Valley Health Clinic Practitioners

What is naturopathic medicine?

Naturopathic medicine is a distinct and holistic approach to health care based on the understanding that the human body has an innate healing ability. Rather than relying in prescription medicine, naturopathic doctors focus on supporting and empowering the body to prevent and combat disease. Naturopathic medicine as we practice it at Valley Health Clinic draws upon both traditional approaches and 21st-century medical science.

Our naturopathic physicians crafts comprehensive treatment plans that - depending on the individual patient - combine herbal medicine, homoeopathy, physical medicine, and nutritional and lifestyle recommendations to restore your natural vitality, health, and, when necessary, prescription medications to alleviate symptoms while we treat the root cause.

Naturopathic medicine is a great choice for primary care, and a natural alternative to the conventional medical system.

×

What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture is the oldest continuously practiced medicine in the world. It is evidence based, time-tested, and documented by both ancient and modern science. The World Health Organization has endorsed acupuncture for the treatment of over 40 conditions, including chronic pain, migraines, digestive disorders, arthritis, allergies, depression, the common cold, and stress.

How does acupuncture work?

Put in simple terms, acupuncturists insert very thin, sterile needles at specific points on the body to stimulate and strengthen the body’s innate healing capacities. Your body may respond by increasing blood circulation, releasing endorphins, and/or regulating the nervous system, all of which help create a state in which the body can function efficiently and activate the healing processes.

What does it feel like?

Most of our patients find acupuncture very relaxing. Acupuncture needles are about as thin as a human hair, and feel completely different from the thicker, hollow needles on syringes doctors use to give shots or draw blood. Some patients notice a small pinch when an acupuncture needle is inserted, or a dull, heavy, or warm sensation for a while after insertion. If you do experience any unpleasant sensations during the treatment, please just let your practitioner know and he or she can adjust the needle to make sure you are comfortable.

×

What is herbal medicine?

Herbal medicine simply means using specific plants (or parts or extracts of plants) to treat or alleviate health issues. It is one of the most commonly used forms of natural medicine in the U.S., and modern clinical studies have confirmed the effectiveness of many herbal remedies.

Depending on the individual patient, our practitioners at Valley Health Clinic may include herbal medicine as part of a comprehen-sive treatment plan. Trained in both Naturopathic Medicine and Acupuncture, Dr. Julia Mortlock is well versed in Western and Chinese herbs, supplements, and homeopathic medicines; Will Sheppy often complements acupuncture treatments with a traditional Chinese herbal formula.

All these types of herbal medicines are simple, natural, and affordable ways for you as a patient to continue your care in between appointments.

×

What are Cupping, Gua Sha, and Shonisin?

These are three fantastic healing modalities that our practitioners offer as part of some individual treatment plans:

Cupping

When using this technique, the practitioner literally places small cups on your body to perform a type of "reverse massage" instead of pressing onto the muscles, the vacuum created inside the cup (usually through heat or suction) gently pulls them upwards. The cups are left in place for about ten minutes while you relax. Cupping is typically used to loosen tight muscles, encourage blood flow, or relax the nervous system - all effects that support your body’s healing response. You can see what cupping looks like in this video testimonial from a patient who found relief from chronic pain at our clinic.

Gua Sha

Gua Sha is an Asian healing art technique that involves stroking across the skin with a smooth edge. Traditionally, it would be the edge of a ceramic spoon; modern tools may look a bit different. Our practitioners may include Gua Sha in a treatment plan to reduce inflammation, restore your immune system, or reduce acute or chronic pain. You can see the technique in action in this video testimonial from a patient who used to suffer from migraines before her treatments at Valley Health Clinic.

Shonishin

Shonishin is a great modality for children that stimulates many acupuncture points without the use of needles. Instead, it involves a variety of pointed and rounded gentle tools that don’t penetrate the skin. Our practitioners have seen wonderful results for children with weakened immune systems, digestive disorders, respiratory conditions, and skin problems.

×

What should I expect on my first visit?

Most importantly you can expect to be listened to, and to be welcomed as a whole human being, not just a set of symptoms. Our practitioners will ask you detailed questions about your health history and your desired treatment outcomes, and then perform a thorough physical exam. He or she might feel your pulse at the wrist, look at the color of your tongue, or press gently on your abdomen.

With all that information in mind, they will present a treatment plan to you and then give you your first treatment. You may receive some acupuncture, possibly some bodywork and/or an herbal formula to take home. Throughout the visit, you will have the opportunity to ask questions. Most of our patients leave after their first visit feeling very positive and relaxed.

If you are an receiving acupuncture treatment at your first visit, it is a good idea to have a small snack beforehand so you are not hungry or overly full. Wear comfortable clothes that can be rolled up past your knees and elbows. We have a changing room available at the clinic. If your treatment requires the back or stomach to be exposed your practitioner will drape you with a sheet for your comfort and privacy.

If you have any further questions you’d like to get answered before you book your appointment, please feel free to contact us anytime.

Booking your first visit is easy: simply click on Schedule an Appointment near the top of this page or call us at (541) 760-9670. We look forward to meeting you!

×

Will my insurance cover my treatment at Valley Health Clinic?

Because our services are recognized as effective and evidence-based, they are often covered by insurance. Coverage varies from policy to policy. If you’d like our help in confirming your benefits, please feel free to give us a call at (541) 760-9670.

×

We provide quality healthcare the natural way. Here’s some of our services.

Lower Cross Syndrome

Lower cross syndrome refers to a pattern of various tightened and weak muscles. This body pattern can decrease strength, flexibility, range of motion and lead to further degenerative processes. It is commonly seen in people with Piriformis syndrome or Sacroiliac joint dysfunction.

Lower cross syndrome consists of various tightened and weak muscles. The tight muscles are generally as follows: hip flexors such as (iliopsoas and rectus femoris), and erector spinae muscle The weakened muscles are as follows: abdominal muscles and gluteus maximus.

The Problem

Inactive gluteal muscles or overactive hip flexors can facilitate development of many problems including Piriformis and SI joint pain. When the gluteals are not activating the hamstrings, adductor magnus, and piriformis have to perform work overtime. Resulting hypertrophy of the piriformis which produces sciatic symptoms. Also many of these large and small muscles have relationships with the ligaments of the sacroiliac joint. When they are tight they can restrict proper motion in the pelvis causing sacroiliac joint pain.

A major cause for inactive gluteals is overactive hip flexors (psoas major, iliacus, and rectus femoris). This imbalance usually occurs where the hip flexors have been trained to be too short and tight, such as when someone sits with hips flexed, as in sitting all day at work.

Another cause of tight hip flexors is athletes engaging in forward-moving activities, such as runners and bicyclists. When not balanced by lateral movement of the legs, repeated forward movements can lead to disproportionately weak hip abductors and tight adductors. This can cause the piriformis muscle to shorten and severely contract. These athletes need to balance their activities by engaging in lateral stretching and strengthening exercises.

The Solution

10 seconds Piriformis stretch - re-align your pelvis, prevent sciatica

Sacroiliac joint mobilization

Sacroiliac joint stabilization

×

Dynamic Stretching

Dynamic stretching means slow, controlled movements rather than remaining still and holding a stretch. They include simple movements like arm circles and hip rotations, flowing movements as in yoga or walking or jogging exercises. While studies have not clearly proven this, increasing numbers of experts agree that dynamic stretching is the best stretching routine before a workout or competition.

Warming Up

You should never stretch a cold muscle in any way. Start with some mild aerobic warm-ups to get blood to the tissue before doing any stretching Warming up increases blood flow, which increases the temperature in the muscle, which makes the collagen fibers more elastic like a rubber band.

Dynamic stretching is the best stretching routine before a workout or competition.

Dynamic stretching means slow, controlled movements rather than remaining still and holding a stretch. There are two types of flexibility receptors: a static receptor, which measures magnitude and a dynamic receptor, which measures speed and magnitude. Dynamic activities that require movement, such as running, jumping or kicking use the dynamic receptor to limit flexibility. Therefore, a dynamic stretch that stresses the dynamic receptor is more beneficial when preparing for a warm-up when performing a dynamic activity. Dynamic stretching also includes constant motion throughout the warm-up, which maintains the core body temperature, whereas static stretching can see a drop in temperature of several degrees. Another benefit of dynamic stretching is that it prepares the muscles and joints in a more specific manner since the body is going through motions it will likely repeat in the workout. It also helps the nervous system and motor ability since dynamic motions do more to develop those areas than static stretches.

Static Stretching

Static Stretching before a workout may decrease your strength, power, and performance.

After your workout or competition, then do static stretches. Too many people do static stretching before and then nothing after. This is the most common mistake. After your work out is when you should lengthen muscles and improve your flexibility. Hold static stretches for about 30 seconds.

×

Adrenal Fatigue

More and more alternative health practitioners are beginning to recognize how widespread adrenal fatigue (hypoadrenia) is in the general population. Some experts believe that upwards of 80% of the population suffers from some level of adrenal insufficiency. Usual symptoms of adrenal fatigue is an overwhelming fatigue and inability to handle stress.

The symptoms listed below provide a more complete picture of adrenal fatigue:

Asthma, Bronchitis or Chronic Cough

Any person with lung problems, especially asthma and bronchitis should be checked for poor adrenal function. The lungs cannot respond appropriately to stress, allergens etc because of lack of cortisol. Asthma is often considered an emotional disease because stress can trigger an attack. Fix the adrenals so the body can respond normally to stress and the asthma will disappear.

Allergies

Most allergies involve an inflammatory process. As the adrenal function decreases, allergies worsen. Generally, if the adrenal glands were functioning properly, the body would not respond to the allergen. This same anti-inflammatory effect is important in asthma also. As the adrenal glands heal, allergies are markedly reduced.

Recurrent Infections

Severe and/or recurrent infections (especially respiratory) often indicate adrenal problems. The more severe, the more frequently it occurs or the longer it lasts, the more likely adrenal fatigue is involved in the infection.

Muscle Weakness & Back Pain

Dr. Goodheart identified five skeletal muscles which can indicate adrenal function. These are 1) sartorius, 2) gracilis, 3) posterior tibialis, 4) gastrocnemius, and 5) soleus. When the adrenal glands are malfunctioning, there will be weakness in one or more of these muscles. The sartorius and gracilis attach on the pelvis. Weakness in these muscles can cause the sacro-iliac joint to subluxate posteriorally (toward the back) leading to low back pain. In persons with adrenal fatigue, low back pain is frequently caused by instability of the pelvis rather than an actual back problem. These same two muscles also attach to the knee and help provide support. Weakness will cause knee pain, weakness and instability of the joint. Any person with knee problems should be checked for adrenal fatigue. The other 3 muscles mentioned stabilize the feet and ankles. Weakness of any of these muscles leads to complaints of tired, aching feet, weak ankles or aching calves. The symptoms related to the muscle weakness will improve when the adrenal glands are treated.

Sleep Disturbances

Cortisol production follows a curve from highest levels around 8am, dropping throughout the day until the lowest levels are reached about 11pm. In early stages of adrenal fatigue the body compensates with high night time cortisol. In this case the person finds it difficult to relax from the stress of the day and has trouble going to sleep. High night-time cortisol results in reduced REM sleep which is neither restful nor restorative. This can lead to depression and reduced energy levels the next day. In later stages of adrenal fatigue, the body may produce adrenaline (“fight or flight” hormone) in an attempt to compensate for low cortisol. This too will result in insomnia.

Dizziness

When a person stands from a sitting or lying position, the systolic blood pressure usually rises about 10 points as blood vessels in the lower body constrict to force blood to the heart, lungs and brain. This is a result of the action of epinephrine on the blood vessels. In people with adrenal fatigue, the blood vessels are unable to respond to the release of epinephrine because of lack of cortisol, so blood pools in the abdomen and pelvis and blood pressure drops. This systolic drop ranges from 10 to 40 points and is present in over 90% of those with hypoadrenia. Dizziness is usually present on standing; however, in some people it is present intermittently or constantly throughout the day as even resting blood pressure is low. Paradoxically, in order to prevent pooling of blood in the abdomen and lower extremities, the body may keep blood pressure extremely elevated. Pressure will still drop when the person stands but only to around 150. Remember, it may have been 180 or higher before standing. Treating the adrenals will lower blood pressure whereas anti-hypertensives and diuretics will make the adrenal problems worse in many cases.

Inflammation

Cortisol and other glucocorticoids produced by the adrenal glands are the body’s own anti-inflammatory hormones. People who have responded to injections of corticosteroids into joints or to taking them orally are usually those whose adrenal glands produce insufficient amounts of these hormones. Any person who responds to corticosteroids should be checked for adrenal fatigue.

Hypoglycemia

As adrenal fatigue progresses, blood glucose levels will tend to fall too low. The body responds to hypoglycemia by causing the person to crave anything that will rapidly raise blood sugar levels, such as a soda, candy bar, a cup of coffee or even cigarettes. Often adrenal fatigue leads to the abuse of alcohol, marijuana, and hard drugs because of the need to “fix” recurrent hypoglycemia. Unfortunately, the rapid rise in blood glucose provided by the “fix” only serves to start the whole cycle over.

Headaches

This is caused again by blood pooling in the abdomen and pelvis leading to inadequate blood supply to the head.

Behavior & Memory Problems

Cortisol even regulates the electrical activity of neurons in the brain and thus influences behavior, mood and memory. Behavior changes frequently occur in both excess and deficient cortisol levels. Sleep disorders for example, are common with both high and low cortisol. Symptoms more closely related to adrenal fatigue involve decreased tolerance (quick to anger), decreased clarity of thought, poor memory and memory retrieval.

Salt Craving

The adrenal glands produce many more hormones than just glucocorticoids. One very important hormone is aldosterone, a mineralocorticoid. Aldosterone regulates fluid and electrolytes (sodium, chloride, potassium and magnesium) in the blood, between and in the cells of the body. As adrenal fatigue progresses, the production of aldosterone lessens. This causes “salt-wasting”. As the salt is excreted by the kidneys, water follows leading to electrolyte imbalance and dehydration. Those with adrenal fatigue should always add salt (preferably sea salt with its trace minerals) to their water. Soft drinks and electrolyte drinks like Gatorade are high in potassium and low in sodium, the opposite of what someone with low cortisol needs. Commercial electrolyte drinks are designed for those who produce high cortisol when exercising, not for someone who produces little or no extra cortisol during exercise. You need to add 1⁄4 to 1 teaspoon of salt to a glass of water or eat something salty to maintain fluid/electrolyte balance.

Excessive Thirst & Urination

A person with low aldosterone may also urinate 15 to 20 times a day and drink excessive quantities of water. Unless salt is added to the water, the fluid/electrolyte balance in the body is further disrupted.

Swelling

As the body tries to keep the ratio of electrolytes and fluid balanced, fluid may pour into the tissues and cause swelling. Most doctors will only see the symptom and not the cause and prescribe a diuretic which further compounds the dehydration and electrolyte imbalance and making the patient worse.

Hemorrhoids

Hemorrhoids are basically varicose veins of the rectum and are caused by blood pooling in the abdomen and pelvis. When a person presents with hemorrhoids, it is usually do to adrenal fatigue, but can be caused by liver congestion. Once again, listening to the heart can help determine the cause. If the loud second sound is over the pulmonic valve, it is indicative of adrenal problems, while a loud 2nd sound over the tricuspid valve is indicative of liver congestion.

Varicose Veins

Varicose veins of the lower extremities result from the same pooling of blood in the abdomen and pelvis that causes hemorrhoids.

Indigestion

The same sluggish circulation in the abdomen can cause symptoms of indigestion and poor absorption of nutrients.

Hyperpigmentation

Although more often seen in actual Addison’s disease, hyperpigmentation is occasionally seen in adrenal fatigue. This increased pigmentation of the skin may show up as “bronzing” somewhere on the body or as unusual brown.

Heart Sounds

The heart normally makes a “lub-dub sound, with the second sound being much quieter than the first sound. In a person with hypoadrenia, the second sound will be equal or louder than the first sound over the pulmonic valve. When the body is stressed, it produces epinephrine which will cause vasoconstriction throughout most of the body, including the lungs. This vasoconstriction decreases the production of mucous in the airways. At the same time, epinephrine will relax the bronchi (bronchodilation) allowing more air to reach the lungs. In those with adrenal fatigue, the body cannot respond to the epinephrine because of lack of cortisol so they experience bronchoconstriction instead, leading to symptoms of asthma. The bronchoconstriction, along with vasodilation and swelling of the mucous membranes create a back pressure in pulmonary circulation (pulmonary hypertension) that causes the pulmonary valve to slam shut, hence the accentuated second sound over the pulmonic valve. Lung diseases such as tuberculosis or tumors can also cause this loud 2nd sound.

The Fix

The adrenal glands are very complex parts of the endocrine system producing glucocorticoids (cortisol is the most important), mineralocorticoids (aldosterone), epinephrine, norepinephrine and even sex hormones. Adrenal fatigue affects every part of the body and every aspect of life. If you are experiencing the symptoms described above it is imperative you find a practitioner and get tested and treated. It may be helpful to print this out and take it to your practitioner. Saliva cortisol testing usually includes the sex hormones too and can be ordered from several on-line sites without a doctor’s order. If you do it this way though, testing will not be covered by insurance. Saliva testing is the most accurate test because it shows the rhythm of cortisol production and because it shows how much cortisol is present that the body can actually use. Blood tests only show bound cortisol which gives no indication if that cortisol is actually available to enter the tissues. Many people test “normal” on blood cortisol yet very low on saliva.

×

Want to learn more?
Browse our patient resources

Below you can find a number of links to resources outside Valley Health Clinic. Recipes, blogs, and great information about how to live a healthier life and reach your full potential.

Have a question? Ask us!