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Part 1: Finding the Balance

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With daily topics like global warming, political strife and natural disasters it takes a serious effort for anyone to find peace and inner quiet today. For young people who have grown up in the era of media and technology infiltrating many aspects of their lives, anxiety is commonly an everyday feeling.

Historically, I worked with teens and young adults for issues like acne, headaches, growing pains, hormone balance and eating disorders. Today, every single teen and young adult I know complains of anxiety as a primary challenge. Often with this comes the classic swing of the pendulum of struggling with depression as well.   According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 25% of teens have diagnosable anxiety disorders. This is a significant increase from previous generations and does not include low grade anxiety or social anxiety, which are even more common.

What ever happened to carefree childhoods and wanting to stay forever young? Nowadays it seems the urgency to grow up to better cope with the apocalyptic dilemma’s that circulate everyday life robs our youth of the freedom to explore their hearts desire and contributes to an all too common emotional instability.

It is not all external factors either. The more we learn about brain development and neurological balance, the more we recognize increasing challenges with the pathways in our brain that reduce neurological stimulation. There are numerous substances we consume or are exposed to that provoke brain excitability that can cause an anxious feeling to linger a lot longer than it should. Some people being far more vulnerable to these than others.

Now more than ever, we all need help finding ways to access our peaceful, joyous selves. We need something that will bring us out of the flurry of worries, fears and anticipations and into a calm present moment. Tools we can use for momentary stressful events that provoke anxiety as well as routines we can establish in our lives to cultivate our happiness.

Integrative medicine provides a unique lens to address mental health concerns. Utilizing tools from standard, allopathic healthcare in addition to traditional systems from around the world offering a diverse approach to balance health. The first goal of understanding the symptom is to identify the cause. This is the key to providing immediate relief and long term changes. Both physical exam diagnostic tools and lab testing can help reveal which organs of the body may be experiencing distress to contribute to feelings of uneasiness. For young people this is especially important so that interventions are supporting the long term health as the body grows.

Stay tuned as this 4 part series addresses youth anxiety and is intended to provide a resource for the community to discover new ways to find a peaceful center while moving through the chaos of the modern world.

If you or someone you love are struggling with anxiety and/or depression, get help today with integrative medicine. At Stillwater, we encourage the combination of psychotherapy and natural medicine tools as well as collaboration with western medical providers for pharmaceutical support as needed. Our goal is to make use of the best of all systems of healing to get patients the balanced care they need for today, as well as for a healthier future.

 

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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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Keeping our bodies strong and able to adapt to the changing tides of viral mutation is ultimately the best we can do to prevent colds and flus in the winter.  Additionally, restoring oneself in the cold, dark season will prepare us for a healthier spring and summer to come.

Simple steps include:
-Maintaining optimal nutrition with a whole foods diet and vitamin supplementation.  Avoid cold and raw foods in the wintertime to maintain the body’s internal warmth.  Ginger tea can be especially helpful to keep digestion strong.
-Get regular exercise.  The best detoxification is warming the body through exercise.
-Rest whenever your body requires it.  Sleep extra hours whenever you’re starting to feel run down.  Indulge in napping to aid restoration.
-Explore home remedies for immune support.  Citrus fruits are high in vitamin C.  Lemon water daily can aid detoxification.  Ending showers with cold water helps preserve and restore energy, etc…
-Work with a Naturopath and/or Chinese Medicine practitioner to support your organ systems to ensure optimal function.

Winter Immune Boost  Stew

Support yourself this winter with warm soups filled with immune boosting herbs and spices.

1 lb. cubed lamb meat
2 cups shitake mushrooms
2 cups barley or quinoa
1 cup chopped scallions
3 cloves chopped garlic
1-2 Tbsp. grated fresh ginger
6 cups filtered water
Salt and pepper to taste.

Brown meat on a skillet.  Saute scallions and garlic.  Add all ingredients
together, boil, then simmer for 90 min.
Enjoy often!

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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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Sometimes life unravels itself and everything you once knew to be true, changes. Your daily routine, the place you call home or the people you spend time with. Loss takes many forms and when we lose someone or something we love, we have to find a new way of life.

Adapting to Colorado’s flood last year has been a major life transition for so many along the front range. For some it is the biggest trauma of their lives. A sudden traumatic change often requires everything to change. The way we plan out our day, or do things automatically all of a sudden doesn’t work anymore.

Losing a child, partner, friend or parent changes us in our core. Our reflexive nature to tend to a loved one or reach out is altered. The daily routine has a major missing piece, without which we often don’t know what to do. As the needs of life continue to go on, we begin to plug away at the tasks at hand and feel an unsettled-ness continue. The process of grieving takes time, attention and then more time. As we resume life after a major event, there’s no wrong way to feel.

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Anytime you are going through a loss or life transition, support is necessary. Having someone to share the process with or just reflect. As well as supporting ones-self with a positive routine, using tools to help the journey continue to move along. Health is defined as being able to move freely through the entirety of the emotional spectrum, and then return to the peaceful center. There are a million ways to help do that.

Coming soon in your local area, Finding Home, a women’s self-care retreat is being offered to support those in need. Founded by Boulder practitioner Carolyn Flyer to give women the tools they need to more authentically move through grief and loss. And restoring women’s internal voice that supports their ability to nourish and say yes to themselves.

Beyond the acute care of grief, this program is designed to support the long-term assimilation of life’s changes. With the combination of Naturopathic care, emotional healing techniques and wisdom from Chinese medicine, Carolyn and I are working together to create a wonderful healing retreat.

This retreat will offer tools to restore the inner voice that guides us toward meeting our own needs. We will explore the emotions that accompany loss, not the story that keeps us from feeling it authentically. The program incorporates acupuncture, herbal medicine, nutrition, qigong, meditation & intuitive readings. All of this and more will make up your weekend with myself and my co-facilitator, Carolyn.

In 2001 Carolyn began working with ‘There With Care,’ a Boulder based support program for children and families facing critical illnesses. She continued to expand her work in grief support and is now a facilitator for the “Grief Support Network” in Boulder. The group allows people to bring their grief to a supportive environment in Boulder. They also bring phenomenal speakers to the Adi Shakti Kundalini Yoga Center on Sundays from 3-5pm.

Our upcoming retreat is August 22-24 in beautiful Fraser, Colorado. For information on registration, please call 303-928-9134 or email CarolynFlyer@hotmail.com. Financial support packages available to support any woman who feels in need of this program.

Dr. Sara Hart is the owner of Stillwater Healing Arts in Lyons, Colorado next door to the Dentist and Lyons Fitness. At Stillwater, we offer holistic family healthcare for all ages and stages of health. We incorporate tools from many traditions to find the best balance to support people in their optimal health as well as for treating disease. Visit us online at www.stillwaterhealingarts.com, call us at 303-823-9355 or email stillwaterclinic@gmail.com.

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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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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.

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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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