How to keep cheerful when the weather looks grey.

13 Feb 2019 Uncategorized

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) effects about 4% of the population in a severe way, 10% to 20% in a mild to moderate way and many more people may just feel a little lower when looking up at a grey sky. It is also 4x more common in women than in men. If you have a family history of depression, anxiety or mood disorders and you add the seasonal weather on top of that it can cause big problems in a person’s life.

Some of the things that occur naturally in the winter are: feeling more fatigued and gaining weight. This is because in cold whether we are naturally programmed to move slower; a sort of human hibernation period to protect us from injuries.

Some of my favorite tips to combat this are as follows:

Don’t fight it: hibernate and choose activities that make you feel warm, nourished and cared for. Some examples may be choose a nice book or to read for winter, fluffy wool socks or going to a cabin with a large fire-place.
Reduce training schedule: Athletes will often have less events or races in the winter so they can reduce the intensity of the work out to help the body recover and restore for another season.
Recover and Restoring foods: Soups with a nourishing broth and the root vegetables can be a healthy way to replenish the nutrients that got depleted over a years time.

Light Therapy: Philips the company makes a wide range of light therapy alarm clocks and energy lights to help with your mood and wake time. Our favorite is GoLITE BLU Energy Light. It’s $122 (This has been independently studied to improve energy levels in about 70% of participants making it a very effective therapy for Seasonal blues). A cheaper option is a full spectrum light bulb in your vanity while getting ready in the morning and this will run $9-$15 but not as effective for more severe cases.
Exercise in the morning: Brisk exercise in the morning by either walking the dog or push-ups for 15-20 minutes improves blood flow, improves metabolism and mood.

Water: Drink 32 oz before exercise and breakfast and continue to drink lots throughout the day. Average male 150lbs should drink 75 to 150 oz per day. If you struggle with enough water then download an app or get a water bottle that tells you how much you have been drinking.

Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy

13 Feb 2019 Medical

What is ESWT?

Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy, also known as ESWT, is a non-surgical treatment option for chronic plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, tennis elbow, shoulder tendonitis, and other chronic tendinopathies. “Extracorporeal” means “outside the body.” Shock waves, also known as pressure or sound waves, are generated by a special ESWT device and focused onto the targeted tissue. The shock waves are delivered to stimulate and reactivate the body’s repair mechanisms to advance normal tissue healing.

What is involved in the procedure?

On the day of the procedure, you will arrive at our office at the designated time prior to the scheduled appointment where you will meet your physician and technician. You will lie back comfortably with the area to be treated resting on the machine on a soft, water-filled membrane. The practitioner will make sure you are comfortable throughout the procedure. During the treatment, you will hear repetitive clicking sounds.

ESWT benefits patients because their condition can be treated extracorporeally, meaning outside of the body. Since ESWT is non-invasive, there is no lengthy recovery period, virtually no time off from work or risk of causing further damage. The same cannot be said with surgery.

What conditions can be treated by ESWT?

ESWT can effectively treat a range of musculoskeletal conditions. Complaints involving attachment points for tendons and ligaments in major joints such as the plantar fascia, Achilles tendon, shoulder, elbow and knee are common areas for ESWT treatment. Please contact In Health Clinic to discuss your individual condition with one of our practitioners.

How can I prepare for ESWT?

You will need to be available for the full course of treatment.

You should not take any non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, for two weeks before your first procedure, and throughout your treatment. If you are unsure if any of your medicines contain NSAIDs then please check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

What kind of recovery can I expect?

ESWT forces your body to create new tissue cells in the damaged area. Expect gradual healing to take place over days, weeks or months. Though not typical, some have mild soreness or bruising after treatment. Some people experience no more pain from day one. Most will have noticeable to significant improvement by the thirteenth week. A second treatment after sixteen weeks may be necessary in approximately 20% of patients. As it took time to create the injury, healing also takes time. Total healing of the area can take up to one year.

The best thing about ESWT is that unlike surgery, you avoid getting worse before getting better. You do not need to plan lengthy time off from work or your life for painful post-procedure recovery.

Are there any side effects to ESWT?

Compared to invasive or endoscopic surgery, ESWT has fewer side effects and a much shorter recover time. The most common side effects include temporary pain (bruising and soreness,) swelling and petechiae (broken blood vessels that are generally of no concern.) These possible occurrences, however, usually clear within a few days. Moreover, the risks associated with surgical incisions and general anesthesia are eliminated.

How many treatments will I need?

The number of treatments varies depending on the indication and tissue response. The effect of the treatment is cumulative, so you will typically need more than one (3–5) treatment. Very often though, you will experience relief right after the first treatment.

When should I consider ESWT?

If you have had your condition for more than six months and have tried three conservative therapies with no results, don’t wait. It is natural to procrastinate, but it is not a good idea for tendonosis conditions, since continuously using degenerative tendon tissue can cause further damage.

For example, every time that you feel pain when you place weight on your heel or lift something with your arm, it’s because you are pulling against the tendon fibers. When the condition progresses to a rupture, ESWT is no longer an option and you will have no treatment alternative but invasive surgery.

Additionally, if left untreated, you can experience new problems. With heel pain in your foot you may naturally compensate by walking on your toes or limping to protect yourself from pain. These abnormal movements will, in time, cause strain to your knees, hips and lower back, or even worse, may result in the same condition in the other foot. Compensation issues occur whenever you have chronic pain left untreated.

If your pain has just begun, you may be able to avoid ESWT by early intervention. Please feel free to call us and we will recommend a specialist who can help you take care of the problem today. Take care of yourself. Fix the problem, don’t delay.

I’ve tried other things but they didn’t help. How do I know ESWT will?

Tendonitis sometimes resolves by itself or with the help of treatments such as strapping, physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medications, or cortisone injections. When the condition is new (usually less than six months) it is called acute tendonitis.

Acute tendonitis is an inflammation. All of the treatments used at this stage are meant to rest the area or deal with the inflammation. Those who do not get better in the “acute” phase have what is called chronic tendonosis. The difference between tendonosis and tendonitis is simple: Tendonitis is an inflammation. Tendonosis is degenerative or damaged tissue. You can use steroid injections repeatedly with no result if the problem has gone beyond inflammation. Surgery used to be the only option for tendonosis. ESWT treats tendonosis because ESWT forces the damaged tendon to heal.

How do I know ESWT is right for me?

Our In Health Clinic practitioner will perform a thorough examination and will decide if ESWT treatment is right for you after looking at all the options. For instance, you could be a candidate if you have been diagnosed with chronic plantar fasciitis for at least six months and if your symptoms have failed to respond to three conservative treatments which may include rest, physical therapy, heel cushions, non-steroidal medications (Motrin or other anti-inflammatories), cortisone injections, taping, orthotics, shoe modifications, night splinting and casting. In the past, surgical intervention for chronic plantar fasciitis was required when these other treatments had failed, but today, ESWT is available as an alternative, noninvasive treatment option.

Is ESWT covered by my insurance?

Our Clinic are happy to contact your insurance company to find out if there is coverage for ESWT. Please call us for an informational packet and to discuss your condition and insurance coverage.

Gluten Free Granola

11 Feb 2019 Recipes

Making healthy snacks for your kids can be a real challenge and while we are not a gluten-free family I try to use it gluten as a treat, which means I am always seeking out yummy alternative recipes when I can. And let’s face it, lots of kid’s snacks are gluten based such as: pretzels, chips, crackers, Chex mix and the list could go on and on.

Why we are gluten-light? Well we have no allergens or sensitivities in our family but gluten is a food that isn’t easy to digest so by reducing the consumption in our house we boost a healthier digestive tract. Gluten as we age an in individuals with inflammation or diminished brain function can actually exacerbate problems so we reduce our exposure.

Fun Fact? Our family Gluten Splurges are usually for an amazing baguette. So last year when we went to Paris you can guess what we enjoyed.

Gluten Free Granola

Our family loves to use granola in so many ways such as, with yogurt and fruit, on oatmeal, plain or with rice or almond milk. I love this recipe since it has less clusters and more muesli without being muesli which makes it even better for sprinkling on yogurt.

4 cups Rolled oats (not quick cooking) gluten free
¼ cup raw sunflower seeds
1 cup chopped nuts such as almonds or pecans (if you have younger children always use pecans they are not as hard)
¼ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup canola oil
¼ cup maple syrup
1/3 cup honey
½ teaspoon vanilla
1 cup dried fruit (put in at the end after baking) Like acai berry for extra punch!


Gather the ingredients.
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper for easier clean up and baking.

In a large bowl, combine the oats, sunflower seeds, chopped nuts, salt and cinnamon.

In another bowl whisk together the canola oil, maple syrup, honey and vanilla.

With a wooden spoon, stir the wet ingredients into the dry until the oats appear wet.

Place the mixture on a large baking sheet and place in the oven.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until very lightly golden brown (not brown at all if you wait this long the granola will taste burned)

Remove from oven, let cool. When mostly cool, mix in the dried fruit and store in an airtight container for best results.

This recipe is based off one I found on the internet a while ago and love but when I printed it out nothing about the original source stayed on the print out. So thank you to the un-sung hero out there. We love the granola, and would love to give due credit if you are reading this blog.

Dough Ornaments

13 Dec 2018 Recipes

Based on
Ingredients: 4 Cups Flour
1 1/2 Cups warm water
1 Cup Salt

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C) or just shape and allow to air dry can take up to 5 days.
Combine the flour, salt and water; mix well and knead for 10 minutes. Roll out on a lightly floured surface. The thicker you roll out the dough, the more it puffs up when baking.
Cut into desired shapes and make holes for hanging. Bake for 30-40 minutes; allow to cool (usually 1 full day)
Decorate with poster paints or tube paints

Sport’s rehabilitation for kids

13 Dec 2018 Complementary

When a young athlete gets injured, it can set the stage for pain and growth abnormalities for their lifetime. We want you to look out for these injuries as they can occur during your family holiday football or basketball game.

Sprained ankles; just one can set you up for getting more and more sprains which eventually create weak ankles as an adult.
Getting your ankle adjusted and the muscles and ligaments worked on with hands or a tool will help speed recovery and prevent future injury
Pitching shoulder; can happen due to over-training but can also lead to shoulder pain, lack of range of motion, arthritis and even frozen shoulder as an adult. In severe cases, they may not be able to raise their arms above their head.
Massaging an injured arm by making sure that the arm is moving in its full range of motion and adjusting the spine and shoulder to make sure they are free from joint restriction
Spine mis-alignment and pain in the low back can be from falling off the monkey bars or from growing pains. Severe cases such as scoliosis need regular maintenance to help prevent progression causing heart and lung issues. Both are helped by making sure the spine is properly aligned
Children are less likely to have severe growing pains when joint and muscle alignment is more relaxed.

Brain Fog and Dementia

13 Dec 2018 Medical

Millions of Americans are suffering from what we call brain fog and they often worry that it is dementia. But brain fog is when the brain’s ability to think quickly or to respond to more complex tasks or speed of remembering something is compromised; just like the processor speed of a computer that is running too many applications. Dementia is a general symptom of several diagnosis and only impedes memory. We are going to delve into the most common causes of brain fog and how you can work to make sure your brain is protected and working at its best possible speed.

What are common reasons for brain fog to occur?

Reaction to allergen’s – food or seasonal
Hormone shifts
Early Alzheimer’s or Dementia
Extreme Stress
Lack of regular sleep (often due to not getting 6-8hours a night)
Depression and anxiety
Blood sugar dis-regulation

What are the symptoms?

The definition of brain fog is temporary diminishment of the mental capacity, reasoning and memory. How we experience them is different and these are the things you can expect someone to say who has brain fog.

Repeating the same question cause their brain doesn’t actually take the time to wait and listen to the answer
Trouble remember details of an event or daily life
Trouble remembering names and even faces
Getting distracted in the middle of a task and not being able to come back to that previous task to complete it.

What is the difference from brain fog and dementia?

Brain fog effects several areas of the brain such as, conscious reason, confusion, poor spatial awareness (clumsiness), memory and lack of concentration; while dementia only effects the memory part of the brain. Brain fog can be brought on by a lot of different causes such as stress, dementia is most often the symptoms of a more serious disease such as Alzheimer’s.

How do I prevent Brain fog or dementia?

By knowing that brain fog or dementia runs in your family, you can create ways to prevent it from progressing or effecting your life.

Get regular sleep of 6-8 hours
Manage your blood sugar by making sure you eat protein with food even snacks
Get exercise which improves blood flow to the brain and to the body
Reduce stress
Remove any vitamin deficiencies
Learn new things

Once I have dementia or brain fog is their any thing I can do?

So even though diminished brain function can’t always be reversed, you can recover significant amounts of ground through correcting imbalances in neurotransmitters, nutrient deficiencies, hormones, digestion and work – stress balance, and here is how:

Take B- vitamins, especially B6 which is very important in the function of nerves and the brain
Take nutritional sleep aids if you are having trouble sleeping such as melatonin, phospatidylserine etc. (please always consult a doctor first)
Detox from either heavy metals or toxins to help the brain function better
Fix digestion issues since the brain and gut function on an axis that is necessary for them both to work
Avoid food’s that tend to cause brain inflammation or what we call molecular-mimicry, such as wheat which molecularly looks like the cerebellum and can cause brain fog and other issues
Huperzine a and lion’s mane can be very helpful in improving cognitive function by improving neurotransmitter levels. (consult your doctor before use)
Brain exercises can be done through programs like or taking a class and learning something new to you. Do what you are not good at -for example, an athlete will take an art class or an artist will take a sports class.
Exercise 20 minutes a day to improve blood flow and function of the heart as well as the brain.
Anti-inflammatory supplements and diet can also help if auto-immune disease is present such as fish oil, turmeric, boswellia and gluthione etc.


23 Sep 2018 Recipes

A few months ago a Patient brought me a jar of fermented beets that were absolutely delicious. We know that fermented foods are really good for the gut micro biome especially a diverse number of fermented foods as they feed different strains of bacteria. Here is her recipe. I am also sharing some of the local resources for helping you do your own fermentations.

This link below is the Mountain Feed & Farm Store in Ben Lomond where I bought my supplies. There are multiple jar systems available to ferment. I chose the Mason Wide tops kit.

For one jar, I use about 1/4 teaspoon or so of Caldwell starter so I can use less salt. I bought it at the Mountain store.
I use one tablespoon of Celtic grey salt. Many people use Himalayan pink salt, but I find the taste too harsh. Both websites, and,  are excellent resources for fermentation.

Instead of using a starter culture, people use just salt or whey that is strained from yogurt. I have a friend who strains yogurt to make Greek yogurt for desserts with fruit. This article discusses the different choices for fermentation.

One quart wide mouth jar
Pickle Pipe Silicone Airlocks (or other airlock system)
Fermentation weight
3.5 Cups distilled water (important to use distilled to avoid bleach which should halt the fermentation)
3 or 4 Beets
1 large Leek
Fresh Basil, rosemary, thyme
Teaspoon of whole pickling spice and teaspoon good Italian seasoning (put in a little muslin bag)
1/4 teaspoon of starter culture

Put the washed jar, top, and weight in a large bowl then pour some boiling water over them to sterilize. Peel and slice beets and leek thinly using a mandolin. Place beet slices in the jar, alternating with fennel and fresh herbs until the jar is almost full. Include some fennel fronds. Put dry herbs and pickling spice into a muslin bag or square of muslin and tie up, then place in the jar. Press everything down tightly with wood tamper included with kit or something similar. Mix distilled water with salt and stir until dissolved, then pour into the jar until all of the beet mixture is under water. Place weight and add more water if needed. Secure with airlock. Shake jar a little to try and release air bubbles.

Find a dark, cool place to store the jar, such as in the rear of the lowest cabinet. After a week the fermentation is complete. Replace the top with a lid and refrigerate.

How to keep a healthy balance.

23 Sep 2018 Complementary

How to keep a healthy balance

1. Surround yourself with people who help you grow

This is important because love gives us energy and energy is life. When we have people in our life that either take our energy or don’t love us and cause pain and hurt, it takes our energy away from being who we are.

2. Eating Healthy

When we put healthy food in our body, we can have a clear mind and body to function at our best. Some of the common foods to reduce in our diet are sugar, caffeine, wheat and dairy. You can always try eliminating food and see if your body reacts.

3. Spend time doing something you love

It is good to have things in your life that bring you joy and it’s usually better to choose things that are only yours. Spending time with your partner and kids is fine but it needs to be something you can turn to even if you are all alone. Gardening, crafts, cooking, sports, photography are all things you can choose that can be a solo activity enjoyed on your own.

Autoimmune Disease

23 Sep 2018 Medical

With Autoimmune issues on the rise today, people are more and more concerned with prevention and how to protect themselves.

What is a Auto-immune condition?

Whenever the body starts attacking its own tissue and cells, we characterize this as auto-immune. Some of the most common auto-immune conditions are hypothyroidism, gastro-intestinal issues, arthritis and many more. Auto-immune conditions are categorized by the organ they attack and are not currently being treated as an attack on the whole immune system.

Here are a small sample list of auto-immune diseases:

* Rheumatoid Arthritis
* Sjogren’s arthritis
* Lupus
* Celiac Disease
* Polymalgia Rheumatica
* Multiple Sclerosis
* Ankylosing Spondylitis
* Vasculitis
* Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Crohn’s, Ulcerative Colitis
* Type 1 Diabetes

What causes Auto-immune conditions?

As a growing number of conditions falls under the auto-immune category, we wonder the possible causes. Some are more likely to have auto-immunity in their families, some from toxins, more from poor diet (weight can play a factor), smoking, drug use (including prescription), severe or chronic stress and hormonal imbalances. There are more than 80 classified autoimmune diseases and they can be difficult to determine where they come from and which one you have.

What are the most common symptoms of Autoimmune disease?

* Fatigue
* Joint Pain
* Swelling
* Skin problems (like eczema)
* Abdominal pain and discomfort
* Recurring Fevers
* Swollen Glands

If these symptoms sound vague and like the symptoms of a lot of different diseases, you would be right and this makes diagnosis so difficult.

What testing is done?

Doctor’s start with laboratory testing to determine which type or category of disease a patient has and may order the following tests:

* Anti Nuclear Antibodies (ANA)
* Autoantibodies (thyroid or other organ based)
* Immunoglobulin A (IgA)
* C-reactive Protein (CRP) Test
* Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate (ESR)
* Complement Test C1, C1q, C2, C3, C4, CH50, CH100, Total Complement

How is it treated?

Autoimmune conditions are treated in several ways such as diet, exercise, nutraceuticals, hormones, anti-inflammatories and sometimes steroids if the attack is severe enough. Most people try and use natural alternatives and only steroids when more severe attacks occur. Below is a list of treatments including Dr. Walker’s favorite functional medicine strategies:

* Diet: Auto-immune Protocol Diet (AIP) similar to paleo but much stricter (see a basic list on our website link)
* Exercise: Low impact exercise such as yoga, biking, swimming and walking with mild weight lifting being done as ability allows
* Nutraceuticals: Vitamin A and D, Liposomal Glutathione, Short-chain Fatty acids, Turmeric, Boswellia, L-Glutamine, essential minerals (some of Dr. Walkers list)
Steroids and auto-immune suppressants: in more severe cases
* Hormones: Estrogen, progesterone, thyroid hormone, melatonin to help balance the system.
Anti-inflammatory drugs: Ibuprofen and Naproxen

If you are struggling with what you think may be auto-immune don’t suffer alone, there are lots of health care professionals to help you and at our office we work together with your specialist to make sure you are uniting both functional medicine and Western care to have the best and healthiest you possible. We don’t want the feeling of sickness to prevent you from enjoying life!

Why Birth Photography?

20 Jun 2018 Complementary

Why Birth Photography?

As a birth doula for the past 4 years, I’ve seen many partners become parents with the birth of their child. There are such loving yet intense moments between couples when laboring. I started to capture some of these moments when a client would ask to get some pictures during the process and I was always taken back by the beauty in those raw moments.

In sharing these photos with my clients, they were able to process their birth a little easier by filling in the spaces where their memory wasn’t serving them properly. Of course, during labor, a mama can be in a totally different realm while working to bring her baby into the world. These images of moments I witnessed helped the mama in understanding her birth journey and even in understanding her power as a woman birthing her baby. As one of my recent clients explained in a testimonial of my services, Parts of the delivery were so fast and sort of a blur in our memories, so the photos are a gift we will always treasure.”

Since adding birth photography to my birth doula work, I capture what I see as it unfolds in front of me. I feel so amazingly privileged to be witness to such precious and raw moments. To be trusted by a mama to guide her through this event and to watch as a couple become parents is an indescribable honor. To be able to capture a woman’s partner holding her bravely, caressing her loving smile between contractions, rubbing out stiffened shoulders with soft yet strong hands, holding the scissors with a shaky hand to cut the umbilical cord. These are moments the couple is living as the process unfolds and to have the ability to share my perspective with them after all the hard work is done is so fulfilling and magical.

Why birth photography? The birth of a baby is one of the most amazing experiences of our lives, some would say more so than getting married. To allow our body to grow a human being and then work to bring that human into the world, in whatever means necessary, is something you will remember for a lifetime, but will fade in detail. Capture the moments with birth photography to give yourself, your partner, and especially your baby the gift of remembering the details of his or her entrance into the world. The joyous smiles, grimaces, yawns, sweat and tears, and everything in between are worth capturing. As most of the dads explain after hiring me to take photos for them, “I couldn’t imagine having to try and take photos while I was supporting my wife through labor.” Would you have tried to take photos of your own wedding day? If not, consider hiring a birth photographer to capture these precious moments in your life so you can be less stressed and more focused on the work ahead.

If you are interested in learning more, please visit and contact me about your birth photography wishes. We will discuss, in detail, the arrangements before so you can be worry free when it comes to the arrival of your little one!

Caren Hespeler

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