Help from Acupuncture in Portland, Oregon with Malia Susee

 

Pohala Clinic focuses on the whole body experience for every client.  Whether you visit a practitioner for a specific illness, a check up or for chronic pain, our providers specialize in treating the body, mind and the spirit. Acupuncturist Malia Susee embodies this philosophy.

If this is your first time with an acupuncturist, Malia explains the philosophy behind her work and how she came to practice the ancient healing and chi balancing technique.

I have always had a love of language, learning, and travel. Along with this, I harbor a fascination with the human body’s anatomy, physiology, and energetic potential. I was a student of martial arts and yoga when my yoga teacher invited me to become her apprentice. She suggested I take a course in Anatomy and Physiology first– and when I did, “my hair caught fire,” (not really, but I became utterly engrossed!). I had received acupuncture on many occasions and found it helpful and curative. I realized that I could make this my life’s work. Once I looked into the education and practice of Oriental Medicine, I never looked back!

Visiting Malia is a relaxing and expanding experience. For those used to acupuncture, taking the pulse, looking at the tongue and asking questions about behaviors of the body will be natural. But when it’s your first time, it can feel like a new world. One filled with possibilities and healing.  Seeking the natural approach to a healthy mind and body is one process Malia loves sharing with her clients. Her goal as a health care professional is to actively listen and work with a person to find out a plan that helps the body find balance, healthy internal function and freedom from pain. She continues, “I want to understand what my patient is experiencing and wants to achieve, health-wise, and to use Traditional Chinese Medicine to not only develop a treatment plan, but to start treatment, on the table, at that visit.”

Malia treats many people who have chronic pain along with joint and muscle dysfunction, but she also has deep clinical experience addressing a patient’s hormonal and emotional imbalances, addictions, respiratory illnesses, strokes, concussions and traumatic injuries.

Malia is available for appointments at Pohala clinic on Monday through Thursday. Please call the Pohala Clinic office for her schedule.

Malia loves the challenge of helping people reach their health goals through balancing the energy of the body and the mind.  Acupuncture provides relief for menopause hot flashes, anxiety, insomnia, addiction, colds, stroke, concussions, traumatic injuries, migraines, cramps and more.

Visit Malia and learn about acupuncture and how it can help you find relief and the health needed to live a stable and happy life.

Schizophrenia, Schizoaffective Disorder and Cannabis: An Interview with Portland Nurse Practitioner Julie Foster

Julie Foster, nurse practitioner at Pohala Clinic in Portland, Oregon was recently interviewed by writer Lisa Ellis for PsyCom.net on the topic of medical marijuana, psychosis and schizophrenia. As more states and countries legalize cannabis, it’s essential that all sides of the marijuana story are told. What helps many can also cause unwanted and difficult to mange symptoms in others.  Julie addresses this topic in the article Medical Marijuana for Schizophrenia: Weighing the Risks and Benefits. 

Article excerpt:

“As medical marijuana becomes legal in more states, experts fear it will be used to treat more conditions although data is lacking and health could be harmed. But when it comes to schizophrenia, is cannabis safe, even if it is “medical”?

A growing number of people today are turning to medical marijuana (also called medical cannabis) to manage a host of health problems. But for those with schizophrenia,  a chronic brain disorder that causes periods of psychotic symptoms such as delusions, hallucinations, and trouble focusing, marijuana—in any form—can actually worsen the symptoms, according to Julie Foster, a family nurse practitioner who also serves as Medical Director of Pohala Clinic, a center for integrative care and alternative medicine approaches located in Portland, Oregon.

That’s why she and many other experts recommend that people with schizophrenia or a tendency toward psychosis steer clear of all forms of marijuana.

What is Marijuana?

Click here to read the rest of the article.

Thank you,

Pohala Team

Naturopath and Acupuncturist Paresh Shelat in Portland, Oregon

Paresh H. Shelat, ND, L.Ac

We welcome practitioner Paresh Shelat to the Pohala Clinic team. Dr. Shelat works as a naturopathic primary care physician and licensed acupuncturist with a focus on whole body health.  We asked him to tell us more about his medicine philosophy, his education and his treatment and management goals as a health care professional.

“Your Body, Your Choice”

When I first meet a person, I want to understand the stories and experiences that have led them to where they are today.  Establishing and creating a rapport that allows the person to feel comfortable in my office leads to change and optimal health. It’s about the relationship I have with the people who have come to me for help. I truly believe in the idea of your body, your choice. I help people see their available options and we work together to make a choice that creates health and well being.

A Western and Eastern Approach

I believe it is essential to have an understanding of both paradigms, sometimes the terms naturopath and allopath (a western approach to medicine)  are used to describe the differences.  I work with patients to make informed decisions about how they want to dictate the outcomes of their health- this often involves both eastern and western practices.  There are times where the western standard of care is necessary and when the deviation from the standard of care can be safely completed under proper supervision.

Naturopath and Acupuncture Education 

I started off working in massage therapy. This opened up the path of discovery to the intricate world of medicine (both allopathic and naturopathy).   Graduating with a certificate in massage therapy led me to Johnson State College where I earned my B.Sc degree in Wellness & Alternative Medicine.  From here, I was able to attend the National University of Natural Medicine where I completed a dual degree program in both Naturopathy and Chinese Medicine. (Doctor of Naturopathy, Masters of Acupuncture). Upon completion graduation from NUNM, I finished a three-year residency in 2017.

I enjoy working with patients who are motivated and open to the possibility of achieving optimal health.  Unfortunately, there is no magical protocol or technique that will work for everyone.  With that said, the patients’ ability to have patience and an understanding that finding the root cause may take time is crucial. This leads to a collaboration that creates health and well being.

Please call Pohala Clinic to book an appointment with Dr. Shelat.

 

 

Julie Foster Nurse Practitioner in Portland, Oregon Accepting Clients with Bipolar Disorder

Julie Foster has over 20 years of experience working with people who have a diagnosis of bipolar disorder. She also works with clients who are not sure if there is bipolar or if it is simply depression or anxiety.
Do you wonder: Do I Have Bipolar Disorder? 
Julie’s appointments allow for time to explore your history in order to come to a decision on what management plan will work best in your current situation. It can be a bit scary at first to think that you have a mental health disorder. Julie provides a safe environment where you can explore symptoms and come up with an answer.
Partners and Family Members are Welcome
Julie also encourages partners and family members to attend appointments so that their questions and needs can be  heard. Pohala encourages a family approach to stabilizing the mood, but as Julie makes very clear when asked about the role of family, your family is comprised of the people you choose to have in your life. They may be relatives or it may be you have found a family that is not related to your family of origin that supports your beliefs in life in order so that you can stay healthy.
How do you Help a Person Who Asks Do I Have Bipolar Disorder
Julie Foster describes her approach:
When I meet a new client who thinks bipolar disorder is in the family, I look at the whole person first. What is happening in the person’s life?  What is going on in the person’s relationships? What substances is the person using that could lead to symptoms that look like the symptoms of bipolar disorder?
It’s a very important time when someone comes to see me about mood swings It means that either they or someone close by has said,  “I think you have bipolar disorder!”  This is life changing and I  want to make sure I’m present and open to what the person is feeling.
I then ask questions about sleep, nutrition, relationships and life events.  I look at bipolar disorder as an opportunity to help the whole person. When we figure out what is going on with the mood and come up with the time of onset and the family history, it’s easier to figure out if bipolar is the actual diagnosis. From there, I explain my philosophy of the illness, listen to what the client feels is happening and come up with a plan that addresses the mind and the body.
I definitely use traditional psychiatric medications as needed, but I also supplement this treatment with natural treatments including homeopathic and herbal remedies. I am a careful study and make sure that what I recommend will not make my client more manic or depressed.
Please know that I have lived with bipolar disorder in my own family for all of my life and I’m very careful to make sure the treatments I suggest will keep a person well and not add more stress to a person’s life. I’m also open to any discussion of spiritual experiences and how there are many different approaches to mental health treatment around the world.
Please call Julie today to book a session and finally get the answers you need:
Do I have bipolar disorder?
What is the best treatment plan for the illness?
What help do I need?
How can I involve my family or partner?
And most importantly…
Am I going to be ok?
If you are a family member, Julie can work with you to get the best care possible for a loved one with bipolar disorder.
Julie’s approach is gentle and firm, based in sound medical practices that incorporate spiritual modalities. Give Julie a call today and book a session. It’s a good time to finally get help and start yourself on the road to stability.
What Julie’s clients say about her bipolar disorder work:
Julie Foster has been my prescriber and advocate for over ten years. I already knew that I had bipolar disorder when she took me on as a patient. I had written a few books and had a pretty good handle on how to manage the illness, but I often had problems with medications and wanted to know what non western treatments she could add to my regular plan. Julie is so compassionate. She understands bipolar as she lives with it in her own family. She is someone I can turn to when I feel overwhelmed with the the enormity of having this illness. She has helped greatly with my never ending sleep problems and I know I can call her at any time when I have a question. I highly recommend Julie as a prescriber and most importantly, as an overall provider for all of the problems many of us with bipolar disorder face including issues with our physical health. 
Julie A. Fast

Portland, Oregon Acupuncturist Malia Susee Answers Your Questions about Acupuncture

Malia Susee Portland, Oregon Acupuncture

Portland, Oregon Acupuncturist Malia Susee answers your questions about her practice:

 

What is in your life personally that helps you have a better understanding of your clients?

I don’t have a personal superpower or ace-in-the-hole for understanding others. I’m curious, though, and fascinated by what folks have to say about their health. I’ve traveled a lot and worked with all kinds of people, and I try to put myself in other people’s shoes (figuratively speaking. Don’t worry– I’ll leave your footwear alone when you’re on my table.) The cool thing about Traditional Chinese Medicine is that it doesn’t judge, and that it doesn’t separate mind from body. It supplies an elegant framework for understanding people and dis-ease, and I find that quite helpful.

 

What is your view on western medicine (allopathic)  v. eastern (naturopathic) medicine?

 Naturopathic medicine’s roots are European (Western). Acupuncture’s roots are Chinese (officially referred to as “Oriental” [Oriental describing a thing, not a person], as in Oriental Medicine, of which Traditional Chinese Medicine is a subset). Oriental medicine is holistic in nature and is an excellent complement to naturopathic and allopathic medicine. I am grateful to have all of these modalities as options for our healing and feel privileged to work with practitioners of each. 

 

Portland Family Nurse Practitioner Vera Vos on Science, Medicine and Spirituality

Vera Voss

Vera Vos, a family nurse practitioner at Pohala Clinic talks about the intersection between spirituality and medicine. 

I am passionate about science. I love how science requires us to be rational and unbiased and I am always amazed how perfect science is, like the symmetry of shapes that repeat themselves in patterns in animals, plants, and the landscape. The language of science is mathematics and when we can figure out the right numbers, so much is explained. At the same time I value my spiritual side. We think that science and spirituality are divergent but most often they come full circle to join each other.

I did a course in mind body medicine at Harvard with Herbert Benson, one of the pioneer researchers to discover the physiological benefits of meditation. Since that time, I have had my own meditation practice. This practice helps me listen better and empathize with others.

I think my love and respect for science coupled with a practice that requires me to stop judging, valuing and, essentially, thinking and just be in the moment helps me gain a deeper understanding of my clients physically, emotionally and spiritually.

Please visit our Pohala Clinic contact page to book an appointment with Dr. Vera Vos.

Help with Sleep from Portland Naturopath Lisa Del Alba

Lisa Del Alba
Lisa Del Alba Portland, Oregon Naturopath

The term sleep hygiene might sound a bit odd at first. Isn’t hygiene about keeping the body clean and bruising your teeth? Yes, but as a word, hygiene means doing what maintains health.  We know that sleep is deeply connected to how we feel as we go about our day, so creating a healthy sleep regime, now called ‘sleep hygiene’ makes sense in our busy world. Pohala Naturopath and Anthroposophical practitioner Lisa Del Alba shares her strategies for clients who want to create a calm mind and body through healthy sleep practices.

Sleep Hygiene Strategies 

by Lisa Del Alba

You know you want to sleep better, but how do you get started? Here are three simple ways to add sleep hygiene into your daily life.

  1. Understand the role light plays in your levels of consciousness and general health.
  2. Explore the body’s rhythms.
  3. Figure out what nutrition promotes the most peace and stability for a good night’s sleep.

 

1)Light: How does light affect our mind and body?

For ages, human beings have associated sleep with the darkness of night and fully awake consciousness with the daytime light of the sun.  Learning from the history we have in common as human beings allows us to retain our own healthy rhythms in tune with the cosmic rhythm of the sun; even as we lead busy lives here with the bright city lights.  Waking up with natural light and going to bed in darkness, even if it is created by putting blankets on our windows helps the body enter and come out of sleep naturally.

Strategies you can use to help your mind and body prepare for a healthy sleep:

  • Minimize or eliminate exposure to artificial light and digitized sound for two hours before bed. Ensure that electronic devices are not kept next to the bed and avoid contact with synthetic fabrics and artificial tastes and smells. These influences can have a stimulating effect on the nervous system.
  • Expose your body and eyes to natural outdoor light during the daytime in order to promote restful sleep. This helps balance neurotransmitters, and counter the melatonin-seupressing blue light effects of computers and TV screens.

 

2) Rhythm:  We have a circadian rhythm in our body, but did you know our various organs have their own clocks as well?

Scientists speak of a ‘circadian rhythm’ when referring to 24-hour rhythms pertaining to our bodily function. The sleep / wake cycle is the most apparent 24-hour rhythm,  but there has also been considerable research into the circadian rhythms of various organs (notably adrenal glands, kidneys and liver). External signs that our organs have a circadian rhythm include variations in ‘clarity’ and energy levels throughout the day.  The fact that we produce less urine during the nighttime hours and the fact that our bodies digest differently at different times of day shows the complexity of our bodies in their relationship to nature and the cosmos.

Use the following strategies to get in touch with healthier rhythms in order to promote restful sleep:

1) If you are waking often to urinate, consider using a strategy of two large sips of water or herbal tea every half hour instead of gulping down large quantities of water less frequently. This change in rhythm is less stressful for your kidneys. If you are still waking at night, consider a visit to your holistic provider to evaluate kidney health.

2) Warmth is important, and its timing is important as well. Sleep in a cooler room (studies show the ideal to be near 65 degrees). Then you can snuggle down into your safe and warm blankets! If you like warm baths, take them a few hours before bedtime; as a warm bath immediately before bed brings blood to the surface of the body instead of keeping your organs cozy while you are ‘away’ in dream-land.

 

3) Nutrition: How does what and when we eat affect the way we sleep?

It’s obvious that poor nutrition can upset sleep,  such as having a reaction to a food or getting heartburn or an upset stomach from certain meals. But what about the more subtle changes the body goes through as it prepares for sleep? For example, the time in the day we consume certain types of food affects our sleep and wake cycle. A child who eats heavier food too close to bedtime may be more prone to nightmares. A focus of scientific studies has been the creation of a ‘jet lag diet’ that, if followed in the days before and during travel, can actually eliminate or reduce jet lag! The diet focuses on eating certain types of food (proteins or carbohydrates) at specific times of day. For example, carbohydrates tend to make us sleepy, while proteins and heavier fats tend to keep us awake due to the more vigorous digestive activities which require our full daytime energy.

Practical measures include:

  • Complete avoidance of sweet tastes before lunch and including a protein source in the morning meal. These act as cues to set our biological clock to a healthy sleep and wake cycle.
  • Avoiding heavy meals (especially high protein and fat) just before bed helps the soul and spirit to let go of our physical body’s functions so that we get a good night’s rest.

While poor sleep quality may be both the cause and effect of various medical conditions, the good news is that making these small changes can greatly affect our ability to have a good night’s sleep.

Start with one of these strategies and add new behaviors daily.  The result can be a natural, healthy and deep restoring sleep.

Two final ideas for promoting restful sleep:

  • Soft and harmonious human voices and playing of non-electronic instruments can also have a nourishing and calming effect on the nervous system.
  • Warm socks and wearing pajamas can reduce sensory stimuli to the skin and protect the body’s warmth.

Sweet Dreams.

Dr. Lisa Del Alba

 

 

 

Steroids, Allergies and Bipolar Disorder: Q&A with Portland Nurse Practitioner Julie Foster

Julie Foster-Pohala Clinic
Julie Foster Nurse Practitioner in Portland, Oregon

Bipolar disorder author Julie A. Fast has been a client of mine for over 10 years.   We often discuss over the counter and prescribed medications that can cause mood swings for people with bipolar disorder. She’s currently writing an article on the topic and asked me to describe my process of prescribing steroids if a person has bipolar disorder or depression and what I use instead of a steroid when helping a client who has bipolar disorder or depression manage allergies or asthma.

Julie A Fast:  Julie, When you have a client with bipolar who has severe allergies, how do you talk with them about the effects of steroids on bipolar disorder if they have an allergy doctor who wants to prescribe prednisone? What is the plan if the person can’t take steroids, but they have terrible allergies?  Steroids are known to affect the mood. For many people with mood disorders, they can cause mania and depression. 

Julie Foster: In general I do everything I can to avoid steroids in the general population whether it be for allergies or other needs. However with my Bipolar patients,  I am extra cautious. Unless I have exhausted all other options and the person is finding no relief either completely miserable or their breathing is comprised I do not prescribe.

Allergies are on the rise as we are exposed to more environmental debris and toxins and the effects of modernism on our immune systems.  Here are my suggestions for clients who want to manage allergies without the use of steroidal drugs.

  1. Look at the diet. Many allergies come from the foods we eat.  Eating a healthy diet can be hard for people with mood disorders as food is often used for comfort, but small changes can make a difference. Look for what is called a clean diet, one free of preservatives, hormones and GMO food.  When possible, limit refined sugars (look at the label and if it says high fructose corn syrup- choose something else) and white carbohydrates and go for natural fruits and vegetables. This is never easy when you are not feeling well, but over time you will feel better and will hopefully have less allergies- which was the original goal!
  2. Think about your life rhythm.  This includes the circadian rhythm of sleep and the rhythm to your work and relationships. How is the stress in you life? Our bodies are connected to our minds. A high stress level can affect the immune system that then affects our ability to handle allergens.
  3. Try healthy remedies. Homeopathic remedies including Sabadila, Euphrasia comp and Allergist.  Use Vitamin C up to your bowel tolerance (if the tummy has trouble, lower the dose) and add steaming and sweating to your daily regime.  Use an air purifier at home and try a honey remedy (Julie, explain this one- what do you do with the 1 tsp of honey?)

Julie A. Fast:   Julie, when you have bipolar disorder, it’s essential you check everything you put in your body to make sure it doesn’t lead to mood swings. How do you help clients figure out this maze of treatments and medications when they are having trouble  breathing as well as having mood swings?

Julie Foster:  Some of the herbal and supplement options for allergies can affect the mood of a person with bipolar which is why I go with the above plan first.  Congestion from allergies comes up when the body cannot eliminate properly. Another natural option for managing allergies is proper digestion.    Acupuncture is a good option as well as massage and maintenance through osteopathic or chiropractic adjustments. People with bipolar disorder and depression can find steroid free ways to manage allergies and asthma.

Please call to make an appointment with Julie Foster or another member of the Pohala Clinic professionals.

Eating Disorder Help in Portland, Oregon with Nurse Practitioner Julie Foster of Pohala Clinic

Many of you know how my daughter was over-trained as an gymnast and ended up grossly underweight (BMI 14.5). Within a few months already thin she grew 3′ and did not gain weight. This is called the Female Athlete Triad:

  1. No Menses
  2. Tiredness
  3. Less intake than expended

Over the years I have educated myself, treated and coordinated care as a primary care physician with local eating disordered clinics, nutritionists, mental health providers. How humbling that I would have it happen to me even as a thoughtful vigilant medical provider.

My daughter’s experience brought a very personal eating disorder awareness to my practice I would not have had otherwise. I would like to share my journey with you to let you know that I am here to help all members of the family who want to find balance around food and a healthy body.

Eating Disorder Behavior in My Family

I realized that disordered eating and thinking is not as overt as what I had thought in the past.  As a result, I painstakingly reviewed my relationship and family history with food throughout my life. I realized that both my mother and father had eating disorders as well as other members in my family.  In order to be present to the needs of my daughter, I also had to look at my own relationship with food. 

I was naturally skinny most of my life, often accused of being anorexic when I was a competitive runner. I became a nurse, health conscious, and have bordered on orthorexia (an obsession with healthy eating) with good intentions. I personally was frightened to have gained 80# with my 1st pregnancy and wondered if I would ever lose it. Four years ago as I grieved my grandfather’s death, I found myself severely iron deficient with heavy menses. I was so fatigued, I stopped running.

Simultaneously we worked to re-feed my daughter. Her stomach had shrunk so much it could take over an hour to finish a meal. I sat with her and ate more as I worried about her eating.  It was then that I realized I binge eat myself and had been covering it up with my running. I live with social or personal anxiety and without the running to deal with this as well, I turned to food and gained 15 pounds.

 I felt my thinking pulled on a track of craving food. There is a positive outcome here. With the help of my counselor, naturopath, mindfulness, & self kindness…. balance returned. Compassion for myself and our society for what we face in our times has helped me find compassion around my own eating. 

What I Have Learned

1. It is not simply the parents fault (old theories blamed the mother) when a child has an eating disorder. Epigenetics play a role, like a flipping of switch. 
2. Be suspicious of weight loss in any child. 
3. What we say to children about food and bodies can trigger an Eating Disorder such as binge eating disorder. Teachers should never make a chart of students weight and BMI for others to see. 
4. Once an Eating Disorder such as anorexia is in place it creates a state of mind that cannot change unless the person is re-fed with real food, correction of brain chemistry.
5. Striving to be healthy can lead to an extreme, as an illness.  This is called orthorexia and is often referred to as an obsession with clean eating. 
6. With the right help Eating Disorders can be HEALED.

Vera Vos family nurse practitioner and myself excel in recognizing and supporting patients with Eating Disorders, present and past. If you want a provider who is conscious with their approach in words and deeds,  we are here.

Visit our Pohala Clinic contact page to make an appointment.

Julie Foster

Family Nurse Practitioner Vera Vos in Portland, Oregon Shares her Journey

Vera Voss

We love the diversity of our practitioners at Pohala Clinic.  The goal is to provide a variety of integrative and functional medicine practitioners who offer specific talents in order to fit individual client needs.

In this post,  Vera Vos talks about her path to becoming a family nurse practitioner in Portland, Oregon, her medical philosophy and how she approaches her work with new clients.  The compassion and enthusiasm Vera shows with all of her clients shines through when she talks bout her practice.

A Journey from Research Biologist to Family Nurse Practitioner

Before becoming a nurse practitioner, I was a research biologist doing field biology to determine health of animal populations. I found that disease and decreasing populations of animal species was always related to the health of their environment. After becoming a mother and experiencing first hand how human infants are so much like any other infant in the wild, I had an epiphany. We are like all other animals in that our health is also very much related to our environment. At that point diabetes and heart disease were on the rise as well as mental health problems.

I was passionate about helping people understand how our human culture and environment in many ways sabotages health (bad food, lack of movement, distractions, etc) and how to change personal habits to overcome those obstacles.

How Dr. Vos Works with New Clients at Pohala Clinic 

The first time I see someone, I like to listen to what they have to tell me. Of course I ask about past medical history, medications, etc, but mostly I ask them what they value about their own health and what they would like to change. Beyond physical health we talk about challenges and rewards in their personal lives related to family, social group and work as well as what brings them pleasure and what is difficult. I really get to know clients that way and this helps me see the bigger picture besides just their pathophysiology.

Views on Western and Easter Medicine

I don’t think of it as one vs the other. There are things to be learned and appreciated in both. I think the problems in western medicine stem from the stranglehold of financial stakeholders, not from the science itself. It’s the stakeholders that have preempted everything except pharmaceuticals and surgery to solve dis-ease. Unfortunately, this bias has resulted in managing disease instead of targeting and eliminating causes. Eastern medicine offers more options, but the emphasis is still on medicinals, usually plant based.

I have learned that most of what ails us comes from the outside. There is nothing wrong with us as human organisms. In fact, the more I learn about human biology and physiology (and we are not even close to knowing everything) the more amazed I am at the perfection of us. My goal is to use the best that I know of both western and eastern medicine coupled with mindfulness to quiet the “monkey” mind to help clients structure their lives to promote health and happiness.

When it comes to patients, I like all kinds of people of all ages. That’s why I’m a Family Nurse Practitioner. I love seeing kids because there is so much potential there to support healthy growth. But I also really like adults, both men and women as we work through issues together over time.

Vera Vos Hours at Pohala Clinic 

Monday and Tuesday all day and specific Friday mornings by appointment.

Please visit our Pohala Clinic Contact page to book an apportionment with Dr. Vera Vos.