How does Acupuncture work, and what can it treat?


Though often described as traditional or ancient medicine, research has proven that Acupuncture has its place alongside modern medical practices. Hair-thin needles are placed in precise and therapeutic point locations along meridians. Meridians have been shown to mirror the fascial network of the body. Fascia surrounds all of the organs, muscles, bones, and nerve fibers. These points are located alongside nerve endings and blood vessels, thereby directly influencing blood flow and sensory nerves in the area (2,3). Functional brain imaging has shown changes in the brain when these points are needled (1). Since the brain controls the systems of the body (hormones, blood flow, stress responses, organ function, reproduction, etc.), influencing the brain and nervous system with Acupuncture will impact our health. Treatment encourages the body’s own systems of balance, commonly known as homeostasis.

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health outlines many of the researched treatable conditions (4); these include: pain management, osteoarthritis, sciatica, fibromyalgia, cancer pain, irritable bowel syndrome, asthma, depression, allergies, infertility, and menopause symptoms. Though more chronic conditions will require a series of treatment for complete resolution, I have personally witnessed immediate relief from insomnia, digestive complaints, anxiety, and pain in my clinic.  Especially because it is a non-pharmaceutical approach, many patients search out Acupuncture for treatment to acute and chronic conditions.

As a Fellow of the Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine Board of Reproductive Medicine, FABORM, I treat many patients with their fertility goals. By regulating the menses, we can prepare the body for pregnancy. Fertility work is best done weekly for three months prior to conception, as it takes three months for the egg to develop in the ovaries. During times of sympathetic stress (the flight or fight response), blood is shunted away from the ovaries and uterus. This can negatively impact egg quality and the thickness of the uterine lining.  By encouraging blood flow to these reproductive organs, switching the nervous system into a parasympathetic state (rest, digest, and repair), and regulating the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Ovarian Axis, we set the body up for success.

For patients undergoing IVF, the Paulus Protocol is utilized. This is a series of points done before and after an embryo transfer. “Clinical pregnancies were documented in 34 of 80 patients (42.5%) in the acupuncture group, whereas the pregnancy rate was only 26.3% (21 out of 80 patients) in the control group (5).”

Please reach out today if you have specific questions on how Acupuncture can help you realize your health goals!



(919) 808-2638

  1. Huang W, Pach D, Napadow V, Park K, Long X, Neumann J, Maeda Y, Nierhaus T, Liang F, Witt CM. Characterizing acupuncture stimuli using brain imaging with FMRI–a systematic review and meta-analysis of the literature. PLoS One. 2012;7(4):e32960. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0032960. Epub 2012 Apr 9. PMID: 22496739; PMCID: PMC3322129.
  2. Langevin HM, Yandow JA. Relationship of acupuncture points and meridians to connective tissue planes. Anat Rec. 2002 Dec 15;269(6):257-65. doi: 10.1002/ar.10185. PMID: 12467083.
  3. Bai Y, Wang J, Wu JP, Dai JX, Sha O, Tai Wai Yew D, Yuan L, Liang QN. Review of evidence suggesting that the fascia network could be the anatomical basis for acupoints and meridians in the human body. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2011;2011:260510. doi: 10.1155/2011/260510. Epub 2011 Apr 26. PMID: 21584283; PMCID: PMC3092510.
  4. Acupuncture: What You Need to Know. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. (2022, October).

What Exactly Is Applied Kinesiology?

Richard A. Laviano, DC, ND, FSBCT(c)

My doctor has recommended applied kinesiology to rebalance my vagus nerve.
Sounds like voodoo to me…. What exactly is applied kinesiology?

The importance of the vagus nerve for so many of our bodily function has been proven again and again in multiple medical studies. The vagus nerve runs from your brainstem down to your intestinal tract and is the ringmaster of your autonomic nervous system, all things “rest and digest”. When the vagus nerve is out of balance, it has the potential to create widespread dysfunction from intestinal motility (think small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) to quick “fight or flight” reactivity, anxiety, and even panic attacks.  A simple PubMed search of vagus nerve pops up34,789 results! We at CTW have come to rely on the finely tuned skills of practitioners expert in using modalities to rebalance the vagus. One of the most powerful, only in very experienced hands, is applied kinesiology (AK). Dr Rick Laviano of Falls Chiropractic and Injury in Raleigh explains below the role of AK.

Applied Kinesiology (AK) is a neurological rehabilitation therapy. At the International College of Applied Kinesiology in 2005 (1) Dr. Walter Schmitt eloquently presented a model that thoroughly explains it. He explains AK as an assessment and therapy that positively affects neurological function. We quote it here and explain it more simply below.

AK is a series of sensory receptor based diagnostic challenges followed by monitoring of manual muscle testing outcomes. All AK techniques are about creating sensory receptor stimulation that results in a net effect of excitation and inhibition leading to more optimal neurological function. These positive changes can be observed through somatic windows by changes toward normal in muscle facilitation and inhibition(muscle balance, range of motion, deep tendon reflexes) and through various autonomic windows that can also be monitored (pupil light response, blood pressure, heart rate, etc.) (pg. 1)

AK uses muscle tests as well as other neurological tests to assess the state of your nervous system. When there is poor neurological function discovered, the doctor tries his or her best to find the neurological therapy that will improve it. For example, the brainstem (area of the brain just above your neck), controls most of the things in your abdominal cavity subconsciously like your heartrate, blood pressure, gut motility, gut valves, and liver detox. We can see how healthy the brainstem is by looking at reflexes that live there, like how fast your pupils react to a shining light, or how your jaw moves, or how your balance is, or how your blood pressure compares from one side to another (2,4).

A physician trained in AK will use these nerdy tools to pinpoint what part of the nervous system may be dormant or over-excited. Then they will wake it up or calm it down through a targeted therapy such as rubbing, tapping, stretching, manipulation, eye movements, muscle/fascial work etc. AK specialists can be considered your body electricians! The ultimate goal is to improve function in the nervous system to thus improve total body health and wellness.

Since the nervous system controls every function in our bodies, there have been many types of cases Applied Kinesiologists have seen over the years. Cases that are often seen include gut/microbiome issues. It is important that these patients understand that the gut microbiome is STRONGLY influenced by the state of their gut nervous system. Improving the integrity of the nervous system in these patients can greatly improve their quality of life.

Another point worth mentioning regarding gut issues includes the trigeminal nerves. The largest cranial nerve in our brain is the trigeminal nerve. This nerve coordinates information regarding the teeth, jaw, head, and even your posture (3)!This nerve integrates (strongly connects) with the vestibular, ocular, and cerebellar reflexes that affect the health of the brainstem, even the health of the vagus nerve. By keeping the trigeminal nerve and its connections in the brainstem healthy, vagal tone is optimal! In treating gut problems, the priority is making sure that trigeminal, head, eyes, and balance organs are in tune with one another for the health of the autonomic nervous system including the vagus nerve and ultimately the gut.

1.      Schmitt, Walter H., The Neurological Rationale for a Comprehensive Clinical Protocol Using Applied Kinesiology Techniques. Proceedings of the I.C.A.K. – U.S.A. Annual Meeting, Volume 1,2005-2006. p. 157-191.
2.      Monaco, A., Cattaneo, R., Mesin, L., Ciarrocchi,I., Sgolastra, F., & Pietropaoli, D. (2012). Dysregulation of the autonomous nervous system in patients with temporomandibular disorder: a pupillometric study.
3.      Cuccia, A., & Caradonna, C. (2009). The relationship between the stomatognathic system and body posture. Clinics, 64(1),61-66.
4.      Applied Kinesiology Synopsis: David S. Walther. 1988.

Your Partners In Health,
Richard A. Laviano, DC, ND, FSBCT(c) and Ana Dávila, DC Falls Chiropractic and Injury, Raleigh NC

Frances T Meredith, MD Carolina Total Wellness

Metformin Beyond Diabetes: Exploring Longevity Benefits

Susan D. Denny, MD, MPH

Welcome to this month’s Functional Medicine newsletter, where we delve into the fascinating topic of Metformin, a medication commonly used for diabetes management, and its potential benefits for longevity. While Metformin has long been recognized as an effective treatment for diabetes, recent research suggests that it may have broader implications for promoting overall health and extending lifespan. Join us as we explore the scientific evidence and discuss the exciting possibilities surrounding Metformin’s role in longevity.

Metformin and Diabetes Management

Metformin is a medication primarily used to manage type 2 diabetes. It works by reducing glucose production in the liver and increasing insulin sensitivity, leading to improved blood sugar control. However, emerging studies indicate that Metformin’s benefits extend far beyond diabetes management alone.

Metformin and Longevity Research

  1. Metformin and Aging Markers: Numerous studies have explored the effects of Metformin on various markers of aging, including cellular senescence, inflammation, and oxidative stress. Research suggests that Metformin may have anti-aging properties by modulating these processes and promoting healthier cellular function.
  2. Metformin and Lifespan Extension: Animal studies have demonstrated promising results regarding Metformin’s potential to extend lifespan. Researchers have observed increased lifespan in various organisms, including worms, flies, and mice, when treated with Metformin. While human studies are still ongoing, these findings offer intriguing insights into the possibility of Metformin as an anti-aging intervention.
  3. Metformin and Age-Related Diseases: Metformin’s potential to mitigate age-related diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, and neurodegenerative disorders, has been a subject of interest. Research suggests that Metformin may exert protective effects on these conditions by influencing key pathways involved in aging and disease development.
  1. References and Further Reading:
    1. Barzilai, N., et al. (2016). Metformin as a Tool to Target Aging. Cell Metabolism, 23(6), 1060-1065.
    2. Martens, C. R., et al. (2018). Metformin as a Tool to Target Aging. Cell Metabolism, 27(4), 758-775.
    3. Hsu, C. C., et al. (2018). Metformin Use and Risk of Cancer in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes: A Nationwide Cohort Study. The Oncologist, 23(7), 859-865.
    4. Foretz, M., et al. (2014). Metformin: From Mechanisms of Action to Therapies. Cell Metabolism, 20(6), 953-966.

We encourage you to explore these references to gain a deeper understanding of the research surrounding Metformin’s potential benefits for longevity and age-related diseases.

Consulting a Healthcare Professional

It is important to note that while Metformin shows promise in longevity research, its use beyond diabetes management is still being investigated. Before considering Metformin or any other interventions for longevity purposes, it is crucial to consult with a healthcare professional who can assess your individual circumstances and provide guidance based on the latest scientific evidence.

Remember, longevity is a multifaceted topic, and adopting a comprehensive approach to healthy living, including balanced nutrition, regular physical activity, stress management, and maintaining a supportive social network, is key to promoting overall well-being and healthy aging.

Wishing you a vibrant and resilient journey towards optimal health and longevity!

Yours In Health,

Susan D. Denny, MD, MPH

Get Ready For Fall Allergies

Allergies don’t only crop up in the spring. The persistent sniffles, clogged nose, itchy eyes and sneezing also happen in the fall — and, experts say, they are getting more common, and more intense.

Don’t Wait For Fall Allergy Symptoms!

“What a lot of people don’t realize is that the allergy seasons have almost doubled in length and gotten more intense because of climate change,” said Kenneth Mendez, the president and chief executive of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Higher carbon dioxide emissions spur plants to release larger amounts of pollen, he said. “That’s why allergies are feeling a lot worse.”

Common Fall Allergens

The most common culprit for fall allergies is ragweed, a plant that grows wild almost everywhere, but especially on the East Coast and in the Midwest. Ragweed blooms and releases pollen from August to November. In many areas of the country, ragweed pollen levels are highest in early to mid-September.

Other plants that trigger fall allergies include:

· Burning bush

· Cocklebur

· Lamb’s-quarters

· Pigweed

· Sagebrush and mug wort · Tumbleweed and Russian thistle

Allergy Drops at Carolina Total Wellness

Carolina Total Wellness offers effective allergy treatment for both indoor and outdoor allergies through sublingual immunotherapy drops formulated just for you to safely and conveniently treat the cause of your allergies.

How Allergy Drops Work

Sublingual immunotherapy, also called allergy drops, works similar to allergy shots by gradually helping your body build tolerance to the substance(s) causing your allergies. The difference is that the antigen is placed under your tongue in a liquid drop form instead of an injection.

What kind of allergies can be treated with allergy drops?

One of the benefits of sublingual immunotherapy is that it can treat a broad range of allergies, including those caused by:

· Dust mites

· Mold

· Animals

· Foods

· Seasonal pollens such as grass, trees, ragweed, and mountain cedar, etc.

Who should take Allergy Drops?

Anyone interested in treating the cause of their allergic disease, instead of just temporarily managing symptoms, can consider allergy drops.

· Infants and children*

· Asthmatics

· People with highly sensitive conditions including EoE

· Those who don’t like needles

· Those with chronic conditions including sinusitis and eczema

· Those with food and mold allergies

· Those with multiple allergies including dust mites, pollen, foods, and animals

* Allergy drops have proven especially helpful for children with eczema and recurrent ear infections, which often have underlying allergic causes. Research shows that many children with untreated eczema and allergies often develop asthma and other chronic conditions later in life, so treating them early can have life-long benefits and may prevent development of other allergies and asthma.

What are the advantages to Allergy Drops?

In addition to being a viable option for people of all ages and conditions, there are more advantages:

Lower cost, fewer clinic visits. Compared to shots and many medications, allergy drops typically cost less over time. Most patients receiving allergy drops need only a few clinic visits the first year, and then once every 6-12 months thereafter until visits are no longer needed. That can also mean a lot less time away from work or school.

More convenient. You can take allergy drops at home or wherever you are, making it much easier to stay with your treatment.

Less medication. Our patients report, and research confirms, that they typically need less medication to control symptoms after beginning allergy drops.

Enjoy healthier days. The end benefit of taking drops consistently? Feeling better, more productive and better able to enjoy life and activities that allergies once made it hard to enjoy.


Please allow 45 minutes for your initial visit which will include consultation with your physician or physician assistant, physical exam and discussion of allergy testing. Skin prick testing will be performed at this visit and results and interpretation will be discussed. Prescription will be provided for allergy drops and we will review how to administer these at home.


Please allow 15 minutes for your follow up allergy visits. This will include review of your allergy symptoms and immunotherapy plan of treatment as well as new 3-month prescription for allergy drops. Follow up visits are recommended every 3 months for the first year and then every 6 to 12 months for the subsequent 2 to 4 years, depending on your response to treatment.


We recommend follow up skin prick testing for environmental allergies every 12 months to assess progress of immunotherapy and adjust your prescription allergy drops as needed.

To schedule, please call us at 919-999-0831

Homemade Paleo Ice Cream Delights – Strawberry, Peach, And Honey Lavender Flavors

Dear Ice Cream Lovers,

Get ready to indulge in the delightful world of homemade Paleo ice cream! With summer in full swing, what better way to beat the heat than with these three tantalizing flavors: Strawberry, Peach, and Honey Lavender. Whether you follow a Paleo lifestyle or simply enjoy natural, wholesome treats, these recipes are sure to satisfy your sweet cravings. Let’s dive in and discover how to make these delicious frozen delights right in the comfort of your own kitchen!

1. Strawberry Paleo Ice Cream:


  • 2 cups frozen strawberries
  • 1 can (13.5 oz) full-fat coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup honey or maple syrup (adjust to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  1. In a blender or food processor, combine the frozen strawberries, coconut milk, honey or maple syrup, and vanilla extract.
  2. Blend until smooth and creamy, ensuring all ingredients are well combined.
  3. Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  4. Transfer the churned ice cream into an airtight container and freeze for at least 2 hours or until firm.
  5. Serve the strawberry Paleo ice cream in bowls or cones and enjoy the fruity goodness!

2. Peach Paleo Ice Cream:


  • 2 cups frozen peaches
  • 1 can (13.5 oz) full-fat coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup honey or maple syrup (adjust to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice


  1. In a blender or food processor, combine the frozen peaches, coconut milk, honey or maple syrup, and fresh lemon juice.
  2. Blend until smooth and creamy, ensuring all ingredients are well combined.
  3. Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  4. Transfer the churned ice cream into an airtight container and freeze for at least 2 hours or until firm.
  5. Scoop the peach Paleo ice cream into bowls or cones and savor the natural sweetness of summer’s favorite fruit!

3. Honey Lavender Paleo Ice Cream:


  • 1 can (13.5 oz) full-fat coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup honey or maple syrup (adjust to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon dried lavender buds (culinary grade)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  1. In a saucepan, combine the coconut milk, honey or maple syrup, and dried lavender buds.
  2. Heat the mixture over low heat, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes to infuse the flavors.
  3. Remove from heat and let it cool to room temperature.
  4. Strain the mixture to remove the lavender buds and transfer the infused coconut milk into a bowl.
  5. Stir in the vanilla extract, ensuring it is well incorporated.
  6. Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  7. Transfer the churned ice cream into an airtight container and freeze for at least 2 hours or until firm.
  8. Serve the honey lavender Paleo ice cream in elegant bowls or cones, savoring the delicate floral notes and subtle sweetness.

Enjoy Your Homemade Paleo Ice Cream Creations!

These refreshing and guilt-free ice creams are perfect for hot summer days or any time you crave a chilly treat. Experiment with different toppings or get creative by combining flavors. The possibilities are endless!

Remember to store any leftovers in the freezer, and if the ice cream becomes too firm, let it sit at room temperature for a few moments.

Your Partner In Health,

Clarissa A. Kussin, ND, FMCHC, ERYT-500

Sip On Serenity With Rose-Infused Green Tea!

Are you ready for a delightful and soothing beverage that combines the elegance of roses with the goodness of green tea? Introducing Rose-Infused Green Tea, a recipe that nourishes both your senses and your well-being!

Why Rose-Infused Green Tea?

🍵 Green Tea Goodness: Green tea is packed with antioxidants and boasts numerous health benefits. From boosting metabolism to supporting heart health, green tea is a fantastic addition to your daily routine.

🌹 Rose Essence: Roses not only add a delicate floral aroma but also offer their own set of benefits. Rose petals contain antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that promote skin health, aid digestion, and even have mood-enhancing properties.

Recipe for Rose-Infused Green Tea:


  • 1 teaspoon organic loose green tea leaves or 1 green tea bag
  • 1 tablespoon dried rose petals (food-grade and organic)
  • 1 cup hot water
  • Optional: Honey or lemon for sweetness and flavor


  1. In a teapot or mug, add the green tea leaves and dried rose petals.
  2. Pour hot water over the tea and petals.
  3. Allow it to steep for 3-5 minutes, depending on your preferred strength.
  4. Strain the tea leaves and petals, or remove the tea bag.
  5. Add honey or lemon to taste, if desired.
  6. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the gentle aroma and soothing flavor of Rose-Infused Green Tea!

Benefits of Rose-Infused Green Tea:

1️⃣ Antioxidant Power: Both green tea and rose petals are rich in antioxidants that help combat free radicals, protect cells from damage, and support overall well-being.

2️⃣ Skin Glow: The combination of green tea and rose can promote healthy skin. Antioxidants in green tea and the anti-inflammatory properties of rose petals contribute to a radiant complexion.

3️⃣ Mood Booster: The aroma of roses has been known to uplift the spirit and reduce stress levels. Sipping on Rose-Infused Green Tea can bring about a sense of tranquility and relaxation.

4️⃣ Digestive Aid: Green tea is gentle on the stomach and can support healthy digestion. Combined with the soothing properties of rose petals, it can help alleviate digestive discomfort.

Treat Yourself to a Cup of Bliss… Indulge in the delicate flavors and therapeutic benefits of Rose-Infused Green Tea. This calming and revitalizing beverage is perfect for moments of self-care, relaxation, or whenever you need a little pick-me-up.

Your Partner In Health,

Clarissa A. Kussin, ND, FMCHC, ERYT-500

Grilling With Care: Preserve Flavor And Health!

As grilling season kicks off, let’s explore how to enjoy deliciously grilled meals while minimizing oxidative damage for the sake of our health. Let’s fire up the grill with care!  

What is Oxidative Damage?
During high-heat cooking methods like grilling, oxidative damage can occur. This happens when certain compounds in food interact with heat and create harmful free radicals, which can potentially damage cells and contribute to various health concerns.  
Grilling Tips for Healthier BBQ:
1️⃣ Marinate to the Rescue: Marinating your meats before grilling can offer a protective shield. The combination of herbs, spices, and acidic ingredients like lemon juice or vinegar can reduce the formation of harmful compounds while adding flavor.
2️⃣ Mindful Meat Prep: Trim excess fat from meats to minimize flare-ups and reduce the risk of charring. Fat dripping onto the flames can generate harmful smoke that may deposit on food.
3️⃣ Precook Partially: To reduce grilling time and limit exposure to high heat, consider partially cooking meats in advance. This can be done through baking, steaming, or parboiling, and it allows for more controlled grilling.
4️⃣ Opt for Lean Cuts: Choose leaner cuts of meat or skinless poultry options. These tend to produce fewer drippings and, thus, fewer harmful compounds.
5️⃣ Embrace Veggies and Fruits: Incorporate an array of colorful vegetables and fruits onto the grill. They are naturally packed with antioxidants, which can help counteract oxidative damage and provide a healthier grilling option.  

The Importance of Healthier Grilling: Reducing oxidative damage while grilling is crucial for the following reasons:  
Cellular Protection: By minimizing exposure to harmful compounds, we support the health and integrity of our cells, reducing the risk of chronic health conditions.
Antioxidant Boost: Enjoying antioxidant-rich foods and reducing oxidative damage contributes to overall well-being and helps maintain a balanced diet.  
Flavorful and Safe: Following these tips not only supports our health but also preserves the flavors of grilled foods, ensuring an enjoyable and satisfying culinary experience.  
Grill with Care, Savor with Joy: As we embark on grilling adventures, let’s keep in mind the impact of high-heat cooking. By adopting mindful techniques and incorporating healthier choices, we can enjoy delicious grilled meals while prioritizing our well-being.  

Enjoy grilling  season and let’s celebrate the summer with flavors, health, and togetherness!    
Your Partner In Health,
Clarissa A. Kussin, ND, FMCHC, ERYT-500

Dining Out With Kids


It’s tricky enough to find restaurants with healthy options for grown-ups. Here are a few suggestions for dining out with the whole family.  

Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar- With locations in Raleigh, Charlotte and Orlando, Cowfish melds the deliciousness of sushi and burgers to make sure there is something for everyone on the menu. Cowfish makes special occasions fun with their playful ambiance and noisy gong birthday song!  

With most kids’ meals priced at $8, it’s affordable for a regular dinner out, too. Their kitchen takes care to accommodate a variety of allergies. The kids’ menu is made up of Bento Boxes with main dishes including California rolls, grilled nuggets, PB&J Sushi Roll and more. Each one comes with two sides and a rice crispy dessert. Healthy side options include oranges, carrots, edamame, apples and sweet potato fries. For the grown-ups, gluten sensitive and vegetarian options are clearly marked. Try the Double Salmon Roll and the Tuna & Avocado-Tini.  

Firebirds – Okay, confession time. I am guilty of ordering from the kids’ menu at Firebirds. It’s tough to beat grilled salmon with two sides and a drink for less than $11. In my defense, I do tip generously when I go this route.  

Firebirds is a chain with locations around the country – including Raleigh, Durham, Morrisville, Winston-Salem and Charlotte. The dining room is nice enough for a special occasion dinner. 

For healthy kids’ options, try the grilled chicken breast, salmon or steak with broccoli, fresh veggies and/or fresh fruit and 1% milk or an Honest Juice Box to drink. They also have mocktails for fun, non-alcoholic drink options for the whole crew. Food allergies? Ask to see a manager to ensure your food is prepared in a way that is safe for you and your family.   

Chipotle- For a quicker meal on the go, Chipotle offers vegetarian, vegan, paleo, Whole30, gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free and even sulphite-free options. They do not use eggs, mustard, peanuts, tree nuts, sesame, shellfish or fish as ingredients. Kids meals are less than $6 and include a fruit side and organic milk as healthy side/drink options – and I admit to ordering the kids’ meals here, too. I still tip like a grown-up, though. This is a fantastic option for tired grown-ups in the middle of a Whole30. 

Your partner in health,

Erica Nelson, MSPH, NBC-HWC

May is National Osteoporosis Month

We all want to avoid elder years of frailty, infirmity, and fractures. But did you know that it is in your power to avoid these common outcomes of old age? Bone health gets little attention in the media, much less than heart health or cancer prevention. But fractures from thin bones are so often the catalyst of infirmity and physical decline. And they are PREVENTABLE!
We at Carolina Total Wellness take a comprehensive view of bone health, with the goal of not only stopping bone loss, but actually increasing bone density and quality. This takes a very individual understanding of the many factors that can set us up for bone thinning (osteopenia) or severe bone thinning (osteoporosis). The one we all know is Vitamin D deficiency. But there are so many other impactful nutrients for bones including Vitamin K2, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Boron, and Calcium. And only certain forms of calcium are optimal, as many OTC calcium forms go where we do not want them: our arterial walls, contributing to heart disease and stroke. Milk is NOT a good source of calcium. The increased acidity in the body due to dairy actually sucks out bone mass. Did you know the “Got Milk?” campaign was actually pushed on us by the marketing folks from the cigarette industry after they lost their jobs there?  We also know that aging is a factor due to hormonal loss, earlier in women at menopause, but also in men with frequently undiagnosed low testosterone due to many reasons including statin medications, head trauma, or sleep disorders. Optimizing hormones in both men and women  Other less recognized factors leading to bone loss that we see often in our practice include chronic inflammation, acidic diets, alcohol use, smoking, and high stress related cortisol levels. Addressing root cause is essential as is careful monitoring of interventions over time.

Here is where we would like to introduce you to Dr Andy Bush. He is a board certified Orthopedic Surgeon who says “I used to operate on fractures. Now I want to prevent them.”

Please read on for an education in the most cutting edge imaging techniques to monitor bones over time.
Osteoporosis – a silent epidemic
Andy Bush, MD, Central Carolina Orthopedics, Sanford, NC
Rates of osteoporosis and fractures associated with poor bone quality, which are known as fragility fractures, are at epidemic levels. It is estimated that osteoporosis affects approximately 200 million people world-wide. Currently, it is also estimated that 10 million individuals over age 50 in the United States have osteoporosis. Each year an approximately 2 million individuals suffer a fracture due to osteoporosis. The risk of a fracture increases with age and is greatest in women. Approximately 1 in 2 women and 1 and 5 men age 50or older will experience a hip, spine, or wrist fracture sometime during their lives. Approximately 40% of individuals are unable to return to their homes following a fragility fracture and require relocation to a nursing facility. As many as 20% of individuals will die within 6-12 months of a fragility fracture. Also, an additional 33.6 million individuals over age 50 have low bone density or “osteopenia” and thus are at risk of osteoporosis and fragility fracture.

Osteoporosis and osteopenia are not painful conditions. Most people are unaware that they have any problems with their bones – that is until that one day when our foot gets caught on the edge of the carpet, or we forgot to wipe up the spilled water on the kitchen floor or our little dog or cat gets in between our feet making us fall and we hear that loud and dreaded “CRACK!!”. Often, after that fateful event, life changes dramatically and then the importance of bone healthcare and not having a healthy skeleton becomes a very painful and life-altering reality.
Monitoring of the bone health is the foundation of fracture prevention in the way monitoring blood pressure is to stroke prevention and mammograms are to breast cancer prevention. The early detection of any of these conditions, allows for early treatment to be instituted to prevent the long-term consequences of the disease. Bone health assessment is looking for osteopenia or osteoporosis and determining fracture risk. Although, some may still consider developing osteoporosis an unfortunate part of growing older, it is now understood that fractures due to bone loss are not an inevitable part of aging but a potentially preventable disease process. Nutrition and exercise fight against osteoporosis – monitoring makes sure that they are working.
The term for bone monitoring is known as bone densitometry – the measurement of bone density. Determining bone mineral density (BMD) by using Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry (DXA) has been the traditional method of diagnosing osteoporosis and predicting fracture risk. It is a method of measuring BMD by using low-energy x-ray and has been considered reasonably reliable for measuring BMD and diagnosing and treating osteoporosis.
There is another method of bone densitometry that not only determines BMD but also give a measure of the Bone Quality. Radiofrequency Echographic Multi Spectrometry (REMS) is a newer method of performing monitoring bone health that has been used in Europe for almost a decade and has replaced DXA as the official method of bone densitometry in Italy. REMS uses ultrasound to measure BMD. However, the ultrasound is also capable of measuring Bone Quality and therefore when REMS is used to assess bone, more information is obtained. It is a more reliable method to predict fracture risk. REMS is still very new in the United States but its popularity is growing as more people are learning about it.

In conclusion, it is important to remember that your bones need to be monitored and cared for like any other part of you. Bone healthcare is an issue for everyone and something that we all need to be aware of because everyone has a skeleton. And we need to pay attention to and take care of our skeletons because…………

If you ignore your bones, they will go away!
Your Partner In Health,
Frances T Meredith, MD

Non-Toxic Cleaning Recipes

Whether you’re a new parent, someone with sensitivities to chemicals, or just looking to create a healthier home environment, the Non-Toxic Home Guide will help you tremendously.

I hope this guide is informative and helpful in your journey toward a healthier home. If you have any questions , please don’t hesitate to contact your functional medicine health coach at CTW.  We are always here to help.


All-Purpose Cleaner: Mix equal parts white vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil for a pleasant scent.

Glass Cleaner: Mix equal parts white vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Spray the solution onto your mirrors or windows, and use a microfiber cloth to wipe them clean.

Mirror and Glass Cleaner: Mix equal parts white vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Spray the solution onto the mirror or glass surface and wipe with a clean cloth or newspaper.

Tile and Grout Cleaner: Mix 1/2 cup of baking soda with1/4 cup of hydrogen peroxide and 1 tablespoon of dish soap. Apply the solution to the tile and grout using a spray bottle or a sponge. Let it sit for 5-8 minutes before scrubbing with a soft-bristled brush. Rinse thoroughly with water.

Carpet Stain Remover: Mix 1/4 cup of white vinegar, 1 tsp of dish soap, and 1 cup of warm water in a spray bottle. Spray the mixture on the stain, let it sit for 5-10 minutes, then blot with a clean cloth.

Toilet Bowl Cleaner: Pour 2 cups of white vinegar and then 1 cup of baking soda into the toilet bowl. Let it sit for15-20 minutes before scrubbing it with a toilet brush. Flush the toilet to rinse.

Oven Cleaner: Mix 1 cup of baking soda with a small amount of water to form a paste. Apply the paste to the inside of the oven, avoiding heating elements. Let it sit for a few hours or overnight, then wipe it clean with a damp cloth.

Grease Cutter: Mix 1 cup of warm water with 1/3 cup of white vinegar, 1/8 teaspoon of dish soap, and 1 teaspoon of baking soda. Apply the solution to greasy surfaces with a sponge or cloth and wipe clean with a damp cloth.

Floor Cleaner: Mix ¼ cup of castile soap with a gallon of warmwater. Use a mop to clean your floors as usual.

Stainless Steel Cleaner: Mix 1/2 cup of olive oil with 1/2 cup of white vinegar. Add 10-20 drops of citrus essential oil. Spray onto stainless steel surfaces and wipe clean with a micro fiber cloth.

Shower and Tub Cleaner: Mix 1/2 cup of white vinegar with 1/2cup of Sal Suds. Apply the solution to the shower or tub using a spray bottle or a sponge. Let it sit for 3-5 minutes before scrubbing with a soft-bristled brush. Rinse thoroughly with water.

Basic Laundry Detergent: Mix 1 cup of washing soda, 1 cup of baking soda, 1/4 cup of Epsom salt, and 25 drops of essential oil in a large bowl. Store in a glass jar and use 1-2 tablespoons per load.

Vinegar Fabric Softener: Mix 1 cup of white vinegar with 20-30drops of essential oil in a spray bottle. Spray onto clothes before putting them in the dryer

Your Partner In Health,
Clarissa A. Kussin, ND, FMCHC, ERYT-1000