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 

The year 2021 is just around the corner — with little fond farewell for 2020 — and that means your health insurance provider is about to reset your deductible. And what, exactly, does “reset your deductible” mean? That’s just one of things we’re going to cover in this post.

Suppose you have a health insurance plan with a $3,500 deductible. You have to spend $3,500 out of pocket on medical expenses before your plan would start to help you cover any future medical expenses. If you already paid $3,500 in 2020, your deductible is zero ($0), and your health insurance provider has to pay up whenever you are charged for a medical expense covered by that plan. (Of course, how much of the bill your insurance company is required to pay varies according to the plan you have.)

However, on New Year’s Day 2021, or whenever your health insurance plan is set to renew, your deductible is reset to our arbitrary $3,500 figure, and you have to start from scratch to cover that deductible before your insurance company is required to pay any of your medical costs.

Resetting your deductible also means:

  • If you’ve already met your deductible for 2020, and you need any healthcare services or products that your insurance plan covers partially or in full (such as an expensive prescription), you’d be wise to buy it before midnight on Dec. 31.
  • You should start thinking about setting aside some money to cover your 2021 deductible, especially if you have a high-deductible health insurance plan combined with a health savings account (HSA).

Pro Tip: Speak with your accountant or financial advisor to learn how to use your HSA to maximize your tax savings. And if you’re unfamiliar with HSAs, read Offset Medical Costs with a Health Savings Account or Flexible Spending Account here on the Restoration Healthcare blog.

Getting to Know Your Health Insurance Plan

Health insurance plans are generally structured as a cost-sharing model, meaning you and your health insurance company share the costs of your medical care. These cost-sharing models typically take one of the following forms: Continue reading…

By: Restoration Healthcare 

The term “stress kills” is a cliché. And while we have known for some time that stress is unhealthy, we are just beginning to really understand why and what its effect is in our brains. For instance, an October 2019 study published in the British Medical Journal highlights a strong connection between stress-related disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and the subsequent risk of life-threatening infections. In that study, researchers found a 63 percent higher risk of meningitis among those with stress-related disorders — and a 57 percent higher risk of endocarditis compared with siblings who did not have any stress-related conditions.

In another 2019 study published in the same journal, researchers concluded, “Stress-related disorders are robustly associated with multiple types of cardiovascular disease, independently of familial background, history of somatic/psychiatric diseases, and psychiatric comorbidity.”

Dr. Sunny Raleigh – Restoration Healthcare – performing Cranial Osteopathy Treatment

At the root of this understanding is the realization that the mind and body are more integrated than we have been led to believe. Our thoughts and feelings, and even our interactions with others, have a significant impact on all our body’s systems — including cardiovascular, respiratory, immune, digestive and excretory. And this connection between mind and body runs throughout the brain and nervous system.

In this three-part series, we are exploring this mind-body integration. In Part 1, “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 the 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.

In Part 2 of this series, “Restoring Health Through the Vagus Nerve,” we took 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, which we cover in that post.

Here, in Part 3, we introduce you to several treatments and therapies that may help to restore vagal tone, thereby strengthening the body’s ability to fight infection and heal itself while also restoring calm, confidence, and joy to a mind that has become hard-wired for fear, depression, and anxiety.

First up is osteopathic manipulative treatment. Continue reading…

By: Restoration Healthcare 

The recent surge of COVID-19 cases has created new uncertainties, questions, and stress. That’s why I’m writing — to share new information for combating the surge and preparing yourself for the rest of the holiday season.

Here’s what I want you to know:

1. Testing: If you are sick with symptoms of respiratory illness — including fever, cough and shortness of breath — or you were exposed to or are a close contact of someone with COVID-19, please get tested immediately.

When it comes to testing, you now have two options:

  • Option I — in person testing: For the nearest testing location in Orange Country, please visithttps://occovid19.ochealthinfo.com/covid-19-testing-locations-map. For other areas, you can visit your state or local health department’s website to look for the latest local information on testing.
  • Option II — at home testing: The County of Orange is now offering at-home saliva-based COVID-19 test kits. For more information, visit https://oc.care.ambrygen.com.

If you think you may have COVID-19, the most important thing to do is to isolate yourself from others and get tested as soon as possible. Most people will have mild illness (or even no symptoms) and can recover at home without medical care.

Good to Know: Two kinds of tests are available for COVID-19: Continue reading…

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…