Posts Tagged ‘digestive health’

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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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.


  • 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


  • 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


  • 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


  • 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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We have more mircro-organisms in our bodies than our own human cells.  This never ceases to amaze me!

As I move into my 2nd decade of working with patients, the importance of digestion on our overall health can not be overstated.  Many people who experience gas and bloating chalk it up to ‘beans the musical food’ and assume it’s commonality means normality.  What they don’t realize is that gas is the outcome of a festive event of creepy crawly yeast and bacteria who’s respiration results in our gas.  The more organisms are reproducing, the more gas we’ll experience.  The more gas we’re experiencing, the more inflammation and impaired nutrient assimilation we’ll experience.  The outcome of this can be any number of symptoms.  Some common experiences include:

  • migraine and tension headaches
  • acne and eczema
  • body pain including back & neck pain
  • mood dysregulation – irritability, depression
  • fatigue
  • abdominal pain
  • respiratory illness and frequent colds

Long term, organism overgrowth plays a part in many chronic diseases including; fibromyalgia, nutrient deficiencies, auto-immune diseases, cancers, atherosclerosis, chronic pain and many more.

Tending to our micro-flora is something that needs to be done on a routine basis.  In traditional cultures, organisms were consumed every day with produce fresh from the earth and foods preserved with culturing such as sauerkraut, kimchee and chutneys.

Today our foods are “cleaned” to the extend that their sterility impairs us.  Without a continuous source of microbes in our systems, we’re even more vulnerable to infectious organisms.  This in addition to our high sugar and processed food diets results in lots of organism parties, and lots of gas!

Adding beneficial microorganisms to the daily routine is the #1 most important thing you can do to create health in the digestive system as well as throughout the body.

May 22nd, Water Kefir Instruction and Distribution!

My all time favorite health routine is the brewing of water based kefir.  This amazing bubbly probiotic beverage is a great way to ensure adequate micro-flora as well as to address organism imbalance.

Join me at 5:30 for instructions and your own starter for a lifetime supply of digestive health.  I will have a variety of recipes to sample as well as information on why this is an essential addition to you and your families routine.

Stillwater Healing Arts Clinic, 304 Main St. Unit C, Lyons, CO 80540.

Call 303-823-9355 to register.  Space is limited, but this class will repeat when I have enough to share.Image

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Do you struggle with feeling supported by your daily routine?  Is there enough daily satisfaction from life?  Our habits become our routine and whether we like it or not, they become our identity.  Habits develop early in life and have deep connections to our sense of stability.  With cultivating awareness and supporting our physiology, profound changes are possible.

In addition to the emotional challenges of letting go of our beloved habits, there are many physical obstacles we must overcome in order to re-create our lives.  The body’s messengers that correlate to our emotional states are our neurotransmitters.  The most popular would likely be the neurotransmitter serotonin.  This is the component targeted the most by pharmaceutical approaches to treating depression and other mental health conditions

Serotonin is predominantly found and made in the digestive system (~90%).  It acts throughout the body on smooth muscles and has an effect of creating a calm and happy state on the nervous system.  Even in worms, serotonin is released as a signal in response to positive events such as finding a source of food.  Healthy serotonin levels are known to support healthy and efficient decision-making.  Serotonin is enhanced in positive, supportive social interactions and enhances a sense of well-being and cooperation.  Forming groups or sharing goals with friends is a great way to make use of this neurotransmitters function.

Dopamine is the other predominant neurotransmitter known for it’s associated with forming habits and initiating action. Dopamine acts as the brain’s reward system.  Levels of dopamine elevate in the brain when we have acquired something that we have sought out.  This is particularly true in cases where food-deprived people were shown images of food, or a drug addict who see’s their drug of desire.  Setting short term, accomplishable goals on the road to the long term changes we hope to create is one way to make use of this neurotransmitter.

During our lifetimes, dopamine assists our learning and memory development shaping our associations as positive or negative and wiring us to repeat the learned behaviors perceived as positive.  However, what we may accept as a positive behavior as a child or adolescent, we may later recognize as something that was in some way causing more harm than good.  Reaching for sweet treats and pastries may truly be a food addiction due to the surge of dopamine that was set in place in childhood when these treats were given as gestures of love.  Re-programming our dopamine enhanced memories and behaviors is a challenge that requires deep self-inquiry and attention.

Another agent that plays a role in our ability to make changes is the hormone cortisol.  The energy level we feel during the day usually correlates to our circulating cortisol levels.  This is known as our circadian rhythm.  This rhythm ideally should peak in the morning when we rise, lower slowly until midday, elevate again slightly and then fall in the evening.  When the circadian rhythm is normal we are able to accomplish what we desire in a day, have adequate energy for exercise and fall asleep easily at night.

Cortisol levels rise in response to stress.  When cortisol rises, the body’s response is to shift into energy conservation mode.  When we sustain long-term stress, cortisol levels can become exhausted and fall considerably.  In this state, anything that forces the cortisol to rise will ultimately lead to further exhaustion.  It is typical to have weight gain directly related to elevated cortisol.  Exercise typically raises cortisol levels so if it is too low to begin with, exercise may not be the right solution.  Adequately managing stress by utilizing relaxation techniques such as meditation, yoga, slow walks in nature as well as getting good sleep will all help restore normal cortisol levels.

Serotonin, dopamine and cortisol all play very big roles in our ability to create a healthy lifestyle for ourselves.  Depending upon our behaviors of the past, these messengers may exist as obstacles to creating the changes we desire.  Unfortunately we cannot simply take a pill to create long-term health with our neurotransmitter levels.  Learning what obstacles we may be dealing with as well as the many ways to support the production of these components of our health can make a world of difference.

Whether it’s weight loss, exercise, dietary changes or other ambitions, committing to a new routine and sticking to it is a big challenge.  For ongoing support, the practitioners at Stillwater are here to help.  Stay tuned for next month’s edition of the Biochemistry of Self-Sabotage with part 3: Becoming our Best.  For more information on how to improve your state of health, visit Dr. Sara Hart at Stillwater Healing Arts Clinic in Lyons.  Now offering a 12 week holistic weight loss program to support the mind and body to create the change you desire.

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The noise of a rumbling and grumbling belly can be quite a disconcerting experience.  Particularly when it’s awkwardly timed at a business meeting, a romantic moment or worse!  Was it something I ate?  Montezuma’s revenge?  Or is it normal?  These are all questions pondered while trying to pretend it’s really the dog’s belly that everyone is uncomfortably hearing.

Our bodies are made up of more microorganisms than our own human cells.  These microflora exist as symbiotic support to our organ systems or as pathology, depending upon the environment.  Just like the tree depends on microflora to accompany the minerals from the soil into the roots, the microflora in our bodies play an imperative role in our overall health.

When we are born, we establish our microflora from everything we contact.  The birth canal serves as our initial inoculation. The breast, the dust, and all the things that babies put into their mouths help form our internal terrain.  The content of this exposure has changed dramatically over the past 100 years, as we have modified our lives to be further removed from nature.  In the past, dirt from the earth would track into the house on our feet and settle on the floors where babies were crawling. Now, it’s petroleum products from the roads and sidewalks, or chemicals from the lawns. Rather than playing with wooden toys and natural fibers, children are often exposed to synthetic materials made up of innumerable chemical components that do little to benefit physiology…and often impair it.

The microflora in our bodies serve to protect us or to harm us.  The analogy of a tree in a forest can illustrate how the microflora either support our growth or support our degradation to make room for the next tree.  If we consider a forest that has become boggy, with less sunlight and more moisture, the flora will change to better fit this environment.  In this regard, any pathogen is also serving a role in physiology.

If a person accumulates toxins in her body, the candida species may become overgrown to bind the toxins and prevent them from circulating freely and causing damage.  When pathogenic bacterial colonies develop in the body, a fever may result, which will increase circulation and enhance gene transcription to make stronger cells.

How do we maintain health amongst our trillions of microbial companions?  Aside from being properly inoculated with beneficial and natural microbes in our early life, the microbial balance is something that can be supported with everyday living. Traditional cultures regularly consumed foods that were rich in microbes. Foods fresh from the earth were a consistent source of microbes. Preserving foods with pickling and fermentation methods enhances the beneficial microbes that are consumed. Eating foods that are made with starter cultures such as sourdough bread, yogurt, and kefir is another way of adding beneficial microbes to the body.

In our modern world, the produce from the grocery store and pasteurized foods limit the quantity and quality of microbes that we ingest.  This, in addition to the over-use of anti-microbial substances (such as soaps) can impair our microbial balance.  The imbalance can make us even more vulnerable to pathogenic microbes, and the deficit of “good” microflora weakens the defense mechanisms of our overall body.

Just as every gardener knows the soil must be tended to on a regular basis, every human should also know that our systems need regular support.  Eating the freshest, organic foods on a daily basis, and choosing natural materials for our homes and clothing whenever we can (especially with small children) are important first steps. Secondly, routinely consuming fermented foods, yogurt, and kefir can greatly support our health.  These steps provide an excellent, broad spectrum of microbes that each perform a variety of different functions in the body.

Supporting digestion with powdered or encapsulated probiotic material (microflora) has become commonplace to replace what is often lacking in modern diets. Lactobacillus acidophilus is one of many organisms found to exist as a predominantly “friendly bacteria” in our bodies, so this is supplemented to enhance microbial colonies. Research has demonstrated supplementation with probiotics can assist in healing the gut of a myriad of digestive diseases, support the immune system, reduce allergy symptoms, improve eczema, and so on. One study demonstrated antibiotics are actually more effective when used in conjunction with probiotics.

While probiotics can be miraculous for many, the constant or inappropriate use of them can cause problems, as well.  As always with health, an individualized approach is best. Regarding microbes, the entirety of the microbial environment must also be considered.  If the balance is already off, adding more of one thing to a system may result in an overgrowth of that particular organism.  If the body has too much dampness, too much heat, too much acidity, or any other element of imbalance, then there may be many more pieces to the puzzle of healing than just adding or removing a single piece.

Feel free to give me a call or an email if you have any questions, comments or are interested in further understanding and correcting a imbalance in your digestive system.

With warmest blessings,

Dr. Sara Hart

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