Diabetes Event – Don’t Miss This!

Is my current lifestyle leading to diabetes? or preventing diabetes?

What’s the best way to manage my blood sugar?

Come and visit me with the Bastyr Center for Natural Health’s Diabetes and Cardiovascular Wellness Team at this year’s Diabetes Expo in Seattle!! It’s a free event with health screenings, cooking demonstrations, fun fitness demonstrations, expert talks by researchers, medical doctors and naturopathic doctors and LOTS of exhibits! Learn about the latest research on prevention and management of diabetes.

Saturday, April 21, 2012 from 9am to 3pm at the Washington State Convention & Trade Center North Halls 4E/F

American Diabetes Association – Diabetes Expo in Seattle

Looking forward to seeing you there!


The Power of Food

This is an incredible story: a physician who was struggling with MS, revamped her diet based on nutrient research to nourish and support nerve function and mitochondria (the energy-producing organelles of our body). She had astounding results! I also loved that she studied about all these nutrients (like B vitamins, CoQ10, etc.) and concluded that the best way to get them was from food!

Food truly is medicine.

Thanks for sharing this, Cherry!

Don’t blame the mosquitoes

A quote from my classmate’s presentation today:

Regarding the role of organisms (such as bacteria) in disease,

“Mosquitoes go to stagnant water. They don’t stagnate the water.”

This is a good reminder that viruses and bacteria are always in and around us. Instead of focusing on eradicating the ‘bugs’, let’s focus on improving the flow and balance of our bodies so we create an environment less appealing to ‘the mosquitoes.’

Thanks for the great presentation, Faith!

What’s triggering my migraines?

99% of women and 94% of men experience headaches in their lifetime. Most of these headaches are due to muscle contraction and migraines. Today I’d like to discuss migraines.

What are they? Migraines tend to be in the front and sides of the head. They’re more common in women and in adolescents and young adults. It can be a dull ache but they tend to have a throbbing nature and often the scalp feels sensitive. Some people also have sensitivity to light. Migraines ‘with aura’ refers to migraines with visual changes, like scintillating lights, dizziness or muscle weakness. Migraines can last a few hours to over 24 hours and occur at irregular intervals (can be weeks or months between each) and can be accompanied by nausea and vomiting. Interestingly they decrease as we approach middle age and during pregnancy.

It’s thought that a wave of electrical activity passes through the brain making nerve fibers more sensitive to pain and dilating blood vessels. This is probably the reason we feel the throbbing and fullness in our head especially when we change body position.

What can be done about them? Studies have shown that eliminating allergenic foods greatly reduce  triggering of migraines in most patients. Cow’s milk, wheat, eggs, oranges and benzoic acid are the most common foods allergies. Foods that cause blood vessel dilation may also trigger migraines. These foods include chocolate, cheese, beer and wine.  Monitor symptoms while avoiding 1 or 2 of these foods at a time. Your ND can also suggest specific nutrients and herbs that can prevent and decrease the intensity of migraines.


Identifying and avoiding food allergies is definitely one of the most important steps to preventing migraines… but if you already have a migraine? Try essential oil (such as peppermint and lavender) products made for application to temples or using essential oils in a diffuser. Acupuncture can also be extremely effective in reducing the sensation of heaviness in your head and mitigating nausea.

Remember: head pain that follows head or neck trauma, starts suddenly or is unusually severe needs to be assessed by your physician.

Do I Need a Detox?

Who can benefit from a cleanse? People who have had exposures to chemicals (recently or in the past); patients preparing for pregnancy or menopause; patients with or wanting to prevent autoimmune disease, cardiovascular disease, chronic disease, neurodegenerative disease, hyper-inflammatory disease, chemical sensitivities, frequent infections, migraines, allergies, hives, eczema, foggy-thinking, fatigue, IBS, constipation… so, basically, anyone could benefit from a cleanse.

The body has built-in systems for eliminating naturally produced waste products as well as chemicals and heavy metals from exposure. Unfortunately these cleansing systems are often under-utilized due to lack of fiber in the diet, nutrient poor diets, dehydration, shallow breathing, lack of regular sweating and lack of rest. This leads to the reabsorption of many of the toxins that would normally be eliminated from the body if the systems were in ideal working condition. For example constipation can lead to the build up of chemicals leading to a headache.

Solvents, fossil fuel products, insecticides, herbicides, plastic residues, flame retardants, wood preservatives, toxic metals, and more can be eliminated via sweating and via our liver and kidneys. Even breathing helps to eliminate volatile compounds from solvents, cleaners, dry cleaning fluids and fuel compounds.

The toxins in our bodies are often stored in fat, nerve cells and the brain decreasing the overall tissue functioning.

The basics: quality sleep, clean air, nourishing diet, adequate hydration, love, healthy thought processes, etc. all support organs in the elimination process.

Keep in mind: The more inflammation the body is already experiencing, the more antioxidant support needed during the cleansing process (a diet rich in antioxidants may be sufficient support for many while others may require supplemental support and greater time). Also, when we “stir things up” in the body, there is re-exposure (as the toxins are circulating to leave the body) and often strong emotions may surface. So it’s important to stay connected with your physician and other support networks during a cleansing process.

Photo courtesy of A. Graber

How does acupuncture work?

Acupuncture refers to one of many modalities that a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioner uses.

Acupuncture can regulate the flow of qi, moving qi towards or away from areas to create overall balance. Acupuncture points are found along meridians (described in the last post). Research has shown these points have less resistance to electrical flow (than neighboring areas of the skin) and therefore are areas where energy in meridians can enter or exit the body. A metal needle (also low resistance) inserted in these points conducts electrical flow in or out of the meridians. Effectively, acupuncture points allow practitioners to access and influence the energy in the meridians. In this way, deficiencies, excesses and stagnations can be modulated to allow smooth flow of qi through meridians and the proper functioning of the body as a whole.

Acupuncture is considered relatively painless, however the stimulation of qi movement can cause a sensation of heaviness, tingling or electric at the acupuncture point and/or along the meridian. This ‘qi sensation’ signals to the acupuncturist that the patient’s qi is moving towards balance. Because the objective of acupuncture is to achieve overall balance, acupuncture is used for many conditions including: anxiety, insomnia, joint pain, menstrual disorders, fertility, immune support, constipation, diarrhea, acid reflux, nausea, paralysis from stroke or Bells Palsy and neuropathy.

Only pre-packaged, sterile needles are used. Disposable needles are used one-time only and disposed of as indicated by law.

What is Chinese Medicine?

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has been developing for over 3000 years. This sophisticated form of healing is based on the individual’s presentation rather than the disease. Physical, mental and emotional signs and symptoms are all considered on assessment.

In TCM, the goal is to achieve the smooth and correct flow of sufficient qi throughout the body. Qi (pronounced ch-ee), also referred to as ‘vital force’ or ‘vital energy’ flows through a network of channels, or meridians, and drives the proper functioning of the body as a whole. Numerous meridians course throughout the body to ensure all tissues and organs are accessed. These meridians, although similar, are not identical to nerves and blood vessels. There can be deficiencies where qi is not adequately conducted through the meridians leaving the tissue system or organ it supplies unable to function correctly. Similarly, stagnation of qi or blood can interfere with the flow of qi through a meridian. Anything leading to the improper flow of qi further leads to lack of nourishment, maintenance and functioning of tissues and organs. This dysfunction manifests as pain, pathology and disease. One can think of the flow of qi like the flow of water through channels that are irrigating fields. There can be areas of water turbulence (qi stagnation) resulting in certain ‘fields’ (or tissues) getting flooded while other areas lack water supply.

Diagnosis is based on interview, observation, tongue inspection, palpation of wrist pulses and palpation for tender acupuncture points. Treatments can include acupuncture, Chinese herbs, Chinese nutrition, moxibustion, cupping or Tui na (Chinese massage).