Toby Pasman brings a Neurotherapist’s perspective on healthcare to his interview with Rob Oliver on the Perspectives on Healthcare Podcast. A member of Generation Y, Toby Pasman is a millennial from Oregon who will be moving to Florida. He has an expertise in applied neuroscience and neurophysiology.
Here are 3 things that stood out to me from Toby’s presentation of a Neurotherapist’s perspective on healthcare:
· Comprehensive care starts with a thorough history and establishing a baseline
· Quality healthcare means having the humility to acknowledge that the treatment protocol might need to be adjusted
· Neurostimulation today is very different from old-fashioned shock therapy
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Here is a transcript of Toby Pasman: A Neurotherapist’s Perspective on Healthcare:
Rob Oliver: Thank you and I appreciate you being with me today. Today’s perspective comes from Toby Pasman. He is a neurotherapist. He is right now based in Oregon. He is going to be moving his operation down to Miami, Florida. He is a millennial a member of Generation Y, and he joins us today. Toby, thanks for being here, man.
Toby Pasman: Rob, it’s a pleasure. Thanks for having me on.
Rob Oliver: You bet. So tell me a little bit about yourself and your role in health care, because I’m not familiar with what a neurotherapist is, as I’m sure a lot of people aren’t.
Toby Pasman: It’s kind of a new emerging role, I’d say in healthcare. So how I got into this work, I would say I kind of always had this curiosity revolving around why we think the way we do, why our brains work, the way they do. And that curiosity led me into taking some psychology classes in College. And I really fell in love with a Biopsychology class where we understood the biological basis to the electrical and chemical functioning of the brain and the fact that we could actually measure that was super cool to me. So I ended up working in what’s called an EEG lab. So EEG is short for an electroencephalogram, which is basically a swim cap looking device that is placed on a person’s head and is able to actually record the electrical activity that emanates from your brain up to your scale. So we’re actually able to detect the electrical what are called brain waves. And that kind of led me. That was kind of my introduction to this kind of field of neuro technology, if you will. And then a couple of years after College, I took a job working at a substance abuse and mental health treatment facility in South Florida, where I was actually using neurotechnology to actually alter the EEG. So because with the EEG, we’re able to see which areas of the brain are producing healthy quantities of the different brain waves when that is not the case, when there’s abnormal electrical activity which can result, you know, from head injuries, substance abuse, mental health conditions. We can actually use certain types of neurotechnology to actually alter the electrical brain waves. And that’s kind of the role of a neurotherapist.
Rob Oliver: Very interesting. From my own personal perspective, I’ve got a spinal cord injury, so I’m kind of paralyzed from the chest down. And I’ve seen a lot of work in controlling things with your brain way. So I think if I’m not mistaken, there was a guy who learned how to fly a plane using an EEG connection. So played flight simulator through it just based on stimulating different areas of the brain. It’s very interesting and fascinating from both a practical perspective as well as the behavioral perspective. Can you tell me, what does quality healthcare mean to you?
Toby Pasman: Quality health care? I would say from my role as a neurotherapist, I would say, is comprehensive and holistic. The brain is a very complicated. They call it kind of the most complicated thing in the entire universe. There’s still a lot we don’t understand about the brain, but from what we do, there’s a lot of different kind of ways we can go about working to enhance the brain. And I think from what I’ve learn just in my role in health care, it’s often not one thing. It’s often kind of a holistic collection of different kind of treatment modalities and making sure you take care of the basics, like diet, exercise, sleep. Some of those things are, I think, the most important, honestly, for just brain health, when we Zoom in on that and making sure that it’s a holistic approach, I think, is how I view quality health care.
Rob Oliver: Okay. You use two words, you use holistic and you use comprehensive, and you kind of gave me a definition for holistic. Can you talk to me about that concept of comprehensive?
Toby Pasman: Yes. So when it comes to neuro therapy, it’s super important that we are doing a comprehensive intake. So what we usually do is kind of do an assessment where we’re taking a patient’s full medical psychiatric history, taking notes of any head injuries that they may have had in the past, making sure to ask that question a second and third time, because often times people forget about a certain head injury, and we’ll have to really probe but making sure to really do a thorough assessment, along with doing an EEG recording to actually see what’s going on with the bring in. And you know what brain wave frequencies are disregulated and which areas of the brain that’s occurring because then with the neurotechnology that I use, it can be very targeted based on what we’re seeing in the EEG, there’s certain just like consumer devices. I would say that people can buy and kind of play around with these pieces of neurotechnology, but they’re not. You don’t know necessarily which direction to push your brain in. If you don’t actually do that full comprehensive intake assessment pairing the self report what people are actually experiencing and their full kind of health history pairing that with the electrical brain data. That gives us a very comprehensive picture of what is going on for each individual, either patient or client, depending on whether I’m doing this in a clinical or peak performance setting. But you know, that’s really I found the best approach in terms of getting people the best results is making sure that we have the best idea of all of the different factors that are going into, you know, a person’s brain health.
Rob Oliver: Okay. Can you give me an example of quality health care?
Toby Pasman: An example of quality health care. In my kind of line of work would be doing what are called these brain maps, which are basically a version of the EEG, where we’re able to then visualize the electrical activity of the brain and doing one of these brain maps when someone comes in and then actually based on kind of doing around a course of treatment. So whether that be using technology like neurofeedback, neurostimulation, audio visual entrainment, there’s a couple other ones that I use to, but basically putting someone on a round of of kind of neuro therapy and then doing a follow up assessment, a follow up brain map to see how that’s affecting the brain. So making sure that we actually track, you know, both the person’s subjective, what their symptoms and how they’re feeling along with what we’re actually seeing objectively with the electrical data is super powerful in terms of just being able to see, you know, what protocol might work? Well for a certain patient or client. Maybe we need to modify that protocol. And I think quality health care in my kind of line of work as a neurotherapist is kind of having the humility to realize the brain is, as I was saying, is so complicated. We might put someone on a protocol that based on the initial brain map we might think is going to be really beneficial to them, but it doesn’t always turn out that way. So I kind of an art and a science in terms of kind of selecting these protocols for people, these neuro therapy protocols, but making sure that we do, you know, periodic reassessments and make sure that people are really on the right track, I would say, is my kind of definition of quality health care is one of therapists. So it’s not just the initial. I don’t know if the right word is diagnosis, but it’s not the initial finding, but it’s the continued follow up of the finding to make sure that the path of treatment is actually being effectively dealing with what you’re looking at.
Rob Oliver: I understand that. I think exactly what do you wish people understood about your role in health care? Besides the fact that just understanding that it exists. Maybe.
Toby Pasman: Right. Well, I would say a lot of the work that I do is with a technology called neurostimulation, and oftentimes what ends up happening when I tell people about neurostimulation, their minds go to ECT, the sort of one flew over the Cuckoo’s nest, the treatment of kind of the shock therapy that they’d use in psychiatric words back in the 1950s and Sixties. It still is a treatment that’s used at times today in really rare kind of intractable cases of depression. But what the work that I do with neurostimulation is much different than that. So that’s kind of a common misconception that people have about what I’m doing as a neurotherapist is the fact that neurostimulation is really a non invasive, low intensity electrical current that is being delivered to the brain to gently guide the brain into certain brain wave patterns that it may not be producing very well on its own. So kind of in the way that if you’re learning to ride a bike, training wheels might be really helpful in kind of helping you just get on that bike. This sort of neurostimulation is really, really powerful in terms of just gently guiding the brain into the brainwave patterns that we’re wanting to see. And and then people are able to actually produce those patterns on their own without needing additional sessions. But, you know, I would say so that’s kind of a common misconception, something that I think as as the field of neuro therapy continues to expand, and more people either know someone who’s participated in neuro therapy or they’ve done it themselves. They’re going to start realizing that the neuro technology that we have in 2021 is much, much different than what we were doing 50, 60 years ago. But a lot of people don’t realize that yet.
Rob Oliver: Got it. What excites you about the future of healthcare?
Toby Pasman: I am really excited with the fact that I think neurotechnology really has the power to revolutionize, and I know that that may sound a bit hyperbolic, but I truly believe it has the power to revolutionize, say, the fields of psychiatry, neurology cases where people have been on a different cocktail of medications that may not be, you know, helping them too much and they’re suffering from these chronic chronic mental health conditions. I feel like a lot of that. We’re going to start seeing that change. And in addition to just like the work that I do with neuro therapy, I’m really excited with starting to see the usage of certain psychedelic therapies that are coming into play. So, for instance, like MDMA therapy, MDMA assisted psychotherapy, I believe, is being fast tracked by the FDA. So I believe that’s going to be available to veterans for PTSD in the next couple of years. And they’re also doing a lot of really cool research with Psilocybin, which people might more commonly know. It’s like magic mushrooms, and they’re finding incredible results with treating depression, certain cases of end of life anxiety, certain things that, you know, traditional traditional psychiatry and psychology have had really difficult times addressing. We’re starting to see these newer technologies and therapies I think that are going to really just completely change the landscape of this type of health care.
Rob Oliver: Just for the sake of reference. Can you give me what does MDMA stand for?
Toby Pasman: Yeah. So MDMA is like MDMA is short for try. Think on the full name is Ma is Ecstasy. It’s what ecstasy is supposed to be. So MDMA a full name. The reason that I was having such a difficult time remembering that is it’s methylene Doxy methamphetamine got kind of a mouthful? Sure. People might also more commonly know that as ecstasy. Okay. Something that’s been traditionally thought of as just a recreational drug that people would take it parties, raves. You know, they’re seeing really cool research that it can treat certain forms of depression, PTSD, other kind of chronic health conditions.
Rob Oliver: Okay. Thank you very much. Sorry to put you on the spot like that. Lastly, what is one thing medical professionals can start doing today to improve the quality of healthcare?
Toby Pasman I would say medical professionals can start incorporating neurotherapy more so into their practice. I think that the way I see it kind of going forward. I think it would be awesome if, say, general, your general practitioner, your family doctor was able to just do an EEG recording with you, say, every year, say, at your yearly check up, if they were able to do a yearly EEG, which is not that difficult to to record. It maybe an hour long process and it’s not invasive, doesn’t hurt the patient at all. And it can provide really, quite a lot of information as far as what a person’s brain is doing. I think that would be super cool if we started seeing that as just being in the same way that we get our blood pressure checked. We go in for lab testing, and I think regularizing or normalizing. Rather, the use of some of this neuro technology, such as doing these EEG recordings could really change things in a huge way because, say, for instance, if this kind of what I’m proposing, if this was to happen, say, you are going in every year and you are getting an EEG done, and they’re kind of tracking your brain data over the years and then say, you went into your doctor and said, Gosh stock. I can’t think clearly lately I’ve lost my memory. I’m having these weird cognitive symptoms. Then we could look at, okay, what is the brain doing right now? And how is that different from the last EEG that you had done in which you were feeling a lot better. So I think incorporating neurotechnology and neuro therapy into really, it could go as broad as your general practitioner, but I think that could be super powerful going forward in the future.
Rob Oliver: Right. So I’m hearing you say, basically making sure that the brain is included as part of the general health care that’s being provided. Listen, Toby, thank you so much for being here. I appreciate you sharing your thoughts, and I really appreciate your perspective on health care.
Disclaimer: All opinions expressed by guests on the Perspectives on Healthcare Podcast are solely the opinion of the guest. They are not to be misconstrued as medical diagnoses or medical advice. Please consult with a licensed medical professional before attempting any of the treatments suggested.