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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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Follow Your Heart

In celebration of the lovely month of February, we not only have the opportunity to express our love to those in our lives, view the beautiful creations depicting love in coffee shops, galleries and living rooms all around, but also emphasize the evaluation and support of heart health in the healthcare world.hearthands

More than just a pump, the heart is the electromagnetic center of the body, existing with the rhythm that drives our every moment and interaction.  Stop for a moment, feel alongside the neck below the jaw line or feel the thumb side of the wrist for the familiar beat of your pulse.  Take a minute to feel the rhythm within you and appreciate the good fortune that one beat continues to follow the next.

Influenced greatly by feelings, the heart acts as a regulator of the emotions and physical body.  Step into the room where you’re long lost ____ (insert here: lover, best-friend, sibling, pet, etc…) just happens to be sitting and you’re sure everyone is going to stare at you with astonishment of the loud bursting in your chest.  Participate in a deeply calming and relaxing experience and the rhythm becomes almost imperceptible.  Check out the latest horror flick in the theaters or just on the evening news and you may miss a phrase or two as the pounding in ears drowns out the details.

The heart is one of our most metabolically dense tissues of the body.  It requires constant energy production in order to perform its daily task of contracting and relaxing more than 100,000 times per day without stopping or tiring!  The heart must constantly adjust its force and pace in order to meet the ever-changing needs of the body in its environment.

Keys to heart health:

Live your passion – keep dreaming and pursuing the desires that speak to you as vital, worthwhile ventures in your life.  Connecting your daily life purpose with your passion is an important part of optimal health.

Express your emotions – explore the spectrum of emotion, to not be stuck in any one pattern but instead to freely move through all the various feelings life offers.  Learning to appropriately express anger, sadness, worry, fear and hatred allows us the opportunity to better know growth, inspiration, contentment, hope and joy.

Get what you need – learning to recognize what you truly need can be a lifelong process.  Finding the courage to ask for it is the next challenge!

Make your peace – set aside regular time in your life for any variety of practices that cultivate peace in your heart.  Find teachers to inspire you and help guide you through the onion-like layers of life’s challenges.

Magnesium – fuel your daily rhythm with adequate nutrients but especially magnesium.  This nutrient assists the proper muscle function of the heart and blood vessels.  Playing a crucial role in muscle relaxation, it is essential for the whole body.

Coenzyme Q10 – this nutrient is helpful for preventing the progression of heart disease by providing adequate energy to the cells of the heart.  Many pharmaceuticals create a deficiency in this nutrient.

Hawthorne berry – antioxidant rich, this herb can be used as a tea, tincture, capsule or a solid extract.  This herb has countless studies recognizing its benefit for cardiovascular health.  Safe for long-term use and delicious too.

Eat healthy fats – the health of the blood and blood vessels is influenced by the quality of fats that we ingest.  Most Americans can benefit from increasing the levels of Omega 3 fatty acids in their diets by eating more wild fish and less red meat, especially those animals raised on feed lots.  Some seeds are very high in omega 3 such as flax but others are extremely low like sunflower seeds.  Get familiar with your balance of healthy oils in your diet.

Live a non-toxic life – anything absorbed through the skin, lungs or digestive system can have a negative effect on heart health.  Choose non-toxic products for your food, cosmetics and environment.

According to Chinese medicine, the heart acts as the emperor of the kingdom of our bodies.  It does it’s best when every chore and task is tended to by the other components (organs) of the kingdom.  Then, the emperor is allowed to sit peacefully in its throne receiving the adoration of a proud and vital kingdom with no worries in the world.  The more peaceful we are within, the greater our outlook, happiness and contagious bliss that we share with our world.

Enjoy, live the life of your dreams and let nothing stop you from pursuing your joy!  ~ Dr. 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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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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Join me at Pharmaca on January 5th at 5pm for:

Sticking to it! Creating Health Routines that Last and the Biochemistry of Sabatage…

We all have the best intentions when it comes to caring for ourselves and yet so easily we get in our own way, sabotage ourselves and create our own demise. Why is this? Year after year we make a resolution and so few of us actually stick to it (less than 12% statistically!). I’d like to share with you an understanding of brain and organ function from the Naturopathic and Anthroposophical context as well as some tools to help overcome the odds. Let’s get this year off to a great start and keep it there!

2700 Broadway, Boulder, CO

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Whether you are a new Mom, a Mom to be or a healthcare professional hoping to offer new tools to support Moms and families, I invite you to join me for an informative and explorative group.

We will explore different aspects of life and the human body that are challenged during the amazing process of childbirth and explore ways to support them.

The adrenal glands – how to naturally restore the body and support baby’s growth
The heart connection – allowing the love to flourish and maintaining openness
The digestive system – nourishment for the whole family, meeting many needs
The nervous system – establishing routine to create a peaceful, happy environment

When: This class will take place on Friday 12/9 from 12pm to 3pm
Location: Mandala Integrative Medicine Clinic,  2516 Broadway Street, Boulder, CO
Cost: Sliding scale $30-60. pay what you can afford.

For information and to register, please contact Dr. Hart by;
phone: 303-351-1152
email: dr.sarahart@gmail.com
visit: http://www.harthealingarts.com
schedule: www.schedulicity.com

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Every phase of life has its joys and its challenges.  As we grow through childhood, adolescents and into adulthood, our needs change quicker than our shoe size.  Throughout adulthood, the phases may seem less obvious, but the necessity of acknowledgement may come through dramatic symptoms, perilous struggle or the subtle recognition that something is now different that it once was.

As we grow and change, the mysteries of the body and life often present themselves with new sensations and challenges.  While it is appropriate to do our best with diet, exercise and maintaining a healthy routine, what has worked for one era of our lives may not be the best for the next.

Supporting health means recognizing the needs of each phase of life and making appropriate changes to tend to them all.  Many of our modern traditions of diet, socializing, and leisure activities include things that ultimately form obstacles to our overall health.  Without insight into the effects of our daily routine on our health, we are likely paving the way for becoming part of the statistics on health in the US.  With the majority of the population developing cancer, heart disease and autoimmune disease, it is not likely that we can do what we’ve always done and expect a better outcome.

The model of holistic care works to understand the subtleties of health.  Observing the details of life’s progression, our individual changes are significantly important.  Some symptoms that arise may seem like minor inconveniences but may truly be an indicator of a deeper imbalance. Recognition of these changes can allow us to work toward correction before overt disease has a chance to develop.  Additionally, working as primary care for chronic disease, cancer, autoimmune conditions, etc… holistic medicine can ensure that the right balance of nutrients and eliminatory support is happening with the pharmacological interventions to ensure the best possible outcome.

Relying on the science of western medicine, the wisdom of ancient traditions as well as the insight of listening to each patient’s individual story, Naturopathic Doctors are well-equipped holistic primary care physicians.  Beginning with the most simple changes in lifestyle and then implementing natural medicine secondarily, relying on allopathic medicine lastly, we are often able to shift physiology back to it’s optimal function without the need for drugs or surgery.  However, when this is the case, we are able to assess the labwork, order prescriptions or make the appropriate referrals as needed.

For more information about Naturopathic Doctors, visit the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians at www.naturopathic.org.  For all of your primary care needs from annual physical exams to treating colds, flus, allergies as well as serious illness, come visit us at Kwan Yin Healing Arts.

As a Naturopathic Doctor, licensed Acupuncturist and licensed massage therapist, I work to support optimizing individual health through exploring the overt and subtle issues of each person I treat.  I utilize bodywork and guided imagery for stress and pain management; prescription therapy of nutrients, herbs, drugs and intravenous therapy to change physiology; and rely upon homeopathy and acupuncture to balance the energetic aspect of each unique individual.  I greatly appreciate each opportunity to witness an individual’s health progression unfold and look forward to assisting your journey.  For more information or for a free 15 minute consultation, contact myself at sararynhart@yahoo.com or schedule with me at Kwan Yin Healing Arts.

Dr. Sara Hart

ND, MSOM, LAc, LMT

More information available at:  http://www.kwanyinhealingarts.com/pactitioners/dr-sara-hart-nd-lac-lmt

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