REWARD integrated strategies

Dora Dragoni, MD etc
REWARD integrated strategies 

(protected and included in
-Creative Commons 4.0 
-my PhD project
-all my previous 12 articles, and writings)

...a part from getting a measure of stress quantity and quality
this has to be however balanced with positive rewarding lifestyle, based on:

1) DIET:
- nutrition: occidental basis, TCM ideas, Ayurveda ideas
- fitness: occidental exercises, qi-gong, yoga asana

- mental training techniques
- mindfulness
- zen practice
- mantra 


- time with pets
- massage

6) eventual CAM techniques




CAM and Reward for Wellness - International Journal of Complementary & Alternative Medicine - MedCrave


Volume 1 Issue 6- 2015

Nutritionist, Acupuncture fellow at AMAB, Italy

*Corresponding author: Dora Dragoni, Medical Doctor, Acupuncture Fellow (3rd/3 year), Personal Trainer, Mental Trainer, Nutrionist, AMAB, Italy, Tel: +39 338 5085731; Email: dora.dragoni@studio.unibo.it Received: October 21, 2015 | Published: October 26, 2015

Keywords: Reward; Wellness; Health; CAM; Stress; Acupuncture; Ayurveda; Diet; Nutrition; Fitness; Mental training; Epigenetic; Affective life; Lifestyle, Right to health; Prevention; Longevity

Abstract Review Article CAM strategies are at the same time ancient healing strategy systems, since ayurveda is 5000 years old and Traditional Chinese Medicine with acupuncture is 3000 years old, so they are proved to be effective and safe, …and they are also a new care approach, since occidental world still asks if they are really scientifical despite the evidence, the millennary effectiveness, the thousands of studies and researches, and the fact that people are using them more and more. CAM are called alternative in comparison to the official therapies systems, such as drugs and surgery. Antonovsky starting from 1979 underlines how, in a correct salutogenetic approach, to create health we should at first rule the lifestyle, manage a good diet (nutrition and physical activity), then proceed toward light caring treatments, passing then to acupuncture and such kind of medicine methods, and only in late stages recur to artificial molecules or even more.n It’s simple to understand that, as World Health Organization declares “health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity” [1], so from that it derives this observation: relieving symptoms in some ways doesn’t correspond to creating wellness. Reaching a well-being global condition is an autonomous process that each person can live, thanks to therapists and all those who want to participate with an active and positive role into others lives. CAM are indeed lots of healing systems: Traditional Chinese Medicine (acupuncture, chinese fitotherapy, tui na massage, qi-gong, dietetic), ayurveda (yoga, mantra, use of spices and dietetic culture, therapeutical massages); but also integrated therapies, that are: diet, from the greek world δίαιτα that means lifestyle, particularly nutrition and physical activity, mindfullness and relaxation techniques (from mental training to any oriental zen form of meditation), and even simply understanding that affective life has a main role into our daily routine, becoming of course able to apply this need to our daily habits. The latest studies focus on reward system, the brain pathways and nuclei involved in the perception and feeling of positive signals and emotions, related to our main needs and istincts, such as food, sex, reproduction, parental behaviours. It is known that when medial paths prevale we have a good mood, positivity, wellness and pleasure perceptions. But in case of stress conditions dopamine is converted into cathecolamines and lateral ways are prevalent, with a global stressful mood and all the organic consequences that derive from that: Mayo Clinic on its site [2] publishes that stress is strictly related with all the most diffused diseases, such as cardiopathies, gastrointestinal dysfunctions (these two can also be called dysautonomias), allergies and autoimmune disorders, reumatologic diseases, headache/migraine, insomnia, and all the mood and sex dysfunctions. So it’s important to prevent stress, managing it creating wellness daily habits and situations. In this article I talk about the characteristics and functions of all main CAM (as I said: nutritional and fitness suggestions, acupuncture, ayurveda, mind relaxation tips, and affective life approaches), underlining their neuroscientific and global mechanisms of action: acting on reward system as well, they are able not only to relieve stress, symptoms and pain, but they also can improve in great ways our well-being global condition, and with the wellness feeling that derives from that: we are stronger (getting the so called “resilience”, the ability to overcome obstacles), able to face in the better and most positive ways our life, managing it how we want.


“4th Global ACUPUNCTURE and Therapist Annual Meeting”



11) ARTICLE: Diet, Health and Wellness (2015.10.07)


Volume 2 Issue 5 - 2015
Diet, Health and Wellness
Dora Dragoni*
Nutritionist, Acupuncture fellow at AMAB, Italy
Received: October 7, 2015 | Published: October 7, 2015
*Corresponding author: Dora Dragoni, Medical Doctor, Nutritionist, Personal Trainer, Acupuncture Fellow at AMAB, Italy, Tel: +39 338 5085731; Email: 

Citation: Dragoni D (2015) Diet, Health and Wellness. J Nutr Health Food Eng 2(5): 00073. DOI:10.15406/jnhfe.2015.02.00073

Keywords: Diet; Nutrition; Lifestyle; Wellness, Health; Reward; Fitness; Mediterranean diet; Italian Cuisine; Turkish cuisine; TCM; Food culture; Ayurveda; Multi-Strategies; Right to food


Food is part of us: it is nutrients, tastes, and flavours…and it is one of the basic social ways we spend time with others. So it is important to know conscious approaches to it, to choose wisely how we eat, to regulate our diet at better, to have healthy and pleasant foods, and to prefer social eating solutions.
No matter if we are in fit or we want to improve our BMI, we should choose healthy foods, like organic ones, we should balance our diets with the best proportions of nutrients, and we should know which flavours adapt to our way of being (according to traditional chinese medicine, for example); or in case of diabetes, or other dysmetabolisms, we should even more pay attention to our nutrition and lifestyle, in order to stay in the better equilibrium. Even pregnancy, infancy, and sport habits need particular attentions, since all are physiological situations in which diet has an important role.
Understanding how considering our daily and weekly nutrition is the first step. Then we should choose the foods, amongst the healthiest, that fit best to our preferences. And moreover it would be important to have an overall global lifestyle: having a regular physical activity, in order to get to fitness body and mind conditions, and try to train with daily relaxation and mindfullness techniques as well, like yoga, zen practices, or maybe others based on concentration or even visualization. In case of some dysfunctions we could recur to CAM strategies: complementary and alternative medicines are considered more and more important and worth (like acupuncture, fitotherapies, mental training and so on).
The basis could be the mediterrenean diet, declared in 2010 “intangible cultural heritage for humanity” by Unesco, and typical of mediterrenean countries: the world “diet” comes from the ancient greek world “diaita” that means “lifestyle” indeed. So preferring complex carbohydrates (at lower glycemic index), white meats, fish (rich in omega-3), some fresh cheese, and lots of vegetables and fruits (for vitamins and fibers), dry fruits and nuts (containing omega-6), adding some herbs and spices as well (I can say that for some cultures, like ayurveda, they are a real healing system), evitating sweets and fats (helping in such a way metabolism), and reducing coffee as well, is the ‘nutrition side’; to this we should also have a daily sport activity and if we can find some time to relax at sun it would be great for our body and mind as well - vitamin D is related to higher fertility rates according to recent studies.
In conclusion we can underline the relationships between nutrition, lifestyle, emotions and reward system, the brain pathways involved in the modulation of stress and in the wellness perceptions and feelings, that are the basis for healing, resilience and health: even World Health Organization declared that health is not the absence of diseases but it has to be the complete body and mind well-being.


9) ARTICLE - "Stress & health: wellness for body and mind" [2015.04.01]

Stress & health: wellness for body and mind

wellness, stress, reward, acupuncture, psychotherapy


Well being means for sure to manage stress conditions. Understanding what is stress, and how to prevent, is the first point. Then we should improve our life styles: such as diet and physical activity. Of course how we feel is important too, our surroundings and the related emotions. Some advanced techniques can always help: for example, acupuncture and psychotherapy.

More and more scientific studies and wellness systems are examining the interactions between stress and well being, and are trying to understand and to find some ways of treatment to be and stay at our best.
But what is stress? Stress is a physiological response that our body has in order to overcome a problem. It can lead to maximal parameters in order to fight at best during a particular occasion.
Of course it has biological bases: his central regulations take place in hypotalamus. The hormone released for such response is the CRH, that provoques the production and secretion of another hormone, the ACTH, from the pituitary to all our body. From that we have the production of cortisol, secreted by adrenal glands.
The effects of stress are a lot: at first we have an increase of the blood pressure, and of glycemia. Furthermore a chronical stress condition leads to toxicity: due to the hyperglicemia, and determined by the catabolic inbalance this can have as consequence, and a cellular oxydation (resposible even of cancers).
Another consequence is that the ormonal equilibrium disbalances toward stress hormones and not of physiological ones: deriving from that, the mood symptoms and the sexual and social dissatisfaction.
It is common known that the immunitary system is damaged by stress molecules: it can become both hyperactive and then disregulated. Many diseases are spreading in these dacedes: autoimmune diseases particularly (type 1 diabetes, reumathoid arthritis, celiac disease). Flogistic alterations are also found in depression, so psicho-neuro-immuno-endocrinology is becoming one of the sciences helping us understanding how we are.
Some studies are explaining how headache is related to a raised amout of request to our brain (with till a 300% blood flux in brain), that cannot always face to such conditions from a metabolic point of view and the disbalance leads to molecular lacks: acting on opioids could help (as the acupuncture headache preventive treatment contributes to demonstrate).
Even Mayo Clinic has focused the attention on the correlation between stress and many common and diffused diseases, such as: headache, gastric symptoms, some chest and heart disfunctions (called also “dysautonomia”), the trend to get colds and flus, psychological disregulations, being often angry and dissatisfied, have an unsatisfactory affective and sexual life.

The point to pay attention is that, by regulating our mind and ways of living, we can manage stress conditions, preventing them and solving them as well.
Acting on the REWARD system (neural pathways), that counteracts stress, can be done at many practical levels:
    DIET – many studies are done about sugar reduction or even deprivation: after 40 days rats see the first benefits in how they feel and behave with better blood parameters at first. We should avoid hypercalorical diets, and introduce always 1,5 liters of water at least; prefer vegetables and fruit, to guarantee the correct amount of fiber intake
    SLEEP – a good regular sleep is one of the main elements to improve to reduce the stress amount. We always say that 7 hours of sleep are a good quantity, or even more
    PHYSICAL ACTIVITY – doing a fitness training everyday for at least 45 minutes is good in inducing both relaxation and improvement of physical body shape (from which happiness). It is known that physical activity is good in the prevention of Alzheimer disease, and it acts both at a mental and somatic level
    RELAXATION TECHNIQUES – we can distress our mind with yoga sessions or tai chi trainings. Even meditation, in every form, is useful to relax mind and soul. Mental training could help particular needs, such as those of sport persons, based on both relaxation and visualization
Of course we could also manage stress consequences in great ways:
    ACUPUNCTURE – this very old system involves amazing theories developed through centuries in Asia (mainly in China, but also in Japan and Korea), and it is proved by the newest studies understanding how the stimulation of the opiate system, by needling specific cutaneous points, leads to a rebalancing of many molecules, particularly hormones and neurotransmitters
    PSYCHOTHERAPY – if well done, and taking in consideration the whole person, it can help you find a good mind approach to life after a stressful period (particularly if there are even body symptoms, that can be a physical expression of a more general spiritual bad feeling). Helping your psyche and mind will bring you more happiness, a better social life and a satisfying sexual life: of course love and sex are the main keys to see life in the right way, they bring to the increase of many molecules, such as oxytocin, that are related to how we approach to other people, and they of course also act at body level, by reducing pain and inflammation, and on the whole by improving how we feel and we are.

Maciocia, The foundations of chinese medicine

Dragoni D., Reward Pathway and Metabolism, Neuroscienze.net



acupuncture & insomnia