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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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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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We all know that person who can eat anything they want, anytime they want and in any portion they want and be just fine.  That maddening individual’s belly doesn’t seem phased by double dessert, carbo-loading or going back for seconds of just about anything.  In comparison to those with heartburn, bloating, cramping and other annoying symptom combinations, it just doesn’t seem fair.

“What’s their secret and how do we get it?“ we might find ourselves frustratingly wondering…  With the many steps involved in the digestive and metabolic systems, there are numerous things to work well for us, or not.  Here are a few…

Every traditional system of medicine has had some way of recognizing and describing how human bodies are similar and can be grouped accordingly.  Our individual “constitution” is both our physical tendency and our emotional way of being.  These systems overlap and tend to agree, with knowledge rooted in ancient traditions from around the world.

In ayurveda, the descriptions are a combination of vata, pitta and kapha.  In Chinese medicine it relates to the 5-elements in nature.  Homeopathy teaches about the miasms from common diseases that affected humanity.  The early Eclectic physicians and Anthroposophy describe the 4 predominant temperaments as a root of health and disease.  Whether you’re melancholic, phlegmatic, psoric, luetic, water type or vata, there are trends that we can come to expect. 

Our constitution isn’t unchangeable but it does benefit us to both understand it and to accept it.  Some bodies will always have a tendency for roundness and others dryness, thinness or frailness.  There are numerous combinations and each has different needs in order to deal with the world in the easiest possible way.  Understanding our constitution helps us to know what will weaken us and what will strengthen us.

Functionally, several systems in the body significantly influence our digestion and metabolism.  The nervous system has 2 predominant controls.  Sympathetic control is related to the “fight or flight” state of being and dominates when we are under stress.  Parasympathetic control regulates our cellular regeneration and is known as our “rest and digest” state of being.  Individuals who experience significant stressors early in life when these systems are sorting out their dominance will have an increased tendency for digestive and metabolic symptoms.  On the contrary, those who are easily able to relax and set aside time for meals will have fewer sensitivities and greater strength of their core organ systems. 

Enzymes are one of the main reasons we must be in a parasympathetic state in order to digest well, feel great and not be sensitive to variations in diet.  We only secrete enzymes when we’re in the “rest and digest” state.  As we age, we tend to lose our enzymatic function, especially if there is a lower than optimal body temperature.  With fewer enzymes comes greater food sensitivity, a weaker system and greater inflammation in the body overall.

The endocrine and immune systems are interconnected in the digestive system.  Adrenal function regulates our moment-by-moment experience of energy as well as our circadian rhythm.  When our adrenal function is taxed, either from illness or other life stressors, the weakening of this system affects the immune system.  In the gut there is a protective immune component known as secretory immune globulin A (SIgA).  When adrenal function is poor, SIgA lowers resulting in increased vulnerability to infection and immune confusion at our core.     

Our musculoskeletal system also plays a role in digestive function.  Individuals who are active, robust in their strength and limber will generally have greater ease in their digestive system.  However, over-doing it never benefits anything.  Excessive exercise can force us into greater sympathetic nerve function and tax our adrenal function resulting in a weakening of the organ systems. 

Optimal health necessitates the balance of effort and rest, awareness of our inherent strengths and weaknesses as well as acceptance for where we are in our life story.  The digestive system is the foundation for our health and our core deserves a great deal of attention.  If we don’t allow that, it tends to demand it over time!  For more information on tools to care for your health, join us at Stillwater for the DIY Healthcare series Monday nights at 7pm. 

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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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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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