AcuDestress: The powerful intersect between mindfulness and neuroplasticity

When people talk about stress reduction today the words “medication” and “psychotherapy” are being heard less and less, and the words “mindfulness” and “neuroplasticity” are coming up more and more. Nowadays, as one learns from perusing Continuing Medical Eduction thrusts, the search is on for increasing effectiveness, as medications and even psychotherapy have not lived up to their billing as first rate solutions for chronic refractory-to-treatment stress.

Today, for acute stress, for crises like the loss of one’s job, yes, but for the kind of stress that goes on for years and decades, impinges on physical health and functions as an addiction to outmoded coping patterns, not really. Unless one is psychotic (not tuned in to the same world as others) in which case, medications help a lot, drugs can be a stopgap measure in the face of chronic stress that often either doesn’t work, or works only until we stop them. If medications are working, of course, the patients are hardly coming to see us...


So, what about mindfulness? The mainstay of mindfulness practice, the Center for Mindfulness founded by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn at the University of Massachusetts Medical School began offering their eight week program in 1979, and it is now offered in over 200 medical centres, hospitals and clinics around the world as an eight-session training costing about $500. After some years, mindfulness was picked up by the psychotherapy community, chiefly by Dr. Dan Siegel whose Mindsight Institute at UCLA has given a needed boost to psychotherapy for longer term mental and emotional distress in younger patients, through adding mindfulness to its therapeutic process.  Dr. Siegel advocates, as a preventive strategy, adding to the 3 R skills of reading, writing and ‘rithmatic  the skills of reflection, relationship and resilience, an advocacy we can readily support. I’ll come back to this, as these are skills which bubble up readily and in short order during AcuDestress. We are now measuring mindfulness scores of our clients, who average 27-30% prior to coming to an AcuDestress session, rise to 57-59% within the first month and then to 86-9% six months later, then stay there.

And what of neuroplasticity? Though it’s been quietly researched for some time, neuroplasticity  the newly observed capacity of the brain to renew itself, emerged powerfully with a 2007 book by Toronto psychoanalyst, Dr. Norman Doidge, The Brain That Changes Itself.   It is the notion, indeed the demonstration, that the brain, long thought to be hardwired and nonmalleable, and pretty much incapable of change, is much more capable of change and recovery of function than we ever imagined. Researchers are now having stroke victims long considered to have exhausted their possibilities of recovery spring back to full function. Doidge calls this the most important medical discovery in 400 years, as it fundamentally alters how we approach the brain. To test this, for a time, we measured the Locus of Control scores of our clients and noted a marked shift from External Locus of Control to Internal Locus of Control.

To see how mindfulness and neuroplasticity are woven into the fabric of AcuDestress  CLICK HERE to enter our OVERVIEW PAGE.