A long time ago I learned through one of those personality tests you take in college that I was a “WHY” person. Everyone was assigned a type of question based on their answers to certain identifying questions and mine was why. The instructor of that class told the whys that our lives would be exhausting because we would find it hard to settle for anything less than a thorough explanation of everything we faced.
While that sounds daunting, it explains my overall frustration with health care and the quick fixes we’re too often given in the form of pharmaceutical scripts.
When I go to a doctor, or more importantly when I take my children to one, I want to know “why” our bodies aren’t performing properly and what we can do to change it in the future. I don’t like to settle for absolutes that can only be solved with a pill.
Unfortunately, when you go in search of alternatives most of what you find are Eastern Medicine practices at best and total quacks at worst. I have just enough East Coast American Snob in me to want more science than most spiritual practices provide. (What can I say? I was raised between the shadows of NIH and Johns Hopkins-not a lot of meditation going on in those two institutions.) You could say I’m all for Yoga, but I’d like it better if it were backed up by statistics and pie charts.
As you can imagine then, when the offer to review the book Power Up Your Brain came, I quickly accepted and dove into it with the vigor I usually reserve for Murder Mysteries.
The reason for my glee? Power Up Your Brain, The Neuroscience of Enlightenment is co-authored by David Perlmutter, M.D., F.A.C.N and Alberto Villoldo, Ph.D.
Dr. Perlmutter is a Neurologist.
Dr. Villoldo is a trained Psychologist, Medical Anthropologist and…wait for it…Shaman.
It is the perfect medical relationship as far as I can tell. Spiritual practices backed up by science.
I am in “why” Heaven. Usually when you think of changing life habits it has to do with heart health or blood pressure, not your brain. These Doctors are making a wellness-brain connection which quite frankly is so awesome it hurts my brain.
The book not only contains fascinating (and downright exciting) information, but it’s written so well it reads like fiction. It was such an enjoyable read, I almost forgot I was having to look up words.
I had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Perlmutter, who is as engaging in person as he demonstrated in writing. One of the things he said is when he sees a patient he likes to find out what is causing the problem before he works on how to treat it. Hallelujah! It’s not “why” but it will do.
Dr. Perlmutter spoke, more than once, of documented studies that have shown multiple alternatives to the standard pharmaceutical practices of today.
These alternatives are within our power to promote and practice but they get buried because they do not serve the needs of the machine that runs on cures rather than prevention. When I asked Dr. Perlmutter what we could do to shed some light he told me, “be harbingers of information.”
I don’t know much, as I’m neither a neurologist or a psychologist, so this responsibility terrified me. I have been afraid to botch the transfer of information that I have found so valuable. I will share what I know and I hope you will go in search of more.
There is much to be excited about in Power Up Your Brain. The Doctors tell us not only that we have the capability to “rewire our brains” but they give us some strategies to begin now like:
- exercise (for my brain too?!)
- supplement your diet with things like DHA and Vitamin D.
- reducing calorie intake to 2000 a day for women
There are lessons on meditation and fasting as well if you really want to commit whole hog. I warn you that once you start reading, you’ll want to commit.
I could go on and on (it seems I may already have) so I’ll stop here and let you watch the doctor answer some questions. There are more videos online. You can also find Dr. Perlmutter on The Huffington Post where he wrote This article about MS-a subject I grilled him on quite extensively.
Alberto Villoldo directs the Four Winds Society which according to their website “offers you a scientific framework through which you can apply the ancient art of energy medicine to your daily life and professional practice.”
(I’m sure The Husband is reading this and thinking: oh, man one more place she’s going to want to study.)
Do yourself a favor, read this book and at least try a few changes. It can’t hurt and really why not try to Power Up Your Brain?
P.S. Looking for more parenting guidance and tips for self-care? Check out From Chaos to Calm a guided training to help you feel better in this tough season.