Restoration Healthcare Blog

Welcome to the Restoration Healthcare Blog

Here, you’ll find news from our office, insights and observations from trusted sources in health, profiles of Restoration Healthcare staffers, information about innovations in the effort to take back your own good health, testimonials from our clients, resources and recommendations of note, and more. Read a post or two and comment on anything that strikes a chord.

By: Restoration Healthcare 

This Thanksgiving Day is going to be a challenge for all of us — and especially those who go to great lengths to maintain their health and wellbeing. Before getting into today’s post, please take a few minutes to watch the below message from Restoration Healthcare Co-founder & Medical Director, Dr. Sunny Raleigh:

For starters, we should all probably heed strong suggestions from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urging us all to curtail travel for this particular holiday and avoid large family or friend gatherings altogether.

Sadly, according to the John Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center, more people across the nation are testing positive for the virus named “SARS-CoV-2” and the disease it causes, named coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). And here in Southern California, we’re not immune from the devastation the disease has the potential to cause. As a result, Los Angeles banned outdoor dining at restaurants this week, and the State of California has declared an overnight curfew that will remain in effect for the next three weeks.

On the plus side — and we definitely need some cheerful news — both Zoom and Microsoft Teams are offering their respective videoconferencing platforms for free and without a time limit on Thanksgiving Day. This enables families to safely celebrate and share the holiday nationwide from their homes, thus remaining safe and connected. Just visit Zoom or Microsoft Teams to sign up for a free account.

Secondly, three pharmaceutical companies have announced vaccines for COVID-19 in just the past week, with each suggesting delivery beginning as early as January 2021. While it’s not our place to recommend a vaccine, it’s important to know that they’re being worked on.

In the meantime, we all should continue to follow the health edicts that we were taught earlier this year, which include: Continue reading…

By: Restoration Healthcare 

In the United States, our culture has developed a mechanistic understanding of the human body. Patients are often made to think of themselves as machines consisting of flesh and bone. Like cars which have various mechanical systems that enable their function (ignition, electrical, fuel, exhaust, and powertrain systems, for example), people have nearly a dozen biological systems, including the cardiovascular, respiratory, digestive, and central nervous systems. Conventional medicine practitioners are often seen as mechanics whose job it is to find whatever’s broken or not working properly and fix it.

However, the human body is not a machine. It is an organic whole. And as we here at Restoration Healthcare have known and espoused since our founding in 2015, our health and well-being are significantly impacted by the environment in which we exist — not only the physical environment, but also the emotional, psychological, and social environment. As a result, physical illnesses often require more than physical treatments like medication and surgery. They require a change in how we think (psychologically), feel (emotionally), and interact (socially).

For treatment to be effective, it must be integrative. It must also treat the whole patient — not merely the physical body but also the psychological, emotional, and social being. Effective treatment must treat body and mind.

In Part 1 of this series, “Integrating Implicit and Explicit Memory,” we explained how trauma (physical or emotional) causes the fragmentation of implicit and explicit memories and how that fragmentation can negatively impact a person’s health and ability to recover from illness. Only by integrating implicit and explicit memories can someone suffering from trauma — both physical and emotional — move past it and free the body to heal itself.

Here, in Part 2 of this series, we take a closer look at how external psychological, emotional, and social stimuli manifest as physical dysfunction in the body and how certain physical therapies can restore balance and healthy function to the body. This interaction between external stimuli and physical dysfunction can be explained through polyvagal theory.

Understanding Polyvagal Theory

Polyvagal theory was introduced in 1994 by Dr. Stephen Porges, Distinguished University Scientist and Founding Director of Indiana University’s Kinsey Institute Traumatic Stress Research Consortium. Polyvagal theory is an attempt to explain neurological connections between the brain, the various body systems (cardiovascular, respiratory, digestive, immune, and so on), and external stimuli, in order to gain insight into Continue reading…

By: Restoration Healthcare 

How hopeful are you about your health? Before answering that question, we need to reveal that there are at least two different definitions of hope as it relates to your health. The first comes from Charles “Rick” Snyder, an American psychologist who specialized in positive psychology and was the editor of the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology. According to Snyder, hope is defined as the perceived capability to derive pathways to desired goals and motivate oneself to use those pathways.

Another health-related definition of hope that we’re aware of comes from researchers in the Department of Health Behavior at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, who tell us hope is a future expectancy characterized by an individual’s perception that a desirable future outcome can be achieved.

Implicit and Explicit Memory

 

So, how hopeful are you about your own positive health outcomes, and what does emotional well being have to do with physical health in the first place? An upbeat attitude about the state of your own health goes a long way, according to brain scientists in several recent studies.

For example, a 2013 study conducted by researchers in Wisconsin, Spain, and France investigated the effects of a day of intensive mindfulness practice in a group of experienced meditators compared to a group of untrained control subjects who engaged in quiet non-meditative activities. After eight hours of mindfulness practice, the meditators showed a range of genetic and molecular differences, including altered levels of gene-regulating machinery and reduced levels of pro-inflammatory genes, which in turn correlated with faster physical recovery from a stressful situation.

Another study in 2013 conducted by Barbara L. Fredrickson at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, who collaborated with a team from the UCLA, found that people who have high levels of what is known as eudaimonic well-being (the kind of happiness that comes from having a deep sense of purpose and meaning) showed very favorable gene-expression profiles in their immune cells. They had low levels of inflammatory gene expression and strong expression of antiviral and antibody genes.

In contrast, people with relatively high levels of hedonic well-being (happiness that comes from merely pleasurable activities) had an adverse expression profile involving high inflammation and low antiviral and antibody gene expression.

Here at Restoration Healthcare, we see many patients who have experienced trauma — both physical and emotional — and continue to suffer as a result of not fully understanding and being able to move on from their past trauma. They’re angry at the Continue reading…

By: Restoration Healthcare 

One of the biggest myths in our highly productive society is that sleep is just for the lazy and the bored — people who have nothing better to do with their lives. Chef, restaurateur, and television personality Gordon Ramsay exhibits an unusual amount of “fiery energy” and functions best on just three to four hours of sleep per night.

However, needing less sleep is nothing to get fired up about. It’s a gift, a genetic anomaly — sort of like Superman being able to fly. Chef Ramsey has what people in the United Kingdom refer to as the Thatcher Gene, named after former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, whose busy routine included a scant four hours of sleep per night.

Brain Sleep

Although proof of the Thatcher Gene is mostly anecdotal with very few reliable scientific studies to back it up, approximately one percent of the population is thought to be born with the ability to function well on about half the sleep most people need. To compound the injustice, these folks also tend to be more energetic, outgoing, optimistic, and ambitious. Many of them are also blessed with a higher metabolism and pain tolerance.

The rest of us need about seven to eight hours of quality sleep per night — not only to function at our peak but also to remain physically and mentally healthy. Not getting enough sleep can lead to serious medical conditions.

The Connection Between Lack of Sleep and Neurodegenerative Diseases

A recent article in TIME magazine titled “A Rinsing of the Brain. New Research Shows How Sleep Could Ward Off Alzheimer’s Disease,” highlights the fact that when we are asleep, the brain engages in some serious rest and relaxation. But it also remains active in some other ways. These include tasks such as sorting out the day’s events, keeping us entertained with fanciful dreams, and detoxing itself of harmful molecules. Specifically, among these are amyloid (pronounced am-a-loyd) proteins and their precursors — fragments of amyloid proteins called beta amyloid.

Amyloid proteins circulate freely in the brain during its normal workday and are normally flushed from the brain during sleep. When you lose sleep, this flushing doesn’t occur as thoroughly as it should, and beta amyloid builds up in the brain. These nightly brain cleanses may be what separate those who don’t get Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia from those who do. (As an aside, six years after her death in 2003, Margaret Thatcher’s daughter revealed that her mother struggled with dementia.)

The connection between Alzheimer’s disease and sleep disorders has been Continue reading…

By: Restoration Healthcare 

Michael Shepherd joined the team here at Restoration Healthcare more than two years ago as a paramedic and was recently promoted to the position of paramedic team lead. Michael is part of our lab team, tasked with starting patient’s IV’s and performing blood draws when necessary.

This Tustin, Calif., native is also in charge of scheduling for our paramedic team and resolving issues that might arise. And he isn’t shy about saying one of his best friends, Erin, worked at our Irvine clinic and recommended him for the job of paramedic back in February of 2018. According to Michael, he’s been here ever since because of the care our doctors and staff express and deliver for our patients.

Michael Shepherd Restoration Healthcare

Michael received an Associates of Arts degree in 2013 from Santa Ana College where he majored in Fire Science. He worked for a number of ambulance companies in Orange County and Sacramento before joining the team at our Irvine clinic, and holds a California Paramedics license, Advanced Cardiac Life Support certification, and a Pediatric Advanced Life Support certification. He is also CPR certified.

On a more personal level, we asked Michael to tell us about his life outside of work. Here is what he had to say:

Restoration Healthcare: Please tell us what you like to do in your free time.

Michael Shepherd: Mostly, it’s spending time with my family, including my wife Lauren and my almost year-old son Samuel. He is definitely growing up way too fast. My family also includes a dog named Scully and cat named Foxie. Besides that, I like working out and watching as much sports as I can.

RH: What’s your favorite restaurant in town — the one you return to time after time and year after year? And what dish do you continue to order?

Michael: My favorite restaurant is Continue reading…

By: Restoration Healthcare 

Think back to the last time you played outdoors and laughed out loud like a child, with total abandon, no pain or stress, no guilt or regret about the past, no concerns about the future. Recall a time when you were so totally immersed in play that you lost awareness of any division between you and the world around you. You probably felt awesome in that moment.

In fact, you may remember that time as one of the most pleasurable moments in your life. There’s a reason for that. It just so happens that we are genetically engineered to thrive — physically, emotionally, and psychologically — through play.

Play your way to better health

Play is recuperative and restorative, it reconnects us to the real world and to one another, and it may be one of the key factors that has driven the evolution of higher forms of life over the course of hundreds of millions of years.

Play Through the Eyes of a Polar Bear and Sled Dog

In his book Play: How It Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul, Stuart Brown, M.D. proposes that our need for play is a biological drive as integral to our health as good nutrition and sleep. And he makes the point that all intelligent creatures engage in play as a way to recharge their batteries and optimize their resiliency.

He illustrates the importance of play by relating this wonderful story about an encounter between a sled dog and a polar bear: Continue reading…

By: Restoration Healthcare 

Regardless of age, we all desire our cognitive ability to steadily increase over the course of our lives and not decline after reaching its peak. The ideal we seek is a healthy mind, body, and spirit. Many people believe that when we have all three, we have the potential for optimal health, fitness, and happiness, which is why monitoring cognitive function is, or should be, such a key component of any health management plan.

Case in point: A recent study conducted in Finland found that the physical and cognitive function of people the ages of 75 and 80 today are better than that of the same-aged people 30 years ago. Comparisons were based on both physical and cognitive performance and included muscle strength, walking speed, reaction times, verbal fluency, reasoning, and working memory. Researchers suggested that the improvements could be due to several factors, including better healthcare, education, and working conditions.

Brain Health Assessment

That said, it’s important to recognize that a temporary cognitive decline can be an early warning sign of illness and should be checked out by a medical professional. Memory lapses, brain fog, and difficulties related to thinking and concentration are common when you’re not feeling your best.

Here at Restoration Healthcare, we commonly see patients who report concerns about their cognitive function. Some worry that their cognitive issues may be a sign of early-onset Alzheimer’s or dementia, which is rarely the case. Far more common is an inflammatory condition resulting from a hidden infection, exposure to environmental toxins, autoimmunity, or some other underlying condition. With effective treatment, many of our patients’ cognitive functions returns to normal.

Assessing and Monitoring Cognitive Function

Like all medical practices should, we look at your cognitive function as an important diagnostic indicator and as a metric for monitoring improvement and evaluating treatment success. Over the course of your treatment, regular cognitive assessments provide us with valuable information that helps us with adjustments we may choose to make to your plan of care.

To help us evaluate cognitive function, we use the Cambridge Brain Sciences (CBS) brain health assessment service, which measures core elements of  Continue reading…