trauma therapy

How Past Experience is Linked to Your Health

trauma therapy

Our bodies hold every experience we have ever had. From a young age, I’ve been fascinated with this concept. Through my own life experiences and my experience as a practitioner, it has become apparent that it is impossible to separate physical ailment from mental or emotional processes. Negative thought processes and trapped emotions from past trauma or social conditioning can cause blocked energy in the body. As a result, this manifests into pain if not dealt with properly.

Recent scientific advances illustrate how trauma literally reshapes the mind and the body. Carrying and repressing past trauma throughout life can affect the way we think about ourselves and the people in our environment causing changes in the way we carry our bodies. Your head and shoulders are in a different position when you are confident vs burdened or confused. You stand taller when you feel victorious and trusting vs defeated. Muscle tension manifests in an effort to maintain postures that keep an individual feeling safe and unaware of unpleasant emotions.

Different areas of the body correspond to different emotions. Injuries and diseases tend to manifest in areas of the body where emotions or trauma are being repressed and stored. But, understanding your mental and emotional state and allowing emotions to surface in a healthy way is essential in avoiding injury or disease. Your body becomes weaker or stronger depending on your mental or emotional states. Eastern medicine has integrated these concepts into practice for thousands of years. At Holistic Integration, we use a combination of Eastern and Western approaches to encompass the mind-body-spirit connection in order to get to the root cause of the problem, ultimately bringing the body back into homeostasis.

a person inserting a needle on a man s chin

Acupuncture & Weight Loss

Acupuncture is a proven safe and effective modality. Acupuncture helps patients lose weight and can play an important role in an individual’s weight loss journey.

Man using a row machine for weight loss

How Does Acupuncture Impact Weight Loss?

Along with the proper diet and exercise, acupuncture can help regulate the body’s metabolism. This is accomplished by targeting the pituitary gland to increase fat burning in the body. It also reduces inflammation and tension in the gut which slows down the digestion tract leading to a slower metabolism. Another key to weight loss is improving the digestion system. If we can absorb nutrients properly and eliminate constipation and bloating, we will also lose the feelings of sluggishness or lack of motivation.

Water retention can cause distention and cause a two-to-four-pound weight fluctuation throughout the day. Acupuncture can target the kidneys and endocrine system to reduce water retention in the body. It also can play a key role in balancing hormones like excess cortisol and estrogen dominance. Both of which lead to weight gain. When people binge eat it is typically during a stressful time in their life. So, reducing the unnecessary stressors in one’s life is crucial for weight loss. Acupuncture releases hormones in the body like serotonin and endorphins to help eliminate stress and anxiety.

What is Auricular and How Do We Use It?

Auricular acupuncture (acupuncture on the ear) is great at reducing cravings for certain foods, so it is easier to stick to a diet for weight loss. This is similar to the auricular acupuncture for smoking cessation that has become so popular. Auricular acupuncture works by stimulating points on the ear which, in-turn, stimulates nerves that are directly connected to the brain to cause changes throughout the body.  Common ailments that auricular acupuncture can treat include anxiety, depression, weight loss, insomnia, headaches, addiction, and so much more.

At Holistic Integration, we have an all-encompassing weight loss program that includes health coaching, a personalized exercise program, an infrared sauna, acupuncture, auricular, as well as other treatments.

Jordan Van Tress MSOM, LAc


What to Expect During Your First Acupuncture Treatment

How does acupuncture work?

Acupuncture points are specific areas on the body just beyond the surface of the skin. They have high concentrations of nerve endings, mast cells, lymphatic vessels, and capillaries. When an acupuncture needle is inserted into an acupuncture point, it stimulates the sensory receptor, which in turn stimulates the nerve, which then transmits impulses to the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal system.

This complex system of interactions (often called a “feedback loop”) between the brain, hormones, and glands is responsible for regulating a number of bodily processes. Because acupuncture helps to regulate the various feedback loops in your body, it actually allows your body to heal itself of whatever is wrong. This amazing trait is unique to nearly every other medical system and has sustained acupuncture as a complete system of medicine for over 5,000 years.

How often should you schedule appointments in order to get the highest value out of your treatments?

Acupuncture works cumulatively, and it is very rare that one treatment is all you will need to feel better. It is essential to get treatments close to each other at first because each treatment gains momentum on the last. If treatments are too far apart, we can lose momentum and erase the progress we’ve done through treatments.

Each person responds differently to acupuncture, so we usually won’t know exactly how many treatments you will need until we’ve gone through a few sessions. A typical treatment course for chronic conditions may be around 10-12 treatments in 6 weeks, and for acute conditions, it may look like 6 treatments in 4 weeks.

Because each treatment builds on the last, I expect you to feel slowly yet progressively better with each treatment. It is also important to schedule a session immediately if you ever start to feel yourself “backsliding,” and your next scheduled appointment isn’t for a couple of days or longer.

Generally speaking, we will be able to space treatments further and further apart as long as you keep steadily improving with each treatment (and stay at that level between visits to the clinic). Maintenance sessions are often recommended every 4-6 weeks to keep your body in a healthy, joyful, and balanced state.

What to Wear:

Loose, comfortable clothing is always best for treatments, as it provides easy access to your knees and elbows, and it provides you an even greater chance for complete relaxation. Feel free to wear pajamas to your treatment, if those are what you feel comfortable in.

If you are unable to wear loose clothing, sheets and blankets are always available to cover up, should you need to remove constricting clothing for your treatment.

What to Expect:

Side effects of acupuncture are infrequent, but they can occur. They also tend to be very mild when (and if) they do occur. The most common side effects are explained below.


While most people notice a marked improvement in their symptoms following acupuncture, some feel worse before they start feeling better. This is sometimes referred to as a “healing crisis.” Because

acupuncture works to get you “unstuck,” dormant physical issues can get stirred up in the process. As these issues are brought to our awareness, we are able to address them in the clinic so they can be handled and healed appropriately.

It is also very possible to feel wiped out after acupuncture. Acupuncture is powerful, and when things are moving… your body gets tired. This is never a cause for concern, and the best thing to do is re-fuel with nourishing snacks, fresh water, and relaxation time.


Body parts where acupuncture needles get inserted can feel sore after needles are removed. You also may experience muscle soreness away from the needling site if a trigger point was released during your treatment. Soreness from acupuncture typically dissipates within 24 hours. However, big trigger point releases can cause residual soreness that lasts a few days.


Although less common than soreness, bruising can occur at the needling site. Bruises usually last slightly longer than soreness from an acupuncture needle. Still, they generally are not anything to worry about beyond the aesthetic inconvenience.

Emotional Release

It is very possible to cry during or after acupuncture. Along with the physical parts of you becoming “unstuck,” emotions become free-flowing as well. The emotional release that can happen in acupuncture is often unexpected, but it is generally a very positive experience.

Feeling emotional during or after a treatment is a sign that the acupuncture is working in the emotional/mental department. Even if you’re seeking acupuncture for a physical ailment, increased emotional expression is an indication that healing is happening. From an acupuncture perspective, physical and emotional health are interconnected, so emotional shifts suggest positive physical changes as well.

While these side effects are rarely cause for concern, you know your body best. If any of these side effects feel like they’re too severe, too uncomfortable, or lasting too long—or if you notice any additional negative reactions to your acupuncture treatment—please let us know.

Jordan Van Tress MSOM, LAc

Essential Oils for Stress Management 

Have you found yourself stressed out at all in the past few months? Do you have ways to help yourself cope? Most people can answer  ‘yes’ to the first question, and thankfully there are so many tools available to help. There are many options to consider! Whether it’s eating nourishing foods, staying hydrated, exercising, sleeping, getting a massage or even talking to someone about how you’re feeling. 

essential oils

Another tool to consider is using aromatherapy to help manage emotions during stressful times. Essential oils work directly on the limbic system, located in the brain, to help regulate and process emotions properly. The list of oils that can be helpful is long. Virtually any essential oil that will provide feelings of calm to your body is going to help reduce stress.

What essential oils should you use?

Most larger essential oil companies have blends they have created to help with specific situations such as stress. But, there are many single essential oils that can be used too. Here is a short list of oils you might consider: Lavender, Roman Chamomile, Cedarwood, Sacred Sandalwood, Frankincense, Davana, Valerian, Bergamot and Sage. Some people find that a blend of different oils works best for them, and some people gravitate towards just a single essential oil. 

When applying essential oils, there are several different methods you can use. There are several ways you can use oils to support your emotions. From diffusing the oil, inhaling or applying them topically to your skin – diluted if necessary. Applying oils 3-4 times a day is best for optimal results. Oftentimes a diffuser running at night can be helpful for restful sleep and increased relaxation. Just like with other natural approaches, you might not see a dramatic difference with just one use. Essential oils are best used multiple times a day over a period of time for maximum results. 

*Note that choosing high-quality essential oils is very important. In some cases the use of a carrier oil is necessary. Contact our office for essential oil recommendations.

Sommer Cantwell, RN

Vitamin D: Are You Getting Enough of the “Sunshine Vitamin?”

Are you “D” ficient:

An estimated one billion people worldwide have a vitamin D deficiency.  Your body’s tissues store it because it is fat-soluble. It is also the only vitamin your body is able to produce.  With direct exposure to sunlight, our bodies absorb Vitamin D and turn it into activated vitamin D in the kidneys.  Now, it can support our immune function, lung function, bone strength, a glowing complexion, support our mood, and gut health.  Dr. Prather recommends fifteen minutes daily of direct sunlight to absorb approximately 2000iu of vitamin D. 

vitamin D

Darker skin pigments act as natural sun protection and may require longer times in direct sunlight to achieve optimal levels.  With the blustery winter months in the midwest paired with busy workdays, many have little to no chance of getting enough from the sun.  Not surprisingly, infections increase during the winter months.  So, when sun exposure is not an option, some food sources and supplementation are our only options. 

What to do:

Here at Holistic Integration, with structure-function care, we know the value of Vitamin D. We check levels routinely with a simple blood profile.  Surprisingly, the average result in our office runs around 30 with winter levels as low as 12-21.  For our bodies to work optimally, our goal is to achieve a level between 60-80 for everyone.  We have found it difficult to achieve adequate levels through dietary sources. So, we recommend achieving these levels through supplementation of Vitamin D3, the same form as produced by the body.  The amount of supplementation varies and is primarily impacted by current levels in the body.  Although increased sun exposure will not cause vitamin D toxicity in the body, supplementation can cause toxicity if levels reach above 100.  We “test, don’t guess” before a supplement recommendation.  

Impact today: Double whammy

Vitamin D has been connected with bone strength, mood support, skin health, and most importantly, plays a vital role in the body’s response to infectious diseases.  Optimal levels reduce the survivability of viruses, inhibit virus replication, boost cellular function, and reduce cytokines, inflammatory chemicals in the body.  

Proper levels fight viruses and boost the function of the body.  So, vitamin D levels can be directly link to the severity of a COVID-19 infection.

Stacey Begle

doctor examines woman s back

Healing Tools: The ProAdjuster


When muscles are tight and stiff they cause pain and restrict the movement of the joint. Reduced range of motion makes the area and joint more vulnerable to injury and degeneration. 

Reducing muscle tension not only feels better and reduces pain, but it improves mobility and reduces the chance of injury. One is then able to move more freely throughout their everyday tasks. 

    One tool we love to use at Holistic Integration to reduce muscle tension and improve mobility is the ProAdjuster. The ProAdjuster uses an advanced computer system to objectively analyze areas for restriction and address muscle tension that is affecting the joint. The machine also comes with protocols for common ailments such as headache, TMJ (pain and limited movement of the jaw), neck range of motion restrictions, knee pain and many other issues. 

As a team, we have also developed our own protocols for treatment. This is one of the many gentle strategies we use to improve mobility and reduce pain when working with our patients.


Feeling vs. Function: The Pastrami Principle

definition of health

There’s a very important distinction to be made between how we feel and how we function, especially in regard to healthcare and the Structure-Function model of healthcare. Over the years I have asked thousands of people what their definition of health is. For many people, health is when they feel good and when they are not sick. This can be a very dangerous definition of health. So, what is a good definition of health?
First, I want you to understand why the above definition of health is dangerous and that in reality, how you feel does not have a direct relationship to how healthy you are. Let me explain with two examples:

The Pastrami Principle
The first example I call The Pastrami Principle. Years ago, when I was in my early 20s, I worked a late shift. One evening, after work, I found myself at my favorite sandwich shop.

They made an incredible pastrami sandwich and that is what I took home. Now, have you ever been so hungry that you shove food in your face so fast that you don’t even taste it until about the third or fourth bite? Well, that is exactly what I did that evening— it really wasn’t until the third or fourth bite that I began to taste the sandwich. Suddenly, I realized that something was terribly wrong. I opened the sandwich and the pastrami was slimy and had a couple of different patchy shades of green to it.
I was extremely upset! How could they do that to me? I quickly re-wrapped the sandwich, hopped in my car and headed back to the sandwich shop to return it.

Ok, here is where it gets interesting… On the way back to the shop I began to FEEL horrible. My heart started racing. I started to sweat. The taste in my mouth began to change. My belly started to bloat and all of a sudden, I needed to pull over because I knew what was going to happen next… I threw up.

Ok, now, here is the question: Was I sick or was I healthy? Think about that. Again, I’ll answer in a bit but before I do let me tell you about an old Colorado Cowboy

The Ol’ Colorado Cowboy
The second example involves my grandfather. At age 77 he was still riding rodeo in Colorado. Although he wasn’t very fast, he always won first place in calf roping because he was the only one in his age category. Not only did he ride but he also spent time teaching young folks how to do it. He was FEELING great in the years leading up to that one. However, during that year he noticed he wasn’t feeling so good and he started to feel some pain.

He went to the doctor and was soon diagnosed with Stage 4 bone cancer in his pelvis and spine. They gave him two years to live. If you know anything about that type of cancer, you know that it does not develop overnight nor is it a primary cancer (the first place you get cancer). What that means is that for years before he was diagnosed, he had cancer growing in his body that eventually metastasized to his pelvis and spine, moved from stage one, through stages two and three, and finally to stage four before he started to feel bad.

Of course, no one would say that my grandfather was healthy while he was in pain and had been diagnosed with cancer but when was he really no longer healthy?

Again, was I healthy when I felt so horrible throwing up on the side of the road and when exactly was my grandfather no longer healthy?
Hopefully thinking about those stories and questions has gotten you thinking about your own definition of health.

Let me give you my answers to the questions:
Although I felt horrible on the side of that road, I was healthy and my body was functioning! My body recognized the poison I had ingested and did what it needed to do to forcibly expel it so that my body could continue to function correctly! I was healthy even though I felt “sick”.

On the other hand, we can easily say that while my grandfather felt on top of the world, he was not healthy because for years the cancer was growing undetected in his body. He was not healthy even though he felt good.

If feeling good does not mean you are healthy and feeling bad does not mean you are sick then what is a good definition of health? It is so much more than the dictionary definition of “the state of being free from illness or injury” (Oxford Dictionary). Let me share my definition of perfect or true health:
HEALTH is when our bodies are optimally FUNCTIONING physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually

Let that idea simmer for a while. Maybe it will challenge your own paradigm when it comes to True Health. And that is what we value here at Holistic Integration – True Health.

Yes, we do care about how you Feel. How you Feel is probably what brought you into the clinic. However, we care much more about how you Function. In fact, we are Passionate about how you Function! We also hope that you become more aware of, committed to, and passionate about how you Function as well!
It is that focus on Function in the Structure-Function Model of Healthcare that is the foundation of how we make a difference in helping to transform the lives (and minds) of our patients and their families.

I’ll end this post with a question; a question I want you to think about. I will answer it in my next post.
What is the opposite of health?
Until next time.

Dr. Clinton S. Dodge DC


Phase Angle: The Blueprint to Wellness

The Western medical system has long used the Body Mass Index (BMI) tool to measure an individual’s health. BMI measures a person’s weight divided by their height, and uses the resulting number to indicate the body fatness and health of an individual. Essentially, BMI assesses a person’s health based only on their size. However, scientists and medical professionals over time have pointed out that BMI fails to consider other aspects of health such as age, sex, fat mass, muscle mass, race, genetics, and medical history. Using BMI as a sole predictor of health has been shown to increase weight bias and health inequities. So, what does Holistic Integration use as a measurement tool instead?

At Holistic Integration, we utilize a measurement tool called Body Composition Analysis which measures the Phase Angle of a patient’s body. Phase Angle is a measurement of how well the cells in your body communicate with one another. Your Phase Angle values can clue you in with what’s going on in your body. It can help identify health risks and address existing health issues and help track progress of lifestyle changes (diet and exercise) over time. For most people, it has helped them make data-driven health and wellness decisions.  At Holistic Integration, we use it to personalize a patient’s health care plan. Think of Phase Angle like giving your body’s overall health a number grade.

The cells in your body are constantly working to filter good and bad substances in and out of themselves through their cellular membranes. When your cells are healthy, they effectively filter out these bad substances, resulting in an overall improvement of health. But when the cells are unhealthy, toxins and other harmful substances can infiltrate the body more easily, resulting in a decrease in your overall health. The numbers of the phase angle scale indicate the health of your cells — a higher Phase Angle grade shows increased health, whereas a lower phase angle grade can indicate a deterioration of health. 

Keep in mind that Phase Angle is not a diagnostic tool, meaning it won’t tell us what disease process or issue is present. Phase Angle is a measurement tool that serves as a marker of your level of health, helping to inform your care team regarding what issues and additional diagnostics should be pursued in order to proceed with a diagnosis and customized care plan.  

Our goal here at Holistic Integration is to help our patients reach and maintain an ideal phase angle grade–we want to see all of our patients reach a Phase Angle grade of at least 7.5. When a patient has a Phase Angle score of 4.5 or below paired with abnormal diagnostics results, we immediately begin a completely personalized plan of care, including a re-measurement of Phase Angle once per month, helping providers to consistently track improvement. Over time, with treatment, patients will feel better and more balanced, meaning their body is reaching homeostasis. Consequently, they will see a steady increase in their Phase Angle. An increased Phase Angle grade directly correlates with feeling more energetic, balanced, and healthy. 

We offer a wide array of structural and functional services (want to learn more about Structure Function medicine? click here) to help you reach that ideal grade, including comprehensive diagnostics, EDS (Electro Dermal Screening), Natural Supplementation and Homeopathics, Acupuncture and Chiropractic Care, Occupational Therapy, Food Sensitivity Testing, Nutritional Counseling and Weight Management Programs, and so much more. 

Interested in scheduling your first appointment? Call us at 317-848-8048 today and you’ll learn your Phase Angle grade at your first visit.

What is Structure Function Medicine?

You may associate different emotions with going to the doctor – fear and anxiety, the confusion that comes with the introduction of new drug prescriptions into your daily routine, frustrating, long waits to get to speak with an actual provider, and even physicians who don’t seem to listen to your concerns or want to address them at their root cause. Many people give up on going to the doctor more than once or twice a year because even when they do go, there doesn’t seem to be any lasting difference in how they feel. 

The Two Types of Healthcare

The FDA recognizes two models of medical care in the United States: Disease Care and Structure Function Care. Disease Care is what most see as “traditional” medicine: it involves addressing health issues and illnesses as they come up, treating diseases and symptoms associated with prescription medications, and sometimes even surgery. For the most part, society is dependent on the Disease Care model because it is what is most readily available and common. Structure Function Care is proactive, preventative healthcare. It focuses on approaching the body as a whole to help bring the entire system back to homeostasis, or a point of balance and equilibrium, effectively preventing health issues before they come up. 

Both types of healthcare have a time and place, but at Holistic Integration, we place our main focus on Structure Function care. This means your musculoskeletal health (the structures of your body: your muscles, joints, and bones) as well as your physiological health (the functions of your body: everything from eating, sleeping, and breathing, to the results of your bloodwork). Structure Function care takes more into account than just symptoms and side effects, it looks at every part of the body and addresses health issues at their root cause to help bring the body to homeostasis, which is the point at which the body functions as well as it can, meaning that the patient feels as best as they possibly can. 

At Holistic Integration, every service we offer is either geared towards the Structural or Functional side of our care model. 

Functional Services

Functional services include visits with our Nurse Practitioner, Health Coaching, personalized supplement programs, EDS (Electro Dermal Screening), Diagnostics (including blood work, hair analysis, GI Stool Kit, and more), our DTS Programs (Weight Loss and Health Coaching), EMI (Electro Meridian Imaging), ECP (External Counterpulsation Therapy), Diathermy, Auricular, and Infrared Sauna.

Structural Services

Structural Services include Chiropractic Adjustments (Atlas Orthogonal and TMJ), Joint Injections, Acupuncture (both traditional acupuncture with needles as well as Acupuncture with Electric which uses lasers), Occupational Therapy, Massage Therapy, Spinal Decompression, Intersegmental Traction, Iontophoresis, and so much more. 

Each service on its own is beneficial in helping you to reach toward that point of homeostasis, but together they produce exponentially better results. A combination of these services is necessary to reach homeostasis, and at Holistic Integration we customize treatment plans for every patient to promote a more synergistic approach to help you reach the point of homeostasis. We recognize that a one-size-fits-all plan is not best for our patients, and we work with you to create a treatment plan that fits your unique health needs and goals. 

Does Structure Function care sound like the right fit for you? If so, give us a call at 317-848-8048 to schedule a New Patient Exam.