Your Wood Element & The Energetics Of Spring

Maybe it’s just me, but despite being already over a MONTH into Spring, the season seems to need a little help gaining traction.  My springy clothes are met with grey, cold, rain.  That patio-loving, lawn-mowing, bike-riding Spring exuberance feels transient at best. It’s time to take action.

Of the 5 Elements that comprise everything in nature, Wood is the element associated with Spring.  So I’ve decided that if we all nurture our own Wood energy, we’ll collectively coax Spring out for good!

Here’s what you need to know about your Wood Element:

The Wood Element is officiated by your Liver and Gallbladder Meridians. These meridians govern not only your liver & gallbladder organs, but also your tendons, ligaments, eyes, and nails.  Common Wood imbalances include sprains, strains, sciatica, hip pain, headaches, TMJ, and eye irritations.  Wood also ensures the smooth flow of qi (“chee”) in the body.  If the Wood element is strained, the gentle rhythmic movement of qi may also be disrupted, lending to tremors, twitches, strokes, cramps, and difficulties with movement or balance.

The emotions of Wood are Irritability, Anger, & Rage.  Our Liver Meridian helps us manage stress.  A balanced Liver Meridian allows for strength and flexibility when under pressure.  Think bamboo.  But if out of balance, stress may overwhelm the Liver Meridian, leading to irritation and eventually rage.

Wood time is 11pm-3am.  Every meridian has a 2 hour window in the 24 hour clock.  The Gallbladder Meridian is most active from 11pm-1am, and the Liver Meridian is dominant between 1-3am.  This often accounts for why you’ll wake up during the 1-3am window when combating excess stress.  Sleep may also be disrupted from 1-3am by drinking alcohol before bedtime, as the Liver Meridian then has to work extra hard during its shift.

The color of Wood is Green.  

The movement of Wood is up and out.  Like a tree stretching upwards and branching out.  And like trees, Wood needs space to grow.

Wood helps us envision the future, set goals, strategize, plan, make decisions, and take action.  Spring is the season of visionaries and change-makers.  Tap into this productive energy!

A Wood-dominant personality tends to:  Have a vision for the future and the ability to create their desired life, environment, or job.  They foresee problems and strategize ways to solve or prevent them.  They are physically active.  Wood people are planners and doers; they make decisions and take action.  They are often natural leaders.  Wood-dominant personalities are just.  They assess problems with integrity, sticking to the facts and making decisions based on what’s right versus I’m right.

When in balance: Wood is strong yet flexible, fair, productive and goal-oriented.

When out of balance: Wood feels stressed, rushed, angry, rigid, and cannot make decisions.       

  To support your Wood Element:

MOVE!!!  Wood needs physical activity to stay balanced and maintain qi flow in the body.  Exercise is one of THE BEST ways to support your Wood Element, relieve stress, and process anger.  Go for a run, do 25 jumping jacks, test your speed walking skills, start a new exercise routine.  Just MOVE!     

Cleanse.  Spring is the perfect time to do a cleanse.  Our bodies are transitioning from the heavy, warming foods of winter to summer’s light, cooling fare.  The Whole30 is a killer cleanse and dietary reboot.  Plus it’s free.  Check it out – it’ll change your life!  If The Whole30 feels like too much right now, there are a bazillion other ways to cleanse.  Pick 2 or 3 things that you know you overdo and cut them out for a week.  Coffee?  Sugar?  Soda?  Fast food?  OR do a reverse cleanse and focus on eating more of specific things – like greens or unprocessed grains (brown rice, quinoa, oatmeal).  If structure is more your style, I have a 10 Day Guided Cleanse that includes a collagen-based protein powder, a greens blend and a fiber supplement for $100.   Give your Wood Element this opportunity to set a goal, make a plan, & achieve its healthy mission!  

Create space for yourself:  Give your inner tree room to spread its limbs.  Tackle some spring cleaning and clear away the heaviness and clutter of winter.  Maria  Kondo’s “The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying Up” is a pretty fabulous place to start.

Make a vision board:  Engage your creative, goal-oriented self.  Step away from the to-dos and shoulds, and reconnect with what you truly want to do, see, and create.  Get inspired!

Lighten your diet.  Whether you do a cleanse or not, start incorporating lighter food into your diet.  Steamed foods are ideal for this transitional season.  Add a few more raw veggies into your meals, such as seasonal sprouts, shoots, or fiddleheads.

Get back to nature.  Immerse yourself in Spring.  Get up with the sun.  Touch the earth. Do some gardening.  Notice the birds.  Experience the smells, sounds, colors, and feel of the season.  Physically connect with Spring.

Shout.  Shouting is the “voice” of Wood.  Think of a general barking orders.  Shouting can be strong and effective without being hostile.  Use your voice – let it come up & out.  Release anger by screaming into a pillow, or by rolling up the windows and screaming in your car.  (Or roll DOWN your windows!)  Just let it out.

Get some Acupuncture.  Let me support your Wood Element, especially if any Wood imbalances ring true for you!  Acupuncture is a fabulous way to ease your body into the energetics of a new season.

Cheers to planting seeds
literally and metaphorically
this season, 

Is Your Lawn Making You Sick?

Roundup herbicide is the most widely used agricultural chemical in the world. As of 2015, 3 billion pounds of glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, had been applied to crops in the United States, with the large majority of that being applied in the most recent 10 years.


I ask every new patient if they have used or been exposed to Roundup. A majority of them will comment that yes, there was some used around the yard, or in the driveway, or by the neighbor. A few people report very extensive use. Most assume it was benign and a thing of the past.

It is widely believed that Roundup is not particularly harmful to humans. In the Spring and Summer it isn’t uncommon to see it being sprayed by people wearing no kind of protective gear. The notion that Roundup is safe is the result of a very concerted marketing campaign on the part of Monsanto. But this facad.

Evidence of it being carcinogenic has accumulated to the point that California will start requiring Roundup to be labeled as a chemical known to cause cancer. This falls on the heels of the World Health Organization labeling it as a probable carcinogen, a move that led Monsanto to unleash an army of lawyers who tried, unsuccessfully, to block such a statement.

Most chemicals have toxicities that manifest at concentrations measured in parts per million or parts per billion perhaps. This means that it has toxicity when at a concentration of 1 part chemical to a million/billion parts water, for example.

Glyphosate’s toxicities have been document to occur at parts per trillion. It has been shown to accumulate in the bone marrow of exposed mice. Does it do that in people? No one knows, because it hasn’t been tested. Glyphosate accumulates in other organs as well, including the spleen, liver, intestines and muscles. Even those eating only organic food are found to have glyphosate in their urine. The chemical is so widespread, it is simply unavoidable.

The health impact of glyphosate exposure is enormous, and probably much greater than is already known. Glyphosate has been linked to diabetes; neurological conditions such as ALS, Alzheimer’s and autism; gout; connective tissue disorders, inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis; and much else.


The health risks of glyphosate, along with the very real problem of detoxification after exposure, have led us to create Over time we will be populating that site with resources for those who are willing to become advocates in their own communities, helping to raise awareness about this hidden-in-plain-sight chemical that is, quite literally, all around us.

We hope you will visit it regularly, join the forum discussions that will be developing, and let us know what you think.

Can You Help Us Help More People?

If you have good things to say about your PNH practitioner, it would be enormously appreciated if you would take just a minute or two and write a review or testimonial. Online reviews are one of the most important factors influencing how people make choices about their health care.

Review us at Google: At, search on “Portland Natural Health”. In the box to the right, find the “Write a Review” button.

Review us at Yelp!

Review us at On the site, type in the name of your practitioner to find their listing. Put the name in quotations in order to narrow your search.

Review & Like us on Facebook

Your recommendations are the most powerful marketing we have. Please let others know if you have valued the health care you have received at Portland Natural Health.


April Discounts on Facial Rejuvenation Therapy with Anne Carruth LAc

You read that right – BIG DISCOUNTS on cosmetic acupuncture for the FACE, NECK, and BREASTS!

Contact the clinic anytime during April to book your cosmetic visits – even if you’re scheduling visits for later in the year – and receive the following discounts:

$1,200 if booked during April, normally $1,500

This series entails two 90minute acupuncture visits each week for 5 weeks (10 visits total).  It includes a full line of professional grade skin care products for home use, Chinese herbal support tailored to your constitution, and a 10 day cleanse.  The FRA series is designed to:

  • Lift and tighten skin
  • Reduce fine lines
  • Even skin tone and reduce sun damage, age spots, and acne marks
  • Increase collagen production
  • Redefine the jawline and tighten the neck
  • Lift sagging jowls and droopy eyelids
  • Reduce undereye bags and puffiness
  • Increase blood, Qi, and moisture
    flow to the skin
$1,100 if booked during April, normally $1,200
The Breast Enhancement Protocol entails two 75minute visits each week for 5 weeks (10 visits total).  It includes Chinese herbal support tailored to your constitution and your own moxabustion tool for home use.  This protocol is best suited for cup sizes A & B, as well as nursing moms, and is designed to:
  • Lift sagging breasts
  • Increase firmness and fullness
  • Tonify underlying muscles
  • Assist nursing mothers with painful breasts, insufficient lactation, and mastitis (10 visits is generally not required and pricing is adjusted)
  • Increase blood, Qi, and lymph circulation in the breasts
$125 if booked during April, normally $150

90minute FRA follow-ups & 75minute Breast Enhancement follow-ups

Spring is here and with it comes a sense of regeneration, renewal, vitality, and beauty.  Embrace this energy and apply it to yourself.  It’s time to make changes, start new routines, and invest in yourself!

It’s simply amazing to see the changes in people’s skin, bodies, and confidence during these 5 week transformations!  And because you’re receiving acupuncture treatments twice weekly during your 5 week series, you can look forward to improved digestion, fewer aches and pains, balanced hormones, less stress, a boosted immune system, deeper sleep, and more energy.  Help me spread the word that acupuncture is a safe, natural, and effective way to turn back the clock and love the way you look.

Call the clinic, schedule online, or reply to this email to book your discounted visits.  Unless you are a nursing mother, these treatments are considered cosmetic and cannot be billed to insurance.  I am happy set up a payment plan that works with your budget.

Cheers to Spring, a fresh start, and a new you!


Leaving Early To Account For The Morrison Bridge Closure

As you may have noticed the Morrison Bridge is down to two lanes for traffic.  Portland Natural Health is close to the river and although our neighborhood is minimally impacted by the increase in traffic, many patients are experiencing increased commute times as a result of the nearby congestion.

We ask that you map out your route ahead of time using a GPS Service that can account for delays, or just give yourself a little extra time to for your commute so that you needn’t experience any additional strain or stress.

With Love,

Portland Natural Health.

Structural Integration: Creating Balances

Dr. Ida P. Rolf was not interested in curing symptoms.  She wanted to create better human beings.  The ills would cure themselves; the symptoms would melt as the body became balanced. Structural Integration is a sequence of treatments that applies equally to all bodies.  It is a process of creating balances…starting on the surface of the body and gradually working deeper through a series of ten, one-hour sessions.

Dr. Rolf earned her PhD. in biochemistry in 1920.  She spent the decade of the 1930’s seeking answers to personal and family health problems. Medical treatment available seemed inadequate to her so this led her to the exploration of osteopathy, chiropractic, yoga, and the Alexander technique. She was committed to the scientific method, yet made many breakthroughs through her intuitive work with chronically disabled people. This was the work eventually to be known as Structural Integration. For the next thirty years, Dr. Rolf devoted herself to developing her technique and training programs.

The Rolf Method of Structural Integration (S.I.) is a form of therapeutic bodywork that restores balance within the body by removing strain patterns in the myofascial system.

Fascia is connective tissue that envelops all muscles, organs, bones, nerves and blood vessels. It is what holds us together, greatly defines our shape, and is an organ of form. Fascia absorbs the forces of gravity as well as the impact of physical injury, accidents, illnesses and emotional stress. Even the cumulative tensions of daily living (such as repetitive movements or sitting for long periods of time) can create restrictive, habitual holding patterns that become embedded in the body; they are recorded in the myofascial system like memory and can contribute to unhealthy tissue, limited joint mobility and impaired muscle potential.

Structural Integration seeks to enhance the functioning of the individual by changing its structure. Bones are held in place by soft tissue – muscles, ligaments, tendons, etc.  When a muscle is chronically short, it will pull the attached bone out of balance, which in turn creates compensations in the body.  Repositioning the bone is not enough; the individual muscle and allied tissue must be lengthened if the change is to be permanent.  

By Chelsey Craft, LMT

Practitioner of Structural Integration, Oregon License #17981

Practitioner Spotlight: Sarah Grumbling, LMT.

We sat down with Sarah to find out what brought her to her practice, and what else she’s doing to fuel her life:

How long have you been doing craniosacral therapy and how did you become interested in it?

I have been studying and practicing craniosacral therapy for 5 years now, but I initially became interested in the treatment back in 2009 when I experienced an ocular migraine for the first time.  It was before I was a bodyworker and I had never heard of occular migraines — it was quite alarming! I was suddenly disoriented, seeing prisms of light, distorted short term memory and altered depth perception. That evening I happened to be meeting up with some friends, one of whom was a practitioner trained in craniosacral therapy.  She briefly worked on my head and neck, and rapidly my symptoms dissolved with her very light touch.  But what struck me is the familiarity I felt in the subtle rhythms and movements in my body as she worked — I had felt these sensations before, mostly in yoga practice or when going to sleep, but had always been perplexed as to what I was happening.  Years later, after my first craniosacral class, those same sensations were replicated and I linked my past experiences to the craniosacral rhythm and innate unwinding of the body.

Where did you get your training?

The majority of my craniosacral training has been through the Upledger Institute, and am currently enrolled in their Immune Response track with my longtime instructor, Tim Hutton CST-D, PhD.  In the past year I have also been taking courses locally with Carol Gray, focusing on infant work.  I recently completed over 200 hours of classroom study in CST coursework covering immune response, somato-emotional release (trauma recovery), and CST for infants.

What type of patient/condition do you like to work with?

Right now, I am completely fascinated by the work I have been doing with infants. They are often so responsive to treatment and it can have dramatic effects on their demeanor, breastfeeding difficulties, digestion, and structural restrictions like torticollis or plagiocephayly (head flattening).  In adults and babies alike I love working at the abdomen, and that is often is where we start when addressing digestive issues, back and hip pain, menstrual pain, as well as immune system dysfunction.  I also enjoy working with patients in the acute and ongoing stages of recovery from car accidents, trauma and PTSD, those suffering from migraines, and anyone who is seeking a deeper level of relating to their body.

Can you tell me a short story of an experience in your work that left you feeling inspired?

The power of this work continually fascinates me.  Recently I had a patient come to see me who has been suffering from a very rare severe form of migraine that was causing her to lose all function and essentially become paralyzed in half her body.  When not suffering from the most extreme symptoms, she has had multiple traditional migraines throughout her week and headaches daily for the last year.  Headaches, throbbing pain, nausea and light sensitivity had become a regular part of her life and multiple doctors, including her neurologist, concluded that this condition would be something she would need to learn to live with.  After hearing craionsacral therapy may help with migraines, she came to see me as a last effort.

In that first treatment, I truly did not know what to expect, but as with all patients, I listened to the body to identify restrictions, and began work from there.  In craniosacral work, we have two mantras that I rely on repeatedly:  “Blend and meld” (with the tissue), and “treat what you find” — which means, work with what the body is actually showing you in that moment, rather than where you think you should work.  It is something of a right-brained exploration of trust that the patient’s Inner Wisdom will guide you.  After a giving my patient few minutes to rest after our work together, I came back into the room to find her quite joyful.  “How are you doing?” I asked.  She replied, “This is the first time I have not had a headache in over a year! Usually when I go in for an appointment with a headache, I always still have the headache when I leave, but today I don’t have one!”  I found this moment to be incredibly confirming and inspiring.  Over the years I have witnessed many dramatic changes in my patients as well as in my own body from receiving craniosacral work, and yet I have such awe and wonder about the process.  We are working with the anatomy and physiology — there is an exceptional amount of science behind this work — but the human body is still home to hundreds and thousands of mysteries that science has not yet found an explanation for.  So I like to think the work I do is 3 parts listening, 1 part science and (at least) 1 part magic.

Tell me about something you LOVE!

I so dearly love singing.  Usually singing happens in the form of kirtan — a devotional yoga practice of call and response chanting in Sanskrit, Hindi, or other vibrationally potent languages.  We sing mantras to tune in, celebrate, or work with different energies of this life experience…  Sometimes I lead kirtans in big group settings for special events (like Valentine’s Day!) but what I love the very most is when this music happens amongst small circles of friends on the living room floor in the wee hours of morning.  In these special occasions, we sing together and my heart loves it.  Sometimes these songs can feel like a great journey that we are all in together — creating something that feels brand new, ancient, and familiar all at once.  It’s very meditative and can pull you in — sometimes its very hard to stop singing! But when you do, you are quite different than before.  I’m pretty sure it’s magic.

Visit Sarah’s Bio.

Schedule Online or call the Front Desk at 503-445-7767.

What is Vertigo?

by Dr. Stefan M Herold, Chiropractic Neurologist

Vertigo is a type of dizziness that is characterized by a sense of movement, usually a spinning or falling feeling.  It can feel either like you are the one spinning (ego-centric vertigo), or can feel like you are stable but the room is spinning around you (geo-centric vertigo).  Vertigo is often accompanied by nausea and disequilibrium or a difficulty with balance.

Vertigo can have many different causes, but the most common arise from the semi-circular canals of the inner ear.  One condition called BPPV (benign paroxysmal positional vertigo) is caused by small crystals that get dislodged and float up into the canal where then push on special movement sensitive nerve cells creating the perception of spinning.  There is a special series of movements that can free the crystal(s) and resolve the condition.  BPPV is classically triggered by change in position like getting out of bed, or turning or tipping the head.  The sense of spinning and nausea may last for just a few seconds to a minute and then fade and cannot be easily retriggered for a short time (refractory period), but may re-occur many times each day until it resolves.

Another common cause of vertigo is inflammation of the canals most often resulting from a simple viral infection like the common cold.  This kind of vertigo is longer lasting, sometimes persisting for several days, but will subsequentlyimprove with little or no treatment needed as the viral infection itself resolves.

There are other causes of vertigo including post-trauma like a stroke, after a concussion, car accident or other direct or indirect cause of head injury.  Migraines can cause vertigo with or without a headache.  Autoimmune conditions like Meniere’s disease and multiple sclerosis can also result in vertigo.

If you are seeking treatment for vertigo or other causes of dizziness,identifying the cause of the problem is vital so that appropriate treatment can be selected for the best outcomes.



How Do I Know If I Have a Concussion?

by Dr. Stefan M. Herold, Chiropractic Neurologist

A concussion is a term used to describe an injury to the brain.  Also referred to as mTBI (mild traumatic brain injury), but don’t be fooled by the word mild – this just refers to an injury that is not immediately life threatening.  Mild traumatic brain injuries can result in very serious and debilitating consequences if they do not resolve.

First of all, a concussion requires a mechanism of injury, something that causes enough force inside the head to create an injury.  This could be obvious, like a direct blow to the head from a fall, an assault or contact sports.  A concussion can also occur from an indirect force, any rapid acceleration or deceleration creating a ‘whiplash’ or sudden jarring movement of the head/neck like in a car accident, contact sports, etc.  Your head may stop moving before hitting an object, but because of inertia, your brain can still be moving and literally smack into the bony case that is your skull.  Depending on the forces there may be an additional injury as the brain bounces back the other direction, resulting in a ‘coup, counter-coup’ injury.  Most people equate a concussion with being ‘knocked out’.  According to the CDC, less than 10% of concussions will result in a loss of consciousness, and for those that do the time lost is often very brief and the person may not be aware they were knocked out.

A head injury is a complex web of changes including bruising, swelling of axons (long extensions of nerve cells that act like wires connecting one area of the brain to another), inflammation, changes in energy production and a drop in blood flow and altered chemical regulation resulting in excitotoxicity or over stimulation that can make the brain work too hard to the point of damaging cells.

Common symptoms at the onset of a concussion are feeling dazed, stunned or confused which may be accompanied by seeing spots or stars in your vision, (sadly no cartoon birds circling the head have been reported in the literature.)  In more severe cases there may be amnesia, a loss of time following or even for events before the injury happened.

Typical symptoms of a concussion can include any of the following signs.

Physical: Headache, Nausea, Vomiting, Vertigo or Dizziness, Balance Problems, Visual changes, Fatigue, Sensitivity to Light, Sensitivity to Noise, Tinnitus/Ringing in Ears, Numbness or tingling

Cognitive: Feeling mentally ‘foggy’, feeling slowed down, difficulty concentrating, difficulty remembering, forgetful of recent information or conversations, confused about recent events, answers questions slowly, repeats questions

Emotional: Irritability, Exaggerated Emotions, Sadness/Depression, Nervousness/Anxiety/Panic Attacks

Sleep: drowsiness, sleeping less than usual, sleeping more than usual, trouble falling asleep

There are other causes for these symptoms other than a concussion, but the onset or change in one or more of these symptoms immediately or in the days to weeks following a potential mechanism for head injury would warrant follow up with a doctor trained in evaluation and management of concussions.  The more symptoms you have, especially if across multiple categories the more likely it is you have a significant concussion.

Signs to watch out for that suggest evaluation in the emergency room to rule out hemorrhage or other life threatening injuries:  Rapid onset ‘worst headache of my life’, very drowsy/cannot be awakened, inability to recognize people/places, slurred speech, persistent vomiting, severe confusion, weakening of arms or legs, seizures, unusual behavior changes.

If you think you might have a concussion (that’s not in the “emergency room” category above), give our clinic a call at 503-445-7767 to schedule an evaluation.

concussion Dr. Stefan Herold Portland Natural Health


5 Things You May Not Know About CranioSacral Therapy


1.  It’s more than just your cranium!
Working with the craniosacral system means working with the entire body.  While a number of techniques are focused on releasing restrictions around the cranial bones as well as the sacrum, an experienced practitioner will follow the body to the specific area that needs attention.  We work on all the structures of the body including muscles, bones, ligaments, fascia and even organs.


2.  It’s fascia too!
In the body is an intricate web of connective tissue called fascia that operates a bit like a exceptionally detailed spider’s web:  When Charlotte is creating a cocoon in one area of the web, and a fly lands far away on the opposite side, she can feel it land and flail through the vibrations that are transmitted in the web’s fibers.  The facial network is not very different.  If the facia is pulled or restricted in one area of the body, those fibers will essentially be pulling on every other fascial fiber throughout the body.  And when you encounter a weak link in some of those fibers, often, this is where pain manifests.
This is why we often find ourselves treating the body from a place far from where the actual pain is felt, but where the restriction lies.  Utilizing the craniosacral approach of blending and melding, and following the tissue, we frequently are working in the body’s fascial network.


3.  Pressure can be extremely light or very deep
When learning the foundations of CST, 5 grams of pressure is the weight we use in our hands to access the subtleties of the body.   With a light touch, your hands are more receptive and you can feel the quieter shifts within the body and craniosacral rhythm.  But as we learn to follow the body, the amount of pressure may change to meet the body at the layer that is most effective for treatment.  Sometimes this may go far beyond 5 grams of pressure, but is the layer at which the tissue responds to the therapist’s touch.


4.  Craniosacral… in your mouth??
Yep.  All of the bones that make up your cranium (skull) eventually connect to the facial bones and thus, the bones that make up the inside of your mouth.  Sometimes we even work on the tongue and teeth!  We certainly rely on these structures daily for eating and speaking.  The mouth and jaw is a strong, yet sensitive, place.  Common things like routine dental work, months of wearing braces, clenching or grinding the teeth at tight, even stress can result in a shift or restriction of the mouth/jaw bones, teeth and toungue.  These bones directly articulate with the cranial bones, which hold our brain and protective structures.


5.  Your body guides me.
In CST, the therapist acts as a facilitator to the body and its process of unwinding, releasing and healing.  The work is primarily indirect as opposed to more direct techniques that are therapist driven.  Think of rather than having a massage “done to you,” it is work that listens and supports what your body need to do to heal.  Dr. Upledger, who developed Craniosacral Therapy, refers to the part of the body that deeply knows what is ultimately in your highest interest as the Inner Physician.  We could also call it the Higher Self, Innate Wisdom, Inner Source, Most Authentic Self, etc, but what is important is this force is in charge, and as facilitating therapists, it is our job to listen and follow, and let the Inner Physician guide the work.


–Sarah Grumbling, LMT