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Today on my walk I noticed the grasses have matured into an amazing array of color. Some are showing off a deep maroon blaze across their tips, others are glowing bright yellow. There are patches of every shade of green and now golds and browns too. All the while my eyes are admiring this scene, my nose says “Accchoooo!”

June hayfever is often related to this wonderful display of the grasses, a group of plants I once considered the most boring of them all. Upon closer examination, they are as miraculous in their creation and display of nature’s beauty as any other plant family.

The pollen of grasses has affected up to 30% of the population with an obnoxious reaction. Sneezing, runny noses, itchy eyes are all common symptoms of the immune systems activation towards the grass pollen. It’s as if it were a serious pathogen, in need of attack.

How did the primary food source for our domesticated 4 legged friends become an enemy to so many? I’m sure farmers across the country would have lots of ideas, but for immunology here’s the scoop:

The immune system is one of the most complex parts of our bodies. It is ever evolving and reacting to our environments. It plays a significant part in the health of every other part of the body. It’s expression can significantly determine whether we’re even able to get out of bed and can change over night.

For allergy sufferers, the pattern is known as TH2 dominance which results in hypersensitivity to otherwise non-harmful stimuli. TH2 dominance is when histamine releases in excess and creates the many irritating symptoms characteristic of allergies, asthma, eczema and hives. Left untreated, TH2 expression can results in anaphylactic shock in the worst cases. While allergies are an annoyance, they also signify that the immune system isn’t functioning at it’s best.

Ideally, our immune system exists in what is known as TH1 dominance state most of the time. This is when the immune cells are at the ready for bacteria, virus’s and also cleaning up cells that are otherwise not doing their job correctly in the body. When a person’s immune system is in TH2 dominance, these jobs go unattended.

While the over-the-counter anti-histamine drugs can get us through a day in the hayfield, they will not correcct the immune imbalance and can lead to negative side effects. The majority of our antihistamine drugs including: Benedryl, Claritin, Sudafed and many more are part of the class of drugs known as anti-cholinergics. These drugs are known to cause cognitive decline, even with mild, occasional use. Check out the “Anticholinergic Cognitive Burden Scale” by the Aging Brain Care organization, available at http://www.miltonkeynesccg.nhs.uk/resources/uploads/ACB_scale_-_legal_size.pdf

How to Keep you Mind and Stop the Sneezing:

  • Nasal lavage has been used for thousands of years, particularly in dry climates. Most commonly, this is done with a sinus rinse device with saline such as a netti pot. It is important to utilize it’s traditional pair, Nasya oil to moisturize the nasal mucosa after rinsing. This can also, more conveniently be done with a nasal spray. I recommend a non-steroidal cleansing spray because they are non-addictive and do not cause long term changes to the delicate nasal tissue.
  • Quercetin, Bromelain, Vitamin C = this trio is our most commonly helpful blend of natural substances for stabalizing mast cells and reducing histamine expression. In doing so, they also help re-establish the ability of the immune system to become TH1 dominant.
  • Allergy desensitizing drops = our local medicinal supplier Mountain States Health Products makes an invaluable array of homeopathic allergy desensitizing drops. Some research suggests oral drops to be as effective as prescription allergy shots, with varying results from prescription vs homeopathic forms. What are you waiting for? Start desensitizing your allergies to pollen (grass or tree blends), pets, bee’s and other stinging insects today!
  • Nettle and euphrasia are two wonderful allergy treatments from our herbal medicine world. Utilize as tincture, tea or in food for routine support.

Any case of allergic symptoms is an example of an immune system that could function in a better way. TH2 dominant individuals are at a higher risk for other chronic diseases of immune dysfunction such as auto-immune diseases and cancer. Take care of your immune system with an integrative medicine approach to support a path to optimal health today! Individualized care and natural medicine tools available at Stillwater Clinic & Apothecary here in Lyons, CO.

References:

Aging Brain Care.org Anticholinergic Cognitive Burden Scale, 2012 update

Merz, Beverly Common anticholinergic drugs like Benadryl linked to increased dementia risk. JANUARY 28, 2015, 8:55 PM , UPDATED MAY 23, 2017. Harvard Women’s Health Watch

Orzechowski RF1Currie DSValancius CA. Comparative anticholinergic activities of 10 histamine H1 receptor antagonists in two functional models. Eur J Pharmacol. 2005 Jan 4;506(3):257-64. Epub 2004 Nov 30.

Saporta, Diego , Efficacy of Sublingual Immunotherapy versus Subcutaneous Injection Immunotherapy in Allergic Patients. J Environ Public Health. 2012; 2012: 492405.

White MV1. The role of histamine in allergic diseases. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 1990 Oct;86(4 Pt 2):599-605.   https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1699987

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The wild wind. Blustery season of weather change. From the blue sky bliss of the sun warming the earth switching to a torrential downpour in moments, it’s hard to know how to dress some days…

Sometimes an approaching storm feels like a lot more than just weather moving in. If the Lyons Colorado 1,000 year flood scenes are in your personal memory, your cells are going to respond differently to the sound of falling rain. If images like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz mean anything personal to you, the breeze might rattle you a little more. If you’ve had traumatic experiences with natural disasters, the shifts and movements of the earth’s changing seasons bring up more than the promise of green grass tomorrow.

Our memory exists not in our brains but in our bodies. The mind might be where the senses replay the story of an event, but the body response precedes it activating physiologic change. The body tenses, the breathing quickens, the heartrate increases all to signals of stress.

Natural medicine tools:

  • Rescue Remedy – this homeopathic medicinal blend is useful for helping a person shift out of the fight or flight response. It is gentle enough for infants and all ages.

 

  • Passionflower tea – this wonderful herb is helpful for balancing neurotransmitters in the brain and creates a gentle calming effect on the body. It can help with sleep or just help take the edge off when feeling tense.

 

  • Magnesium – this nutrient is significantly deficient in many people, even with healthy diets. Magnesium facilitates muscle relaxation and can help with chronic tension that the body holds.

 

  • Sleep – our single most restorative activity, sleep helps the body and mind recover from stressful experiences. If you’re sleep is compromised, you’re more likely to experience elevated stress responses. Sometimes, it’s simply a matter of proper scheduling to allow for adequate sleep. However, if you have sleep issues like difficulty falling asleep or frequent waking, or feeling unrested upon waking in the morning, seek medical help.

 

  • Acupuncture & bodywork – tools that directly influence the body’s processing of stress hormones are invaluable to health. The release of endorphins in a controlled environment allows for re-balancing of the nervous system and aiding a deeper state of relaxation as a baseline.

 

  • Grounding – shifting the awareness from the head and the flurry of thoughts to the body changes our awareness and helps us to be more present to the reality of current circumstances. A daily practice of walking barefoot in the wet morning grass, shaking the body from head to toe and massaging the abdomen are all tools to cultivate presence in the body.

 

  • Hydrotherapy – contrasting heat and cold to the body surface is a traditional technique for optimal health. For calming the stress response, relaxing in a warm bath or shower and intermittently shifting the temperature to cool water helps to regulate the nervous system.

 

One thing is certain, the storms are going to keep coming. Preparing ourselves mentally, physically and emotionally allows us to be in the best possible state to handle the ever changing environment.

 

At Stillwater Clinic, our purpose is to provide the community with resources for your whole health. Visit us online at www.stillwaterhealingarts.com for more information and to schedule a visit today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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It’s 2016, and unless you live in Oregon, Washington or Vermont, your insurance based healthcare is NOT going to keep you well.

As much as I cringe at the analogy of our bodies being like cars, people inevitably think of themselves that way all the time.  The squeeky wheel gets ignored until it’s a screaming or debilitating pain.

We pay for car insurance and know it’s going to be there when we crash (after paying our deductible).  But, we don’t expect car insurance to wash our windows, vacuum the interior, change the tires, the oil, the belts or even cover our annual tune-ups to see how things might be deteriorating within.

Health insurance is not much different in most states.  It will help out with emergency room visits, and sometimes cover basic screenings for life-threatening illnesses (PAPs, prostate exams and mammograms for cancer, bone density screenings for osteoporosis, etc…)  And it usually covers an annual exam to check for hypertension, monitor growth and BMI and provide medications that treat the symptoms.

Unfortunately, our current medical model misses out on how to keep people healthy.  While pharmaceutical medications are necessary in many circumstances, supporting health naturally so we don’t need them or improving health while we’re on them so we only need them short-term is ideal.  It’s no fault of modern Doctors, its the larger systems emphasis on drugs and surgery as the only medicinal tools.

Most of the current drug safety information is based on short-term controlled trials and the harm of utilizing medications is always acknowledged in their litany of side effects.  As research continues, we learn of previously unknown harmful effects from long-term or combined medication use. 

Fortunately, humans have been living a very long time and we have an immense history of health and vitality to learn from traditions around the world.  Chinese medicine, Ayurveda, Native American medicine, Rudolf Steiner and Anthroposophical medicine, Western herbalism and the European Eclectic physicians are among my favorites.

With Naturopathic medicine, we are able to address the foundation of imbalances and improve our health over time from a truly integrated perspective.   It’s the journey of a lifetime, not a one stop shop!  With ancient systems, we learn what our bodies need, where are weaknesses are and how to improve ourselves day by day.  With modern science we get detailed information on changes and stats of organ function.  Naturopathic medicine is the most comprehensive medical training in holistic medical assessment from both perspectives.  For details on educational curriculum, check this comparison out:  Nat-Med-Ed-Comp-Curricula

At Stillwater, we want to support the community in their long-term health.  Trained as holistic primary care provider, naturopathic doctors work to not only address the current symptoms and diagnosis (working in conjunction with your other physicians, medications and insurance system) but to be your guide and ally in your health journey toward optimal vitality. We believe in making the best use of tools from all systems of healthcare and healing.  It’s 2016, shouldn’t we have it all?

At Stillwater Clinic, we have created a Membership program to provide people with an affordable addition to their routine healthcare costs.  Plans range from $35. per month to $300. depending upon the intensity of need for change.  These rates are significantly reduced from the fee’s of other medical specialists in our effort to make healthcare affordable and accessible to all.

Whether you’re passionate about maintaining the health you’ve got, you recognize your health is lacking by a sense of something’s not right or you have a serious diagnosis contact us to find out which package is right for you.

 

Stillwater Healing Arts 2016 membership plans include:

BASIC CARE – $35./month or $420./year ($580. value)

  • Annual integrative medicine health evaluation & treatment plan
  • 3 acute care appointments 
  • 6 spa visits (foot spa & sauna)

This package is intended for individuals who have good health, who wish to keep it that way with annual evaluations of what’s going on under the surface and some tune-ups along the way. For pediatric patients, spa visits can be utilized by parents!

INTERMEDIATE CARE – $65./month or $780./year ($1060. value)

  • Seasonal integrative medicine health evaluation & treatment plan
  • 3 acute care appointments
  • 6 spa visits (foot spa & sauna)

This package is intended for individuals who have mild symptoms and want to support the annual rhythm of their health with 4 quarterly Naturopathic and Chinese medicine evaluations and treatment plans. Ideal for individuals with low-grade or controlled health issues such as; allergies, headaches, intermittent digestive challenges, PMS, controlled autoimmune disease, cancer relapse prevention, and others.

TREATMENT FOCUSED PLAN – $140./month or $1680./year ($2360. value)

  • Annual integrative medicine health evaluation & treatment plan
  • Twice monthly treatment sessions (Acupuncture, Bodywork or Hydrotherapy)
  • Monthly spa visits with the foot spa and private sauna use.

This package is suited for individuals who may be in optimal health but utilize their bodies intensively and want to keep things tip-top, such as; athletes, performers, dancers, yoga instructors, builders, farmers and those who know the personal value of routine care. It also serves patients who have chronic health challenges that know what they need. For example, ADD/ADHD treatment, emotional health with 5-element acupuncture or chronic pain. This is also the package recommended for macular degeneration treatment.

COMPREHENSIVE HEALTHCARE PLAN – $175./month = $2100./year ($3060. value)

  • Monthly comprehensive integrative medicine appointments
  • Monthly spa visits – foot spa and private sauna use
  • 6 Additional acute illness or injury appointments

This package is suited towards individuals with uncontrolled health challenges who are in need of comprehensive evaluation and treatment. This commitment will be necessary for successful treatment of conditions such as; menopausal transition, adrenal fatigue, infertility, digestive disorders, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, obesity, heart disease, diabetes. This package serves as the foundation for natural cancer treatment support, chronic infectious disease treatment and chronic degenerative conditions such as Parkinsons, MS, auto-immune disease and dementia. However, more support may be necessary depending upon diagnosis and evaluation.

INTENSIVE TRANSFORMATION – $300./month = $3600./year ($5520. value)

  • Monthly comprehensive integrative medicine visit
  • Weekly treatment sessions (Acupuncture, Bodywork or Hydrotherapy)
  • Twice monthly spa visits – foot spa and private sauna use

This package is designed to help individuals who are ready to make dramatic changes to their health. Ideal for those with undiagnosed medical conditions, at a place of significant life change, extreme symptomology, chronic pain or addiction. This program serves as the foundation of our holistic mental health & addiction program as well as our weight loss program.

All Programs Include:

  • 20% discount on additional appointments.
  • Email and phone support with our holistic Doctor.
  • Annual Membership – automatic payment required with 12 month contract.
  • We can customize any plan to meet your needs, budget, family and employee packages.
  • Member discounts for special events, classes and other programs as well.

Schedule today and we’ll get the right package created for you!

Questions?  Feedback?  Curiosity?  I’d love to hear from you!

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The tides are changing, and so can your healthcare coverage!  The new legislation is creating ripples of changes across the country.  Some of these are improvements and others not so much.  However, the system is in flux and you as the consumer now have more of a voice than ever in asking for what you want from your insurance provider.

Listen to this interview on how you can have Naturopathic Doctors provide you with the most comprehensive, first line care for your health.  Before health issues become a crisis they can effectively be managed with natural medicine.  This elevates your baseline state of health and steers you away from chronic disease.  When health is in crisis, using tools from all systems of medicine can provide a gentler road to recovery.

https://soundcloud.com/pagatim/health-currents-radio-will

Naturopathic Doctors are the most thoroughly trained professionals in integrative medicine.  At the foundation of our education, we emphasize the individual’s need for life’s balance.  Considering the patients unique blend of genetics, dietary needs, life stressors and desires to create treatment programs to support the whole person.

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For more information, visit the following links:

American Association of Naturopathic Physicians:  http://www.naturopathic.org/

American Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine:  http://www.aaaomonline.org/

Find local help with the new insurance changes:  https://localhelp.healthcare.gov/

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There is a place in all of us that lights up when we are truly seen and heard. AND when we are completely loved for exactly who we are.

The fire of the heart glows steady and constant. Yet the doorway hinge can grow taught and defensive. When we are met by the warm welcome of our tribe, the expansiveness of our radiance knows no bounds.

To open to one’s heart fully is to know true freedom.

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tranquil balanceDo you ever feel confused about what your diet should be? Or wish to have alternatives to pharmaceutical medicine? Have you questioned the balance of vitamins and pharmaceuticals in your routine to wonder how what you do today might affect you long-term?

Information can be extremely confusing about health and it often can feel like every bit of information out there conflicts with something else. When it comes to navigating our own health choices, it can be exhausting to sort through the data to make a choice you can feel good about. Typically, we end up doing what we’ve always done out of a lack of understanding a better way.

  • 7 out of 10 deaths among Americans each year are from chronic diseases. Heart disease, cancer and stroke account for more than 50% of all deaths each year.
  • In 2005, 133 million Americans – almost 1 out of every 2 adults – had at least one chronic illness.
  • Obesity has become a major health concern. 1 in every 3 adults is obese and almost 1 in 5 youth between the ages of 6 and 19 is obese.
  • About one-fourth of people with chronic conditions have one or more daily activity limitations (Statistics from the US Center for Disease Control).

Despite the statistics, the majority of chronic illnesses are preventable. We can reduce our cancer risk by up to 60% by adopting diet and lifestyle habits appropriate to our personal needs. Chronic diseases have direct correlations to improper care of the body, nutritional deficiencies and inflammation.

Whether you’re already dealing with a chronic illness or trying to prevent one, there are some not-so-basic premises of health that can open up a world of better understanding.

Natural medicine philosophy rests not only upon what the latest scientific research discovers, but also on what traditional systems of healing have known for thousands of years about the human body. While our lifestyles and habits have changed considerably, our biological blueprint has not. Now, more than ever the guidance from those who knew how to live well, generation after generation, can help us.

At Stillwater Clinic, we offer a 16-week Holistic Health Immersion program, taking individuals on a journey through their own health exploration to equip them with foundational tools to last a lifetime. Program options include education only with our weekly classes (Monday nights) or a full package of healthcare services to accompany your exploration!

Week 1: The Spectrum of Healing. This introductory class includes a comprehensive look at the array of options in healthcare and how to get the most for your health.

Week 2-8: THRIVE! Natural Medicine Essentials is a 6-week series exploring simple ways to improve your health with things you may already have in your home! Drawing on traditions from around the world, discover healing opportunities through herbal medicine, homeopathy, breath-work, meditation, food as medicine, hydrotherapy and more.

Week 9-11: Understanding Life’s Phases: As we grow older we encounter new obstacles and opportunities. Recognizing the ways to best address the needs of each era is an important part of health.

Week 12-16: Holistic Anatomy: Take a journey into the self with this series explaining the dynamic relationship of the body, mind and spirit. Merging western physiology with Chinese medicine and more to form a comprehensive understanding of the bodies 12 organs and what they each need for balanced, optimal health.

Natural medicine and holistic healthcare provide resources not only for living well, but to move beyond crisis management and toward true healing of the body. When given the proper tools, we have the capacity to thrive. If you feel like you are limited in mind, body or the connection between the two, it’s time for a fresh start.

Next program begins September 1st, 2013. Space is limited so please register early. So far, our participants have accomplished remarkable transformations! Many have successfully and painlessly eliminated prescription medications from their daily routine. Over a dozen have made major career or relationship changes that they’ve wanted to do for years but hadn’t had the energy for. One participant expressed, “After a lifetime of studying natural medicine on my own, I’ve finally had the paradigm shift of understanding to truly make use of the tools.”

Our goal is to provide the community with the tools for optimal living and the education and information to know what to do with them. For more information, visit www.stillwaterhealingarts.com/immersion/.

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This winter’s program is well on it’s way to a deeply transformative experience for the participants. Now accepting applications for the spring session beginning in early April!

Join me in a journey of understanding the inner workings of your body from both a western medicine perspective and chinese medical analysis. Learn about the tools of natural medicine including herbal medicine, homeopathy, hydrotherapy and other aspects of self-care.

In my new clinic in Lyons, Colorado, we have a wide array of services available including full Naturopathic and Chinese medicine healthcare for any ailment, mental health counseling, massage therapy, infrared sauna and a full natural medicine pharmacy.

Please visit:
http://stillwaterhealingarts.com/apprenticeship-program/
for more information!

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