Tools to Release Trauma
Three weeks have passed since the fires started. During this time, our community has experienced the full range of human emotion. Some of us were evacuated. Some of us lost our homes. As a community, we have experienced both individual and collective trauma. Here at Flourish Integrative Health, we would like to share the tools and resources we have from not only our respective medical educations and training but also what we are implementing for ourselves as we move into this next stage of recovery and healing.
5 Steps to Release Trauma
“The lotus flower blooms most beautifully from the deepest and thickest mud”
- Shake your body and sigh.
- 4/7/8 breath from Dr. Andrew Weil, leader in Integrative Medicine. Click here to view the health benefits and demonstration.
- Release Technique as taught in “Love Yourself and Let the Other Person have it your way”. Click here for a demonstration.
- Acupuncture: We have a few protocols that are helpful post-trauma. Expect 3-6 sessions to start. Click here to schedule an appointment or a complimentary 15-minute consult.
- Medical Qigong: Deeper support during this transition. Do you feel shaken from this experience whether or not you lost your home? Are you experiencing a sense of feeling lost or unable to find yourself, or wanting a new direction and just not sure how to find it? Expect to start with 3 sessions. Click here to schedule an appointment or a complimentary 15-minute consult.
Dr. Jen Riegle, ND, is offering B12 and B5 shots for fire recovery
- Increased Energy
- Elevated Mood
- Increased Cognitive Function and Memory
- Supports Adrenal Function
- Support Immune System
These shots are $20 each or pay what you can during these times. Available to everyone.
Community is an integral piece to healing trauma and wounds. If you ever want someone to talk to, to share a cup of tea, or spend time in community, please always feel free to reach out. We are all in this together.
How Acupuncture Can Heal Mind, Body, and Spirit After Trauma
By Jenny Harrow
As a devoted patient of Vladi Starkov, I felt compelled to share how I came to work with her and how the experience changed me on every level: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.
My journey with Vladi Starkov at Flourish Integrative Health began a little over a year and a half ago and it altered my life direction towards my greater purpose. It all began when a scooter I was driving in Austin, Texas malfunctioned: the throttle was stuck in gear, and I was taken across four lanes of downtown traffic before being thrown thirty feet into a creek bed. Upon impact, I severely lacerated both of my knees, fractured my vertebrae, shoulder and ribs, punctured my lung, and experienced a concussion.
Luckily, I was found by a gracious soul who ran down to the creek and saved me from drowning in the 5 x 5 foot puddle in which I landed face down. I was rushed to the nearest hospital. The care I received, from the surgeries to the pharmaceutical drugs, saved my life and I am forever grateful for the miracles performed in the hospital. Yet, despite the necessity and efficacy of the care, the two weeks I spent in the medical hospital were incredibly confusing and downright scary. I had no memory of the accident whatsoever, so waking up in the hospital was a complete surprise to me. I was shuffled around from the ICU to the surgery floor several times within the first week and the doctors would only come to speak to me for less than five minutes at a time. The drugs and the trauma made my brain so blurry that understanding anything in general was difficult for me. The nurses and physical therapists were the most friendly to me, yet everything was so hectic and busy that no one in the hospital treated me like anything more than a body with injuries.
My first visit to Vladi’s office was dramatically different than my experience in the hospital. As soon as I met her, I felt safe. When I told her my story, she really listened with empathy and concern. As I settled onto the acupuncture table, peaceful sounds of Tibetan bells and chants emanated in the background. After she inserted the needles into different points around my knees, right shoulder and ribs, Vladi instructed me to breathe deeply and to silently send the injured parts of my body healing thoughts and energy. I remember very clearly those first few sessions, as I laid in the dark, unable to move and still so confused as to how this had all happened, learning how to send my broken bones love. Breathing deeply was difficult for me because of my punctured right lung and fractured ribs, but my breath began to strengthen when I brought concentration to it.
It was on Vladi’s acupuncture table that for the first time since my accident, I felt connected to my body, my mind, and the essence of my being. During those first two months of my recovery, I had a huge team of medical practitioners, from physical therapists to orthopedic surgeons. Every member of my team contributed to my physical healing a great deal, yet it was during the time with Vladi that not only did I feel the most safe, but it was also when I was able to heal my fractured soul. Traumatic events can change everything in a person’s life, from their physical capabilities to understanding their greater purpose on this planet. When treated delicately and with care, the time period after a trauma is an opportunity to retrieve any parts that feel disconnected. It is also an opportunity to open to a deeper connection to self and trusting your inner compass for guidance.
My body healed quickly and beautifully; I was able to enjoy some of my favorite activities, such as hiking and yoga, within four months of my accident. My soul took a bit longer to heal, however: after so many aspects of my life and identity changed so suddenly, it was on the acupuncture table and with Vladi’s guidance that I discovered my deeper purpose. Vladi helped me see that this traumatic injury was also an opportunity to grow, to become more of the person I wanted to be, and she was an incredible guide and mentor throughout this process. With Vladi’s support, I was able to explore the deepest corners of my soul and open up the gifts I am here to share.
At this point, a little over a year and a half has passed since I first stepped into Vladi’s office. Throughout this time, I have completely overhauled my life as I knew it! I quit my job of five years, I moved, I completed the first year of a graduate program, and I feel more connected to my purpose than I ever have before. I still receive acupuncture from Vladi, but only once or twice a month to address any lingering aches and pains from my accident, or to receive balancing and energetic treatments to help me handle the trials and tribulations of graduate school.
Sometimes we fall so that we can wake up with a deeper awareness of joy, love and gratitude. My fall in Austin shook me to my core, and with the help and guidance from amazing individuals such as Vladi Starkov at Flourish Integrative Health, I am happier and feel more whole and alive than I ever have been before. Today is a gift!
Jenny Harrow is pursuing her Master’s Degree in Integrative Health Studies at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco and is interning with Flourish Integrative Health. To learn more about how Flourish Integrative Health can assist you with your journey after trauma, guidance during life transitions, and pain management, visit: www.flourishintegrativehealth.com
Tuesday Tips: Bone Broth! One of the most mineral-rich foods out there!
Recently, I have been telling all of my patients about bone broth. This golden delicious liquid is chock-full of minerals and has helped several patients heal digestion, support immune system, heal and prevent injury, and recover from illness. I personally prefer Beef Marrow Bone Broth because it feels very nourishing to my body. However, if there are other conditions that are needing more tendon/ ligament support such as tendonitis, joint issues, knee pain, I will sometimes recommend Chicken feet/ necks. Check out all of the minerals that are contained in this delicious liquid. To your health, Vladi
Beef Bone Broth
Several large beef marrow bones, with or without meat attached
1 Tbs. apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
Combine all ingredients in a crockpot and fill with water. Let cook on a low setting for 12-36 hours.
Strain with a colander or sieve, lined with cheesecloth – for a clearer broth.
Enjoy warm or let cool to use in other meals. Keeps in the fridge for several days or freeze indefinitely. I take the fat out once it is solid.
- Soup – Just add vegetables, or meat to broth and heat until warm. Season after cooking with salt and pepper and your favorite spices.
- Cooking Liquid – Use broth in place of water to cook vegetables and meat in a frying pan or pot. Bring broth to a boil, add meat and vegetables, reduce heat and simmer until cooked.
- Gravy – Use to make gravy for vegetables and meat. Add organic butter (2 Tbs.) in a skillet. Whisk in broth and cook. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Tea – Drink broth like a tea. This is great in the winter or when sick. Fill a thermos and sip throughout the day. The most traditional use for seasoned broth is as a first course, to enhance the digestion of any meal to come.
- Cleanse – Forget about juice, use broth as a liquid cleanse! Mix it up with chicken, beef or pork bone broth, add spice to taste. Yum!
Bone Broth contains lots of nutrients from the cartilage and bone. These include:
- hyaluronic acid
Recipe adapted from Berkeley Nutrition by Stephanie Gruber, Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition
Tuesday Tips~ Ready for some peace in your belly? From IBS to Ease.
“I have irritable bowel syndrome. What do I do about it? What causes it? How do I fix my leaky gut? Do I take drugs?” Dr Mark Hyman MD
CHECK OUT THE VIDEO
Irritable bowel syndrome is a huge problem that affects almost 50 million Americans or almost one of every six people.
It’s one of the most common reasons for visits to the doctor, and yet, most doctors have no clue how to treat it or what’s really causing it.
That’s where functional medicine comes in.
Functional medicine is a not a new treatment or test or modality. It’s a whole new way of thinking about solving the puzzle of chronic symptoms and diseases.
Irritable bowel syndrome is a fantastic model for illustrating how functional medicine works.
So, what is irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, anyway?
Irritable bowel syndrome is what doctors call symptoms of bloating or gas, distention, constipation, diarrhea, cramping—where your bowel is just irritable. When you look in there during a colonoscopy, you don’t really see anything. It looks normal.
There is no structural problem, no tumor or obvious cause. The root problem is dysfunction of your gut ecosystem. Most doctors often suggest eating more fiber or taking Metamucil. That’s generally not very effective.
IBS causes needless misery for millions of people.
But it is fixable!
The causes of irritable bowel syndrome
In functional medicine, we know that one disease can have many causes (or that one cause can create many diseases—think gluten).
If you have five people with IBS, the causes may be quite different for each person. In functional medicine, we focus on getting to the root cause of disease.
There are really only five causes of all disease: allergens, microbes or imbalance of the bugs in your gut, toxins, poor diet, and stress. All of these can trigger symptoms and create thousands of diseases.
Remember those five people with irritable bowel? Each one of them may have different causes for the exact same symptoms.
Let’s go through the causes of IBS and look at what you can do to get rid of it once and for all. It’s extraordinary how simple it is once we know the right thing to do.
There’s a funny joke I always tell about how important it is to know what to do. This patient got his appendix out and the doctor sends him a bill for $1,000, and the patient goes, “Wow! That’s lot of money for such a simple operation.”
The doctor is like, “You’re right.” And he sends him another bill: $1 for taking out your appendix, $999 for knowing what needs to be taken out.
Functional medicine is sort of like that. We know exactly what to do and how to take things out. We treat the system not the symptoms.
Food allergens or sensitivities
The first thing that can happen is that foods can irritate your bowel and digestive system.
They are called food sensitivities. It’s not a true allergy like a peanut allergy or shellfish allergy, but it’s a more mild food sensitivity. But it can cause terrible symptoms, and they are very common.
The most common thing in food that people react to is gluten. That’s the protein found in wheat, barley, rye, oats, and spelt.
It’s a very common reaction even if you don’t have celiac disease, which is a full-blown reaction to gluten. Even if your doctor tells you your tests for gluten antibodies or celiac are normal, you can still have a severe reaction.
Dairy, another big problem. This can be caused by the lactose, which about 75 percent of people can’t digest.
It causes bloating, gas, and diarrhea. But dairy can also create problems even if you don’t have lactose intolerance. Lactaid milk helps with lactose intolerance but not other dairy reactions.
Dairy contains proteins (like casein and whey) that also can cause irritation and inflammation in your gut.
There are many, many other foods people can react to, including soy, corn and eggs.
In my book, The UltraSimple Diet, I’ve created a comprehensive elimination diet to get rid of all the most common problem foods for one week.
It allows you to connect the dots and learn whether what you are eating is causing your symptoms. Most people don’t connect those dots very well.
There are also some tests available that you can use to assess food sensitivities and gluten reactions. Check out the “How to Work with Your Doctor to Get What You Need” guide for more information. It’s a great resource to help you figure out what tests you need, and it’s free!
Bad bugs in the gut
The second cause of IBS is imbalances in your gut ecosystem. You have enormous ecosystem of bugs in there—500 species of bugs. There are one hundred trillion bacterial cells in there.
There are 10 times as many bacterial cells as your own cells. You are only 10 percent human!
In fact, there is a hundred times as much bacterial DNA in you as your own DNA. So, you are only really 10% human! And these bugs have to be in balance for you to be healthy. We call this the human microbiome.
If you have bad bugs growing in there or an overgrowth of yeast, or if you have parasites or worms, you can get IBS.
Also, if you have bugs in the wrong spot, you can have a problem. Most of the bacteria are in your large intestine, but sometimes, they kind of move up and go into the small intestine. That’s not very good, because that should be sterile.
When you eat food that’s starchy—bread, cereal, pasta, rice, or sugary foods—the bacteria ferment the sugars in the food. It’s like the way apple cider blows up in the plastic container in your fridge when it goes bad. That’s what happens in your gut.
The bacteria ferment the sugars in the food you eat, and you blow up. That’s why you get bloating right after meals. We call that postprandial bloating or bloating after you eat or what one of my patients calls a “food baby.”
That’s a very common symptom of bacterial overgrowth. We call that SIBO, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. It’s very common and a very easy thing to treat if you use the right modality. Most doctors never diagnose or treat this properly.
Yeast overgrowth is also common in your gut. It’s sort of like a garden where the weeds take over. Yeast overgrowth happens because of taking antibiotics, steroids, birth control pills, or acid-blocking drugs.
It also occurs if you eat a lot of sugar, drink alcohol, or you are diabetic.
All these things tend to cause overgrowth of yeast, and that can be treated with an antifungal, such as Diflucan, Nystatin or Sporanox. Antifungal herbs, such as oregano, can also be effective to reboot your gut.
I’m not a big fan of medication, but sometimes for irritable bowel, a good non-absorbed antibiotic called Xifaxan will clear out the SIBO (bacterial overgrowth) and stop bloating and diarrhea.
Using the Xifaxin and an antifungal is almost like hitting the reset button on your computer; you reboot your gut and then you start over.
Other bugs can also be a problem. Stool testing may be needed to identify parasites or worms.
Do you have enough of the good bacteria? Do you have worms or parasites or yeast or other bad bugs?
You can often treat these things based on symptoms or your medical history and then test if you don’t get better. The key is to reboot your gut by getting rid of the bad stuff and putting in the good stuff.
How to heal your gut
How do you heal your gut? First we remove the bad stuff (bad bugs, yeast, parasites, worms, food sensitivities). We replace the things that that are missing (enzymes, prebiotics from fiber). We re-inoculate with healthy bacteria (probiotics), and we repair the gut with the right nutrients.
We talked about getting rid of the bad stuff (bugs and food sensitivities).
Now, we have to add in the good stuff.
Replace digestive enzymes to help break down the food while your gut is healing. You may need those for two or three months.
Then, you need to re-inoculate your gut with healthy bacteria using probiotics including Bifidobacteria, Lactobacillus, and other strains of bacteria. They help to repopulate the healthy gut flora and allow your digestion to work better.
You can also eat probiotic-rich foods like kimchi, kombucha, miso, or sauerkraut. Sometimes, you can also eat yogurt if you are not allergic to dairy. Try unsweetened sheep or goat yogurt. These are all foods that help your gut flora get and stay healthy.
Vitamin A, zinc, omega-3 fats (fish oil), evening primrose oil, and glutamine all help repair the gut. We also use herbs like quercetin and turmeric to reduce inflammation and heal a leaky gut.
When your gut is “leaky,” food proteins and microbial proteins leak into your bloodstream, causing inflammation.
A leaky gut occurs when the gut lining is interrupted. Normally, your intestinal cells are stuck together like Legos.
But when they come apart or separate, food proteins and bacteria leak in and they start pissing off your immune system. This triggers inflammation.
Not only will you have irritable bowel but a leaky gut can also cause joint pain, fatigue, cognitive problems, depression, allergies, congestion, and rashes like eczema.
You name it; many symptoms and diseases are caused by leaky gut.
In Functional medicine, the gut is one of the most important systems to focus on and to get working well, because that’s the seat of your health. It’s connected to everything else.
Do an elimination diet to get rid of common food sensitivities. Get rid of dairy, gluten, and sugar. Try The UltraSimple Diet for two to three weeks. If you find you are better, then you may want to stay off the trigger foods long term.
Try herbs for cleaning out bad bacteria or yeast.
Consider testing for food sensitivities and for stool issues (see How To Work With Your Doctor to Get What You Need.) Consider Cryex 3 testing for gluten sensitivity when conventional tests for gluten are negative.
Add digestive enzymes for two to four months. Take two capsules with each meal.
Add probiotics. Use high potency probiotics.
Add nutrients for healing a leaky gut. These can be taken in a shake or as separate supplements. I recommend for my patients UltraInflamX (rice protein, turmeric, ginger, quercetin, zinc, and nutrients), two scoops a day as a shake, plus G.I. Integrity (glutamine), four capsules twice a day, and fish oil OmegaGenics 720, two capsules twice a day.
If you are constipated (not having one or two normal bowel movements a day) take magnesium citrate capsules 150 to 300 mg once or twice a day. If you take too much you will get loose stools so just take less.
By following this approach, most people can heal their irritable bowel.
If you are not getting better, you may need medical help.
You may need treatment for SIBO or bacterial overgrowth. I recommend Xifaxin (a non-absorbed antibiotic), 550mg twice a day for 10 days, and Diflucan, 100mg a day for three to four weeks to kill the yeast. Sometimes treatment for parasites or worms is needed based on the testing.
Friday Finds ~ Multiple Sclerosis
Italian doctor may have found surprisingly simple cure for Multiple Sclerosis
An Italian doctor has been getting dramatic results with a new type of treatment for Multiple Sclerosis, or MS, which affects up to 2.5 million people worldwide. In an initial study, Dr. Paolo Zamboni took 65 patients with relapsing-remitting MS, performed a simple operation to unblock restricted bloodflow out of the brain – and two years after the surgery, 73% of the patients had no symptoms. Dr. Zamboni’s thinking could turn the current understanding of MS on its head, and offer many sufferers a complete cure.
Multiple sclerosis, or MS, has long been regarded as a life sentence of debilitating nerve degeneration. More common in females, the disease affects an estimated 2.5 million people around the world, causing physical and mental disabilities that can gradually destroy a patient’s quality of life.
It’s generally accepted that there’s no cure for MS, only treatments that mitigate the symptoms – but a new way of looking at the disease has opened the door to a simple treatment that is causing radical improvements in a small sample of sufferers.
Italian Dr. Paolo Zamboni has put forward the idea that many types of MS are actually caused by a blockage of the pathways that remove excess iron from the brain – and by simply clearing out a couple of major veins to reopen the blood flow, the root cause of the disease can be eliminated.
Dr. Zamboni’s revelations came as part of a very personal mission – to cure his wife as she began a downward spiral after diagnosis. Reading everything he could on the subject, Dr. Zamboni found a number of century-old sources citing excess iron as a possible cause of MS. It happened to dovetail with some research he had been doing previously on how a buildup of iron can damage blood vessels in the legs – could it be that a buildup of iron was somehow damaging blood vessels in the brain?
He immediately took to the ultrasound machine to see if the idea had any merit – and made a staggering discovery. More than 90% of people with MS have some sort of malformation or blockage in the veins that drain blood from the brain. Including, as it turned out, his wife.
He formed a hypothesis on how this could lead to MS: iron builds up in the brain, blocking and damaging these crucial blood vessels. As the vessels rupture, they allow both the iron itself, and immune cells from the bloodstream, to cross the blood-brain barrier into the cerebro-spinal fluid. Once the immune cells have direct access to the immune system, they begin to attack the myelin sheathing of the cerebral nerves – Multiple Sclerosis develops.
He named the problem Chronic Cerebro-Spinal Venous Insufficiency, or CCSVI.
Zamboni immediately scheduled his wife for a simple operation to unblock the veins – a catheter was threaded up through blood vessels in the groin area, all the way up to the effected area, and then a small balloon was inflated to clear out the blockage. It’s a standard and relatively risk-free operation – and the results were immediate. In the three years since the surgery, Dr. Zamboni’s wife has not had an attack.
Widening out his study, Dr. Zamboni then tried the same operation on a group of 65 MS-sufferers, identifying blood drainage blockages in the brain and unblocking them – and more than 73% of the patients are completely free of the symptoms of MS, two years after the operation.
In some cases, a balloon is not enough to fully open the vein channel, which collapses either as soon as the balloon is removed, or sometime later. In these cases, a metal stent can easily be used, which remains in place holding the vein open permanently.
Dr. Zamboni’s lucky find is yet to be accepted by the medical community, which is traditionally slow to accept revolutionary ideas. Still, most agree that while further study needs to be undertaken before this is looked upon as a cure for MS, the results thus far have been very positive.
Naturally, support groups for MS sufferers are buzzing with the news that a simple operation could free patients from what they have always been told would be a lifelong affliction, and further studies are being undertaken by researchers around the world hoping to confirm the link between CCSVI and MS, and open the door for the treatment to become available for sufferers worldwide.
It’s certainly a very exciting find for MS sufferers, as it represents a possible complete cure, as opposed to an ongoing treatment of symptoms. We wish Dr. Zamboni and the various teams looking further into this issue the best of luck.