Monday, October 14, 2013

Healthy Movements for Fibromyalgia

Hello everyone! I apologize for the long delay. Life sometimes gets in the way as we are going along. Been tending to some family medical issues and working on my new upcoming book, Is There  Diet For Chronic Illness? My time seems to have been narrowed to a short 20-hour day! But I still insist on a FULL 8 hour sleep. Nothing gets done without that! It's a priority! The following is a summary of our October 8th Mishawaka Fibromyalgia Support Group Meeting. I separated the actual "movements" from the dialog, so that you could print out what section you'd want to keep handy!

Introduction to Dave Shahl’s “Movements”             10-8-13 

The very first thing Dave wanted to share with us was that we should ignore the word "exercise." Like myself, he prefers the word "movement."   

Our bodies have 60 billion cells,  and they continually die and regenerate on a weekly, monthly, and three and four-monthly basis. In fact, after 4 months you literally have a brand new body! But cells become lazy if they don't move. So when you are eating and feeding them, you want them to be active and functional so that they can effectively absorb nutrients and oxygen and rebuild themselves and make new healthy cells. Moving keeps our metabolism up, and keeps our muscles stronger and healthier. Your movement keeps your cells active enough to function effectively, then die off when their time comes and rebuild new, stronger, "younger cells."  This is rejuvenation! This is how we stay young!  

Dave told of a study done by the Harvard Alumni of 17,000 men which showed that the more they moved, the longer they lived. He also told us, however, that there is a break-down point. For example he explained that every mile you put in (walk) the healthier you become. BUT if you go over a certain point, your body succumbs to high stress, where your body begins making excess free radicals, and you become more prone to stress injuries. Walking 1-2 miles is good; walking 3-6 miles is optimal. But walking over 6 miles a day can prove damaging to the body in the long haul. 6,000 to 10,000 steps per day, i.e., 20-30 minutes or 40 -60 minutes per day is optimal. [All this walking, of course, is assuming one is able to walk this much...just saying.]   

Dave also said we should plan our movements. Simple things like using the stairs when possible. Even if you walk down and ride the elevator up, those stairs you take, DO help. And in good weather, don't drive around the block or parking lot wasting gas looking for a closer parking space, park where you can, and do a bit of walking before you get into the building. So many of us sit to eat breakfast, sit in the car on the way to work, sit at our desk, then sit at lunch, sit in the car on the way home and sit in front of the TV all night. All this sitting does not move our bodies enough to regenerate cells.  

Moving, however, doesn't need to be a huge, painful effort. For example, it takes more energy to stand than it does to sit. At Notre Dame there are computer rooms that have no chairs, but have the computers on counters and people stand to do their work. This is actually an energetic way to work and rejuvenates cells. If you were to stand during the commercials as you watch TV and do a few of the movements listed below, you would be rejuvenating your cells too. You would live longer, have younger healthier cells, your food and oxygen would absorb better and more efficiently, and you would ultimately feel better. Dave told of a woman who lived to be 126 years old. She rode her bicycle until she was 110! How's that for longevity - and energy! Look at nearly all the long-lived persons you hear about in the news or TV - they are all active. The activity actually keeps them active! 

There is a fine line for each of us however. We must all work our way UP to tolerance. The idea of “no pain no gain” is not exactly the way to go for most of us. Working a little bit more every day to work up to a comfortable pace is the key. As far as a regularity of moving, he feels that 45 minutes two to three times a week in his free "exercise" class at St Paul's (see info below) or on your own, plus doing our movements every day to stay active, will help immeasurably.  

Water therapy is ideal too. A swimming pool is perfect "exercise" as the water presses against our muscles as we use them, thereby nearly doubling our efforts. Walking in the water and just paddling around is sufficient...laps are not exactly necessary. I did mention to him that many of us are chemical sensitive, and would need to find a pool with a tolerable amount of chlorine and not too much. Also, some are temperature sensitive and the water can’t be too cold or too warm. But even still, if it's at all possible doing the following movements in water, or just walking or paddling around in the pool will help tremendously in easing pain, and rebuilding young healthy cells! 
Dave Stahl’s "Movements:"

As Given to the Mishawaka Fibromyalgia Support Group
                                                                                                                                  October 8, 2013

Most of these can be done sitting in a straight chair with feet comfortably flat on the floor, thighs parallel to the floor - a kitchen chair, for example. Or they can be done standing. You can even stand and do them during TV commercials. Do each exercise 4-6 times or more - working up to tolerance – 12 times each is ideal. 

-turn your head slowly to look right, then slowly turn your head to look left

-look up slowly, then down 

-lean your right ear to right shoulder, then left ear to left shoulder

-stretch arms out and make circles going forward, then make circles going backward

-with elbows at your sides, reach hands out in front and make circles to the right with your
wrists, then to the left.

-with elbows at your side, reach hands out and make circles inward with your wrists, then make
circles going outward.

-with elbows at your sides, hands out front, bend wrists down, then up

-with elbows at your sides, hands out front, bend wrists left, then right

-with hand touching your right shoulder, use your elbow to draw a circle in the air, rotating
shoulder in a forward circle, then in a backward circle

- repeat shoulder rolls, with left shoulder, forward and backward

Note: remain totally relaxed in these movements. Do not force anything, but move a little bit more each time you do them.

-standing behind, and holding the back of a chair, lean slightly to the left, to raise you right ankle
slightly, then bend your right ankle up, then down

-in the same position, move your right ankle to the left, then to the right

-in the same position, rotate your ankle in a circle to the left, then in a circle to the right

-repeat the previous three steps with the left ankle

- standing behind, and holding the back of a chair, lean slightly to the left, and swing your whole
right leg forward, then backward

-in the same position, swing your right leg around in a forward circle, then in a backward circle

-repeat the previous two steps with the left leg 

-stand with hands on hips or to the side, roll hips around in a circle to the left, then in a circle to
the right

-standing in an open area, hands on hips, slowly bend your body forward at the waist, then bend
your body backward

-in the same position, slowly bend your body sideways to the right at the waist, then bend
sideways to the left


-standing behind and holding onto the back of a chair, take a single step back, and spread your
feet to shoulder width apart, then squat down half way, pushing your butt way out behind
you, so that your torso is parallel to the floor, hold that position for a few seconds and repeat.

-standing behind and holding the back of a chair, step back 3-4 steps – you’ll be leaning at an
angle. Begin doing slow gentle push-ups against the back of the chair.
Keep your body straight and elbows flexible. Start with 5 push-ups and work up to tolerance over time working up to 12. Over 12 is too much. [I had a hard time doing 3 the first time.] 

Once your muscles are fatigued, they will begin to rebuild, new young healthy cells.  

For BACK PAIN: Nearly every activity we do requires we lean forward and push or pull or reach etc. To relax your back muscles, stand with hands on hips and slowly bend your body backward at the waist. Do this exercise after driving for long periods, or sitting at a desk, or pushing a vacuum, or lifting grandkids, etc 

~While standing at the kitchen sink doing dishes, we all lean at an uncomfortable angle slightly forward. To relax your back, open the doors under the sink and as you do the dishes, put one foot up on the inside of the cabinet. Then switch feet. This relieves the strain on your low back area.  

~When sleeping on your side, place a pillow between your knees and calves to relax the hip area. ALSO, roll up a towel and place it in the curve at your waist. This helps to keep your spine straight between shoulders and hips. 

~When sleeping on your back, place a pillow under the back of your knees. Also, roll up a towel and place under the small of your back. Again, this helps to keep your spine straight between shoulders and hips. 

~I might interject here that it is important to use the correct pillow – one that fills in the curve at the neck and allow the head to be in perfect alignment with the rest of your spin. This will prevent your chin from going down to your chest and cutting off your airway – it actually opens up your airway and keeps your chin perpendicular to your spine, allowing oxygen to flow freely.

            Dave then demonstrated kinesiology, or muscle testing. This is an excellent way to test foods, supplements, anything, to see if they will benefit your body. Here is a YouTube video demonstration:

Dave told us how very important it is to relax. We all know what stress can do to a body, especially our own body! He then demonstrated a bit about EFT, Emotional Freedom Technique. The basic original EFT explanation and directions can be found on Gary Craig’s site, ; also check out the "Notes" on my facebook page for information about Faster EFT
Dave holds classes, free to the public, at St. Paul’s Retirement Community on Monday and Wednesday evenings at 5:30 pm. They are 45 minutes long and are basically theses movements and more. Call for more information or for listings and places  of the 10:00 am classes elsewhere.

Contact info:

Dave Stahl

Wellness Director at
Sanctuary at St. Paul’s, A Trinity Senior Living Community
3602 South Ironwood Dr., South Bend, IN 46614


Saturday, September 14, 2013

Natural help for Pain

When I am asked the same question several times in one week, it must mean that there's a desperate need to share the information far and wide. So, Here I am.

I have had others ask me this week, in several venues, about natural help for pain - usually Fibromyalgia pain, but pain in general a couple of times. And I must confess that there is no one right answer to that, because everyone is different. However. There are items that help pain at a deep, internal level, and there are a lots of things one might try for the flare type of pain. Here I have provided a list of several possibilities for the latter.

Fibromyalgia pain is not like headache or shoulder pain where one can take aspirin a few times a day and it goes away. Fibromyalgia pain is pain on a cellular level AND on a flare level!

For dealing with the deep, on-going, cellular level pain, I believe that Omega 3 EPA-DHA and Magnesium are essential. They can get to the root of a problem. These work on the cellular level and as such need to be put into the body on a daily basis because we use it UP on a daily basis. Omega 3 is an essential fatty acid that comprises the outer membrane of each cell in our body, making it pliable and permeable so that nutrients can get into the cell for efficient functioning. Magnesium is the key to helping make the ATP molecule (energy molecule) in each cell. It is also responsible for 325 other biological processes. And Omega 3 is necessary for the magnesium (and all other nutrients) to get into the cells to make that energy molecule!

So these are the basis of pain relief - essentially they enable your cells to work properly and make that energy molecule, ATP.

~Here's further info on Omega 3 and why it helps pain:

~Here's further information on Magnesium and why it helps pain:

Note: Magnesium oil, rubbed into the feet at night, absorbs into the body very well, and is an excellent way to get magnesium into the body while bypassing the digestive system and stomach - much like a 20 minute soak in a bathtub of 1-2 cups Epsom Salts. (Some people experience a diarrhea problem with certain brands of magnesium tablet they are taking.) Magnesium Oil is available online at, and others - check Google > "Magnesium Oil".

NATURAL Cox-2 INHIBITORS (acting in the same way as Celebrex, e.g. but without any side-effects)

Turmeric: Dr. Weil says, "Turmeric contains more than two dozen anti-inflammatory compounds, including six different COX-2-inhibitors (the COX-2 enzyme promotes pain, swelling and inflammation; inhibitors selectively block that enzyme)."

Tart Cherries: Ann Hart, Health writer for says, "What the cherry juice does is act as anti-inflammatory food by attacking the Cox-2 enzymes better than some drugs. But with drugs, the Cox 1 also is attacked. You don't want that because Cox-1 protects the lining of the stomach."

Gingko, Green tea, Ginger, Boswella and more herbs: Dr. James Duke on in 2001 provides a whole list of herbs containing Cox-2 inhibitors. Then he says, "One bottle of 200mg-dose Celebrex (60 pills) costs between $150 and $200. A 60-pill bottle of 25mg-dose Vioxx will run you $100 to $125. Sales of both drugs are expected to reach $5 billion annually by 2003." I'm sure it's a LOT more by now! And of course, Vioxx has been taken off the market due to all the damage it had caused!!!
Read more:

Resveratrol: found in grapes and other dark red berries

Omega 3 EPA-DHA is also a Cox-2 inhibitor:

Bromelain: Bromelain..."is a pharmacologically active compound present in stems and fruits of pineapple (Ananas cosmosus), endowed with anti-inflammatory, anti-invasive and anti-metastatic properties."

Holy Basil (Tulsi): Tulsi is an adaptogen, and from personal experience, I know that 3 cups of Tulsi tea per day or more is an excellent pain-reliever and energizer! From, "In scientific studies, holy basil has been shown to be a COX 2 inhibitor (many modern pain medications are COX 2 inhibitors), making it useful against arthritis and other inflammatory conditions. Tulsi is high in eugenol, a constituent also found in cloves, which is helpful to decrease pain."

White Willow Bark: Nature's aspirin - salicin. According to Sherril Sego, FNP-C, DNP at, "The active salicin in white willow bark acts primarily as both an analgesic and an antipyretic.3 The actual mechanism of action of salicin is very similar to that of modern prescription medications in the cyclo-oxygenase-1 and 2 (COX-1, COX-2) pathways. Salicin is a nonselective COX-1 and COX-2 inhibitor, effectively acting as an anti-inflammatory by blocking prostaglandin release."


Capzasin: This is the brand name of a topical analgesic - I use the roll-on bottle for safety sake. It's action is different than that of a Cox-2 inhibitor. It suppresses Substance P - neutralizes it in fact (Substance P, remember, is that pain-maker signal sent out from the brain). This topical ointment must be used with caution, however. It has only one ingredient - 0.15% capsaicin - the stuff that makes hot peppers HOT! Use a very thin even layer of the roll on liquid to the painful area. In my case it is usually the neck and shoulders. I do NOT put it on at night before bed, because I don't want it rubbing off onto the pillow case and getting in my eyes!!! For night time neck and shoulder pain, I use...

Salon Pas Pain Patches: These patches are a "peal and stick to the area of pain" thing. They contain "cool menthol" ingredients, rather than the hot ingredient. They come in a variety of sizes, the smaller 2.65" X 1.65" is ideal to place on an angle at the neck/shoulder area. Note: even though only one side of my neck may hurt, I always put one patch on each side. It seems to work better in a balance. The larger size is great for the low back area or between the shoulder blades.

Arnica or the brand Arnicare: This is a benign, but powerful cream ointment. No menthol, no hot. Just an effective cream with an active ingredient called Arnica Montana - a homeopathic cream/ointment that works very well on bruise-type pain or sore-muscle-type pain, for example on the sides of your thighs or the upper arm area. (These are also good places to use Magnesium oil, by the way.)

These natural pain relievers should give you a good start to choose from. *:) I pray you find one or some that help relieve your pain! *:) Pati*

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Acupuncture & EMS for Fibro pain

Hi Everyone!

Our speaker for October's meeting of the Mishawaka Fibromyalgia Support Group was Dr. James Keating from Preventive Medicine, PC (PM,PC). Although Dr. Keating is indeed multi-talented, being both a licenced chiropractor and a certified acupuncturist, it is the latter we wanted to fucus upon this evening. This sounded easy in theory, but PM,PC is a facility with multiple offerings and multiple Health Care Practitioners (HCP's). They offer EMS (electrical muscle stimulation), massage therapy, chiropractic manipulation and accupuncture.

Dr. Keating first passed out cards telling of the coupon offering 2 free massages for the month of October! Great timing! That won everyone over right away! One member asked, with a cringe, if they did "deep tissue massage." He said that whatever massage therapist you have (they have several), will do it exactly the way YOU request, whether deep tissue massage to release seized up tender points, or gentle muscle massage, or anywhere in between. Everyone breathed a sigh of relief!

CT spoke up, saying his doctor had recommended he try acupuncture. He had had a bone fusion and a metal plate put into his spine. He is still in a lot of pain, much of it from scar tissue in the surrounding area. So now one of his [many] doctors wants to insert electrodes into his spine so that he can "hit a switch" to stop pain when it occurs. And when another doctor recommended acupuncture, he definitely wanted to come to the meeting tonight to find out more about acupuncture before taking such a drastic step as another surgery.

Dr. Keating told of being familiar with the procedure of inserting electrodes. Having treated a number of these patients, he told us that most of them are not having much success with it after a year or two and have elected to stop using it, just leaving the electrodes in, un-used. Only one of the many he's seen is still happy with the system. He then explained that the EMS treatment PM,PC uses, is of a like nature, except that these electrodes are temporarily placed on the outside - on his skin - rather than permanently surgically implanted. Somewhat like a very large TENS unit, this treatment first uses hot moist heat pads to open up the blood vessels and bring them to the surface, so that the electcical pads can stimulate circulation in the muscles. The electrical stimulation can be set at the patient's comfort level. This breaks the pain circuit, in much the same way as the surgically inserted electrodes, but without surgery!

This procedure is extremely relaxing and soothing, and helps alleviate muscle pain magically, almost instantly! RG, MG and myself have all had this EMS treatment done, and we all highly recommended it. MG said that she regularly asked to stay on the machine longer. (Me too!)

Dr. Keating explained that because PM,PC is able to offer a variety of treatments, the first visit is an assessment and evaluation session, where you and he (or other HCP) go over your medical history and decide which treatment or combination of treatments would be most effective in your particuar case. In CT's case, for example, he might recommend a chiropractic treatment of flexion traction first. And actually, after finding out whether this treatment is helpful, one can even purchase a Saunders Cervical (or Lumbar) Traction Unit to use at home on a regular basis. This brand or any other, may be found on E-Bay and can be very helpful for many people.

He also noted that any one of these treatments or even combination of these treatments does not work alone. These HCP's also recommend paying attention to and working on other factors as well, namely:

~Nutrition. Which may also include supplements
~Sleep. Proper restful, restorative sleep, of course
~Stress Management such as deep breathing or meditation. (I personally
would also recommend Faster EFT
~Exercise. But this is not your typical exercise. These exercises would include the stretches and movements that are recommended by your chiropracter, or acupuncturist, or massage therapist for home self-management. They show you how to move and stretch to keep your muscles toned and limber. This helps avoid a lot of the seizing and cramping of your muscles by gently keep them strengthened.

Acupuncture, Dr. Keating says, works in a four-fold manner. It promotes an anti-inflammatory response, an antibiotic response for immune boosting; it acts as a muscle relaxer and as a pain pill! So if you are in a flare now, see if you can get thee to your acupuncurist now! It will definitely help the pain, but that pain will have less of a chance then to add to your inflammation, or seize up your muscles! The sooner the better.

He provided a brief history of Acupuncture's "trip to the United Staes," but I'll leave that for another time. Suffice it to say that after many studies and tests by American medical schools, facilities and doctors, it was proven that acupuncture increases circulation, and decreases inflammation. It helps pain of all sorts, and a number of other issues, that are currently being studied..."for proof." [I'm sorry, but 4,000 yrs of successful use is proof enuf for me, but you know the FDA and Big Pharma.]

Dr. Keating said Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) in the US, which had at one time included the whole package - the spiritual aspect, nutritional aspect, herbal healing, acupuncture, and more - has pretty much zeroed in on Acupuncture alone. Some therapists do use Chinese herbs, natural roots and other things, which were always combined and made on the spot as needed (fresh), where the patient also steamed and strained the concoctions and so on. But now, they mostly use bottled and prepared herbs, especially in the U.S. At PM,PC they don't use Chinese herbs, but they can and often do recommend helpful supplements found at nearby healthfood stores, or a few at PM,PC.

CT, of course, asked about the needles used in Acupuncture. They are solid and very fine - about the size of a cat's whisker - smaller than the thickness of a horse hair, and anywhere from 3" to extra long at 5" (which are rarely used). SM asked how deeply the needles were inserted. Dr. Keating said it depends on where it will be located on the body and what he is trying to achieve. On the face, for example, needles are placed very shallowly, and barely pierce the skin. In a thigh muscle or the gluteous maximous, it may be placed deeper. The needle can be inserted into the area above a tender point and release the pain spasm where the muscles have knoted or seized up tightly so that the muscles can relax to normal. OR if a set of muscles have been stretched and are too loose and weak, the needles can be inserted to cause the muscles to pull up and snug back to their normal tone and tension.

This works extremely well for migraines too and headaches, to relax the scalp muscles and ease the tension at the base of the skull, or near the eyes. Also the neck and shoulder tender points that have seized up can be loosened quite nicely to relieve neck and shoulder pain.

Fibro Fog, stomach issues and hormonal issues are also relieved with Acupuncture but in a different fashion. The needles are placed in a variety of areas to allow the Chi in the irregular areas to move more freely. The needles may go in the hand or the foot or elsewhere but the Chi will flow exactly to the right hormone, or the intestines or to the brain, helping the Fibro Fog. It's all connected; even if we don't see how a needle in the hand will help mental faculties - it does.

Dr. Keating spoke of Auricular Acupuncture which is acupuncture of the ear, where where one can find all the points for everything in the body. He spoke of acupuncturre for treating cravings (for sugar, chocolate, etc), smoking, drug use, and more. He spoke of Diet and Nutrition: specifically mentioning that grains, each and every one, turn to simple sugars in the body and are just as hazardous as sugar to the body especially because sugar is an inflammatory - a pain-maker! He spoke of eating anti-inflammatory foods by following the Mediteranean Diet, Vegetarian Diet, Acid/alkaline Balanced Diet, or the Paleo Diet for example.

Most Insurance Companies cover the massage, EMS, and Chiropractic services, but few cover the Acupuncture treatments. However. This month Preventive Medicine, PC has changed their prices for Acupuncture. They used to charge $75 per treatment. NOW, the charge is $45.00 per treatment! This is really good news. He mentions that 1 - 5 treatments is all that is normally needed for many specific issues. But one can set up regular weekly or monthly sessions for chronic or ongoing issues.

Contact Information:
Preventative Medicine, PC

James Keating, DC, MSAc
212 Edison Rd, Suite B
Mishawaka, IN 46545


Email :

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Fibromyalgia, the Thyroid and Cellular Inflammation

Our speaker for the Mishawaka Fibromyalgia Support Group on July 10, 2012 was Dr. Kevin Hancock. “The Thyroid and Cellular Inflammation” was the topic. Ideally, this meeting should have been two days long, but we’ll just have to ask him to return for more.

Before his talk, however, I noticed a few new folks who really needed to share. I had each person introduce themselves and tell a bit about their treatments and current condition. So glad I did.

HJ said they had purchased a Sleep Number Bed and found that it didn’t work at all for her OR her hubby. CT said the same thing for him and his wife. Both couples had returned their beds in lieu of another. CT said that he and his wife had discovered the Euromatic bed, which they discovered at Denver Mattress Company and tell they are both extremely pleased with it.

I still love my Sleep Number Bed and find that a half hour of rest on it in mid-day will greatly relieve a flare, for me. And I sleep all through the night on it. So what this tells me is that everyone is different. (Thank Heaven!) And each of us must purposefully seek out and find what works for us on an individual basis. One member uses a Cuddle Ewe mattress topper that she swears by, “It’s made of down and it’s cool in the summer and warm in the winter.” Another uses the foam Tempurpedic mattress- they also makes a mattress topper. So here I find that I can add a Euromatic mattress to my list of recommendations. Thanks CT!

SM tells that she has been going to Dr. Hancock for regular Chiropractic treatments, as I have been doing so, and nearly all of her neck and shoulder and low back pain have been greatly reduced.

As we went around the room several folks found that they shared the symptom of nasty stomach issues. From here we had a brief discussion on probiotics, as well as gluten-free and lactose-free diets, which would be covered in part later by Dr. Hancock. We also covered the critical importance of B-12 and getting tested for deficiency in this and Vitamin D.

DD hit on one very important factor – the importance of maintaining a neutral to slightly alkaline balance in the body and avoiding foods that make the body acidic. Here’s an excellent site that tells a lot about it She found that although she still does get migraines, they are much less frequent when she’s avoiding her food triggers and maintaining this slightly alkaline balance in her diet. Another thing that has helped her migraines is a form of self-massage that she discovered at . Click on the left side “Sample Self-Lymphatic Activation” for video. By tapping and massaging key lymph nodes, a number of her symptoms have been greatly relieved.

MG reminded us all how a positive mental attitude, an attitude of forgiveness, can greatly help symptoms, by virtue of placing our minds on the positive. It is amazing how the mind so controls our pain. She stressed how purposefully changing our mind’s direction to the spiritual, to others, to focusing on something that brings us joy, can truly lessen our pain – physically! Prayer, meditation, and thoughts can truly work miracles.

Armed with the information gleaned from these members, Dr. Kevin was able to tailor his talk accordingly and personalize his info a bit. Nice.

The Thyroid and Cellular Inflammation
Dr. Hancock’s topic was so genuinely loaded with information, that I am already feeling a need for a repeat performance! They say you need to see or hear a thing 3 times before it is yours. I think this may be one of those “things.”
[Note: “ * ” denotes a quote from the presentation slides]

The title on the first slide was “Hypothyroidism.”* This, of course, struck right to the heart of our matter. Up to 27 million Americans have hypothyroidism; yet only half of this number has been diagnosed. The other half are experiencing symptoms and don’t know why. It is said that up to 90% of women over 40 have subclinical hypothyroidism. That is, they have all the symptoms of hypothyroidism, but may or may not be diagnosed. Those that are diagnosed are told they will be on these meds, Synthoid or Levoxyl e.g., for the rest of their lives. And yet they still experience symptoms of weight gain, sleep issues, fatigue, cold hands and feet, depression, brain fog, dry skin, depression etc. How does that happen?

Well, many times it’s because the doctor is treating the lab tests instead of the patient. Sound familiar? One of the problems is that the TSH thyroid tests are not exactly standard. Every lab and every doctor seems to have a different idea of what normal “TSH numbers” should be. Many labs require numbers between .5 - 5.5 to be considered in the normal range. Dr. Hancock explains that the numbers should be lower at .35 - 2.0 for this reading.

“But yet NO studies have been published demonstrating that you have a healthy thyroid function when your TSH is within the normal range!”* There are published studies however, telling that TSH values greater than 2 can indicate health issues, even autoimmune thyroiditis (Hashimoto’s).

Eighty to ninety percent of those with hypothyroidism actually have an auto-immune related condition (Hashimoto’s) and will not – can not – respond to thyroid replacement drugs such as Synthoid and Levoxyl because they don’t address the autoimmune condition, thus you may still experience symptoms. In order to find out if it is truly a thyroid issue, “reverse T3” and “serum selenium” need to be tested. T3, T4 and the conversion that takes place in the liver must also be tested. This is the only way to know if it is truly a malfunctioning thyroid gland.

But other organs can be involved as well; the thyroid doesn’t work alone. It is only one part of the synergistic hormonal system involving the adrenal glands, pancreas, pituitary, etc…even the liver. They all work together. Adjusting or adding to one will affect the others. Most thyroid conditions are similar to other hormonal conditions, such as the type 2 diabetes. The real problem may not be the pancreas or thyroid gland at all, but the hormone receptors on the cell it’s signaling. Even food intolerances can play a part in the thyroid problem. Proteins can bind to the thyroid receptors and block the hormone, causing hypothyroidism (creating inflammation in the process).

So What’s the Solution?
Treating the 2 main causes of a thyroid issue is the way to get well. They are:
1) Iodine deficiency
2) Cellular Inflammation

“Iodine deficiency alone is responsible for 20% of all hypothyroid cases.”* According to at least 5 studies, populations with the lowest iodine levels have the highest incidence of thyroid problems. But even more studies have shown that as the levels of iodine intake increased, thyroid condition, goiters, stomach and breast cancer decreased.

Iodine is essential for the production of T4 and T3. However, if one has been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s (autoimmune thyroiditis), selenium must be the first part of their treatment in order to address the autoimmune reaction, and then the iodine is given. Otherwise a condition called a “Thyroid Storm” can occur. The selenium given first addresses this autoimmune condition and helps avoid the storm.

Iodine Deficiency Self-Test
A 2% solution of caramel-colored iodine (not the clear-colored iodine) can be purchased at CVS or Walgreens. With a cotton swab apply a silver-dollar-sized patch of iodine to your inner forearm near your elbow, making a yellow patch on your skin. This yellow patch should stay visible for 24 hours. If it fades away before that, you are iodine deficient. Dr. Hancock’s patch was gone in 2 hours when he did this test. Mine was done today and it disappeared in 3 hours. We are both now taking an iodine supplement.

Unfortunately iodine is very hard to get in sufficient supply from foods. He referred us to a book titled Empty Harvest by Jensen and Anderson – check it out on Amazon. This book explains why the food we eat has precious little of the minerals and nutrients we need to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Thus we need to rely on certain supplements, like iodine (potassium iodide or kelp), rather than depending on our food to supply it.

Cellular Inflammation is the true underlying cause for 80-90% of hypothyroid conditions.”*
Toxins, diet and infections can cause inflammation, actually creating autoimmune conditions. This inflammation may be systemic affecting joints or multiple organs, such as found in arthritis or Lupus, OR the inflammation may be organ specific such as found in thyroiditis. [Note: any medical term ending in “…itis” means that it is an inflammatory condition.]

Inflammation = Oxidative Stress!
Time Magazine states: “When inflammation becomes chronic rather than transitory…the body turns in on itself with after effects that seem to underlie a wide variety of diseases.”

In the case of Autoimmune Thyroiditis (Hashimoto’s) white blood cells cluster at the site (thyroid) and begin to create cytokines which attach to the hormone receptors of the gland. The immune system sees this as an attack on the thyroid gland and then creates even more inflammation. All this inflammation blocks the T3 receptors.

When the cell receptors are blocked by clusters of white cells:
1) Nutrients can’t get in
2) Toxins can’t get out
3) Receptors are blunted & can’t hear when the T3 or TSH is calling to open the door!

And when you are tested, your TSH and T3 come back normal because they really are putting out, but they aren’t working because the receptors are blocked by this inflammation. This is Autoimmune Thyroiditis (Hashimoto’s), and again, this condition constitutes a full 80-90% of thyroid conditions. So the idea here is to get rid of the inflammation. [Note: Synthoid and Levoxyl do not treat inflammation.]

What Causes the Inflammation?

Toxins, bad fats and sugars.

Top 5 toxins that cause inflammation:
1) PCB’s and Dioxins (found in contaminated fish, meats and dairy)
2) Pesticides (inhaled, eaten on fresh fruit & veggies from the store or rubbed onto hands or onto body from clothing)
3) Heavy Metals (lead, cigarette smoke or mercury found in dentistry, fish, vaccinations)
4) BPA’s (found in plastic bottles and plastic liners in canned foods and in cosmetics)
5) Halogens/Goitrogens (fluoride, chlorine and bromine found in bread, Mountain Dew, Gatorade)

There is a test online for $15 which is a great tool for the diagnosis of neurotoxic/mediated illness. The test uses contrast, not visual acuity to make the assessment. The test is available at

Bad fats cause inflammation:
1) Vegetable oils (processed and turned into hydrogenated fats)
2) Trans fats

“Foods high in vegetable oils decrease thyroid function”* It takes five days to get hydrogenated fats out of the body (IF your body is functioning on all thrusters). These fats will still be creating inflammation during those five days, even if you stop eating them right now. ( ! )

“Tests have shown that eating a diet high in saturated fat and low in carbohydrates improved thyroid function, as well as the accompanying weight issue."*
[Note: Susan Behnke Strasser, MS, RD, the Director of Wholistic Nutrition at Physicians HolisticHealth Center (PHA) spoke of this diet at our May Fibromyalgia Support Group Meeting. Please see the May Fibro Notes/blog.]

Sugar causes inflammation
"Grains and Sugar have a dramatic effect on cellular inflammation and play a major role in the cause of thyroid conditions.”* Grains are the #1 food for people’s intolerances. They can block hormone receptors and create an auto immune response. They elevate blood glucose levels as much as sugar, and this interferes with the liver’s ability to convert T4 to T3!

Whole grains contain a sugar called amylase which is known to cause inflammation, most especially when the cells are already inflamed! And GMO foods (genetically modified) create denatured proteins and sugars which promote inflammation.

Sugar is, in and of itself, an inflammatory. That’s the main reason it is recommended that we cut way back or eliminate all together this nutrient-deficient “food.” Here are 141 reasons not to eat sugar.
Neutralizing inflammation is imperative. Although you can’t really “feel” this inflammation, you can certainly reap the after-effects! It severely hampers hormonal processes, including the pancreas (Type 2 Diabetes) and thyroid (Hashimoto’s), inflamed joints (arthritis) and so much more. In fact, there are over 100 distinct disorders that originate in the immune system that are all subject to this cellular inflammation called autoimmune disorders !

Dr. Hancock told of the Cellular Healing Protocol he has available at his office. It is a 30-60 day program where:
1) You start the diet
2) You start the Cellular Healing Protocol
3) You start the true cellular detox, removing the #1 cause of your cellular inflammation.

The book, The Cellular Healing Diet, will be made available upon registering for the program.

Dr. Hancock has the Natural Whole Food Supplements by Standard Process available at his office, and now carries their new Gluten Free multi-vitamin, Catalyn-GF.
If you attended this meeting and filled out your Systems Survey form, please feel free to fax or mail your completed form and make an appointment for your evaluation.

Contact Info:
Dr. Kevin Hancock, 6910 N. Main Street, Granger, In 46530.
574-271-1111. fax- 574-271-7532

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Newbie Getting Started on Natural Help

For our June meeting of the Mishawaka Fibromyalgia Support Group, we didn't have a speaker, which turned out to be just what we needed. We had a new face (& spouse) come and share this evening. This is always so very encouraging on two fronts because 1) When the spouse is involved, the chances are so much better for positive outcomes, sharing and understanding and 2) it shows me that more and more folks are taking that big step to seek other options, without becoming stuck and giving over their body to another person who "doesn't live IN it - or WITH it."

Ultimately, I believe that it's our own body that does its own healing, through our actions and through those we give our power to - MD in whatever field, Osteopath, Naturopath, nutritionist, chiropractor, acupuncturist, self and learning/research, knowledgeable friends, and those who've been there. The idea is that we live in this body and it is our own responsibility to seek out what will help it the most. It is my belief that a combination - the right combination for YOU - is what works best for pain of any kind, or for illness of any kind. There is no one way, one pill, one treatment, that will work for any of us, much less all of us.

And so when CT came in this evening, he was searching for another option besides the doctor who now wants to do surgery on his spinal nerves. He states that so far, even with the prescriptions, the pain management doctor, and the spinal treatments, nothing has helped. Like the rest of us CT went to his family physician for help at first, then on to other "specialists" for back pain, sciatica, and other issues, and still found the pain to change very little, not to mention other maladies, like lack of sleep, stomach issues, etc. Coming to this meeting was his first reach to find out if there is something else "out there" that could help.

I am almost sorry for the sheer volume of information that was thrust upon him. Other members of the group chimed in with a number of things that helped them, too. I had plenty of handouts, business cards and information from prior speakers, etc as well. To describe everything we talked about, I almost need to have had a recorder to transcribe it all. But I will try to list some of the topics we covered.

When CT mentioned stomach issues, we talked of probiotics, gluten sensitivity & lactose intolerance. We talked of caffeine in coffee. Some mentioned that coffee affects them very negatively, but MG said that the dark french roast (freshly ground) does not have nearly as much caffeine in it. I told of drinking one or two cups of weak coffee per day, that is, 3/4 hot water and 1/4 coffee in the cup. I, and many others, don't do decaf coffee because it is processed with added chemicals, and many of us are chemical sensitive (which is one reason why prescriptions don't tend to act the way they're supposed to, or we have a reverse reaction to them).

We discussed lactose intolerance, and different options to dairy milk, such as almond milk, rice milk and soy milk. However if hormones are an issue, in male or female, soy may not be right for everyone because soy mimicks the action of estrogen! And this added extra can throw hormones OUT of balance instead of helping anything.

We talked of water and drinking enough of it!

We talked of aspartame, MSG, nitrates (found mostly in processed meats like hot dogs, lunch meats and other meats, and other products), etc. Then we talked about the alkaloids in nightshade vegetables that many of us are sensitive to. Tomatoes, potatoes, bell peppers, eggplant & others are in the nightshade plant family; they are a common aggravator for many of us. But, because they are full of vitamins and minerals and can be beneficial also, I've discovered that, for me, I can eat one of these vegetables per day at a meal, and another one on another day and so on, without any ill effects, so that I can still get the benefits of these nutrient and antioxidant rich foods.

I discovered this by doing an elimination test. I eliminated all of these nightshade vegetables for one week. It was hard because I truly love potatoes and tomatoes, but I figured it was worth it to see if they affected my pain. Then, after that week, I tried eating potatoes at my main meal. The next day I had tomatoes. The next day I had more potatoes. *:) (I was born in Idaho, what can I say?) And lo and behold I had much less pain! And for a wonder, I was masochistic enough to try another experiment. About a month later I had tomatoes and potatoes in one meal and yes, I was in pain all that evening. OK. So that was proof enough for me that the combination and larger amount of nightshades is a trigger for pain - for me. I still eat only one nightshade at a meal per day.

Then we discussed the possibility of CT doing an elimination test to see if gluten is an issue affecting his stomach. We described what gluten is, and nearly everyone in the room agreed that they have cut way back on gluten, and several have gone totally gluten-free, to help ease their pain.

We went back to discussing tea when CT mentioned his lack of sleep. He is currently using a CPAP unit to help some, but still has a hard time sleeping. I spoke of L-Theanine, which is an amino acid found in tea, green tea having the largest amount, then white tea, then black tea. This compound actually helps negate the jittery effects of the caffeine found in tea (which is about one third that of coffee, anyway). L-Theanine is actually put into many OTC sleep medications, not so much because it is a "put-you-to-sleep" compound, but more of a relaxing and calming compound, while at the same time provides gentle access to the alpha wave state, where focus and clear-thought processing can take place. Thus it's used by millions in England at "Tea Time" for an afternoon pick-me-up. This website explains it's action to help raise serotonin and dopamine, help sleep, stress and much more.

Regarding sleep, I spoke of how much I really like the Breath Right Nose Strips, especially when my sinuses are acting up. We also discussed Benedryl to help sleep. I've been using 25 mg (of the Wal-Mart brand) for more than 13 yrs with no side-effects, where it helps me get all 4 stages of sleep, and I wake allert and ready to go for the day with no grogginess. Another member said she can't use it because she wakes up groggy. I did mention that 50 mg (double the dose) keeps me awake and wired, so I stay at the low dose. But again, we all made a note that here is another case, like everything else, that not everything works for everyone, and so the best we can do is see what works for each of us on an individual basis.

JP (who gets groggy using Benedryl) said she uses another RX that she has been using for many years that has helped her fibromyalgia symptoms AND her sleep. It is a prescription that I had not heard of before. She said she has been using it very long time and has had no side-effects whatsoever. I have since met a friend who said that her daughter has been using it for 18 years with no side effects. Not only has it helped her sleep but it has helpedput her Lupus in remission for all these years! Impressive! I did some research on this prescription med called Paquenil. It has been around for a very long time as it was used in WWII for malaria. It has been used successfully to help the pain and detereioration of Rheumatoid Arthritis, and other conditions as well! Here's the WebMD site where you can read of it's uses, side-effects, and precautions. Ask your doctor about it too!

MG recommended that CT get a spiral notebook and keep a journal of the foods, medications, supplements he's taking, and write down how he feels each day. This way he can refer back to see what my have caused today's aches and pains. This is especially helpful when doing the elimination tests for gluten, lactose, and nightshades. But also for new medications, activities, treatments, etc.

I had had a member of our group ask me if cortisone is a common drug for tender point injections. A number of us said that something like Lidocaine would be preferable as cortisone is not one of our more helpful type of drugs for Fibro. Then JP mentioned that she gets Lidocaine injections in her neck & shoulder tender points once or twice a year from her doctor. Fortunately, he is on our list of Fibro-friendly doctors: Dr. Nicholas Staniero, 707 N. Michigan St, South Bend, 574-647-4500.

I had looked up Integrative Medical Physician online and came up with only one name in our area: Patricia Kelly-Holmes, MD, 1251 N. Eddy St., Suite 200, South Bend, 574-208-9181. She is listed as practicing Integrative Holistic Medicine. Integrative medicine involves a Medical Physician who is also open to natural help, including things like acupuncture, chiropractic, vitamins and supplements etc as well as practicing allopathic medicine, which means that yes, she can and does also write prescriptions if that's what's needed.

I know there are several others in our area, including those at Physicians HolisticHealth Alliance (PHA) who, as it happens, was having a free "Introduction to Acupuncture" Seminar the next week! CT said he didn't know anything about acupuncture, and so I passed him (and everyone else) the flyer for the seminar. (How's THAT for a Coincidence?) Someone mentioned Dr. Janice Smith on Mishawaka Ave as practicing integrative medicine, but I have no further information - it was third party informtion. It is wise to ask around the medical community, health food stores, chiropractors etc, because not all of them are listed on the internet under "Integrative Medicine Practitioners.".

We mentioned Coconut oil for skin, infections and for healing.

Lyrica was mentioned. It works for one or two here and there, but clearly not for everyone! Me included. Gabapentin (brand name Neurontin) for nerve pain was mentioned. And again, it works for some, but not everyone. The other downside to most Rx is that they are not meant for life-long treatment, due to addiction and or when your body gets used to them, they just plain don't work any more. So when you attempt to get off them, there is the huge withdrawal syndrome thing goin' on. In the meantime they have re-adapted your body so that other things don't work as well.

We actually covered a lot of territory this night, but there's a LOT more "out there." I hope we didn't scare CT away with so much information! We could have gone on all evening!

Please check out my facebook page for even more information, links, "Notes," articles etc.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Fibromyalgia & New Dietary Guidelines

Our Fibromyalgia Support Group meeting for May was filled with information. Our guest speaker for the evening was Susan Behnke Strasser, MS, RD, the Director of Wholistic Nutrition at Physicians HolisticHealth Alliance, contact information below.~~~

We began the evening with each member giving a brief synopsis of our condition and what we are currently doing to help ourselves, so that Ms Strasser could get a general overview of the group. Some are under a medical doctor's care and are taking prescriptions (several), while others are taking one or two prescrptions and using supplements and other alternative treatments, and still others are using only natural help including foods, supplements, and acupuncture and/or chiropratic, etc. Some are still in constant pain in spite of eveything they (and their doctors) are doing, others are experiencing periodic recurrent pain, but find it not as bad as it used to be, and still others are generally managing as long as they are constantly vigilant in taking care to "live right, mind their "P's & Q's," eat exactly what they "should," and exercise just enough but not too much - in general perform their own particular balancing act. *:) [Sorry for the personalized editorial.]~~~

Ms Strasser discussed how very little training medical doctors have in nutrition, if any, and so they are most likely to dole out prescriptions rather than tell someone to "eat right," to help their symptoms. Proper nutrition for anyone, with or without Fibromyalgia, is the foundation for the body's capability of helping to heal itself. It's true that genetics has a lot to do with what illness we experience and what body type we have and so on. But we are resiliant and we have a lot of power in how we can use what's available to help ourselves. We can most often change our situations for the better, through the foods we choose.~~~

Americans' choices in foods changed drastically forty years ago when the medical community pretty much guided our change in diet through their studies on Heart Health. We were told in no uncertain terms that fat was evil, carbs were good. And so one began finding foods in the grocery store proclaiming how good this was for you because it was low-fat. This of course created the necessity to raise the carbohydrates in those foods, so that the food would have some kind of flavor.~~~

Then along came the carbohydrate camp stating how bad the carbs were because it raised the insulin levels. Pretty soon everyone's insulin levels were rising, along with their waistline, and a severe increase in inflammatory conditions directly related to high sugar levels - from pasta, grains, whites and simple sugars - were another factor that came along with the low-fat craze. Yes, whole grains have the same effect on our bodies as whites and sugars.~~~

Fats are necessary to our diet; they pull down the insulin response. So ideally, decreasing carbs severely, adding a little protein, and adding fats- yes, even saturated fats like coconut oil and real butter- makes up an ideal diet, not only for weight, but also for stabalizing the insulin response, the inflammatory response and helping to heal the body overall.~~~

Taking a little side trip around the world, Ms Strasser told of Tibetans constantly drinking Yak butter tea (straight saturated fat); the French regularly eating high fat butter & creams; and African bushman eating lots of wild game (very fatty). And all these areas have fine heart health in their population. Yet, the US who so condems fat, is listed as number 80th in wellness and heart health around the world!~~~

At Physicians Holistic Health Alliance, the very first two things they do for all their patients is address toxins through detoxing, and address their diet. They have found that this route has helped their Fibro patients right away.~~~

The flyer Ms Strasser passed out tells the basics of the New Diet Guidelines: abreviated here:
- Eat all you want of low starch veggies
- Balance proteins and starchy veggies (nuts, avocadoes, beans, meat, fish,
poultry, dairy) and (potatoes, corn & peas)
- Include at each meal uncooked fats (nuts,avocados,etc) and saturated fats like organic butter and coconut oil
- Limit or avoid processed meats, processed & refined carbohydrates, unhealthy fats, sugars and alcohol.~~~

The list included some healthy basics like: drink pure water, eat 7-10 servings of non-starchy veggies per day, eat 1-2 servings of low glycemic fruits per day, leave 3 hours between meals & try not to eat anything after dinner.~~~

Make gradual changes, and be sure to enjoy the food you DO eat.~~~

There is a whole list of easy steps and points to ponder on this Dietary Guideline list. Please feel free to contact the Physicians Holistic Health Alliance to find out more.~~~

We discussed where to buy organic foods in our area - Roseland Organic Farms in Dowagiac, MI, the Farmers Market in South Bend and Nappannee. Be cautious in local grocery stores as the word "organic" is thrown around like confettie, but it may not necessarily be so. And the FDA's definition of "natural" as it reads on the label, may not be what WE consider natural.~~~

Eat wisely to help your Fibro and other symptoms. Ms Strasser can certainly be a huge help in this direction.~~~

Contact info:
Nancy Behnke Strasser, MS, RD
Director of Wholistic Nutrition
Physicians Holistic Health Alliance
phone: 574-273-3880

Friday, March 30, 2012

Fibro and the Importance of Nutrition

Hi Everyone!

Unfortunately the speaker for our February 2012 Fibromyalgia Support Group Meeting was unable to make it this evening, but we held to the topic and had a really great and informative discussion on nutrition, along with a bit of other...

I began the evening with announcements. I had received an excited e-mail from a member of the group telling how much help she had received from her new doctor at Physicians HolisticHealth Alliance, Dr. Madiha Saeed. Our member had had two hip replacements along with her Fibro, and was in pretty bad shape when she had gone to Dr. Saeed back in November, and now she's considered a miracle woman! She had been a constant 8.5 out of 10 on the pain and fatigue scale. She is now without pain most of the time and and is on the go most of the day! And she tells me that the doctors there are seeing a lot of pluses with many their Fibro patients now!
One other announcement is more of a notice of information. I was online in a Fibro support group and came acros this site which I feel is of utmost importance. One lady told us that her doctor said he could no longer treat her as he was a natural physician and did not treat anyone who was taking hydrocordone. She was NOT taking any. This woman had found out when she was a child that she had a severe allergy to it and could neveer take it. It was written in her medical records. She had had a blood test and found that she was taking an over-the-counter cold-relief medication that gave her a "false positive" in her blood test for taking hydrocordone!

You can see where this blood test would shape and determine what other meds a different doctor would have given her. This is not to mention her frustration with the natural physician who never checked her chart, but only went by the blood test to determine his mode of treatment and blatently accuse her of lying when she said she was not taking any meds at all.

I take Benedryl (Wal-Mart brand) a few times a week for sleep. If I were to have a blood test to test for PCP (the illegal drug) it would come out positive because of the Benedry I take! This is a scarey thought! Alka Seltzer Plus, for example can come out testing positive for Morphine!!!! Advil can test positive for Marijuana! Check out this site. You may want to check out some of your medications.
After these announcements we began in ernest talking about nutrition and the importance of have a good foundation for your body to work with. Good nutrition is the starting place for everything else. It allows our body to use supplements, and even prescriptions, so much more to our benefit- more efficiently. In fact, it is quite possible to lower our dependance on prescriptions and lower the doses, even delete prescriptions altogether in some cases (like mine and a number of others in our group) when good nutition is a part of your Fibromyalgia treatment program.

We began, of course, by talking about the no-no's - foods and substances it's best to avoid to help our symptoms. Most of these are in my book, but we went over them anyway. New members or old members - it is good to have reminders.


Aspartame and MSG, any artificial sweetener like Equal, Sugar Twin, Nutrasweet, Splenda and High Fructose Corn Syrup. These create inflammation in the first place, and in the second place they are excitotoxins. NOT good for nerve endings and nerve pain! Several articles here will explain. Dr. Blaylock is a noted authority on this and a number of other issues.

Hydrogenated foods and trans fats also create inflammation. Read labels. Go to your cabinet and pull out all the boxed, packaged, and even frozen foods, and read the labels. Hydrogenated this and hydrogenated that is in practically everything! Cooking oils? Crisco for making cookies? PURE hydrogenateds. Pure inflammation-makers! OUch!

Alkaloids are a form of excitotoxin although not quite as potent as the man-made aspartame and msg. Alkaloids are in natural foods, most especially in nightshades. Nightshades consist of a family of foods including potatoes, tomatoes, green peppers, eggplant, paprika and a few others. One of our members is extremely sensitive to these and has horrible, painful symptoms with only one small potato a week! Others, like me, are less sensitive. I found out that I was sensitive by doing an elimination test. First, I eliminated all these foods for one week. I couldn't believe how much my pain subsided! It was a real-eye-opener for me! But these foods are full of vitamins and minerals and enzymes and prebiotics and all things good for us. (And besides, I was born in Boise, ID; I HAVE to eat potatoes. It's an unwritten the law.) So I began re-introducing these foods slowly - one at a time. I found that I can eat tomatoes one day, potatoes the next day and green peppers the next day and so on. As long as I don't eat two or more at the same time I do just fine. But I believe that I had to get the alkaloids out of my system first by eliminting them for a time to begin with. I think that was the key.

Soft drinks are another pain-maker. Soft drinks literally eat up our body's minerals. If there's one thing we've learned about Fibromyalgia is that we are almost always very low in B-vitamins, Vitamin D, and Magnesium. When we are low to start with, drinking soft drinks only adds insult to injury (and PAIN) by dissolving even more of our minerals, including calcium! This first article tells of back pain and soft drinks.
Dr. Mercola describes the process in this article

Nitrates, sulfites and other food additives are also pain-makers in folks who are sensitive to them - that's a lot of folks who have Fibromyalgia. Nitrates are a preservative found in packaged and prepared meats and other foods - balogna, salami, hot dogs, some wines etc.This site describes symptoms of sensitivy or allergies to such things.

[Excess sugar, an inflammatory, aggravates symptoms, as does coffee in some people. But we did not talk about them this evening.]

Pain Relievers
We moved along to better things. The first thing out of my mouth when we began talking about foods to help alleviate pain was tart cherries.

Tart Cherries are among the very best pain relievers. They are anti-inflammatory ,and they are Cox2 inhibitors! Whatever science says, that's ok. All I know is that they help pain. Period. I have arthritis along with Fibro and this is THE most helpful pain reliever I use. I began using frozen concentrated Tart Cherry juice years ago. It was only found in certain health food stores back then. In the frozen section. I then began finding it in the local Farmers Market (about $3.00 cheaper). It was great because I brought it home and put it down in the fridge to thaw. Then every morning I mixed 1 part tart cherry juice with 7 parts water for a delicious and pain-relieving drink in a 4 oz juice glass. Then as I began traveling more, I decided to try the dried tart cherries so I wouldn't have to mess with a glass bottle in a cooler in the car. The dried cherries worked like a charm. I remembered not to overdo because that is so easy with dried fruit, and stuck to 5-8 dried cherries in the morning, and if necessary another 5-8 in the evening. Too many dried fruits can cause loose stools (fruit), and too much fructose (sugar & inflammation), not to mention more calories. *:) Tart Cherry juice, that has already been diluted, can be found at Kroger. I have found the frozen at Meijer Stores (near the pomegranate juice) and the South Bend Farmer's Market (but you have to ask for it - it's back in their freezer), and all the health food stores. The dried tart cherries I've found at all the local health food stores. (They look like fat red raisins). The juice that is pre-mixed and ready to drink may be available in many grocery stores, but I wonder if it is strong enough a mix to be as effective. With the frozen concentrate, If you are having extra pain, you can always mix it 5 or 6 parts to 1 for a more potent dose. You can't do that with the pre-mixed drink.

Tumeric is a spice that's often used in curry dishes, but gaining more popularity in other dishes as well. But it has been used as a pain reliever for many years. Testing for many conditions, including arthritis, and even cancer, it has proven to be quite an excellent pain-reliever !
I began using tumeric again when my shingles showed up. I always have it handy. I usually use malic acid when I have a flare, but tumeric is here for strong flares. *:)

Ginger is another spice that is an excellent pain-reliever. Yes, regular ginger. The rhizome you see in the produce section of your local grocery stores! It does come in capsules in the health food stores, though, in case you want something quick or don't like the taste. Another benefit is that it also helps nausea. A common symptom for us as well! *:)

Antioxidants in the form of fresh whole fruits, veggies, beans*, whole grains**, nuts (particularly Brazil nuts and walnuts) are without a doubt the very best and most valuable overall benefit to your body! They enable all other supplements, vitamins and minerals to work better with your body. They are all bioavailable and your body knows exactly what to do with the nutrients! They may also fortify your body well enough so that whatever prescriptions you do have to take, may work more effectively and effeciently, with the least amount necesary!

[ I drink green tea (and a lot of water, of course) all day long. Green tea is an excellent antioxidant! Holy Basil tea (Tulsi tea) is also a great antioxidant, and it is very helpful for stress! But we did not talk about them this evening.]

*It was noted that some cans of beans contain food additives like nitrates, and/or sulfites, etc. Read the labels!
**Whole wheat, Rye and Barley are may not be ideal for many with Fibromyalgia. Gluten intolerance and/or sensitivity seems to be a real popular issue with us. If you are sensitive, there are other grains like wild rice, brown rice, organic oats, quinoa, millet and amaranth are all available in our local health food stores to use for our grains.

We all know that when you walk into the produce section of the grocery store, everything looks all shiney and fresh and wholesome. But we know that pesticides and food washes have been used to bring out their good looks. Buy organic when you can, but even still, buying these foods will still give you antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and prebiotics your body needs. Wash them well when you get home, and enjoy all the benefits within!

We talked a bit about sleep and mattresses and other things, but I am not writing another novel here, only a monthly summary! *:) And I do want to get it to you as soon as possible so you can take advantage of the events listed above! Be well everyone! And keep smiling. It's important! *:)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Fibromyalgia and The EsTeck Medical Devise

WOW! 2012 Already! Happy and Healthy New Year to all!

Hi Everyone!

Our guest speaker for January's meeting of the Mishawaka Fibromyalgia Support Group was Dr. Kevin Hancock, Chiropractor and Health Care Practitioner extraordinaire! He has done remarkable things for my neck and lower back, and for my overall health and well-being this past year. I highly recommend his expertise! For much more than his Chiropractic expertise, as it turns out!

When he told me about this awesome non-invasive medical devise he's been using, I wanted to be certain all of you knew about it too! It's called the EsTeck Medical Devise. It's an outstanding devise, not only for his chiropractic patients, but for anyone who chooses to get a scan performed. You can use the information gleaned as suggestions and requests for your doctor to look into!

As Dr. Hancock said, this machine is not necessarily an actual diagnostic tool, but rather it provides a guide in the manner of triage and a monitoring tool. It has been used regularly in China and India for almost 10 years in order to give the patient a preliminary tentative diagnosis (triage) so that the medical personnel will have an idea of where to start in their healing process, saving precious time in already amazingly busy facilities in these countries.

The devise is completely non-invasive. Much like an EKG, EEG or EMG machine there are two biosensors (sticky pads) attached to your temples, a finger pulse monitor, a sensor pad to lay your hand on, and two pads to set your feet on. All the readings come from these areas at once, and the EsTeck Devise does some enormously complex mathematical calculations to measure up to 69 parameters of the human body with amazing accuracy and reproducibility.

So what are are some of the things measured by the EsTeck Medical Devise? It evaluates:

~ overall homeostasis score
~ basal metabolism
~ the current function of each organ in the body - liver, heart, kidney, etc
~ brain function by individual lobes
~ the hormonal activity - thyroid, parathyroid, adrenals, etc
~ cardiovascular function
~ electrolyte status and function
~ oxygen status and function
~ mitochondtial activity
~ autonomic nervous system activity
~ spinal health
~ disease status - cardiovascular, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, tissue inflammation, etc
~ body composition - lean mass, fat mass
~ the amount of water inside your cells and outside of your cells
as stated, up to 69 parameters are measured!

Once the electrodes are attached, and your feet and hands are placed, the entire procedure takes from 2 to 5 minutes. And the results are available immediately - no wait time for "tests to come back." Dr. Hancock will need to read and describe/explain the results, but you have them right away! And you can both discuss what to do from there.

It is true that many doctors in the U.S. have not heard of the EsTeck Medical Devise yet, but it has proven to be very effective, efficient and most helpful in the countries where it is well-established. For now, a reading from the devise will give you much needed information about your body and how it is functioning. Armed with this information, you can go to your doctor and say, "I'd like to have this or that checked." And the best part is that after Dr. Hancock, or your doctor treats the condition, you can go back for another scan and find out if the treatment is indeed working or if you need to raise the dose or change to something else.

Dr. Hancock also has available whole food supplements by Standard Process, a highly respected company in business since 1929. I have been taking their product called "Min-Chex" since I got shingles back in November and find it most helpful! This particular product helps to balance the central nervous system (shingles, remember?) while it also helps support thyroid and adrenals. The company makes a number of excellent whole food products, including the "General Health - Daily Fundamentals" which includes packets of 3 capsules of whole food nutrition consisting of a multi, a capsule of trace minerals-B-12, and a Tuna Omega 3 EPA-DHA capsule. All supplements are Gluten-free. Because they are whole food supplements, they are completely bio-available, that is, your body absorbs them and utilizes all the nutrition your body needs. Standard Process Products are only available through a Health Care Provider and not sold in stores. For more information check out (Note 1: if you're looking for natural help for thyroid, adrenals,etc ask Dr. Hancock about these Standard Process products). (Note 2: I found out online that these excellent products are available for pets as well - horses, cats, dogs, and more.)

Dr. Kevin told us about a doctor in California who charges $170 for a scan from the EsTeck Medical Devise.
Dr. Hancock's regular fee is only $50. This is so that more people can take advantge of its help!

I highly recommend you take advantage of this devise. For piece of mind, and the knowledge it can give you of your own body.

Contact Information:

Dr. Kevin Hancock
6910 North Main St., Unit 23
Granger, IN 46530

Friday, January 6, 2012

Fibromyalgia Discussion at Fibro Support Group

Merry Christmas Everyone! 12-21-2011

Our Fibromyalgia Support Group meeting for December was quite memorable. I just pray I can do justice in writing about it! One of the challenges of being the host of this wonderful group of people is that it is my job is to take notes so that I can write these Fibro Notes, so that you in turn, can have the vicarious experience of "being there." But when I get all caught up in the experience myself, my note-taking ability wanes. This is a shame really, because I heard from each of our attendees that this was an extra special meeting for them. Me too.

By the way, you may not know this, but these Fibro Notes are sent to 125+ folks in chronic pain with Fibromyalgia and a variety of assorted other conditions! Then, they are posted onto my blog at where anyone can read the back issues and postings from 2009 when I began this blog.

My plan for this evening, as stated in an earlier e-mail, was to discuss how we each manage the "unexpected" things that pop up while we are also experiencing Fibro and whatever else happens to be going on in your body - things like the not-so-common cold or flu or physical injury or shingles or what have you. But I've learned over time, to go with the flow of the evening, it usually works out a lot better. So we'll cover this topic at another time *:)

There were nine attendees, including myself and two surprise (and most welcome) guests, James Keating, Doctor of Chiropractic and Acupuncture from Preventive Medicine, PC, and his assistant, Crystal.

I asked everyone to go around the table introducing themselves, and to please share their "particular brand" of Fibromyalgia, a bit about their physician, how they are treating their symptoms, how long they've had it, what other condition they may be experincing with it, and so on. I have come to find out that this is a valuable learning tool and leads to many discussions, as it did this night as well. We all learn from each other.

FYI: the age range of our group this evening was 30 - 80+ years young!

December's Support Group meeting

1) I'll start with myself to get that out of the way, if you don't mind. My bout with shingles the past five weeks has slowed me down a bit, and I didn't get things done the way I wanted to. Due to a prescription med, I actually slept through /or was semi-unconscious the last few weeks of November and first few days of December. I did things I have no recollection of doing, and I didn't do things I thought I had done. I didn't get dressed or want to do anything but sleep. However, I will say that the Rx greatly helped the pain during this most severe time-period when Fibro, shingles and arthritis were waging war in my body! I began phasing off the meds around Dec 3rd and began daily use of only natural help during the day (L-lysine, white willow bark, tumeric, doubled up on the Alpha Lipoic Acid and antioxidants and immune boosters) and used topical help such as Capsaicin and Udderly Smooth Hand Cream. I am still using these. I was using one Rx med to get sleep at night so the pain wouldn't wake me every 15 minutes, and I have recently been able to stop that too. So things are on the mend. That is to say, I am at least functional once again! My Fibro has been under my control for about 13 years, and now my shingles "aftermath" is too. Thank you all for your prayers!

2) JH was next to share and told of being diagnosed about 2 1/2 years ago. She is seeing a Rheumatologist and is taking Tramadol, Gabapentin, Cymbalta, Thyroid medication (she has no thyroid gland), Ambien and others. With all this, she is still in daily pain. Fortunately she is not working. JH has seen how walking has helped her dear friend CP, but she told us that her foot is damaged and also in pain, so she cannot walk. She is also getting another Rx from her podiatrist. We then had several folks tell of other ways she could exercise - a hand pedalling machine, swimming, sitting Tai Chi and others. So she went home with ideas to try! Yeah!

3) CP has had Fibro for a number of years and has found that walking is a huge help for her. She's letting her endorphins do much of the pain-relieving. She did have to slow down some when she hurt her knee, which increased the Fibro pain too, but is back to walking 5 miles a day and feeling better now. (She did mention that she was a dedicated walker before Fibro.) She also finds Acupuncture exceptionally helpful, not only for regular treatment of pain, but for Fibro Fog too. It took a couple of months to find the exact right points for her, but now she is going only twice a month. CP is somewhat of a "snow bird" and spends two/three months of the wintertime in a warmer climate. One particularly nice thing about using acupuncture is that her local acupuncturist has written down the specific points/meridians that work for her and she has given this list of points to her other acupuncturist, so that she can have the same, continual care, twice a month without ever having to miss a treatment even when she's not here! And of course she keeps up with her walking in the nicer weather! Her Fibromyalgia is basically under her control through exercise, acupuncture and several supplements, vitamins and minerals. CP is not working part or full-time.

4) NT said that she starts off her day with 25 pills - a combination of prescriptions, supplements, vitamins and vitamins (Gabapentin, Cymbalta, Vicodin, magnesium for example). She takes 3 pills at lunch time and about 7 pills in the evening. She is still in daily pain, but also somehow manages to work full time! She has had 17 surgeries over the years adding to the residual pain and Fibro symptoms. We talked about swimming (and/or paddling around in the water) which helps her pain a lot, but is expensive at the places where she is comfortable using it. Some places the water is too cold, other places the water is too chlorinated. All agreed that both of these conditions were NOT desireable. For NT, Pro Health works fine, but it is $10 to come in to use the pool on a "drop-in" basis. And the fee for joining is quite a bit more! We spoke of soft drinks because she had one in front of her. She said she has cut back on them. Several of us agreed that deleting soft drinks had helped the rest of us tremendously, and we each found that adding lots of fresh fruits and veggies helped too. She is working on the latter, but just doesn't like the taste of them them. She did mention that she has a very supportive boyfriend which helps a lot, especially when the stress of other family relationships seem to amplify the pain. We discussed stress as a major aggravating factor to our pain. Weight is a factor for a few of us, and this always adds to the stress and depression issues. She told of going to one particular doctor, and the first and only thing he said was, "Loose weight and you'll be fine!" We all agreed that this doctor was not only rude, but ignorant about Fibromyalgia too. She left his office and didn't look back! We cheered for her! YEAH!

5) LM was diagnosed 8 years ago at Crossroads Healing Arts Center - the Goshen, Indiana location of The Born Preventive Health Care Clinic in Grand Rapids, Michigan. LM was one of the very first members of my Fibro Support Group when we began in March of 2008. She had had severe Gluten and Lactose issues as a very significant part of her Fibro, which is what led me to begin my inquiries in this direction and it's connection to Fibro. (Up to that point I had had no idea that either was a part of Fibro.) She was quite inspirational for a big part of my second book. Thank you, LM! She had been using nutrition - specifically omitting the gluten and lactose from her diet - and adding a number of vitamins and supplements recommended by those at Crossroads and has not used prescriptions for any part of her treatment. A year ago she went to Rose Quest Nutrition (on Lincoln Way East near this Library) and began a regimen under the tutelage of the nutritionist there. She did mention that it was a bit expensive, but the result is well worth her effort. She is now able to eat a minimal amount of gluten and lactose under specific conditions without any severe effects that she used to experience. She has a strictly regimented routine of specific food and supplements at certain times etc, but she has not felt this good in over 8 years. She is currently working full time and has Fibro under her control through nutrition, supplements, vitamins and minerals.

6) MG has had a very long road and numerous medical events that have complicated everything. Many years ago, a surgery that was performed on the WRONG part of her anatomy ended up in the severing of her laryngeal nerve, leaving her to talk in a whisper for the rest of her life! This was only one of several surgeries over the years for a number of issues, including the removal of her thyroid in 1996. But it was in the early 1990's when she was the Medical University in Ann Arbor, Michigan where she was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. She takes meds for several other conditions, including her absent thyroid, but she also uses a combination of natural therapies such as deep breathing, meditation, good nutrition, and Juice Plus+ supplements, vitamins and minerals. She and her husband take advantage of the massage therapy, chiropractic, acupuncture and muscle stimulation therapy provided by Preventive Medicine, PC and Dr. James Keating. She is not working full-time.

7) BG is the spouse of MG, and although he does not have Fibromyalgia, he does have chronic back pain and is helped a great deal by the same natural therapies that MG uses, including Juice Plus+. He is currenty seeing Dr. Keating and finds him tremendously helpful for helping to ease his back pain. BG has come up with a delicious recipe for a healthy breakfast which he shared with us. MG tells that she uses Mountain High Fat Free Yogurt in this recipe because it is the least expensive when they buy it by the gallon for use in their breakfast smoothies!
BG's Breakfast Recipe:
1/4 chopped banana
1/2 cup yogurt
frozen peaches or blueberries to taste
Mix well and enjoy!

When NT reminded that she didn't like the taste of fruit or yogurt, MG said, "You can always add a little Congac to hide the taste!" Wahoo!

Dr. Keating was not a silent attendee! He really did participate in many side conversations about the muscle stimulation pads at Preventive Medicine,PC, exercise, massage, acupuncture and supplements, specifically Vitamin D. He stressed the importance of having your Vitamin D level checked. It is importanmt to help pain. Some folks in this area have had levels as low as 4 or 18 etc. When we have a chronic illness, our bodies use Vitamin D quickly each day to help fight the pain and other symptoms. Our level should be reading 50-70 ng/ml DAILY. Taking 4000 to 6000 IU per day is not unreasonable. (I take 6000 IU per day myself.) When you buy Vitamin D, be certain to get Vitamin D3 (not D2) because the D3 is the best absorbed buy our body. It is available in small caps, in liquid, and in sublingual liquid drops (under the tongue). Bringing you Vitamin D level up to a reasonalbe level can make a huge difference in how you feel!

Regarding massage therapy, it was mentioned that if your doctor writes a prescription for "needs clinical muscle work" this is interpreted as "massage therapy would be helpful for your condition" and it may be covered by insurance. Check with your insurance company and see if your doctor will do this for you! Chiropractic is often covered, acupuncture is sometimes covered depending on your health care, and massage may be covered in the above mentioned instances.

On a parting note, MG stated that having a supportive loving relationship is an immense help to Fibro pain and symptoms. NT and CP verified this loudly, and seconded the motion, while everyone else whole-heartedly agreed! *:)

Love is Great medicine!

* I am honored to be the guest on The Harvest Show on Channel 46, WHME, on January 3rd at 9:00 am EST, in South Bend, IN. Discussing Fibromyalgia in a brief 10 - 12 minutes interview is going to be a challenge, but I'll give it my best. Please feel free to check out the show or view past shows and interviews by visiting their website at