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The How and Why of Napping

Rests, Respites, Retreats, Recharges, and Refreshers!

Arnold Shapiro, MD
March – April 2023 • Vol 4, No 3

Napping is a natural-wellness practice. A power nap or cat nap is a short nap that terminates before deep sleep. I have greatly benefited for many decades from brief, early-to-mid-afternoon naps on both workdays and days off. I have derived great benefit from them at no cost.

Many world cultures have time carved out for mid-day naps. In Latin cultures, it’s called a siesta. In Islamic cultures it is called a qailulah. Perhaps a billion people have it built into their lives. Some companies in the USA and abroad have instituted napping rooms or “napping pods” or cubicles in a quiet, dimly-lit room. These companies report that employees are happier and more productive.

Scientific evidence has shown that there is indeed a natural dip in EEG brain waves in early-to-mid afternoons in most people. It’s no surprise that many people drink caffeine after lunch to offset this dip. However, it’s more natural to take a brief nap, if you possibly can. During sleep and naps, the brain gets a chance to clear accumulated waste products and interference patterns.

Here are some specific guidelines about taking naps:

  1. Time your nap for early-to-mid-afternoon, as late-afternoon and evening naps can interfere with nighttime sleep.
  2. Limit naps to 20 minutes.
  3. Find the position that is comfortable and not necessarily in your usual nighttime sleep position.
  4. Consider ear plugs and/or an eye mask as needed to reduce sensory input.
  5. Avoid interruptions. Have a closed door and possibly a Do Not Disturb Your phone should not be in your vicinity, unless you want to use it to set an alarm for 20 minutes.
  6. You might fall asleep, but you don’t have to. Enjoy the respite. Be “in the moment” and non-judgmental.

Inducing naps is a personal matter. Here are some specific techniques:

  1. Attend your breathing for 10 or more breaths. Feel free to count the breaths, 1 to 10, and then backwards from 10 to 1. You can simply say to yourself, “I’m breathing in. I’m breathing out.”
  2. You can try a one-second pause at the end of each part of the breath: “In-breath, pause, out-breath, pause.”
  3. Attend the sound of the breaths, in and out. “Wind arriving inward. Wind exiting outward.” Attend the sensation of the breath in the nostrils. Notice that nasal sensation is subtly different between in-breaths and out-breaths: The in-breath is cool and dry, and the out-breath is warm and moist.
  4. Attending the breaths can include appreciation: “Breathing in, I extend thanks inward. Breathing out, I extend thanks outward.”
  5. During well-paced breathing, facial tensions can be released: “In-breath, lips, out-breath, soft. In-breath, eyes, out-breath, soft.”
  6. Consider alternative body parts as foci during in-breaths and out-breaths. Feel free to imagine that in-breaths come in through your hands and go out through your feet. Say to yourself: “In-breath, hands, out-breath, feet.”
  7. If you work at home, you can use a bed. Darken the room. Set a timer if you like. (There are phone apps such as “Power Nap,” that have white noise and a timer.)

In conclusion, daytime naps, if you can arrange them, are rests, respites, retreats, rechargers, and refreshers. Like any skill, it is best to practice daily or as often as you can.

—Happy Siesta!

2023-02-27T10:15:09-07:00General Wellbeing|

Know Your Breast Density:

Early Matters

Thermography Center of Montana
March – April 2023 • Vol 4, No 3

How do you know your breast density? Get a copy of your mammogram report—the radiology report. The radiologist determines your density rating on findings from the images like these. As you can see, the denser your breast tissue is, the less accurate the mammogram will be at finding breast cancers.

Frequently, the mammogram is followed up with an ultrasound for a better view. Interesting fact: “Studies have shown that ultrasound significantly increases detection of clinically important, small, largely invasive, node-negative cancers.”

And good news! Neither is thermography affected by the dense breast tissue. If “early matters,” adding functional imaging like thermography to your breast-health risk assessment may be a good idea!

Remember the value of thermography—it monitors changes. Stay current with your annual breast thermography. At Thermography Center of Montana, we’re looking forward to hearing from you. Now with offices in Bozeman, Billings, Helena, Great Falls, Missoula, and Kalispell. Make your appointment today!

NOTE: Thermography is not a stand-alone diagnostic tool and does not replace other diagnostic device or examination. It is used as an adjunctive screening tool. For educational purposes only. Always consult with your physician or other qualified health-care provider before undertaking any diet, exercise, or other health program.

2023-03-01T13:04:20-07:00General Wellbeing|

The R&R of Relaxation

Ways to Interrupt Your Stress Response

Arnie Shapiro, M.D.
November – December 2022 • Vol 4, No 1

Why is relaxation important? How can we harness it during busy days? Relaxation is part of the energy equations of life; it is part of natural wellness! Activity of any kind requires energy, consumes energy, and there has to be some means of restoration of energy. I have assembled a list of ten words, all beginning with R, that describe what relaxation is:


What these words encompass is the need to balance effort and rest, for optimal well-being. Stress is an arousal, or “gearing up” that consumes energy. The stress response, also known as the “fight-or-flight response,” activates the Sympathetic Nervous System, for an energy boost/mobilization of quick energy to respond to danger or threat. Relaxation, the opposite of stress, is a “gearing down” of energy use. The relaxation response, also known as the “rest, digest and heal” response, activates the parasympathetic (energy replenishing) nervous system.

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2022-10-29T11:49:28-06:00General Wellbeing|

Painting with Essential Oils

Why I Mixed in Oil of Spikenard

Maria Low
March – April 2022 • Vol 3, No 120

This past year, I moved into a new house. Finding a new home around here is not easy! My realtor eventually located a home built around 1980 that met most of my needs but did not have office space. The only possible space was the outside deck facing the mountains. I purchased the home and began my renovations, walling up the deck to create my office.

During the renovations, I wanted to use supplies that were as nontoxic as possible. I was able to purchase windows from Sierra Pacific to endure the significant Livingston, Montana winds on that corner of the house.

The ceiling and one wall were made from stucco, which we plastered with mud to have a smoother appearance. Then, we primed with white paint and painted the wall with a color called Fruit Cocktail. A friend thought it was a little loud, but when the white bookshelves go in, this will temper the color.

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2022-09-14T09:39:49-06:00General Wellbeing|

Breast Thermography:

What, Why, When & Where?

Kathe Calcagno, CCT II
January – February 2023 • Vol 4, No 2

Thermography is a non-invasive diagnostic technique that allows us to visualize and quantify changes in skin surface temperature. This physiologic screening of thermal changes is often the earliest sign of illness or pathology. For example, in: thyroid dysfunction, inflamed carotid artery, immune dysfunction, auto-immune issues, diabetes, breast abnormality. It can also distinguish whether pain is from muscle, skeletal, myofascial, or root-nerve source.

Thermal Imaging (DITI) has medical doctors interpret the thermal patterns and temperature differentials and determine where the activity is cause for further clinical correlation or should be monitored.

This clinical test is supported by 30 years of research and over 8,000 published medical studies. The procedure takes less than 20 minutes, requires no physical contact, there are no liquids to drink, is 100% safe with NO RADIATION and is FDA approved. Your thermal patterns are assessed by standards set by doctors at Johns Hopkins University.

Better Than Mammography?
They are different screenings—thermography is a screening of function, and mammography a screening of structure. We usually can detect potential pathology before it is picked up by a mammogram. Thermography and mammography together have approximately a 96–98 percentile of accuracy. Thermography is non-invasive, with no radiation or compression and looks at the upper chest wall and underarm lymph nodes.


  • 80% of breast lumps are NON-cancerous.
  • 70% of breast cancers are found through breast self-exams.
  • About 80% of women diagnosed with breast cancer have no family history of breast cancer.
  • One of the largest and longest studies of mammography to date, involving 90,000 women followed for 25 years, found that mammograms have absolutely NO IMPACT on breast cancer mortality!
  • Over the course of the study, the death rate from breast cancer was virtually identical between those who received an annual mammogram and those who did not.
  • 22% of screen-detected, invasive breast cancers were also over-diagnosed, leading to unnecessary treatment.
  • A law has been passed in 24 states that requires patients be informed if they have “dense breast tissue” and that they may want to discuss their “screening options” with their primary physician because mammography isn’t the best screening for dense tissues.

We are happy to answer questions, or you can make an appointment for safe and reliable thermography through our Missoula office at (406) 541-8444. Also, please visit our website to see the dates we are mobile for Bozeman, Great Falls, Helena, Kalispell, and Missoula.

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