treating Depression” series: Lesson 1:
Location: www.mblwellness.com/unstuck
Description: A 4-part free webinar by Dr. James S. Gordon on the approaches he describes in “Unstuck: Your Guide to the Seven-Stage Journey Out of Depression.”

Lesson 1 – An Overview of Depression and How You Can Treat it Yourself with the Help of a Guide.

Key Lessons: Prescription drugs aren’t the only answer; people can use simple techniques to treat their condition; people should work with their doctor and find a guide to help them through the process; depression is not a disease, but a condition in which peoples’ lives are out of balance, or “stuck.” (Participants should read the excerpt from the Introduction of Unstuck in the Unstuck Pack, available at www.mblwellness.com.)

Start Time: 08:30:00 pm EST
Date: November 18, 2008

NEWS RELEASE: "Landmark CMBM Randomized Controlled Trial Treating PTSD in Children Published in Journal of Clinical Psychiatry"

The Washington, DC based Center for Mind-Body Medicine (CMBM) announced today the publication of a landmark study on the use of its comprehensive, non-drug model to treat posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in war traumatized children. The study, “Treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in Post-War Kosovar Adolescents Using Mind-Body Skills Groups: A Randomized Controlled Trial,” which was published today online in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry is the first randomized controlled trial (RCT) ever of any intervention with war traumatized children. It is also the first RCT of a successful, comprehensive mind-body approach with any traumatized population.

The study demonstrates that the Center’s groundbreaking model can be used to produce highly significant and lasting changes in levels of stress, flashbacks, nightmares, and symptoms of withdrawal and numbing in highly traumatized children – those who lived in an area of Kosovo where in 1999 90% of the homes were burned and bombed and 20% of the children lost one or both parents.

The CMBM approach includes self-expression in words, drawings, and movement and mind-body techniques (including meditation, guided imagery, biofeedback and yoga) was offered to these children over 12 sessions in an educational, supportive small group setting. This intervention produced an approximate 80% reduction in PTSD in the treatment groups, much of which was maintained at 3 month follow-up. This is the same model that CMBM’s founder and director, James S. Gordon, MD, describes in detail in his new book, Unstuck: Your Guide to the Seven Stage Journey Out of Depression.

“This RCT,” Dr. Gordon, the lead author, says, “is important because it provides scientific evidence for the efficacy of a model that has been taught to almost 3,000 health and mental health professionals and educators worldwide. We’ve used this small group model to give tens of thousands of children and adults practical tools that help them to feel better quickly, and we’ve taught them to use their intuition and imagination to solve problems that had seemed overwhelming. We help traumatized people around the world to draw on strengths they may have forgotten they have and we offer them a ‘safe place’ in which they can share their pain with others who have suffered as they have.”

“This model is educational, non-stigmatizing, and powerfully effective. It can be easily taught and can be used by people of all ages on their own,” Dr. Gordon explains. “It’s highly acceptable to populations which do not want to be given medication, those without access to a doctor or therapist, and those who are in psychotherapy.”

This model, which Dr. Gordon presents in a step-by-step self-help format in Unstuck, is currently being used by CMBM with war traumatized populations in Israel and Gaza as well as in post-Katrina southern Louisiana. It is widely used with anxious and depressed people and those with chronic illness in the US, and has already been incorporated as a stress reduction program for students in a dozen US medical schools.

The CMBM model is also of increasing interest to the US Department of Defense and the Veterans Administration. “The military,” Dr. Gordon says, “understands the breadth and depth of the psychological crisis (as many as 300,000 returning veterans are expected to have posttraumatic stress disorder or major depressive disorder, and another 320,000 will have been made vulnerable to these conditions by traumatic brain injury). The military’s leadership is committed to finding evidence-based approaches, like the one taught by The Center for Mind-Body Medicine, that can make a difference for the individual veteran and his/her family, an approach that can be taught to the large numbers of professionals and peer counselors who serve them.” More than 100 health and mental health professionals who work with the military are expected at the next CMBM training in mind-body medicine on October 25-29 in Minneapolis, and many more are expressing interest in learning and using the CMBM model.

Introduction/Welcome

I’m very much looking forward to doing this blog. I’ve titled my blog “Healing Ourselves.” This gives me plenty of latitude to talk about what most excites and/or troubles me, to share with you what I’m discovering about all we can do to help and heal ourselves – physically, emotionally, spiritually, and yes, socially and politically too.

My focus for a while is going to be on clinical depression, which affects almost 20 million Americans each year, and the ordinary confusion, unhappiness, and anxiety that is a part of virtually all of our lives. I’m going to be using the blog to give you an absolutely up to date understanding and experience of the comprehensive approach I describe in my new book Unstuck: Your Guide to the Seven Stage Journey Out of Depression. I’m going to share with you what I am and will be learning since I wrote Unstuck: new research on food and mood, on herbal therapies and social support; additional exercises to enhance your ability to deal with the “demons,” the fears and vulnerability that plagues us; new resources for improving mood and enhancing optimism – groups that are effective, books that are inspiring; hints for sorting out confusion as you embrace the spiritual dimension of your life, and much more.

You might want to think of Unstuck as a kind of basic text – a Life 101. It clearly and simply presents my approach to moving through and beyond depression, confusion, and anxiety and will give you a grounding that this blog will build on. You can if you want, order the book at a per-publication discount through The Center for Mind-Body Medicine website (www.cmbm.org/unstuck) or find it, after June 16th, 2008, in your local bookstore.

As time goes on, I’ll respond in my blog to questions that readers like you will ask about depression, anxiety, unhappiness, and confusion, or about any of the places in your life or in “Life” where you find yourself stuck.

I’ll also be keeping you up to date on the work we’re doing at The Center for Mind-Body Medicine (CMBM): how we’re helping to enrich the practice and revive the spirit of medicine here in the US and to bring emotional healing to traumatized populations around the world, and how you can participate in this work.

I’ll also, as time goes on, be addressing many other subjects that seem so urgent to me, and I think to so many of us. Here’s one that is very much on my mind: the sad, actually terrifying, state of American healthcare, with its often poor results; its low ranking compared to other industrialized nations; its exorbitant, over-inflated costs; its high incidence of iatrogenic (physician and hospital caused) deaths; its hurried, insensitive care; and its all but exclusive focus on disease and its lack of concern with wellness. The presidential candidates are, so far as I’m concerned, inadequately addressing these issues. I’ll provide critiques of what’s wrong, practical plans for creating a new and different kind of healthcare, and suggestions for how you can help make them happen.

I’ll sometimes focus on other larger issues that seem relevant to our individual and collective healing: for example, the ways that we use denial to avoid dealing with unpleasant realities, like climate change or the destructiveness of wars, or death. And I’ll discuss how we can open ourselves to ways of dealing with them which will enrich our own lives and make a difference in the larger world. And occasionally, I’ll suggest – and review – books and movies that can change your life.

I’ll also share with you what I’m learning everyday in my relationship with my family and friends and the people I work with in the world, from my own ongoing personal as well as professional practice of the Unstuck approach. I look forward to learning from you too.

As part of my first entry, I’m sharing with you a piece I wrote a couple of months ago on a very important study that appeared in The New England Journal of Medicine (358:252, January 17, 2008 Special Article). The style is a little more formal than I’ll use in the blog because I originally wrote it for a mainstream publication, but I think the main idea comes across pretty well. The best scientific evidence tells us that antidepressant drugs are far less effective than all of us, doctors and patients alike, have been led to believe. Its eye-opening and necessary information.

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