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Are Alternative Therapies Giving Real Hope to Traumatic Brain Injury Victims?

A traumatic brain injury, or TBI, may be life-altering. The actual injury to the brain can take many forms, and the effects can be present immediately or take weeks to manifest. No two brain injuries are alike, and the results can be range from mild to severe. Regardless of the classification of the injury, the effects can be devastating to victims and their families.

Therapy following a traumatic brain injury can be time-consuming and cost prohibitive. Long term treatments can include a mix of physical and occupational therapy, speech and language therapy, counseling, support groups, and medication. Because of the unique nature of every brain injury, there is no guaranteed path to recovery. Instead, a trial and error approach is used to determine the right mix of therapies for the victim.

An alternative therapy out of the Centre for Neuro Skills in Bakersfield, California, has so far yielded positive results. The Centre has been hosting drum circles every Tuesday and Thursday night for the last year and a half. Betty Mendez facilitates the circles, and says that every member participating in the therapy has shown signs of improvement since they started.

Why the therapy might be working


The theory is that “any activity that crosses the midline of the body, like the act of drumming, helps the two hemispheres in the brain to start communicating again.

Richard Andretti, a client who was injured on a job site, says he looks forward to therapy as a respite from his week. He said, “The thing about the drumming that helps me is that it takes it all away when I’m banging the drum.”

Mendez sometimes leads the group with a certain beat and sometimes allows someone else in the group to lead. The drum therapy is combined Reiki meditation, which Sarah Hartford, the activities director, says is an important part of the therapy. “They’re able to come and refocus their day after having kind of a crazy day with all the things they’re doing in therapies and just kind of get back to their center,” she said.

The value of some alternative medicines is highly questionable. However, the Centre for Neuro Skills is accredited by CARF International (formerly the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities) for its Brain Injury Specialty Programs. Until new research shines light into repairing traumatic brain injuries, it’s important to know that there are alternative solutions.

Looking out for your loved ones


Crandall & Pera Law provides comprehensive counsel to victims of traumatic brain injury throughout Ohio and Kentucky. If you or a loved one has suffered a traumatic brain injury, please contact us for a free consultation.

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