In 2011, along with her husband Mark, Kathleen Kellenbeck co-founded BrainJoy, offering NeurOptimal® Sessions and Neuro Nutrition coaching to clients overcoming addictions, stress, sleeplessness, eating issues, chronic pain, deep sadness, post-traumatic stress, anxiousness, learning challenges, brain injury, struggling with memory loss and other life challenges. Clients also come to BrainJoy to improve their cognitive abilities, academic performance, sports performance and overall quality of life.
We spoke with Kathleen recently to learn more about the Rogue Valley’s first and only Neuro Wellness Center and the fantastic results it offers.
Thanks so much for talking with us today Kathleen. BrainJoy offers something totally unique to people looking for relief from common physical and emotional difficulties. Can you help readers understand how this works and what a typical session looks like?
During a session, the client reclines in a zero gravity chair as EEG sensors are placed on their head and ears. These sensors measure brainwave activity which NeurOptimal® processes and feeds back to the brain as neuro signals embedded within a composition of music. When the brain and central nervous system experience this, it is as though someone ‘pressed the reset button’, bringing the system (in this case the person) back to a more optimal state of functioning.
The client may sleep, meditate, read, journal or watch a video during session. Their participation is passive as the work is equally effective regardless of what they choose to do. In a mere 45 minutes the work is done and the NeurOptimal® session leaves the client feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.
Why is BrainJoy effective?
BrainJoy’s unique combination of neurofeedback and neuro nutrition help individuals to be their best and achieve their goals. Simply put, BrainJoy improves brain function which paves the way to a better quality of life. From a more scientific standpoint, NeurOptimal® neurofeedback is state of the art neuroscience which brings the brain and central nervous system back into balance, strengthening and allowing the brain its own priorities all at once.
We recently added neuro nutrition to further empower our clients and assure they reach their goals. The brain just like any other organ in the body works best when it receives optimal nutrition. It is no surprise that today’s nutrient depleted food supply requires nutrient supplementation to assure optimal nutrition. Neuro nutrition is often key to our client’s progress and ultimate success. NeurOptimal® and neuro nutrition may be combined or used independently.
What kind of issues can be resolved using neurofeedback at BrainJoy?
Neurofeedback improves ones quality of life in as many ways as one can imagine. That being said, here’s my disclaimer: we don’t treat, cure, heal or diagnose. We help promote greater resilience and flexibility in the brain and central nervous system. This in turn correlates with improvement and resolution of ‘A, B, C…X, Y, Z’.
We often work with people who have a combination of needs. They may seek to overcome addiction, depression and anxiety. Others may strive for stress reduction and more nourishing sleep, and yet others yearn for help with improved focus and memory. Some clients enjoy the benefits of neurofeedback for improving creativity and critical thinking.
NeurOptimal is helpful for pain management. It is common for clients to find themselves pain free after having previously suffered with pain for years. Weight loss is often a goal we see with clients and while neurofeedback does not make a person lose weight, we have observed clients gravitate more easily to healthier choices in both diet and exercise which often results in weight loss.
We work with children especially during the summer months to help with focus, sleep, academics and sports. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics has designated neurofeedback/biofeedback as a Level 1 treatment for ADHD. We’ve also worked with gifted musicians and athletes to overcome performance anxiety.
Do you see BrainJoy as a substitute for counseling or therapy?
Because the work we do allows the brain to process the trauma and pains of life without the emotion and stress of dredging it up to work it out, people may choose BrainJoy over traditional counseling. After a series of sessions, however, a client may realize it would be beneficial to explore new tools to help them continue in their healing process. For that reason we have a number of professional counselors and therapists in our network to whom we refer. Personally, after many years of psychotherapy, I found BrainJoy to be a refreshing approach. I noticed a new ability to ‘connect the dots’, gaining perspective on an emotional trigger and an increased ability to become more resourceful in expressing my feelings and getting my needs met.
What kind of clients do you typically see?
Our youngest client so far was 15 months old and the oldest to date was an energetic 94. We often see two or three generations of family members including young children, their parents and grandparents. Teenagers come to gain a competitive edge both academically and athletically or to help them through growing pains as they are learning to navigate the social dynamics of high school.
The majority of our clients are between the ages of 30 and 70 from all walks of life. Because the brain is 10,000 times more unique than a thumbprint, each client is amazingly individual.
While they may share many similar goals such as emotional stability, sleep, weight loss and striving for greater efficiency and organization in their personal and professional lives, they all express their needs differently.
How do people come to you?
We are grateful that more than half of our clients are referrals from existing clients. Because we offer everyone a free consultation and session to try our services, referring to BrainJoy is easy. We also are developing lovely relationships with some of our local medical providers who refer their patients. There are also some terrific therapists who send their patients to us. We all work together for the client’s best possible outcome. Thanks to social media and the internet, many find us on the web. Some travel from the coast, Klamath Falls, Grants Pass and northern California for their BrainJoy sessions.
Kathleen, what is your background? How did you come to do this work?
After having had gastric bypass surgery in 2000, I worked for over a decade in the field of bariatric surgery, establishing weight loss surgery centers around the country and eventually starting Southern Oregon Bariatric Center as their program director in 2003. No amount of sharing with patients that the hard part comes after the weight loss really mattered before surgery. It didn’t for me either. I knew firsthand though that keeping the weight off was far more arduous than losing it in the first place. Even though my stomach was smaller and my intestines had been rerouted, the surgery did not change my inclination for emotional eating. Food was my drug of choice.
Once I was introduced to neurofeedback and understood the power of balancing and strengthening my brain and central nervous system new possibilities opened up to me. With this new understanding I finally accepted that my inability to stick with an exercise program for more than a few months or consistently apply healthy eating habits was not a lack of will power or poor moral character.
Now I recognize this struggle as an imbalance in my brain that I was attempting to right, the wrong way, with refined sugar, simple carbohydrates and caffeine.
My interest in the brain and central nervous system was already well established with Neuroanatomy as my favorite subject during my premed curriculum at NYU 30 years ago. Once I experienced neurofeedback myself, there was no turning back. I bid a fond farewell to my colleagues and patients at the surgical practice and BrainJoy was born.
I can really hear the passion you have for this important work. What do you love most about what you do?
I love helping people and more specifically helping them empower themselves to live happier, healthier lives. I love supporting people through their process by creating a safe, welcoming and comfortable environment and offering services that will assist them in their process or journey. I love sharing new options and choices for wellness with humanity! I am often told that this type of a business seems like it would be a good fit for Ashland. I love Ashland. We are located, however, in Medford because we wanted to bring these Neuro Wellness approaches to a community that might not otherwise have known to explore such options. Being in Medford we are mid-Rogue Valley close enough for anyone who wishes to experience BrainJoy to do so!
Tell us about your staff.
We have a wonderful team at BrainJoy. My husband is the business manager. I am the certified practitioner. Currently, we have two other providers, one with a more traditional medical background and another whose background is in psychology and early childhood education. We make a great team and work together to make BrainJoy a truly caring place.
You mentioned that BrainJoy is a holistic technology and not a diagnostic model. Can you explain that further?
The magic of neurofeedback at BrainJoy is in the proprietary software beneath NeurOptimal®. Other forms of neurofeedback ‘push’ on various frequencies in different areas of the brain in an effort to draw out certain changes or results based upon one’s diagnosis. NeurOptimal® is considered holistic as it is not imposing an agenda upon the individual’s brain and central nervous system. Allowing the brain to self-correct is both gentle and effective at the same time.
The good news is that the results speak for themselves in the form of happy clients who are meeting their goals!
Do you have a vision for BrainJoy’s place in the future landscape of health and wellness in the Rogue Valley?
I envision BrainJoy offices easily accessible all over the Rogue Valley where people can come in for a tune-up, leaving refreshed and rejuvenated whenever they wish. People take their car for regular maintenance or an oil change every three months or so. Doesn’t their brain deserve the same?
How often do you sit in the chair yourself?
I make sure my husband and the staff all have a session once a week. I aim for that myself as well. Sometimes I miss my weekly tune-up and then will double up with two sessions the following week. I was in a car accident last year after which I did sessions twice a week for several weeks to help balance out after the trauma of being rear-ended. I feel so fortunate to have BrainJoy!
Is it expensive?
We structure our pricing in a manner that will be as affordable as possible for people. They are welcome to pay for individual sessions, however, prepaid packages of 10 or 20 sessions are priced at a 25% and 32% discount. We offer discounts for seniors and veterans and will work with folks who have hardship circumstances. We do our very best to make our services as available as possible.
I also understand you have an amazing refund policy.
We realize it is more affordable to purchase a prepaid package, but life happens and when the unexpected occurs, sometimes one will need to reallocate funds. Our refund policy is such that if a person decides to discontinue their sessions we will refund the unused sessions, prorating the ones they have completed.
Any other specials or offers you’d like to tell readers about?
We would be happy to offer a $25 off a second session if the person tells us they read this article! In addition, drawing from the most recent 100 names, we will award some lucky person 3 free sessions once we hit 1000 likes on our Facebook Page! We are currently at 931 so head on over to BrainJoy’s Facebook page and Like Us!
Is there anything else you would like readers to know Kathleen?
We are going to hold an open house on Friday, August 14th from 4:30pm to 6:30pm for folks to learn more about BrainJoy.
It will also be a fundraiser benefitting Hearts with a Mission Youth Shelter in Medford. $1 for each attendee will be donated as will $1 for each new “LIKE” on BrainJoy’s Facebook Page between now and then.
1007 East Jackson Street