How to Battle the Back to School Bug

by Dr. Shelese Pratt ND @ The Pratt Clinics

Boulder, Colorado

It’s that time of year again. Fall is the time of year when our kids go back to school and we dread every sign of a sniffle, cough, and sore throat. There are some great ways to keep you and your child healthy through this season.

From a Chinese medicine perspective, lung energy (qi) is more vulnerable this time of year.  So, fall is a good time of year to start eating more cooked foods. It’s time to stop feeding your children salad and switch to bone broth and steamed vegetables. The body needs more warmth as the temperatures start to get colder outside.

Getting more sleep is also very important to keeping our adrenals and immune system healthy. Elementary school children need at least 10-12 hours. Middle school aged children need 9-10 hours of sleep. Teenagers and adults need between 7-9 hours of sleep. Everyone has a sweet spot of just enough sleep to keep them feeling their best. I have a 12-year-old son who is so much better behaved and focused when he gets at least 10 hours of sleep.  Most of our kids have gotten used to staying up late over the summer and we need to dial back their bedtime. Getting enough rest is important to keeping the immune system functioning at it’s best.  If we start getting them to bed early before they go back to school, their adrenals won’t be so stressed when the alarm goes off on the first day of school. That way they aren’t starting the year tired or wired from early mornings.

Sugar wipes out the immune system. I suggest going easy on sweets this time of year. You might choose to avoid ice cream now that summer is over. Remember cold foods this time of year are not a good option. This is because the body is already vulnerable to the temperatures outside getting colder at the same time. Warm apple crisp with a little coconut sugar would be a better dessert choice.

Reducing stress is important to keeping the immune system healthy. By eating warm healthy foods, getting enough sleep, and reducing sugar consumption, you will reduce internal stress. This will keep you and your child healthy and more focused as we start this school year.   Having well rested and well fed children makes every parent’s job easier and less stressful. Mornings can be tough to get anywhere. The beginning of school is probably one of hardest times to get everything together. 

Don’t forget to take your Vitamin D and probiotics this fall. These both help keep your immune system strong all winter and they also help lift your mood as we head into the darkest time of year.

Let’s start the year with success and health! If you or your child suffers every fall from colds and flu, it might be a good time to come in and have a consultation with me. I have many wonderful immune boosting supplements and/or herbs that will keep you well all fall and winter long.

To see the areas I focus on in Pediatrics click here


Chew On This, and Chew Well

by Dr. Shelese Pratt ND @ The Pratt Clinics

Boulder, Colorado

I am asked regularly about how I feel about digestive enzymes. Most people are surprised when I tell them I don’t like using digestive enzymes for more than a couple months. This is because if you use them for too long, you can cause the pancreas to reduce it’s own production of digestive enzymes.

Let’s talk about digestion for a second. The majority of carbohydrate digestion happens in the mouth. Yes, that means you need to slow down and chew your food. That also means you should not drink while you are chewing your food. You need that amylase to mix with your food to break down your carbohydrates.

Food goes into the stomach for protein digestion. You need stomach acid (pepsinogen and HCL) to break down proteins. If you do not have enough stomach acid because you have a food sensitivity, you take antacids, or you have another reason you do not make enough acid, you will not only neglect to break down your proteins, but you will also feel like your food doesn’t move out of your stomach after eating.

Next, the food enters the small intestine. It must be acidic to trigger the pancreas to release its enzymes. I find that most people haven’t chewed their food enough or they have problems with stomach acid production and that’s why they would need more pancreatic enzymes. If you take pancreatic enzymes you are not treating the real cause of the problem. In fact, you are telling your own pancreas to stop making enzymes because your pill has it covered.  Consider eating more bitter greens and chewing your food and your gas and bloating will go away without having to take a pill. I am always here if your symptoms persist, you can call me and we will find answers.

I treat many different digestive conditions. See more here. 

A Note On Weightloss

Check out this fascinating article by Live Science about the struggle with obesity. This article scientifically explains how the brain works when it comes to cravings, eating habits, and how depression affects the body. The battle with weight gain and self-esteem is one everyone has experienced at one point in time. My favorite quote from the article- “There are obstacles which stand in the way of weight loss, but by learning about these obstacles we are better equipped to tackle them.” Ain’t that the truth!


What kind of overwhelm do you have?

by Dr. Shelese Pratt ND @ The Pratt Clinics

Boulder, Colorado

Overwhelm is part of life. It is a wonderful stress response if used correctly. If we step off a curb in New York City and almost get hit by a bus; it’s ok that we can’t do long division in our head at that moment; we just need to get out of the street! But when we feel like this all the time, overwhelm can cripple us. Overwhelm makes us shut down, go numb, or retract from our lives. How can we thrive when our brains are in a traffic jam? In order to succeed, we need our minds to stay present and keep us moving forward.

I see two kinds of overwhelm in my practice. We can feel overwhelmed by everything or in specific situations all the time. For some of us reading, listening, moving our bodies, or just trying to pay attention can make us feel overwhelmed. Others find our selves in circumstances that feel overwhelming but as they pass, we feel better and can move forward. Maybe we have too much to do or we are starting something new and just feel stuck in that area of our life. Feeling chronically overwhelmed can prevent us from living a full life. Let’s talk about solutions that will help us control this debilitating pattern in our lives.

Most of the people that I see for Crossinology Brain Integration Technique (BIT) feel overwhelmed in some area of their life all the time. Many of my patients feel like information is coming at them too fast. When we can’t process information we can get emotional, daydream, or disconnect from our environment.  What causes this? When the white matter between the two hemispheres of the brain is not functioning well, we get overwhelmed quickly. BIT is the best way to increase the function of this highway between the two sides of the brain. When we get our neurological systems integrated, we see our lives become easier. When we have bi-hemispheric function we can stay with things; we can move our bodies more efficiently; we can speak clearly; we can stay focused and ultimately we can succeed and stay connected. I have seen this therapy help all kinds of overwhelm. Many conditions benefit: ADD, Dyslexia, Auditory Processing Disorder, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Developmental Delay, Cerebral Palsy, Genetic Disorders, and many more. I recently had a patient who didn’t have a specific learning disorder but had terrific gains in her life after BIT. She was in her 40’s and she decided she wanted to go back to school for nursing but struggled in her schoolwork. She went though BIT and is getting straight A’s now. BIT can help overwhelm at any age.

Some of us bite off more than we can chew. I get it; I am one of these people. Here are 7 ways to manage stress and overwhelm. 

Remember to breathe. Taking deep breaths can calm down your fight or flight response and reduce your stress hormones. I suggest taking 10 deep breaths and counting 4 seconds in, holding your breath for 4 seconds, and then letting your breath out to a count of 4 seconds. Try doing this exercise multiple times a day, especially if you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed.

Don’t expect perfection. Let go of perfection, it doesn’t exist. Try to change your motto to ‘I always do my best and that is all I can do’. The less pressure you put on yourself the better you feel.

One hour at a time, One day at a time. Break your time down and prioritize what needs to happen in that hour. Don’t look ahead to everything you need to do.

Remember to set realistic goals. In a perfect world we could do everything in one day but we are not superhuman.

Write it down. Spend 5-10 minutes at the beginning of the day writing down everything you need to accomplish. When you write things down, your brain doesn’t constantly have to remind you of what needs to be done.

Meditate. Meditation is the best way to clear your mind. There are all kinds of meditation styles.  If you go to my website, I have a few links to show you how to meditate. I think the easiest way to meditate is to focus on the present moment. How does your skin feel? Are you breathing shallow or deep? What does your body sense?

Remember self-care. Exercise regularly, sleep 8 hours per night, laugh hard everyday, eat healthy food, and stay connected to your loved ones.

Overwhelm does not need to control your life. If you try these 7 steps and still feel overwhelmed, give my office a call at 303-652-0978. I have solutions to help you. How do you deal with your overwhelm?


Spring Allergies Have Sprung

by Dr. Shelese Pratt ND @ The Pratt Clinics

Boulder, Colorado

It’s that sniffling, sneezing, itchy-eyed, drowsy time of year again. If you suffer from seasonal allergies or asthma, spring can be a difficult time of year. Luckily there are natural solutions to help you feel great during allergy season.

To reduce your exposure to allergens:

  • Keep your windows closed at home and in your car. This means if you need fresh air, use your air conditioner on a recalculating setting, and have your cabin air filter replaced if you have one.
  • Replace your home furnace filter.
  • Increase your laundry temperature and wash your bedding and pillows frequently. Research shows that most people who suffer from seasonal allergies also have allergies to dust mites.
  • Limit outdoor activity when pollen counts are high. Don’t go outside more than necessary on windy days.
  • Shower prior to going to bed, and thoroughly wash your hair. Pollen settles in your clothes and on your body throughout the day.
  • Keep Fido and Felix out of your bedroom. Pets also collect pollen in their hair and fur.
  • Change your clothes after spending time outdoors.
  • Get 8 hours of restorative sleep a night.
  • Avoid environmental exposure to toxins.
  • Air pollution also exacerbates seasonal allergies and asthma.

Treat your gut

  • Avoid leaky gut by limiting sugar and refined carbohydrates, reducing antibiotic use and avoiding emotional stress.
  • Take a high quality probiotic. These “good” bacteria reduce inflammation and help manage your immune response to allergens. For example, Saccharomyces cerevisiae has shown to reduce inflammation and protect the mucous membranes by increasing immune protection against allergens.
  • Avoid foods that increase mucous and cause inflammation
  • Dairy, wheat, tomato, refined sugar, and spicy food can create more mucous production.
  • Avoid alcohol on the days you are symptomatic.
  • Uncover your specific food allergies by running high quality IgG and IgA testing.  

Contact my office to set up an appointment: 303-284-3180. Through testing and personal health analysis, I can help you find the best natural remedies for your seasonal allergies and asthma.

Check Out the Facelift We Gave

My name is Dr. Shelese Pratt, N.D., (Naturopathic Doctor). I’m excited to invite you to check out our new Website and all of the useful health information at My new Website offers dynamic, up to date information on naturopathic medicine and Brain Integration Technique (BIT). With frequent updates to the site, and my bi-weekly blog, you will have a great health resource at your fingertips. I’m happy to help you find ways to keep your family healthy!

Here’s a little bit about me: I specialize in pediatric neurology and I’m also a family practice doctor.  I use classical homeopathy, nutrition (diet and nutritional supplements), botanicals, and hydrotherapy. I treat patients with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), Cerebral Palsy, PVL, Global Development Delay, Angelman Syndrom, learning difficulties (ADD, ADHD, and dyslexia), sensory processing disorders, autistic spectrum disorders, and mood disorders. In addition to classical naturopathic medical protocols, I employ Crossinology’s Brain Integration Technique (BIT) in my practice. I treat patients (national and international), at my main clinic in Niwot, Colorado, as well as my Fairfield, Connecticut office.

Rather than just treat your symptoms, I provide treatment that will heal the root cause of your issue. Visit me at today or call 303-652-0978. Like us on Facebook.

Take Time to Establish a Rhythm

by Dr. Shelese Pratt ND @ The Pratt Clinics

Boulder, Colorado

For our families, the transition into fall is a big change from the long free-flowing days of summer vacation. One of the most important things we can do for our health is establish a predictable, internal rhythm. A predictable rhythm allows our bodies to function at their best, reduce our stress and is a key component for optimal endocrine system functioning.

The endocrine system influences almost every single function, cell, and organ in our bodies. Physical growth and development and immune system function; using, maintaining and storing energy; vital functions like metabolism, digestion, sleep, and stress response are all functions of the endocrine system.

Proper nutrition, the right amount of sleep, exercise and hydration in a set rhythm are the key components of healthy endocrine function. Consistent sleep patterning, exercising, walking, and even going to the bathroom at the same time each day promotes a positive and healthy sense of well-being. When we feel our best, we are much less effected by external stress.

Without a definitive rhythm, our bodies clunk and bang along like unbalanced washing machines. When we go to bed at varied times, our bodies do not know when needed rest is coming; this can result in feeling tired throughout the day and/or the inability to fall asleep or wake up at night. When we skip meals and eat at varied times we can feel hungry all day, or be tempted to snack; our bodies don’t know when they will have sustenance. This lack of rhythm affects the adrenals, melatonin production, blood sugar levels and cortisol production (functions of the endocrine system). Ultimately, this has a very negative affect on our quality of sleep, mood, energy level, ability to concentrate and immune system. When we eat at consistent times throughout the day, and go to bed at a consistent time each night, we prepare our bodies and minds to function at their absolute best. During times of high stress, it is especially important that we keep a rhythm.

Try taking a small amount of time each day to focus on establishing a predictable rhythm. Provide your body with the comfort that you will provide what it needs, when needed. Rhythm is vital to our health and wellbeing. 

In my next blog I will discuss the importance of nutrition and provide some creative, easy ways for everyone in the family to get the nutrition they need to feel their best.



by Dr. Shelese Pratt ND @ The Pratt Clinics

Boulder, Colorado


Expanding on my last blog about establishing a healthy rhythm and optimal endocrine functioning, I’ll now focus on the nutritional piece of the three critical areas (nutrition, water and sleep) for a stronger and healthier you! 

Most importantly, our bodies need protein and fiber. Protein is involved in virtually every cellular function and is critically important for energy, concentration, movement, balancing blood sugar and moods, detoxification, boosting the immune system, and building and maintaining muscles, organs, connective tissue, bones, skin and teeth. You can hardly name a body part for which protein is not of paramount importance for growth and development. Getting a healthy amount of protein in our system at breakfast and lunch is critical if you want to feel your best throughout the day. 

Fiber is equally important. Fiber increases energy stores, boosts the immune system, manages blood sugar levels.  Fiber helps lower cholesterol, blood pressure, and the risks of heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, obesity and numerous gastrointestinal diseases – all of which are affecting children at younger and younger ages.

Here are some easy ways to eat healthy fiber and lean protein for breakfast and lunch:    

  • Rotate between nitrate-free chicken or turkey sausage, bacon, eggs, and protein powders; try hemp, pea, rice or whey (if dairy is tolerated).
  •  Include protein powders in pancakes, waffles, and smoothie recipes. You  can make ahead of time and freeze or refrigerate for quick access on school/work mornings. 
  •  Include dark leafy greens such as Kale, Spinach, or Chard in smoothies.
  •  Encourage a diversity of whole grains such as whole oats, whole wheat, quinoa, buckwheat, amaranth, wild rice, spelt, kamut.
  •  Avoid high sugar, processed cereals, instant oatmeal, and many gluten-free products – kids can burn right through these foods as rapidly as 30 minutes and then have nothing left in the tank. 
  •  Grab a handful of nuts or include a nut butter in your smoothie! Almonds, cashews, walnuts and sunflower and pumpkin seeds are all great choices. 
  • Try changing the concept of what you eat for breakfast and offer veggies, chicken breast, etc.

Try out a couple of my favorite breakfast recipes!

  • Dr. Pratt’s oatmeal: 2 cups gluten free oats, 1 pear, 1 apple, 2 tbsp raisins, 1 tsp of coconut oil, 1 tbsp chia or flax seeds. 
  • Dr. Pratt’s morning smoothie: 4 pieces of kale, 1/3 cup mixed berries, 1/2 banana, 4 tbsp of hemp powder. 

Visit us again for more useful information about nutrition, sleep and being well!



by Dr. Shelese Pratt ND @ The Pratt Clinics

Boulder, Colorado


Now that I have touched on the importance of daily rhythm and nutrition as two critical components of healthy endocrine functioning, I will focus on the third piece; sleep. So often we hear how important it is to get plenty of sleep, yet as a society, our priorities tend to shift away from this. Millions of Americans have difficulty sleeping. Earlier this year the CDC declared sleeplessness a “public health epidemic” affecting both children and adults.  

Our physical health, longevity and well-being are directly affected by the amount and quality of sleep we get. Sleeplessness has been linked to chronic diseases like diabetes, obesity, depression, and heart disease. Additionally, our judgement, mood, immune system, and ability to learn and retain information are all areas that are compromised without adequate, quality sleep. Sleep plays a vital role in repairing our bodies, consolidating memory, detoxification and numerous other rejuvenating functions. 

Our body manages and requires sleep very much in the same way that it regulates our needs for food, water, and respiration. Establishing healthy sleep habits and a rhythm is key. We need to place the same importance on a good night’s sleep that we place on our nutrition, water and exercise habits.

If we don’t have a set bedtime and are constantly pushing through feeling tired (or don’t even know when we’re tired), the quality of sleep is poor. Keeping lights on and staying awake even when we are tired changes our cortisol curve. Blood sugar regulation is off, hormones become “off” and melatonin production is strained. Hormones are released that keep us awake and interfere with sleep the entire night.  

Once in a while this is ok, but if we are always going to bed at different times, then we will lay down and not be able to fall asleep or we lay down and fall asleep right away because our body is exhausted. If we don’t establish a smooth, consistent routine, the body has no idea when it is going to get rest. This cycle burns the adrenals and affects the thyroid, blood sugar levels, hormones, etc., eventually putting a lot of stress on the body. Conversely, it is calming for our body to know when it is going to get rest.  

A healthy amount of continuous sleep depending on one’s age is as follows: 

1-3 years, 14 hours/day

3-6 years, 10-12 hours/day

7-12 years, 10-11 hours/day

12-18 years, 8-9 hours/day

18 and up, 7-8 hours

Some useful tips for getting a good night sleep:

  • If transitioning to an earlier bedtime is difficult, try taking small steps and move your bedtime back by 10 minutes each night to help your body adjust.
  • Turn off lights, cell phones, alarm clock radios, computers, television and electronic reading devices. Lights and electronics overstimulate the adrenals and interfere with quality sleep.
  • Exercise early in the day – exercise releases cortisol and will keep you awake before bed.
  • Avoid stimulating activities or conversations close to bedtime.
  • Do not drink caffeine after 2 p.m.
  • Avoid alcohol, caffeine, chocolate, nicotine – alcohol disrupts sleep in the second half of the night as your body starts to break it down. 
  • Cut out sugar and simple carbohydrates to balance blood sugar – unbalanced blood sugar levels can create sleep disturbances.
  • Don’t eat a heavy (protein-dense or fried) meal before bed – your body won’t be able to rest and digest at same time.
  • Do not drink too much water before bed – it can cause you to wake up to go to the bathroom.
  • Keep the bedroom as a sanctuary for sleep and sex only – no desk or work.
  • Keep your internal clock schedule, maintain the same bedtime and wake time every day and try to stay close to your clock on weekends.
  • Get plenty of exposure to natural light during the day – getting light into the retina helps the pineal gland secret melatonin, helping you sleep better at night. 
  • Establish a relaxing routine or rituals – soothing music or reading, epsom salt bath/shower, lavender essential oil on your pillow, meditation or breath work.
  • Taking calcium or oral magnesium supplements in the evening can also promote a more restful sleep.