Posted by: seattledizzygroup | September 22, 2017

Balance and Falls Prevention Awareness

September 18-24, 2017 is Balance Awareness Week!

The goal of Balance Awareness Week is to “Defeat Dizziness” by reducing the time it takes to diagnose a vestibular disorder.

Through Balance Awareness Week, the Vestibular Disorders Association (VEDA) hopes to raise public awareness about vestibular disorders and encourage people who have experienced symptoms like dizziness or vertigo to become informed about their condition and seek help from a vestibular specialist.  Increased awareness can reduce the time it takes patients to receive a diagnosis and put them on the road to recovery.

Find out how you can get involved at

The human balance system is complex, involving the inner ear, eyes, joints & muscles, and brain. When one part of the system is damaged by disease or injury debilitating dizziness and imbalance can result.

To learn more about vestibular and balance disorders, visit:

Balance Awareness Articles:

Raise Balance Awareness

Balance Awareness Facts, Figures & Trivia

A Balancing Act: Improving Balance and Preventing Falls

Exercise & Tai Chi Moving for Better Balance 


September 22-28, 2017 is Falls Prevention Awareness Week!

Among older adults, falls are the leading cause of injury deaths, unintentional injuries, and hospital admissions for trauma. Falls can take a serious toll on older adults’ quality of life and independence. The first week of Fall each year is Falls Prevention Awareness Week with the goal of spreading the message that falls are preventable.

More information about Falls Prevention Awareness Week:

September 22, 2017 is Falls Prevention Awareness Day!

This year is the tenth annual Falls Prevention Awareness Day which is celebrated on the first day of fall.  In honor of this notable milestone, the National Council on Aging (NCOA) has chosen the theme 10 Years Standing Together to Prevent Falls. This event raises awareness about how to prevent fall-related injuries among older adults.

More information about Falls Prevention Awareness Day:

Falls Prevention Resources:

Falls Prevention Fact Sheet

NCOA List of Falls Prevention Articles

Help Raise Awareness with Seattle Dizzy Group!


In celebration of Balance Awareness Week and Falls Prevention Awareness Day/Week, Seattle Dizzy Group will host our Seventh Annual Walk for Balance Event on Saturday, September 23, 2017 (12-2:30 pm at Green Lake).  Join us for this fun community event where we will “Walk a Mile in Dizzy Shoes” together to help create greater awareness for vestibular and balance disorders and show our support for people living with chronic dizziness and imbalance–in Seattle and beyond.

Event details:

(Also, find out how Seattle Dizzy Group is Making a Difference for Balance Awareness) 


Walk for Balance TM

© Copyright 2017, Seattle Dizzy Group. All rights reserved.


Posted by: seattledizzygroup | August 31, 2017

Coping with the Isolation and Loneliness of Chronic Illness

Strategies to Overcome Feeling Alone with Chronic Illness

Chronic illness may cause or increase isolation and feelings of loneliness. Adjusting to a “new normal” includes finding ways to cope with feeling alone and maintain social connections while living with chronic illness.

These articles discuss the isolation of chronic illness and offer strategies to overcome feelings of loneliness:

The Isolating Loneliness of Chronic Pain & Invisible Illness

Isolation Risk of Chronic Illness

Handling Isolation that Comes from Chronic Illness

How to Cope with Loneliness

Curing the Loneliness of Illness

Things to Do When You’re Mostly Housebound

Ways to Maintain Healthy Relationships & Social Activity Despite the Challenges of Living with Chronic Illness



© Copyright 2017, Seattle Dizzy Group. All rights reserved.

Posted by: seattledizzygroup | July 31, 2017

Caregiver Tips

Helpful Suggestions for Caregivers & Supporters of the Chronically Ill

Adjusting to a “new normal” can be as challenging for those in a caregiving or support role as it is for a chronically ill loved one. It is important to find ways to maintain healthy relationships in spite of chronic illness.

These articles offer advice for caregivers and supporters as well as loved ones with chronic illness:

A Not-To-Do List for Caregivers of the Chronically Ill

How to Help Your Caregiver

The 5 Caregiver Commandments: How to Support a Loved One with Invisible Illness

7 Ways to Keep Your Relationship Strong Despite a Chronic Illness

Supporting Relationships Through Chronic Illness



© Copyright 2017, Seattle Dizzy Group. All rights reserved.

Posted by: seattledizzygroup | June 30, 2017

Balancing Activity and Rest

Importance of Resting with a Chronic Illness

It can be challenging to balance activity and rest with a chronic illness. Every activity costs energy and too quickly brings on fatigue. For the chronically ill, “making the most of each day” includes getting adequate rest.

This infographic illustrates The Spoon Theory which is a helpful tool for explaining the energy impacts of activity while living with a chronic illness:


These articles discuss energy limitations and offer strategies for increasing activity level and managing fatigue while living with a chronic illness:

The Spoon Theory

With Chronic Illness, I Will Always Pay Tomorrow for What I Do Today

When Our Chronically Ill Bodes Say “Rest” Why Don’t We? 

Tips on Increasing Your Activity Level & Managing Fatigue

Fatigue, Stress and Responsibility



© Copyright 2017, Seattle Dizzy Group. All rights reserved.

Posted by: seattledizzygroup | May 31, 2017

Exercise and Tai Chi Moving for Better Balance

How to Exercise with a Vestibular Disorder

by Myra Emami, PT, NCS

of Cascade Dizziness and Balance PT

(Presented to Seattle Dizzy Group on 4/8/17)

This presentation discusses the health benefits of exercise and offers exercise strategies to improve balance including modifications for overcoming the challenges of chronic vestibular impairment as well as an overview of Tai Chi Moving for Better Balance which is a research-based exercise program that has effectively demonstrated reduced falls, risk of falls, and fear of falling.

Presentation Objectives:

  • Discuss how to incorporate exercise when you have a dizziness or balance disorder
  • Different types of exercises: strengthening, balance, aerobic, community based
  • How to modify the exercises based on balance impairment or dizziness issues
  • Tai Ji Quan Moving for Better Balance
  • Practice a few Tai Chi exercises


  • Strengthen functionally: Sit to stands, walking lunges
  • Functionally strengthen with balance exercises
  • Core exercises: Reverse crunches seated, standing cross knee crunches, medicine ball lifts in standing. Upright core exercises tend to work best for patients with dizziness issues.

Aerobic Exercises Benefits

  • Improved cardiovascular pulmonary health, lower blood pressure
  • Increases endorphins to combat depression
  • Burn cortisol to combat stress
  • Improves stress
  • Improves GI system
  • Improves memory and overall brain function, increased brain volume
  • Improves immune system
  • Increased energy level, combats fatigue
  • Decreases weight

Aerobic Exercise

  • Sustained activity that increases your heart rate
  • AHA (American Heart Association) recommended guidelines: 5x/week 30 minutes moderately intense exercise or 3x/week 25 minutes intense exercise
  • Target Heart Rate: 220 – age x 0.7 (Example: 60 year old = 112)
  • BORG Scale goal 13-15 (light to somewhat hard)

Borg Scale

  • 6 No exertion
  • 7 Extremely light
  • 8 Extremely light
  • 9 Very light
  • 10
  • 11 Light
  • 12
  • 13 Somewhat hard
  • 14
  • 15 Hard
  • 16
  • 17 Very hard
  • 18
  • 19 Extremely hard
  • 20 Maximal exertion

Type of Aerobic Exercises

  • Walking, power walking, walking with poles
  • Jogging, running
  • Equipment: biking, treadmills, ellipticals
  • Swimming

Aerobic Exercise with Balance Issues

  • Recumbent biking
  • Nustep
  • Power walking with 2 poles
  • Swimming: laps with resistance boards

Aerobic Exercise with Dizziness Issues

  • MRD, dysautonomia, vestibular disorder, motion sensitivity
  • Start with short sessions and gradually build up. Short duration and decreased frequency. 2-3x/week
  • Dizziness will be the limiting factor instead of Target Heart Rate.
  • Warm up and cool down especially important.
  • Staying hydrated especially important, consider electrolytes.
  • Low sensory environment
  • Use midline visual target.
  • Limit exercise that causes head movement.
  • Recommended: recumbent biking, Nustep, slow progressive walking program with hiking poles

Balance Exercises

  • Balance: ability to control the COM (trunk) over the BOS (Base of Support = feet) in a given environment or task without taking a step.
  • Vestibular
  • Anticipatory postural control
  • Limits of stability
  • Reactive postural control

Vestibular Exercises

  • Vestibular: One of 3 main balance systems (eyes, ears, sense of touch in feet) which is located in the inner ear and orients you to where you are in space and is responsible for righting reactions that keep you upright.
  • Static: Static standing with or without head turns eyes closed standing in an unstable position.
  • Dynamic: Walking with head turns
  • Modifications for balance: Feet position
  • Modifications for dizziness: Slow reps with midline sensory orientation

Reactive Postural Control

  • Automatic shifting in COG (Center of Gravity) in response to external and unexpected disturbances. (Example: Stepping reaction when you are about to fall).
  • Ankle/hip/stepping strategies
  • Tai Chi exercise

Limits of Stability

  • How far can you move over your base of support before you fall. The boundaries within which the body can maintain stability and not change the BOS (Base of Support) without step or reach.
  • Expanding the LOS (Limits of Stability) is critical for fall prevention.
  • Tai Chi LOS exercise

Anticipatory Control

  • Ability to proactively shift your COG (Center of Gravity) over your BOS (Base of Support) to successfully achieve a motor task such as stepping over an object.
  • Single leg stand: Inability to stand greater than 5 seconds indicates a high fall risk.
  • Key is ability to shift your weight over your BOS
  • Tai Chi anticipatory control exercise

Tips for Success

  • Find an exercise buddy
  • Make it easy – exercise at home or gym close by
  • Make it successful – start out slowly and gradually build up
  • Make it safe – practice in a corner for safety
  • Make it a habit – same time (for example, first thing in the morning)
  • Make it fun – use upbeat music
  • Cognitive behavioral approach: make your brain want it by thinking about the benefits of exercise

Other Recommended Exercise: Tai Chi

  • Lowers stress, improves sense of well being
  • Calms your mind, reduces anxiety
  • Grounding – reduces dizziness
  • Increases leg strength and core muscles
  • Improves bone density
  • Turns off the sympathetic nervous system
  • Better sleep
  • Better immune system
  • Thickens brain’s cortex – improved cognitive function
  • Improves balance and reduces fear of falling

Tai Ji Quan: Moving for Better Balance


  • Designed by Fuzhong Li, a research scientist and tai chi master, published multiple research studies on Tai Ji and balance
  • 6 month program 2x/week: Significant reduction in falls with this program (55% decreased fall risk)
  • Different than traditional Tai Chi programs: Evidence and research based exercise protocol that has been shown to reduce fall risk. Designed for balance training to improve functional mobility. Fall prevention focus. Maximizes excursion of COG (Center of Gravity) around edge of BOS (Base of Support) to optimize motor control.
  • Traditional Tai Chi: Health promotion focus, designed for self defense so that the COG is constrained within the BOS to optimize force and stability for combat.

Tai Chi Balance Exercises

  • Reactionary postural control: ankle/hip/stepping strategy
  • Limits of stability training: Butterfly
  • Form one: Hold the ball. Anticipatory postural control. Active movement.

Limits of Stability Training

  • Goal: Shift your center of gravity further and further outside your base of support to improve your balance.
  • Stay safe working in a corner, in front of a chair, or countertop so you can catch yourself if you lose your balance.
  • 10x each direction 1-2x/day
  • Keep trunk straight, don’t bend at your hips!
  • Keep it challenging by working at the limits of your stability!

Forward and Backward Weight Shift

  • Stand with feet shoulder width apart.
  • Shift weight forward so that your weight is on your toes.
  • Return to center. Repeat 10x
  • Shift weight backward so that your weight is on your heels.
  • Return to center. Repeat 10x

Side to Side Weight Shift

  • Stand with feet should width apart.
  • Shift weight to the right so that all your weight is on your right outer foot.
  • Return to center. Repeat 10x
  • Shift weight to the left so that your weight is on your left outer foot.
  • Return to center. Repeat 10x
  • Hold an imaginary Tai Chi ball when you weight shift (right hand on top when you shift to the right, left hand on top with left weight shift).

Clock Turns

  • Move from center to 1:00
  • Move from center to 7:00
  • Move from center to 11:00
  • Move from center to 5:00


  • Hold an imaginary Tai Chi ball at center, right hand on top.
  • Weight shift forward and backward for the body.
  • Move left hand in a big circle to make the left upper wing.
  • Left hand on top to reform the ball.
  • Move the right hand to make a big circle for the right upper wing.
  • Right hand on top to reform the ball.
  • Left hand backwards to the left back wing.
  • Left hand back on top.
  • Right hand backwards to make the right back wing.
  • Remember to work at the limits of your stability!

Anticipatory Control Exercises

  • Goal: Be able to stand on one foot to step over obstacles, be more stable walking, be safer going up and down stairs, transferring into a tub, stepping on or off a curb, etc.
  • Practice each exercise for 5-10 minutes, 1-2x/day

Side to Side

  • Stand with feet shoulder width apart.
  • Hold a Tai Chi ball with right hand on top.
  • Weight shift all the way to the right.
  • Move the Tai Chi ball to the right.
  • Lift your left heel up.
  • Lightly balance on your left big toe.
  • See if your can lift your left foot completely off the ground.
  • Try lifting your foot off for a few seconds.
  • Move the ball out further to the right if you keep losing your balance to the left.
  • Repeat on the left side with the Tai Chi ball to the left, lifting your right foot.


  • Stand with one foot forward and one foot back, a few inches apart.
  • Hold a Tai Chi ball forward.
  • Shift your weight to your front foot so that all your weight is there.
  • Lift your back heel off the ground.
  • Lightly balance on your back toe.
  • See if you can lift your entire foot off the ground for a few seconds.
  • Move the ball further forward if you feel falling backwards.
  • Shift your weight backwards so that all your weight is on your back foot. 
  • Lift your front toe off the ground.
  • Lightly balance on your front heel.
  • See if you can lift your entire foot off the ground for a few seconds.
  • If you keep falling forward, move your hands backwards to help you weight shift.
  • Repeat with the opposite leg.

Walking with Single Leg Standing

  • Take a step.
  • Weight shift forward.
  • Single leg stand for a few seconds.
  • Take another step and repeat.
  • Move slowly and deliberately, focusing on your comlete weight shift.

Exercise and Tai Chi Handout

Additional Health & Wellness Blog Posts:


Myra Emami, PT, NCS

of Cascade Dizziness and Balance PT

Myra Emami is a graduate of the University of Washington and has been practicing physical therapy for over 15 years. She specializes in vestibular rehabilitation and balance/fall prevention and obtained her Herdman Certification in Vestibular Competency in 2012.

Myra’s passion in vestibular rehab started after a personal experience with dizziness and vertigo, which helps her understand what her patients are going through. When patients talk about their dizziness, I can relate to how they feel. It’s important for patients to understand they can get better with the right strategy. Myra utilizes the latest evidence-based research in vestibular rehab in order to develop effective treatment strategies.

Myra also specializes in neurological disorders such as strokes and Parkinson’s Disease and obtained her APTA Neurological Clinical Specialist Certification in 2013. In her clinical practice, she applies her neurological background to emphasize the concept of neuroplasticity: The brain’s remarkable ability to change and build new connections to improve function. Neuroplasticity has far-reaching implications and amazing possibilities for almost every aspect of human life including balance disorders, movement dysfunction, and for reducing symptoms such as dizziness. She believes in a holistic healing approach delivered with care and compassion, with a focus on education and self-empowerment.

Myra’s accomplishments include the development of an acoustic neuroma post-surgical inpatient physical therapy protocol and Return-to-Play concussion protocol to facilitate safe return of young athletes to sports after a concussion. She organized and leads a multi-campus vestibular study group.

More information about Myra Emami



Presentation information is not meant to be taken as medical advice.

Presentations posted online may include discussion notes, links, images, and other information added by Seattle Dizzy Group.


© Copyright 2017, Seattle Dizzy Group. All rights reserved.

Posted by: seattledizzygroup | April 30, 2017

New Hope for Tinnitus Sufferers

Integrated Approach to Treat Tinnitus

by Richard Wyckoff, PhD

of Eastside Integrative Psychology

(Presented to Seattle Dizzy Group on 3/11/17)

This presentation gives an overview of tinnitus including common causes as well as new treatment options.

What Is Tinnitus?

Tinnitus is a medical condition that causes sensation of noises such as buzzing, ringing, chirping or other sounds. It is not a hallucination even though other people are not able to hear it. It is not a mental illness, although it can cause symptoms such as anxiety and depression and irritability.

About 17% of people of all ages get it, but it is twice as common in the elderly. While most people with tinnitus do not require treatment, about 25% of those affected have intrusive tinnitus that can interfere with daily activity and sleep and cause great distress.

Many of these people are so bothered by tinnitus that treatment is required. They may experience intense anxiety, worrisome thoughts that will not stop, increased irritability, difficulty handling even minor stressors, depression and even suicidal thoughts.

What Causes Tinnitus?

The original source of disease is often trauma to the ear, such as an infection, blocked canal, otoslerosis, tumor, Meniere’s Disease, or drugs such as aspirin or antibiotics. Hearing loss or excessive exposure to loud sounds can also trigger tinnitus. Sometimes, however, tinnitus can appear without any of these precipitating factors.

The original problem leads to changes in the brain that cause tinnitus. Specific areas of the brain that control hearing, emotions and stress regulation are involved. For example, when cochlear lesions interfere with hearing in a specific frequency band width, the brain may attempt to compensate by generating this sound internally.

There are also neural pathways between the emotional centers of the brain, called the limbic system, and the auditory centers. Some of these neural pathways are excitatory (that is, they stimulate the auditory centers), while others are inhibitory (that is, they calm the auditory cortex).

Normally these competing pathways maintain balance and harmony. However, with tinnitus these pathways can be over or under active. This change in spontaneous neural activity can create the sound as well as the distress.

Treatment Options

In the past, treatments have been very limited. Some may gain a measure of relief through strategies that mask the noises with other noises. Others may find some benefit from a process of desensitization from the noises. Generally, psychiatric drugs are not indicated, and for some people they can make the problem worse. Surgical neural implants have helped some people. Many suffer needlessly. If you or someone you love suffers from tinnitus, an integrated approach to treatment can be very effective.

Some individuals are genetically predisposed to tinnitus because they have difficulty synthesizing certain neurochemicals and/or difficulty maintaining proper balance of certain key minerals. These individuals can be identified with a thorough diagnostic assessment including a review of symptoms, personal history, family history and medical history. A simple blood test and urinalysis can determine whether certain biochemical imbalances may contribute to the symptoms.

Biochemical imbalances may result from Kryptopyrrole Disorder (which causes a deficiency of B6 and zinc), Copper/Zinc Imbalance (usually caused by low zinc), or MTHFR Mutation (which causes overmethylation or undermethylation). These imbalances are corrected with advanced individualized nutritional therapy (which means the patient takes nutrients instead of drugs to address the problem).

Some patients may also benefit from concurrent psychotherapy to help them address the emotional consequences of tinnitus.

Find out more about tinnitus and behavioral medicine:


Richard Wyckoff, PhD

of Eastside Integrative Psychology

Dr. Richard A. Wyckoff is a licensed clinical psychologist who has been in practice since 1969 and has practiced in the Seattle area since 2005. He has specialized for many years in adult and geriatric behavioral medicine, dementia care and pain management.

From 1998 to 2004, he was grant-funded in Pennsylvania to teach behavioral alternatives to psychoactive medication in long term care. He co-authored three books with his wife Linda on behavior management. He currently specializes in the diagnosis and nutritional treatment of biochemical imbalances that cause mental health concerns.

In 2011 he founded the Alliance for Nutrition and Mental Health, an organization of mental health practitioners who are interested in incorporating nutrition science into their mental health practice. Currently, he is writing a new book with the working title, The Metabolic Mind, discussing how nutrition, lifestyle and everyday practices can help people build better brains to improve daily functioning. He has been trained by Dr. William Walsh of the Walsh Research Institute to provide advanced individualized nutrient therapy for those with treatment resistant mental health disorders associated with genetic and epigenetic metabolic factors. He is also working toward a post-doctoral diploma in orthomolecular psychology.

More information about Dr. Wyckoff:


Presentation information is not meant to be taken as medical advice.

Presentations posted online may include discussion notes, links, images, and other information added by Seattle Dizzy Group.


© Copyright 2017, Seattle Dizzy Group. All rights reserved.

Posted by: seattledizzygroup | March 31, 2017

Importance of Self Care

Practicing Self Care for Coping with Chronic Illness

“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” – Buddha

 Self care is an act of self love.

Self care is about being deliberate in taking time for yourself for the betterment of your mind, body, and soul. Self care is not about being selfish. It is about replenishing and refreshing your spirit in different ways.

Self care is in integral part of everyday life especially when living with chronic illness.  In fact, it should be the very top priority.

These articles discuss the importance of practicing self care in your daily life and offer self care ideas for coping with chronic illness:

Self Care and Chronic Illness

Seven Types of Self Care Activities for Coping with Stress

The Coping with Chronic Illness Self Care Quiz




© Copyright 2017, Seattle Dizzy Group. All rights reserved.

Posted by: seattledizzygroup | February 28, 2017

Managing Fatigue Naturally

Natural Ways to Decrease Fatigue

by Jennifer Pilon, ND

of Bastyr Center for Natural Health

(Presented to Seattle Dizzy Group on 1/14/17)

This presentation gives an overview of common medical, emotional, and foundational causes of fatigue and offers natural ways to manage fatigue and increase energy and vitality.

Presentation Goals:

  • Outline common causes of fatigue
  • Understand how managing chronic medical conditions properly can impact fatigue
  • Understand the role of naturopathic medicine in treatment of fatigue
  • Understand the importance of foundations of health in managing fatigue
  • Empower you to address fatigue in foundational, sustainable ways

What Is Fatigue?


Weariness, weakness, depleted energy


Excessive Daytime Sleepiness

Drowsiness, decreased alertness, falling asleep easily

Causes of Fatigue

Physiologic Causes

  • Poorly managed chronic medical conditions
  • Medication side effects
  • Adrenal gland dysfunction
  • Nutrient deficiencies
  • Chronic viral infections
  • Mitochondrial dysfunction
  • Food sensitivities
  • Toxic accumulation

Psychological Causes

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Seasonal Affective Disorder

Foundational Causes

  • Lack of exercise/deconditioning
  • Disordered sleep
  • Chronic stress
  • Lack of purposed and meaning

Medical Conditions That Can Cause Fatigue

Medications and Fatigue

Many commonly used medications can cause fatigue. Some examples:

  •  Blood pressure medicines (especially beta-blockers)
  • Antidepressants
  • Sleep aids (“hypnotics”)

Medications may deplete important nutrients. Some examples:

  • Metformin depletes B12 (important for nervous system and blood cell production)
  • Statins (for cholesterol) can deplete CoQ10 (can cause muscle pain and muscle fatigue)
  • (*This website gives what nutrients might be depleted by which medications–so you may want to supplement)

Talk to your doctor about your options for medication management.

See your ND to talk about mitigating side effects.

Adrenal Gland Dysfunction

Adrenal Gland Anatomy and Function

Cortisol – Friend or Foe?

Released by adrenal glands in response to stress and low blood sugar


  • Stimulates release of epinephrine – “fight or flight” response
  • Suppresses immune system
  • Decreases bone turnover
  • Increases blood sugar
  • Increases blood pressure
  • Increases formation of short-term memories, decreases recall

Symptoms of Adrenal Gland Dysfunction

Supporting Healthy Adrenal Function

Persistent Viral Infections

  • This is a controversial topic in medicine
  • Some viruses like to live in immune cells and may “reactivate” during times of stress or immune suppression
    • Most commonly Epstein-Barr virus
  • Possible symptoms:
    • Chronic fatigue
    • Flu-like symptoms
    • Brain fog
    • Recurring sore throat and/or swollen lymph nodes
  • Diagnosed with antibody lab testing
  • Your ND can provide nutritional medicine, hydrotherapy and herbal medicines to help

Food Sensitivities

Factors Contributing to Food Sensitivities

  • Low stomach acid
  • Impaired integrity of gut lining (“Leaky Gut”)
  • Intestinal dysbiosis
  • Total toxic burden (“full bucket”)
  • Immune hyper-reactivity


Food Sensitivities – How Your ND Can Help

  • Guidance through Elimination/Rechallenge Diet with symptom tracking (eliminate foods for period of time, usually a few weeks, and then reintroduce foods one by one to test tolerance)
  • Expertise in diet modification, especially in the presence of chronic disease
  • Target digestive support to heal the digestive tract
  • Symptomatic relief from digestive symptoms with herbal medicine
  • Identifying other potential immune-exciting triggers
  • Addressing toxic burden and other contributors to a “full bucket”

Dietary Deficiencies and Fatigue

Toxic Burden and Fatigue

Certain toxins have clear links to fatigue and cognitive problems (lead and mercury, for example)

We are exposed to toxins daily, through food, air, and skin

Toxins can affect:

  • Nervous system
  • Immune system
  • Kidney function (especially lead)
  • Skin
  • Liver function

Living Clean – The Basics

  • Eat a varied diet, rich in fruits and vegetables
    • Cruciferous veggies
    • Beets
    • Artichoke
    • Onions, garlic
  • Buy the Dirty Dozen organic
  • Fiber is your friend – ideally 30g/day from food
  • Consume adequate protein – important for phase 2 metabolism
  • Sweat regularly – careful with chronic diseases
  • Exercise!
  • Be Seafood Savvy – stick with smaller fish (mackerel, anchovies, sardines)
    • King mackerel, marlin, orange roughy, shark, swordfish, tilefish, ahi tuna, and big eye tuna all contain high levels of mercury

Clean 15

Pesticides in Produce

The growing consensus among scientists is that small doses of pesticides and other chemicals can cause lasting damage to human health, especially during fetal development and early childhood.  Scientists now know enough about the long-term consequences of ingesting these powerful chemicals to advise that we minimize our consumption of pesticides.

Environmental Working Group (EWG) recommends buying organic produce whenever possible in order to reduce exposure to pesticides. However, organics are not accessible or affordable for everyone, so the Clean Fifteen and Dirty Dozen shopping lists help consumers make the healthiest choices given their circumstances. Conventionally grown produce is still better than not eating fruits and vegetables. (

EWG research has found that people who eat five fruits and vegetables a day from the Dirty Dozen list consume an average of 10 pesticides a day. Those who eat from the 15 least contaminated conventionally grown fruits and vegetables ingest fewer than 2 pesticides daily.  The Guide helps consumers make informed choices to lower their dietary pesticide load.  (Learn more at

Clean Fifteen

  • Onions
  • Avocadoes
  • Sweet Corn
  • Pineapple
  • Mangoes
  • Sweet Peas
  • Asparagus
  • Kiwi
  • Cabbage
  • Eggplant
  • Cantaloupe
  • Watermelon
  • Grapefruit
  • Sweet Potato
  • Honeydew Melon

Dirty Dozen

  • Celery
  • Peaches
  • Strawberries
  • Apples
  • Blueberries
  • Nectarines
  • Bell peppers
  • Spinach
  • Cherries
  • Kale/Collard Greens
  • Potatoes
  • Grapes

Environmental Working Group’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce

Detoxification – How Your ND Can Help

  • Expertise in identifying specific toxins of issue
    • Exposure history 
    • Evidence-based laboratory testing
  • Targeted nutritional and supplemental detoxification support
  • Strategies for maximizing diet and lifestyle to minimize exposures
  • Perspective

Disordered Sleep

Consequences of Poor Quality or Insufficient Sleep:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Frequent illness
  • Weight gain
  • Hormonal imbalances (thyroid, reproductive, adrenal)
  • Decreased healing ability
  • Impaired blood sugar regulation
  • Decreased ability to form and recall memories
  • Poor work performance and decreased productivity
  • Increased blood pressure

Factors that Disrupt Melatonin:

  • Blue light exposure in general
  • Shift work
  • Lack of daytime sunlight
  • Exposure to light at night
  • Aging (may decrease melatonin production)

Sleep Hygiene Basics

  • Cut out stimulants
    • coffee, black/green/white tea, colored soda, energy drinks, dark chocolate
  • Consistent sleep/wake times
  • Pay attention to your body
    • Pushing past initial sleep signals an increase stress hormones
  • No TV or work in the bedroom
    • Create positive associations with your bedroom
  • Exercise regularly
  • Dim light in your home after dark
  • Avoid screens 1-2 hours before bedtime (or at least use a blue light filter, for example tinted glasses or an app for screens like F.lux)
  • Use a bedtime alarm app to remind you to wind down for a chosen bedtime
  • Optimal sleep environment: cool, dark, and quiet

Sleep – How Your ND Can Help

  • Addressing depression and/or anxiety
  • Supplementation and diet to stabilize blood sugar
  • Herbal medicine to calm the nervous system, improve sleep quality, and balance adrenal function
  • Stress management techniques
  • Physical medicine to decrease chronic pain that may be affecting sleep
  • Screening for symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea and referral for sleep studies

Mood Disorders – The Basics

  • Approximately 6.6% of American adults have active depression
  • 16.6% of Americans will experience major depressive episode at some point
    • Prevalence of depression is higher in individuals with chronic disease
  • Fatigue is a symptom of depression
  • Sleep disturbance, lack of interest and difficulties with concentration and memory may be confused with fatigue
  • Depression can cause physical symptoms, too!
  • Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
    • Seasonal pattern of major depressive episodes

Mood Disorders – How Your ND Can Help

  • Addressing foundations of health – diet, exercise, sleep and meaningful living
    • Light therapy for SAD – Fluorescent 10,000 lux light
    • Start with 10 minutes in the morning, eyes open, 16-31 inches from the face
  • Counseling, support groups, etc.
  • Identifying and treating physical problems affecting your mood
    • Blood sugar regulation, thyroid dysfunction, menopause, etc.
  • Herbal and nutritional mood support
  • Medication and side effect management

Exercise and Energy


  • Improves mood and memory
  • Increases energy production by cells
  • Improves brain function
  • Provides an opportunity for social connection
  • Increases muscles strength and endurance, conditioning you for everyday life

Start with regular, low-moderate intensity

Overtraining can also cause fatigue and mitochondrial dysfunction

Sustainable Skills for Increased Energy

  • Prioritize your health – manage chronic disease (including mental illness) well
  • Prioritize your sleep
  • Manage stress well
  • Diet, diet, diet!
    • Increase fruits and vegetables and emphasize lean proteins and whole grains that you tolerate
    • Identify and eliminate food sensitivities
  • Exercise regularly
    • Apps like 7 Minute Workout and Nike Training Club
    • YMCA is a great resource
  • Identify and eliminate toxic exposures

Additional Health & Wellness Blog Posts:


Jennifer Pilon, ND

of Bastyr Center for Natural Health

Dr. Pilon combines the strengths of conventional medical care with naturopathic wisdom to ensure that patients get safe and effective treatment. She uses counseling, clinical nutrition, supplements, herbal medicine, hands-on therapies and medications when necessary.

Dr. Pilon believes the key to creating long-term changes in your health is to take small, sustainable steps.  She practices from the Health at Every Size philosophy, an approach that focuses on health instead of weight.

Dr. Pilon’s clinical interests include women’s health, male and female infertility, adjunctive treatment of depression and anxiety, environmental medicine and detoxification, hormonal problems (thyroid, adrenal, menopause, etc.), and management of common chronic health conditions such as asthma, high blood pressure, arthritis, IBS and pre-diabetes.

More information about Dr. Pilon



Presentation information is not meant to be taken as medical advice.

Presentations posted online may include discussion notes, links, images, and other information added by Seattle Dizzy Group.


© Copyright 2017, Seattle Dizzy Group. All rights reserved.

Posted by: seattledizzygroup | January 31, 2017

Stronger Together in 2017

We Celebrated 10 Years Together In 2016! Join Us As We Keep Growing Stronger Together In 2017!

Seattle Dizzy Group is a respected leader in the vestibular and balance disorders patient support community with increasing national and global reach. (Read about our 2016 Highlights below). We hope you will join us in 2017 and help us continue to grow, provide much-needed community, and offer support to people living with chronic dizziness and imbalance–in Seattle and beyond.  With your help, we can continue to expand community outreach and involvement (including hosting professional speakers on various vestibular/balance topics and connecting with local health providers/resources) and also increase our advocacy efforts to raise awareness about vestibular and balance disorders (including participating in Balance Awareness Week with our annual Walk for Balance Event, see Making a Difference for Balance Awareness).

Get Involved!

Seattle Dizzy Group is organized entirely by volunteers (the majority who are personally impacted by chronic dizziness and imbalance). With your help, we’ll be stronger together in 2017! We invite you to contribute to our group however you are able. Spread the word about Seattle Dizzy Group and invite others to join us. Share Seattle Dizzy Group information and resources with others. Participate in online discussions. Help with hosting in-person meetings and activities (be a greeter, assist with room set-up and take-down, bring snacks, provide transportation, etc.). For more info, email:

We are an independent, not-for-profit group funded through donations. As we continue to grow and expand our outreach efforts, we are naturally incurring more expenses. Our goal is to continue to offer no-cost support and resources to those in need in the vestibular community–in Seattle and beyond. Please consider supporting Seattle Dizzy Group with a financial gift to help us keep growing and thriving in 2017!  (Any donation amount is greatly appreciated!).

Ways your financial gift helps support Seattle Dizzy Group:

  • Providing materials, supplies, and hosting for monthly support group meetings.  (Each meeting costs about $25, or about $300 annually).
  • Providing thank you gifts for guest speakers. (As funds allow, we strive to honor speakers with about $25 value gift, or about $100 annually).
  • Providing administrative support, online services/resources, and website hosting, etc.  (Administrative costs are about $500 annually).
  • Providing funding for Balance Awareness Week event(s) and other group activities.  (Costs may be about $50-$100 or more per activity).
To give Seattle Dizzy Group a donation of any amount by credit card or PayPal, click the “Donate” button below.

PayPal Donate

(Gifts to Seattle Dizzy Group are not tax deductible at this time)

THANK YOU for your support!

2016 Highlights

  • In September, we hosted our Sixth Annual Walk for Balance Event in celebration of Balance Awareness Week and Falls Prevention Day with a goal of raising awareness for vestibular and balance disorders and showing our support for people living with chronic dizziness and imbalance. We invited others to “Walk a Mile in Dizzy Shoes” with us and increased our impact during our walk at Green Lake by wearing blue, Seattle Dizzy Group gear, and Walk for Balance badge stickers as well as carrying balloons and balance awareness signs. After walking together, we honored event participants with our second annual Dizzy Spirit Awards. In addition to walking together, we had a Feldenkrais warm-up activity and balance awareness information provided by exhibitors/sponsors: Move Beyond Limits, MOSAIC Physical Therapy, and Cascade Dizziness & Balance PT. As a part of the celebration, we enjoyed food and giveaways (including free visit coupons from Bastyr Center for Natural Health and North Seattle Community Acupuncture). It was a fun day that hopefully helped lift spirits and build momentum for the cause. We received wonderfully positive feedback from participants, and we are excited to continue to grow the event in 2017.
  • In October, we celebrated 10 years together as a support group! To commemorate this milestone, we collected memories and insights including:

    “Seattle Dizzy Group is 10 years old! It has met the needs of a whole array of people challenged by a whole range of vestibular/balance disorders. The speakers, information, and most of all the level of acceptance and mutual support contribute to this wonderful community.”

    It’s been nice to see that no matter how dire and alone someone may feel, there are others that share your experience and can offer insights that can help you cope. There has been much vital information shared that you may not be able to get somewhere else.”

    “Anyone suffering with a chronic invisible illness should find their ‘tribe.’ This wonderful group is the tribe for those with vestibular disorders.”
  • In 2016, we continued to expand the Seattle Dizzy Group website/blog and online services/resources and reached thousands of people around the globe. (For example, our website/blog was viewed over 10,000 times in 2016 by visitors from about 100 different countries worldwide!). Additionally, we gained followers on Facebook and  Twitter, and increased membership of our MeetUp Group (where participants can connect, receive group updates, and RSVP for upcoming meetings and activities). We appreciate everyone who connected online with Seattle Dizzy Group in 2016, and are especially grateful for all those who helped get the word out about our group and shared our posts/resources with others.

See also: Past Annual Highlights

© Copyright 2017, Seattle Dizzy Group. All rights reserved.

Posted by: seattledizzygroup | December 21, 2016

Winter Survival Strategies

Ways to Survive Winter with a Chronic Illness

Winter’s dark days and cold, wet weather can be especially challenging for those living with a chronic illness.  These articles offer strategies to survive and thrive during winter:

Seven Ways to Improve Your Winter Health

Natural Treatments for Seasonal Affective Disorder

Rain, Rain Go Away: Understand and Prevent Depression

Questions and Answers About Winter Depression

7 Ways to Be Happy When It Gets Dark Early

Six Strategies for Coping with The Blues

See also:

Holiday Tips

Tips for Surviving the Holidays with Joy and Peace

Living with a “New Normal” in the New Year


© Copyright 2016, Seattle Dizzy Group. All rights reserved.

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Seattle Dizzy Group

Providing support & community for people living with chronic dizziness & imbalance -- in Seattle & beyond

MOSAIC Physical Therapy

Physical Therapy

Cascade Dizziness

Just another site

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