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Detoxification is commonly thought of as a tool for drug addicts and alcoholics.  The nausea, pain and discomfort of acute detox is incredibly intense and can be a medical emergency, yet the essence of detoxifying reaches far beyond this picture.  In fact, it’s happening in your belly right now.  You’re detoxifying substances from everything you have eaten, drank, absorbed and inhaled from the recent past.

To detoxify is simply the process that occurs in the liver constantly, when substances are broken down and built-up in order to be eliminated from the body.  It is an essential part of our health in every moment.

Toxins in Our World

Bis-phenol A, heroine, phthalates, sodium laurel sulfate, alcohol, benzene, high fructose corn syrup and more are all routinely consumed toxins in any random American’s experience.  Recently, in Mayflower, Arkansas a pipeline carrying tar sands oil ruptured and spilled into the waterways.  This unintentionally exposed the town’s population of 2,000 people to at least 7 known toxins.

Meanwhile, many people are consciously ingesting illegal substances into their bodies routinely.  Plus those ingesting legal intoxicants, smoke-breaks, happy hours, drive-thru’s and much more.  Toxic exposure is happening to all of us, everyday whether consciously, or unconsciously.  This can create problems for the body on every level.

A toxin may be a normal product of cellular metabolism, a intermediary step in a pathway of something non-toxic being processed in the body, or something overtly damaging to the body from start to finish.  Whatever the method of origin, a toxin in the body disrupts normal organ function and causes cellular damage.  Fortunately, our bodies are well equipped for this process, when we are in an optimal state of health and when our exposure is reasonable.

However, our modern world is filled with substances that require nearly constant work to address.  Many are difficult for the body to process and are known as bio-accumulative, staying with us our entire lives.  Driving down the road, drinking tap water, cleaning house, cooking a meal: all of these simple daily activities can overwhelm our system with toxic substances over time, depending on our choices.

Toxicity and Our Health

The outcome of toxic exposures in the body are many.  Cellular damage leads to poor organ function which can lead to poor metabolism, fatigue, body aches, mind-fog, obesity, hormonal disturbances, auto-immunity, cancer, and the myriad of unexplained symptomatic patterns.  Toxic accumulation can play a role in every type of disease.  Generally, the symptoms develop slowly, over time and may be considered normal aging at first.

Enhancing normal detoxification in the body is something that can be achieved through numerous simple, daily life activities.  Based on the personal experience and individual imbalance, a formulation of specific tools can make a world of difference.  In general, detoxification practices should involve taking fewer substances into the body and encouraging normal elimination through the bowels, breath, skin and urine.

Adapting a toxin free lifestyle is an important step.  This may be unreasonable for some, especially when addiction stands in the way.  In today’s world with our current stress-level, global challenges and chemical exposures, it is important to fit tools into your daily routine that support detoxification.

Traditional Detox Tools Include:

–       Dry Skin Brushing: from Ayurvedic medicine,  brushing the skin with a course bristle brush from the tips of the extremities toward the heart daily supports longevity.  Aiding lymphatic circulation, toxins are circulated in order to be better eliminated.

–       Castor Oil Packs: popularized by Edgar Cayce, this routine abdominal self-massage is a fantastic way to aid digestion and liver health.

–       Contrast Hydrotherapy: many of the early European Eclectic Physicians devoted their careers to exploring the benefits of hot & cold therapies on the skin surface.  As an everyday tonic, alternating the heat of the shower with a brief burst of cold invirgorates vitality.

–       Sauna Therapy: inducing a high-temperature fever like state in the body through sauna’s is a tradition from cultures around the globe.  Ideal use includes the contrasting cold of a shower, cold-plunge or roll in the snow to draw the vital heat back into the body.

–       Fasting: reducing and altering dietary intake is a common thread through many traditions of medicine.  In addition to the rest it allows the body for spiritual pursuit, it also gives the body a great opportunity to detoxify.

At Stillwater, we offer tools for supporting longevity through detoxification.  Whether you’re facing addiction or illness we are here for you.  Our infrared sauna is the most efficient and most gentle tool for aiding the bodies release.  Addiction expert and therapist James Hart counsels people on making change.  Our Natural Living Store carries all the tools you need and as a Naturopathic Doctor, I have worked in both in-patient and out-patient detox programs and supported people on the journey to optimal health for over 10 years.

For optimal health, join us seasonally for a thorough approach to dietary cleansing and detoxification with professional support.  3-day, 7-day or 3-week options available!  For more information visit www. http://stillwaterhealingarts.com/seasonal-cleanse/.  Programs are based upon your unique needs, body-burdens, vitality and schedule.  Schedule your pre-cleanse consult 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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This article was published in the Lyons Recorder newspaper in response to the massive floods that destroyed the town in the fall of 2013…

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First there was the flood, then there were the decisions every person made to survive.  For most people, these were very different decisions than those made weeks and even days prior.  Instead of, “What should we have for dinner tonight,” it became “What is going to go bad the quickest that we need to eat first,” or “Where will I get my next meal?”

With the community bonding together, spirits were high, perhaps even manic.  The initial trauma of a natural disaster or other tragedy sends neurotransmitters and stress hormones sky-rocketing.  The experience becomes almost euphoric and provides the much needed additional resources (mentally, emotionally and physically) to sustain.

One by one the utilities went out, everyone was asked to leave.  Everyone experienced hardship of one kind or another; abruptly relocating to new homes, learning a new way to live and creating new routines.  The crisis continued to require everyone to rise to an unanticipated challenge and endure.

Then, the holidays came.  The season of joy, full of traditions deeply engrained and expectations to fulfill.  While some residents had returned to their homes, others were far from it and the switch to now celebrating holidays required a whole new energy burst to come through.  For some this was a relief, reconnecting with loved one’s and returning to faith.  However, the inevitable indulgences built into the holiday traditions flood the body with stimulating substances more likely to cause irritation than restoration.

For many residents of Lyons and the surrounding community, life has now settled into a new normal.  The stress is still elevated but it’s become routine and the expectation to tend to it all continues.  Despite the river’s worth of work to be done to restore this community, there is only so much anyone can do and eventually, something’s got to give.

Routine self-care is essential to maintaining health and longevity.  During times of life’s ease, simply sleeping 7-8 hours each night and maintaining a healthy diet and exercise routine can be adequat.  However, when faced with 5 months or more of unfathomable challenges, the body, mind and spirit are going to need a lot more care in order to maintain.

The normal, healthy balance of life is integrally related to the cortisol or circadian rhythm of the body.  In the morning, cortisol levels peak as we rise naturally to meet our day’s activity.  This cortisol peak works intimately with all the other neurotransmitters of the brain supporting the ability to think, learn, remember and feel good!  The normal cortisol rhythm naturally drops through the day, elevates slightly after our midday meal and descends gently into the evening.

Cortisol also shares a very close relationship with our reproductive hormones and thyroid gland influencing all aspects of metabolism.  When we experience stress, the body adjusts by elevating cortisol in order to respond.  However, this is meant to be a brief change, not something that continues long term.  With stress, eventually cortisol levels drop, unable to rise to meet the challenge of the day and overall metabolism begins to fail.

Symptoms of chronic stress include:

  • Weight Gain
  • Insomnia (difficulty falling asleep or maintaining sleep)
  • Poor digestion & nutrient assimilation
  • Memory loss
  • Decreased immune function – more frequent colds or increasing allergies
  • Fatigue
  • Increased inflammation
  • Anxiety & Depression
  • Slower reflex time, poor balance and clumsiness
  • Irrational behavior
  • Progression of chronic disease

Managing stress is one of the biggest challenges to health in our modern lives.  As a very intellectually oriented society, the needs of the body are easy to overlook.  We compensate with any of the readily available stimulants and press on through our days.  Eventually this inevitably catches up with us.

We’re not going to be able to avoid the stress in our lives, especially in Lyons.  But, we can counteract the challenges with stress-relieving tools.  Learning to care for our energy resevoir through lifestyle changes when we are under stress is key.  Using direct acting nervous system support is invaluable.

At Stillwater Healing Arts Clinic we have a wide array of tools both to assess and care for long lasting health.  Taking from traditions around the world, we utilize the best that medicine has to offer in conjunction with standard medical care.  We are now offering a unique opportunity for routine, affordable healthcare with our greatly reduced rates bundled in our Membership Program.  Please visit www.stillwaterhealingarts.com to learn more today!

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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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Recently, supermarket giant Costco recalled a mixed berry product due to known contamination of Hepatitis A. This outbreak is affecting individuals all across the country from the 333,000 bags of frozen berries sold.

The illness:
Hepatitis A is a common form of food poisoning around the world. Symptoms range from an undetectable illness, to severe acute liver disease. However, the majority of individuals will experience a normal immune response with chills and fever, body aches, nausea and fatigue. Most individuals are 100% improved within 6 weeks.

If you are within 2 weeks of the exposure the CDC recommends you receive the Hepatitis A vaccine.  However, the vaccine contains ingredients that may be harmful to your health.

Natural Medicine Support:

Minimizing the infection and supporting the natural immune system is possible with a variety of natural options.

Nutrition:

  • Lean protein, high vegetable, high fiber diet
  • Dandelion greens, burdock root, mustard greens, black radish, apples and saffron, watercress, beets, parsley, artichokes, cherries, grapefruit, parsnips, endive, garlic, onion, chicory, carob, horseradish, kumquats, limes, quinces, grapes, wheat germ, lecithin, mushrooms

Remedies:

  • Dandelion root tea – 1 quart/day
  • Tincture: goldenseal, oregon grape root, and chelidonium – 15 drops 3 times per day
  • Castor Oil abdominal massage in upper right quadrant with hot water bottle, rest for 30-60 minutes daily
  • Lemon juice mixed with water, upon rising in the morning 30 minutes before eating

Avoid:

  • Saturated fats, trans-FAs, hydrogenated oils (margarine, vegetable shortening, imitation butter spreads, most commercial peanut butters, oxidized fats [deep fried foods, fast foods, ghee, BBQ meats])
  • Hot sauces, spicy, fried, fatty, rich and/or salty foods
  • Alcohol, coffee, caffeine

Supplements:

  • Fiber Flow: charcoal, fiber + liver support herbs
  • Vitamin B-12 and folic acid or MTHF 1mg if applicable
  • Vitamin C (1000mg daily)

At Stillwater, our natural living store provides the highest quality herbs and supplements.  We offer organic, GMO and contaminant free medicinals.

If you think you or your child have been exposed, please schedule an acute illness appointment for individual treatment options and confirmatory testing with myself or another trusted healthcare provider.

Yours In Health,

Dr. Sara Hart

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  1. Our Inner Ecosystem – IBS, SIBO, Parasites & Allies
  2. Feeding Ourselves Right
  3. Absorption – Getting the Most of Our Nourishment
  4. Core Strength In & Out

Gnawing, aching, distended, pleasantly full or completely quiet, our digestive system is always working on something and can provide us with constant feedback on the state of our foundation of health.  Increasing awareness of our core health will assist our connection to knowing what makes us challenged and what makes us thrive!

Our inner world is as complex and diverse as our outer world.  When it comes to our microbial world, we have more micro-organisms in our bodies than our own human cells!  For anyone who has examined micro-biology or the world even smaller still of nanobiology, we can see that there are countless organisms that facilitate nearly every aspect of our biological activity.  We have lots of critters to thank for our ability to exist at all.

While microflora cover every surface of the body, there are high numbers of them in the digestive system and this is where they assist or harm our health the most.  Bacteria in the mouth starts the journey into the body.  Imbalances here are known to relate to cardiovascular disease.  The esophagus has bacteria and yeast all throughout the mucosa and assists or impairs the transit down into the stomach.  In the stomach, high levels of hydrochloric acid make this an inhospitable environment for critters.  Yet, many people suffer from H. pylori infection and other stomach imbalances that result from inadequate acid in the body.

The small intestine should have very small populations of bacteria as it normally “cleans” itself out every day with dramatic peristaltic movements.  Problems here are often due to small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), which impairs our nutrient absorption.  The large intestine is the domain where organisms of all shapes and sizes thrive.  They assist the final breakdown of our foods, manufacture our vitamins and when living in a symbiotic balance will protect us from disease.  Imbalances here result in gas and bloating as well as the condition known as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) that can severely impair a person’s health.

Although not directly connected, the uterus and bladder are subject to the same microflora of the digestive tract.  Overgrowth in these departments can result in infection, pain, discharge and frequent urination.  When treating disorders in the urinary tract and reproductive organs, we must also look to the flora of the intestines to assure we’ve addressed the root of the issue.

The balance of the microbial world is a key to optimal health.  Classical Chinese medicine utilizes the dynamics of the natural world to help understand the relationships within our bodies.  For example, an area of the forest that has accumulated excess moisture without consistent circulation or movement will rapidly become a swamp.  This climate is an ideal area for billions of microbes and other organisms to flourish.  The increase in organisms can be considered nature’s way of bringing in movement as the organisms can make use of the moisture for their growth, continuing to transform the environment and maintain life.  And in opposition, a region that is sun-baked, with minimal plant life or moisture will be a place that is not conducive to a broad array of beings and will only support few, well adapted creatures.

Many traditional systems of medicine consider the same micro-climates existing in the human body.  Chinese medicine, ayurvedic medicine, biological medicine, the old European eclectic physicians and the system of homeopathy all take into consideration what the internal “terrain” or ecosystem of the body looks like to understand how to help shift a person’s state of health.

While many organisms can exist with humans and serve us well, there are certainly others that only do us harm.  So why is it that some individuals are susceptible to disease from organisms and others are not?  The key here resides in the very notion of the internal ecosystem.   We have 12 dominant organs in our bodies that each play their role in maintaining our health and each of these must be operating up to par in order for the balance to exist.

A thorough analysis of our inner environment is an important part of understanding the core of any digestive imbalances.  When we exist in a state of balance with our inner flora, the outer world feels better too.  Nourish your body with proper nutrition, get the most from your food by supporting optimal absorption and keep the core strong to support your optimal health.

Stay tuned for more information on digestive health with my articles every other week!  For personal support through your health challenges whether acute or long-term, please contact me at Stillwater Healing Arts Clinic.

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One moment you’re sitting in a meeting having a conversation with a colleague and you’re able to present yourself as a professional, intelligent person. Before you can blink, your mind turns to jello, you can’t remember the last word you said nor the poignant message you were trying to convey, your body temperature seems to be going through the roof and you’re sweating profusely. As if this weren’t enough, ankle pain from an injury 20 years ago has come back with a vengeance, you’re waking six times a night, gaining weight and feeling completely unhinged.

This experience in many variations is increasingly common today as women move through the menopausal transition with a laundry list of complaints. “What is happening to me?” is the phrase repeated again and again in Doctor’s offices by the 50 something female crowd (or much younger with surgical menopause). Menopause is traditionally known simply as the cessation of the menstrual cycle. Yet for the majority of women, the transition can be extremely uncomfortable and result in a myriad of symptoms.

When a female is born, she has as many eggs in her ovaries that she will ever have. By the time she reaches puberty, less than half of the eggs remain. Menopause is the experience of the ovaries releasing their last eggs and the hormone cascade that is associated with this process. The most dramatic hormonal change is the decline in estrogen and treatment is often directed here. This is just one aspect of menopause and while it seems to “cause” the symptoms, the root goes much deeper.

While western science has drawn the association to estrogen decline, there still is not a concrete explanation in biochemistry as to why the symptoms result as they do. A close look into immunology illustrates one relationship that impacts multiple systems recognizing inflammation as the root of the imbalance.

Estrogen has a unique relationship with the immune system. Interleuken 8 (IL-8) is a chemical messenger in the body that interacts with white blood cells and is an important mediator for the body’s expression of inflammation. Estrogen potentiates IL-8 and these two aspects of the human body act as a blockade to the expression of the inflammatory cascade. It’s as if a damn were in place to prevent inflammation from being experienced. When estrogen begins to decline in peri-menopause, the dynamics of IL-8 on the immune system changes. Essentially, the damn breaks and the backlog of inflammation that the body has been living with is now experienced.

Chinese medicine has another take on menopause. Physiology is a continuous balancing act of yin and yang energies and while this is a theme for the whole of the system, we can also look at each part of the system and see the balance portrayed separately as well. Chinese medicine recognizes a myriad of different patterns possible during menopause, each accounting in detail for the symptoms that manifest.

A common pattern of imbalance during menopause is known as yin deficiency. The yin energy acts as the container and is restored through sleep, meditation and peaceful living. This container needs to be strong enough in order to contain the active yang energy. When we live high stress lifestyles, compromise sleep and self-care, yin deficiency is a common result. Menopause is a particularly delicate time because we come to exhaust the reproductive energy, which serves as a sort of storehouse of energy for the body’s activity. If a woman goes into this phase with a degree of yin deficiency, she is likely to experience the full gamut of symptoms.

The menopause transition presents a new challenge to the body with the limitation of tolerance to inflammation that was otherwise easily ignored as well as the disruption in equilibrium of yin and yang. It is a time when the body demands to be better cared for and the results of improper lifestyle more dramatically present. The path of greatest ease through this time often requires very conscious consideration of what a person truly needs and a close examination of how energy is expended.

Shift gears gently through menopause with natural medicine support. While hormone therapies can provide symptomatic relief, they are not solving the underlying problems that are causing the symptoms and long term use can be detrimental. Stay tuned for specific information on the collection of symptoms common during menopause with 3 more upcoming articles, every other week. For individual support, please visit Dr. Hart at Stillwater Clinic in Lyons.

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