What is Functional Medicine?

By Dr. Marie Starling DC, DCCN and Jessica Yoches, CNTP, MNT

Have you been from doctor to doctor in our day of modern medicine but still have no relief for what is causing you distress?  Functional medicine may be what you have been searching for.

Functional medicine is the practice of getting to the root of the issue by looking at the mechanisms of what’s not working in your body and then restoring that function.

Functional Medicine is grounded in the following principles:

  • Biochemical individuality describes the importance of individual variations in metabolic function that derive from genetic and environmental differences among individuals.
  • Patient-centered medicine emphasizes “patient care” rather than “disease care.”
  • Dynamic balance of internal and external factors.
  • Interconnections of physiological factors – research now shows how the human body functions as an orchestrated network of interconnected systems, rather than individual systems functioning autonomously and without effect on each other.
  • Health as a positive vitality– not merely the absence of disease.
  • Promotion of organ reserve as the means to enhance health span.

In functional medicine, there are only three things that can go wrong with your body:

  1. There’s something there that shouldn’t be there. (e.g. pathogens like parasites, fungi, viruses, infections (clinical or sub-clinical); and environmental toxicity such as mold and heavy metals.)
  2. There’s something not there that should be there. (e.g. deficiencies, gene SNP or a mutation in your genome to where you cannot make things properly like chemicals, neurotransmitters or detoxification like you’re supposed to.)
  3. There’s dysfunction of a system(s) in your body. (e.g. detoxification, small intestine issues, neurological imbalance, hormone imbalance, blood sugar imbalance, etc.)

At this office, we eliminate what is not necessary; restore what is missing; and address dysfunctions to break vicious loops that drive systems into dysfunction.

Ignoring these stressors, deficiencies, and dysfunctions in the body is what leads to symptoms; over time these symptoms turn into conditions or diseases.

Our goal is to address these breakdowns before they turn into a disease state, or to help you manage a diagnosis of a disease or condition.

Both Dr. Marie Starling and Dr. Caitlin Landerholm specialize in functional medicine. The first appointment includes:

  • A complete and detailed physical examination
  • Medical history
  • Neurological exam
  • Bio-resonance scan
  • Muscle testing exam
  • Structural and allergy assessments
  • Determination of what labs are needed

At the second visit, patients are presented with what is going on, what changes need to be made, and a plan for their care. Care includes:

  • Elimination diet
  • Supporting detoxification
  • Blood sugar regulation
  • Hormonal balance
  • Breaking vicious loops
  • Neurological rehabilitation
  • Chiropractic adjustments
  • NAET/BioSET Allergy Technique
  • GB400 frequency generator
  • Ionic Footbath
  • Acupuncture
  • Energy work
  • Various forms of massage

Dr. Starling’s and Dr. Landerholm’s intention is to restore function to all systems in the body with a protocol of care unique to each patient that provides access to each patient’s full potential. If you found this information interesting or helpful please share it with someone in your life and like the article on our Facebook page!

The EB-Pro Ionic Footbath – New at The Healing Center

By Jessica Yoches, CNTP, MNT, Dr. Caitlin Landerholm, DC, and KT Colgan

October bears the beginning of fall and also the unveiling of our new Ionic Footbaths! For the month of October, existing patients receive their first footbath treatment at half price for $15. Come check out our newly expanded area and get comfy in our new chairs while soaking your feet! The treatment only takes 30 minutes.footbathroom_pic

How does the EB-Pro Ionic Footbath work?

  • Utilizes direct current to create an electro-magnetic ionic energy field through an attached array unit in a salt water bath

What does the Ionic Footbath do to the body?

  • Balances the body’s energy levels optimizing central nervous system function
  • Contributes to increased relaxation and well-being by soaking up negative ions just like the effects from walking on a beach
  • More powerful than a walk on the beach because the patient’s feet are in direct contact with the negative ions in the water
  • The field of ions produced by an array unit placed in the water increases energy flow in the body and stimulates the lymphatic system which accelerates the body’s own detoxification process


  • Provides symptom relief of pain, allergies, swollen joints and other body swelling, arthritis, gout, nerve pain and headaches
  • Promotes an alkaline pH in the body
  • Reduces stress and increases overall well-being
  • Increases energy and mental clarity
  • Improves quality of sleep

One study resulted improved range of motion and muscle strength by 10-25% after one use of the ionic footbath in all patients studied.

Who should not use the Ionic Footbath?

  • People with electrical implants should first consult with a primary physician
  • People who are epileptic or hemophiliac
  • People with a pacemaker
  • People with arrhythmia, heart issues, on blood thinners or heart medication
  • People who have had an organ transplant
  • Children under age 4
  • Pregnant or lactating women
  • People with open wounds on their feet
  • The footbath IS SAFE for people with surgical hardware

Where can I learn more?

Questions? Or to book an Ionic Footbath treatment, call us at 303.721.9800

This product is not evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Therefore, these statements contained herein are for informational purposes only.

This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease. The Healing Center makes no medical claims or statements of validation.

CYREX ARRAY 5: Testing for Multiple Autoimmune Reactions

By Jessica Yoches, CNTP, MNT / Caitlin Landerholm, DC

What is autoimmunity? Autoimmunity is defined as an innate (non-specific) or adaptive (specific) immune response directed against a self-antigen.  An autoimmunity that results in tissue and organ damage leading to a certain pathologic condition is referred to as an autoimmune disease.

Autoimmune reactions are not limited to one area of the body, but can occur at various sites in the body simultaneously. One way to gauge the progress of autoimmune disease is measuring the level of autoantibodies. Autoantibodies are present when the human body reacts against its own tissue antigen. The Array 5 tests these levels of autoantibodies to see where the body attacks itself when an immune reaction occurs.

Why is the Array 5 panel important? An estimated 1 in 4 Americans have some type of immune system dysfunction. A set of factors and stressors, unique to each individual, are what cause autoimmune disease.

What are predisposing factors for developing Autoimmunity?

  • Gender – Women are more susceptible to developing autoimmunity than men.
  • Genetics – SNPs, or single nucleotide polymorphisms, and family history
  • Environmental – Toxic chemicals, heavy metals, solvents, infections, antigenic food etc.
  • Intestinal Dysbiosis –Intestinal permeability and inflammation increase chances of developing autoimmunity. The gut and immune system maintain oral tolerance.
  • Compromised Oral Tolerance – Oral tolerance helps the body identify friend from foe.
  • Dietary – Proteins and peptides from wheat and dairy, such as gluten, gliadin, and casein, can initiate autoimmunity in the gut for some.

Why is the Cyrex Array 5 blood test run?

  • The Array 5 if run for early detection, identifying the initial stages of development in autoimmune conditions before extensive tissue damage. This allows the patient and practitioner a “window of opportunity” to address, arrest, and even in some cases reverse the autoimmune condition.
  • The Array 5 is run for those who have been diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder, as they can develop additional autoimmune conditions.

What is the Array 5 looking for?

  • It detects and measures predictive antibodies, some of which can appear up to ten years before the clinical onset of disease.

What Antigens are tested?

  • Parietal Cell + ATPase IgG + IgA Combined
  • Intrinsic Factor IgG + IgA Combined
  • ASCA + ANCA IgG + IgA Combined
  • Tropomyosin IgG + IgA Combined
  • Thyroglobulin IgG + IgA Combined
  • Thyroid Peroxidase (TPO) IgG + IgA Combined
  • 21 Hydroxylase (Adrenal Cortex) IgG + IgA Combined
  • Myocardial Peptide IgG + IgA Combined
  • Alpha-Myosin IgG + IgA Combined
  • Phospholipid IgG + IgA Combined
  • Platelet Glycoprotein IgG + IgA Combined
  • Ovary/Testis* IgG + IgA Combined
  • Fibulin IgG + IgA Combined
  • Collagen Complex IgG + IgA Combined
  • Arthritic Peptide IgG + IgA Combined
  • Osteocyte IgG + IgA Combined
  • Cytochrome P450 (Hepatocyte) IgG + IgA Combined
  • Insulin + Islet Cell Antigen IgG + IgA Combined
  • Glutamic Acid Decarboxylase 65 (GAD 65) IgG + IgA Combined
  • Myelin Basic Protein IgG + IgA Combined
  • Asialoganglioside IgG + IgA Combined
  • Alpha + Beta Tubulin IgG + IgA Combined
  • Cerebellar IgG + IgA Combined
  • Synapsin IgG + IgA Combined


Illustration dramatized for visual purposes. © Cyrex Laboratories, LLC. All rights reserved)

Sample Test Result:





CYREX ARRAY 4: Testing for Gluten-Associated Cross-Reactive Foods and Sensitivities

By Jessica Yoches, CNTP, MNT

Even with the elimination of gluten from the diet for over six months, many patients that are gluten sensitive or that have Celiac Disease still experience gluten-like responses from foods they are consuming. If the patient is avoiding gluten, why is this reaction occurring? Many foods have dietary proteins or peptides that look similar to and cross react with gluten or gliadin.

There is “antigenic similarity”, or “cross-reaction”, among many grains and other dietary proteins such as casein with gluten. The protein casein in dairy is a common culprit; about 50% of patients with Celiac Disease also have reactions to casein. These cross-reactive proteins are called antigens. The other grains that cross-react with gluten include: rice, corn, soy, millet, oats, rye, spelt, potatoes, yeast, tapioca, instant coffee, buckwheat, sesame, sorghum, teff, eggs, hemp, quinoa, and amaranth.

Each patient has a unique set of foods and proteins to which they react.

The introduction of new foods on a gluten free diet can cause reactions, or the overconsumption of grains or foods to replace gluten creates new sensitivities.

Accidental consumption of gluten also happens from products such as chewing gum or products that contain “spices” or “natural flavors.”

Most gluten-free products contain other grains that often cross-react with gluten and continue to cause reactions for the gluten sensitive patient.

The Array 4 will detect antibodies to these foods and grains that cross-react with gluten, and will also check for dairy sensitivities, giving a fuller perspective on the patients individual sensitivities and what could be causing their continued reactions.

Functional Versus Cross-Reactive Antibody-Antigen Responses


(Illustration dramatized for visual purposes. © Cyrex Laboratories, LLC. All rights reserved)

Why is the Cyrex Array 4 blood test used and for whom is it run?

  • The Array 4 tests foods with cross-reactions to gluten in patients unresponsive or with minimal improvements to gluten free diets.
  • The test is run for patients with Celiac Disease (CD) or with Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity (NCGS).
  • It’s also used for patients with gut dysbiosis that standard therapy is not resolving, or for patients with autoimmune disease.

What is the Array 4 looking for?

  • It detects sensitivities to other proteins in foods for patients with CD or NCGS to see foods they are eating are cross-reacting with gluten.
  • It also tests for sensitivities to dairy products, common in those with CD or NCGS

What Food Antigens are tested?

The following foods contain proteins cross-reactive with gluten and are tested:

  • Rye, Barley, Spelt, Polish Wheat IgG + IgA Combined
  • Cow’s Milk IgG + IgA Combined
  • Alpha-Casein & Beta-Casein IgG + IgA Combined
  • Casomorphin IgG + IgA Combined
  • Milk Butyrophilin IgG + IgA Combined
  • Whey Protein IgG + IgA Combined
  • Chocolate (Milk) IgG + IgA Combined
  • Oats IgG + IgA Combined
  • Yeast IgG + IgA Combined
  • Coffee IgG + IgA Combined
  • Sesame IgG + IgA Combined
  • Buckwheat IgG + IgA Combined
  • Sorghum IgG + IgA Combined
  • Millet IgG + IgA Combined
  • Hemp IgG + IgA Combined
  • Amaranth IgG + IgA Combined
  • Quinoa IgG + IgA Combined
  • Tapioca IgG + IgA Combined
  • Teff IgG + IgA Combined
  • Soy IgG + IgA Combined
  • Egg IgG + IgA Combined
  • Corn IgG + IgA Combined
  • Rice IgG + IgA Combined
  • Potato IgG + IgA Combined


Sample Test Result:


The green column means no reaction, whereas the yellow and pink columns both indicate reactions. Full and personalized explanations of the labs are discussed in patient appointments.


1) http://www.joincyrex.com/page/2196/Array-4-Gluten-Associated-Cross-Reactive-Foods-and-Foods-Sensitivity


What You Don’t Know About Vitamin D

By: Lucinda Miller, Mary Beth Gudewicz CNTP, MNT

Vitamin D is important in many aspects of our health from healthy bones to protection from cancer, heart disease, and autoimmune diseases.  Although it is known as the “Sunshine Vitamin” you are not always getting Vitamin D when the sun is shining.  In fact it is estimated that 50% of the population in North America are Vitamin D deficient.  Our mechanism for making Vitamin D depends on the availability of UVB rays and as you will read in this article from the Vitamin D Council, anyone above latitudes of 37° north of the equator and below latitudes of 37° south of the equator experience what is known as a “Vitamin D Winter” in which no UVB rays can penetrate the ozone and thus shuts down our ability to make our own Vitamin D.

What you need to know:

  • Your body is designed to make its own Vitamin D with exposure to the UVB rays of the sun.
  • Just 10-15 minutes of sun exposure depending on your skin color (chest, arms, legs, torso- think 40% of your body) between 10 AM-2 PM will give you 10,000 IUs of Vitamin D.
  • When your skin is pink to the touch, you’ve made 10,000 IUs of Vitamin D, do not overexpose.
  • Keep in mind sunscreen with as little as SPF 8 can block your Vitamin D production by 100%.
  • Burning leads to skin cancer so be mindful of your time in the sun and when you do apply sunscreen be sure to refer to EWG’s sunscreen guide (www.ewg.org) for the latest research and recommendations of the safest sunscreens available.
  • Reasons for deficiency include:
    • Too little exposure to sunlight without sunscreen
    • Diets low in vitamin D
    • Low fat diets
    • Poorly functioning digestive system
    • Obesity
    • Darker skin
    • Living at northern latitudes
  • Vitamin D deficiency can adversely affect the immune and cardiovascular systems, mood, neurological imbalances, asthma, blood pressure and may cause other systemic problems. (Blood Nutrition Institute, 2007)
  • Vitamin D levels – the only way to monitor your Vitamin D levels is through a 25-Hydroxy-vitamin D blood test
    • 60-80 ng/mL is recommended
    • 80-100 ng/mL for people with autoimmune disease
  • 1,25-dihydroxy vitamin D
    • Vitamin D is metabolized in the liver to form 25-hydroxy (OH) vitamin D.  Additional hydroxylation takes place in the kidney by 1-alpha hydroxylase, under the control of parathyroid hormone, which yields 1,25-dihydroxy vitamin D.[1]
    • 1,25-dihydroxy vitamin D is the most potent vitamin D metabolite.  It stimulates calcium absorption in the intestine and its production is tightly regulated through concentrations of serum calcium, phosphorous, and parathyroid hormone.[2]
    • When calcium is high or a person has a disease that might produce excess amounts of vitamin D, such as sarcoidosis or an enlargement of lymph nodes (because immune cells may make 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D), 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D usually is ordered. Rarely, this testing may be indicated when abnormalities of the enzyme that converts 25-hydroxyvitamin D to 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D or renal disease are suspected.[3]
  • 10-75 ng/mL is recommended
  • Vitamin D Supplementation
    • There are many factors that affect vitamin D levels such as the season, time of day, and skin color so it is important to monitor your blood levels while supplementing.
    • Vitamin D is fat soluble and is best absorbed in liquid form not through pills.
    • We recommend Liqui-D3 by Rx Vitamins
    • For those without a gallbladder we recommend a micellized form for better absorption, we use Klaire Labs Micellized Vitamin D3
    • It is essential to supplement and eat foods high in Vitamin D throughout the winter when your body is not able to make its own from the sun.  Here in Denver that is November through March.
  • Vitamin D food sources
    • Wild caught salmon
    • Eggs
    • Mushrooms
    • Sardines
    • Halibut liver oil
    • Wild caught mackerel






[1] http://www.mayomedicallaboratories.com/test-catalog/Clinical+and+Interpretive/8822



DiagnosTechs Lab Testing for the Adrenal Stress Index (ASI)

By:  Dr. Caitlin Landerholm, DC

Why we run the Adrenal Stress Index (ASI)

Adrenal related disorders have become an epidemic as we currently live in a high stress society. The adrenal glands adapt to stress (emotional, chemical, physical) by producing steroid hormones cortisol, aldosterone, progesterone, and DHEA; and catecholamines epinephrine and norepinephrine. Dysfunction of the adrenal glands is not due to a problem with the gland, but rather the pathways in the brain that signal the glands to perform their function.  Patients often have symptoms of Adrenal Stress and they take supplements for their adrenals, but they don’t improve. This is because their symptoms are NOT an adrenal gland issue.

We run the ASI to rule in OR rule out Adrenal Stress Syndrome. We often know patients have this based on their symptoms, but we need to know what kind in order to treat it appropriately.

Signs and symptoms of Cortisol Imbalance

  • Fatigue
  • Headaches with physical or mental stress and/or afternoon headaches
  • Slow starter in the morning
  • Crave sweets, salt, caffeine, nicotine
  • Get shaky or light headed if meals are missed or delayed
  • Irritable before meals
  • Eating relieves or worsens fatigue
  • Difficulty falling asleep (adrenal hyperfunction) or staying asleep (adrenal hypofunction)
  • Weak immune system
  • Allergies

About the test

The Adrenal Stress Index panel is a collection of 4 saliva samples during the day. A sample is collected in the morning, noon, afternoon, and evening on the same day. The test measures 4 levels of cortisol, 1 level of DHEA, total secretory IgA, and gliadin antibody SIgA.

Cortisol is secreted in a specific pattern during a 24 hour period. Any alterations in this pattern indicate adrenal stress syndrome. The normal pattern is high levels of cortisol in the morning, which gradually decrease and obtains our lowest levels at midnight. Cortisol has in inverse relationship with melatonin so at night when cortisol levels decrease, melatonin increases to induce sleep.  When we are asleep, our bodies are in a fasting state so cortisol levels rise to maintain our blood sugar to feed brain and blood cells. Usually patients that have adrenal hyperfunction will have spikes in the late evening when cortisol should be low, and those that have adrenal exhaustion will have low cortisol in the morning when it should be high.



What to know before the test

  • It is important for patients to not have adrenal stimulants such as caffeine and nicotine or other substances that may interfere with accurate levels of cortisol such as licorice root or adrenal glandulars. Stimulants such as caffeine and nicotine must be avoided on the day of the test. Herbs that impact adrenal function should be avoided for at least 4 days before the test.
  • The test should be performed during a patient’s average day. For example, the test should not be performed on a day of a stressful event such as running a marathon, or day at the amusement park, or attending a funeral or other emotional event.
  • If the patients is or has been on corticosteroid drugs within 3 months, accurate levels may not be determined.

The Adrenal Response to Stress

The adrenal glands adapt to stress in three stages:

  • Stage 1: Alarm reaction
    • This is the body’s initial response to stress. The adrenal glands to into a hyperfunctional state to increase cortisol to adapt to the demands of stress.
  • Stage 2: Resistance stage
    • This occurs of stress is prolonged. The adrenals will adapt to this stage by going through a process called the “pregnenolone steal.” Pregnenolone is the precursor for cortisol and all the sex hormones. During stress, the body will use pregnenolone to make cortisol to deal with stress instead of DHEA for sex hormones such as estrogen and testosterone.
  • Stage 3: Exhaustion stage
    • This represents a point where the adrenals can no longer adapt to stress and are exhausted.

What we’re looking for



We determine if there is a dysfunction in the:

  1. Quantity of cortisol production controlled by the Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Adrenal (HPA) Axis,
  2. Circadian Rhythm of cortisol and melatonin controlled by the Hippocampus,
  3. Amplitude of the stress response controlled by the Mesencephalic Reticular (Limbic) System.

Symptoms of dysfunction in the Quantity of Cortisol production:

  • Low cortisol: shaky, irritable and jittery if going too long between meals, need to eat every few hours, eating food relieves fatigue and gives energy (Hypoglycemia)
  • High cortisol: weight gain, fatigue after meals, craves sugar, need to eat sweets or have caffeine after lunch (Insulin Resistance)

Symptoms of dysfunction in the Circadian Rhythm of Cortisol and Melatonin:

  • Low cortisol in AM: can’t get out of bed, snoozes alarm multiple times, need coffee or a cigarette in the morning, has to work out in AM in order to function
  • High cortisol in AM: wakes tired, needs excess amounts of sleep, can’t recover from workouts, can’t achieve deep/REM sleep
  • If cortisol doesn’t come down: craves sugar, needs nap after lunch, needs sweets/caffeine after lunch
  • If cortisol drops too quickly: afternoon crash in energy, needs caffeine or sugar
  • Low cortisol in PM: can’t stay asleep
  • High cortisol in PM: can’t fall asleep/insomnia, doesn’t feel rested in the morning

Symptoms of dysfunction in the Amplitude of the stress response:

  • Memory deficits: needs reminders, forgets where keys, phone, and car are located, difficulty learning information, difficulty retaining information
  • Chronic fatigue, can’t sleep at night, chronic blood sugar issues
  • Sensitivity to sound, crowds, and light
  • Balance issues, OCD, can’t calm down the mind

Impacts of Adrenal Stress Syndrome

Cortisol plays a critical role in our physiology and metabolism. Although the adrenal glands aren’t the problem, it’s important that they work. Here’s a list of conditions/processes an imbalance of cortisol directly impacts:

  • Blood Sugar imbalances
  • Thyroid Defects
  • Anterior Pituitary hypofunction
  • Liver Detoxification dysfunction
  • Intestinal dysbiosis and Leaky Gut Syndrome
  • Suppressed Immune System
  • Neurodegenerative disease
  • Cardiovascular disease


More information about DiagnosTech Adrenal Stress Index (ASI) panel can be found at:




Grisanti, Ron, DC & Weatherby, Dicken, ND. “Insider’s Guide Adrenal Stress Index Interpretation.” Functional Medicine University. Web. 20 June 2016. <http://www.functionalmedicine.net/pdf/lesson57_insider_guide.pdf>

Kharrazian, Datis, DC, MS, FAACP, DACBN, DIBAK, CNS, CCN, CSCS, CCSP. “Functional EndocrinologyAssessment and Nutritional Management.” Apex Energetics. 2004.

Vibrant Wellness-GUT-PAC Lab Testing for the Microbiome

Why does the microbiome matter? The microbiome in our gut contains 2 to 3 pounds of bacteria, but what impact does this have on our health?



  • Bacteria are critical for health and play an important role in:

-Human physiology

-Immune system development

-Digestion and detoxification reaction

-Enzyme production and utilization

-Vitamin synthesis

-Protection from pathogens.[1]

  • The gut microbiota resides in the intestines and is made up of tens of trillions of microorganisms, including at least 1000 different species of known bacteria with more than 3 million genes.[2]
  • One third of our gut microbiota is common to most people, while two thirds are specific to each one of us.[3]
  • The microbiome is designed to have a mutual beneficial relationship with us, the human host.
  • -E. coli, Staphylococcal bacteria, and Candida are a normal part of the microbiome, only problematic if conditions allow for their overgrowth.
  • The gut microbiome has been called “our forgotten organ”. [4] Colonization begins at birth and by 3 years of age can have a more adult-like pattern. [5]
  • Researchers are just beginning to discover how connected our gut microbiome is to our overall health and well-being.

When the microbiome is compromised, gut dysbiosis results.

Dysbiosis is when bad bacteria and microbes flourish in the gut creating an imbalance in the microbiome gut flora.





Dysbiosis creates a number of issues, depending on the individual, from intestinal problems to autoimmune disease. It contributes to joint pain, brain fog, and nutrient deficiencies.

Causes of dysbiosis include:

– Poor diet or nutrient deficiencies

– Travel

– Physical activity

– Stress

– Hormonal cycles

– Illness, infection or immune deregulation.

How can you see what imbalances exist in your microbiome?

Fortunately, lab tests now exist that assess your gut microenvironment.

At the Healing Center we offer the Vibrant Wellness’ GUT-PAC, a microchip test based on extensive research from NIH Human Microbiome Project (HMP),[6] which takes a look at the population of bacteria residing in your gut to see what imbalances may exist.

(The HMP was established “with the mission of generating research resources through enabling comprehensive characterization of the human microbiota and analysis of their role in human health and disease”. [7] )

The test looks at specific DNA fragments that identifies unique bacteria in your sample and can distinguish bacteria from phylum up to sub-species level.[8]

It also gives suggestions on types of probiotics to help regulate that imbalance.

It’s all about balance: balancing the microbiome lays a foundation for good health and is a key part of our well-being. Check out the status of your microbiome by making an appointment at the Healing Center or call us for more information.

Check out this video, a guided tour through the microbiome: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5DTrENdWvvMImage1_BlogImage1_Blog


By: Mary Beth Gudewicz CNTP, MNT; Jessica Yoches CNTP, MNT; and Dr. Marie Starling, DC, DCCN

[1]D’Argenio, Valeria, and Francesco Salvatore. “The Role of the Gut Microbiome in the Healthy Adult Status.” The Role of Gut Microbiome in the Healthy Adult Status. Science Direct: Clinica Chimera Acta, 07 Dec. 2015. Web. 18 May 2016

[2]Vibrant.” Vibrant Wellness. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 May 2016

[3] Vibrant.” Vibrant Wellness. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 May 2016

[4] D’Argenio, Valeria, and Francesco Salvatore. “The Role of the Gut Microbiome in the Healthy Adult Status.” The Role of Gut Microbiome in the Healthy Adult Status. Science Direct: Clinica Chimera Acta, 07 Dec. 2015. Web. 18 May 2016

[5]D’Argenio, Valeria, and Francesco Salvatore. “The Role of the Gut Microbiome in the Healthy Adult Status.” The Role of Gut Microbiome in the Healthy Adult Status. Science Direct: Clinica Chimera Acta, 07 Dec. 2015. Web. 18 May 2016

[6] “Vibrant.” Vibrant Wellness. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 May 2016

[7] “Human Microbiome Project.”-Overview. National Institutes of Health, n.d. Web. 16 May 2016

[8] Vibrant.” Vibrant Wellness. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 May 2016

Treating Emotional Imbalances through Acupuncture

Learn how massaging one simple point on the body can reduce daily stress  

Our basic emotions are an evolutionary trigger – a set of conscious responses that occur in reaction to life’s complex situations. The question of why we experience emotions has been debated for centuries by countless philosophers and psychologists. “Why do we experience emotions like anger or sadness, and why do our emotional responses differ from other human beings experiencing similar situations?” These are the types of questions that will continue to be debated over the years, as there are endless explanations as to why we are such emotional beings. The important thing for us is to recognize when our emotions are out of balance and understand the various forms of support available to us to bring balance back into our lives.

From a standpoint of basic human anatomy in western medicine, there are two main portions of our brain that facilitate the balance and imbalance of our emotional state: the limbiHippocampc system and the frontal lobe. The limbic system is the complex set of brain structures that are responsible for various functions such as: emotion, behavior, motivation, long-term memory, and our sense of smell. The frontal lobe is the area of the brain that is responsible for our ability to recognize future consequences resulting from current actions, to choose between good and bad actions (or better and best), override and suppress socially unacceptable responses, and determine similarities and differences between things or events.

Together, these two portions of the brain must find an integrated balance for us to be centered emotionally. Times of crisis integrate these regions the fastest, which is why our brains are able to quickly prioritize things that are most important in our lives during fight or flight states. However, integration can also be achieved through things like acupuncture; allowing the two portions to communicate with each other through the fronto-limbic loops in a symmetrical pattern across both halves of the brain (thereby increasing serotonin levels, adrenocorticotrophic hormones, beta-endorphins, and noradrenalin).

Unlike the western medical world that attributes emotional and mental processes to the human brain, Chinese medicine believes that the emotions are part of a larger sphere of actions that are connected by all of the internal organs/meridians.  Chinese Medicine understands that there is a reciprocal relationship between our emotions and our organs/meridians – a disparity of either one will affect the other. As you glance over the chart below can you find connections between times in your life that imbalanced emotions have can caused physical ailments in your body (i.e. trouble taking deep breaths when experiencing grief or sadness, gastrointestinal issues or diarrhea from excessive worry, a lack of willpower and motivation that eventually turns into adrenal fatigue, etc…)?

Organ/Meridian Affected Imbalanced Emotions
Heart / Pericardium Doubt, grief, over-excitement, uncontrolled laughter
Lungs / Large Intestine Grief, sadness
Spleen / Stomach Worry, obsession, lethargy, depression
Liver  / Gallbladder Anger, lack of courage, inability for planning, unable to make decisions
Kidney / Urinary Bladder Fear, no willpower, low capacity for hard work, no endurance


Through the various modalities of acupuncture, a practitioner can treat a specific organ/meridian and influence its corresponding emotion. Unlike some forms of medicine, acupuncture focuses each treatment on balancing the entire body – both physically and emotionally. The goal of an acupuncture treatment is to help treat the root of a patient’s ailment and to help him/her find a whole body homeostatic balance. Whether it is through acupuncture needles or other Traditional Chinese Medicine tools (ex: herbal formulas, tui na massage, moxibustion, auricular therapy, etc…), an acupuncture treatment may be the missing tool that many of us need to bring that emotional balance back into our lives.

The development of modern auriculotherapy (ear acupuncture) has been one of the greatest acupuncture tools that has helped shape the way that practitioners can treat these particular imbalanced emotions. Although auriculotherapy has its historical origins in ancient China, recent discoveries through the work of Dr. Paul Nogier, M.D. of France has grown this treatment modality over the past several decades. Dr. Nogier was fascinated with the ear because this rare organ is comprised of all three embryonic tissues (endodermic, and ectodermic, and mesodermic) and it acts a micro-system to the rest of the body. Through various studies over the years, he helped bridge a gap between Eastern and Western medicine by discovering that the ear had hundreds of specific points that, when stimulated, would cause a reaction in our central nervous system and positively affect corresponding organs, glands, and musculoskeletal systems. Unlike acupuncture body points that have a specific locus on the body that can always be detected, auricular points on the ear can only be detected (through physical examination or electrical conductivity testing) when there is a problem in the corresponding part of the body that relates to that portion of the ear.


While the graph above depicts some examples of auricular points that can be stimulated on the ear by a trained acupuncturist, there is one amazing point that many of us can stimulate ourselves when we get overly stressed throughout the day. Located in the upper portion of our ear is a structure called the triangular fossa (outlined in green in the side graphic). Within the outer 1/3 of that structure is a point called Shen Men, or the “Divine Gate” point (depicted with the red dot). This point helps with a wide range of ailments including: tranquilizing the mind, alleviating stress, easing tension and headaches, reducing physical pain in the entire body, lowering blood pressure, etc… . To stimulate this point, simply reach up and ShenMenpinch the front and back of this ear point with your index finger and thumb and massage gently 4 to 5 times per day (or as needed). Take a few deep breathes as you stimulate the point and watch to see how it affects you. You may soon find that this miraculous point will be a must-have tool for your daily life.

As we explained before, emotions have a profound influence on our personality, who we are, and what we feel. They are a part of everyday life, but they can sometimes become a cause of imbalance in the body when they become excessive and prolonged. Since the body and mind form an integrated inseparable unit, the emotions can not only cause a disharmony, but they can also be caused by it. As we deal with the stresses of life it is important for us to be able to look at any imbalance from various perspectives and with numerous treatment modalities. Through things like Traditional Chinese Medicine and acupuncture, we can help you find a link between your physical health and your emotional health – bringing a homeostatic balance to your life.

The Healing Center is pleased to announce that we have a new acupuncturist on staff – Erik Johnson. To learn more about how acupuncture can help you, or to book an appointment, contact us today: 303-721-9800.


How To Powerfully Manage The Holidays

How To Powerfully Manage The Holidays

By: Mary Beth Gudewicz, RMT, CNTP, MNT

It’s that time of the year with family gatherings and holiday meals that, while exciting, can also be nerve-racking.  Questions arise on how to eat on your lifestyle plan and how to manage holiday parties when the people around you eat anything under the sun.  We explored these ideas and more during my presentation on October 26.  Below are some of the key points that were addressed.

Friends and family come out of the woodwork this time of the year, wanting to get together because they haven’t seen you in an age.  They suggest getting together at a restaurant and catch up up over a nice meal.  Those of us with food restrictions probably feel that knot start to swell in our gut at the thought of what am I going to eat at the restaurant?  An easy technique to avoid this kind of stress is to suggest meeting for coffee instead.  There is always something on that menu you can enjoy, whether coffee or tea.  If dinner is the only option because it is a company dinner, family gathering, etc. choose to eat before you go to the restaurant.  Then while there you can have a salad or an appetizer such as hummus and veggies.

Unwinding is key during the hectic pace of the holidays.  Taking time for you is extra important.  Some ways to relax are:

  • Meditation
  • Walk in nature – believe it or not this can be like a moving meditation and a daily dose of fresh air will help you sleep better at night
  • Focusing on getting 8-9 hours of sleep a night.  If that is not possible, a 20 minute cat nap is a great supplement.
  • Deep breathing. Taking a deep belly breath at stop lights, each time you touch a door knob, etc. can take you from fight or flight (sympathetic mode) to rest and digest (parasympathetic mode).
  • A hug. A simple 20 second hug can bring you into that rest and digest mode simultaneously releasing endorphins.[1]

It is easy to take an old family recipe and modify it into a gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free option that tastes just as good as the original recipe.  There are some great ways to substitute gluten, dairy and eggs in any recipe and modify to meet your dietary needs.  For example, a great egg binding substitute is to take one tablespoon of flaxseed and mix with 3 tablespoons of water.  It is the equivalent of one egg.[2] One of the guests tried it the next day with her favorite paleo pancakes and found it tasted just as delicious.

Managing alcohol choices during the holidays can be difficult.  We explored all of the gluten-free alcohol choices and what to avoid.  An example is wine, which is considered gluten-free; however, you need to check with the brands to see if flour or wheat paste is used to seal the barrels during the aging process.[3]

Other areas covered were recipe options and how to powerfully communicate with friends and family. Afterwards it opened up some sharing and deeper discussion about the holidays and food.  Remember the holidays can be a great time with family and friends, it is up to you to make good choices and remember the moments.

My next presentation is on the science behind gluten and is scheduled for Monday, January 25 at 6:30p.m.  Please join us and feel free to bring friends and family members.  Contact Danielle at office@thehealingcenterdenver.com to reserve your spot.



“Hugs for Health – Healthsmart Exercise Physiology.” Healthsmart Exercise Physiology. N.p., 03 Feb. 2014. Web. 24 Jan. 2015. <http://healthsmartep.com.au/hugs-for-health/>.

Simply Gluten Free RSS. Simply Gluten Free Magazine, 14 Jan. 2010. Web. 24 Oct. 2015. “Gluten-Free Alcohol & Beer Guide.” GlutenFree Survival Guide. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Oct. 2015.

Caroline. “Sincerely Caroline, Recipes. Lifestyle. Fitness. Fun.” Sincerely Caroline RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Oct. 2015.

[1] “Hugs for Health – Healthsmart Exercise Physiology.” Healthsmart Exercise Physiology. N.p., 03 Feb. 2014. Web. 24 Jan. 2015. <http://healthsmartep.com.au/hugs-for-health/>.

[2] Caroline. “Sincerely Caroline, Recipes. Lifestyle. Fitness. Fun.” Sincerely Caroline RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Oct. 2015.

[3] Simply Gluten Free RSS. Simply Gluten Free Magazine, 14 Jan. 2010. Web. 24 Oct. 2015.

“Gluten-Free Alcohol & Beer Guide.” GlutenFree Survival Guide. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Oct. 2015.

A Closer Look at Mammograms, Thermograms and Ultrasounds

With October being National Breast Cancer Awareness Month,  I am re-posting The Healing Center’s blog written by Mary Beth Gudewicz, which discusses a few different methods which screen the breast tissue. She includes a chart regarding what the different methods look at and their specificity.

But first, I want to share a couple thoughts regarding this increasing epidemic. Let’s look at the analogy of a fish in a bowl of dirty water. You can give the fish the healthiest form of fish food, put drops in it’s water, talk to it and love it, but it is going to continue to get sick unless you change the water!

When The Fish Is Sick, Change The Water!

We want the terrain of our bodies and environment to be a place that promotes health versus a place where disease flourishes. The perfect storm for cancer is: Low Nutrient, Low Oxygen, High Acid. Biochemically, if we change our terrain to a high nutrient, high oxygen, low acid, and high alkaline environment, it makes it difficult for cancer and other diseases to continue to grow.

In Health,

Dr. Caitlin Landerholm

Image Source: <http://iwant2behealthy.com/?p=279>

A Closer Look at Mammograms, Thermograms and Ultrasounds

By: Mary Beth Gudewicz, CNTP, MNT

Mammogram, thermogram, ultrasound: which option to choose is a question we have been getting frequently here at The Healing Center.  Choosing the right one for you can be difficult.  So let’s break it down.



By definition a mammogram is a test that uses x-rays to produce an image that shows a shadow of dense structures.  It pinpoints the location of any suspicious area within the breast tissue. This procedure involves compressing the breast in the x-ray machine and taking several pictures from different angles. Once the image is captured, the technician will look for any areas that have a greater density (the degree of compactness of a substance, in this case a potential tumor) that stands out against normal tissue.



thermogram is a functional test that uses infrared sensors to detect heat and increased vascularity related to angiogenesis (the development of new blood vessels).  The procedure detects physiologic changes but cannot locate the exact suspicious area inside the breast.  However, it can detect physiological changes many years ahead of other screening methods.  It is non-invasive and can detect fast growing, aggressive tumors. A positive infrared image means the highest risk for the existence of or future development of breast cancer.



An ultrasound uses high frequency sound waves, which bounce off breast tissue.  The “echo” will produce an image.  It can locate areas of suspicious tissue.  Although it cannot see fine detail, it can distinguish solid masses from fluid filled cysts.  This test is prescribed if something suspicious is found during a mammography, thermography or physical examination.

Below is a table that outlines further information about each test.[1]

[table caption=”” width=”” colwidth=”350|350|350|350″ colalign=”left|left|left|left”]
Cancer diagnoses,Cannot diagnose cancer,Cannot diagnose cancer,Cannot diagnose cancer
What captures image,Uses radiation,Uses infrared sensors,Uses high frequency sound
What it can detect,Can detect tumors in slow growing or pre-invasive stage,Can detect suspicious physiological changes many years prior to any other method of screening,Can detect tumors that are missed by mammography
Do hormones affect test?,Hormone use decreases sensitivity. Large dense and fibrocystic breasts can be difficult to read,Monthly hormonal changes can affect imaging but not to the point of abnormality,Monthly hormone fluctuations can influence the breast tissues
What can be seen,The upper portion of the breast including the Axillary region and tail of the breast cannot be visualized,All breast shapes conditions and areas are seen in the imaging,All areas of the breast including Axillary region can be seen
Specificity,Specificity: 75%,Specificity: 90%,Specificity: 66%
,False positive: 25%,False positive: 10%,False positive: 34%
,Biopsy: 9 out of 10 initiated by this procedure are negative,,
Average Sensitivity,Average Sensitivity: (women over 50) 80% – 20% of cancers missed,Average Sensitivity: 90% – 10% of cancers missed Note: Most are slow growing tumors with low metabolic rate,Average Sensitivity: 83% – 17% of cancers missed
,Average Sensitivity: (women under 50) 60% – 40% of cancers missed,,


Mostovoy, Alexander, H.D., D.H.M.S., BCCT. “What’s the Difference? Thermography, Mammography or Ultrasound?” Thermography Clinic Inc. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Aug. 2014. <http://www.thermographyclinic.com/what-s-the-difference>.

“Mammography, Thermography, Ultrasound.” Mammography, Thermography, Ultrasound. Pacific Chiropractor and Research Center, 2005. Web. 29 Aug. 2014. <http://www.breastthermography.com/mammography_thermography.htm>.

Tenpenny, Sherri, MD. “Mammograms vs. Thermograms.” HealthKeepers Magazine. HealthKeepers Magazine, 29 Aug. 2014. Web. 29 Aug. 2014. <http://www.healthkeepersmagazine.com/article.php?id=3>.

[1] Mostovoy, Alexander, H.D., D.H.M.S., BCCT. “What’s the Difference? Thermography, Mammography or Ultrasound?” Thermography Clinic Inc. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Aug. 2014. <http://www.thermographyclinic.com/what-s-the-difference>.

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