Be the Change … Sara Agah Franti


Hope. Healing. Music.

Today our “Be the Change…” series features Do It For the Love co-founder: Sara Agah Franti

“Our mission is to bring children, adults and veterans with serious medical conditions or special needs to see ANY live concert, by ANY artist, in any city in North America — and beyond soon!”  ~~ Michael Franti


To read our full July 2017 interview, please visit Sastun Center Facebook

Be the Change … Nicole Barnhart


Discover the potential within! The following is an excerpt from our “Be the Change” interview with Olympic Gold Medalist : Nicole Barnhart


  • “Fill your confidence tank with things only you can control. You don’t control [other’s] praise. Outcomes. Wins. You determine your preparation”. As an accomplished Artist and Athlete, offer an example of how this quote from The Keeper Institute applies to all facets of life.

“Many times, things are not going to go the way you want them to. It is how you learn to react to these situations that really make the difference. If you go into every situation knowing that you did your best, and prepared to the best of your ability, and if you walk away from any situation knowing that you gave your absolute best in that moment, then there is nothing to be ashamed of. There will be times when your best may not quite be good enough in other’s standards; Control the controllable. Give your best effort and learn to be happy with it. Sometimes, the process itself is so much greater than the outcome. These challenging times /moments are what really develop our character if we give them the chance. Don’t run away from the potholes /bumps in the road, embrace them, because the little moments in life are what we will look back on (regardless of how painful they were) and realize that they shaped us for the better.”


To read our full May 2017 interview, please visit Sastun Center Facebook


Be the Change … Dance Healthier


Dedicated to creating a continuum of balance & balance, the following is an excerpt from our “Be the Change” interview with Jill Krutzkamp!


  • As a Company Dancer with KC Ballet, Author of, and Wellness Director at Performance Rehab, how has your dedication to Integrative Health sustained you? What recipe for wellness would you suggest?

“I believe when mind and body are in tune with one another the person can be at peak performance.  When one element gets off, it takes attention and patience to re-balance and find a pleasant and peaceful homeostasis. I am also a firm believer that everyone is not perfect and imbalance will indefinitely occur. To accept this idea is an important tool to learn and I struggle at times with imperfection.

When I feel imbalanced my recipe for wellness is to Eat Well (i.e. – eat before drinking coffee in the AM), Rest as much as possible (take it easy on the weekends), Do things that I enjoy (play with my beautiful baby girl), Move (exercise) and Smile! Recipe = a big rice bowl with all different colors of vegetables, protein and grains. In life terms: a bowl full of adventures, good vibes and constant learning.”


To read our full May 2017 interview, please visit Sastun Center Facebook


Be the Change … Longfellow Farm


The following is an excerpt from our April 2017 “Be the Change” interview with Ami Freeberg (Co-Founder of organic Longfellow Farm in KC).


  • The “vital signs” of a healthy farm mirror those of the human body. In her book Farmacology, Dr. Daphne Miller explores how healthy farms produce healthy nutrients and neighborhoods. As co-founder of an urban farm, how does this “interconnectedness” inform your practice?

I have always believed that good food is the foundation of health. I grew up with a mother who grew much of our food in our garden, so having access to good food has always been second nature to me. Once one starts down that path, of eating food they’ve grown themselves or food raised by someone they know, it is hard to leave that web of “inter-connectedness”…



Be the Change … KC Friends of Alvin Ailey


Alvin Ailey Dance has been designated by Congress as “a vital American cultural ambassador to the world”; Here is an excerpt from our “Be the Change” interview with Tyrone Aiken (Chief Artistic Officer at KCFAA).


  • A founding principle of Functional Medicine is enriching life-quality. What recipe(s) for wellness would you suggest?

“My recipe for wellness is multi-pronged:  Take a moment to find peace. Take a moment to remember what makes you happy; For, regardless of your circumstances, we all have something that makes us happy, and if you’re not able to see it then find someone who can help you find it. What feeds you? How do you conduct your day? How do you visualize your goals? What will help you? For example: I was introduced to integrative medicine in the ‘80s and know firsthand how acupuncture can resolve the effects of degenerative arthritis. My work, my purpose, is dance. Learning how to achieve that is an on-going process of dedication and discovery. I challenge everyone to discover their purpose through self-work, in whatever way makes sense to them. When you can do that reflective work, then your whole being (your quality of life) is enriched.”


To read our full April 2017 interview, please visit Sastun Center Facebook



Pain and Compensation Patterns

Art Kent


No one has to tell you when you’re in pain; You know it, it hurts, aches, burns and causes mobility issues. A pain in the ribs can keep you from taking a deep breath, from bending over, twisting and lifting. A pain in the hip makes walking rolling and sitting a problem. Hand pain makes it hard to grasp, knee pain makes it hard to walk, foot pain hard to stand, and so on and so on… Pain sends singles to the brain that causes the nervous system to cause our bodies to prevent or minimize the pain. In order to minimize the pain you may shorten your walking stride if the pain is in the hip, or it may reduce the swing of the arm if the pain is in the shoulder. You notice these new movement patterns immediately when you injure yourself. After an injury occurs these new movement abnormalities are thought to be short term and “everything will return to normal” when the pain subsides or healing occurs. In many cases this is true. But what happens when the pain is long term and a pattern of movement becomes normal? A shortened gate pattern on one side, an arm and shoulder that do not move or swing when walking or a chest that does not allow for a full breath will affect the whole body. These long term restricted movements do not just affect the muscles or region near the pain, but create lines of torsion and tightening that result in changes throughout the body.

Let’s say you sp sprained ankle. There will be pain at the sight of injury but due to how the body compensates to avoid pain, other areas will also become painful. In order to avoid putting weight in the injured ankle you will shorten your stride and favor the non-injured leg. This causes strain and over use of muscles on the “good” side and as the pain signals continue to protect the injury, the compensation pattern also continues. Over time as fatigue sets in, the uninjured leg will begin to develop its own method of coping with the new gate and fatigue issue. The quadriceps and gluts have had to work overtime on the uninjured leg; they now will require the help of other muscle groups to assist them. The lower leg muscles are below and will do little to help relive the fatigue. The help for this issue will need to come from above and I’m referring to angelic intervention. It will be the hip and low back muscles that will recruit and lift the leg in order for the body to remain mobile. The psoas is a muscle that lies along the anterior (front) spine and attaches to the femur (leg bone). The Psoas is a muscle that flexes (lifts) the leg and supports the lower spine. So when the psoas becomes overworked and fatigued, Low back pain sets in. Time passes and the ankle heals but the new dynamics in the body continue because it is now dealing with the back pain. Although the ankle has healed the ispilateral quadriceps has recovered from the fatigue and the Psoas continues to pick up the slack. Low back pain now seems constant. The low back pain caused by the Psoas is now causing its own mobility restrictions. Lifting, twisting, and even sitting is painful. Advil helps but not a cure. Rest helps but things still need to get done.

Over time the body develops a new pattern and we will no longer associate this new pain to the sprained ankle. “It’s just been there for a while” and now we deal with it. We move less; lift less weight, anything to avoid the pain. Pop Advil and other over the counter pain meds to deal with it until we can get back to “normal”?

What can we do? We need to get movement back to the area sooner than later. Gentle movements that do not cause pain and send singles back to the brain saying “it’s ok down here” is a place to begin. Yoga Therapy is a great way to get this movement into the body. Yoga Therapy is gentle guided movements directed to relive the area that is hyper sensitive restoring “normalcy” to the body. Acupuncture can calm the nerve signals and lessen the pain returning mobility back to the body. As mobility returns, the body begins to heal on its own. Massage is another great therapy for pain. Massage calms the nerves and relaxes the entire region. Mayo- fascial work is a very good approach to work on this type of pain. Mayo-fascial is a massage technique that targets the tissue that is tight or restricted. These lines of tightness may go in any direction from the source of pain but often times will lead the practitioner to the original source of the pain, in this case the ankle. Mayo-fascial work follows the lines of fascia restoring length and movement to the entire body.

So the pain you feel may have an origin that occurred due to compensation from another injury or incident. That knowledge does little to lessen the pain. But there is help out there. In fact, the therapies mentioned above are right here at the Sastun Center.


Real Food for Real Health

by Toni Forsyth, APRN
Food! I’m talking about real food. The stuff our grandparents and great grandparents would recognize, not the food-like substances you find in boxes, bags and containers on every grocery shelf in America. It’s hard to believe we consume around five tons of it over our lifetime. Did you know that over half of our immune system is located in our gut? That’s five tons of stuff that our immune system has to sift through to discern whether it is going to benefit or harm us. When you walk into the grocery store you don’t see real food. You see bags, boxes, cans and containers full of food-like substances that have been refined, stripped, and filled with stabilizers and extenders. Not to mention infused with tons of sugar, which is extremely addictive and highly inflammatory. These are all things our bodies can’t recognize and ultimately get classified as ‘foreign invaders’ by your immune system.

Our relationship with food can be quite complicated too. Some people love it, some people despise it, some are completely confused by it and lots of people are addicted to it. Regardless of how we feel about it, we all require it to live. The trick is finding the right balance – and opening your mind to the right kinds of nourishing foods that fit your unique requirements. Some people need more help in this area than others. I call it “learning your body”. Learning what actually nourishes your body while also recognizing what is harmful. If you refrain from the bad stuff long enough, you are able to learn what the negative consequences are when you do indulge in such foods. When this happens, your negative consequences actually become a positive reinforcement in the long run. You also are able to recognize a positive craving from a negative one.

It’s easy to fall off the healthy wagon or to not even really know if you made it on to begin with. There is so much confusion and bad information out there. We make it so complicated when really it can be quite simple. Not always easy, but definitely worth it. We can start by getting rid of the obvious; processed high sugar foods and drinks. We need to cook more real/whole foods, eat less out of bags, boxes, containers and cans. Know how to convert sugar – this is a big one! The food industry doesn’t want you to know how to do this (but we do!). Four grams of sugar is equal to one teaspoon. Now it’s your turn. If you are drinking a soda pop with 40 grams of sugar, how many teaspoons is that? (Hint: 10 teaspoons!!) You should shoot for a daily goal of somewhere between 6-9 teaspoons a day. We now know that food is literally information to your cells. So with each bite you take, you should ask yourself, “Am I feeding disease or am I fighting disease?” I bet you know the answer to that most of the time.

When you think about food, consider prioritizing things in the following order – Why? What? How Often? How Much?

Why? Why are phytonutrients important? Why should I eat this eggplant or that piece of broccoli?

Phytonutrients are those things in plants that have evolved over millions of years to protect them. Plants can’t hide from the scorching sun; they can’t run from bugs or jog down to the watering hole for a drink. Those same phytonutrients that protect plants also protect us! The dark purple color within eggplant has phytonutrients within it. For example, anthocyanins, which protect us from things like Alzheimer’s and cancer. They help control high blood pressure and reduce complications associated with diabetes. The white color inside the eggplant has something called allicin in it which helps boost immunity and reduces our risk for heart attacks. Phytonutrients are extremely powerful. We know that chronic inflammation is the hallmark of chronic illness. Did you know that phytonutrients actually MATCH that of statins (cholesterol lowering medication) in their ability to combat inflammation? And, they do this without the side effects! Research also shows that mixing these colors/various phytonutrients together while eating gives us an even bigger bang for our buck against chronic disease. Food really IS information!

What? What should we be eating? What is considered healthy?

You are well on your way if you just ditch the processed/high sugar foods we have talked about. Stay on the outside of the isles for real/whole food. Steer clear (as much as possible) from boxed, canned or bagged food-like substances. Keep your labels simple. If your third grader can’t pronounce something on the label (e.g., sugar, salt, tomatoes) than stay away from it. Every day consider whether or not you are getting enough healthy fats (yes, this is great for you despite what you learned in the 1980s), nuts and seeds, protein, vegetables, and fruits. Focus your attention on nutrients rather than calories. If you have the ‘why’ and ‘what’ right…you are already ahead of most people in America.

How Often? Is timing of meals important? Am I getting nutrients to my body in a timely manner?

You don’t want to get caught in the ‘cookie cycle’ – this viscous up and down cycle that drags you back and forth between craving and crashing. It can send your blood sugar on a roller coaster ride. And guess what? When you do this, you actually end up storing more fat! Your body is very good at storing fat. Our ancestors (and therefore our genes) had to be good at this to survive. In our modern bad carbs and high sugar world, this has proven to be a bad combination. In order to keep this high/low from happening, we need to be eating real/whole and low sugar foods quite often throughout the day. If you are eating the right stuff, you end up eating more! In addition, if you take a few big deep breathes before pulling up to the table, you enhance your ability to digest food and get those much needed nutrients where they need to be. Consider breakfast your most important meal of the day and get plenty of healthy fat, protein and veggies during this time.

How Much? Shouldn’t I be counting calories? Should I limit my food intake? Eat less and exercise more – right?!

No. Although periodic fasting can be extremely beneficial, counting calories is not the way to go. A calorie is not a calorie and we are not cars engines that burn fuel. Remember, food is information. And although a huge bunch of broccoli is equivalent calorically to a handful of M&Ms…they send very different messages to our cells which end up contributing to inflammation and turning on genes you don’t want turned on.

If you keep the above priorities in mind considering the why, what and how often…there will be way less emphasis on the how much. We are ‘white-knuckling’ weight loss in America. Lots of people want to lose weight and it becomes a very negative battle. We are taking something that should be joyful and truly simple and we are making it extremely negative and complicated. We should be concentrating on how food makes us feel and then responding accordingly. This is key…connecting your symptoms to what you are putting in your body. What is the food you are putting in your body saying to you? Do you feel tired; have dry skin, headaches, swelling, joint pain, high blood sugar or inflammation? If so, you are feeding your body the wrong information. It’s amazing when people shift their focus to listening to their bodies; the weight comes off as a positive consequence.

If you don’t like food because it has been a source of defeat, stress, pain or addiction, I want you to consider making one good decision at a time using the knowledge you have today. Be open and willing to learn and be an explorer when it comes to food. Open your mind and pallet to things that you haven’t tried before or perhaps things you think you don’t like. Make them in a different way. Learn to love the kitchen even if for just one night a week. Set small goals and stick with it. I want you to be an explorer of your body as well recognizing how it responds to the food you feed it. I want you to know that if you stick with it and really take notice and learn your body, you will reach a tipping point. You will slowly but surely see food as a healing consequence rather than a hurtful one. Don’t look at a number on a scale. Feel the difference within your body. Perhaps your joint pain goes away, your depression eases up, you have less fatigue, or your headaches subside. You then notice your clothing fits differently. The pizza or cake you used to not be able to pass up, you no longer crave because the way you feel trumps the way any pizza or cake could ever taste.

You are all worth it. You don’t have to wait to get sick in order to be healthy. Tomorrow is the first day of the rest of your life, so take it one day, one decision, one bite at a time – and never give up!

The Functional Heart

Far too often, we meet individuals with multiple diagnoses that are being managed with medication. Even more often, they believe taking medication for a condition or a disease is all they have to do. What about the affect on your overall wellness? What side effects or complications does your heart experience while managing other challenges to your health?

At Sastun Center of Integrative Health Care, we provide effective treatment for a variety of heart health conditions using a combination of both conventional and integrative medicine techniques. Rather than treating a cluster of symptoms, Functional Medicine is whole-person care for preventing and managing complex, chronic illness.

With that in mind, as the leading cause of death among Americans (in both men and women), heart disease is not the kind of condition with which you can afford to take any chances. Those who have diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure are especially at risk.

  • Diabetes affects 23 million people in the United States. Unable to adequately convert food into energy, their bodies cannot properly regulate blood sugar levels. It’s when these blood sugar levels are too high that heart disease becomes a threat, as high blood sugar can damage the blood vessels that carry blood to and from the heart.
  • Cholesterol can be as equally dangerous as diabetes to the heart, but only the “bad” kind of cholesterol that we get from greasy, fatty foods. It plugs the arteries and becoming a precursor of heart disease. What’s worse is that there are no symptoms associated with high cholesterol. So unless you’re tested for it, you’ll never know you have it, which is why it’s come to be known as the “silent killer.”
  • High blood pressure can be just as damaging, and there are often no symptoms of it either. When your blood pressure is too high, your heart must work harder to pump the blood through your body. When this happens, it strains the blood vessels, and the heart itself. When it endures this pressure for too long, the heart can actually become enlarged, forcing it to pump even harder and further increasing the risk of a heart attack.

Knowing your risk is key to helping prevent and treat heart disease. At Sastun Center we use advanced cardiovascular screening tools that go beyond cholesterol, BMI (body mass index) and blood pressure. We then partner with you to develop the best approach for achieving your optimal heart health!


How Stress Causes Illness and How to Tame It

All of us know that stress comes in two types. One that is good for you: motivates you and creates opportunities to grow or to step into a better place in yourself or the world. One that is not so good: creates havoc and ramps up the work of the nervous system and takes a toll on your body/mind.
How we handle each of these stressors is important but so is having the correct understanding of what chronic (bad) stress does to your body AND what you can do to manage it.
Join us at Holistic Health University for


6-7 P.M.


Why does my Doctor recommend Yoga Therapy for me?

Why does my Doctor recommend Yoga Therapy for me?

Yoga therapy is being prescribed by more and more physicians as an addition to regular medical treatment.  It is not uncommon now for a physician to prescribe a medication/treatment and to also give a prescription for Yoga Therapy.  It is listed as a Complementary Therapy because it is used to complement the physician’s treatment of a diagnosis versus being an alternative to the treatment.

“Yoga therapy aims at the holistic treatment of various kinds of psychological or somatic dysfunctions ranging from back problems to emotional distress.” says George Feuerstein, Ph.D. a yoga scholar and author.

Yoga and yoga therapy are thought to be preventive in nature.  When yoga therapy is applied in a medical setting, it can be used to reduce the symptoms of disease or dysfunction, to teach yogic tools which can lead to improved attitude or coping, increase vitality and restore not only physical but mental balance as well.

For further information or to see if Yoga Therapy might help you, contact Dr. Jane Murray or Claudia Cardin-Kleffner at  Claudia is a Certified Yoga Therapist that teaches and practices at the Sastun Center of Integrative Medicine.

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