Melissa Patterson, ND
Naturopathic Doctor and Medical Intuitive
354 1/2 S. Main St.
Sebastopol, CA 95472
(707) 829-8137

August Newletter 2011

August, 2011

The Vital Times With Dr. Melissa Patterson

The more I am hollowed by the fire

The more my ribs spread like the tree of life.

The more I am washed by the tears of others,

The more my heart rounds like an ocean shell.

The more stories I tell of how one picks up another,

The more my hands open like scoops for grain.

To be what others drink, to be what others stand on

To reach what they love-

We should be so lucky
 to be worn to this.


~Mark Nepo


The deeper I go in my own process of awakening, the more I find I can give to others. I am in awe of this dynamic. I can't tell you how many times I have experienced a core piece of healing in my life one day, and the next day I sit with a patient who needs the very same medicine I have just received. I am so grateful for this practice, to you my patients, and to the unfolding of our divinity!

As some of you know, I recently spent a better part of a week in the Inyo National Forest with a group of seekers on a Vision Quest. A Vision Quest is a Native American ritual that includes many different rites, leading up to a three-day, solo fast in the forest.

This was my third Vision Quest and in many ways the most challenging. I was called into what I call the Core Darkness of my being. I saw the places inside myself that have for lifetimes been deeply contracted away from the light— and some of these places even believing that the light did not exist. As the powerful focus of awareness moved into these dark places, so did the light. It was an incredible journey into the underworld, and an initiation of remembering the light on the deepest levels of my being, permeating all the way into my core knowing.

I know that many of you have experienced similar experiences on your own and in our work together. The process of bringing the light to darkness is an integral aspect of Mind-Body Counseling and Voice Dialogue. These two powerful modalities help the seeker find freedom by navigating the deeper subconscious aspects of self. These darker parts, or voices, have a tendency to control us until we truly understand what they are and why they are doing what they are doing. Then, with this knowledge intact we powerfully and with great compassion turn toward these parts of ourselves and bring them to the light. As we bring that which is constricted and dark into the nurturing light of consciousness, the contraction softens and light pours in. This where healing on all levels can occur.

The Vision Quest was with a wonderful group of people led by my dear friend and colleague Maria Owl Gutierrez; you might have seen her flyers or business cards in the office. She is an incredible shamanic healer and therapist intern who is in the office on Tuesdays. For those who are interested in going on a journey like this, I highly recommend it and Maria as a guide. You can check out her website at:

Whole Foods Lectures


I am starting a lecture series at the new Whole Foods at Coddingtown Mall in Santa Rosa, on wellness topics that are relevant to natural healing. One of the first lectures is listed below and is free to the public. I would love to see you there!

The Mind-Body Link— Guidance for the Hypersensitive Individual: Tuesday, September 13th at 6:30

Have you been labeled as“overly sensitive”person and you are not sure what to do about it? Dr. Melissa Patterson can help you understand the connection between your health, your emotions, and your energy, and how to find balance and healing within it all.

Rate Increases

After doing much research on what other naturopathic doctors are charging in this area I found that, conversely while I offer more modalities than most, my fees are significantly lower than the going rate. As conscious beings, honoring our work and what we offer are some of the most important things that we can do for ourselves. Therefore, after much deliberation I have decided to raise my rates a moderate amount to be more in alignment with others in my profession. My hope is that this is still affordable to you.

Please note that I will be increasing my rates as of August 30th for returning patients to the following:

One hour and fifteen minutes follow-up appointments- $130 (Note: Follow-up visits have officially switched to an hour and fifteen minutes.)

5 Session Series follow-up visits (5 one-hour and fifteen minute visits)- $550

*I am committed to serving my community; as such, a sliding scale is available for patients with a low income.


The following is a great article I found on the web on how meditation decreases pain. Enjoy!

Brain Imaging Shows Impact of Brief Mindfulness Meditation Training

By Salynn Boyles WebMD Health News

Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD

April 6, 2011 -- Even very brief instruction in meditation appears to help people cope with pain, and a newly published brain imaging study may explain why.

After just four, 20-minute instructional sessions in mindfulness meditation, most participants in the small study experienced big reductions in pain intensity and unpleasantness when subjected to painful stimuli.

Prior to learning the meditation technique, brain imaging showed significant activity in a key area of the brain when the participants were subjected to intense heat, but this activity was reduced when they were meditating.

"This is the first study to show that only a little over an hour of meditation training can dramatically reduce both the experience of pain and pain-related brain activation," said researcher Fadel Zeidan, PhD, who is a postdoctoral fellow at Wake Forest University School of Medicine.

Meditation Helped Block Pain

The researchers recruited 18 healthy young adults who had never meditated prior to joining the study.

Over the four, 20-minute training sessions, the study participants were taught a meditation technique known as focused attention, which involves paying close attention to breathing patterns while acknowledging and letting go of thoughts that distract from this practice, Zeidan says.

Before and after mindfulness meditation training, brain activity was measured using a special type of magnetic resonance imaging that captures longer-duration brain processes, such as meditation, better than standard MRI.

While the MRIs were being performed, a device was placed on each participant's right calf that delivered 120 degrees of heat -- a temperature that most people find painful. The heat was kept on the skin for 12 seconds and then taken off the skin for the same amount of time over a total of 5 minutes.

Even though the MRI was very loud, most of the participants were able to successfully block out the noise and the pain from the heat source and focus on their breathing.

Pain intensity ratings were reduced after meditation by an average of 40%, and pain unpleasantness rating were reduced by 57%.

Meditation was shown to reduce activity in key pain-processing regions of the brain.

The study appears in the April 6 issue of the The Journal of Neuroscience.

Meditation 101: Accept the Distractions

The study confirms that mindfulness meditation can have a real and measurable impact on the experience of acute pain, even in people with very little formal training, Wake Forest associate professor of neurobiology and anatomy Robert C. Coghill, PhD, tells WebMD.

He says meditation could prove useful for the management of postoperative pain and in other acute pain settings.

It remains to be seen if the brief instruction can help people with chronic pain.

"Meditation has been used to treat chronic pain for a long time, but patients tend to have a lot more training," he says. "It is not clear if the brief training sessions like the ones used in this study would be useful for these patients."

Zeidan says meditation distracts the mind and reduces the emotional response to pain.

In the training phase of the study, the participants were instructed to close their eyes and focus on the changing sensations of their breath and they were told to bring their consciousness back to their breathing each time their minds wandered.

"Usually this happens within the first minute when people first start meditating," he says. "It is perfectly normal."

He says the goal is to acknowledge these distractions, accept them for what they are and simply let them go by gently bringing the attention back to the breath without any judgment.

"Many people think they are doing something wrong at first because their minds keep wandering," he says. "But becoming aware of how busy the mind is part of the process."

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