MeRT Can Help with Chronic Insomnia
This treatment is now available at the Brain Treatment Center. It’s called MeRT, which stands for Magnetic e-Resonance Therapy.
Simply stated, we use a magnetic field to stimulate and balance brain function, guided by very sophisticated imaging and diagnostics. It is completely non-invasive and drug-free.
The Effects of Chronic Insomnia on Health
One of the strongest pillars of health is getting enough quality sleep every night; Chronic insomnia has disastrous effects on your health, both mental and physical. The National Institute of Health (NIH) published a study that says “sleep disturbance and emotional dysregulation have been identified as etiologic and maintaining factors for a range of psychopathology and separate pieces of literature support their relationships to anxiety, depression, PTSD, and alcohol dependence symptom severity.” Another study indicated that up to 50% of adults have chronic insomnia. This is a staggering statistic, especially when you realize that the type of sleep you get has such a strong impact on your overall health, quality of life, and longevity.
Doctor Julie Kim and her Nurse Practitioner, Kayley Prowse, provide this state-of-the-art technology for chronic insomnia to Newport Beach and surrounding areas. MeRT stands for Magnetic E (EEG/EKG) Resonance Therapy. It is both non-invasive and non-pharmaceutical. It’s used to treat different types of dysregulation in the brain by neuromodulating electrical signals and neural pathways. This stimulates and reorganizes brain function, which can help to improve your sleep drastically.
It can be hard to pinpoint exactly what is causing your chronic insomnia. Lifestyle definitely plays a role, but there are also numerous medical conditions that can cause insomnia. What makes it even harder, is that it can also cause some of the medical conditions that we are discussing, so it can become a “chicken or the egg” situation.
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MeRT Treatment Can Help You to Feel Like Your Old Self Again
Chronic insomnia often has multiple causes. It’s very important to understand why quality sleep is so essential to your health. You may be eating well and exercising, but if you aren’t getting good sleep, this can derail your health and increases your risk of developing chronic disease.
Conditions That Contribute to Chronic Insomnia (Note – Many of These Conditions Also Cause Insomnia):
- Post-traumatic stress
- Changes in circadian rhythms due to lifestyle/diet or shift work
- Post-concussive syndrome
- Type 2 Diabetes
- After-effects of stroke
- After-effects of COVID on the brain
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Restless leg syndrome
- Obesity/weight gain
- Lessened ability to cope with stress
- Mood disorders
- Cognitive issues
- Memory problems
- High cholesterol
- Cardiovascular disease
- Colorectal cancer
There are numerous factors that can contribute to chronic sleep deprivation. It is essential to know WHY quality sleep is so critical to health, both mental and physical. You can practice other healthy habits such as eating right and exercising, but a lack of sleep, especially chronically, can derail your efforts to stay healthy. It can not only weaken your immune system to viruses and bacterial infections but can also increase your risk of developing chronic disease. A study from the NIH elaborates on this further and says:
Sleep disruptions have substantial adverse short- and long-term health consequences. A literature search was conducted to provide a nonsystematic review of these health consequences (this review was designed to be nonsystematic to better focus on the topics of interest due to the myriad parameters affected by sleep). Sleep disruption is associated with increased activity of the sympathetic nervous system and hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis, metabolic effects, changes in circadian rhythms, and proinflammatory responses. In otherwise healthy adults, short-term consequences of sleep disruption include increased stress responsivity, somatic pain, reduced quality of life, emotional distress and mood disorders, and cognitive, memory, and performance deficits.”
Long-term consequences of sleep disruption in otherwise healthy individuals include hypertension, dyslipidemia, cardiovascular disease, weight-related issues, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes mellitus, and colorectal cancer. All-cause mortality is also increased in men with sleep disturbances.”
Sleep Cycles and Stages of Sleep
Quality sleep is essential to overall good health. One of the reasons for this is that your brain goes through various sleep cycles throughout the night. If your sleep is interrupted, you will not get all of the benefits of a good night’s sleep. Deep sleep is when your brain repairs, restores, and regenerates itself. Think of sleep as the time your brain is cleaning “house” and getting rid of all of the garbage that accumulates throughout the day. If this doesn’t happen, your brain health begins to suffer in other ways, which affects your mental and overall health. Additionally, many research studies have shown the importance of going to sleep by 10:00 pm. Between 10:00 pm and 2:00 am is when the brain spends the most time in “Deep Sleep.” This stage of sleep is when the reparation is most effective.
In a perfect world, your brain should be moving through the various sleep cycles every 90 – 110 minutes. Different psychological changes occur throughout each cycle.
Stage 1, is the first cycle when you fall asleep, and you will be in a very light sleep. You will be very easily awakened, but your brain activity is slowing down.
In Stage 2, your heart rate gets slower and your body temperature decreases as the brain waves continue to slow down.
The Importance of Deep Sleep
Deep Sleep occurs in Stage 3. This is the most important cycle for the restoration and repair of the brain and the body and is when detoxification occurs. During Stage 3, the brain is in the slow, Delta Wave phase. Human Growth Hormone is released during this stage and is responsible for cell growth, regeneration, and reproduction.
REM (rapid eye movement) occurs in Stage 4. It’s during this time that you will experience dreaming. Every stage lasts about 5-15 minutes ideally. As indicated above, there is less time in REM sleep during the earlier part of the night, which is why it’s beneficial to go to bed by 10:00 pm. From around 2:00 am, and closer to the morning, the opposite happens. The deep sleep stages are shortened and more time is spent in the dreaming stage.
MeRT Can Help!
We see many patients who come to see us who feel as if they are broken and many experience troubles with day-to-day functions. Quality of life and relationships can also be affected. Chronic Insomnia will even show up on the qEEG that we use to see brain dysregulation and then formulate a treatment plan.
MeRT (Magnetic e-Resonance Therapy) is highly effective in treating various mental health conditions and some neurological conditions. For a comprehensive list of which conditions MeRT can help, please click here. MeRT is a state-of-the-art treatment that has helped thousands of people with these conditions. The treatment is non-invasive and drug-free. MeRT is a gentle, painless treatment, and neuromodulates any abnormal or dysfunctional signals in the brain to help the brain to heal and modify behavior. Many of our patients have reported that MeRT has been life-changing for them.
Even if you lose a few hours of sleep for several nights in a row, your ability to function during the day can be adversely affected. When chronic insomnia is a problem for you, you might feel as if you are going on a downhill spiral, and you will feel much worse.
We Can Help With Your Insomnia
Your brain functions and reactions are unique to you. No two brains ever function exactly the same. The MeRT treatment protocol is customized specifically for you. We use a quantitative EEG to identify any dysregulation or decline and then use a targeted approach that focuses on improving function in the areas of your brain that are not performing as they should. Please note that if you are also experiencing any of the other conditions that we treat, such as anxiety, depression, PTSD, etc., MeRT will also greatly help those conditions. One of the first benefits usually noticed is that you will find yourself getting much better sleep.
Your individual test results allow us to use the data to develop a treatment approach specifically for you in order to optimize your brain function. The treatment protocol uses a magnet to gently stimulate distinct areas of the brain, which can lead to improved communication and functionality.
The MeRT Process
MeRT is a non-pharmaceutical and non-invasive treatment.
This treatment protocol evolved from a technology called rTMS (Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation). However, rTMS is a more generalized approach because it can only target a single location in the brain with one frequency and is not guided by qEEG results.
Studies have shown altered brain wave oscillations in patients suffering from conditions such as Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), Autism, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Anxiety, Sleep Deprivation, and more. MeRT treatment protocol uses a magnetic field to balance and stimulate brain function. The technology involves using sophisticated diagnostics and imaging to customize the treatment for each individual. We then tailor a personalized protocol based on the location, frequency, and amount of power used by the magnet, specific to each person’s unique condition. As a result, MeRT can improve brain communication and synchronization and can lead to significant and long-lasting improvements.
Much of the initial MeRT research has been done by the U.S. Department of Defense for veterans returning from combat. There is an article that was published in Defense One that further explains the DOD’s research and the benefits that MeRT has been shown to have on people suffering from TBI, PTSD, and MDD. Additional studies have been completed in the private sector on other conditions.
What to Expect
For the initial analysis, you will come in for a comprehensive testing appointment. We will gather your new patient paperwork, and then our chief neuro technician will perform a qEEG and EKG, which will enable us to identify any dysfunction or communication problems in your brain.
This appointment usually takes about 45 minutes. Should you decide to proceed with treatment, we will schedule your assessment period.
If you are not yet ready to commit to going through an assessment period of treatment or prefer to have your qEEG and consultation done to ensure you are a candidate for treatment, we also offer the option of coming in for a qEEG/EKG and consultation with our clinician to see your results before proceeding with the assessment period.
Your second appointment is 45 minutes long. During this time, you will meet with Nurse Practitioner Kayleigh Prowse for your clinical evaluation. She will answer any questions you may have and discuss your applicable treatment plan. Please note that Dr. Julie Kim oversees the treatment of each patient.
The assessment period of treatment lasts for two weeks.
The assessment period of treatment will help you, and us, determine how you are responding to treatment. At the end of the assessment period, we will perform a second qEEG to note any changes occurring in your brain.
After completing a two-week assessment period, the patient will have their initial qEEG/EKG, and then attend treatment sessions for two weeks. The assessment period involved 10 treatment sessions that last approximately 35 minutes, Monday through Friday.
Once the assessment period is complete, and we are seeing progress both clinically and on the qEEG, we will schedule subsequent two-week treatment periods. Because each treatment period lasts for two weeks, you must be able to stay in Newport Beach or the surrounding area. We advise that to get the most out of your treatment—and for long-lasting results—you stay for six weeks of treatment (which includes the assessment period).
The comparison between the initial and second qEEG/clinical evaluation will determine if you are responding. You should also start to experience changes in the way you are feeling during this time. We highly advise a total of six weeks of treatment (which includes the assessment period) for optimal and long-lasting results.
Since each brain is unique, the protocol will be different for each patient as it is based on specific qEEG/EKG data from your brain, and the specific condition being treated. Generally, the results of treatment can last a lifetime, though some people prefer occasional follow-up treatment as needed. But each person is different, and protocols may vary. Your provider will have regularly scheduled follow-up EEGs and meet with you to gauge your progress.
A typical treatment session takes about 35 minutes. You will sit in a chair while the neuro-technician administers the treatment near the scalp via a hand-held magnet. The gentle magnetic impulses are delivered for six to eight seconds each minute. You may feel a slight sensation while the treatment is occurring, but it is not painful or uncomfortable.
Please note that results and improvements are based on active and strict observation of our regimens. Results may vary based on the individual users and are not guaranteed. Plus, the results of therapy can vary per individual. The longer the length of MeRT therapy, the longer the changes remain. For those seeking help for chronic insomnia, you may only need 4 weeks of treatment.
We are an in-network provider with TRICARE. If you have TRICARE insurance, it is possible that your policy may provide coverage, depending on your specific situation. Our New Patient Coordinator can discuss this with you in further detail. Please note that TRICARE provides coverage for Depression, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, and Migraines only.
For all other insurance, we are considered out of network and cannot file an insurance claim on your behalf. We can, however, provide you with the paperwork at the end of your treatment, which you can submit to your insurance company to see if they may provide you with any reimbursement. Unfortunately, our clinic is unable to treat patients with Medicare and Medicaid.
Currently, rTMS is FDA-cleared for Depression and OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.) However, for non-FDA-approved treatment, it is not likely that insurance will provide reimbursement for our protocols.
Some patients have reported that they have been able to receive some reimbursement for EEGs or clinical evaluations. But this depends on their health coverage. Medicare patients have reported that their coverage provides no reimbursement for MeRT.
We take all major credit cards, including Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover.
Care Credit is also an option to help finance medical expenses. This is a separate company from The Brain Treatment Center in Newport Beach. Care Credit is a credit card that can cover medical expenses and services. They typically offer zero-interest financing for 12 months.
Usually, when you go to the Care Credit website and apply, they will promptly let you know your approval status.
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It’s normal for patients and their families affected by brain disorders to feel alone, frustrated, and hopeless. Yet, there is hope. MeRT is a treatment protocol that has helped patients restore their brain function, reclaim their lives, and get a whole new lease on life.
We understand what you are going through. Our goal is to help guide you through the process so that you can make an informed decision about whether or not MeRT is the right treatment for you.
Many of our clinicians and technicians have gone through MeRT treatment and have experienced incredible results firsthand. As a result, they are passionate about helping you to heal too.
Our New Patient Coordinator is available to answer any questions that you may have about how MeRT can help you specifically. She’ll take the time to listen to your concerns and put your mind at ease. She can also assist in getting you scheduled with the clinic should you decide to move forward with treatment.
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