On Being a Father…

Image of DadThe joys and challenges of being a father demand a careful balance of exercise, healthy eating habits and focused healthcare.
Newborns bring a special joy and delight to a young father as well as needing much care and feeding late into the night and early morning.   Many a father has made a speedy trip to the emergency room to retrieve that missing safety pin.  A quick check for monsters under the bed at night helps the kids go to sleep.  Career moves sharpen the skills needed to adapt to new work environment.  Stressful, yes but all a part of becoming a father.
As the young father matures and the children grow into young adults the many demands of raising children change.  Driving lessons in the parking lot, evening recitals for the young musician, and weekend field trips keep both parents moving and the schedules full.  It is also a time when work expectations change and bring with it new challenges to learn and transform.   Anxiety, yes , there is nothing quite like trying to teach a teenager to drive.
In later years the children are now grown and a fathers focus is directed towards retirement, grandchildren , and perhaps travel.   The daily lifestyle habits all come to bear on Dad’s health.  Time becomes more valuable just as it seems to pass more quickly.  Exercise, healthy eating habits and attitude become even more important as metabolism slows.
Whether a new father with very young children, a  middle aged Dad with young adults  or a Dad with fully grown adult children that have moved out and beginning families of their own, Dad is always Dad and his daily lifestyle habits will greatly influence his enjoyment of life and those around him.
We have the tendency to think that most of the health conditions we acquire in life are age related and although age is an undeniable factor the truth is much different.  In  America today the majority of the chronic conditions are the result of poor choices in life.  Life style plays the most  important role in our health status.  Bad eating habits are the biggest of these mistakes. Poor eating habits  not only effect our digestive health and weight, an unhealthy diet has an impact on cardiovascular, endocrine, and nervous systems as well.
Lack of exercise is another factor in our poor health.  We know you’ve  already heard this many times but here is another way to look at it.  Mistakes made during exercise  are a bigger issue than not exercising at all.  The body needs balance and rest in an exercise regiment just like diet.  Hard exercises should always be balanced with mindful exercises like yoga, meditation and Qi Gong.  Most of the chronic pain and auto immune patients were good athletes who never thought they needed a balance in their exercise regiment.
When a healthy balanced diet meets a balanced exercise regiment it is easier to create the body mind connection which is essential for optimal health and treat the ailments of the  competitive western minds and life style.  Acupuncture , Herbal medicine, massage , meditation and Qi gong are proven methods that can deliver the balance,  vitality, clarity and peace in our stress driven lives.
“Do not try to keep breathing in , Breathing out is also good and necessary.”
Nejat Kesler, LAc
nejat picture
By |June 11th, 2015|Acupuncture, Alternative Medicine, General, Health|Comments Off on On Being a Father…|

Taking the “Sting” out of Allergies: Finding Allergy Relief with Natural Medicine

 Ara Walline, Doctor of Naturopathy at Unravel Therapeutics

Ara Walline, ND

Ara Walline, ND

Itchy and watery eyes, stagnant and painful sinus congestion, flares of red and burning rashes, shortness of breath, overall sluggishness and mental fatigue; depending on the individual, allergies can manifest in a variety of ways. Using natural medicine, every treatment is also individualized and for this reason allergy relief can be longer lasting.  The naturopathic approach to allergy relief has three main goals: stabilize the immune system, identify and reduce allergy triggers, and relieve symptoms.

Stabilize the Immune System

By looking at an individual’s symptom picture it is possible to determine what part of the immune system is out of balance. Specific herbs and nutrients can then be recommended to calm or bolster the immune system accordingly and thus reduce symptoms.

allergy-culprits naturopathy

Identify and Reduce Triggers

Identifying and reducing allergy triggers can be a straightforward process in some casesand in other situations it can be more difficult. Not surprisingly, there is often a connection between environmental allergies and food sensitivities; one may follow or worsen the other.

Relieve Symptoms

One of my favorite local herbs to treat allergy symptoms is Stinging Nettle. This herb contains a variety of active chemical compounds including bioflavonoids, lectins, and polysaccharides that are believed to protect the body’s cells from inflammatory injury. When prepared and used correctly, this herb can be as effective as an over-the-counter antihistamine without the sedating side effects.

It’s never too early to prepare for allergy season. Developing a comprehensive plan for how to reduce your allergy symptoms can help make the spring much more enjoyable!

By |March 11th, 2014|Alternative Medicine, Health|Comments Off on Taking the “Sting” out of Allergies: Finding Allergy Relief with Natural Medicine|

Getting To Sleep Naturally

Ara Walline, Doctor of Naturopathy at Unravel Therapeutics

Ara Walline ND

Written by: Dr. Ara Walline, Naturopath


How quickly does loss of sleep impact your health? In just under one week, according to new research findings from the University of Pennsylvania (1). A group of healthy individuals restricted to 4 hours of sleep, showed significant changes in eating behavior as well as weight gain after just 5 consecutive nights in the study. Those whose bedtime was delayed until 4 AM filled in the time with self-selected sedentary activities including eating meals that tended to have a high fat content. Not surprisingly, at the end of the week of observation, the sleep restricted group had gained weight, while the group whose sleep time was extended to 10 hours actually lost weight.

getting to sleep naturaly


Natural medicine offers many ways to help individuals who are sleep challenged re-establish a healthy sleep cycle and reap the benefits of their rest. One of the most effective sleep treatments falls under the category of biofeedback. This group of non-pharmocologic interventions helps individuals to develop their capacity to consciously relax tense muscles, quiet anxious thoughts, and ultimately shift the nervous system to a state of balance where sleep is possible. While these skills are being developed, a range of individualized natural therapies can be used to support the systems of the body that have been weakened by chronic sleeplessness and the often associated high stress levels.


One of the sleep promoting natural interventions that I use in my practice is therapeutic essential oils. Essential oils are the chemicals in plants that allow it among other things to fight off disease, recover from injury, and attract pollinators that are necessary for its short and long term survival. In humans, these chemicals enter the blood stream through the nose and have direct beneficial effects on sinus and respiratory tissue. They also positively impact the nervous system, and the limbic system or emotion center of the brain.

Essential oils have been used therapeutically to support sleep and modify mood for centuries. Scientific investigations into their effects are beginning to explain how and why they work. One such research study collected standard polysomnographic sleep data as well as self-rated assessment of mood and sleep quality (2). Participants exposed to just 2 minutes of lavender essential oil prior to bed over 3 consecutive nights reported improved “vigor” in the morning. The sleep data also showed that exposure to the lavender scent increased deep or slow wave sleep in both men and women without causing drowsiness or delayed waking in the morning.

Every essential oil has primary as well as secondary benefits based on the chemicals from which it is composed. While lavender is a well-known and scientifically validated sleep promoter, there are a variety of other essential oils that also support healthy sleep and may have secondary benefits that are more specific to an individual’s unique needs. The naturopathic intake and assessment helps to identify these needs and thus offer a treatment that is more broadly beneficial to the individual.

(1) Spaeth AM; Dinges DF; Goel N. Effects of experimental sleep restriction on weight gain, caloric intake, and meal timing in healthy adults. SLEEP 2013;36(7):981-990.
(2) Goel N; Kim H; Lao RP. An olfactory stimulus modifies nighttime sleep in young men and women. Chronobiol Int 2005; 22(5):889-90

By |November 5th, 2013|Alternative Medicine, Health|Comments Off on Getting To Sleep Naturally|

The ABC (and D)s of Sunscreen Selection

 ABCD's of skin care sunscreen A. APPLY sunscreen generously and reapply frequently.

It’s important to apply sunscreen generously to the skin and to reapply frequently in order to ensure protection. Even if a burn does not form, skin can still be damaged by harmful UVA rays that penetrate the skin more deeply and lead to harmful free radical formation.

B. BEWARE of sunscreen products that may offer deceptive protection. 

The sunscreen products to avoid are aerosol sprays, loose powder sunscreens, combined sunscreen bug repellant, and sunscreen towelettes. These product forms are difficult to ensure full coverage and adequate protection or have increased risk of toxicity.

C. Be CHEMICAL savvy

When you choose a sunscreen the first decision is whether to select chemical or mineral based protection. Here are the basics of what you need to know.

The chemical scoop: Avobezone is the safest active ingredient used in the US. It has demonstrated ability to block the UVA rays that cause skin damage and aging.  However, this chemical (which is much weaker that the ones used in sunscreens in Europe) tends to break down quickly unless compounded with a stabilizing agent. The problem with many sunscreen stabilizing agents and other chemicals used as active ingredients in sunscreens, the most notorious of which is oxybenzone, is that they may mimic hormones and increase the risk that the hormone regulating systems in the body are disrupted.  Avoiding retinyl palmitate (vitamin A) in sunscreen is also a good idea because it can be damaged by sun. Instead, reserve this vitamin additive for night time use.

The mineral scoop: Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are mineral based sunscreen ingredients that protect against both UVA and UVB rays.  In addition, they do not deteriorate when exposed to sun and they do not cross the skin’s natural defenses into the blood stream. However, it is important not to inhale these minerals in the small particle sizes used for sunscreen formulation. This means one should avoid all aerosolized mineral sunscreens.  It is also important to recognize that mineral based sunscreens that apply clear on the skin tend to offer less UVA protection that the ones that appear white.  In this case, it is true that the protection you see is the protection you get.

D. Vitamin D production by the body requires the Sun

While UVB rays can cause skin to burn, they also have a beneficial role in the body: helping to form vitamin D. Vitamin D has many important roles.  Specifically, it helps maintain healthy bones and supports healthy immune system function.  Here in Seattle and in the northern states of the US, it is rare to get enough sun exposure to produce the amount of vitamin D we need between the months of November and early March.  This means that it is important to work with a doctor to make sure that you are not deficient, and to take steps to correct this problem if you are.

 Ara Walline, Doctor of Naturopathy at Unravel Therapeutics

Ara Walline, ND

  • Babo Botanicals Clear Zinc Sport Stick SPF 30
  • Episencial Sunny Sunscreen SPF 35
  • Goddess Garden Sunny Baby Natural Sunscreen SPF 30
  • Badger Kids Sunscreen Cream SPF 30



By |August 8th, 2013|Health|Comments Off on The ABC (and D)s of Sunscreen Selection|

New Prostate Cancer Tests May Supplement P.S.A. Testing –

New Prostate Cancer Tests May Supplement P.S.A. Testing –

By |March 28th, 2013|Health|Comments Off on New Prostate Cancer Tests May Supplement P.S.A. Testing –|

The Value of Hydrotherapy and your health


I have always been fascinated by the healing powers of water, starting with my first childhood experiences of soaking in the hot springs and then plunging into the cold waters of Sol Duc resort with my family. My wonder heightened during my later studies of natural medicine, discovering the techniques of Hydrotherapy as effective tools for healing, particularly in adjunct with massage therapy. Hydrotherapy may be the oldest form of medical treatment known to mankind. We see it surface throughout history in the bath house regiments of Rome and Greece, as well the geothermal bathing and sweat lodge rituals of the North American indigenous peoples. Drinking plenty of pure water alone can be considered “hydrotherapy” as it detoxifies our systems, replenishes our cells, lubricates muscle tissues, and keeps us from feeling sluggish. In fact, dehydration is a major culprit of sore muscles, so drink up!

We employ the use of water in many ways here at Unravel, whether it be with a cold pack applied to an injury, a restful moment in the sauna, a hot pack to loosen contracted muscles, and even a reminder at the end of each massage to hydrate well. In fact, I think the best combination for managing stress and relaxing muscle tissue is a visit to the sauna, then a hot pack to the back, a massage, and drinking plenty of water during the rest of the day. Ah heaven! There are also plenty water based remedies you can use at home as well. I am thinking of one in particular as we head into cooler weather and the cold season, called the Cold Water Treading method. Yikes, cold water! Many reflexes to our vital organs can be affected through our feet, by treading in cold water (just up to your ankles) for 5 to 10 minutes a day, you can tonify your whole system increasing it’s endurance against cold viruses. It will sure wake you up on those dreary winter days!

And even though we may curse our wet little region during the late winter months, it is a healthy place, because we have plenty of water!

Jason Tschimperle

Massage Therapist and amateur Mycologist



By |November 20th, 2011|Health|0 Comments|

Prenatal Massage

I once worked with a massage therapist who commented, “Pregnant women are all of a sudden so body aware when before they just seemed to ignore things going on in their body.”
There are so many physical changes that happen in a short time span, it certainly does make an expecting mom, body aware. Weight gain of 1 pound per week; adding up to 25-40 on average total. Fifty percent more blood volume. Fluid retention and swollen limbs. And these just to name a few.
Pregnancy massage can be one of the best things you can do for your body during such an important time of your life. The 40 weeks of pregnancy can seem like a long time when you’re going through it, and these changes can be pretty tough on your body. It’s a great time to start being aware and taking care of it. The American Pregnancy Association notes that studies of massage therapy performed during pregnancy show “reduced anxiety, a decrease in the symptoms of depression, relief from muscle aches and joint pains, and improvement in labor outcomes and newborn health.”

The best time to begin receiving prenatal massage is during the second trimester. Many massage therapists will not work on women in their first trimester because the risks of miscarriage are the highest then. We will often work with this case-by-case basis depending on the woman and her medical history and what we will be specifically massaging. Positioning for prenatal massage starting in the second trimester is in the side-lying position. This is usually how women are sleeping by this point, so it’s pretty comfortable. If a woman has a lot of neck tension I will usually also have her on her back for a part of the massage because that is the best way for me to access those muscles. A pregnant woman can usually spend time on her back into the third trimester. After a point it can be uncomfortable because the uterus is so heavy, and can compress some blood vessels.
Most women notice the biggest muscular changes in increased tension in their back and hips (buttocks). The increased tension in the hips often causes sciatic nerve pain. The sciatic nerve runs from the low back, through the hips, and all of way down the leg. Compression anywhere along this nerve can cause pain all of the way down the leg and be uncomfortable while sitting, standing, or sleeping. The increased tension is often caused by the change of body posture with the pelvis/hips tilting forward to accommodate the growing uterus. It is also attributed to losing abdominal strength. When we lift, bend, sit, stand, or walk, as non-pregnant people we use the strength of both our abdominal muscles and back muscles to move or stabilize us.  When pregnant, you lose most, or all, of your abdominal strength. So, to maintain balance in the body the back and hips take most of that work, which often causes this discomfort and increased tension. Massage can help decrease the tension that builds in those muscles which will help with overall comfort in movement and sleep. Swelling in the joints and limbs is also very common during pregnancy. Massage can help increase circulation and stimulate tissues to decrease collection of fluids.
Pregnancy causes many changes and can be straining on your body. Massage therapy is a great way to increase your overall health while pregnant. Talk with your prenatal care provider if you have any questions.
Written by: Katie Duerr, massage therapist and mom

By |October 20th, 2011|Health|Comments Off on Prenatal Massage|


Welcome to the Unravel Therapeutics Blog. If you have come here looking for information on how to live a smarter, healthier life we think you’ve come to the right place.

We’ve been in the healthcare business for 20 yrs, helping our clients achieve and maintain a comfortable, healthy way of life. During this time we’ve learned a few things while working with many different health issues, some that can be “cured” and others that resist anything but good management. We’ve seen many health movements come and go that in fact started as sound advice until they were applied to far too many causes and cures. Common sense when mixed with sound advice brings about the best results.

With this blog we’d like to share our thoughts on subjects such as vitamins, supplements, exercise, wise and healthy dietary decisions, our treatments and how they might apply to you. Frequently we will bring information to this page that is new and still in the developing stages. Our mission is to keep you informed, to help you make educated decisions about your health. The more information you have, the more we think you will decide for yourself that living a healthy life to prevent illness is preferable to treating symptoms of a sickness or disease later.

Our services at Unravel include Massage Therapy, Acupuncture, Oriental Medicine and Skin Care. Our clients have come to us looking for help and comfort on a broad array of health concerns. We have helped many to live a more balanced life or when a service is needed that we do not offer we recommend other healthcare professionals that may more accurately fit the needs of the client.

And finally we will include subjects that are just interesting to us and hopefully you.

Please feel free to comment or ask questions on subjects that most interest you and we will try to address these.

Thank you




By |October 16th, 2011|Health|Comments Off on Welcome|

The Care and Feeding of your Digestive System or, What happens to the food you eat once you swallow?

 Here are the basics.

Your digestive system is divided into four main parts, the stomach, the small intestine, the large intestine and the rectum.  In addition,  the mouth,  liver,  pancreas, gall bladder and the kidneys all contribute to the processing and distribution of the nutrients we need to live a healthy life.   Once the food leaves the stomach it moves into the small intestine, (15 to 23 ft long), where the blood vessels lining the intestinal walls  draw away nutrients as the

Digestive Organ Viewliquified foods travel toward the large intestine or colon.    The large colon, (4 to 5 ft long) is the last part of the digestive tract that removes excess water and nutrients before the food is moved to the rectum and eliminated.  The total time a meal is in the intestinal tract varies from 30 to 40 hours.  According to studies different foods ingested during the same meal move at different speeds thru the intestinal tract.  It is generally thought that consistant movement of the digested food thru and out of the body is the right environment for a healthy colon.


Here is the Rub

Stress, lack of exercise, poor diet, over consumption of any foods, eating late at nite, surviving on gallons of coffee and cigarettes and certain heriditary factors all contribute to a unhealthy digestive machine. When the intestines,  both large and small are not functioning well because of the habits mentioned above,  the body finds it more difficult to draw the healthy nutrients  needed from the digested foods and to rid itself of the remaining waste products.   The longer the food remains in the large intestine the more dehydrated it becomes sometimes  adhereing itself to the colon walls.  This can block or slow down the normal flow of food traveling through the bowels.  Treatments such as colonics and enemas  rehydrate the waste products and help the colon empty itself.  A better and more comfortable solution would be to adjust your diet/lifestyle to ensure that the digestive organs can function correctly.

A few tips for keeping your digestive system healthy:

Take a serious look at your daily diet.   Eat as many fresh vegetables, fruits and whole grains as possible.  Stay away from processed foods, eat smaller more frequent meals, pay attention to the foods that make you drowsy after consumption and avoid or decrease the amount you eat of these foods. Be aware that at first you will crave the rich fatty foods, the salty foods and the artificially  sweet  you are trying to avoid.  It will take some time to accustom your tastes to the more simple pure foods.  Eat the night meals earlier so as to avoid going to bed with a full active digestive system.

Set aside a daily time for exercise. A brisk walk, regular sports participation or working out at the gym will help your bodies circulatory system, and offset the effects of stress. Exercise will help the lymphatic system remove cellular and toxic waste.  Avoid the overuse of antibiotics.  The regular use of these drugs destroy the bas bacteria that is causing you to feel bad as well as the natural bacteria in the digestive system that the body relies on to process food.  If you must use antibiotics to treat an illness make sure to replace the bacteria thru the consumption of foods containing live cultures of bacteria or take probiotics.

By |May 23rd, 2011|Health|Comments Off on The Care and Feeding of your Digestive System or, What happens to the food you eat once you swallow?|