What is Ozone Therapy? Q & A

In Principles and Applications of Ozone Therapy (2011), Dr. Frank Shallenberger tells of his introduction to ozone therapy via the work of his predecessor, Dr. Charles Farr. In the 1980s, Dr. Farr began treating patients with Auto Immune Disease Syndrome (AIDS)—caused by the accumulation of molecules called oxidants—by injecting hydrogen peroxide, a powerful oxidant, directly into their veins. Dr. Farr’s success at alleviating symptoms such as fatigue, insomnia, brain fog, joint and muscle pain, and muscle weakness suggested that “the reason people get sick and diseased as they get older might have something to do with how they utilize and process oxygen” (Shallenberger, 2011).

The following Q & A is intended provide an introduction to ozone, and the various ozone therapies our clinic provides:

Q: What is ozone?

A: Consisting of three oxygen (O2) atoms that share a common electron, ozone (O3) is a naturally occurring molecule—called an oxidant—in the earth’s atmosphere.

Q: What is ozone therapy?

A: Working in a manner similar to vaccines that promote the production of viral antibodies, ozone therapy stimulates the formation of oxidants in the blood, essentially training the body to utilize them efficiently.

Q: How is ozone administered?

A: There are three administration techniques for ozone therapy. The first, called an Ozone Sauna, involves the patient entering a hyperbaric chamber into which heated ozone is pumped. The heat causes the patient to perspire, while the ozone promotes the formation of oxidants in the blood that the body must then dispose of. When someone says they are “sweating it out,” this is the technique to which they are referring.

The second option, called minor-Auto-Hemo-therapy (mAH), involves the blood being drawn out of the body, mixed with ozone, and then injected directly into the treatment site, while the third option administers blood-ozone intravenously, and is referred to as Major-Auto-Hemo-therapy (MAH).

Q: What conditions can ozone therapy treat?

A: Here at Restorative Health Clinic, we offer ozone therapy for patients with Lyme disease, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), and the chronic infections typically related to such illnesses. Essentially, any condition that impairs the body’s natural immunity can be treated with ozone, as it stimulates auto-immune defense mechanisms, necessary for tissue and cellular repair.

Q: How do I know if ozone therapy is right for me?

A: Consult your physician regarding the potential benefits and appropriate administration method for your particular condition. Dr. Vosloo and Dr. Hatlestad look forward to providing their guidance to anyone looking to improve their health and vitality.

If you would like to schedule an appointment, please give us a call at 503.747.2021.

Progesterone Deficiency: Infertility, Irregular Cycles and More

Progesterone Deficiency: Infertility, Irregular Cycles and More

Fertility pic

Low progesterone production is a significant and frequent finding in the realm of women’s healthcare. It is no wonder that the term estrogen dominance can be found throughout magazines, health blogs and other sources of medical media. While estrogen dominance does exist, the label is often over-used and does not differentiate between the unique forms of hormone imbalance facing women of all ages.

Names and labels aside, low progesterone is at the root cause of various symptoms, including infertility, irregular cycles, painful & heavy periods, breast pain, premenstrual syndrome, poor sleep, and more. In addition to its direct roles in menstruation and pregnancy, progesterone is involved in multiple physiological processes such as water balance, and nervous system function. At healthy levels, it prevents excess water retention, and helps to calm the nervous system through its effect on neurotransmitters in the brain. For these reasons, low progesterone can cause pre-menstrual symptoms like bloating and weight gain, mood changes and poor sleep.

Lets discuss a few of the common health complaints linked to progesterone deficiency:

Progesterone has the unique job of sustaining a healthy uterine lining for the two weeks following ovulation. This short window is necessary for conception. Furthermore, the ovaries must produce enough progesterone to support pregnancy for the first 10 weeks, until the placenta takes over.
The term luteal phase defect refers to a period of less than 10 days between ovulation and the 1st day of bleeding. Many women suffer from this symptom of progesterone deficiency without knowing it, even if they have a seemingly normal, 28 day cycle. Every women struggling with infertility should consider progesterone deficiency as a potential causes; your healthcare practitioner can help your to properly track your cycle, and order blood tests when needed.

Irregular Cycles
Progesterone deficiency often plays a role in menstrual cycles that are irregular. If your cycle does not occur on a monthly basis, or the time between your menstruation changes, you likely have an imbalance between progesterone and estrogen. This imbalance may be relative (meaning your progesterone is within normal range, but your estrogen levels are high), or purely due to low production of the hormone.

Uterine Fibroids & Endometriosis
Estrogen plays the role of stimulating tissue growth in the uterus to prepare for ovulation and pregnancy. Progesterone is responsible for balancing this and other effects of estrogen so that the tissue does not grow in excess.
When this balance fails, patients may develop signs of excess estrogen stimulation, including endometrial hyperplasia (overgrowth of uterine lining) and fibroids (benign tumors of the uterus). Insufficient progesterone is also suspected to play a role in endometriosis, a painful condition in which uterine tissue grows outside of the uterus. Though fibroids and endometrial hyperplasia are more common in middle-aged women heading toward menopause, all three may occur in young women and play a role in infertility.


Thankfully, low progesterone and associated hormone imbalances can often be corrected via botanical therapies, physiological hormone replacement, or both. When properly dosed, studies show that Vitex agnus-castus can significantly increase progesterone production. Likewise, there are hormone precursors that can be safely supplemented by your healthcare practitioner to support your body’s hormone production. When indicated, physiological doses of bio-identical progesterone can also reverse the symptoms of progesterone deficiency.


Dr. Kaley Bourgeois


Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. Updated Jan 4, 2013.

Cheap Medicine Effective for Fibromyalgia Too: New Study

Our take:

“This is a recent post by Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum for Dr. Oz’s blog. This is most interesting, and our clinical observations completely support Dr. T’s, as well as the study results–the older medicines, used judiciously and in combination, usually trump the newer more expensive meds in better symptom relief and fewer side effects.”


5¢/day medication beats $8/day medication in recent Fibromyalgia studies

Two new studies give a fascinating insight into medications for Fibromyalgia pain and sleep– that you won’t likely  hear about elsewhere. It will also help you understand first hand why our health care system costs are unnecessarily spiraling out of control.

A large study of 747 patients taking Lyrica (Pregabalin)1 showed that the 300 and 600 mg dose did not have a significant pain benefit overall, but they were able to show mild benefit from the 450 mg/day dose—in part, largely because of the large number of patients in the study allowed modest benefits to be statistically significant.

On the other hand, another placebo controlled study2 by Dr Harvey Moldofsky, my favorite FMS Sleep researcher, showed that very low dose Flexeril (generic cyclobenzaprine) was very effective for Fibromyalgia sleep and pain. Though in most cases, I find generics and brand name medications to work equally well (with some rare exceptions), this is a case where the generic will even work BETTER than the expensive brand name, whose release to too slow to give the benefits here, where you want a quick bedtime rise in blood level, but still have the medication out of your system by morning to avoid side effects.

In the Flexeril study, pain dropped 25% and energy improved 14% by 8 weeks. Sleep also improved significantly.  Patients were given a very low doses (beginning with 1 mg at bedtime and increasing to a maximum 4 mg at bedtime). Severe side effects were more common in the placebo group than the treatment group. The medication was well tolerated overall, but mild side effects (mild enough that no patient needed to stop the medication for side effects)  included headache, sedation, dry mouth, dizziness and constipation. If side effects are an issue, the dose can even be lowered further. The lower doses work better than the standard 10 mg 3 x day dose used  for muscle pain, which is more likely to cause side effects than this very low dose. So more is not better!

So let’s do the math

Lyrica at 150 mg 3 x day costs $8.64/day (Costco price—which is usually lower than elsewhere), is high in side effects and has modest benefit (though it can be very helpful in some patients, so I am glad to have it in our “tool kit”)


Flexeril (Cyclobenzaprine) 5 mg generic 10 CENTS a pill (So the treatment cost is 2 to 8 Cents a day—less than 1% of the cost of Lyrica). It has less side effects and appears to be more effective in both the studies and my experience than the Lyrica.

So which one will most physicians likely hear about? The Lyrica of course!  Why???? Being over 100 times the cost makes it far more profitable, so the company can spend $70 million a year advertising it to you and your physician. At 2 cents a day, no one will pay to advertise the Flexeril, so most physicians will never hear about this research (though I keep the Fibromyalgia and Fatigue Center physicians up to daye). In fact, keep an eye out and see how many times you see ads for each (a lot for Lyrica and none for flexeril will be my bet), so you can see for yourself that this is so.

This same scenario plays itself out for literally hundreds of medical treatments (In fact, I suspect for most of them). So it should be no surprise that health care costs are skyrocketing.

So which health care plan will solve this? Will it be the president’s plan (dubbed “ObamaCare”) or our current system? If you guessed neither, you guessed correctly. This is why I consider the current health care debate to be doomed to failure, as both sides recommendations will cause prices to skyrocket without improving care.

There is a 3rd alternative which would work though. Reread the above and see if you can figure it out. If you guessed have expert panels decide, recent studies showed that most of these expert panels are stacked with doctors paid by the drug companies—so that doesn’t work.4

Can you figure it out? Stay tuned!


1- An International, Randomized, Double-blind, Placebo-controlled, Phase III Trial of Pregabalin Monotherapy in Treatment of Patients with Fibromyalgia

J Rheumatol. 2011; 38:2643-2652.

2-Effects of Bedtime Very Low Dose Cyclobenzaprine on Symptoms and Sleep Physiology in Patients with Fibromyalgia Syndrome: A Double-blind Randomized Placebo-controlled Study
J Rheumatol. 2011; 38:2653-2663.


3- Costco Price Checker (a VERY helpful tool!) http://www.costco.com/Pharmacy/DrugInformation.aspx?p=1

4-“Prevalence of financial conflicts of interest among panel members producing clinical practice guidelines in Canada and the United States: cross sectional study.” Neuman J, Korenstein D, Ross J, and Keyhani S. BMJ 2011; DOI: 10.1136/bmj.d5621.

“Practice guidelines developed by specialty societies: The need for a critical appraisal.” Grilli R, Magrini N, Penna A, et al. Lancet2000; 355:103-106.

“Conflicts of Interest Abound in Diabetes Guidelines Committees.” Gale EAM. BMJ 2011; DOI: 10.1136/bmj.d5728.


CPAP Benefits

Our take:

“This is a very good article describing the importance of diagnosing apnea and correcting it through appropriate interventions by a sleep specialist. Airway devices are sometimes helpful for the very mild forms of apnea, though we’ve seen incredible improvements in our Fibromyalgia Syndrome FMS and Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrome CFIDS patients after Obstructive Sleep Apnea OSA has been appropriately been diagnosed and corrected.

We’ve seen in practice, as the study below indicates, that energy levels, concentration, sense of well being, blood pressure, weight and body composition improves after appropriate correction of OSA. The opposite is also true, in patients that did not have their sleep apnea corrected, treatments for their chronic degenerative conditions were not as effective as patients who experienced restorative sleep with adequate oxygenation.”


CPAP During Sleep Improved Blood Pressure, Cholesterol, Blood Sugar, Waist Size

Along with helping people with obstructive sleep apnea get a better night’s sleep, machines that help keep the airways open during sleep can also help improve the symptoms of metabolic syndrome, according to new research.

Metabolic syndrome is a group of symptoms that indicate a higher risk of heart disease. These symptoms include excess weight, especially in the abdomen, high blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol levels, higher blood sugar levels and insulin resistance. Many people with obstructive sleep apnea also have metabolic syndrome, according to the study.

After three months of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) treatment, study participants with obstructive sleep apnea and metabolic syndrome had improvements in their blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels. Thirteen percent of those who received the breathing treatment had such significant reductions in their symptoms that they no longer qualified as having metabolic syndrome after three months of therapy.

“Patients with obstructive sleep apnea should be actively screened for metabolic syndrome or constituents of metabolic syndrome, and, in addition to lifestyle modification, weight reduction and dietary modification, [should be given] proper counseling for CPAP use, and a CPAP machine should be used regularly,” said the study’s lead author, Dr. Surendra Sharma, a professor and head of the department of internal medicine at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi, India.

Results of the study are published in the Dec. 15 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. Funding for the study was provided by a grant from Pfizer. Sharma said that Pfizer does not produce CPAP machines, and they were not involved in the study’s design, implementation or interpretation.

Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the airways close during sleep, causing a lack of oxygen that startles the person awake momentarily, though they may not be aware of awakening. This can happen several times to 100 times an hour, according to the U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

The current study included 86 adults between the ages of 30 and 65. All had obstructive sleep apnea, but none was being treated with CPAP. Eighty-seven percent also had metabolic syndrome.

The study volunteers were randomly assigned to receive CPAP or sham CPAP treatment for three months. CPAP treatment involves wearing a face mask during sleep that continuously delivers air into the airway so it remains open. The sham CPAP had modifications to reduce the airflow, and the mask used had tiny holes that allowed extra air to escape. The modifications were done in such a way that even the researchers couldn’t tell who was receiving standard CPAP and who received the sham treatment.

After three months, the study volunteers went one month without treatment, and then switched groups for another three months of therapy with the opposite treatment.

Compared to the sham treatment, people treated with CPAP had an overall drop of 3.9 mm Hg systolic (the top number) blood pressure and 2.5 mm Hg diastolic blood pressure. Total cholesterol levels went down 13.3 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL), and LDL cholesterol, the bad type, dropped by 9.6 mg/dL in the treatment group. Levels of triglyceride, another important and potentially harmful blood fat, went down by 18.7 mg/dL in those who received treatment, according to the study.

Blood sugar levels went down slightly, as did waist circumference, according to the study.

Eleven patients (13 percent) no longer qualified as having metabolic syndrome after receiving CPAP, compared with just 1 percent receiving sham CPAP.

Sharma said these positive effects likely come from the restoration of normal oxygen levels. When the body becomes oxygen-deprived in obstructive sleep apnea, it causes the body to become distressed, which causes the release of hormones that can cause cell damage that may lead to metabolic syndrome, according to Sharma.

“This study adds to the growing body of knowledge that obstructive sleep apnea has long-term consequences for your health, and that treatment reverses some of those consequences,” said Dr. David Rapoport, an associate professor of medicine and director of the Sleep Disorders Program at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City.

Rapoport said it wasn’t clear from this study if any of the benefits seen came solely from weight loss in those on CPAP and weight gain for those on sham treatment.

“This study is thought-provoking and could be really wonderful news that using a breathing machine could have all of these beneficial effects. But, ultimately, we’d want to see clinical end points, such as the incidence of cardiovascular deaths, in order to know if an intervention is appropriate and helpful,” said Dr. Tara Narula, a cardiologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.


Surendra K. Sharma, M.D., Ph.D., professor, and head, internal medicine, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India; David Rapoport, M.D., associate professor of medicine, and director, Sleep Disorders Program, NYU Langone Medical Center, New York City; Tara Narula, M.D., cardiologist, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City; Dec. 15, 2011, New England Journal of Medicine


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