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The old phrase, “you’ve got to nip it in the bud,” is so true when it comes to addressing acute cold and flu symptoms. In exploring what works when it comes to immune stimulation and fighting seasonal illness, I look to traditions around the world that have been keeping people healthy for generations.

 

Contrast hydrotherapy – common to Finnish culture, Japanese and native American tradition, the alternating hot and cold water stimulation to the body does wonders to boost the system.  This can vary from enjoying a regular warm shower and briefly alternating the temperature to as cool as can be comfortably tolerated, then back to heat as warm as is comfortable and back to cool again. A typical duration is 1 minute hot, 5-10 seconds cold repeated 3 times.

Intensifying the experience with hot tubs or sauna use alternating with intermittent cool/cold temperature is common as well and has profound measurable effects. In a Finnish study of contracting hydrotherapy from a sauna to a shower the white blood cell activity after use was especially enhanced.   Athletes making use of the sauna with contrasting cold shower had a more dramatic result, although it is effective in non-athletes as well. (1)

SW Sauna

Medicinal mushrooms – As researcher and mycology expert Paul Stamets describes, mushrooms can save the world. The complexity of the mycelium web has numerous interactions with our own immune system when we consume the wide varieties that nature provides. Modern research mimicks what Chinese Medicine has known for years. Various mushroom strains are well known to boost the protective energy of the body,

“We share in common the same types of pathogens, humans and mushrooms…We speak the same biological language… Agaricus mushrooms are my favorite. They are very active immune stimulators. They are known to destroy the pox virus, flu virus and our common cold rhinovirus,” Stamets shares. (2)

 

Many Americans suffering from cold and flu symptoms will be prescribed antibiotics drugs this year. These are important, life saving drugs that have gone through many incarnations as time and the marketplace has changed. While every prescribing practitioner knows the danger of over-prescribing, many feel they have to give something to a patient in distress. Even if it’s a viral infection, an antibiotic can still provide some symptomatic and placebo relief. However, when it’s not truly an out of control bacterial infection the cost of using antibiotics may be greater than the benefit for long term health.

There is a concerning association between the number of antibiotic prescriptions used in one’s lifetime and developing cancer. People who have used 10 or more courses of antibiotics in their lifetime have a significant increase in rates of cancer. This does not mean that antibiotics cause cancer, but that we are identifying a correlated trend. (3)

 

Berberine containing herbs – this chemical compound found in nature exists in a wide variety of plants that have been traditionally used to defeat illnesses. Goldenseal, oregon grape root, turmeric, chinese skullcap and more all contain this powerful compound. It is known to kill bacteria, yeast, parasites and more. In doing so, it also enhances intestinal elimination and provides rich nutrients to the body.

From a traditional medicine perspective, enhancing the body’s natural defense mechanisms by stimulating the immune system provides not only a relief from aggravating symptoms but more importantly supports improvements in long term health.

Stillwater Clinic & Apothecaryprovides acute care services to Lyons and the surrounding communities! I practiced in Oregon as a primary care doctor for 5 years and now diagnose and treat patients in my office here in Lyons as a Registered Naturopathic Doctor. I offer natural medicine alternatives to pharmaceutical treatment as well as collaborate with area physicians to meet the full healthcare needs of individuals.

References:

  1. Wanda Pilch,1,4Ilona Pokora,2Zbigniew Szyguła,1,4 Tomasz Pałka,1,4 Paweł Pilch,3 Tomasz Cisoń,1,4 Lesław Malik,3and Szczepan Wiecha J Hum Kinet. Effect of a Single Finnish Sauna Session on White Blood Cell Profile and Cortisol Levels in Athletes and Non-Athletes. 2013 Dec 18; 39: 127–135. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3916915/
  2. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Paul_Stamets

3.Dobson, Roger. The risk of developing prostate, breast, lung, and colon cancer rises with use of antibiotics, a large observational study has found (International Journal of Cancer 2008 Aug 14, doi: 10.1002/ijc.23622) http://www.bmj.com/content/337/bmj.a1381.

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With the circulating virus’ this time of year the snot, sniffles, fever and chills are everywhere! The physical stress of the temperature changes, time indoors, more sugars and less exercise all contribute to the increasing colds and flus this time of year.

While it is incredibly annoying to have a cold, for many people it provides an opportunity for the body to restore. Extra sleep, days off, increased elimination can all provide the body a net benefit when it’s all said and done. Getting a low to moderate fever benefits the body greatly. Despite feeling crummy, the fever is the body’s best defense against not only organisms we don’t want but also genetic errors and toxins that all contribute to the “normal symptoms of aging” and chronic diseases.

The most common treatments that American’s utilize for colds and flus may be short-changing the body’s experience and leaving us worse off than before. Most of our over the counter cold and flu remedies contain variations of the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for pain relief and fever reduction. Brand names Tylenol, Advil and more contain acetaminophen, ibuprofen, aspirin and naproxen all work via similar mechanisms in the body. While they often provide much desired pain relief, an undesireable effect that this class of drugs has on the body is diminishing the immune systems response.

Using NSAIDs during the course of a cold or flu is more likely to cause a longer duration of illness, worsening symptoms over time and the necessity for stronger medications to get through the illness. What’s worse yet, the inhibition of the immune system with these drugs prevents the immune systems most important feature from happening; memory. When the body goes through an illness, the immune system captures the experience in it’s long-term memory so that the next time we see that organism, or one similar to it we are ready to go and can address it immediately. Ideally, we experience enough illnesses in our younger years that when we reach our senior years and have lessened capacity to fight infection, our memory is so vast that we’re naturally prepared for any infection that comes our way (1).

Fortunately, natural medicine provides an incredibly diverse spectrum of healing tools that not only help relieve pain and discomfort but also strengthen the immune system along the way.

At the first sign of illness:

  • Support the immune system with a visit to the sauna. Before an illness has a chance to get settled in, boost your immunity with the fever-simulation of the sauna. Contrasting hot and cold temperature provokes lymphatic circulation and should feel great!
  • Oscillococcinum- homeopathic flu remedy that helps address the symptoms of flu regardless of which organism provokes it. (2)
  • Echinacea, Elderberry, Propolis Throat Spray – these anti-viral and immune stimulating herbs are ideal to use directly into the throat where most viral exposures get started. All 3 of these herbs function via different mechanisms to stop virus’s adhering to the tissues, interrupt virus replication and more.
  • Osha Root – chew on pieces of this powerful high mountain herb to kill virus in the upper respiratory tract. (3)
  • Rest – the worst thing we can do for ourselves at the onset of a cold or flu is to push ourselves to keep going. Stress hormones inhibit the immune systems functioning and allow infections to get a head start.
  • Avoid sugar, dairy, gluten and individual food allergies. Any food that provokes an inflammatory or mucous stimulating response will interfere in the ability of the body to fight an illness naturally and increase the pain response.Free stock photo of person, love, woman, relaxation

Relying on natural medicine for health provides countless options in healthcare. Together in conjunction with appropriate use of pharmaceutical therapies we can make the best of both modern medicine and ancient traditions. For individualized support with NSAID alternatives to pain whether for acute or chronic disease schedule an appointment today.

  1. Simona Bancos,1Matthew P. Bernard,1David J. Topham,2 and Richard P. Phipps1,* “Ibuprofen and other widely used non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs inhibit antibody production in human cells,” Cell Immunol. 2009; 258(1): 18–28. Published online 2009 Apr 5. doi:  10.1016/j.cellimm.2009.03.007
2.RosemariePappaGertSchubackbElmarBeckbGeorgBurkardcJürgenBengeldSiergfriedLehrla “OscillococcinumR in patients with influenza-like syndromes: A placebo-controlled double-blind evaluation,” British Homoeopathic journal Volume 87, Issue 2, April 1998, Pages 69-76.
3. Glenn D.Appelt “Pharmacological aspects of selected herbs employed in Hispanic folk medicine in the San Luis Valley of Colorado, USA: I. Ligusticum porteri (osha) and Matricaria chamomilla (manzanilla),” Journal of Ethnopharmacology Volume 13, Issue 1, March 1985, Pages 51-55.

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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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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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It is often said that the cancer is not what killed someone, but the treatment!  While western medical advances have proven to increase the odds of survival with most cancers, it is also true that the treatment tools are intensely taxing on the body.  Enduring cancer treatment to not only survive but also return to a high quality of life afterward is an important aspect of supporting the journey.

The purpose of cancer treatment is cellular destruction.  Killing the tumor, and only the tumor is the challenge scientists face when developing pharmaceutical chemotherapeutic agents.  The best of both worlds is to support the cancer destruction while simultaneously protecting and strengthening the rest of the system.

Interestingly, there are tools from the natural world that have an affinity for cancer cell destruction that may facilitate the targeting of the therapies.  The foundation of natural medicine is to assist the body’s return to balance and health.  Natural medicine products used with appropriate prescribing will facilitate the body’s innate wisdom to correct.  While pharmaceutical agents will force physiology in a particular direction, natural medicine tools have the potential to improve and assist physiology normalizing to a higher state of health.  Just as when the body receives adequate rest, hydration, nourishment and exercise, there is a greater ease to healing.  Natural medicine tools promote the body’s own capabilities.

Chinese herbal formulations have been utilized for thousands of years to encourage the specific balance of an individual’s health.  With the recognition of stagnation in a particular region of the body, these formulations can be directed toward that body region in order to assist the transformation.  Other formulations may be directed to improve detoxification, which reduces the negative side effects of pharmaceutical drugs.  The wisdom behind Chinese Herbalism is the specific knowledge of herbal dynamics and the matching of their effects on the balance of an individual’s organ activity.  This addresses the unique ways a cancer and other aspects of a disease are affecting an individual.

One of the body’s most powerful innate mechanisms for cellular repair is fever.  Through the immune system’s activity that increases body temperature, a variety of intricate steps unfold that can improve the overall state of health.  Heat shock proteins are activated by both extreme heat and extreme cold.  These components of physiology facilitate genetic transcription and facilitate the removal of errors in genetic coding.  There have been a variety of experiments done to demonstrate this effect on cancer with the most successful methods being promoted as hyperthermia.

Hyperthermia treatments range from sauna therapy, which increases the temperature of the whole body, focal treatments with applications of heat to the skin surface, intravenous administration of agents to activate the immune system and many more.  While the developments in this realm of medicine are slow to provide data on large numbers due to the limitation of financial support, it is broadly acknowledged that supporting the immune system is a key to cancer survival.

By the time a patient receives a cancer diagnosis, the internal system is already so compromised that it is indeed a health crisis.  Utilization of tools from all systems of medicine provides the best potential for the path to survival.  While there is great controversy around the use of antioxidant tools, circulatory support tools, and other natural medicines, the Cancer Treatment Centers of America continues to present a model of integration that works.  These hospitals across the US employ both Naturopathic Doctors and Medical Doctors to embrace the dynamic differences in approaches.  For any illness in the modern era, making use of the broad spectrum of medicinal tools provides great advantages and potential for cure.

For more information on cancer treatment support with Natural medicine and traditional medicine tools from many traditions around the world, visit Stillwater Healing Arts Clinic in Lyons.  In addition to individual support, we offer a Holistic Cancer Care Retreat weekend.  The upcoming Retreat is June 30th and July 1st.  Visit http://www.stillwaterhealingarts.com.

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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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Integrative treatment models in health care offer a great deal of synergy by treating the whole person, both in the immediate and long term.  Regarding cancer treatment, there are many tools that can come together in countless ways to help the journey to healing.

Modern cancer treatment includes a wide array of drug therapies that work toward destruction of the cancer cells.  Despite relative success, this treatment strategy offers nothing in support of the patients organ systems that allowed for a cancer to grow in the first place.  Incorporating hydrotherapy into cancer treatment may well provide the much needed support for a multitude of reasons.

Hydrotherapy is a treatment modality used around the world to varying degrees.  From the morning shower, to a steam room followed by a roll in the snow, it is something we are all familiar with.  The therapeutic application is something far greater than most consider.  Using water with varying temperatures causes effects throughout the body.  Targeting specific organs of the body and shifting the temperature creates a cascade of effects that can improve health overall by supporting circulation and detoxification.

Hyperthermia is a modality that is gaining popularity in the treatment of cancer patients for its ability to aid in tumor reduction and increase patient tolerance to chemotherapy and radiation.  Some physicians are finding that they are able to use much lower doses of drug therapies when used in combination with hyperthermia.  Hyperthermia works through heating the body in a variety of ways for a set period of time, stimulating a fever response.  The understanding for its effectiveness is through the simple physiology of increasing circulation and oxygenation of the tissues.  As with any fever the immune system is activated, particularly the heat shock proteins, which help facilitate cellular function and destruction.  The effect on cancer cells is the stimulation of their elimination.

Research in immunology has identified multiple triggers for increasing heat shock protein transcription and activation.  These compounds are found throughout the plant and animal kingdoms and have been studied extensively in agriculture.  In addition to heat; cold, light and other stressors also activate HSPs.  It has been suggested that the traditional hydrotherapy technique of alternating hot and cold applications to the body may activate HSPs better than heat alone.

The initial theory behind hydrotherapy relates to the traditional understanding that stagnation encourages disease processes.  Like a stagnant pond will support vastly different life than a flowing stream, stasis in the body changes the environment as well.  Cellular activities all require adequate oxygenation to maintain their healthy balance.  Areas of poor circulation are more likely to store metabolic wastes and environmental toxins that the body encounters constantly in the modern world.

Hydrotherapy treatments have known effects of increasing circulation to stagnant tissues.  This in itself may be curative to many disease processes.  Laboratory analysis of sessions contrasting hot and cold to the skin surface has shown increased production of white blood cells’s and reduced cortisol after a treatment.  Suspected benefits include activation of heat shock proteins.  Together, the effects have great potential in supporting health.

For in-home use of hydrotherapy for all ages and stages of health, enhance your daily shower by ending with cold.  After you have finished bathing, gradually turn the heat down until you can feel the invigoration of the cool water without being uncomfortable.  From your toes to your heart, the circulation will shift from the body surface to the core.  If you’re dealing with complex health issues, hydrotherapy treatments offer a non-invasive therapeutic tool to incorporate safely and simply into your life.

If you’re interested in more information, research articles or scheduling an appointment, please contact Dr. Hart at dr.sarahart@gmail.com.

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