OCEAN CITY – Dr. Keith Coleman of Ocean City Stress Transformation and Wellness Clinic is revamping his practice as the field of mind/body medicine progresses.
“Obviously everyone can relate to stress but the significant difference is when you see a stress clinic generally they talk about stress reduction and stress management and the emphasis here is not on either one of those things, it’s on stress transformation,” Coleman said.
Coleman explained it is the sympathetic nervous system that protects a person when he or she goes into “fight, flight or freeze syndrome” and it is the parasympathetic that calms the body after the threat is over by returning to a balanced state.
“Now that doesn’t seem to happen with human beings in modern culture because we live under such chronic stress all the time, and our hearts, brains and nervous systems cannot differentiate between physiological threat and psychological threat, our body responds the same way,” Coleman said.
With this concept, two fields in medicine have formed; psychoneuroimmunology and neuroradiology.
“Psychoneuroimmunology is a fancy way of saying there is connection between our mind or the psycho part, our neuro or the brain part, and our immune system,” Coleman said.
He gave an example of when a person becomes angry a swab of their saliva can be taken four hours later showing that their immunoglobulin A (IgA) will be suppressed.
“It doesn’t matter if you are justified in your anger or not justified in your anger. It still suppresses your immune system,” he said. “It becomes even more severe when somebody is already dealing with a chronic or acute illness.”
Coleman furthered that when the body constantly goes into stress response the balance between two chemicals, Cortisol, which is associated with weight gain, and the testosterone precursor of Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), becomes farther apart. Those two chemicals are measured to reveal how balanced an individual’s nervous system is.
The practice of neuroradiology has found that when people have a coherent pattern of heart rate variability (HRV) their heart is sending messages to the brain to relax.
A heart beats 60 times a minute but regularly does not beat per second, it actually beats in a variation of time. Through the state of meditation, a heart rate can come closer to beating per second, reaching a coherent HRV.
Coleman uses the emWave Personal Stress Reliever2 to evaluate this process, which is a unique stress reduction tool unusually effective for reducing stress, anxiety and improving performance.
The tool measures a person’s pulse through a device clipped to the ear and Coleman assists the person through a meditation where you count the seconds in each breath in and out, imagine being in a safe place while having a thought of appreciation. While this is taking place, the machine is measuring the HRV and it becomes visible in how the beat goes from chaotic to coherent.
When frustrated, a person’s HRV is chaotic, and this is usually when Cortisol and DHEA levels are far apart. By using the emWave Personal Stress Reliever2, studies have shown patients reach a coherent HRV, as well as their Cortisol and DHEA levels have become balanced.
Coleman’s clinic offers a six-week course, Stress Transformation Program, and individual sessions to teach those suffering from stress related problems on how stress triggers and increased symptoms are due to Cortisol and other “bad guys”, as well as how relaxation and appreciation transform stress into positive energy.
Also during the course, Coleman passes on the latest research on the balance between the state of mind and the healing process (psychoneuroimmunology) and how to become a “partner” with your physician or health care provider in maintaining wellness.
“Dr. Keith Coleman’s course on ‘Mind/Body Medicine’ was both educational and truly inspirational. Not only did it teach us about the latest research on the mind/body connection and brain science (neuroplasticity), but we were given the tools and techniques needed to do daily exercise to quiet our minds in the midst of a stressful environment … we highly recommend this class, said” Kevin and Wendy Fitzgerald.
Located in West Ocean City in an office shared with Dr. William Greer, the clinic is also now offering Brain Kamp, a four-week course in Mindfulness and Awareness Training for children ages 6-12 and at least one parent, as well as a course is held for ages 13-18.
“Our child’s memory was improved. He was able to focus and organize his things better…He never forgot to, either, bring or finish his homework, since attended the classes…We think this class can change children’s and parents lived for the better. Our son is completely independent since he finished the course. He seems happy and confident. … We are very happy and thankful parents,” said local neurologists Franko Stepcic, M.D., and Gordana Stepcic, M.D.
To sign up for classes, call the clinic at 410-213-0111.