Monday, December 21, 2009

NY Times on Uthealthy Water, Redux

The New York Times has been aggressively reporting on the subject of safe vs. unhealthy tap water in American cities, with a series titled Toxic Waters. A recent piece by Charles Duhigg continues to explore the complications involved with chemically treating American water supplies. You can read the most recent piece right here, at the site.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

NY Times: "Millions in U.S. Drink Dirty Water, Records Show"

Jason Hackler believes an article by Charles Duhigg in today's New York Times, "Millions in U.S. Drink Dirty Water, Records Show" is worthy reading, suggesting that those so moved make Congressional contact after examining it.

Here's a link to the piece.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Holiday Hours & Special Discounts

To celebrate the Winter season and to acknowledge how much the economy is affecting us all, Natural Life Therapy Clinic is extending a 10% discount for all treatments provided during December and January. In addition, we are waiving the "initial fee" for all new patients during December and January. New patients will be charged our regular fee, less 10% and we will extend an additional 10% to whoever refers a new patient during these two months.

Holiday Hours

We will be seeing patients Wednesday, December 9th and Saturday December 12th and 19th.
Dr. Duckworth will be seeing patients on Wednesday December 23rd and will not be in the office from Thursday December 24th through Friday, January 1, 2010.

Dr. Hackler will not be in the office from Wednesday December 23rd through Monday, December 28th. He will see patients on Tuesday the 29th and Wednesday the 30th.
Call to schedule an appointment, 314-991-6035.

With Gratitude,
Thomas Duckworth DKM, L.Ac.
Jason Hackler L.Ac.
Mallory Shocklee
Sharon Reed

Monday, November 23, 2009

Treament Room Available at NLTC

We have an extra treatment room available for rent here at Natural Life Therapy Clinic. This is open to physicians, therapists of all types, or consultants. The room is 11 x 10 foot with large East facing windows. Some furnishings are available if desired. If you or anyone you know is interested, please contact us at 314-991-6035.

With gratitude,
Thomas Duckworth, DKM, L.Ac.
Jason Hackler, L.Ac.
Mallory Shocklee

Monday, November 16, 2009

Q's for Dr. Duckworth: Liver Cleanse

Dr. Duckworth,

Do you know of any natural liver cleansing techniques? Or how to go about doing a liver cleanse?

Thank You,


I've seen people hospitalized from doing "Liver Cleanses" and cold/damp weather is a bad time to fast or push the internal organs too much. I certainly would not suggest a "cleanse" to an organ nor a meridian that's weak. I tend to advocate using whole foods to help the entire system self-clean rather than pushing one part of the system and ignoring the whole interconnected body.

Having said that, there are two recommendations I can make: the homeopathic company HEEL has a "detox kit" which is three homeopathic formulas that are added to a quart of water and drunk throughout the day for thirty days. It's a perfect way to "detox." The Kit is available from Neel's Pharmacy at #8 Crestwood Executive Center (corner of Watson Rd and Sappington); (314) 849-3123.

Also, 2 oz olive oil and three tablespoons of lemon juice mixed together and drunk one time a day for three days will help kick out gallstones but: don't do too much or too long. Use the detox kit. Let me know.

Thomas E. Duckworth, DKM, L.Ac.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A pass-along from Jason Hackler: Onions for Health

Floating through the web, this tale:


A friend of mine told me a story about how when he was a kid he was in the hospital & near dying. His Italian grandmother came to the hospital & told a family member to go buy her a large onion & a new pair of white cotton socks. She sliced the onion open then put a slice on the bottom of each of his feet & put the white cotton socks on him. In the morning when he awoke they removed the socks. The slices of onion were black & his fever was gone.

The following story that someone sent to me might have some truth in it & we are going to try this this winter.

In 1919 when the flu killed 40 million people there was this Doctor that visited the many farmers to see if he could help them combat the flu. Many of the farmers and their family had contracted it and many died.

The doctor came upon this one farmer and to his surprise, everyone was very healthy. When the doctor asked what the farmer was doing that was different the wife replied that she had placed an unpeeled onion in a dish in the rooms of the home, (probably only two rooms back then).

The doctor couldn't believe it and asked if he could have one of the onions and place it under the microscope. She gave him one and when he did this, he did find the flu virus in the onion. It obviously absorbed the bacteria (virus), therefore, keeping the family healthy.

Now, I heard this story from my hairdresser in AZ. She said that several years ago many of her employees were coming down with the flu and so were many of her customers. The next year she placed several bowls with onions around in her shop. To her surprise, none of her staff got sick. It must work.. (And no, she is not in the onion business.)

The moral of the story is, buy some onions and place them in bowls around your home. If you work at a desk, place one or two in your office or under your desk or even on top somewhere. Try it and see what happens. We did it last year and we never got the flu.

If this helps you and your loved ones from getting sick, all the better. If you do get the flu, it just
might be a mild case..

Whatever, what have you to lose? Just a few bucks on onions!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Now there is a P. S. to this for I sent it to a friend in Oregon who regularly contributes material to me on health issues. She replied with this most interesting experience about onions:

Weldon,thanks for the reminder. I don't know about the farmers story...but, I do know that I contacted pneumonia and needless to say I was very ill...I came across an article that said to cut both ends off an onion put one end on a fork and then place the forked end into an empty jar...placing the jar next to the sick patient at night. It said the onion would be black in the morning from the germs...sure enough it happened just like that...the onion was a mess and I began to feel better.

Another thing I read in the article was that onions and garlic placed around the room saved many from the black plague years ago. They have powerful antibacterial, antiseptic properties.

Friday, October 23, 2009

An MD's Take on H1N1 Immunization

Both practitioners at NLTC passed along this note from Dr. Jay Gordon, feeling it offers an interesting and valuable perspective on immunization for the H1N1 ("swine flu") influenza.


From Jay Gordon, MD FAAP
H1N1 Flu Update August 28, 2009

I have seen more children and adults with influenza-like illness: 104 degree fevers, muscle soreness, sore throat and negative tests for strep, than in any summer I can remember. I haven't used the "flu swab" to test anybody, but I'm sure that many if not most of these sick people had Swine Flu. They all felt miserable, and they are all feeling just fine now.

Preventing outbreaks of this "novel H1N1" influenza may be a mistake of huge proportions. Yes, sadly, there will be fatalities among the 6 billion citizens of the planet. Tens of millions of cases of any illness will lead to morbidity and mortality, but this is completely (tragically) unavoidable. The consequences of not acquiring immunity this time around, however, could be really terrible and far outweigh a mass prevention program.

Here's my rationale for not using Tamiflu: If (if, if, if) this virus circles the globe as the rather innocent influenza it now appears to be, but mutates and returns as a very virulent form of influenza, it will be quite wonderful and life-saving to have formed antibodies against its 2009 version. These antibodies may be far from 100% protective, but they will help. This is incredibly important but being ignored in the interest of expediency.

In 1918, it appears that influenza A (an H1N1, by the way) did this globe-trotting mutation and killed millions. The times and state of medical care are not comparable, but a milder parallel occurrence is possible. Perhaps this happens every 100 years or so, perhaps every three million.

Whenever possible, we should form antibodies against viruses at the right stage of their existence and at the right stage of our lives (For example, chickenpox in childhood and EBV/mono in early childhood. There are many other examples.) Getting many viral illnesses confers lifetime immunity, and very few vaccines do.

Tamiflu is a very powerful drug with little proven efficacy against this bug, and with its major side effect being tummy upset. I'm not using it at all. Psychiatric side effects are also possible.
I also won't be giving the flu shot to the kids and parents in my practice unless there are extraordinary risk factors. I anticipate giving none at all this year. I doubt that there will be any really large problems with the vaccine, but I also doubt any really large benefits. As I said, I think that this year's version of this particular H1N1 is as "mild" as it will ever be and that getting sick with it this year will be good rather than bad. The chances that a new "flu shot" will be overwhelmingly effective are small.

I consider this, and most seasonal and novel influenza A vaccines, as "experimental" vaccines; they've only been tested on thousands of people for a period of weeks and then they'll be given to hundreds of millions of people. Not really the greatest science when we're in that much of a hurry. Yes, one can measure antibodies against a certain bacterium or virus in the blood and it may be associated with someone not getting sick, but there are very few illnesses common enough or enough ethics committees willing enough to do the right tests. That is, give 1000 people the real vaccine and 1000 placebo shots, expose all of them to the disease and see who gets sick. Seriously. I know it sounds terrible.

This is, obviously, a difficult public discussion because it touches on the concept of benefits and risks, again, of morbidity and mortality. Few public officials have the courage or inclination to present all facets of this difficult decision. I give vaccines to my patients every single day, but I always err on the side of caution. Implying that this is a dangerous new shot is not scientifically or statistically correct and represents hyperbole and even dishonesty on the part of the so-called "anti-vaccine" camp.

It sure isn't "sexy" to suggest handwashing, good nutrition, hydration, extra sleep and so on. It's not conventional to suggest astragalus, echinacea, elderberry and vitamin C. Adequate vitamin D levels are crucial, too.

I just think that giving this new H1N1 vaccine is not the cautious nor best thing to do.Best,

Jay Gordon, MD FAAP

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Pyrex Dishware

Dr. Duckworth believes that those of you using Pryex brand dishware may be interested in this story, which details the concerns about the product's safety.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

National Acupuncture Day : October 24

October 24
National Acupuncture Day

This month marks the 15 anniversary of the passing of
Dr. M. Masahilo Nakazono, O-Sensei (Teacher)
May 22, 1918 – October 8, 1994

Kappo Certification – 1937
Acupuncture Certification – 1939
Sakai Hon Li Te a Te mastery- 1956
Established macrobiotic healing center in India - 1956
Began teaching Japanese Acupuncture Medicine in Europe - 1960
Introduced Japanese Acupuncture, Pulse Diagnosis & Five Element Meridian Medicine to the U.S. - 1970
Discovered Kototama link in Five Element Meridian Medicine - 1975
Opened first Japanese Acupuncture School in the U.S. - Kototama Institute - 1978

"The Japanese-trained acupuncturist approaches the needle with the same spirit the samurai approaches the sword. This needle-sword is not a tool; it is an extension of the hand reaching out from the center of the tanden, the Sea of Qi."

Training with Masahilo Nakazono, Osensei for fifteen years was my path. His mission was to guide his students in accessing their individual Qi, respecting the acupuncture needle as an extension of their own spirit and dedicating their whole being to the stewardship of acupuncture – a science developed, protected and passed on from one generation to the next in an unbroken line of succession for over 3000 years. The City of Santa Fe honored him as a "Living Treasure" (1984) and the New Mexico State Senate proclaimed him the "Father of New Mexico acupuncture" (1985).

The reason we can celebrate "Acupuncture Day" is because our professional ancestors, like Sensei, never abandoned the knowledge, wisdom and science of acupuncture; but instead, meticulously guarded, enhanced and delved deeper into the understanding that comes through life-long dedication to its integrity. Sensei shared this ancient healing art with his adopted nation, America. He would be pleased with "Acupuncture Day."

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

On Taking Time

Dr. Duckworth sends along an interesting story about a violinist playing a subway stop, and the reactions he gets from passersby. The catch? He's one of the world's greatest on his instrument and his set is being monitored, to track how people react to situations such as his. Who stops? Who drops money? Who simply hustles by?

Here's the clip.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Recalled Pharmaceuticals in the News

Dr. Duckworth thought this piece was worth sending along, a story dealing with a Johnson & Johnson recall of pharmaceuticals geared towards kids.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Thougths on Flu Season

There are three basic categories of flu (influenza) A,B, and C. True influenza is a viral infection. 'A' type flu's are considered stronger viruses and can be more serious. Many in the allopathic community encourage vaccinations, however, some allopathic physicians and many natural medicine practitioners do not encourage vaccinations. If you do come down with flu symptoms and are concerned, your primary doctor can do a culture or blood test to rule out a more serious flu or other complications.

Most people will fall into flu categories 'B' and 'C'; in fact each year between 35-50 million Americans will experience flu-like symptoms. Symptoms include fever, aches, sore throat, cough, fatigue, and sometimes congestion. A few days of rest and fluids and most of us will recover fine.

Viruses and bacteria thrive in a damp environment. We cannot change our external environment here in St. Louis, which is humid and damp in general, but we can take charge of our internal environment, mostly through our diet, and stress levels.

Oriental Medicine recognizes the human is not separate from the natural world; we are of the natural world. When we are damp inside, we are more vulnerable to viruses and bacteria, just as in the natural world there is much growth in a damp or humid environment. Many of you may have heard the buzz words "acid/alkaline balance." An acidic condition tends to be damp in nature. Thus why some dietary practices dating back 50 years push for a more alkaline diet, especially if one is ill or dealing with a particular condition.

Sugars of all types, including fruit juice and artificial sweeteners; flour, especially white; alcohol and dairy all encourage a damp environment. If you are concerned about your health or you believe your immune system is especially vulnerable, then eliminating these foods/drinks or cutting back may help your system stay stronger. Ume concentrate, a Japanese plum extract, is one of the most effective supplements that can be taken to help create a more balanced acid/alkaline internal environment.

If you do experience a cold/flu I'd suggest taking Ume concentrate once daily while symptoms persist. If nasal congestion is involved, then I'd suggest Sinusin Spray, a homeopathic nasal spray manufactured by Heel/BHI. The spray has no known side effects. It can be used 3-5 times daily, and it has anti-viral properties. Taking additional Vitamin C can boost the immune system; up to 5,000mg daily for a few days is usually not a problem. (If you have a known digestive condition, kidney stones, or other health issue, consult a trained and licensed practitioner before taking Vitamin C or other herbal remedies or supplements.)

Most important though: address your stress levels as best you can - whether it be emotional/mental stress or physical; the body's energies get imbalanced and immune system function can be burdened. Stress also seems to cause a damp acidic condition in the body. If you are stressed you know what our advice is: get a treatment. I do.

So, enjoy the Fall; call, email, myself or Dr. Duckworth if you have any questions.

Best Wishes,
Jason R. Hackler

Monday, September 21, 2009

Rally Congress on Acupuncture Coverage

Please take a minute to send letters to your Congressional representatives to urge them to support HR646, the Federal Acupuncture Coverage Act, which would include acupuncture as a covered benefit under Medicare.

Be sure to visit for important action items.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Ram Dass: Fierce Grace

If interested in sprituality and health - and if you're reading this, that'd surely be you - a film that you may wish to consider seeing at your earliest opportunity is "Ram Dass: Fierce Grace."

Here's the Wikipedia entry on Ram Dass.

A link from the same site to the film.

Though the film played theatrically in St. Louis only briefly, with a stint at Webster University's Film Series several years back, the good news is that the documentary is available via Netflix, as both a hard copy send to your house, or as an on-demand view.

The next time in the office, be sure to ask Dr. Duckworth about his own studies with Baba Ram Dass.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Fall and Allergies

(From NLTC) According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, ragweed season officially begins August 15th. It is estimated that over 36 million Americans suffer from seasonal allergies.

Some ragweed facts: each ragweed plant produces about one billion pollen grains per season. Grains can travel up to four hundred miles due to their lightweight texture. Ragweed is most prevalent in the Northeast, the South and the Midwest and can grow almost anywhere. Americans with allergies miss 3.8 million days of work and or school each year.

What can you do if you suffer from allergies? Meridian Therapy Acupuncture is a wise place to start. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), allergies, through clinical trials, are successfully treated with acupuncture. Through years of clinical practice here at Natural Life Therapy Clinic we know this to be true.

Some homeopathic medicines and Vitamin C, which are virtually free of adverse side effects, can be helpful in reducing allergy symptoms, especially in conjunction with Meridian Therapy Acupuncture.

Vitamin C acts as a antihistamine, has anti-inflammatory effects and tends to enhance immune system functioning. Vitamin C is generally ascorbic acid so if you have a sensitive digestive system you may want to take Ester-C, which is derived from calcium carbonate and tends not to cause any digestive upset. Dosage varies for each person, but a relatively safe adult dosage taken for allergies for one to two weeks would be 1,000mg two to three times daily and sometimes higher if the patient is being guided by a health practitioner. If you are taking any medication you should always first consult with a properly trained licensed health care practitioner before taking supplements.

We recommend Sinusin or Luffeel Homeopathic nasal spray by BHI/Heel for allergies. Sinusin spray can be used for both allergies and other sinus problems, and, in addition, has anti-viral properties. Luffeel is generally used for typical hay fever conditions. We find both to be quite helpful with allergy symptoms and can be used three times daily, or more, with no adverse side effects. We also recommend Allergy tabs by BHI/HEEL in conjunction with the nasal spray.

These BHI products can be purchased at Neels Pharmacy (8 Crestwood Executive Center on Watson Road).

Your body is a natural miracle. It deserves your attention in helping to get stronger and healthier.

Happy Fall everyone!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Marijuana and Health Care Reform, Linked and Debated

While many will think of Montel Williams and immediately assume MW = mediocre daytime talk programming, his work with Air America has a decidedly different feel.

Recently, he spoke about the impact of marijuana legalization on the health care reform debate and was joined by Congressman Ron Paul, among others. Interesting conversation here.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Patient Spending on Alt. Medicine Examined

Some interesting news from the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. Among the findings:

Approximately 38 percent of adults use some form of CAM (complementary or alternative medicine) for health and wellness or to treat a variety of diseases and conditions, according to data from the 2007 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS)³. The CAM component of the NHIS was developed by the National Institutes of Health's (NIH) National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) and the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The data provide estimates of the cost of CAM use, the frequency of visits made to CAM practitioners, and frequency of purchases of self-care CAM therapies.

"With so many Americans using and spending money on CAM therapies, it is extremely important to know whether the products and practices they use are safe and effective," said Josephine P. Briggs, M.D., director of NCCAM. "This underscores the importance of conducting rigorous research and providing evidence-based information on CAM so that health care providers and the public can make well-informed decisions.

Here's a link to the full report.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Ode Magazine: Laughter Issue

Dr. Duckworth recommends Ode Magazine as a part of your regular cultural intake.

The current issue is dedicated to Laughter and it's been getting some rave reviews.

Click here to read about all about it, while previewing the cover, which features President Obama's grandmother Sarah, in full smile.

Thursday, July 30, 2009


Last fall, the St. Louis International Film Festival ran a program called "Homegrown," a 52-minute film on the Dervaes family of Pasedena, CA. Going "off-the-grid" the family of four (think: dad and three adult children) have created a urban farm like few others, turning a fraction of land into a remarkable oasis of healthy food production.

Though unable to embed the video directly here, some interesting clips exist online.

Here's an interview with director Robert McFalls:

Here's a 10-minute clip from the Dervaes family, part of an extensive group of clips they've posted to the web:

If you can't find a copy of Homegrown (and they are hard to track), then enjoy the YouTube clips and enjoy the Dervaes family's remarkable story. In fact, here's a link to their primary webpage:

Monday, July 20, 2009

Dr. Duckworth: Vacation

For those looking to book an appointment with Dr. Duckworth, note that he'll be out of the office for a short period, beginning later this week.

Out of the office: Thursday, July 23.
Back in the office: Thursday, July 30.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Acupuncture and Menopause - Weds., July 22

Acupuncture and Menopause
Wednesday, July 22
6:30 - 8:00 p.m., $5
with Jason Hackler, Dipl.Ac (NCCAOM), L.Ac., DOM (NM)

This class will look at how Acupuncture and Meridian Therapy, a 3,000 year old integrated health care system, can successfully address menopausal issues. The class will include a brief historical overview of Acupuncture and Meridian Medicine and several successful case studies, illustrating its effectiveness in treating menopausal symptoms. Treatment approach and protocol, diet and possible herbs/supplements will also be discussed. Jason has been studying Meridian Therapy and Kototama Medicine since 1994. Licensed as Doctor of Oriental Medicine, he is presently Senior Associate of Natural Life Therapy Clinic and Project Director of the not-for-profit Institute of American Acupuncture and Life Medicine, treating the less fortunate of the metro area.

Whole Foods
Town and Country
1160 Town and Country Crossing
Town and Country, MO 63017
(636) 527-1160

Thursday, July 9, 2009

One Dime at a Time

Whole Food Groceries has a "One Dime at a Time" program whereby customers who bring their own shopping bags are offered a refund of 10 cents per bag or the customer can designate the refund to go to a designated non-profit organization. The Whole Foods located at 141 & Clayton (Town and Country Crossings Shopping Center) has designated Institute of American Acupuncture & Life Medicine (IAALM) to be the benefactor for the months of July, August and September.

As most of you know, IAALM is a not for profit service organization run and staffed by Jason Hackler and myself. We provide free low-cost health care to indigent members of our community. We operate solely through goodwill donations, thus any donation coming through Whole Foods is vitally important. So, when you shop at the Whole Foods in West County reuse your own bags and help us provide the same health care to less fortunate as is provided at Natural Life Therapy Clinic. Thank you very much.


Thomas Duckworth D.K.M. L.Ac.
Jason Hackler L.Ac.
Mallory Reed
Sharon Reed

Thursday, June 18, 2009

"The Laughing Club of India"

At times, on this blog, Dr.s Duckworth and Hackler have discussed the importance of laughing, as a sort of daily, self-medicating ritual. For those who subscribe to the Netflix DVD service, a short film on the "Full Frame Documentary Shorts, Vol. 1" disc might be of interest.

On it, a half-hour short called "The Laughing Club of India" gives a sense of efforts to turn laughter into not only a personal affair, but as a communal affirmation of life, with dozens of groups springing up around India. Though a few e years old and somewhat-roughly-shot, the film, directed by Mira Nair ("Monsoon Wedding," "Mississippi Masala") is an enjoyable treat, and, probably the highlight of the disc.

If it's possible to watch a film on laughing and not laugh while viewing it... well, give it a shot. You probably won't be successful and that won't be a bad thing. Ha-ha-ha.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Dr. Duckworth says...: Sign a Petition for Health Care Reform


On Wednesday, President Obama reaffirmed his support for a public health insurance option--the key piece of health care reform that will provide coverage for all Americans and help bring costs down.

But as the health care fight heats up, right-wing lobbyists and conservatives in Congress are working hard to kill the public health insurance option.

I signed a petition today telling Congress I stand with Obama on health care reform. Can you join me at the link below?


Thursday, June 4, 2009

Monday, June 1, 2009

Innerhealth blog: Acupuncture and migraines

Reprinted from the blog Innerhealth (details and links at end of piece):


Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Acupuncture works better than drugs like aspirin to reduce the severity and frequency of chronic headaches, U.S. researchers reported on Monday.

A review of studies involving nearly 4,000 patients with migraine, tension headache and other forms of chronic headache showed that that 62 percent of the acupuncture patients reported headache relief compared to 45 percent of people taking medications, the team at Duke University found.

"Acupuncture is becoming a favourable option for a variety of purposes, ranging from enhancing fertility to decreasing post-operative pain, because people experience significantly fewer side effects and it can be less expensive than other options," Dr. Tong Joo Gan, who led the study, said in a statement.

"This analysis reinforces that acupuncture also is a successful source of relief from chronic headaches."

Writing in Anesthesia and Analgesia, they said 53 percent of patients given true acupuncture were helped, compared to 45 percent receiving sham therapy involving needles inserted in non-medical positions.

"One of the barriers to treatment with acupuncture is getting people to understand that while needles are used, it is not a painful experience," Gan said. "It is a method for releasing your body's own natural painkillers."

They found it took on average five to six visits for patients to report headache relief.
Other studies have shown that acupuncture helped alleviate pain in patients who had surgery for head and neck cancer, can relieve hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms and can reduce chemotherapy-induced nausea.

(The above text was first published in ChineseMedicineTimes, Attilio D'Alberto)

Angela Pfaffenberger, Ph.D., Lic.Ac.
375 Leffelle Street SE Salem , OR 97302 phone: (503) 364-3022

Friday, May 29, 2009

NLTC Lists: Five daily activities for peace and calm

Five simple activities that people could engage in on a daily, or at least "regular," basis to increase a sense of peace and calm.

Dr. Duckworth (with bonus sixth item!):

1) Practice Kototama Sounds, practice chanting, singing
2) Reciting mantra, repetitious prayer
3)Attentive talking for 20-30 minutes with one person whom you care for
4) Attending to plant life
5) Mindfully sip a cup of tea
6) Smile - daily, whether you feel like it or not

Dr. Hackler:

1) Five-to-10 minute deep (Tanden) breathing practice daily
2) Daily walk; or more rigorous exercise 3 or 4 times weekly if in good health
3) Laughter
4) Smile
5) Give thanks daily

Monday, May 25, 2009

Energy Tips & Dr. Duckworth's Feedback

The website Zenhabits offered up an interesting list of 55 ways to add some energy, relaxation and reinvigoration to your daily life.

Here's the piece. We suggest you give it a read, then follow Dr. Duckworth's annotated notes below.


#1: Sure, change your socks. Better, maybe, don't wear any socks and/or when you get to work, takes off your shoes - everyone in the office should.
#2: Sure.
#3: Too short sighted. For allergies, need to be more 'pro-actice' - deal with it - taking charges of body health leads to feeling good (and rested) about yourself.
#4: Sounds good.
#5: Semi-sweet, 70+% dark chocolate ("for medicinal purposes only").
#6: Yes.
#7: This is correct - also, it has been shown that those who work long hours at a omputer stand up and stretch or walk to the water cooler every 30 minutes have an significanr increase in productivity and decrease of energy loss, headaches, bachaches and missed work days.
#8 + #9 + #10 +11 - Yes.
#12: Sure.
#13: Maybe works but need to sync with the seasons - follow the sun - also, if you do everything by clockwork,you may be rested but dull.
#14: True. Drining sugar drinks also make you sluggish.
#15: Yeah.
#16: Agree.
#17: Agree. Avoid not only white brear but all white flour products. Eat whole wheat pasta.
#18: Agree.
#19: Yes, but there's 50x more Vit C in parsley than in oranges (by weight).
#20: Sure. I use a grapefruit/citrus enzyme mist.
#21 Sure.
#22: Agree.
#23-26: Agree.
#27: Yes....see #7.
#28 - 42: Yes.
#43: Agree - Very important.
#44: If chronically fatigued, sees a holistic practitioner who incorporates nutritional counseling. Many diagnosed 'hypothyroid' cases I've seen, have been cured with meridian therapy and dietary changes.
#45-47: Yes.
#48: "Health is a laughing matter"(Patch Adams).
#49: Maybe.
#50-55: Yes.

Friday, May 22, 2009

NLTC Lists: Five Book Recommendations

We ask "They don't necessarily need to be about acupuncture, but would benefit folks in their search for wellness. What are these five books?"

And the NLTC answers...

For Dr. Thomas Duckworth:
(He also includes The Real Sense of Natural Therapy.)

1) Prescription for Nutritional Healing (by Phyllis A. Balch)

2) The Book of Tofu & Miso (by William Shurtleff and Akiko Aoyagi)

3) Natural Healing from Head to Toe (by Cornelia Aihara)

4) You Can Be Younger Tomorrow

5) Don't Drink Your Milk (by Frank A. Oski)

For Dr. Jason Hackler:

1) The Real Sense of Natural Therapy (by Sensei M. Nakazono)

2) Younger Next Year (by Crowley & Lodge - there's one geared more towards men and one for women)

3) Zen Mind, Beginner Mind (by Shunryu Suzuki)

4) Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom (by Christine Northrup, MD - general questions on women's health)

5) Healing with Whole Foods - Oriental Traditions and Modern Nutrition (by Paul Pitchford)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Playing for Change: Song Around the World, "Stand By Me"

Dr. Duckworth thought this one a nice piece to share, noting: "Check out this video... the world is full of music; therefore, there is hope!"

Thursday, May 14, 2009

NLTC Lists: The American Diet, II

Added notes from Dr. Hackler, on simple cuts from the American diet, for added health and vitality.


Eliminate: Preservatives, dyes, colorings, high fructose corn syrup.

Reduce: White flour, dairy products, fried food.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

NLTC Lists: The American Diet

It's a new feature! We ask Dr. Duckworth and Jason Hackler some simple questions, often in groups of five. Today, it's a bonus list, in that Dr. Duckworth's provided us seven items that most Americans could reduce or remove from their diet, for added health and vitality.

1) High fructose corn syrup.
2) Any processed edible (I'm hesitant to use the word 'food' here) with "sugar" listed in the first four ingredients. (The word "sugar" may read as glucose, dextrose, maltose, lactose, malt barley, corn syrup, sucrose, fructose - so many ways to list non-food/non-nutrient sweeteners.)
3) Red meat.
4) Fat = meat fat, dairy fat.
5) Fat + sugar = ice cream.
6) Frozen dinners.
7) 'Fast foods.'

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Conversations with Dr. Duckworth: Needles!

Perhaps the most basic question first: where do needles come from? Where does someone procure such a product?
There are marketplaces where they are made, including Germany, China, Taiwan, Korea, Japan. The needles I use all come from Japan. There are several fine needle manufacturers in Japan. And there are distributors of them here. One in Massachusetts is where I buy most of my supplies from, as they spend time investigating products worthy of bringing to the attention of the market.

What do you look for, when a new product is made available?
I look for the fineness of the metal. I expect it to be made of surgical steel. I'm looking for the finesse of the manufacturing, that under a microscope I can see the properties of the needle. And I'm making sure that it can transfer the energies of the body. It's ability to transmit energy is a tactile, very subtle thing.

When you say that the techniques used by this clinic are less invasive than those of other practitioners, is that due to the needle, as well as the skill of the practitioner?
The needles made in Japan come from a tradition of use by people skilled in Japanese-styled acupuncture. The whole point-of-view is having as little invasiveness as possible. There are whole schools, whole systems in Japan, where the needles just touch the skin and don't go in. I don't do a lot of that, but I do some. It does come from the practitioner, with the basic experience being that of trying to be less invasive.

What's the feedback that you get from people who've been to other practitioners?
They talk about how unobtrusive the needles feel. They're impressed by the handwork that we do, which is not a part of the traditional, school-taught methods.

What are common misperceptions that people may have coming in for the first time? Or topics that you typically address with them on their first visit, regarding the needles?
The misperception, generally, is that of anyone who's been to a doctor and who thinks of them as hypodermic needles. Their idea of needles is then, at best, of discomfort. The general comments will remind them that the absolute smallest hypodermic needles is still larger than the largest Chinese needle and the Japanese needles are smaller than the Chinese. So, you are dealing with the dictionary definition of needle. There is also the distinction of not planting the needle, but in dealing with the rhythms of the person's breath. In other systems that don't adhere to that, there's a tendency for the needle to "stick."

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

From the NLTC Website: The Myth of Acupuncture

Penned by Jason Hackler, this piece appears on the Natural Life Therapy Clinic website, which is full of interesting links, articles, recipes and the like.

Here's Mr. Hackler's take on "The Myth of Acupuncture":


The Myth of Acupuncture
Monday, 17 December 2007

Jason R. Hackler, Dipl.Ac., L.Ac.

The perception that acupuncture is only useful for chronic pain management or as an analgesic is not accurate. Acupuncture has been cited by the World Health Organization to treat more than forty-three conditions, some of which include: allergies, asthma, bronchitis, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, colds and flu, digestive disorders, depression, gynecological disorders, headache, heart problems, infertility, insomnia, joint/muscle pain, pre-menstrual syndrome, sciatica, sports injuries, tendonitis, and stress. In clinical practice many other urogenital, respiratory, and circulatory dysfunctions can be successfully treated with acupuncture and other modalities of Oriental Medicine.

Another misconception is the association of pain with acupuncture. Acupuncture bears no resemblance to the feeling of receiving an injection. The needle used for injections is hollow, much larger in diameter than acupuncture needles, and contains medication which is forced into the tissue, all of which can cause pain. Acupuncture needles are solid and very fine, about the diameter of a human hair. A skilled practitioner of Oriental Medicine performs acupuncture without pain. A patient may experience a tingling or numbing sensation around the needle or an electrical sensation traveling toward or away from the needle. In addition, if someone is afraid of needles, or if an infant or child is being treated, a professional acupuncturist will use other modalities of Oriental Medicine, such as moxibustion (heat therapy), Shonishin (children’s treatment) and handwork therapy.

How does one search out a skilled practitioner? Oriental Medicine is a complex medicine that has been practiced for at least 3,000 years. Today, there are professional training schools, offering programs with 2,000 to 4,000 hours of training in the field. There are many schools of thought and various traditions in the field of acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. However, as a general guideline, a consumer should seek out a practitioner who is state licensed, meaning they have met eligibility requirements established by the state to practice acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.

Licensure in Missouri went into effect in June 2002 and the state licensing board of Missouri requires that a practitioner be National Board Certified in Acupuncture, indicating that they have successfully completed a national exam given by the National Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM). Once a practitioner is National Board Certified (Dipl.Ac.), he or she is issued a state license to practice acupuncture. The title designated in Missouri is Licensed Acupuncturist (L.Ac. or Lic.Ac.). If you have further questions about acupuncture, Oriental Medicine, or licensure, please call us at Natural Life Therapy Clinic (314-991-6035).

Friday, May 1, 2009

Dr. Duckworth on Internet Radio

Dr. Duckworth was interviewed on an Internet radio show, via Contact Talk Radio.

Kristen White is the host of the show Reporting Live From the Universe. Her broadcast is at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesdays, but it also can be found online now.

If you click here, go to the April 28 edition of the show. You can stream or download the show. Dr. Duckworth's interview begins at around the 15-minute mark of the program.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Reminder: Classes

Classes Spring 2009
Thursday, 26 February 2009

Due to consumer demand, the Natural Life Therapy Educational Presentations are now scheduled on Thursday evenings from 6:00pm to 7:30pm. These studies will cover an understanding of Natural Medicine for the consumer, as well as the philosophical basis of Natural Life Therapy, that is, the Kototama Principle. These presentations will draw upon the work of Masahilo M. Nakazono Osensei, founder of Natural Life Therapy, with much references to his books, The Real Sense of Natural Medicine; Messiah's Return; Inochi, The Book of Life; and Kototama Principle. These presentations are free and open to the public. Each class will begin with 15 minutes of Sound Meditation.

April 30: Messiah's Return – Kototama Sounds
May 7: Physical Exercise
May 14: Messiah's Return – Kototama 100 Gods
May 21: Diet and Physical Health
May 28: Messiah's Return – The Perfection of Civilization
June 4: Traditional Medicine
June 11: Explanation of the Fifty Sounds of Kototama
June 18: Home Health Care Recipes
June 22 - August 27: Summer Break

JIZO BOSATSU: The Celebration of Life, is conducted one Sunday each month at 10am: March 22, April 19, May 17, June 21, July 19, Aug 23

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Miso Soup

Though we might be exiting the true "soup season," there's nothing wrong with a nice bowl of miso soup for lunch, dinner, or (it's true!) breakfast, when the warming qualities of the soup can really getting your day off to a nutritious start.

We point you today to a simple recipe for a simple soup, compliments of the Natural Life Therapy Clinic website. Here's that link.


Next week, we'll have more from our Conversations series, with Dr. Duckworth discussing the actual properties of the needles used during acupuncture; and Jason Hackler discussing his origins in Kototama Life Medicine. Stop back by, or subscribe with the RSS feeds available to the right.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Converstations with Dr. Duckworth: On Chanting

Krishna Das will be appearing at the Ethical Society on Tuesday, as noted in the previous post. As Dr. Duckworth is advocating for his patients to consider attendance, it seems a good time to check in with him on his feeling towards chanting.

How did you become introduced to chanting?
Well, I first heard about it as a teenager, hearing Catholic monks doing Gregorian chants. But my spiritual journey included time spent with an acquaintance, a friend, Dick Alpert, who went to India and came back Ram Dass. I commenced studies with him 1969 and it was he who taught me how chanting worked as a form of meditation.

What was the appeal to you at that time? The most profound elements of it?
Internal quietude. It was almost instantaneous. You begin working with the sounds, the mantra, and it's just a peaceful feeling. And it was from the first times I did it. Studying in Kototama, I began learning that this was tapping into the "ah" dimension. So many chants are in that "ah" sound: krishna, rama rama. Those vibrations lift the spirit.

Have you heard that said by others?
I've never discussed it, as we are here, but as a shared experience, absolutely. From my travels in the '60s and '70s, I became very open to a Hindu-type of chanting, and dervish dancing, from the Islamic traditions.

For people who have not taken part in a collective chanting experience, what might keep them from going the first time? And I suppose the flipside to that: what would attract them?
To the first, I'd say anyone who's afraid of what's outside their own world, would feel that. Those who would feel that it might deflect from their own spiritual practices; there are a lot of so-called Christians who fear that this would be serving some other God. I have a friend who has practiced yoga for years, in classes, but is afraid to do yoga outside, for fear someone would see her doing yoga. I had a patient yesterday, who has been involved in yoga for years and is relatively-recently remarried. I've met her husband, who is salt-of-the-earth, a great guy. And she asked if she should take him to Krishna Das' evening session and I said, "no. He would freak out and go running down the street." People who are not strong in their own spiritual practices, or those who are not comfortable with their own practices, or those whose spiritual practices don't provide them with that sense of peace... then, yeah, those people would not be attracted to this. But those who've had a sense of euphoria from listening to, say, gospel singers... they should go. Those who've listened to Southern Baptists singing songs to God should go. Anyone who enjoys hearing the sounds of voices should partake in and experience chanting.

With the shape of the evening, how would you anticipate the evening going?
One part of me says to really try to do something that I've tried to achieve my whole adult life, which is to not have anticipation. Having said that, the longest chant I've been involved with happened many years ago, when several hundred of us gathered in a park in Boulder, CO, and chanted songs to Shiva, from sunset to sunrise. It was summertime, so a shorter night, but still about 10-hours of chanting and it was collectively extraordinary and euphoric. I expect this evening would be about three hours. I'd expect that people who don't achieve that sense of euphoria to be bored, to be looking around. Those who synchronize with the activity of the evening will have their blood pressure lowered and their sense of peacefulness increased. And they'll leave with a smile on their face.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

An Evening of Chanting with Krishna Das

"An Evening of Chanting with Krishna Das," April 21, 7:30 pm-10:30 pm at the Ethical Society of St. Louis, 9001 Clayton Road. Tickets $25.00 in advance and $30.00 at the door. Advanced tickets online at; local availability at The Living Insights Center, 6361 Clayton Road.

That's what the flyer tells you. Here's what I can tell you. I first partook in chanting with Krishna Das about 35 years ago, both at Lama Foundation and at my ranch in Embudo, New Mexico. Through the sacred blessing from our Guru, Neem Karoli Baba Maharaji. I had been introduced to sacred chanting by my teacher, Baba Ram Dass in 1969 and five years later, found myself with Krishna Das and 70 others in my orchard chanting the sacred sounds that open the heart and mind. It was the chanting and singing of sacred sounds that led me to Masahilo M. Nakazono O Sensei and the study of Kototama, Sacred Sounds of Words. The study of Kototama Sound is the basis of the medicine I practice, Kototama Life Medicine. So it is no surprise that I write to encourage all to set aside the evening of April 21st and come chant. The very worse that could happen, is nothing.

See you there,
Thomas (Govind Das) Duckworth, Doctor of Kototama Life Medicine

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Artwork of M.B. Shaw

We were remiss in not posting up word of a recent art show by an Official Friend of Natural Life Therapy Clinic. But you can catch up on the work of M.B. Shaw at a couple of places.

Digital galleries and general information can be found at her website.

You can also track her shows and workshops at her blog.

We hope you visit one, or both.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Benefits of Walking

They might seem evident, but writer Bill Bunn takes the notion of walking and extends some extra benefits to the experience.

Here's a recent piece from that will appeal to pedestrians of all sorts.

Monday, April 6, 2009

ABC News: Acupuncture for Kids

Concerned about your kids and allergies this season? Mr. Hackler suggests taking a look at a recent ABC special on Acupuncture for Kids. Though we can't embed the video here, we can point you to the link, which also contains the text version of the story, in case you can't watch video at work.

Click here for words and video from ABC News.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Acupuncture and Allergic Rhinitis

A piece on the above topic was just posted at the Natural Life Therapy website, but we'll go ahead and link it here, for your convenience.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Video: Meridians and Acupuncture Points

Dr. Duckworth points to this video on YouTube, in which one Edward Scarlett discusses the basics of meridians and acupuncture points. At just over three-minutes, it's well worth watching.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Mediterranean Diet

Dr. Duckworth ran across this note and thought it worth passing on, particularly to those wondering about mental acuity and vitality in the elder years:


Posted 11:00 a.m. Tue., Feb. 17 - The aging brain has been in the news lately. We recently covered the effects of a reduced calorie diet on cognitive function (it appears to help). Now, a trio of studies sheds even more light on the subject. First: Elderly adults with no evidence of dementia who follow a Mediterranean diet may reduce the risk of developing mild cognitive impairment. In the elderly who are already afflicted with mid cognitive impairment, following the diet leads to a significantly reduced risk of developing Alzheimer's disease, according to a report published in the February issue of the Archives of Neurology.

Included in the study were 1,393 cognitively normal subjects (average age 76.7) and 482 subjects with mild cognitive impairment (average age 77.5) who were then followed for over four years. Compared to those with the lowest Mediterranean diet adherence, those who began the study without cognitive impairment in the middle and highest levels of diet adherence had a 17 percent and 28 percent lower risk, respectively, of developing mild cognitive impairment. In the mild cognitive impairment group, those in the middle and highest levels had up to a 48 percent lower risk of progressing to Alzheimer's disease compared to those with the least adherence.

"Possible biological mechanisms underlying this association remain to be investigated," the authors wrote. In the meantime, some tweaks to your diet wouldn't hurt… A Mediterranean diet is rich in whole grains, fruits and vegetables, olive oil and a touch of red wine.

Monday, March 23, 2009

What is Natural Medicine?

Here, we'll occasionally pull articles and links from the Natural Life Therapy Clinic's main website, This time out, we'll point to a 2002 article by Dr. Duckworth, which is just as relevant today as it was when written and when posted on the site.

You can find this overarching, but quickly-digestible piece right here.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Celiac Disease: STL Beacon

The St. Louis Beacon - an online news portal, owned-and-operated by a number of former Post-Dispatch editors - has a health section worth examining.

Recently, the news site ran a piece on celiac disease.

It's worth reading and considering. Click here for the link.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Video: Dr. Kokubo's Japanese Acupuncture

Dr. Duckworth has been scanning YouTube, looking for videos that address or introduce Japanese acupuncture theories and practices. That's just what you get with this video, "Dr. Kokubo's Japanese Acupuncture," a nice primer on the topic.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Lots of Links

Today, we'll point you to some additional readings, all found via links on this blog, or on the Natural Life Therapy Clinic website.

On the latter, you can find links to pages on: General Health; Acupuncture; and Food, Medicinals, Supplements & Nutrients. Simply click here.

Local bloggers are also invited to link to this page. If you do so, we'll return the favor. Currently, we've added links to the local restaurant/pasta maker Mangia Italiano, the local cultural blog 52nd City and others. Those are easily found right on this blog's frontpage.

Later this week, we'll focus on the artwork of a patient of NLTC and we'll highlight another question for Dr. Duckworth.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Video: Japanese Medicine and Teething Pain

We've asked Drs. Duckworth and Hackler to look through to YouTube to find some videos that might be pertinent to the ongoing conversation here at the blog. Dr. Duckworth passed along this clip on "Japanese Acupuncture and Teething Pain," which runs about 7:00-minutes in length. We'll add videos as they're found, those that will assist patients of the NLTC in their own studies.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Q's for Dr. Duckworth: Aches and Pains


How would acupuncture treat a specific ache or pain? For example, I've developed a sore shoulder and upper back recently, from doing some repetitive work one afternoon. Is acupuncture as effective or useful as chiropractic or a massage in knocking down the pain level from this minor, quick "injury" of sorts. Thanks much!



Dear Franklin,

Excuse my long-windedness but your question requires such a response. First, in answering, I am speaking from the point of view of the health care provided at Natural Life Therapy Clinic. I seldom address genertic acupuncture questions start, as you know, every medical doctor has a MD license. The physician may be a peditrician, dermatologist, ob/gyn, internist, psychiatrist, surgeon, oncologist but they all have the same license. They may have gone to a great school or not so great, they might have graduated at the head of their class...maybe not but the license is the same. For similiar reasons, I am unable to address the capacity of acupuncture practitioners across the board.

In Japanese Meridian Therapy, we treat Hyo-ji ho (symptom condition) and Hon-ji ho (energetic/causative condition) but our focus is causative factors. For example, your sore back and shoulder "from doing some repetitive work one afternoon" is a symptom but since many people do some repetitive work without developing problems, my interest as a physician is understanding from an energetic point of view what imbalance allowed this problem to arise. Therefore, I will treat the whole body dynamic so that healing can take place regardless of the symptom. Yes, I treat symptoms also but I want the issue to go away and not come back. Oriental Medicine has a 3,000 clinical history so there has developed quite a repertoire of point usage and point combinations that are used for all types of symptoms (even treating back/shoulder pain on the legs!), so there is much that can be done.

Tight muscles could benefit from a good massage; if nothing else, massage is relaxing and that's always helpful. And if you are a basically healthy person with a little muscular dysfunction from one time over-use, massage may be all you need. Chiropractic is useful if you have an acute traumatic verebrae misalignment but chiropractic is a bio-medical based therapy and only (like modern medcine) addresses symptoms. Repetitive motion is a muscular issue, not a skeletal issue. What is needed is to guide the body away from tension and contractions - heat and meridian therapy/acupuncture.

Monday, March 9, 2009

The Real Sense of Natural Medicine

"Medicine can never be perfected as long as its sole objective is the maintenance of physical existence. We must realize the total relationship of the human being with plants, soil, water, heat and air, as well as Earth and Heaven. Until such time, humanity will continue to fear sickness and death." (Masahilo M. Nakazono)

It was over 30 years ago that Nakazono Sensei wrote these words in a little, self-published booklet entitled "The Real Sense of Natural Medicine." Sensei was on a mission to awaken humankind to a spiritual ecology that recognizes that life has its beginning and finality in an integrated holism wherein peace, harmony and health manifest as we stop seeing ourselves, individually, as separate from each other and cease seeing humanity as separate from our environment and no longer view our environment as separate from the universe.

As he pointed out, "The scientific world... can only recognize individual existence. Of course, with imagination we can believe that a tree must be made from a certain number of cooperating cells and that maybe these cells are coming from the same source as our own life, then build a microscope to try and compare our imagination to reality. This is the extent of the joining together that... the physical senses can have with our spiritual search. I say that the scientific world can only recognize individual existence because science can not catch from where an atom or a particle is coming nor see to where it is disappearing and (can not see) these two directions are cooperating."

This than is the purpose and principle of what we term Natural Life Therapy.

Natural Life Therapy is not a system of medicine; it is a philosophy of healing that seeks to embody the unity of the individual-in-its-environment and assist this unification through application of proven techniques that guide the human body in reintegrating its personal life force with the life energy of the environment. As Sensei would point out, Oriental Medicine that does not grasp this unification principle is not natural medicine and modern surgical/pharmacological medicine that does strive for unification is natural medicine. Clearly, the word natural has a deeper and broader meaning than is defined by the dictionary.

Acupuncture, the use of specialized needles to influence the meridian flow of life energy in the body, is one of the highly refined techniques utilized in assisting the body to function in harmony with its environment. Natural Life Therapy utilizes a variety of clinically proven procedures discovered and developed over the centuries to strengthen and align the universal life energy that flows within and without us.


Check our website for additional Thursday night classes.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Q's for Dr. Duckworth: Acupuncture and "Quiet"


Curious about something. I've been to acupuncture treatments in open-air clinics (for lack of a better term), in which people are treated close together, as well as in traditional office settings. With the open-air settings, it's interesting to hear people go into detail about their maladies, though it can seem a bit of a public place to air your personal ailments. Just wondered what you think about people staying quiet and in-the-moment, as opposed to being more talkative, when they get their treatments?


Dear Eric,

Interesting question. In China, the clinical setting is (so I'm told) an open communal situation; while in Japan, the standard is privacy, modesty and quiet. A practitioner I knew from Switzerland had studied in China and her clinic in Switzerland was open and she reported that her Swiss patients/clients loved the open room setting - possibly because it was so novel. Years ago, I was involved with a teaching/service clinic in Mexico that had 5 tables in a large open room. Patients talked to each other, family & friends stood around the tables and talked - it was often like a picnic! The group dynamic experienced in Mexico seemed to be part of the healing process. Another experience I have had has been through the work we do with the Institute of American Acupuncture & Life Medicine. We operated a clinic in south city that was a large room. Our clientele were constrained economically and some spoke little or no English. At first, we had screens and room dividers separating the treatment tables but we eventually took them down and operated in an open arena and no one seemed to mind. It may be a cultural thing, I don't know.

At Natural Life Therapy Clinic we treat in private rooms. Family members (and sometimes friends) do occasionally come in to observe/visit but most of our patients like the quiet, relaxing aspects of the private room. In addition, in the private practice, some clients want the sanctuary of privacy where they can freely talk about their issues (health and otherwise) and seek counsel. (As you pointed out, some people talk very freely in the open air environment also.) I consider it very important that the treatment be a relaxing, non-disruptive experience. Quiet is most helpful but some people can be quite relaxed while talking... even while being treated. So, I have treated in both environments and find both acceptable but I think in my practice, my clients are more relaxed in a quiet, private setting.

Thank you for this question. I hope I have helped you in your studies.

Dr. Thomas E. Duckworth, L.Ac.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Acupuncture & Menopause: A Conversation

The following interview took place between Dr. Jason Hackler and a correspondent with the Ladue News, on the topic of acupuncture's effectiveness in treating menopause. This transcript provides the full detail of the conversation.

1. In your practice, is menopause symptom management a common reason for people to seek acupuncture, or is it unusual?

No, it is not unusual at all. Women, with menopausal symptoms, such as, night/day sweats, hot flashes, emotional ups and downs, etc, are successfully and frequently treated here at Natural Life Therapy Clinic.

2. Please tell me how you would assess and treat a patient who needs help with hot flashes, mood swings and other problems associated with menopause?

Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine addresses symptoms, such as, hot flashes, etc., by balancing the flow of Qi (Chi-Energy) in the body.

At Natural Life Therapy Clinic we diagnosis this flow of energy by doing a complete pulse diagnosis which tells us how to treat each individual person, helping to alleviate the symptoms. Two women may have hot flashes, however, the way to alleviate their symptoms will be different because everyone has their own unique pulses - that's the beauty of our system of health care, the diagnosis and treatment is fitted precisely to each individual patient. The treatment would involve Meridian Therapy, which includes, Japanese acupuncture, bodywork, dietary/nutritional counseling, and herbs and supplements if needed. (Keep in mind that patients usually report no pain whatsoever with this style of acupuncture - the technique is very gentle and the needles are the diameter of a human hair.)

3. Does acupuncture help address all problems associated with menopause or only specific ones?

I've seen the system we practice address all common symptoms of menopause. In more serious cases where symptoms are severe, we adjunct the treatment with dietary modifications and herbs/supplements.

4. Does the patient need multiple treatments? What kind of treatment schedule do you recommend?

Generally speaking, a more chronic condition (more than a month old) will take more treatments to cure. One should think about twice weekly for three to five weeks. Then once weekly for couple weeks. Sometimes less treatments are needed though, every patient is unique. I often see patients respond within three to five treatments.

5. What is the typical cost per treatment?

We have three practitioners here at Natural Life Therapy Clinic. Please see website for all fees. They vary a little with each practitioner. Info at:

6. Are some people better candidates for successful acupuncture treatment than others? If so, why?

Sometimes just a liitle more patience on the patients part is necessary if chronic - it took years for symptoms to manifest, so it may take a few treatments to change things. Occasionally, however, someone will come along that more aggressive medical intervention is necessary - hormone therapy - to address the symptoms. I clinically, however, see this less often.

7. Is there any clinical evidence (research) to support the use of acupuncture for menopause symptoms?

The World Health Organization (WHO) cites acupuncture in successfully treating 43 different conditions, one of which is menopausal symptoms. We know that clinically there are quite a few more conditions that can be addressed successfully with acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.

8. What is the most important thing you think our readers should know about this topic?

That the body in so many cases has the ability to regulate itsef, to heal itself. Meridian Therapy and acupuncture performed by properly trained practitioners promotes the body's natural healing abilities. We come from the viewpoint of natural medicine, but if one needs drug treatment, then it should be done. However, many women can be successfully helped without medications for menopausal symptoms, as well as many other women's issues.

Thank you.

Jason R. Hackler, Dipl.Ac, L.Ac
Senior Associate, Natural Life Therapy Clinic

Monday, March 2, 2009

Q's for Dr. Duckworth: Sakai Teate

Dear Natural Life Therapy Clinic, Inc.,

Could you give me some details about Sakai Teate bodywork, please?



Dear Jay,

Sakai Sensei (Sensei means 'teacher') was one of my teacher's (Masahilo M. Nakazono Sensei ) teachers; a Shugendo priest (Buddhist) who spent 1/2 of each year wandering the mountains and 1/2 the year living in a villiage where he taught and provided Hand Ki Te A Te, a hands-on therapy focused on the abdomen. Te is a Japanese word that translates as 'hand,' 'helping hand' and teate translates to 'medicial care.' So te a te means the spirit of the helping hand, healing touch, hands healing the spirit, spiritual hand work. Sakai Sensei taught his students the Way of Hand Ki, learning to access and focus one's own Ki (chi) in the hands for therapeutic purposes; the Chinese would call this way, Chi Gong.

Nakazono Sensei studied with Sakai Sensei in the 1950's and applied this principle of Hand Ki to all his tactile therapy work (Shiatsu, Anma, Ampuku, Kappo and Sotai) and taught his meridian therapy students, the Way of Hand Ki. In fact, Nakazono Sensei taught his students to diagnose and treat the meridians with only handwork. Only when a student demonstrated the capacity to purposefully influence the meridian Ki with the hands was he/she taught needling technique (acupuncture). All practitioners who have graduated from studies with me have been taught this way.

Friday, February 27, 2009

More Reading: Ode Magazine

Last week, we noted that Yes Magazine is a suggested read, according to Dr. Duckworth. He's also a fan of Ode Magazine.

Here's a link to what they're all about.

They've got blogs, too, which you can access here.

As an example of the stories they run, here's a piece on Peruvian medicinal plants.


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Announced: Spring / Summer Class Schedule

Due to consumer demand, the Natural Life Therapy Educational Presentations are now scheduled on Thursday evenings from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. These studies will cover an understanding of Natural Medicine for the consumer, as well as the philosophical basis of Natural Life Therapy, that is, the Kototama Principle. These presentations will draw upon the work of Masahilo M. Nakazono Osensei, founder of Natural Life Therapy, with much references to his books, "The Real Sense of Natural Medicine"; "Messiah's Return"; "Inochi, The Book of Life"; and "Kototama Principle." These presentations are free and open to the public. Each class will begin with 15 minutes of Sound Meditation.

March 6: Messiah's Return – The Current of Creation
March 12: The Real Sense of Natural Medicine
March 19: Messiah's Return = Dimensions
March 26: (this evening's class has been canceled)
April 2: Messiah's Return – Fu-Yin, The Father Sounds
April 9: The Five Aspects of Inochi Medicine Treatment
April 16: Messiah's Return – The 32 Child Sounds
April 23: Self-Health Guide – Kototama Sound Exercise
April 30: Messiah's Return – Kototama Sounds
May 7: Physical Exercise
May 14: Messiah's Return – Kototama 100 Gods
May 21: Diet and Physical Health
May 28: Messiah's Return – The Perfection of Civilization
June 4: Traditional Medicine
June 11: Explanation of the Fifty Sounds of Kototama
June 18: Home Health Care Recipes
June 22nd to August 27th - Summer Break

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Tower Grove Clinic News

As a note of reminder to visitors of the Tower Grove Clinic: today was the last day that the Institute of American Acupuncture and Life Medicine was open for clients. Folks who've been visiting Drs. Duckworth and Hackler are invited to make appointments at the NLT Clinic in Creve Couer. Hours will be available for IAALM clients on Wednesdays and Saturdays; please call 314-991-6044 for details on how schedule a visit to the Creve Couer location.

The Drs. would like to thank all the good people who took visited the Tower Grove Clinic in recent months.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Reading: Yes Magazine

A few weeks back, we asked Dr. Duckworth for some reading recommendations. Not necessarily even pieces that were directly relating to Oriental medicine or acupuncture. Just good reads that might provide a few moments (or, hey, even hours) of thought. He recommended a couple of magazine titles and we'll note one of those today.

It's a deceptively simply-titled 'zine: Yes.

While each edition is loaded with progressive fare, we figure that an interesting way "into" the publication is through one of the subsections. And looking at the online table of contents, one that would probably be of some interest to the NLTC audience is the not-small topics of Agriculture & Food.

Here's a link to that section, which includes text and video.

And since we're already digitally open to the publication, let's take a peek into their archives on the topics of Health & Spirituality.

Friday, February 13, 2009

New class: Monday, February 23

In case you missed it, on Monday evening, February 9th, we discussed "Choosing the Right Diet for Me." We covered basic food groups and ways to think about eating well without having to follow a strict diet. Also, we went over a quick way to evaluate one's basic state of digestive health and why one needs to incorporate both the climate we live in and the season of the year when working out dietary guidelines. In addition, a "foods to eat list" and "grocery list" we're handed out as a staring point.

Our next discussion/class will take place Monday evening, February 23rd at 6:15 p.m. Please join us, at the Clinic, with your questions!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Seeking: Questions, Queries, Comments

Part of the appeal of blogging is the ability for any business, service or organization to connect to its clientele. And the patients of the Natural Life Therapy Clinic are welcome to become a greater part of the digital community of this blog, simply be sending questions, comments or even links. We'll review the content and either post it up, or send it along to Drs. Duckworth and Hackler for their thoughts on the matter.

Curious about a particular form of herbal remedy? Wonder how acupuncture differs at NLTC from other practices in town? Interested in knowing more about the role of diet in your health? In addition to sending questions for stand-alone answers, you can also comment on blog posts, individually.

Also know that we're trying to keep content coming, with blog posts slated on a Monday/Friday or Monday/Wednesday/Friday schedule weekly. Check back frequently for updates, or "follow" the blog, by subscribing at the RSS feed below.

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Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Post-Partum and Well-Baby Care

Traditionally, in Asian cultures, after a woman gives birth, she spends six to ten weeks receiving on-going restorative care to help regain her physical and mental strength. Naturally her "Ki" (energy), has been temporarily depleted after giving birth. Recovery time is different for each woman, however, if her Ki (energy) remains sluggish or stagnant too long then symptoms will often begin to arise, such as, headaches, low back or "unexplained" body pain, digestive issues, irregular periods and more.

In our western medical system we unfortunately don't offer this type of restorative health care to our new mothers, resulting sometimes in unpleasant systems that may become chronic. Working out a schedule of Natural Life Therapy care post delivery will help a mother recover with more ease and help her face some of the wonderful new challenges ahead for her and her family. Balancing the pulses through Meridian Therapy, utilizing acupuncture, energetic bodywork, diet, herbs, and supplements if needed, we often find women feeling much better within two or three treatments.

As some of you know, many families have employed Natural Life Therapy Clinic in addressing infertility and pre-natal issues with much satisfaction. Post natal care and pediatrics are also specialties of our clinic. What many don't know is that we provide well-baby care for the first year of life free of charge. A specialist of Shonishin (needleless acupuncture), a gentle non-invasive system of pediatric health care, we seek to help the new born grow strong with a healthy immune system and properly functioning digestive system. Treatment can lend support as the baby strengthens and thrives in those first twelve months.

We know you may have good medical care. We want you to have great Health Care!

For more articles and previous newsletters please see our website.

With warm regards,
Thomas Duckworth L.Ac., DKM
Jason Hackler L.Ac.
Mary Wallis L.Ac.
Mallory Reed
Sharon Reed

Monday, February 2, 2009

Health Alert: High Fructose Corn Syrup & Mercury

By Jason Hackler, NLTC

We, at Natural Life Therapy Clinic, want to keep you informed of health issues and concerns that may affect us all. A few days ago, January 26th, the HealthDay News came out with a news piece on the following:

According to two US studies almost half of tested samples of commercial high-fructose corn syrup contained mercury. Mercury was also found in almost a third of 55 popular brand name food and beverage products where high fructose corn syrup is the first or second ingredient (Washington Post).

High fructose corn syrup in recent years has replaced sugar as a sweetener in many products, such as, cereals, breads, yogurts, soups, lunch meats, condiments and any number of beverages, especially soft drinks. There is already much concern about this over-use and side effects of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) which I'll explain in more depth in the next newsletter. Mercury is part of the natural world, however, overexposure to it can pose a health threat, causing any number of unwanted symptoms.

Please inform yourself as best you can of what you're consuming. High fructose corn syrup is usually found in the ingredient list on labels; mercury, of course, at least presently, is not listed. One solution: avoid most products with high fructose corn syrup – manufacturers use it because it's cheap and has a long shelf life, not because it's good for Your Health.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Kototama Medicine, My Story

By Dr. Thomas E. Duckworth, DKM, L.Ac.

There is a Japanese phrase, Hari wa hito nari, translated as "Acupuncture is an expression of the person. That is, acupuncture is an art and artists have their own personal way with the needle. It's been stated that great acupuncturists "all needle in a way that's idiosyncratic to their own personality." (Traditional Japanese Acupuncture, Robert Hayden, Dipl. Ac.; 1999.)

Masahilo M. Nakazono Osensei taught his students to treat, trust and respect the needle as a samurai treated, trusted and respected his/her sword. Sensei was an extraordinary artist and highly trained samurai. When I first met Sensei, my desire was not so much the medicine, I wanted to study him. In fact, I have stated that if Sensei had been a bicycle repairman, I'd be fixing bikes now. However, he was a medicine man and one of the most influential persons of my life.

I began my professional acupuncture practice June 1980 in Santa Fe, two days after I graduated from the Kototama Institute. My schooling was a unique form of Japanese Hari (acupuncture), Okyu (moxibustion), Te a te (bodywork), Shoni-shin (non-needle pediatric therapy) and Shokuji (diet) known as Kototama Natural Life Medicine. This system was developed by Dr. Masahilo M. Nakazono (Osensei) and included Roku-Bu-Jio-Yi (‘both hands, six pulses' diagnosis), Jingei (Carotid artery diagnosis), Keiraku Chiryo (Meridian Therapy), Kototama Gogio (Kototama Five Element Principles), Ampuku (Abdominal diagnosis & treatment), Sakai Hon Li Te a te (Abdominal handwork handed down by Sakai Sensei), Gogio Anma and Shiatsu (Five Element bodywork), Nakazono Kappo (muscular/skeletal therapy), Sotai (muscle reprogramming therapy), traditional dietary practices and the study and practice of Kototama Sound meditation and therapeutics.

I was introduced to the study of the Kototama Principle in 1974. I began my studies of Oriental Medicine with Masahilo Nakazono Sensei in 1977 after experiencing his medicine on my wife, my son, my daughter and finally, myself, when he saved a severely infected finger from amputation. I asked if I could study with him; he consented and when I had completed my basic studies in 1980, I continued as his apprentice for eight more years. All my studies throughout those years were through Sensei.

In 1986, I presented my research on the interpretation of the Roku-Bu-Jio-Yi pulses viewed through the paradigm of the Kototama Principle and Osensei presented me with a Doctor of Kototama Life Medicine degree in 1987. I am the only graduate of the Kototama Institute to achieve this rank and honor. The system of diagnosis and clinical care I provide is termed Inochi (Japanese: Life) Medicine.

This blog is aimed at patients, acupuncturists, students and friends. It is intended to share some of my knowledge and experiences I have gained in 29 years of study and practice of Kototama Inochi Medicine. It is hoped that this will inspire discussion and further study of all aspects of healing and the healing process.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Q's for Dr. Duckworth: That First Time Visit

This week, Dr. Duckworth received a note from a potential first-time patient, who was inquiring about treatment options for a combination of panic attacks and persistent pain in the feet. His response is below, which would be applicable to first-time patients, of all stripes:


Your first visit includes a health history from the medical model of classic oriental medicine, Five Element Meridian Pulse diagnosis, treatment (acpuncture/moxibustion & Inochi bodywork) and consultation (diet, life-style, herbs, supplements, do-at-home soaks, etc; everyone is different, so different strokes for different folks). The treatment is to address the body's Life Energy and its capacity to self-heal. The symptoms you exhibit need to be addressed, but our concern is the energetic disharmony that allowed that/those symptom(s) to arise. The diagnosis (the reading of 17 pulses in the wrists and neck) guides the treatment plan. Therefore, treatments may be on the back, abdomen, legs,arms (and may or may not be anywhere near the site of symptoms). I hope this answers your question,Dr. Thomas E. Duckworth, L.Ac.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Reschedule of "Choosing the Right Diet for Me"

Health in the Modern World informational classes ~

"Choosing the Right Diet for Me" will be held again on Monday, February 9th, due to the weather conditions Monday, January 26th.

We know that it can be overwhelming attempting to choose a particular diet or even to make a list of the "right" foods to buy. Many dietary programs are very strict, one-sided, or do not take enough into account individual needs. In this discussion we hope to alleviate some of these concerns and hopefully help to make the process of choosing food more interesting and fun.

We will take a look at food groups, the basic process of digestion, the climate we live in and choosing diet, diet through the seasons, making an initial self-assessment of one's own relative state of health when choosing certain foods, and a list of possible foods to eat!

Please join us with your questions ~ NLT...

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Reminder: Diet Class this Monday, Jan. 26

Beginning in January, 2009, Natural Life Therapy Clinic will hold free informational classes two Monday evenings a month, at the NLTC. All classes are open to the public and are from 6:15 - 7:30 p.m.. The classes are titled "Health in the Modern World" and will cover varied sub-topics.

This Monday's session will be: "Choosing the Right Diet for Me."

Please join us with questions concerning you.

For more info, see:

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Conversations with Dr. Duckworth: Acupuncture & Kids (pt. 2)

Q: Do you think that kids share, with one another, their opinions of acupuncture?

A: School kids, definitely. The feedback from children that I've talked to about it is that they talk about it at school. There's an appliance I use that the kids call "dragon eggs." They're small and are ionized and place at the acupuncture points. And they're kept on for several days . They are definitely used at school for show-and-tell. Kids, once they get to seven or eight, talk about it and are curious about the experiences.

Q: Are there anecdotes that you can point to lately, in which there was a really positive outcome for the patient?

A: The most recent one was a child I've been seeing for a little over a year. He's 11-years-old, now. He came to me with a very severe case of Tourette's Syndrome. He was having problems at school, with his studies. His tics and gestures were quite noticeable. Over the months, he's progressed. To the point where last May, the school nurse indicated how much he'd improved. And now, he's doing quite well in school. He has still a little bit of a tic. I'm seeing him every three weeks now. It was twice-a-week, then once a week. Now about twice a month. Yesterday, I saw him and the mother was telling me that his family in Illinois over Christmas - aunts and uncles and grandparents - all said to her how much he'd improved since their last visit.

Most of the feedback we get is from parents. The kids coming in with allergies, or the like, just know that they're coughing or not coughing. But the parents do note the successes.

Q: To dovetail back to one of your original points, obviously you're suggesting that kids who are in otherwise good shape, still benefit from acupuncture.

A: Yes, the child who is developing an immune system almost needs that cold, almost needs the germs, to build up that system. But to lessen the impact, to allow the body to adapt better to treatments, meridian therapy is very beneficial. True for adults, too. People come in for a cause, or symptoms, the same as they would with western medical doctors. But once we get them over that hump, we instruct them to come in seasonally for a tune-up, to stay healthy. It's a lot easier to stay healthy, than it is to get healthy, or to regain what we've lost.

We'd certainly encourage children and their parents to come periodically to get checked-up, seasonally. In Oriental medicine, we recognize five seasons of the year. There's spring, summer, fall and winter, the four that we all talk about. But there's a fifth season that exists between the seasons. That time in March when you have days that are very spring-like, but the night-time will still be cold and wintry. It's not full spring, yet. The same in May, a season when the day is so hot that you want to go swimming, but by night-fall, you want to put a sweater on. That's the fifth season. That's the ideal time to be seen. It's been said that the cold you get today is not from what you did yesterday, but from the choices you made six-, eight- or 10-weeks ago. If you have a head-cold today, it's not because of not wearing a hat yesterday, that's nonsense; it's about what you did in December.

If a person comes in as the seasons are shifting, we can correct them energetically, adjust what the body's been going through since the last season. That's done environmentally, dietarily. The body will simply have different needs. We guide the parent and the child to get healthy, so that they don't need us. Ultimately, we want to go out of business, though that's unlikely to happen right away.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Conversations with Dr. Duckworth: Acupuncture & Kids (pt. 1)

Q: Tell us about children and the practice. How often do you see them as patients and what are their expectations?

A: The evolution of Oriental medicine, in general, is that it addresses the basics of what the Chinese call qi and the Japanese call ki, the vital forces, the vital energies that make up the function of cells. The medicine originated as a preventive health care system. It's only in modern times, in the west, that it's been used to address disease and dysfunction. Originally, it was used to maintain proper function, before the dysfunction arose. Sometime back in history - with what I call the original HMOs - an entity (a family, a clan, a village, a tribe) would collectively hire a physician to care for them. They all paid into the pot. Everyone put money into his or her purse, and if everyone in the village became sick, they were cut off completely. It was the job of the physician to keep the group healthy, not to get them healthy. Which is quite different than what we have nowadays.

The aspect of treating children is the same, this aspect of preventive health care. In modern times, we are stuck with unhealthy people, post-healthy people. In what we see children for, we have post-baby wellness clinics. We treat children for allergies, inner-ear problems, digestive issues. A child I'm treating has Tourette's syndrome. We deal with asthmatic conditions, hyperactivity, food allergies. A broad spectrum.

There is a technique that we use in our practice, and that I teach to other practitioners, called Shonishin. It developed in Osaka, Japan, about 300 years ago. It's a system of very gentle, non-invasive use of the acupuncture points. We don't use needles, we use stimulating tools, basically rubbing the skin to bring energy to the surface. Shonishin is very effective for very many health issues and health maintenance. We use a very generalized system. In Osaka, they treat children around the full moon, bringing children in for therapuetic work.

We need to emphasize that we do a lot of work around infertility, pre-natal care and something most people don't pay enough attention to, post-natal care. For the first year after birth, we're going to offer a program to help immune the child's immune system, digestive system.

As a broad statement to your question, about 12-15% of our practice is pediatric. We work with a lot of children.

Q: With that group, are there expectation from them, at their age? Are they pretty open-minded to what work you'll do?

A: Kids often will get in the car and go wherever mom and dad tell them to. They often don't have expectations. Those aged seven-on-up can be more inquisitive. "What are you doing? Why?" I've had occasions when children eight or nine have said, "I don't want Shonishin, I want the needles!" They've been insistent on getting the acupuncture needles. Children from birth up to age seven tend to come in simply because somebody brought them. They're not as philosophical or meditative on it. They go to a doctor and do what a doctor tells them to do.

Children here can be reticent because I'm a stranger. And there's more hands-on medicine. Some of them very much appreciate that. Years ago, I had a 17-year-old who was interviewed about this medicine and she said, "Oh, I love it." And I asked why and she said, "Because they touch me. It's not a doctor sitting across a wide, wide desk just asking questions. There's someone actually in there investing themselves in me." Granted, she was 17, and not seven, but she had that appreciation for hands-on medicine.

I work with a couple kids who are super-hyperactive. Some parents bring in kids for other such issues. One kid with hyperactivity can't hold still or even stay still on the table, doesn't have any hesitancy getting on the table for treatment. He actually looks forward to it.

While kids don't have high expectations, they don't have disappointments, either.

(Part two of this chat coming on Wednesday.)