Frequently Asked Questions
Here you will find answers to commonly asked questions. We are not permitted to give specific medical advice through this website. Most of the information you and your doctor need to make medical decisions about adding complementary treatments to your health care plan can be found in How to Use Herbs, Nutrients, and Yoga in Mental Health Care, RP Brown, PL Gerbarg, and PR Muskin (WW Norton 2009) and in our other books and chapters (see our complete publications list and our abstracts). How to Use Herbs, Nutrients, and Yoga in Mental Health Care also contains lists and guidelines for finding high quality supplements. More information about the book, including the table of contents is available on our book page.
Information on this website is not intended to substitute for the treatment advice of your personal physician.
Please discuss your use of supplements and other complementary treatments with your doctor before making changes in your treatment. No treatment is effective in 100% of cases and every treatment, including complementary and alternative treatments, has some possible side effects. It is important to take the time to learn about both the risks and benefits and to discuss every treatment with your personal physician.
NOTE: This website email is not secure enough to receive confidential, personal or medical information.
If you are a Healthcare Provider seeking to refer a patient for treatment please see the contact page.
If you are a Patient of Dr. Brown or Dr. Gerbarg, please see the contact page.
Q: How can I find a psychiatrist in my area who practices Complementary, Alternative and Integrative Medicine?
A: Visit the website of the APA Caucus on Complementary and Integrative Medicine: www.intpsychiatry.com
Click on the menu: For Patients (find a psychiatrist)
This takes you to a map where you can locate a CAIM psychiatrist in your area.
II. Finding a Workshop
Q: When is your next Breath-Body-Mind workshop?
A: On our homepage see the lavender menu ribbon. Click on Workshops/Lectures. On the drop down menu select ‘Schedule’ where you will find all of our upcoming lectures and workshops.
Q: I want to take your Teacher training, but I have not done a basic Breath-Body-Mind workshop. Would you approve me to do teacher training with the prerequisite?
A: To discuss the alternative ways to prepare for Level-1 BBM Teacher Training for those who are unable to attend the basic workshop, please leave a message for Dr. Gerbarg at 845-331-8881. This number is only for questions regarding teacher training.
Q: I have a health problem. Could you advise me?
A: Please do not send personal medical information to us at this website. It is not secure for confidential patient information. We are not permitted to give medical advice through our website. You may leave a message on our office voicemail or ask your personal physician to contact us.
V. Questions about Herbs
Q: I want to try Rhodiola rosea. What brand do you recommend? What dose should I take? Can I take Rhodiola rosea with my current medication?
A: You will find the information you need in our book, “How to Use Herbs, Nutrients, and Yoga in Mental Health Care.” In the appendix of our book there is a list of quality brands we recommend. If you have a medical condition, discuss the use of Rhodiola rosea with your physician. If your physician is not familiar with this herb, loan him/her your copy of our book to read about it.
Q: I am taking 800 mg of the Rhodiola rosea SHR-5 extract. Can I stay on this long term, or is it risky?
A: Rhodiola rosea can be taken in doses up to 900 mg/day for a long time without adverse effects. However, at such higher doses, some (but not all) people can have some effect on platelet clotting such that they have more bruising. Anyone who notices increased bruising on Rhodiola rosea should reduce the dose and/or avoid taking any other medications that affect clotting such as aspirin, Motrin, or large doses of vitamin E or fish oils (above 2000 mg/day). It is not advisable to take higher doses of Rhodiola than are really necessary because higher doses (above 800 or 900 mg) are not more effective and they can increase the risk of bruising.
Q: Does the effect of Rhodiola rosea wear off over time?
A: Some people can stay on Rhodiola rosea for years without loss of effect. However, other people notice that after about 4 months, the effect starts to fade. If the effect fades it is important to check to be sure you are taking a high quality brand. If your brand is of high quality but losing effect, then you may need to take a “holiday” off of the Rhodiola rosea for about 4 weeks. Usually when you start taking it again, it will be effective. Some people maintain the effect by only using the Rhodiola rosea when they know they are entering a time of high stress or work demand. For example, one can start taking it 2 weeks before the stressful period, building up the dose to its full level during the stressor and then tapering it down afterwards.
Q: What brand of Rhodiola rosea do you recommend? Where can I order reliable brands of SAMe and aniracetam?
A: Look in the Tables at the end of our book, "How to Use Herbs, Nutrients and Yoga in Mental Health". There you will find information on where to order brands that we consider to be of good quality. We do not have any financial interest in the companies whose products we recommend, nor do we receive any payments from these companies.
VI. Questions about Supplements: SAMe
Q: I suffer from depression. My antidepressants aren’t working well. Would SAMe help improve my depression? Can I take SAMe with my antidepressant?
A: You will find information about SAMe and how to use it safely and effectively in combination with other antidepressants in our book, “How to Use Herbs, Nutrients, and Yoga in Mental Health Care.” SAMe is an effective antidepressant that can be taken alone or in addition to other antidepressants. Take a copy of the book to your doctor’s office so that the two of you can discuss whether it would be appropriate for you to do a trial of SAMe.
Q: Can you recommend a good brand of SAMe, Rhodiola, or another herb? is the brand I am using of good quality?
A: For information on quality supplement brands and where to obtain them, look in the appendix of our book, How to Use Herbs, Nutrients, and Yoga in Mental Health Care. Other sources of information are www.consumerlabs.com. We cannot make specific recommendations through this web site. We do not have information on all supplement brands.
VII. Questions about Workshops, Training, and Follow-Up Sessions
Q: I would like to attend one of Dr. Brown’s workshops. When will the next workshop be scheduled in my area?
A: For a list of upcoming workshop return to the homepage. On the left side of the page, click on the link to Lectures and Workshops for a complete list. Also, on the homepage in the left column, sign up for the free newsletter so that you will receive information about workshops and lectures.
Q: How do I find out about follow-up sessions in New York City after completing the Breath~Body~Mind™ workshop?
A: Please contact Nehemiah at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: I am interested in training in your newest practices. What can I do to get started?
A: 1. You can use Our newest book + CD, The Healing Power of the Breath (Shambhala 2012) to teach yourself the breathing practices we are now using. This would be good preparation before you take our workshop. The more you practice, the further along you will be and the more you will get out of the training we do live.
2. We are using Qigong movements from Master Robert Peng. "The Master Key Video Series" of Comprehensive Training in Qigong for Happiness, Longevity, and Awakening, which includes the Four Golden Wheels. ($79.95 USD)
Do these prior to the Breathing Practices in our book.
3. It would be best to take a weekend workshop before you do the Teacher Training at Kripalu in the summer. Watch for details on our website.
Q: I took the Breath~Body~Mind™ Webinar April 14-15, 2014. How do I get the CME credits?
A. Call Fellowships of the Spirit in Lily Dale, NY, and speak with Della. The phone number is on their website.
VIII. Questions about Breathing Practices and Practice CDs
Q: I heard you lecture at a recent conference. Where can I get your Breath~Body~Mind™ CD that teaches the practices you use?
A: In order to assure that people learn to do the practices correctly, the Breath~Body~Mind Level-1 CDs are only distributed at our workshop. You may follow the link to our workshop schedule. If you live too far away to attend a workshop, you can learn the breath practices by using our new book and CD set, The Healing Power of the Breath. Follow the text in the book and use the CD with it. See more information by clicking on the image of the book cover displayed on our home page.
Where can I get the breathing CD with the chime track you used in a recent lecture?
You can get the Respire-1 CD at www.coherence.com or just download Track 3, the ‘Two Bells’ chime track.
Q: If I go under five breaths per minute, will it cause harm? I can do the exercise with the CD but, I prefer to do the breathing practice on my own and to breathe more slowly.
A: Breathing more slowly will not do any harm. Breathing more slowly is more calming and also more sedating, so it can be useful at bedtime. However, breathing more slowly also allows the mind to become fuzzier. The unique property of 5 - 6 breaths/per/minute is that it creates a state of mind that is relaxed and at the same time alert and functioning better cognitively. In order to achieve this, you need to practice with the chime track until you are able to do it consistently on your own. Also, when you use the chime track and you do not have to count or think about your breath rate, you can turn off that intellectual effort and attain deeper effects. So you can decide which kind of mental state you prefer at different times, depending on what you need to be doing.
Q: I’ve been trying the 5 count breath with the CD and I seem to get headaches. What should I do?
A: Start by re-reading all of the instructions on Coherent Breathing in the book carefully. Some people get a headache when starting to learn Coherent Breathing on their own. Usually this is because they are exerting too much effort, inhaling or exhaling too much, too fast, too forcefully. As the book and CD instruct, it is important to breathe very gently, moving only a little bit of air at a time, using no force. It is important to not try to fill the lungs or expel all of the air. If the breath does not last until the next tone, then just pause the breath and wait for the tone. With a little practice it becomes easier, less effortful.
Q: I purchased The Healing power of the Breath on Amazon.ca to read on my Kindle. However once I started to read the book I realized that there is a CD which doesn’t download on Kindle. Is there a solution so that I can hear examples of the breathing exercises?
A: Look carefully in your Kindle book. You will find instructions for how to download the CD tracks.
Q. How can I order the Breath~Body~Mind™ CD?
A. Call Fellowships of the Spirit in Lily Dale, NY, and speak with Della. The phone number is on their website. This is available only for people who completed this workshop.
Q. Where can I get the Coherent Breathing Respire-1 CD?
IX. Questions about Consultation and Referral
Q: Is there someone in my area who can teach me the breathing and movement practices you use?
A: Look through the list of yoga teachers and health care professionals who have graduated from our Level-1 Teacher Training Program by following the link on our homepage.
Q: Can you refer me to an Integrative Doctor in my area who practices the kind of treatments you write and teach about?
A: Because Integrative Psychiatry is a new field, psychiatrists are just starting to learn how to practice it. We do not have a list of practitioners around the country who are trained in these methods. We know of a few in the New York City area. However, you could discuss your interest in an integrative approach with your physician and show your doctor the sections of our book and our other scientific publications that are relevant to your issues. Your doctor could then read about it, get further information by reading the scientific references listed in the book, attend our lectures (for example, the American Psychiatric Association annual meetings), or contact us for a consultation. We hope to develop a list of integrative practitioners, but that is likely to take several years.
Q: I have read your book and discussed it with my doctor. We would like to arrange a consultation with you. How can we schedule a consultation appointment?
A: For consultations/referrals with Dr. Richard Brown physicians and therapists call: 914-715-1581.
For supervision or consultations with Dr. Patricia Gerbarg, physicians and therapists call: 914-715-1580.