Nancy Russell, MD - Personalized Internal Medicine        October 2010

In This Issue


From the Desk of Dr Nancy 

Mental Health Wellness: Causes & Treatment


Staff Speaks - Ray Smith

Pain Relief with Massage







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Mental Health Wellness: Causes &Treatment

 Nancy Russell, MD


Are you not sick, but not well? Are you the kind of patient many doctors can’t seem to help? Your doctor may say to you, "I can’t find anything wrong." And it’s true. There’s nothing immediately obvious to treat and the standard laboratory tests are normal. In this case, you may suffer from a neurotransmitter imbalance. Common symptoms can include:

Feelings of sadness, feelings of anxiousness, stress and fatigue, irregular sleep patterns, poor concentration, headaches, cravings or addictions, binge eating, aches and pains, behavioral problems, lack of focus, mind racing or lack of motivation.

Our mental health is not as simple as it may seem. There is interconnectedness between the different biological systems in the body. The nervous, endocrine, and immune systems of our bodies all influence each other. These systems are also influenced by our genetics, environment, emotions, values and beliefs.

Common complaints such as stress and fatigue, anxiety and depression, sleep disorders and insomnia can be treated with conventional prescription medications and be effective in many cases. As a holistic physician, I see patients that either do not want to take prescription medications or have not obtained good results from these medications or could not tolerate the side effects. Getting to the root of the problem is the goal; by assessing family of origin issues, genetics, stress management strategies and in some cases, neurotransmitter levels.

As Dr Mehmet Oz, says in his book, You, Staying Young; The Owners Manual for Extending Your Warranty. "The good part is that food, exercise and good sleep work as dials on your neurotransmitter radio, regulating how you feel from day to day and hour to hour, and thus have a profound impact on the emotional side of aging." Yes, you can impact how you deal with stress by learning relaxation techniques, meditation or exploring underlying issues with psychotherapy.

The human nervous system is one of the most complex systems in nature. The brain is like the ultimate communications company. It’s in the business of sending and receiving messages that help dictate how you act, how you feel, whether you want to be asleep, or whether you are craving drugs or chocolate. The brain is the center of the nervous system and contains over 100 billion cells called neurons. The nerves of your body communicate through spaces called synapses with chemicals called neurotransmitters.

Some of these neurotransmitters include serotonin, epinephrine, norepinephrine, dopamine, gaba and glutamate. There are alternative laboratory tests that can be obtained to assess these levels. When imbalances are determined, treatment consists of amino acids, minerals and herbs. These treatments, combined with lifestyle changes can prevent the need for prescription medications in many individuals. Natural supplements can be used in combination with prescriptions to allow for dosage reduction and to minimize side effects.

An interesting story regarding depression is found in the book, written by Helene Leonetti, M.D., Hard Wired for Love, Nurturing Yourself to Vibrant Health. Dr Leonetti writes, "The hell of depression is a place I will never again allow myself to visit. Each day, as I showed the world my smile, my soul was screaming in agony, for I was living a life not of my choosing. In an effort to be a good girl and dutiful wife, I let my husband decide what was best for me, and he saw to it that my life was in his full control. I had sold out. I allowed my own hopes and dreams to die in the ill-fated attempt to please someone else. It never works to do that. When we do not stay in integrity, when we allow our soul’s longings to be squelched, some part of us dies. It can be cell tissue and we develop cancer or another deadly illness; or it can be, as in my case, the death of my soul, which carried with it a far more virulent, and possibly fatal, outcome. The hand of God has always tweaked me, and this time was no exception. Struggling out from the depths of this nightmare, I mobilized myself with profound, healing anger and rallied to free myself from the bondage to which I had so willingly conspired".

Dr Leonetti did recover from her depression. After the realization she had buried her own true feelings and began to express these feelings was her first step in getting well. One major reason for depression is that we give our power away to another and bury our own wants and desires. Expressing feelings in a journal format is a place to start. Engaging conversation with a psychotherapist, clergy member or trusted friend can also begin the journey to wholeness and health. Other success keys are regular exercise, healthy nutrition, good sleep and stress management strategies. If all these measures fail, seek the assistance of an alternative health care provider to discuss neurotransmitter testing and treatment.

If you would like to learn more about this process, call my office to set up an initial consultation visit. I have made my way back from depression and invite you to share your journey with me. I am very happy to be your guide and confidante.

Nancy Russell, M.D. is a holistic Internal medicine physician and has practiced in the Kansas City northland for 28 years. Dr. Russell blends traditional and alternative medicine in her holistic medical practice. Dr Russell has been a member of the Executive Board of the American Holistic Medical Association. As a founding member of the American Board of Holistic medicine, she is board certified in holistic medicine. As a member of the American Holistic Medical Association, Dr Russell learned and believes, "Love is our most powerful medicine". Holistic medicine is also about getting to know each person as an individual, getting to the root of the problem and having a partnership between physician and patient. 



Staff Speaks


Pain Relief With Massage

By Raymond W Smith, LMT


Just like the medical specialists in the healthcare industry, did you know that the field of massage therapy has many different types of therapists? Each technique has its own benefits.

For effective pain management, it is important to find a therapist that does more than a light, full body massage. The best technique I’ve found is a specialized form of massage called Body Somatic Therapy.

Body Somatics is a remarkable method of deep-tissue structural bodywork that completely encompasses all aspects of the mind, body and spirit connection. This work differs from other touch therapies because pain relief is long lasting, and in some cases, permanent.

Body Somatics also focuses on emotional therapy as well as physical therapy, allowing the practitioner to truly help clients discover the source of pain and discomfort in their lives. For instance, every one of us has emotional pain stored deep in the connective tissue at various places throughout our body, and that stored emotional trauma can cause physical symptoms such as shoulder, neck and back pain, headaches, or stomach aches. Physical injuries—even those that happened long ago—have a lasting impact on the structure of our body and often affect our emotional well-being.

Who can benefit from this type of work? Anyone.

Body Somatic Therapy provides relief to people from all walks of life - the weekend or competitive athlete, the home gardener, and the over-stressed executive struggling to keep pace in today’s economy. Secretaries, laborers, waitresses - anyone can feel a need for bodywork at some point in time. The older population, as well, will benefit from Body Somatics, as it enhances flexibility and movement.

We all may be tempted to trim our wellness budgets when economic times are tough. Yet a recent national consumer survey showed most health-minded Americans are committed to maintaining the numerous benefits they experience with services like Body Somatic Therapy.

In economically challenging times, it is vital to invest in preventative healthcare. The last thing you want is to get sick or injured, have to take time off work, and pay expensive medical bills. Plus, it makes sense - the better you feel, the better job you can do of caring for yourself and your loved ones.

Massage should play a role in reducing stress and strengthening the health of Americans. When people feel their best, they are most likely to be able to face the challenges that difficult times present. With greater health and peace of mind, consumers can face difficulties with poise, clarity of purpose, and strengthened emotional reserves. Truly, Body Somatics is more than a luxury - it’s a vital part of self-care that has a positive ripple effect on us as we work, play, and care for others.




Meet The Staff



We would like you to meet Kathy, our Office Coordinator of 9 years. Kathy was born in Wood River, Illinois. She is the mother of one daughter, four step-sons, and 7 beautiful grandchildren. Kathy’s favorite memory is tucking her little girl in bed, singing her a song and tickling her palms.

 Kathy and her husband Larry enjoy spending their free time working on their two acre yard and playing with their beagle Snoopy. They all three miss "Big Guy, " their beloved lab/ chow mix who recently left Snoopy in charge of the family.

 The most important things in Kathy’s life are her faith, family and a positive attitude……let’s not forget Mexican food!





Quote of the Day


"Every day do something that will inch you closer to a beter tomorrow."        - Doug Firebaugh