Tips To Embrace Eating With The Seasons

 Eating seasonally is great for the environment and the community and your taste buds will be glad you did.

When it comes to food production, Washington is one of the most bountiful states in the nation. Just north of Seattle, Whatcom County is in the top 3 percent of all counties nationally when it comes to farm production. To the east, our orchards produce 70 percent of the apples in the U.S.

Seasonal produce is easy to obtain when living in the state of Washington, but because supermarkets consistently have so many of the same offerings, it is easy to be disconnected from seasonal harvests. Here are three reasons why it makes sense to reconnect with the seasons.

  • Taste: Food grown in season is simply more delicious. Compare the taste of a tomato from a summer farmers market to one from the supermarket in the winter. Similarly, consider spinach, a cool weather crop. Because sugar doesn’t freeze, the spinach plant produces extra sugar to protect itself against the cold. The result is a sweeter, more delicious green in winter.
  • Nutrition: Produce picked and eaten at its peak generally has more vitamins, minerals and antioxidants than foods harvested before they’re ripe. Eating seasonally helps you get the full complement of nutrients that nature offers.
  • Environment: Eating seasonally often means eating locally. This is good for the environment as it cuts down on pollution from shipping and reduces your carbon footprint.

So how do you find what’s in season? Here are a few tips.

  • Go to for a nationwide directory of local food sources.
  • Browse for information about stores and restaurants in the region that have a focus on seasonal produce.
  • Use your smart phone to track down where to buy what’s in season using apps such as Farmstand on iPhones, Fresh Food Finder on Androids, and Locavore on both.
  • Visit a farm or local farmers market. A list and map of those in the Puget Sound area can be found at

Eating seasonally is great for the environment and the community and your taste buds will be glad you did.

— By Terese Wallace, Bastyr dietetic intern, and Amy Frasieur, MS, RD, core faculty in the Department of Nutrition and Exercise Science at Bastyr University.


excitotoxinExcitotoxins are additives found in processed and packaged foods & drinks that affect the neurological function.  These additives over stimulate the receptors in the brain to fire or excite abnormally, causing cell damage or death.  Exitotoxins have many names, one of them being MSG.

Partial list of foods containing Excitotoxins:

  • “hydrolyzed” ingredients
  • “natural flavors” ingredients
  • Accent seasoning
  • Aspartame
  • baby food
  • boxed dinner meals
  • diet drinks
  • diet foods
  • diet soda
  • dressings
  • energy drinks
  • fast food
  • live virus vaccines
  • low-fat foods
  • packaged mixes, sauces and gravies
  • some brands of protein powder
  • soy sauce

Much the research strongly suggests that regularly consuming excitotoxins over an extended period of time can destroy significant numbers of brain cells and lead to serious health problems, including seizures and strokes. According to Russell L. Blaylock, a neurosurgeon and author of Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills, excitotoxins have also been linked to human neurological disorders such as multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.

George R. Schwartz, MD, author of In Bad Taste: The MSG Syndrome, believes there are three general categories of symptoms that result from MSG/Excitotoxin consumption:

Allergic Symptoms 
Asthma, shortness of breath
Running nose

Peripheral Symptoms 
Jaw tightness
Rapid heartbeat
Chest tightening
Diarrhea, stomach cramps

Central (Brain) Symptoms

Choosing healthy changes in diet may cause increased muscle and joint pain due to the withdrawal from these chemicals.  We can help with Acupuncture and Massage.

Call us today to schedule your appointment: 360-366-4216

#msg #allergies #abwmassage #choosehealthy #recovery
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Massage & Addiction

Written by Clare La Plante, March 1, 2013, published on

When Brendan C., a Chicago-based marathon runner and coach and recovering alcoholic with 20 years of sobriety under his belt, went for a recent massage with his regular therapist, the muscles in his calves and lower back were intractable. His therapist asked him what was going on. Brendan said he had no idea.

The therapist continued working on him. As she did, Brendan began to feel profoundly sad. He realized he was finally feeling the stress fall-out of the recent break-up of a long-time relationship. Only then did his muscles begin to release. “That’s the thing with addicts,” he says, wryly. “We don’t always know what’s going on with us.”

This emotional disassociation can often be a double whammy for those struggling with addictions. “We live in a culture that doesn’t do a good job teaching anyone how to relax, both physically and mentally,” says Jennifer Broadwell, DOM, ADS, an acupuncturist and director of the Wellness Spot, an integrative health center affiliated with the Florida House Experience, a rehab facility based in Deerfield Beach, Florida.

However, this could be changing. More and more, centers such as the Wellness Spot offer a host of non-talk therapies, including massage, as part of their recovery programs. In fact, massage is one of the most popular offerings at the Wellness Spot, with the six therapists doing approximately 200 massages a week.

The center also offers acupuncture, chiropractic services, yoga, meditation and nutritional counseling. Through all of these modalities, but especially massage, “Clients can now feel what it’s like to be present in their own bodies,” says Broadwell.

The Long Road

Recovery is a process, and a difficult one. “Often, the client cannot even articulate what is going on,” Broadwell says. “Because massage is not a talk therapy, it can meet them wherever they are, even if they don’t have the skills to tell us.”

Maureen Schwehr, NMD, a naturopathic physician and craniosacral instructor who works at the integrative clinic at Sierra Tucson, an in-patient rehab facility near Tucson, Arizona, says bodywork offerings are invaluable to the rehab clients, most all of whom choose to participate in them.The massage offerings at Sierra Tucson include Swedish massage, myofascial release, zero balancing, shiatsu, SomatoEmotional Release, and Chi Nei Tsang, a type of Chinese abdomen massage.

Schwehr says that most conventional therapy for recovery focuses on the mind. Once you start considering a mind/body/spirit model, she explains, you have more treatment options. She thinks of the connection this way: “The spirit is who we really are. Our mind is our thinking brain, and our body houses this. If you’re an addict, you often have to ignore your body, because you are, in essence, hurting your ‘house.’” Addicts often continue their destructive behavior by not checking in with their ‘home,’ or their body, she says.

Of course, destructive addictive behavior can have ramifications far beyond the individual addict. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), addictions impact nearly all American families in some way. Alcohol, nicotine and illegal substances alone cost more than half a trillion dollars a year, in everything from health care costs to crime to accidents to special services in education.

The jury is still out on what causes addiction—most experts say it’s a combination of physiological susceptibility and environment. However, nearly everyone agrees that recovery is not about simple willpower. As one well-known Alcoholics Anonymous aphorism says, “We’re sick people trying to get better, not bad people trying to be good.”

Gabor Mate, M.D., a physician who worked with addicts in the drug-infested Downtown Eastside of Vancouver for years and author of In the Realm of the Hungry Ghost: Close encounters with addiction, says that addiction seems designed to help users escape pain. “All addictions serve as distractions at the very least,” he says.

Nearly any behavior can be addictive—even seemingly benign activities such as shopping, eating and sex. Mate says it really doesn’t matter what the “drug” of choice is—all addictions involve the same brain circuits and brain chemicals. The NIDA says that when addicts get a hit of their drug of choice, dopamine—the feel-good neurotransmitter—floods their brain’s reward system.

This may be why massage, which has been proven to increase dopamine and serotonin, and decrease cortisol, can help those in recovery. Schwehr says this piece is crucial, especially in the early stages of withdrawal when dopamine often drops significantly. “This can be a very uncomfortable time,” she says.

Other physiological and emotional issues in recovery include pain, agitation, anxiety and sleep problems. Massage—nearly any kind of massage—also helps with all of these, says Tiffany Field, Ph.D., director of the University of Miami’s School of Medicine’s Touch Research Institute, which studies massage. “The body releases fewer stress hormones when being massaged,” Field says. Stress hormones, including cortisol, weaken the immune system and can lead to increased pain.“ This becomes, a vicious cycle,” Field says, “one that massage can help break.”

Also, in a study published in 2002, fibromyalgia patients, after receiving massage twice weekly for fi ve weeks, slept and felt better. Levels of neurotransmitter substance P—which your body emits when you are sleep deprived—decreased. “We found a direct relationship,” says Field.

Massage also helps with overall relaxation by stimulating pressure receptors, which enhance vagal activity. Since the vagus nerve is one of the 12 cranial nerves in the brain, this decreases heart rate, lowers blood pressure, and decreases stress hormones, according to Field. “You will sleep better, be less anxious,” says Field. “It’s a whole chemical reaction that is happening.”

Even those who are going through withdrawal from alcohol, cocaine or opiods relaxed more deeply with a simple chair massage than with 20-minute “relaxation sessions,” where participants sat in a quiet room and focused on their breathing. And those who received the massage sustained the relaxation benefits for 24 hours.

On a more superficial level, clients often just feel better after a massage, says Broadwell. “We’re able to show them, ‘This is what relaxation feels like,” she says. “Someone puts healing hands on you, and suddenly you become aware,” Mate says. “Often people say, ‘I never knew I was that sad/happy.’” To this end, massage therapists may have an advantage over medical doctors like him when working with this clientele, says Mate.

“Massage therapists get the stress/disease connection more than doctors do,” he says. “They actually can feel when a client is holding some tension. Physicians don’t put their hands on people like that.”

In Mate’s experience, most of the addicts he worked with—if not all—suffered early life trauma. In fact, he sees childhood trauma and emotional loss as the template for addictions. Many had boundaries violated. Therefore, tread carefully. Ground yourself first. “Make sure what you’re doing is to help them—not to be a hero, or to save anyone,” he says. If a client relapses, he says, and you get angry with them, then you are in a sense violating their boundaries. “Whatever happens to them, don’t take it personally,” Mate adds.

Diane Ansel, a Chicago-based massage therapist, says consider yourself a guide more than anything. “You work on them, and let it go. It’s up to them to turn it around,” she explains.

What you can offer, she says, is simple self-care techniques for between sessions. Ansel says she often takes inspiration in a long-told story of Gandhi. “I love the story of a mother who came to Gandhi and asked him to tell her child not to eat sugar,” she says. “Gandhi said come back next week. When they returned, Gandhi simply told the child, ‘Stop eating sugar.’ When the mother asked, why did they have to go and return for that? He replied, ‘I hadn’t given up sugar yet.’”

Mate says we can’t all wait until we’re perfect in order to help others. “To the extent that you haven’t dealt with your own stuff—or glimpsed your own possibilities—for you can only take people as far as you can go yourself. But no one ever finishes, so you don’t have to wait, just be aware. It takes a lot of self-awareness,” he says.

He also says that, in essence, all addictions are about self-soothing. Therefore, giving them a pathway with which they can connect to their bodies can be enormously empowering. Broadwell sees this with the clients at her wellness center all the time.

The clients start to realize, she says, that the “medicine” is inside of them. “This is a great paradigm shift,” she explains. First, she sees the effects of massage on the faces of the clients. “And then we hear it everyday in patient feedback: That the chronic pain is starting to improve, that they can now sleep with less or no medication,” she adds.

Schwehr says that one of her clients told her that the massage changed her experience at the rehab facility by “100 percent.” Another client told her that the bodywork she had done allowed her to feel connected to her body in a way she had never felt before.

Massage can even help with some basic rewiring of our brains, knowing what we know now about its neuroplasticity. Often, says Mate, early touch experiences of those who struggle with addiction have been “the opposite of healing,” which is partly why he advocates compassionate treatment for addicts rather than tough love. “[With massage therapy,] when they are being touched, it is not to give someone else pleasure, but to put themselves in touch with themselves,” he says. “If there’s some brain circuit that says to be touched is to be hurt,” Mate adds, “imagine being touched not to be hurt, but to be helped.”

Brendan C. experiences this rewiring, one day at a time. Twenty years sober, he says he’s still learning every day how to get in touch with his body and his feelings. Brendan says that many people with addictive personalities do not feel comfortable touching or being touched, himself included. “Part of the reason I drank,” he says, “was to avoid having intimate contact with those around me—my parents, children, wife.”

However, being willing to open up and to trust has made a world of difference. “Massage builds trust. Perhaps for the first time, the body can be completely relaxed, receptive, without the fear that the other person is going to hurt you,” he says.

This is what Schwehr sees all the time at the clinic, she says. “When someone has an opportunity to be touched, to have therapeutic work on their body, it can bring the [recovery] work home to a much deeper level,” she believes. “It can help connect the body to the emotions. I once read that emotions are our body’s way of telling us how it feels about what’s going on. When you bring someone back to their body, it’s like bringing them home.”

Tips for Working With Those in Recovery

According to Maureen Schwehr, NMD, a naturopathic physician and craniosacral instructor who works at the integrative clinic at Sierra Tucson, an in-patient rehab facility near Tucson, Arizona, these tips for massage therapists working with those in recovery:

1. Be neutral and don’t have an agenda about what you want out of the session. let the client’s needs guide you.

2. Be really clear about your professional boundaries. “People with addictions can be good at crossing boundaries, so therapists have to be really clear on theirs,” she says. Don’t bring your own personal stuff into the sessions. Work at a very professional level.

3. Be clear about what population you are willing to work with. Don’t take on clients beyond your capabilities. At different stages of recovery, clients may need different types of work. It’s not one-size-fits-all. “Be OK with referring out if it seems that what’s going on is more complex than you are willing to handle,” she encourages.

4. Trust Yourself

FREE Clinic at Bellingham Medical Acupuncture

Shannon Freeman, L.Ac, EAMP, LMP - FREE Acupuncture Clinic

Shannon Freeman, L.Ac, EAMP, LMP – FREE Communitity Acupuncture Clinic

UPDATE: May 28, 2015, is our last free acupuncture community clinic from 2pm – 4pm! Thank you for a fantastic month of May. If you want to see Free Community Clinic continue once a month, please let us know.

FREE Community Acupuncture Clinic for all persons with or without medical conditions, given by Shannon Freeman, LAC, EAMP, LMP.

This community clinic will be held every Tuesday and Thursday, Starting May 12 at 2pm – 4pm at 12 Bellwether Way, Suite 219.  

Clinic forms at bottom of page.

The clinic will be super casual with acupuncture points to RELAX and CENTER.  This is a first come, first served clinic.  Come out and check it out if you’ve never tried acupuncture.

Some things about community clinic

People are treated in the same room.

There is no disrobing, so wear loose comfortable clothes.

The collective energy of being treated in a group enhances your treatment.

Families and friends can come together.

Treatments are typically 15-20 minutes long; or let us know if there is a specific time you need to be up by.

Our Treatments

We use distal points on the arms and legs to treat most everything.  We don’t have to stick needles where the problem is to get results.  Really!

Free Acupuncture mean that people can actually experience the benefits of acupuncture and return anytime for additional free treatments, as long as the clinic is still active.

Shannon Freeman, LAC, EAMP is a nationally licensed acupuncturists, using sterile disposable needles.

Our Mission

A Better Way Massage & Acupuncture MISSION is to help as many people as possible in their quest for optimum health and educate them about the benefits of acupuncture and massage therapy so they may, in turn, educate others.  Our clinic is peaceful and friendly place that welcomes all people.  We strive to empower our patients, employees, and interns with a healthcare model that requires responsibility, participation, and community building.



Shannon Freeman, LAC, EAMP, LMP is a licensed acupuncturists and does not provide primary care or diagnose medical conditions, though she often provides complimentary care for conditions that require a physician’s attention. If you have a serious medical condition, for example, an infection, growth or injury that won’t heal, you need to see a primary care doctor (MD, DO, ND.)

When you go back for treatment get yourself ready by choosing a chair, removing shoes and socks, pushing up your sleeves and pants and settling in before the acupuncturist arrives.

Feel free to bring ear plugs, ear phones, or anything that will help you to be comfortable in our treatment rooms.

Community Mindedness

We all create our quiet peaceful setting by speaking softly, and not too much.

Please turn off your cell phones.

Strong scents, perfumes, aftershave, body care/hair products, and detergents trigger allergic reactions and headaches for other.  Please try to minimize the use of these before you come to the clinic.

Wear shoes in the clinic.


Acupuncture is a PROCESS. It is very rare for any acupuncturist to be able to resolve a problem with one treatment. In China, a typical treatment protocol for a chronic condition could be acupuncture every other day for three months! Most of our patients don’t need that much acupuncture, but virtually every patient requires a course of treatment, rather than a single treatment, in order to get what they want from acupuncture.  As long as our Free Acupuncture Clinic is open, you are welcome to come as many times as you wish.

What TCM can treat

  • Menstrual Irregularities and Pain, Menopause, Fertility
  • Colitis, IBS, Acid Reflux, Heartburn, Constipation, Morning Sickness
  • Injury, Arthritis, Chronic Pain, Back and Neck Tension
  • Depression, Anxiety, Stress Management
  • Smoking Cessation, Withdrawal Support
  • Asthma, Allergies, Common Cold
  • Insomnia, Migraines, TMJ, Hypertension
  • Eczema, Acne, Rashes
  • Side effects of chemotherapy and radiation therapy
  • Immune Support
  • And much, much more…


And, last, but not least….enjoy the space. We do, and hope that A Better Way Massage & Acupuncture can be an important part of your community. Thank you, Shannon Freeman, LAC, EAMP, LMP

Now the Legal stuff – See below: