If it is to be human to recognize our weaknesses and to allow ourselves to indulge (for but a short while) in pleasures, releases and escapes, ADDICTION is the neuropsychological disorder that may result in the overuse and abuse of any specific substance. Addiction is characterized as a disease that is driven by a persistent and intense urge to engage in compulsive behaviors including psychosocial, neurobiological, a preoccupation with substances or behavior, and continued use despite negative consequences. For many, a profound strategy in addressing addiction is tackling the patient's CRAVINGS. It is for this that we asked Dr, Leslie Montoya (from Sta. Barbara, CA) to share her experiences and insights about her recent success with smoking cessation with her patients. Learn about Dr. Montoya's custom approach to addressing addiction clinically and her non-invasive modalities of choice.
RECOGNIZING BRAIN HEALTH & ADDICTION
First, we must recognize the science behind nicotine addiction and its withdrawal effects. Addiction is recognized to be a brain disease. Overcoming an addiction, whether it’s prescription pain pills, sugar, alcohol, nicotine or anything else, cessation is harder to exercise when the “pathways” or pleasure circuits of the brain have chronically been overstimulated.
DOPAMINE is a neurotransmitter that is released and made in the brain as a chemical messenger. It is known to play a central role in the effects of addictive drugs and natural rewards such as food and sex. When the reward system in our brain experiences a stimulation, a pleasurable surge of dopamine is released. The increased changes in dopamine levels can lead to further neuroplasticity following repeated exposure to drugs of abuse. Neuroscientists discovered that addictive substances such as nicotine and cocaine could promote plasticity in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) of the brain.
Withdrawal symptoms as cessation begins - will cause irritability, increased eating, anxiety, sleep disturbances, depression, mood swings, and hedonistic homeostatic dysregulation. Hedonic dysregulation is a disorder caused by a cycle of spiraling dysfunction of the brain reward systems which is increased by its compulsive use of addictive substances. Thus, neuropsychological behavior with any substance abuse makes cessation almost unattainable.
In modern days, there are different approaches to addressing addiction such as smoking cigarettes. Pharmacotherapy and behavioral interventions may be the first line of treatment; although, the time frame to see results may not be fast enough to fight the urge to light up again.
NON-INVASIVE BRAIN STIMULATION FOR SMOKING CESSATION
In my experience, an effective treatment to address smoking cessation involves non-invasive neurostimulation to modify neural oscillations and change the patterns of addiction and support the psychoemotional state at the same time. Down to a cellular level, changing the brain wavelengths of cigarette smokers is the start of the transition into cessation. With the combination of ONDAMED - frequency medicine (pulsed electromagnetic field) and Binaural beats, we can remind the body to self-regulate. My approach to smoking cessation is a nonpharmacological intervention, neurostimulation, brain entrainment, and lifestyle modifications. It’s important to support the body, the mind, and the brain during cessation as the process can bring up withdrawal symptoms and unconscious emotions not expected to address.
ONDAMED is a personalized and non-invasive approach using biofeedback that a medical practitioner uses to determine which frequencies of sound, as well as pulsed electromagnetic fields, cause a response to your autonomic nervous system. ONDAMED has the ability to deliver specific resonant frequencies to the source of dysfunction. For smoking cessation, a patient will undergo 8-10 sessions along with water “charging” treatment. The session will last sixty minutes and must return the following day to maintain the frequency of the treatment session until the last day of protocol.
WHAT IS “CHARGED” WATER?
With any addiction protocol I facilitate, such as smoking cessation, placing a “charge” (meaning frequency) is as important as the treatment session for addressing the addiction. The same frequencies I program for a session are a version of what gets delivered to the glass bottle of water I prepare for a patient.
Patients experience a desperate bid to quench their thirst after sessions that can last days. Therefore, having this added bonus of preparing “charged” water for them to take home is the highlight of their day and night when not in my office.
Besides extreme thirst, patients experience a sudden urge not to smoke by choice and find themselves consciously lighting up a cigarette out of habit to test if the first treatment session works. Suddenly, a horrific taste of toxins surges the taste buds that force them not to finish the cigarette. What makes it hard to quit so abruptly is no longer the unpleasant taste but changing their habits of smoking. Most patients use it as an escape or break in their day and others have made it a ritual to always smoke while they start their coffee consumption in the morning and their beer in the evening.
And this is why just treating something at the physical level is not enough. The subconscious needs help, too. Why I integrate the use of binaural beats to allow the body to absorb new brain entrainment not allowing to experience before while a brain in plasticity takes over your conscious decision making.
BINAURAL BEATS is a neuro-algorithm that produces brainwave entrainment, the synchronization of brainwaves to a specialized sound with no user effort. When two different tones, separated in frequency by only a few Hertz, one in each ear- the brain perceived a third, unique tone. These beats establish a deep meditative state within 3 minutes of use, in which, a person will fall into theta brainwave length and might fall asleep while listening to a guided meditation.
Often, what comes out of the first session is a surge of emotions not expected. Besides feeling a little “tingly” after neurostimulation and extremely thirsty, patients experience gradual loosening of their restraints of self-centeredness. This experience of relaxation, calm and warmth, is the ‘natural high’ meditation entrains your brain in minutes passively with binaural beats and guided meditation. I expect patients to feel emotions without explanation and I invite them to release them in their safe space which I call the “Energy Room”.
SMOKING CESSATION CASE REVIEW: RETIRED FIREFIGHTER
In this segment, I will share one of the success studies I experience with a patient during his smoking cessation. A retired firefighter, age 60, who started cigarette smoking at the age of 13. He smokes around a full pack of Marlboro reds a day and has tried to quit on many occasions. The patient states he has not been able to remain abstinent for more than 30 days. He reports having tried “everything” - from gum to patches to ‘cold turkey’. Recently, he suffered the loss of his wife to cancer and states he hasn’t fully allowed himself to feel the losses in his life. He came in to try something new in my practice which believed could attempt to help his smoking addiction but left experiencing something more. Not only did he stop a 47-year record of cigarette smoking in 10 days, but he also surrendered to all his thoughts and expectations to allow him to trust life again.
After the first 60-minute session with neurostimulation and Binaural beats, warmth was not exactly the feeling he immediately felt. He describes going in between different states of feeling from being alert (beta wavelength) to lightweight, like floating and losing awareness of certain parts of his body (theta brain wavelength) to relaxed (alfa wavelength). His guided meditation brought emotions to the surface and he was surprised to welcome the feeling of not suppressing them. The overall experience is feeling ‘alive’.
It has been 11 months since his treatment protocol for smoking cessation and he won’t lie to share he has had the urge to maybe try to smoke but his mind has not allowed him to entertain it. I welcomed him to return and repeat a few frequency sessions to address the urge and allow him to continue his life without cigarettes.
1. Cornelius ME, Wang TW, Jamal A, Loretan CG, Neff LJ. Tobacco product use among adults—United States, 2020. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2022 Mar 18;71(11):397-405. doi: 10.15585/mmwr.mm7111a1.
LESLIE VALLE-MONTOYA, MD is the Founder of Biomed Life and the Santa Barbara Longevity Center. After medical school, Dr. Valle focused on managing chronic disease starting with its links to poor nutrition and then introducing them into the world of energy frequencies. She explores and includes non-invasive modalities such as: frequency therapies (including biofeedback), PEMF, proper detoxification, nutritional guidance and binaural beats as needed. - visit: www.biomedlifesb.com