Federal Way NaturopathyFederal Way Naturopathy

900 S. 336 St.
Federal Way, WA 98003
Our hours are:
Monday-Thursday 8am - 5:30pm
Friday 8am-5pm
Saturday and Sunday closed


Bio-Electro-Magnetic-Energy-Regulation (BEMER)

The human body is estimated to have between 50,000 and 60,000 miles of capillaries. Capillaries are the tiny vessels that communicate between our veins and arteries ac-counting for an approximate 74% of our vascular system. They are how our cells get the “good stuff” in and the “bad stuff” out. They are how the oxygen gets from our lungs to our arteries into our cells where it is needed. They are how our cells get waste products, carbon dioxide and damaged tissue out. Capillaries are to a large extent how we heal. Without circulation, our cells essential will drown in their own waste, stagnating. (Think about a tide pool cut off from the sea; without the ocean’s periodic waves of new nutri-ents exchanging and revitalizing the pool, the pool eventually languishes and dies. We are not so different. Our capillary beds are somewhat like the waves washing our cellu-lar tide pools.)

What if you could be doing something simple to enhance your capillary’s ability to flow and transport to and from your cells? What if you could essentially enhance and support your body’s natural ability to circulate and impact nourishment throughout your tissues?

The BEMER was developed by Innomed International AG based in Liechtenstein as a unique, breakthrough in pulsed electro magnetic field therapy. It was invented and pa-tented by Prof Dr Wolf A Kafka. Utilizing a BEMER has been found to increase vaso-motion (the spontaneous oscillation in tone of blood vessels, independent of heart beat) by up to 28%, while increasing micro-circulatory blood perfusion (the amount of blood being exchanged in our capillaries-how much is being delivered to the cells) by up to 29%. Venous return (how much bloods is being taken away from cells) likewise, was in-creased by a similar 31% where as oxygen utilization (how much oxygen the cell has available and can use) increased by 29%. Imagine your body’s circulation as a pie cut into 4 pieces; using the BEMER gives the possibility for a full extra piece.

So that does this mean to your body? The potential for:

  • Improved cell oxygenation
  • Vastly improved macro- and micro circulation
  • Improvement in blood's capacity to transport oxygen
  • Improved elasticity of blood vessels

Which will tend to lead to:

  • Rapid wound healing & regeneration
  • Activation of the cellular metabolism
  • Stimulation of nerve pulse transmission
  • Increased white blood cell circulation (immune function)
  • Improved removal of body poisons and toxins
  • General well-being and high degree of vitality, fitness and health

The BEMER does not itself heal, but it does have the potential to dramatically impact our body’s circulation. What ever blood flow and circulation can impact, the BEMER can influence and possibly improve--by up to 25-30%.

The BEMER has been use for:

  • Mental illness, depression and even hyperactive children
  • Stimulation of wound and fracture healing; post-operative therapy
  • Treatment of degenerative ailments of joints and the spine
  • Treatment of fibromyalgia, rheumatism and arthritis
  • Treatment of migraines, headaches, tinnitus
  • Treatment of acute conditions as well as bacterial infections
  • Fast regeneration after competitions and sport injuries
  • Fast regeneration after exercise and healing of fractures

The 8 minute BEMER session itself is very simple. The machine consists of a thin pad upon which the patient lies and through which a very low level pulsed electromagnetic field is generated. Patients have reported experiencing notable relaxation as well as oc-casional mild tingling or no sensation at all while being treated. However, the impact on capillary circulation has been noted to last for up to 16 hours after each session.

For such a simple intervention the BEMER has the potential for significant impact upon one’s health. Research is ongoing with the device. NASA will be incorporating it into space suits, while universities across Europe continue to explore a plethora of health re-lated conditions it may impact. In all, the future for the BEMER and its use in healthcare is really just being realized and looks quite promising.

If you have questions or are curious, please contact Federal Way Naturopathy to sched-ule a session.

Eight Ways Modern Living is Degrading Our Health

By Beth DiDomenico, ND

As a naturopathic doctor, I've been treating patients for almost 20 years. That isn't very long in the scheme of
things, yet in this short time, I've observed many new lifestyle factors that are adversely affecting the health of my patients. Some of them are technology-related; others are just cultural and social habits. Read on to determine whether modern living is adversely affecting your health.

1. Do you sleep with electronics?
Insomnia is a huge issue among my patients. Why don't we sleep anymore? Could it be the streetlight in front of our home that stays on all night? Or
perhaps the murder show we watched before bed? Certainly not the double latté we had after lunch. While these all can affect a good night's sleep, there is a new culprit on the list. A new question I ask my patients with insomnia is whether they sleep with their electronics. I didn't ask this 15 years ago, because then, we'd all have thought it a ridiculous question. But now we may have our laptop, electronic reader, and cell phone all within inches of our heads. In
addition to voluntarily becoming a medical guinea pig for wifi and radiation exposure, most of us don't need a phone at night. You grew up without a phone next to you and you made it this far. I suggest you put the phone away at night, or at least turn it and all the other non-alarm clock electronic devices) off.

2. If it doesn't exist in nature, don't put it in or on your body.
This seems simple enough, but if you're using body care products that were not homemade or purchased from a health food store, or eating "food" out of a package with a lengthy paragraph of ingredients, you are feeding your body unnatural substancesand expecting it to act naturally. Nature has been pretty good to us, yet we constantly look for ways to improve upon it. The chemical industry has provided us with a host of artificial ingredient options in the last 15 years, but one thing remains true: few, if any, are better than natural ingredients. For example,
sucralose (Splenda®), saccharine (Sweet 'N Low®), and aspartame (Equal®) are rampant in our food supply. Research shows a direct correlation between the consumption of these "diet" foods and weight gain. Despite their advertising, these chemicals don't taste better, satisfy more, or lower obesity or diabetes. Organic cane sugar is fine in moderation for most individuals. Why "improve" on it?

3. Wii™ does not count as an exercise regimen.
I know I'm going to get some flack on this one, but I've been holding it back a long time. Wii bowling with your family is great for family bonding, but it doesn't count as credit towards cardiovascular or even functional exercise. Exercise used to be a thing we did during our daily activities of living - things like walking to school or work or the store, or milking the cows and toting the jugs. Exercise was outdoors and required more than a few minutes, some occasional heavy breathing, or technical work using our fine motor skills. This is a big reason why obesity was almost non-existent just decades ago. If your routine never involves fresh air, some unpredictable terrain (i.e., stairs or a mountain trail), or some physical skill that can be developed, then you need to rethink what the human body was made for and put it to proper use.

4. Our convenience has become our pathology.
A woman visiting the U.S. for the first time from Tanzania was recently asked what she thought about her time in Seattle. She said she was amazed at how many things we have and are able to buy. She was initially impressed by how independent we are. But then she noted that we seem very sad and alone as people. When you have access to everything and can get what you want by the click of a keyboard, then you don't need to participate in society. You don't need to rely on others or ask a favor or even talk to your neighbor. When she makes a cake in Tanzania, it's a village event. One neighbor has the chicken eggs, another brings sugar from the city and a third has the oven. Here, instead of the old corner store to catch up with the locals, we now are all busy behind our laptops at the coffee shop. It is a recipe for isolation. Even when humans have all the food and comforts imaginable, they still need human- to-human interaction. I don't think she meant meeting the pizza delivery person at the door, either. Which leads me to my next modern maladaptation...

5. We need an intimate relationship with our food.
Michael Pollan's most recent book Cooked: A natural history of Transformation, reminds us of our past nurturing relationship with food. "The rise of fast food and the decline of home cooking also have undermined the institution of the shared meal, by encouraging us to eat different things and to eat them on the run and
often alone. Survey researchers tell us we're spending more time engaged in 'secondary eating', as this more or less constant grazing on packaged foods is now called, and less time engaged in 'primary eating'-- a rather depressing term for the once-venerable institution known as the meal." Research shows that, by simply spending time touching or preparing our food, our sense of satisfaction and ability to digest and absorb go up measurably. How many of you have known a child that has little interest in vegetables until they help in a garden, working the dirt and watching their seeds grow? Any child knows the best food is that with which your own hands had the privilege of working.

6. Sitting is the new smoking.
So notes Nilofer Merchant in her recent TED Talk. We now sit on average 9.3 hours per day (compared to 7.7 hours of sleep) with some significant health consequences. Sitting and inactivity have serious implications regarding back and neck pain, as well as more severe health issues. An estimated 60-80% of our adult working population experiences some level of back and neck pain, at a cost of around $86 billion a year in lost time and medical expenses. This doesn't include the cost of more significant health complications. Regularly sitting for more than 3 hours watching TV makes you 64% more likely to die from heart disease. As soon as you sit, the enzymes needed to breakdown fat drop 90%. Each additional hour past 3 hours spent watching TV results in an 11% higher death risk over a 15 year period. Exercising the prescribed 30 minutes a day is just not enough if you are sitting 8+ hours a day. In no other task do we assume that 30 minutes of practice outweighs 8-9 hours of poor performance. In fact, when compared, people that watched more than 3+ hours of TV are equally obese whether they exercise or not. It is the sitting that is deadly, even more than the lack of exercise. Humans are built to move. Going to the gym is not necessarily the solution. Getting up is. Getting up frequently is even better.

7. Technology is changing our sense of time and joy.
Anxiety is another condition, like insomnia, that my patients report more often now then 20 years ago. Are you able to live joyously in the present moment? Can you take a phone and computer-free vacation, or even a day to remember (or show your children) what it used to be like in the old days? According to a recent editorial in the Huffington Post, "Over-reliance on technology--constantly checking email and social networks, and being distracted by alerts on our mobile devices--can take us out of both the past and the future, and into a state of heightened 'present hedonism' in which we're constantly focused (in a sometimes
compulsive way).""We're simply being in that moment to take the next action," says Philip G. Zimbardo. "It's really minimizing the quality of life. It's minimizing the joy that we ought to be getting from everyday life."

8. Instead of recognizing that our physiology is changing for the worse, we label it the new norm.
If you are the rare individual that has maintained your weight for the last 30 years, you've probably noticed that your clothing size keeps going down when you shop. Didn't you use to be a 10? Do they really have a size 0 now? Who decides when and how to alter clothing sizes? What if you fall off the sizing scale? You may have to move to Tanzania so the village can help you make your clothes! The same thing has happened with lab results. Just 15 years ago it was protocol to run an HIV test on any patient with white blood cell counts below a critical level. Now half of my patients have these low level white blood cell counts. Not only are these patients not HIV+, but, according to the lab, they're cell count is now in the "normal" range. In other words, when, as a society, our lab values change to a new common number, the lab just changes the reference range. So, while it isn't healthy or optimal to have low white blood cells, we just change what we call "normal." The same goes for how we view weight: collectively as a society, our weight keeps going up, so the insurance companies simply change the
actuary tables to reflect what is common. As long as you don't gain more weight than those neighbors you aren't in relationship with, then you should be able to stay within the "normal" range.

What can you do?
Make a conscious choice not to be a lab rat. It may sound like I am down on technology, but there are ways it has vastly improved our lives. For one, we have information at our fingertips that allows us to make educated choices. Fifty years ago, when they sprayed DDT down the child-filled streets to show how safe
chemicals were, people had no way of knowing what they were being exposed to. Now we have Wikipedia, the Environmental Working Group, and quality stores like Marlene's that do a lot of the research for us. You can choose to know which ingredients change your (or your child's) hormones, which ones increase your risk of cancer, and which are not even researched on humans yet. So next time you are sitting with your computer, look up the ingredients to the snack food you are consuming, the lotion you put on maybe research a trip to Tanzania Then turn it off, get up, and go for a walk with another computer-free person, just like the old days.

Beth DiDomenico is a naturopathic physician at Federal Way Naturopathy at
900 S 336th St, Federal Way, WA 98003. She can be reached at (253) 942-3301.

Environmental Safety in Your Home

By Beth DiDomenico, ND

Our homes are ideally a place of safety and sanctuary. We should be able to re-organize, rest and recover in the place we call home. Most of us can tolerate a lot of stress and a hectic lifestyle if they have a place to recuperate, and for many of us, it is called home. Therefore, it is important to make sure that your home isn't filled with health stressors.

Lead and asbestos - Sources of in-home contamination are many. To begin with, many homes built before 1978 contain lead-based paints and/or asbestos. If you live in such a home, you should take extra precautions with remodeling projects and air quality. Lead-based paints are easily painted over, but when scraping paint, or if chips exist, particles can be inhaled or picked up by children or even carried into the home on shoes and clothing. Asbestos often exists in the older ceiling cover or "popcorn" ceilings, and in insulation. Asbestos is a tiny particle that can be easily inhaled and is known to cause lung disease. Again precautionary measures should be used when removing or working with asbestos containing agents. If you aren't aware of safety measures, asbestos and lead are best left alone.

Mold and mildew - A common problem for many of us in the northwest is mold in or around the home. It thrives in our damp, cool environment and we need to be constantly vigilant about controlling it. Mold and mildew develop in moist areas like bathrooms, the laundry area, around un-insulated windows, and in shaded areas around the home. Certain molds can cause severe illness, especially when inhaled by the very young or old, immune compromised, and those allergic to molds. Symptoms of mold exposure can include: chronic cough, fatigue, headaches, skin rashes, and memory loss or foggy head. If you are a person that wakes feeling congested, or with the above symptoms, consider a major bedroom check for molds, (including in plant soil), as well as dust. Also, check behind dishwashers and washing machines every few months for leaks. Use a bathroom fan or open window to dry a damp area soon after showers and bathing.

Dust and dust mites - These are a major source of irritants in the home. The fecal matter of dust mites irritate the mucous membranes of the sinuses and lungs and thrive in places where skin particles abound, especially closets and bedding. In addition, dust can contain contaminants brought in from the outdoors, including lead dust (from the soil surrounding a lead-based painted home) and pollens. To decrease your dust exposure, consider minimizing wall-to-wall carpets in the home. Area carpets made of natural fibers are a comfortable way to decorate a home and can be easily vacuumed or beaten outside. Wash bedding, (including pillows), on a regular basis. A hot wash or dryer will kill dust mites. Vacuum regularly and consider getting a HEPA filter for your vacuum and/or central heating system. If you still have problems, consider the purchase of a home air purifier.

Bisphosphenol A- BPA is a compound found in many plastics including: baby bottles, sippy cups and juice bottles. It is also found in CDs, DVDs and takeout containers and as part of the lining of aluminum cans. 92% of Americans age 6 or older are considered to have measurable levels of BPA per the Centers for Disease Control. In one study, half of the mice exposed to low levels of BPA had abnormal chromosomes in their offspring. In addition, animal studies showed increased levels of breast and prostate cancer in the offspring of animals exposed to low dose BPA during pregnancy. We don't yet know what this means for humans, but if you don't want your child to be a guinea pig, Whole Foods Market stopped carrying baby bottles and sippy cups with BPA two years ago.

Pthalates- This class of chemicals helps make plastics soft. They are found in shower curtains, soft plastic toys (think rubber duckies) and medical tubing. In addition, they can be found in nail polish, fragrances, shampoos and lotions. Elevated levels have been found in breast-milk. Pthalates can cause low sperm and testosterone counts in men, and therefore, infertility. There are a variety of pthalates and we have yet to study what the combination of them does to humans. The state of California has decided not to wait, in October 2007, governor Schwarzenegger signed a bill banning 6 of the more common pthalates from children's products. The ban went into effect January of 2009. Mattel is already in compliance, but many of their toys were found to have lead in them, causing them to make millions of recalls. Besides joining the Amish, a safe bet may be to buy toys manufactured or sold in California, currently the state with the strictest safety standards in the nation.

PDBE's- (Polybrominated diphenyl ether) These flame retardants are found throughout our homes in products like: mattresses, computers, furniture, and some fabrics. Most children's sleep ware contains PDBE's. PDBE's are volatile organic compounds, which means in the right conditions, they off gas into our home in air and dust. In animal studies, this class of chemicals is responsible for decreased ability to learn or remember, low sperm count, and thyroid dysfunction. These chemicals remain in the body for years. A woman raised in the U.S. will have one or more PDBE's in her breast-milk. So far 11 states have banned 2 or more types of PDBE's. Northern European countries have banned more than that. When considering purchasing a mattress (especially for children), enquire as to the chemicals used in manufacturing, or consider purchasing from a country like Norway or Sweden where PDBE's have been banned. The Environmental Home Center and Ikea are both good options. Mattresses sold in Washington State in 2009 are supposed to be PDBE free as well. Finally, don't be paranoid, be knowledgeable, and make small changes toward a healthier home. After- all, "there's no place like home".

Newsweek 2/4/08 pp. 50,53. The Polishing Stone 12/06 pp.20,21. Blanc, Paul, MD. 2007 How Everyday Products Make People Sick Resources-If the above information is of concern to you, further information is available at http://www.watoxics.org In addition, if you are a parent who desires further resources, may we suggest http//www.holisticmoms.org This organization is a non-profit support network for moms with an interest in holistic and alternative health and parenting. This is a national organization with a Yahoo chat group, that has recently start a local chapter. They have monthly meetings as well.

Don't Waste Time, Lose the Waist with HCG

By Karen Rasmussen, ND

Federal Way Naturopathy is promoting the HCG (human chorionic gonadotrophin) diet weight loss program based on European physician Dr. Simeons' manuscript "Pounds and Inches: A New Approach to Obesity." Since the introduction of HCG to the clinic in 2008, over 200 men and women have successfully completed the program. The theory behind the mechanism of HCG is that it stimulates the hypothalamus in the brain to release abnormal fat stores in problem areas at an accelerated rate by resetting the individual's metabolism. By affecting the rate of metabolism, the individual can maintain the weight loss and continue to lose weight post HCG without concern for hunger or abnormal fat deposition. The majority of patients, who go through the program feel great, sleep great, have a decrease in appetite, and no hunger or cravings.

The program is medically supervised and individualized based on the patient's own unique health and weight loss goals. The weight loss phase requires a minimum of 23 days up to 45 days depending on how much weight needs to be lost. The diet is 500-600 calories of fresh fruits, vegetables, and protein. The HCG is delivered into the body either through daily intra-muscular injections, or oral sublingual drops/pellets. The expected weight loss is 10-15lbs in three weeks or 20-30lbs in a six-week period. For patients who have more weight to lose the HCG phase can be repeated after a six-week break. Once the weight loss phase has been completed support and resources are provided for the patient to ensure continued success. Oftentimes the patient will be put through a detoxification diet program prior to starting the HCG to prepare the body and mind for the very structured and low calorie HCG program.

Since this is a medically supervised program, once you are established on the program your doctor will follow you on a weekly basis to ensure success and help maximize weight loss.

The weight loss program is not covered by insurance but can be reimbursed through flex spending plans. Please contact our office at 253-942-3301 to get information about expenses. To learn more about HCG it is highly recommended that you read Dr. Simeons' manuscript online. The website is: http://www.hcgdietinfo.com/Dr-ATW-Simeons-Pounds-and-Inches.htm.

Wiley Hormone Replacement Therapy Available at FWN

By Karen Rasmussen, ND

We are excited to offer the Wiley protocol created by T.S. Wiley as an option for hormone replacement therapy in women and men. The Wiley protocol is a standardized bio-identical hormone replacement therapy delivery system based on the belief that women must continue to cycle their hormones and have a monthly menstrual bleed as their own body's ability to produce hormones gradually declines.

FDA approved topical estradiol, progesterone, and testosterone are dosed in a rhythmic manner to mimic a normal healthy cycle of a 20 year old, just as hormones naturally fluctuate throughout a 28-day cycle. There are key differences between Wiley and static dosing of bio-identical hormones. Static dosing is typically low dose hormones delivered at the same dose on a daily basis for symptom relief. On Wiley, hormone dosages increase and drop according to the rhythm of the cycle. Therefore, at certain days of the cycle much higher levels of hormones are applied to mimic ovulation and preparation for menses. Women who don't have a uterus or ovaries are also candidates for the regimen. Wiley is also available for men as testosterone therapy. The benefits of this type of dosing are alleviation of menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats, vaginal dryness, low libido, fatigue, hair thinning/loss, incontinence, headaches, brain fog, joint and muscle pain, insomnia, anxiety, depression, and weight gain. Promising research is showing that the Wiley method may be protective against Alzheimer's, Cardiovascular disease, Osteoporosis, and Cancer.

To learn more about the Wiley protocol it is recommended that you read Sex, Lies & Menopause by T.S. Wiley and visit the website www.wileyprotocol.com

Dr. Karen Rasmussen is a Wiley certified Naturopathic Physician and works with a Wiley registered pharmacy in Washington State.

Food Allergy Testing in the Pediatric Population

By Karen P. Rasmussen, ND

Within the last decade we have seen an increase in the incidence of food and environmental allergies. Lifestyle choices and dietary habits may lead to the development of food allergies. Symptoms in any part of the body can be triggered by a food. There is evidence that supports a genetic predisposition to development of certain food allergies based on occurrence of allergic reactions in other family members. Studies show that 69 percent of children presenting with allergy symptoms have a significant family history of food allergies. Another study showed that 67 percent of children with parents who both have allergies and 33 percent of those with one allergic parent are likely to develop food allergies. Research shows that food allergies can pass from a mother's breast milk to her infant and can be expressed as early as two weeks in the newborn as acid reflux. In a recent study it was demonstrated that obese children had higher levels of IgG antibodies then normal weight children. The antibodies are associated with systemic inflammation and have been linked to type 2 diabetes and atherosclerosis.

Food reactions can be non-immune or immune mediated. Non-immune allergy-like reactions are called "sensitivities" and we are still unsure about the mechanism behind the response. In an immune-mediated allergic reaction there is an exaggerated immune inflammatory response. The two most common antibodies associated with food allergies are called IgE and IgG. IgE responses are immediate and normally present with symptoms such as difficulty breathing or hives. IgG are delayed reaction responses that can take hours to days to present. The IgG antibody binds to certain proteins from food and can cause a multitude of diverse reactions. Food reactions can vary from minor irritation to severe behavioral disturbances.

Common IgG allergic symptoms in the pediatric population include: nasal and sinus congestion, constipation or diarrhea, acid reflux, hyperactivity, inattention, and rashes. Diseases commonly associated with food allergies are chronic sinusitis and rhinitis, asthma, ADHD, irritable bowel, and atopic dermatitis. Foods that are eaten frequently can trigger an immune inflammatory response over time. In many cases particular foods are hidden in the ingredient list of processed packaged foods unbeknownst to the patient/family.

The most common allergens in the pediatric population are: dairy, gluten (wheat, spelt, rye, barley, kamut), chicken eggs, citrus, and peanuts.

The most reliable way to identify food allergies is to eliminate all potential food allergens from the child's diet for a minimum of two weeks. In many cases a longer period of elimination might be needed if symptoms have not resolved. After symptoms have cleared then foods are challenged one by one back into the diet every two to three days. The child is observed for any allergic reaction. The drawback with this method is the difficulty to consistently remove the foods from the diet in the home, with other caregivers, and in school. Furthermore, delayed food reactions can take a few days before they present which can extend the reintroduction phase for weeks.

The traditional method of skin testing is more reliable for immediate anaphylactic IgE reactions to foods. The alternative to determine delayed IgG food reactions is blood testing. A test is now available for the pediatric population that just involves a needle prick for a small sample of blood. Results are received and interpreted by the physician within two weeks of sampling. Based on the level of the reaction, the child will need to at minimum rotate certain foods in the diet up to complete avoidance of the problematic foods for six months to a year. Once the allergies are eliminated, good gut health can be restored and future reintroduction can occur. Food allergy testing is available at Federal Way Naturopathy.


By Colleen Hart, N.D.

The word grief has an impact on the deepest parts of our being. Yet grief is an emotion that, for many, is glossed over in exchange for "moving on" in life. In the past few years I have experienced major grief. Amidst the intensity of coping with grief and keeping up with day-to-day living, I find myself pondering: "How are all these people walking around with a mass of grief inside and looking so normal?"

In my practice as a wholistic doctor, I often see where a person's grief is residing in their body. Untended or unexpressed, grief can accumulate into a manifestation of illness. Virtually any illness can have a root in grief just as readily as having a root in a microbe or a gene or a physical trauma. Often grief can be the underlying cause of a pain that has no other explanation or known cause. It can be a well disguised creator of dis-ease.

Grief has a life of its own and a timing to be honored. In my professional opinion grief must be felt in order to be integrated into the new structure of one's life. When the grief is worked through and experienced, something new will take its place. There must be room for that "something new". And I believe it is the process of grieving that makes space for the new.

People experience their grief in many different ways and there is no "right" way to do it.

Consider making time to be with yourself with the love and tenderness you would want to provide for someone dear to you. Let that dear one be you. Give yourself a warm candlelit bath, a walk in nature, time at the beach, a cup of tea or a glass of wine by the fireside, lingering with a sunset that calls your attention. How many ways might allow you to just "be" and "feel", if you leave an opening for them? How much freedom can be attained from a good cry or writing a poem or painting a picture, expressing your feelings? How much comfort can come from talking with a true friend? How much relief can be born from appreciating the things that no one can take from you, your very dear heart and soul?

A writing exercise to help you get in touch with your grief (or any emotion):

Dedicate 10 minutes to exploring your own current issues with grief (or fill in the blank for any emotion you want to visit). Sit down without distraction and with a timer, paper and pen. Sit back and close your eyes. Take a few long, deep breaths. When you've breathed long enough to feel relaxed, allow the word "grief" to appear in your minds' eye. Open your eyes and set the timer for 3 minutes. Without censoring yourself, write all the words that come to mind when you begin with the word "grief". After 3 minutes is up, go back and mark the ten words that seem most potent. Then time yourself for another three minutes to write a story using your words in the sequence in which they appear in your list. You see, from the short periods of time suggested, that you are not "thinking" about what you are writing. You are simply allowing the words to come on to the paper with no censoring whatsoever. You can then use what you've produced for reflection and insight or throw it away with only ten minutes "lost" to your day. This little writing project can be helpful for revealing hidden feelings' you might have in any aspect of your life. I hope you try it again and again.


By Dr. Colleen Hart, N.D.

It may save your life.

If you are one of most people now suffering with more stress than your body knows how to accommodate, you need to have some tools for coping. You name it, maybe holiday stress, maybe financial stress, maybe the health and welfare of yourself or someone close to you, etc.


Many of you followed up my yoga article by signing up for some classes or going back to a long lost yoga practice. Yeah!!!! Those of you who do yoga or Tai Chi know that breathing properly is the integration of body and mind for bringing your being into deep relaxation, restoration, and a sense of peacefulness inside. The asanas, or postures, will encourage the deeper breathe. But, nonetheless, you are the one who must be willing to let go of the stress in your muscles to achieve a more open breathe. If you practice yoga or Tai Chi or Feldenkreis, you know what I'm talking about. If you don't, again I will encourage you to try it.

You can practice deep breathing by itself as well. Here it is:

Sit or lay in a comfortable position with a straight spine and all muscles well supported.
Close your eyes.
Focus your attention on the inhalation of your breath. Allow it to be long and unobstructed.
Slowly exhale. Allow the exhalation to be long and complete.
When you are comfortable with that, allow the length of inhalation and exhalation to elongate. Be patient. Let your mind relax and stay with the moment.
Repeat for 1min, then 2, etc. You will find that a very short investment of time can make a big difference in your stress levels.
Remember to practice every day so it will become easier to call upon when you need it most.

As simple as this sounds, it can give you relief from the knots that we all tie ourselves in with worry and stress. Deep breathing can help you get free of your mind for a moment. Over time the moments can extend and you practice deep breathing more naturally in the course of your day.

I hope you will try some deep breathing and find a little more joy amidst the stress of our times. Let's all take a deep breath together. Breathe.

Dr. Hart teaches a beginning and continuing Tai Chi Ch'uan Class in Burien, Thurs. evenings at 7. For more information, contact Dr. Hart.

Relax Restore Renew

By Dr .Colleen Hart, N.D.

Wipe the slate clean each day. Like a white board. Too much stress adds up and overflows our limits, resulting in pain and misery and ill health. What to do? How to relax, restore, and renew?

I often recommend Yoga, Tai Chi and Feldenkreis classes for my patients. Breathing, meditation, and time with one's spiritual practices can be very helpful to our quality of life. I always recommend good eating, exercise, and self care. Additional considerations during the dark time of year are full spectrum lighting and extra Vitamin D.

Often times the "things to do" list for self care is too much, either because you are too tired, too stretched, or too depleted. I have included a few very simple and very practical poses that can achieve amazing results in as little as 5 to 15 minutes.

1) Lay on your back. Support the knees with a pillow or rolled blanket. Support the neck comfortably with a rolled towel or pillow. Cover up for warmth. Turn off the phone, turn on some quiet music or just quiet, put the animals out of the room. (a do-not-disturb sign may be necessary in some households) Close your eyes. Now breathe deeply into your belly. Simply follow your breath in and out, allowing yourself to relax on the exhalation. We take breathing for granted. I guarantee if you are able to do 10 minutes of a well supported deep breathing you will feel some restoration.

1A) for a little more intense experience, lay on the floor with your legs up a wall so that your legs are bent at a 90 degree angle from the floor. Same as above for warm and quiet. Again, focus on your breathing and allow your busy mind to take a break.

2) Stand in a quiet and warm environment. Place your feet shoulder width and parallel. Bend your knees slightly, keeping them as wide as your feet. (there should not be pain in the knees) Relax your tailbone, straighten your spine, and allow your head to sit comfortably directly over the spine. Let your shoulders be relaxed, arms quiet by your sides. Focus on your breath, each inhalation long and full, and each exhalation long and complete. If your mind wanders, come back to your breathing. If your legs get tired, bend them less and follow your breath.

2A) For a more intense challenge, allow your arms to raise up in front of your chest as if you are holding a big beach ball between your arms and your body. Keep the shoulders relaxed and follow your breath, just like the other exercises. Over time, work up to 5 minutes of holding this posture.

Yoga, T'ai Chi, Chi Gong, and Feldenkreis are all body-mind-spirit exercises that promote relaxation, restoration, and daily renewal. In our world of stress, busy..ness, and multitasking, 5 minutes a day to stop, breathe, and wipe the slate clean' can enhance your well being. I hope you will try these exercises and find peace and joy this holiday season.

Craniosacral Therapy as Holistic Healing

By Dr. Colleen Hart, N.D.

Do you wonder what the missing piece is in your health puzzle? We often know what our health issues are, yet sometimes cannot solve the mystery of the solution or the cure. We often have had experiences and events throughout our lives that have had an invisible impact and thereby become the hidden mystery'.

Craniosacral therapy is a hands-on modality of healing touch. It is rooted in Osteopathic Tradition applied in the field of holistic medicine and physical medicine. It is comprehensive in its' ability to detect restricitions' throughout the entire connective tissue system. That includes muscle, tendon, ligament, meninges, and mesenteric tissues (which cover the organs). With this comprehensive information on ease in motion, thereby function, and lack of motion or restriction, much can be understood. Also, much can be improved.

The work is subtle in that a very light touch is all that is used. It is comprehensive in that all tissues in the body are involved. It is a profound therapy in that anything and everything can be influenced with release of holding patterns in the connective tissue. Lastly, it is deeply relaxing and thereby deeply enjoyable as a treatment modality. So many problems are improved with the release of tissue holding patterns. So many problems are improved by deep relaxation and stimulation of the parasympathetic nervous system. The body/mind/spirit can be retrained on how to relax and function properly as we were designed. Stress is momentarily eradicated. This body education and experience is reinforced with each treatment at the same time that the tissue is being released.

"The leg bone's connected to the thigh bone. The thigh bone's connected to the hip bone" In this connection, everything effects everything else in the system. Chronic headaches, migraine headaches, TMJ, back or neck pain, sciatica, menstrual cramps, dizziness, depression, insomnia, constipation, restless legs, etc. can all be improved with craniosacral therapy. Injuries and surgeries can be healed more quickly. Distress in newborns and colic and inability to suck or failure to thrive can often be linked to cranial or fascial restrictions developed in the birthing process. Distress in quickly growing children and dental braces can be mitigated by the treatments. Resolution of head injuries, foggy thinking, and concussions can be expedited.

Usually a series of treatments is required, especially if the problem has been around for a long time. Often times other healing modalities are required as well. But, undoubtedly, for those health dilemas that are ongoing, or seemingly unresolvable, craniosacral therapy is a requisite treatment to incorporate into the healing process. Craniosacral Therapy is truly a holistic healing tool. And if, by chance, the solution is not attained, this non-invasive treatment is truly relaxing and restoring so there is nothing to lose in the process.

Seasonal Flu Prevention

by Dr. Karen Hurley, ND

Getting plenty of rest, managing stress and taking preventive measures is a great way to enhance your immune system and avoid getting the flu this season. Do not underestimate the power of sleep! Sleep is essential in managing stress--strive for 7-8 hours nightly with regular bedtimes. Incorporating stress reduction techniques such as meditation, deep breathing or yoga can help balance your response to stress which directly boosts immune system function. Eating whole healthy foods gives the body the nourishment that it needs to build robust immune cells that respond quickly to invading bacteria or viruses.
Specific natural medicines that help stimulate immune function and stave off the flu are given below. This comprehensive flu prevention protocol was put together by the physicians at Federal Way Naturopathy in response to the 2009 H1N1 alarm call, but can be used now to fight off this season’s influenza strains. We recommend utilizing a combination of homeopathic, nutritional and herbal remedies to treat the flu. However, adults may pick and choose the approach that works best for them. For children, homeopathic remedies alone work very well. In addition to the following recommendations, get lots of rest, drink adequate fluids and eat lots of whole, unprocessed foods.

Vitamin D Ensure adequate levels, if unknown get test with a simple blood draw. If low, take 2000 IU daily in capsules or drops. (Children’s daily dose should be 400-1000 IU daily in winter.)

Zinc 15 mg per day with food.

Epicor 1 tablet daily provides gentle immune support. (Only available in FWN Dispensary.)

Occillococcinum homeopathic flu remedy. Have this homeopathic remedy on hand to take immediately at first sign of flu-like illness or after exposure to someone with flu symptoms. Follow directions on package insert.

The True Cost of Pretty Nails

Ever read the tiny print on a bottle of nail polish? Most contain more than 50% of toluene (suspected cancer causing agent), pthalates (increase incidence of birth defects and a hormone disruptor), and for- maldehyde (suspected cancer causer and known liver toxin). Allergic reactions are common as well as fungal infections- especially with cuticle removal and the use of acrylic nails. Workers in nail salons are at increased risk for brain damage and blood cell-related cancers. Pregnant women are best off to avoid the nail salon. The good news for those that can't break the habit, is that many brands are changing to less toxic ingredients including: OPI's 2008 line and No Miss Nail Care and Sante. The latter 2 can be found at many health stores. Or in- quire at your favorite salon and get them using safer products for everyone.

FYI-Caution with products from The Vitamin Shoppe

The now infamous equity firm of Bear Stearns pur- chased the Vitamin Shoppe mail order supplement company in 2002. A recent report from Consumer- lab.com shows that the women's multivitamin con- tained 15.3 micrograms of lead per serving. This amount is more than 10 times the amount that can be permitted without labeled warning in California (the only state to have passed the safe label act). Two things come to mind here, first, be careful with the brands of products you choose, they are not created equal. The companies we have chosen for our dispensary have been chosen for their supe- rior quality. They are companies we trust regard- less of where you purchase them. If you are unsure about product quality, bring it with you on your next appointment for our review. And second, if a product is bottled or produced in California it has to pass more stringent standards or be labeled with its risks. Taking advantage of that information may allow you to bring safer products into your home.