About Kim Schneberk (Graham), D.TCM

Dr. Kim Schneberk (Graham) has dedicated the majority of her practice to the treatment of addiction and mental Illness, developing and implementing TCM-based programs for various public and private agencies in B.C. Passionate about TCM, Dr. Schneberk has been active in many areas of her profession involving education, public speaking, regulation (CTCMA) and as an appointed Professional Member to the Healthcare Practitioners Special Committee for Audit with the Ministry of Health, B.C.

3 Ways to Find Mental Clarity

Forgetful? Difficulty concentrating? Feel like you are trying to think through cotton wool in your head? This phenomenon is often referred to as “brain fog”, and it’s more common than you think.

Brain fog is often described as feeling like “being in a cloud” that reduces ones ability to think clearly. This feeling of detachment can also can cause a person to become forgetful, lethargic and depressed.

What causes Brain Fog?

In Chinese medicine, this symptom is most commonly the result of what we refer to as dampness. Dampness has a tendency to clog up the channels, and in this case, inhibits clear qi from circulating up to the head. Typically, dampness of this type is either a result of, or exacerbated by a dysfunctional digestive system brought on by inappropriate food choices common to the western diet; an imbalance of yin/yang in the body; and mental/emotional stress.

In Western medical terms, the symptom of “brain fog” is most often the result of stress, depression, hormone fluctuations (as seen in menopause and andropause), and food sensitivities/intolerances.

What Can You Do?

  1. Exercise.
    Regular exercise helps to reduce stress, improves blood circulation and oxygenation to the brain, and elevates mood. As little as 30 minutes a day can help you feel dramatically different.
  1. Address your diet and get acupuncture.
    Make an appointment with a qualified TCM practitioner or holistic nutritionist to help you identify what foods may be contributing to your symptoms. Additionally, acupuncture treatment with a qualified TCM therapist will not only help to improve and support your overall health but also assist your body to better integrate these changes.
  1. Supplement with Reishi mushroom (called Ling Zhi in Chinese herbal medicine).
    Hailed as the ‘herb of immortality’, Reishi is a very powerful medicinal that has been used for thousands of years in Asia to strengthen the whole body to preserve life. Modern research has shown Reishi to have numerous positive adaptogenic effects on the body including improvements in digestive functioning, sleep, energy, mood and mental clarity.

Find Your Calm with Red Reishi

Anxiety. Everyone these days seems to be suffering from some varying degree of it, and understandably so. Modern day life is filled with high-speed over stimulation. Studies have shown that severe or long-lasting stress changes the way nerve cells transmit information from one region of the brain to another.

Work and home-life stress, traumatising news reports from around the globe, and poor sleep hygiene all wreak havoc on our nervous system.

While we may use the word “anxiety” frequently to describe our everyday fears and worries, anxiety disorders are serious mental illnesses that affect millions of people every year in North America. For these people, worry and fear are crippling and overwhelming states, making day-to-day functioning almost impossible.

More than “Just a Mushroom”

In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), anxiety is viewed ultimately as a disharmony of the “Shen” (spirit—housed in the heart). However, the Chinese system teaches that a disturbance in any one (or more) of the “Zang” organs (Liver, Spleen, Kidney, Heart) can cause an imbalanced emotional state. Treatment aims to calm the mind and nourish any underlying deficiency or drain any excessive states within these systems, which may be contributing to the condition.

Enter Japanese Red Reishi, known as Ling Zhi in TCM. More than ‘just a mushroom’, Red Reishi has been revered in Asia for centuries as the medicine of immortality to treat such disorders, as well as to support the immune system, improve sleep, and increase one’s vital energy (qi).

A Powerful Adaptogen

Recent studies have shown the fruiting body of Japanese Red Reishi to contain specific immune regulating, anti-inflammatory and hepatoprotective agents (reishi beta-glucan and ganoderic acid A) that make it a powerful adaptogen; which is a fancy way of saying it works to increase our physiological resistance to stress.

Taken traditionally as a tea, the highest quality modern day preparation of Japanese Red Reishi is (still) hot water extracted to maximize potency and ensure therapeutic integrity.

Stress and anxiety are leading causes of serious illness in the modern world. Take control of your health and experience the benefits of one of the world’s most ancient prescriptions.

Can Red Reishi help with Depression?

Depression is a complex disease that accounts for nearly 40% of all psychiatric illness. Characterized primarily by a change in mood, consisting typically as feelings of sadness, anxiety/agitation, loss of interest, insomnia, loss of appetite, body pain, and in it’s extreme, thoughts of death and self-harm; depression for some, is more than just a ‘bad day’.

Because depression can vary in it’s cause and severity, how it presents often differs by individual. Post-partum, SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), bi-polar disorder, and major/clinical depression are all examples of depression and it’s spectrum.

Despite the numerous physiological and psychological factors that can contribute to the manifestation of depression, acute and/or chronic stress is reported to be the number one contributing factor in the exacerbation, or worsening of depressive symptoms.

The Stress Connection

Long-term or chronic stress leads to elevated levels of the primary stress hormone cortisol, as well as decreased levels of certain neurotransmitters in the brain, like serotonin and dopamine, which have been linked to depression.  Changes in these chemical systems affects the functioning of ‘normal’ biological processes related to sleep, appetite, energy, and sex drive, as well as the expression of mood and emotion.

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) theory, mental, physical and/or emotional stress effectively weakens (consumes), scatters or stagnates the Qi (chi) in various organ systems of the body, resulting in both mental/emotional problems (called “shen” disorders) and physiological disease.

How Red Reishi Can Help

Reishi (called Ling Zhi in Traditional Chinese herbal medicine) has been used to treat disorders of the mind or “shen” for thousands of years. To blend the concepts of Eastern and Western medicine, western science has proven that through specific immune regulating and anti-inflammatory agents (ganoderic acid A), the fruiting body of the Japanese Red Reishi acts as a powerful adaptogen, allowing the body to more easily cope with stress. Through this, a positive effect occurs on the bodily systems most affected by it (stress). A less ‘stressed out’ body translates to a less ‘stressed out’ nervous system, thereby assisting to improve a person’s overall physical and mental health. Additionally, western science has shown Reishi to have positive effects on the hepatic (liver) and cardiovascular (heart) systems, whose functions according to TCM theory, are strongly linked to depression.

The TCM view of mental illnesses such as depression is a holistic one. With a strong focus on prevention and lifestyle change, TCM practitioners take into account many different aspects of a person’s functioning when developing treatment plans. When applied this way, the addition of a high quality supplement like Japanese Red Reishi may be of great benefit for both prevention and treatment of depressive symptoms due to a diminished resistance stress.

Keep in mind, not all supplements are created equal. Natural, wood-log cultivation using hot water extraction (without the use of ethanol) is the best and most desirable.

Japanese Red Reishi and Mental Fatigue

Extreme mental fatigue, and/or mental exhaustion are symptoms commonly associated with burnout and other illnesses like chronic fatigue syndrome. Due to the interconnected nature of the mind-body, it is common also for some to experience progressively worsening physical and emotional symptoms as well such as frequent illness, headaches, widespread body pain, loss of motivation, changes in appetite and sleep, and a desire to isolate.

Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) teaches that for a person to be healthy and vital, qi (chee) and blood must circulate freely and abundantly within the body. Extreme fatigue/exhaustion is viewed as a significant deficiency of these essential resources. When a person becomes weakened by illness and/or chronic stress, the bodily functions responsible for both the production and circulation these vital resources ultimately becomes deficient as well. As a result, widespread dysfunction occurs.

What can you do?
Finding ways to manage stress, like engaging in mind-body practices such as yoga and meditation, taking breaks from technology as well as seeking out professional help to assist with dietary changes and other practices such as acupuncture is helpful for anyone suffering with this debilitating condition. Modern research too has shown that supplementation with herbs such as Japanese Reishi (Ling Zhi in Chinese herbal medicine), may provide significant improvements in a person’s energy, sleep, and overall physical and mental endurance.

Can Reishi really help?
Reishi mushrooms are possibly one of the body’s most significant allies when it comes to improving one’s overall health. As one of the best-known adaptogens, the fruiting body Japanese Reishi is rich in polysaccharides like reishi-beta-glucan, and triterpenes such as ganoderic acid. These substances not only help to improve immune functioning, and reduce inflammation, but also act to protect against overall systemic damage caused by stress.

Although western science continues to investigate the physiological benefits of Reishi, it certainly is not ‘new’ medicine. Used for thousands of years in TCM and other Asian practices it comes as no surprise to those who practice Asian medicine that Reishi is proven to do all that it does. Commonly known as the “herb of spiritual essence and immortality”, Reishi has long been revered for its ability to strengthen and rebuild vital qi of the body in order to preserve life.

Extreme mental fatigue and exhaustion should be signs to you that your internal environment is out of balance. Seek the advice and guidance of a qualified health professional to assist you, and get better faster.