Greeting dear Community – 

How are you? 

Seven weeks after we moved our medical practice to virtual visits and our state began “Shelter At Home” for everyone’s well-being, we are all living in a bizarre new reality, aren’t we? 

Are you feeling Inflamed? 

One way or another, we are all affected by the losses –  of work, of routine, of income, of plans, and of health and lives worldwide.  We don’t know exact numbers of infection, we don’t know when reliable antibody tests will be readily available, we don’t know when our schools and stores and families and parks and camps and churches etc will be functioning in any way that is familiar. All this (and much more) uncertainty can have a debilitating effect. Draining for some, agitating for others – regardless, we know this level of stress – unmitigated – can create inflammation in our bodies, and can also tax our immune systems. Inflammation, or “inflamm-aging” is an underlying risk factor for poor outcomes with COVID19. Join us this Thursday night for a webinar on how to reduce your inflammation, optimize your immune system and directly address metabolic issues with targeted lifestyle changes.

We can now see that life will not return to “normal” anytime soon if at all. Humans are – all life is – inherently quite resilient. Most of us know how to “bend but do not break”. But on a practical level, how do we all adjust to this pandemic? 

Emotional Health Matters

In the Sound’s True podcast link, I found helpful guidance presented by psychiatrist and climate activist Dr Lise Von Susteren. Her recent book, Emotional Inflammation: Discover Your Triggers and Reclaim Your Equilibrium During Anxious Times, identifies four basic typologies when it comes to dealing with emotional inflammation. (Without hearing the podcast, you “get” this term, right?) This term immediately piqued my interest, as we know that physical inflammation underlies most of our nation’s chronic health issues (diabetes, obesity, heart disease, chronic pain). Doesn’t it make sense that Emotional Inflammation is a player for us all now? 

Her four coping typologies include: Molten (acting/speaking out with anger at the injustices to enact change), Frantic (gets very busy and takes on every responsibility available), Nervous (worries, announces fears, raises valid awareness and prepares for the worst), and Retreat (goes inward, reflects, finds values-based norms amidst chaos and quietly lives those). All types have wonderful benefits and definite challenges.  Can you see which type you might most relate to right now? These days, I identify most with the “Retreater” typology. Naming this  helped me be more compassionate with myself and my need to withdraw and  have a lot of quiet/alone/contemplative time right now.  In order to stay grounded with so much instability around us, my introverted self needs much more time in nature, walking, reflecting, reading, listening, meditating, resting, cooking. I’m engaging in the age-old human activities of “chopping wood/carrying water.”  

Retreating to our Garden: One Functional Approach to Health

Jeff and I feel so grateful to our friends at Triskele Rivers’ Care Farm who have shared an incredibly beautiful sun-drenched plot of land for us to garden!  Getting in harmony with the cycles of growth, of life; touching the earth; nurturing our seeds and seedlings, practicing Functional Medicine for the soil/our food – asking the Two Big Questions daily on behalf of our burgeoning plant-babies: What is Too Much? (wind, bugs, compost?)and  What is Not Enough? (water, space, compost?!)  In the absence of tending to you all in person, we are tending to our earth and our future foods and of course, our own souls and spirits.

How are you coping with your emotional inflammation? Thank you for your notes and messages! Some of you have shared that you are enjoying poetry, gardening, knitting, cooking and letter-writing. Others are making masks, volunteering, sharing musical playlists, painting, learning a language. Bravo!! If you, like me, need more quiet time just to get through this – don’t beat yourself up for being less productive. This is a pandemic, ya’ll. We need to be kinder than is necessary. 

Keep Informed and Engaged

This month’s newsletter holds some of our favorites for information, inspiration, insight, and perspective. 

  • Immune Optimization online programs from our team at Healthy Connections and Columbia Gorge Physical Therapy – First Webinar This Thursday, May 7 at 5 pm PT. Recordings to follow. 
  • Podcasts full of wisdom and tools 
  • Community Connections 

Virtual Visits Continue for Now

While some restrictions are being lifted, and some medical practices are opening up to see patients in person, we continue to believe it is wiser and safer for most of us to remain as sheltered as possible. Many primary care and functional medicine needs are well-served with video or phone conversation over Spruce Health. If you are a current patient and you do need to be seen, Dr Jeff will absolutely accommodate you in the safest way possible, following all protocol and guidelines set forth by the Oregon Health Authority. We ask that you come to the office wearing your own protective mask, and we will not schedule more than one person in the office within any given hour. Details and guidelines provided if you need an in person visit.

Please be well, dear friends. Eat your vegetables. Get good sleep. Practice gratitude. Curiosity. Social spacing. Wise speech. Kindness. Patience. We will get through this challenging time, together.

In good health,


Jeff and Heather, happy gardeners

FYI: For this upcoming Webinar on Immune Optimization, participants will not have video access, only the ability to chat in questions and comments by typing. We will have the recording available to share on Friday with anyone interested. Click here to sign up via GoToWebinar.