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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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It’s fine to feel the pores open and the moisture build up on the skin surface.  When pounding the pavement for that last 100 yards of a day’s run, or pushing yourself biking uphill on the way back from Boulder (or any other hilly ride)…  Hot flashes are completely different, and feel like a completely inappropriate bodily response.  Like when you’re in the grocery store and the person scanning your groceries notices you’re dripping onto your food as you transport them from the cart to the conveyor belt.  Coupled with the panic of needing to get out of that place it’s pretty much a disaster.

Hot flashes exist as a conglomerate of symptoms with a varied degree of intensity.  They’re most common presentation is a sudden feeling of uprising heat and sweating.  They can be accompanied by headaches, weakness, dizziness, shakiness, nausea, irritability and can even be as extreme to include fainting or a feeling of suffocation.

Hot flashes affect about three fourths of women and usually begin before periods stop. Most women have hot flashes for more than 1 year, and up to one half of women have them for more than 5 years. What causes hot flashes is unknown. They may be related to fluctuations in hormone levels and may be triggered by cigarette smoking, hot beverages, certain foods, alcohol, and possibly caffeine. During a hot flash, blood vessels near the skin surface widen (dilate). As a result, blood flow increases, causing the skin, especially on the head and neck, to become red and warm (flushed). Women feel warm or hot, and perspiration may be profuse. Hot flashes are sometimes called hot flushes because of this warming effect. A hot flash lasts from 30 seconds to 5 minutes and may be followed by chills. Night sweats are hot flashes that occur at night.  From the Merck Manual.

While there is no way to retain the hormonal balance of your younger self, there are things that can be done to assist the ease of the transition.  Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) has been the gold standard for treating the discomforts of menopause for many years.  However, long term studies observing the use of estrogen and progesterone therapies either alone or in combination offer significant concern over the increased risk of cancers, cardiovascular diseases, strokes and cognitive impairment.  While some women are at higher risk of these diseases already, the use of exogenous hormones only makes the statistics worse.  Like all pharmaceutical medications, HRT (even bio-identical) is best used for as short a time as possible to ameliorate the most difficult time while getting the system cooled off and balanced to no longer need it.

The first step involves recognizing the individual triggers to help mitigate the frequency and the intensity of hot flashes.  Some of the most common triggers are:

Alcohol      Caffeine    Some medication      Spicy food      Cigarettes       Heat      Stress      Food sensitivities      Tight clothing

While not all of these may cause hot flashes for every woman, they are important aspects to explore as they may significantly be causing more harm than good for your body.  Alcohol, caffeine, cigarettes and stress will be beneficial to avoid for long-term health and significantly increase the body’s inflammatory load.

Improving the body’s physiology assists the gradual adjustment in hormones to a new normal.  The organs most likely to contribute to hot flashes during menopause include the liver, spleen, heart and adrenals.

–       The Liver:  Supporting detoxification is imperative in our modern world.  Daily consumption of leafy green vegetables, turmeric and beets are all beneficial, particularly to phase 2 detoxification which is the process of eliminating toxins from the body.  When stressed, the liver easily becomes stagnant and will manifest uprising symptoms and agitation.

–       The Spleen:  Responsible for building the blood, the spleen correlates to the quality of our nutrition.  When nutrient density is adequate, the body has all the building blocks necessary to undergo the day’s work and provides a firm foundation.  When deficient, the body is easily affected by changes and has difficulty returning to a state of balance.  Allowing adequate time for digestion, assisting the digestive process when weak with enzymes or bitters and choosing the highest quality food that is appropriate for your body will all benefit the richness of the blood.

–       The Heart:  Connection to life’s passion and existing with compassion are keys to a healthy heart.  When the heart is vital there is a rooted-ness in the body that allows for grace through transitions as a whole.

At seven times seven a woman’s heavenly dew wanes; the pulse of her Conception channel decreases. The Qi that dwelt in the baby’s palace moves upward into her heart, and her wisdom is deepened, The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine, a 2,000 year old Chinese text.

If the heart qi is deficient upon entering peri-menopause there may be significant struggle to realign one’s self with the values that ultimately strengthen the heart.  Nutrient wise, omega-3 fatty acids are important to reduce inflammation throughout the body and especially the heart.  High quality, toxin free oils are essential and can be dosed from 2-4 grams per day.

–       The Adrenals:  The “battery” that powers our daily activity is affected significantly by the level of stress we consider normal.  When we push ourselves to do too much, we exhaust this system in our bodies.  Symptomatically, heat expressed inappropriately from the body, especially at night in addition to fatigue may occur.  Adrenal insufficiency can be an intensely debilitating disease requiring years of restoration and learning to live a calmer life.  The best support for the adrenal system is routine.  Having ample rest (including naps), daily relaxation and moderate activity maintains and restores the adrenal gland health.

For individual support through menopause or other life challenges as well as custom herbal formulas to strengthen the organ systems, please visit me at Stillwater Healing Arts Clinic.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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