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Behavioral Medicine in New Jersey

An area of medicine formed by the intersection of behavioral health and real-time physiologic monitoring. The combination of real-time assessment of perceptions, thoughts and behaviors with concomitant physiologic monitoring makes it possible for people to train their brain to shift their physiology and overall body function from a stressed state to the healthiest state possible. Said another way, this combination of techniques helps people eliminate the many impacts of stress from their life.

At Shore Behavioral Medicine, medications are sometimes used in this arena to help patients initially experience the physiologic states that they will learn to achieve without medications by using their mind and the specific techniques that they are taught. Dr. Russ has found that it is much easier and faster for an individual to become proficient in these anti-stress/relaxation techniques if we can induce the desired end state with the aid of short-term medications so the individual will have a sense of the state of mind and body that they are trying to ultimately create without medications.

This part of MBM’s treatment program will be headed by both Dr. Russ and John Andiorio, M.Ed., B.C.I.A.C., who is a Certified Biofeedback Clinician and a Senior Fellow, Certified Neurotherapy Clinician. John has worked in Monmouth County providing behavioral health services for the past 35 years and will be responsible for the day to day implementation of behavioral health training services in conjunction with Dr. Russ who will oversee the medical component and overall results. Shore Behavioral Medicine will also have an internist on staff to help with the diagnosis and management of the many psycho-somatic problems where both the mind and body are directly involved.

Services

Services offered by Shore Behavioral Medicine under behavioral medicine are multi-disciplinary in nature, with Dr. Russ and John Andiorio directly involved in all phases. When needed, other staff members, including an internist, will also become part of the treatment team. Although there will be a multi-disciplinary professional team guiding your behavioral medicine treatment, most of the sessions in this part of SBM’s service roster are actually based on neurophysiologic training sessions custom designed to help you.

The cost for most behavioral health services is based on time with most training sessions lasting an hour, at a cost of $80-100.00 per hour depending on the service/training. Additional services in this arena provided by Dr. Russ or the internist are charged at the same rates Dr. Russ charges for psychiatric services and the internist for medical services.

Neurophysiologic Training Sessions

These sessions can be designed to serve a lot of specific needs depending on which aspect of your neurophysiology is being modified.

Vascular/Temp Training

For instance, vascular training has many benefits because vascular flow throughout the body is based on the level of activity in a portion of the nervous system called the autonomic nervous system. The autonomic nervous system monitors and controls how one’s body interfaces with its environment at any point in time or whether the immediate environment is merely perceived as a threat or a real threat.

An example of this is that when people are stressed, blood flows shift to their heart, brain, lungs, major muscle groups in their legs and arms and away from non-essential functions, like digestion and temperature balance, in times of real or perceived danger. Therefore, people in stress, frequently have cold hands and feet since thermal exchange for temperature regulation takes place in the hands and feet during quiet times and is turned off during stressful times. This temperature shift makes it possible to induce states of calmness by teaching people to raise the temperatures of their hands and feet. It is also helpful with Raynauds Syndrome, migraines, high blood pressure and just about anything that is stress related, including anxiety, panic attacks, post-traumatic stress disorder, etc..

Muscle Activity Training

As with the vascular system, the skeletal muscle system also responds directly to signals from the autonomic portion of the nervous system, and thus is frequently involved in stress-related responses. A common example of this is a “tension headache” which is merely the muscles that surround the skull, especially the frontalis (forehead) muscle, spasm and contract, putting pressure on the skull and pulling on their tendon, both of which cause pain. There are similar major muscle responses in the neck, lower back, as well as many other sites of the body where the response is less pronounced.

Muscle training uses painless surface sensors that are placed directly over the muscle(s) that need to be trained. By teaching an individual to lower the electrical activity in the muscle, the muscle relaxes and vice versa. This is extremely effective with any ailment that involves muscle spasms, like low back pain.

Neurophysiologic Training

Also known as “thought focus training”, neurophysiologic training has many different applications, depending on how it is used. It can be used to alter, increase and decrease, the overall activity state of the brain. It can also be used to help people switch from being controlled by their head (logic) to being controlled by their heart (emotions).