Story by Rebecca Evans
Photos by Emma Thompson
I sit, electrodes softly secured to my scalp and I wait. I wait to feel better, less stressed, less anxious, less time spent checking the locks on my doors at 3 a.m. Dr. Bottrell explains the procedure to me, “I can watch your neurofeedback, your brain’s activity, while we do this.”
The “this” is IASIS low-dose microcurrent neurofeedback (MCN), a painless treatment using low-intensity transcranial electrical stimulation with electroencephalography monitoring (EEG). The process supports the Central Nervous System with self-regulation, helping to reverse issues connected to dysregulation.
Veterans are high on the list of those suffering with dysregulation, mainly from Traumatic Brain Injury and/or PTSD. Though Dr. Bottrell serves a variety of clientele, she serves those who have served our country. “This is my way of giving back to veterans and first-responders for their sacrifices on our behalf,” she states.
I watch the monitor, my brain patterns represented by colored lines zig-zagging across the screen. The lines scatter, merge, and finally, align. Dr. Bottrell explains that this is good. This is what we want. Our brainwaves should synch and come together. Stress, anxiety, trauma, I know, have taken a toll on my brain and I’m wondering what image my heart would show if there were a similar treatment. I feel only a tingling sensation and am hoping that tonight I’ll suffer less and sleep more.
“Think of the dysregulated brain as a brain that is frozen, much like a computer freezes. This frozen state confuses brainwaves and IASIS MCN briefly stimulates the brain on a micro-level, allowing the brain to re-set or reorganizes, releasing those frozen patterns,” she says. The process is much like rebooting a computer, though with the brain, only the frozen and stuck patterns are impacted.
Trauma and chronic stress interfere with the brain’s connections, and often this results in depression, anxiety, insomnia, substance abuse, and more.
Though Veterans and First-Responders are often the population most likely exposed to PTSD, they are not the only demographic. PTSD develops after a person is exposed to a traumatic event, such as sexual assault, traffic collisions, violent attack, life-threatening circumstances, warfare, and more.
As a psychologist, naturopath and ordained minister, Dr. Bottrell integrates the field of psychology with nutrition, naturopathy, and spirituality.
“In medicine, we must approach the whole person. People and their health systems are not categorical, they are not divided.”
Treating one area, like the brain, will “lift” the other areas. For example, improving sleep for those who suffer with insomnia with IASIS MCN, will help alleviate stress (emotional health) and improve concentration (perhaps financial or academic health) and lower anxiety (digestive health), etc. Her book, Living the Mystery (available on Amazon), covers her philosophy of merging mind, body, and spirit. “We are Divine Beings. One area impacts another. All areas of our mind, our body, our soul, infuses and informs the others,” she says.
Dr. Bottrell is one of few certified for this treatment in America.
I glance over top the computer towards the window and I swear, the tiny pocks in the window screen seem clearer, the background a bit lighter, and I blink to make sure. I tell her about my change in vision and am excited to report to her over the next couple of days, document my own mind-body response after just one treatment. I leave her office feeling cared for, more importantly, I leave with a renewed sense of hope.