Exploring Integrative Medicine and Nutrition for PTSD
Psychiatric Times, 39(10).
Leslie E. Korn, PhD, MPH (2022).
Evidence from a growing number of studies suggests that 38% to 40% of adults living in the United States use complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies, yet only 42% have told their primary physician that they do so. Patients do not disclose their use for numerous reasons. They are not asked about it; they are concerned that their clinician will disapprove; they may not think it is necessary; and/or their clinicians are not interested in or do not know about CAM methods.
Moreover, integrative medicine (IM) appeals to groups like veterans who traditionally avoid or experience dissatisfaction with conventional treatment and are prone to posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Hence, clinicians should disclose their interest and training in IM and ask patients about their health practices. Integrative medicine and nutrition for the treatment of PTSD is comprised of 18 components, called the Brainbow Blueprint.
What MFTs Should Know About Nutrition, Psychosocial Health, and Collaborative Care with Nutrition Professionals
Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 48(1).
Josh R. Novak PhD | Lindsey P. Robinson | Leslie E. Korn PhD, MPH (2021).
Despite sufficient evidence on the role of nutrition in psychosocial health, Marriage and Family Therapists lack the knowledge for sufficient assessment and referrals in treatment. The purpose of this article is to orient MFTs to human metabolism and the effects of various nutrients, or lack thereof, on the psychosocial health in their clients.
The roles of several micronutrients and macronutrients will be described as well as the effects of eating patterns and over-all metabolic health on mental health. Finally, implications for MFTs as sole practitioners, domains for assessment and psychoeducation, and recommendations for collaborating with nutrition professionals will be discussed.
KEYWORDS: assessment, collaborative care, diet, mental health, nutrition, treatment
Mind-Body-Spirit Interventions for Patients With PTSD Psychiatric Times
Special Reports, PTSD.
Leslie Korn, PhD, MPH (2016, December 30).
PTSD is the quintessential mind-body-spirit (MBS) disorder that alters physiological, biological, and psychological homeostasis. People with PTSD and complex trauma often experience dysregulation of multiple systems that impairs physical, affective, and cognitive function, which can lead to a profound sense of disconnection from others and loss of purpose and hope.
Dissociation is common in PTSD and is associated with disabling sequelae, including substance abuse, self-harming behaviors, eating disorders, and chronic pain.
The Second Brain: Trust Your Gut
The Neuropsychotherapist, 4(12), 30-51.
Leslie E. Korn (2016).
There is no doubt that nutrition affects mental health. Poor nutrition leads to and exacerbates mental illness. Optimal nutrition prevents and treats mental illness. The standard American diet (SAD) makes us sad! This too frequently prescribed diet consists of refined, overly processed foods containing refined sugars in fruit juices and sugary drinks, and highly refined rice, pastas, and flours used in breads and bakery goods. These processed products are loaded with chemicals and synthetic preservatives, hormones, antibiotics, and food colorings that are known to alter our mood.
This type of diet is a prime contributing factor resulting in health complaints for many clients. The SAD leads to chronic inflammatory states and sets the stage for neurotransmitter imbalances. By adding the lens of nutrition, diet, and digestion to your clinical toolbox, you will forever change your approach to client care and enhance the efficacy of all your other methods.
Burying the Umbilicus: Traditional Medicine on the West Coast of Mexico
Fourth World Journal, 13(1), 5-31.
Leslie Korn, PhD, MPH (2014).
After giving birth, indigenous women in rural West Mexico traditionally bury the umbilical cord underneath a tree on their land. This ritual symbolizes the planting of roots for their child in the land and in the community, thus reaffirming the child’s cultural connections. It is this people/land connection that passes from one generation to the next, demonstrating the essence of human culture. It is easy to see this relationship in the word itself. Culture (cult, meaning worship and ure meaning earth) links the land and its life-giving benefits to the health and well-being of the family and reinforces daily activities and rhythms of nature in women’s lives. It is in a peoples’ traditional medicine that we see the fullest expression of culture.
The México of the 21st century is a place of many cultures created and recreated in response to changing human and environmental forces, yet it retains the profound cultural connection between the peoples and the land exemplified in traditional medicines and healing practices. In its complex cultural geography México is richly rewarded with a diversity of traditional medicines used to treat illness and restore health by urban and rural families alike.
Somatic Empathy: Restoring Community Health with Massage
Fourth World Journal, 12(1), 19-28.
Leslie. E. Korn, PhD, MPH (2013).
Adapted from Keynote remarks delivered on April 26th, 2013 at the International Massage Therapy Research Conference, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
From the jungle of west Mexico to the tangled streets of Boston healing touch has a powerful effect on the physical and mental well-being of those who receive touch therapies. While conventional health institutions weigh the potential benefits of touch therapies such as massage and polarity therapy, research and the experiences of practitioners demonstrate the clear and concrete benefits of the therapeutically applied human touch. This is a much-needed addition to the health system that can prevent as well as cure.
Journeys of Healing: Indigenous Revitalization of Culture and Traditional Medicine as a Cure for Mental Illness of Indigenous Peoples of the Pacific Northwest of the United States of America [Presentation]
Mirjam Hirch | Leslie Korn, PhD, MPH (2012).
Throughout the last three decades, there has been an increasing awareness of the loss of traditional medicinal knowledge of value to all of humankind. A global resurgence of interest in traditional and alternative medicine practices can be observed internationally as a response to the overuse of synthetic pharmaceuticals that are often available only to the wealthy. Traditional medicine provides health care coverage for all people especially the poor, vulnerable, and marginalized. The potential of traditional knowledge especially for the psychological well-being of indigenous peoples has long been acknowledged.
Empirical research and experience over the millennia have demonstrated efficacy for a wide range of methods, including ritual, botanicals medicines, acupuncture, massage, and hands- on healing to name a few. However, there is a dearth of studies on local traditional medicine that are designed to bridge the chasm between the delivery of traditional practices and contemporary public health and mental health methods.
Preventing and Treating HIV and AIDS: In Search of Constructive Cooperation Between Conventional and Traditional Health Practitioners
Community Mental Health and Wellbeing Bulletin, 3(2), 10-14.
Rudolph. C. Ryser, PhD | Leslie E. Korn, PhD, MPH (2010).
Seventy thousand babies infected with HIV are born to South African families every year, and 300,000 South Africans die of AIDS each year. In South Africa alone, 12 percent of the population, about 5.7 million, are infected. While globally there will be more than enough health workers, the World Health Organization projects Africa to suffer the greatest from shortages due to the disproportionate level of disease on the continent and distributional problems— some practitioners simply don’t want to work in the difficult environment that African communities offer. African countries with concentrated concerns for the training and retention of health practitioners include Ghana, Uganda, South Africa, and Nigeria, but virtually none of these countries are able to prevent out-migration of physicians.
A Randomized Trial of a CAM Therapy for Stress Reduction in American Indian and Alaskan Native Family Caregivers
The Gerontologist, 49(3), 368-377.
Leslie E. Korn, PhD, MPH, RPP | Rebecca G. Logsdon, PhD | Nayak L. Polissar, PhD | Alfredo Gomez-Beloz, PhD, MPH | Tiffany Waters, BA | Rudolph Ryser, PhD (2009).
Although it is widely recognized that caregivers of individuals with dementia experience elevated stress that places them at increased risk for health problems, little is known about how caregiving stress may be alleviated among underserved ethnic minority populations. The purpose of this study was to compare a complementary and alternative medicine therapy, polarity therapy (PT), to an enhanced respite control condition (ERC) to reduce stress and depression and improve quality of life for American Indian (AI) and Alaskan Native family caregivers.
Design and Methods
Forty-two AI family caregivers of individuals with dementia, living on and off reservations in the Pacific Northwest, were randomized to an 8-session trial of PT or ERC. PT is a touch therapy that uses gentle pressure on energy points and biofields to help the client achieve physiological relaxation. ERC included respite care for the person with dementia and a choice of activities for the caregiver. Average age of caregivers was 50 years (range 27 – 69 years); 90% were women; 52% daughters, 10% wives, 7% sons, and 31% other relatives. Outcome assessments administered at baseline and posttreatment included caregiver perceived stress, depression, quality of life, sleep quality, worry, and physical health. Results: PT participants improved significantly more than ERC participants on stress ( p = .01), depression ( p = .045.), bodily pain ( p = .02), vitality ( p = .03), and general health ( p = .01).
These results indicate that the delivery of PT to AI dementia family caregivers is feasible and culturally acceptable and may be an important approach to reducing stress, depression, and pain.
Salish Culture, Foods and Medicines: Indigenous Traditions and CAM for the Prevention and Treatment of Diabetes Type 2
Townsend Letter. Retrieved from The Free Library
Leslie Korn, PhD | Rudolph C. Ryser, PhD (2009, May 1).
Diseases previously unknown to the population of native peoples of the north Pacific Coast of the US and Canada were introduced by colonizing peoples and ravaged the Salish peoples for more than 225 years. Similarly, market economic policies contributed to the steadily growing incidence of chronic disease beginning in the early 20th century. Acute diseases producing rapid death struck longhouse peoples in the 18th and 19th centuries, and in the 20th and 21st centuries, these populations experienced a growing epidemic of chronic diseases introduced through processed foods, new modes of transportation, and major environmental changes.
In the 21st century, the descendants of the surviving longhouse Indians are now faced with the need to retrieve their ancestral knowledge to treat and reverse the scourge of slow death from chronic disease. They are gathering together once again, to remember the wisdom of the elders; to tell stories; to find the old, hidden places where the camas still grows; and to prepare and share their foods with others. The Salish people are joining indigenous peoples all over who are restoring their traditions.
American Indian Caregiver Policy Study. Olympia, WA.
Center for World Indigenous Studies.
Rudolph C. Ryser, PhD | Leslie E. Korn, PhD, MPH | Clara W. Berridge, MSW (2008).
Indian governments and the government of the State of Washington seek to serve the needs of a growing American Indian elder and disabled population through the services of individuals caring for family members and individuals employed to provide care. The American Indian and Alaska Native elder population that is disabled as a result of dementia rely on the care and help of an estimated 3,160 individuals in tribal communities (the vast majority of whom are women) on and near Indian reservations and in cities in Washington.
Tribal governments and the state government depend on federal program support to provide elder American Indian assistance. To achieve effective benefit for elder American Indians, direct assistance and support services have been defined under federal legislation to be delivered by the state of Washington through the Agency on Aging and Area Agencies on Aging working at the county level. Tribal governments also deliver support and services through caregiver programs and elder programs. Despite these efforts, support, and assistance are often obstructed and qualitatively diminished for those providing care to elders and for assistance directly available to elders American Indians and Alaskan Natives.
A Salish Feast: Ancient Roots and Modern Applications
Cultural Survival Quarterly, 31(1): 6-7.
Leslie E. Korn, PhD, MPH | Rudolph C. Ryser, PhD (2007).
The Knowledge traditions of Salish country are neither old fashioned nor out of date. Indeed, this body of knowledge collected in the people, stories, songs, and the land has the most modern application: prevention and treatment of chronic diseases that now afflict growing numbers of native peoples as well as non-natives living in Salish country. We use “Salish country” to identify a region of coastal northwest United States and southwest Canada and parts of their interior where peoples as similar and different as the Wuikin uxv, Wenatchee, Semiamoo, Skagit, Quinault, Clatsop, and Siletz live. What these peoples and their immediate neighbors share are rivers and other water pathways connecting them and languages rooted in what the linguists call Salish.
These connections fostered cultural ties that have existed over the millennia and to the present day. The Salish cornucopia includes a great abundance of roots, greens, berries, nuts, apples, seeds, flowers, honey and tree sap, tree bark, fresh plant sprouts, spruce tips, deer, elk, bear, pheasant, ducks, geese, freshwater eel, bullheads, trout, bass, and sea foods including seaweed, crab, seal, whale, sea urchins, mussels and clams, salmon, cod, halibut, and the small fish they call the oolichan. Together these foods and medicines provided a healthy balance of nutrients.
Burying the Umbilicus: Nutrition Trauma, Diabetes and Traditional Medicine in Rural West Mexico
In M. L. Ferreira & G. C. Lang (Eds.), Indigenous Peoples and Diabetes. Durham, NC: Carolina Academic Press.
Leslie E. Korn, PhD, MPH | Rudolph C. Ryser, PhD (2006).
Summary of Chapter 10. This chapter explores the intersections of traditional medicine, nutrition trauma, and diabetes in a small indigenous community on the west coast of Mexico based on 27 years of the first author’s direct experience and conducting intensive research. Beginning with the philosophy and practices of the Center for Traditional Medicine, a rural grassroots, natural medicine, public health center, the chapter discusses the current and historical use of traditional medicines in west Mexico, and locates them in the context of the emerging movement of integrative methods.
A detailed exploration of the culture and peoples of the region and the effects of “defective development” leads to an examination of development, tourism and community trauma on health in the region. A definition of nutrition trauma provides a basis from which to explore an innovative women-directed community-determined program designed to address diabetes with an intergenerational focus. Intercultural exchanges, clinical health change strategies, authentic nutrition, and culinary arts, detoxification, the creative arts, and medicinal plants provide the methods by which the community defines its priorities and enacts self-determination to regain control over its health.
Polarity Therapy: A Brief Review of the Literature
Leslie Korn, PhD, MPH (2003, Spring).
Polarity therapy (PT) is a syncretic energy medicine, biofield/touch therapy developed by Randolph Stone, D.O., D.C. that evolved from an integration of traditional Ayurvedic medicine, energy meridian therapies from China and the manipulative therapy traditions of early 20th century “drugless” osteopathic medical practitioners in the U.S.A.
There are four parts to the practice of polarity therapy: Polarity Bodywork, Energetic Nutrition, Stretching Postures, and Communication/Facilitation. PT is a unique complementary/alternative medicine (CAM) biofield/touch therapy in that it integrates the light energetic touch of biofield therapy techniques with soft-tissue, and pressure point manipulation. A major tenet of polarity therapy is that health and healing are attributes of energy that flow in its natural and unobstructed state, (Association, 1996). Artful touch, focused attention, intention—empathy and love—is the foundation of the practice, (Association, 1996). Stone (1986) delineated concepts of energetic, myofascial, and structural manipulation based on what he referred to as “wireless energy currents” a concept that is linked to field theory explicated by physicist David Bohm, (Korn, 1987). One goal of polarity is to trace (by palpation) and release (by skilled touch) those energy blockages that manifest as pain or dysfunction.
In D. Novey (Ed.), Clinician’s Complete Reference to Complementary and Alternative Medicine (423-434). St. Louis, MO: Mosby.
Leslie Korn, Phd, MPH (2003).
Randolph Stone (1890-1981) originally conceived of Polarity Therapy, a philosophy, and method of health care, education, and healing based on electromagnetic and subtle energy fields and their flow or disruption in the human or animal body. Trained in the manipulative therapies of early twentieth-century European-American medicine, Stone believed there was a missing link underlying the cause and effect of health and illness. His annual visits to India (where he made his home later in life) provided him an opportunity to practice medicine among the poor as well as people referred to as “incurable.” Ayurvedic medical principles, with their emphasis on energy centers or nadis, influenced his practice, as did acupuncture. These healing traditions led Stone to synthesize Western and Eastern “drugless” healing practices, which he called Polarity Therapy.
Community Trauma and Development
Fourth World Journal, 5(1), 1-9.
Leslie Korn, PhD, MPH (2002).
The history of development is a history of trauma. Development that is not self-determined is predatory. Development that is not self-determined precipitates intergenerational trauma in individuals and communities. When this occurs people suffer loss and grieve over ways of life, families divide and the rituals of celebration and healing lose meaning. When development is not self-determined, the earth loses as well. Assaulted and out of balance, she grieves and falters in her ability to offer nourishment. Because the sea cries black tears at her invasion she too cannot proffer her bounty—and then all of nature’s animals are out of order. The body is to spirit like the land is to its people—the ground of life force.
However, there are predators—people, governments, and corporations who exert power over others in order to take the resources of people and their lands. And because of their intimate interconnection, taking the land destroys a people, just as taking the rituals and ways of life, destroys the land. The invasion of development disconnects people from their land and its plentitude of resources just as rape leaves an individual disconnected from herself and others and in somatic, psychic, and spiritual pain.
The Rhythms of Body and Earth in the Mexican Jungle
In M. Wyman (Ed.), Sweeping the earth: Women taking action for a healthy planet (141-152).
Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada: Gynergy Books.
Leslie Korn, PhD, MPH (1999).
Polarity Therapy: To Touch the Heart of the Matter
Leslie Korn, PhD, MPH (1987, Spring/Summer).
Our patients struggle to express themselves through their symptoms, and in our work together we try to “make sense” of their signs and to learn to speak-indeed to create a language-which appeals not just to the mind, but to the whole, hale self. Touch is the curative language of the body. We seek to understand the landscape of the mind through words-but what of the body, that distant, intractable terrain, the site of “primitive defenses,” poor cousin to our psyche? In psychiatry we allow the Self to “speak its mind,” “say its piece”; and, accordingly, we must not do to the body, but let it speak with a language and a wisdom of its own.
To touch the body elicits mental imagery as well as affective response. Touch is in its very act conjunctive, and it is therefore well-suited for healing the split between psyche and soma, between self and other; for in the act of touching, one is touched. Through touch, we stir the sensory world of the body in order to draw a bridge to the inner world of imagery that slumbers beneath the surface in the dormancy of somatization.
To touch the body elicits mental imagery as well as affective response. This may hold special therapeutic value for patients who freeze at free association or for whom the language of dreams has yet to surface. For these patients, rooted in the particulars of the senses, the body is the locus of experience, and the embodiment of pain and dis-ease presents a tangible, tactile text, a moving memory, the opportunity to speak and be heard, if only there were someone to understand their story.