Magnets may be the next solution to treat drug addiction. According to a new study, transcranial magnetic stimulation has been shown to reduce cravings in cocaine addicts. The treatment has been used for decades for treatment-resistant depression, yet a number of studies have found the treatment to be effective for a number of other disorders.
Transcranial magnetic stimulation or TMS in the past has been used to treat OCD, Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy and migraines; however the results have been mixed. Now, a growing body of research supports that TMS may have applications for various kinds of addictions and addictive behaviors such as alcoholism, smoking and binge-eating. So far, most of the studies have been on a small scale however results have been generally positive.
Optogenetics Light Therapy
Two years ago, Antonello Bonci, a researcher at the National Institute on Drug Abuse, published a study in the journal Nature. The team stimulated the rats brains with a new technique called optogenetics. Optogenetics is a fairly new biological technique which involves the use of light to control cells in living tissues. Optogenetics introduces light-sensitive proteins into the brain and activates the proteins with light beams. The light activates the prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain most associated with addiction. Interestingly, after the treatment, the rats showed less interested in cocaine.
Shortly after the results were release, a newspaper in Italy published an article about the work. Turns out, a man whose son struggled with cocaine addiction and suicide thoughts saw the article and pondered if the same treatment could help his son overcome his cocaine addiction. He went to researchers at the University of Padua in Italy who agreed that that work sounded promising.
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Treatment
In collaboration, Bonci and the doctors in Padua led a new study that looked at the effect of TMS on cocaine cravings. Subject received treatment using a small figure eight-shaped magnetic device placed near the skull which delivered painless pulses to the brain for five consecutive days. Afterward, the magnetic treatment continued once a week for three weeks.
The study enrolled only 29 subjects but the results generated exciting results in the addiction treatment community. Out of the 13 subjects who received the all-TMS protocol, 10 showed “significant improvements” in reducing the drug craving.
“I have met with these patients, I have seen them, I have seen their families,” said Bonci. “They are alive, they are well…something has clearly happened to these people.”
For now, no one truly knows how TMS works. One theory is that is stimulates the production of certain neurotransmitters like dopamine. Perhaps it enhances neural connectivity. When it comes to addiction, another theory is that is “scrambles” the brain’s craving signals.
Furthermore, we still do not know if TMS will be just as effective when tested on larger and more diverse populations. Like we mentioned, this study was very small, yet promising. One criticism is that the study used mostly Caucasian men and that the participants were “treatment seekers” who were motivated to get better. There needs to be future studies that are more diverse and focus on different types of people.
“This is a pilot study—we have a lot of work to do,” Bonci said in regards to the results. “I think that we will know, in just a few years, if this will become an accepted treatment [for a variety of addictions].”
Bonci plans to launch larger, more placebo –controlled, double blind studies in the future to confirm his results. Until then, there continues to be a growing number of drugs aimed at reducing cravings and the neural reward for using. However, many of these drugs have side effects. TMS would be a treatment that would be largely free from side effects. The only side effect known is the occasional headache.
What do you think? Could light and magnets be the answer to combating addiction? Either way, the more options we have to treat addiction, the better. The time is now to take advantage of all the latest forms of treatment available to help you overcome your addiction. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.
Author: Shernide Delva
In the January 13, 2011 blog entry, we examined the importance of using reflexology as both a diagnostic and a healing method. Reflexology can be used to assist in healing many types of disease and injuries to the body. The chart above highlights reflex points on the top, bottom, and sides of each foot, as well as the ankles. Ironically, the ankle points above the Lymphatic/Groin/Fallopian areas are not shown, but some reflexologists use these higher areas to stimulate other areas of the body.
When we receive physical trauma that causes bruising or a bump to form, our natural inclination is to rub, knead, and lightly press the affected area. This is known as massage, which consists of reflexology along with direct pressure on the musculoskeletal system. One doesn’t need extensive training do use reflexology. In fact, walking barefoot on natural land such as grass, dirt, sand, and stone can actually manipulate the reflex points on the bottoms of each foot stimulating the organs.
To experience reflexology yourself, try walking and jogging on the beach barefooted. This has the added benefit of building up the smaller muscle fibers and tendons in the calves, as well as the ligaments in the knees. Some have actually healed spinal, hip, knee, and ankle injuries by running barefoot.
Utilize reflexology on a daily basis, no matter your age. Anyone from infants to elders can learn and use this art form for themselves and their families.
In our previous article on physiognomy, that is, using the body as a feedback mechanism, we covered iridology and its place in diagnosing damaged organs in a patient’s body. This article covers sclerology which is an additional, yet complimentary modality that can be used in addiction treatment.
Sclerology is the study of the sclera—or white portion of the eyeball—and the shape, location, and depth of the blood vessels and foreign markings found therein to determine present disease states which are sometimes more current than iridology. Like iridology, sclerology was utilized by physicians in ancient cultures such as Nubia, Egypt, Babylon, and among the indigenous American populations. The modern form was modified by A. Stuart Wheelright whose legacy is carried on by Dr. Jack Tips, director of the International Sclerology Institute.
Sclerology is a companion modality to iridology, and both possess their own unique strengths and compliment one another diagnostically. Digital camera technology is now used to magnify the sclera. However, the white tissue surrounding the iris can be read with the practitioner’s naked eye. The red lines found in the eye and various markings found in the zones correspond to the zones in the iris.
This science is lesser known than iridology but is just as important in the diagnostic process. In times past, the tissues in each eye were read at once and a diagnosis was given according to the reading. Both techniques can be used in drug addiction treatment to determine both the constitutional disposition and organ weaknesses within the patient/client.
For more information you may contact the International Sclerology Institute at http://www.sclerology-institute.org/
Reflexology is yet another tool health practioners can use in drug and alcohol addiction treatment. It is part of every massage system in the world, is at least 6,000 years old and is one of the first healing modalities in existence, even predating acupuncture and chiropractic. The advantage to reflexology is its utility as both a diagnostic technique and treatment modality. Each organ in the body has a reflex point in the hands, ears, and feet. When using a visual map of these areas we find they mirror the internal organs located in the torso and head areas.
By pressing, rubbing, kneading, and pinching the reflex points, the corresponding organs are energetically healed; on a physical level, the immune system is stimulated and the body uses its own intelligence to send blood, hormones, oxygen, and other vital substances to these areas. Reflexology is very useful in the field of addiction, as it can first be used to relax the patient/client while the liver, colon, heart, and other vital organs are being healed.
How a practitioner determines which organs must be stimulated is dependent on the type of pathology that is sensed by smell, touch, and sight. It is common, for instance, for someone to rub a painful area on their hand, and when they stop to think about the source of the injury, there is no recollection of physical injury. This means there is an issue with the organ that corresponds to that particular zone. Markings may also appear on the area such as bruising, discoloration, and swelling.
Using the techniques above, an individual can either heal themselves or find a skilled reflexologist to assist them in the healing process.
Ann Gilanders. The Joy of Reflexology: Healing Techniques for the Hands and Feet to Reduce Stress and Reclaim Life. Gaia Books Limited: London, 1995.
Inge Dougans. The New Reflexology: A Unique Blend of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Western Reflexology Practice for Better Health and Healing. Marlowe & Company: New York, 2006.
The iris has several layers of thin tissue that reveal the depth and spread of disease to various organs. Deeper markings reveal deeper disease states in that region of the body. Thus we have, in increasing order of severity: Acute, sub-acute, chronic, and degenerative. In the acute stage the body’s immune system has attempted a rapid destruction of the cause of disease, while a high degree of metabolism is still present.
Sub-acute markings show a slower metabolism and impaired immune function. It is possible at this stage to have minor organ damage which the patient/client must act upon to hasten the healing process. At this stage it is common for them to experience fatigue and a reduction in motor function, depending on the organ that is damaged. Markings will begin to appear higher in color contrast or a deeper brown or black color.
Chronic stages of disease find the organs damaged to such a degree that immediate action must be taken. A physician’s diagnosis of chronic pain in any of the bodily systems means a problem has existed for a longer period of time than should be and must be treated quickly. As with drug and alcohol addiction, which can lead to cirrhosis of the liver, brain damage, and colon cancer, all diseases, if not treated when symptoms first occur, can lead to even more serious, degenerative problems. Organ or system degeneration shows up in the iris as a deep, black hole, mainly with an irregular shape. It must be treated on a more regular basis, and protocols must be administered in a timely manner. At this stage, however, regeneration of damaged tissue is difficult to obtain unless the patient/client makes lifestyle changes on the spiritual, emotional, and physical levels.
In each stage the patient/client experiences nutritional deprivation as a result of the energetic and physical break in organ integrity. If the lungs are damaged, for instance, due to repeated smoke inhalation, full breaths cannot be taken, thus depriving one of full oxygen levels. Once oxygen levels are reduced it is impossible for blood to receive and process nutrients that are carried from the colon walls to other parts of the body. Fresh air is literally food for the body, just as a connection exists between food we intake through the mouth, the soil it is grown in, and sunlight we intake through the eyes and skin.
Furthermore, the colon, which is lined with and connected to muscles on its inner and outer walls, relies on taking full breaths that expand and contract the whole diaphragm. This in turn impedes intestinal peristalsis, which moves fecal matter outside the body. This is the end stage of digestion, which is called elimination.
If any of these physical problems occur, even for a short period of time it will be revealed in the iris