Saturday, December 18, 2010

Fibromyalgia - body, mind and spirit

Our speaker for the December's Fibromyalgia Support Group meeting in Mishawaka, IN was Therese Harmon (see Contact Information below). A remarkable lady who has been working in the healing profession for many years, starting out as a pharmacist in France, her first home country. But she began asking herself what is health? What is wellness? Surely not just the absence of illness. She married and came to the U.S. where she decided she wanted more – more learning, more growing, more of helping others in a more hands on way – a more natural way. She began taking classes. She learned about nutrition; she learned about massage therapy and became a Master Massage Therapist; she learned about Reiki, energy healing and healing touch therapy, collecting certificates along the way, spending many hours with each discipline – all new and effective healing energies.

She began using kinesiology, a form of muscle-strength testing, which provides feedback to the practitioner as to the functional status of the body, in order to tell what needs to be addressed. Many chiropractors have used this diagnostic tool since the 1960’s here in the U.S., but it has been used in natural medicine much longer than that throughout the rest of the world. Therese finds it to be very helpful because the body itself tells her what its needs are for her clients.

She has helped many people with Fibromyalgia over the past 20 years and has concluded that Fibromyalgia is a condition, or dis-ease, of the 21st century. It is a condition which encompasses the body, the mind and the spirit. And thus, all three must be addresses for any healing to occur…which is probably one of the reasons why Fibromyalgia will not be “cured” by taking a pill – a prescription.

Those of us with Fibromyalgia tend to be over-achievers and people-pleasers.In other words, we have a hard time saying “no” to requests and we tend to want to do things ourselves because we know it will be done right. We are always doing, going, getting, and tend to do for others so much and so often, that we forget to take care of ourselves. The point is that if you DON’T take care of yourself, soon you will not be ABLE to take care of others. This is when Fibromyalgia flares to its most intense pain and weakness and shares it’s most vile symptoms! You must learn to BREATHE! Take care of yourself. Give yourself a moment. This is when Therese generously guided us in a light meditation of being present in the moment.

We sat straight in our chairs, feet resting flat on the floor, hands resting comfortably in our laps, and closed our eyes. We breathed three long slow deep breaths to get comfortable. Then she told us to become aware of our breathing - in and out – listen to it, feel how our lungs fill and how the air flows out. Then feel how your clothes are resting on your skin – your collar on your neck, your aleeves on your arms, your pants on your knees and your ankles. Feel the socks on your feet and your shoes as they sit on the floor. Breathe. Slowly in and slowly out. Feel your hands resting in your lap. Breathe.

This is taking care of your mind. Centering and bringing yourself peace! In the middle of a harried day, or a time of stress, you can break away – into another room or the bathroom and do this simple meditation to give yourself a special MOMENT. Just for you. For your peace of mind. You can do it for one minute, two or ten or twenty. But to do a meditation of this sort, or even to take the time to say a prayer, alone in your own space, addresses the busy mind – the monkey mind that often takes over, and creates stress and aggravates many of our symptoms.

Then she told us about helping our body. She told us about the best and most important invention of the century to take care of our bodies. Juice Plus+ . Yes, she is a distributor. But even if she wasn’t, she would recommend it as one of the best ways to help heal a body. The fruits and veggies with their antioxidants, enzymes, and probiotics have helped all of her clients with Fibromyalgia, she says. I, personally, use it and find it to be extremely important to give my body a fighting chance against free radicals and to help keep it more alkaline, and to boost my immune system.

Addressing the spirit, she went to the blackboard (which is white). She began explaining a bit about meridians such as those that are used in acupuncture and acupressure. Describing that when there are blockages in those meridians, we have pain. Our thoughts often put up blockages - negative thoughts that run around in our head, saying things like, ”My body is screwed up,” “I’m afraid I can do that because it will hurt,” “I can’t go to work because I’ll forget stuff and get confused.” These thoughts create blockages and things don’t move smoothly in our systems. Our Creator, The Source, whatever form that takes for each of us, wants us to be happy, wants us to be healthy, wants us to have all that we desire, because He loves us beyond measure. With every negative thought we have about ourselves, we are putting up blocks to that love, blocks to our own health, joy, and love. We must replase those negative thoughts with positive, uplifting thoughts, even if we have to push ourselves. But we can replace those negative thoughts with positive thoughts using EFT.

We can release those blocks with Emotional Freedom Technique, EFT, and Therese showed us how. She led us in a light stress relief tapping session on the stresses of the Holiday Season – trying to be all things to all people, and get everything done all by yourself all at once, that is so indicative of we as Fibromyalgics.

Therese took to the board again and drew an iceberg, describing our conscious thoughts as being above the waterline and our subconscious thoughts being the massive amount hidden below. EFT can get below the waterline at our subconscious thoughts from where nearly all of the negative self talk arises. With EFT, you can reach down below the waterline and “tap away” old outmoded reruns of past negatives that keep arising. This helps the present negatives in ways that you can hardly imagine. Most of our current “stuff” is based firmly in the past or under the waterline. With EFT we can ferret these out and finally release them and so help ourselves in the present.

Often called “tapping,” EFT is used effectively to help relieve stress, anxiety, body aches, stomach and back aches, headaches, pain of all kinds, in fact. For a complete description of EFT, or to have Therese guide you in a session, or to learn how to do it yourself, please visit Therese’s website and/or make an appointment. Also see my website,, and the page called "Helpful Support."
Note: Therese helps out by teaching and leading sessions of EFT at the Homeless Shelter in South Bend. How better to boost spirits and calm stress, especially at this Holiday Season.

I’d personally like to thank Therese for a very important learning experience this evening for everyone. She is a valuable member of the healing community and cares enough to share that information and more with our group. Please avail yourself of her services, her care and her teaching abilities. She is a wonderful EFT coach and this can help in so many ways. (I have found EFT to be extremely helpful for years – for anxiety, panic attacks, backaches and much more. )
Contact Information:
Therese Harmon, Life & Wellness Coach, Master Massage Therapist, Juice Plus Representative,

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Fibromyalgia, Laser, PT and Pati's flare control

Hi everyone!
I said I’d keep you posted on my experience with the 830Laser light and physical therapy (pt) when I made my appointment with our November speaker, Mel Arevalo.

I went in with hope, but I kept my expectations in neutral. As we all know, there is no one therapy or treatment that works for everyone. Whether it’s chiropractic, acupuncture, reflexology, massage, physical therapy, cold laser therapy, water therapy or any other treatment, OR even a combination of two or three of them. It often takes experimenting with this one or that one to find out what works FOR YOU. I have found that for me, all of these (and others) have worked to some extent on one or other of my symptoms. Several factors decide which one I will use:

1) which particular symptoms I am hoping to help – I have yet to find one
treatment to help all of the symptoms – or Rx or supplement either, for that
2) a treatment I am comfortable experiencing
3) a therapist I have a good rapport with
4) whether the therapy helps for a few days or a few weeks
5) whether the therapy is covered by insurance
6) whether it is nearby and I don’t have to travel in the car for two hours (to
Chicago or Ohio, for example), undoing all the benefits of the treatment!

As I mentioned in my prior blog describing Mr. Arevalo’s visit to our group, I don’t often experience daily Fibromyalgia pain any more – I do experience a number of other symptoms, however. I basically keep my pain under control with daily stretches, Tai Chi, meditation, proper foods, supplements and pacing myself realistically. But I do get flares when stressed or when I have over-extended myself, experiencing it mostly in my neck and shoulders, lower back and hip/thigh areas. And yes, the Fibro frogginess, anxiety, and IBS issues usually play a big part in my flares at the same time. The painful physical flares are often connected with my Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) and osteoarthritis pain, causing muscle and joint pain. Needless to say, it is to my benefit to avoid flares as much as possible by adhering to the above mentioned formula that works for me…especially the pacing.

I went to see Mr. Arevalo not only for my Fibromyalgia symptoms, but also for the AS and osteoarthritis, hoping to help three birds with one stone. I had no idea how many “parts” or symptoms of Fibro this therapy would help, but I was open to all possibilities.

During my evaluation, Mel discovered, the “knots” in each of the tender points in my neck and shoulder areas extending up to the base of my neck. More “knots” were found in my hip and buttocks area, inside my knees, etc. In other words, he found my active tender points.

The stretches and Tai Chi I had been practicing for the past eleven or more years has kept these muscle groups loose and well functioning, and has helped a lot, but they didn’t get down two or three inches below the surface of the skin where the muscles actually crossover each other and make a tender point. So when a flare occurred, of course this is where the pain showed up.

I have now visited Mr. Arevalo’s clinic for two and a half weeks and I have had a wonderful “loosening of these knots,” starting with the very first visit. However, I committed a grievous error after that first visit. I felt so good when I left the clinic that I went running around doing errands for the next two hours. After that I got tied up in other stuff and totally forgot to drink WATER! I only had a few sips of my green tea now and then from my travel mug. (Charlene forgive me, I really do know better!) Anyway, by late afternoon I was starting to get aches and pains in the small of my back, my hips, thighs, knees, ankles and feet. Then it hit me!!! W A T E R !!! I began drinking like a camel all evening! Then I got busy with my necessary flare protocol – I rolled-on Capsaicin to my back, hips, thighs and knees, and took two 600 mg capsules of Malic Acid and an extra Magnesium/Potassium Aspartate capsule (County Life makes my favorite one)and began gentle stretches. Drinking all this water now is something like closing the barn door after the horse has escaped, but I thought, “It couldn’t hurt.” By bedtime things had subsided well enough to get to sleep. I woke in the morning feeling no pain…so it worked! Yeah! I’ll not forget my water again!

My Cardinal Sin, of course was not drinking water immediately after the therapy. The laser and the physical therapy (pt) loosened all the toxins that were held prisoner in and around those knots in my neck. One MUST drink water after any physical-type treatment to flush those toxins out and away from other muscle tissue. Otherwise these toxins will leave the original area when worked on, and then free-float until they latch onto other muscle groups. In my case the laser had truly helped release all those toxins in my neck and shoulder area, then they slid down, latching onto my lower back muscles, hips, legs, and ankles, ultimately making mountains of pain! I have learned a very valuable lesson…again.

That was my first experience with the laser and pt. My second and all the rest of my visits consisted of true relief in my neck and shoulders, hips, legs, et al. The 830Laser treatments, stretches, neck massages, and the brief treadmill jaunts have been geared to my Fibro, AS and osteoarthritis . Each time we did a little more laser and pt, and added another minute on the treadmill (I started at 5 minutes with a break at three minutes—remember, start low and go slow). And after each subsequent visit, I drank three 8oz glasses of water during the following two hours, beginning immediately after my session. The result was no pain in the slightest degree after any of the subsequent sessions. In fact, I felt energized and ready to go. But I forced myself to pacing and being gentle on my body anyway, because these were new experiences to my body and I must adapt gently.

The laser is breaking up the knots! Yeah!

I should tell you that previously, I had been unable to walk more than ten minutes at a steady pace—walking in the park, for example—before my left hip would literally give out, sometimes rather drastically, and always very painfully. So I asked Mel to help me build up my strength and time for walking. I had not realized until now that this hip malfunction was due to the actual tender points’ being aggravated—aggravated to the point of pain and inflammation as I walked, by repeatedly rubbing those specific muscles against each other at the point of intersection where the tender point lies.

I will continue on the treadmill until I can exceed ten minutes, then twenty, then thirty. It’s looking really good right now because Mel is working the laser on those tender points and I can feel the loosening already. These are a bit stubborn, as are the ones on the right side of my neck, but they are loosening, more and more each time! I can definitely feel the difference, in the amount of stretching I can do.

I continue my stretches at home as I sit (or stand) and watch TV. Things are definitely looking up! For a totally painless procedure, I am very happy with the progress I’ve made. I am continuing, progressing and feeling more energetic with each visit. The laser seems to be a great booster to the pt, at least for me, helping to speed things along, completely painlessly. So this particular therapy is a “go” for me. It is not a cure, to be sure, but it is helping a great deal.

I have recently learned that there is another place in the area using cold laser therapy. Warren Chiropractic, also on Lincolnway in Osceola uses a different devise, which is also a cold laser therapy devise. Evidently there are a number of different brands, which may or may not have similar effects due to its strength or timing or whatever. I, personally, cannot say anything one way or the other about Warren’s devise as I have not experienced it. However, I was told by a fibromyalgia sufferer that when she experienced the cold laser treatment at Warren, along with the chiropractic, it did help several symptoms for a limited time. She says, “It is a helpful therapy, but not a panacea.”

For more information on the 830Laser Therapy or Mel's Clinic and Physical Therapy see the blog below (November's Fibro Notes). *:)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Fibromyalgia & Laser Light Healing

Fibro Notes for November 2010
Hi Everyone!
It is truly a pleasure to be able to share with you this information about a new healing therapy. Actually it’s not chronologically new; it’s just new to us in the Michiana area. Cells, whether animal, human or plant, don’t grow in space the same way they do here on earth, so NASA began using this type of therapy over 30 years ago to help heal astronauts and to help grow plants while in space. This therapy has been used on earth in Canada, Europe, Japan and some parts of Asia for nearly 30 years, too. This healing therapy is sometimes called light therapy or cold laser therapy; but what we learned about this month from our guest speaker was specifically, 830Laser Therapy. ™

830Laser Therapy is safe (except, of course in the eyes); it is scientifically proven to be effective, and it’s FDA approved! It is also approved by the Olympic Committee for their athletes! It is used by trained professionals in the physical therapy, chiropractic, podiatry, and dentistry professions and a host of others who are dedicated to healing.

Our guest speaker this month was Mel Arevalo who is first and foremost a Physical Therapist, as is his wife. They work their physical therapy magic in pediatrics, including children with special needs, ADHD and more, and in orthopedics and spine therapy. This husband and wife team had worked at Memorial Hospital for 8 years until recently, when they chose to open their own practice in Osceola, just east of Mishawaka on Lincoln Way East (U.S. 20). See full contact information below.

Together they have learned that although Physical Therapy (PT) does work wonders for pain and healing for all types and varieties of conditions, the use of the 830Laser in conjunction with PT, can enhance and speed the recovery of many conditions in most people.

Mr. Arevalo stresses that this 830Laser isn’t a panacea for all ills, for everyone, but it has worked almost miraculously for many…including his own knees and his wife’s TMJ (jaw pain)! In fact, he has seen it work for many, many of his patients. He gave several examples of a number conditions that have been helped in his patients (unnamed, of course). Most muscle, joint and tendon pain can be helped dramatically with anywhere from two to nine treatments!

What type of ailment does the 830Laser treat? Arthritis, Back Pain, Bursitis/Tendonitis, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Heel Spur/Plantar Fasciitis, Migraines and TMJ are listed on the brochure Mr. Arevalo provided, and there are even more conditions and ailments not listed here. The expected benefits are 1) reduced inflammation, especially acute inflammatory conditions and 2) increased tissue healing, whether from wounds or illnesses, and finally 3) a reduction in pain.

Because it is a “cold” of “soft” laser, you will feel no heat. In fact you may feel nothing at all except a slight tingling. The laser sends photons (light) into your tissue, passing through skin, blood, water and fat to penetrate 2” down below the surface to regenerate and rejuvenate cells, reducing inflammation, increasing cellular tissue healing and, as a result, reducing pain.

Treatments last from 10 - 40 minutes, based on the severity and type of condition being treated. Even though chronic conditions that have been ongoing for a long period of time may take more sessions, many people will find some, or even major relief at the very first session. And you may feel even more relief the next day.

This therapy actually increases your body’s regenerative powers by enhancing your body’s own cell repair and cell growth capabilities. This is healing in its truest sense. And then, with the addition of the stretches and gentle movements choreographed especially for you, the physical therapy will be able to work its real magic by strengthening and firming those muscle groups to prevent further damage and keep them strong and firm. And yes, massage therapy is very often a part of PT.

Insurance is accepted, of course, and if you have a referral from a physician, everyone can stay on the same page. Drs. Staniero, Domingo and Balog from South Bend/Mishawaka are several Rheumatologists in the area who have referred patients to Mr. Arevalo, and I’m certain there are others. If you make an appointment, he can call your current physician and get an OK for therapy in that way also. If you have no insurance, arrangements can be made.

Mr. Arevalo invites you to visit his office at Pediatrics, Orthopedics, and Spine Therapy Center, 1415 Lincolnway West, Suite M, Osceola, IN 46561, or visit their website at for details or to set up an appointment for an evaluation, or call 574-675-7767.

Also please visit to find out more about this laser therapy - on the right side of the home page, click on the “View treatment demonstration” to find out much more on the video. Also on the right side near the bottom of the page you can click on “Find a Certified Provider Now.” Although they are not as numerous as we may like, I have a feeling this will change soon… as this therapy becomes more well-known. The New England Patriots find it as valuable as the Olympic Committee!

I’m afraid I’m sounding a bit like an advertisement here. I had “discovered” this therapy two years ago after my first book came out and I became excited at the whole concept. I had no way of knowing it was available anywhere in this area at the time. Now, here we are. And it’s right in my own back yard. My first appointment is Monday and I can hardly wait! I’ll keep you posted! Although I have no daily Fibromyalgia pain as I had had 12 years ago, I do have other symptoms that nag at me, and flare ups now and then, and of course Arthritis in…well, everywhere. So I am looking forward to less inflammation. And who knows what else will be helped along the way. *:)
Keep smiling everyone! It’s Important!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Fibromyalga & Mayo Clinic video

Oct, 2010. We had no speaker at this month's meeting, but rather we had a discussion on a video put out by The Mayo Clinic and GAIAM, a company dedicated to the health and healing of people and our planet.

The title of the video is Wellness Solutions for Fibromyalgia and it is available at for $19.90 plus s&h. It would be less if you don't mind getting a used video. I recommend this video to any newly diagnosed Fibromyalgia patient for a number of reasons. And I'd like to share with you a "review" of 5 sections of the video so you can see why you may like to purchase a copy of your own.

1) Dr. Brent Bauer introduces you to the concept of integrative medicine. [This is invaluable to my way of thinking. This treatment approach has proven to be the most helpful of all in the treatment of Fibromyalgia - that's why my book, Managing Fibromyalgia-Getting to know your Aggravators, extols it's virtues!]

Dr. Bauer explains that integrative medicine is simply the best of both worlds of medicine. It utilizes both alopathic (or Western) medicine along with the 3,000 yr-old traditional methods of healing and treatment. This method of treatment combines prescriptions when necessary, with acupuncture or chiropractic manipulation or physical therapy or water therapy, or whatever your doctor thinks may be right for you. Both methods use a form of cognitive behavioral therapy and/or stress reduction--whether deep breathing, meditation, exercise or physical therapy.

[Note: you'll find that many medical doctors are not familar with integrative medicine. You may want to seek out an osteopath, a naturopath or a physician specifically trained in the integrative medical field. You can find one by checking online at and click on your state, or zip code, or you can google "integrative medical physician."]

2) Drs. Jeffrey Thompson and Amit Sood, both practicing at the Mayo Clinic, explain this complex syndrome and tell how it is diagnosed. Dr. Thompson explaines that there are no tests to diagnose Fibromyalgia, but rather it is diagnosed by the symptoms. The typical symptoms are overall body pain, tiredness/weakness and trouble sleeping. There is also an extreme sensitivity at any or all of 18 tender points. He also says that these 18 points are not exactly written in stone - there can be even more points. And there can also be fewer.

Dr. Thompson said that he's heard that some doctors tell their patients that "the pain is all in their head." He says that's quite true. ALL pain emanates from the brain, and so, yes, the pain IS in your head, but so is the doctor's own pain in HIS own head. This is actually a good thing, because the brain, in fact, is the most powerful thing we have to treat and manage our Fibromyalgia pain! Then he talks about why.

Dr. Amit Sood tells that there are environmental triggers, predispositions, poor sleep, stress and the ever present "overactive mind and underactive body" that can aggravate the symptoms of Fibromyalgia.

He also says that most people when diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, or even before they are diagnosed, are fearful that their body is being damaged, which may lead to debilitation and disability. "But once they are assured that this is not the case--that there is no actual damage happening to their body--they are usually quite relieved and can better come to terms with their condition." [I believe he may be a bit overoptimistic here.] "Then," he continues, "they can then go about beginning their own healing and treatments in the form of exercise, stress management, sleep management and so on."

Drs. Sood and Thompson strongly emphasises exercise, explaining that even if you only begin by exercising 5 minutes in the morning, 5 minutes at noon and 5 minutes in the late afternoon (5-5-5), you will have exercised 15 minutes that day. As your body becomes accustomed to that amount of exercise, after a week or two, you can GRADUALLY add another minute to each of these and then another then next week and so on, until you can get in a half hour or more of exercise per day.

Both doctors stress the importance of spirituality, positive self-talk, positive attitude, humor, goal setting and pacing and much more, finalizing their contribution with the 5 most important TIPS for dealing with fibromyalgia: 1) reduce stress - learn stress management techniques like meditation, positive self-talk or even expressing your spirituality; 2) get restful, restorative sleep via your doctor's assistance or acupuncture, or massage therapy or other means - if you're not sleeping well, it's almost impossible for muscle pain to get better; 3) exercise every day, eg. yoga, tai chi, chi gong - but don't over do it, because that can increase pain; 4) pace yourself - do everything in moderation; 5) maintain a healthy lifestyle - eat lots of healthy fruits and veggies, whole grains, nuts and legumes, and enjoy fun occassions, and family.

3) Dr. Donald Hensrud takes you on a trip through the grocery store. This section is very informative, especially for those who are not familiar with the importance of diet and Fibromyalgia. He literally walks through a grocery store picking up foods to put in his cart, as he explains why this or that food is beneficial for helping pain and other symptoms. He also explains that we should be cutting back (or omitting) excess sugar, hydrogenated fats, coffee, soft drinks and the like.

Diet is indeed a very important factor for those of us with Fibromyalgia. Learning all you can about this one important factor can certainly help alleviate a lot of pain. [See my blogs below on Fibromyalgia and Diet with Dr. Corson, or with Cindy Cohen, RN.]

4) Rodney Yee takes you through a simple sitting meditation, where you sit comfortably in your chair and listen as he speaks-- soothingly describing how to relax. Then he describes a meditation while you are lying down. The visual background is a beautiful mountain meadow on a sunny day, and the music is so soothing and relaxing, that playing this section of the tape can literally melt away your stresses as you watch or listen. This is an excellent walk through a light, relaxing meditation. [For newbies to meditation,and others, you will find this to be very soothing and relaxing.]

5) Rodney Yee is also a famous yoga master. In the same beautiful mountain valley on a sunny day, he and two of his assistants demonstrate a number of simple yoga positions, called Asanas. He utilizes folded up blankets for the easing of the positions and a chair to lean on, so that none of the Asanas would be too strenuous or painful in any of the moves. These positions have been selected especially for Fibromyalgia sufferers and are not overly strenuous.
[Note: I have been practicing Tai Chi daily for 11 of my 12 years with Fibro and consider myself fairly limber for the shape I'm in. I had no trouble doing these Asanas, but for someone new, it may be pushing it a bit. I plan to stick with Tai Chi, thank you very much.]

This DVD is helpful in a variety of ways as you can see by the above description. And there's much more that I haven't covered. Telling about integrative medicine is very helpful too, and I highly recommend those who are newly diagnosed to look deeper into this method of treatment. And this video is helpful as a meditation aid or an aid to learning a few the yoga positions or even shopping at the grocery store! All in all, for beginners, it can be quite helpful.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Fibromyalgia & MSG/aspartame

Hi! I went on a hunt, thanks to a member of our Mishawaka Fibromyalgia Support Group, for a particular article on Aspartame and MSG. What I found literally came to me in an e-mail the same day from another Fibromyalgia sufferer in Three Oaks, Michigan. Connie Howard sent me a link to a article titled *The Dangers of MSG*. (Thank You, Connie!) This appeared on a four part news cast and is a REAL eye-opener.

We already know that those of us with Fibromyalgia are exceptionally sensitive to MSG and Aspartame and any kind of excitotoxin, but this spells out those specific dangers for us AND the general public- especially our children! Attention: those with Migraines, chronic headaches, Fibro Fog, ADD, ADHD, and even Alzheimer's!

I hope everyone will listen to each of the 4 parts of this series. It not only explains a number of other names this stuff goes by, it also tells how to buy products without it! Along with this very informative Youtube series (about 3 minutes each) if you look to the right hand column, you will also find info on soft drinks, and other articles on MSG.

As I said a REAL eye-opener! Here's the link!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Fibromyalgia & Chiropractic

This month 's meeting featuured Dr. Kevin Hancock from Granger, IN
(contact info below). It never fails that each time I see him there is something more he can share. He lost 60 pounds which I noticed right away! So I promptly asked him how in the world he did it! But more on that later. This month he came to talk about Chiropractic and what it is he does in his practice - his mindset, as it were.

Many people think a Chiropractor merely lines up the spine and that's it. Au Contraire! Dr. Hancock is one of those dedicated Chiropractors who is there to help correct total body function - a whole body wellness approach - using a variety of adjuncts to his very effective Chiropractic Therapy.

He has numerous Fibromyalgia patients and is very well aware that each and every one has a whole different set of symptoms. He knows that each and every one requires different methods, means and modes for assistance. Most importantly, he understands that with each person, starting out slow and gentle is the way to go...working muscle, joint and spine with with a fine, slow touch to tolerance - just a little at a time. Then with each successive visit work up to a little more and more and so on.

Another very helpful method of pain relief he often adds for Fibromyalgia patients is Oxygen Therapy. This really helps oxygenate the blood, bringing much need help for pain in the muscles of the upper arms and sides of thighs. There has been research showing hypoxia in muscle tissue of those with Fibromyalgia. This Oxygen Therapy, where a nasal tube is worn while you are hand-pedalling a table cycle, enables the oxygen to be pumped throughout your body while you pedallling. This takes the oxygen right to where it's needed...EVERYWHERE! Muscles included!

Dr. Hancock also recommends other therapies if your particular case calls for it, such as nutritional advise, supplements, Oxygen Therapy, EFT, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, methods of getting good sleep (ultra important for us!), Yoga or other methods of help.

Day to day stress in healthy people creates a menagerie of aches and pains. But for those of us with Fibromyalgia...well, we excell in the stress department! This is basically because a chonically ill body is chronically stressed! And so all of these methods of assistance which he may recommend, along with Chiropractic Therapy, is geared to help lower stress in our body, as well as learn how to manage outside stress it as it comes. In other words, helping the total body function.

But nothing happens until he does x-rays and provides an evaluation and assessment. He talks with you to find out about your past, chronic and immediate pains and any prescriptions or other treatments you are currently using. In other words he wants to know all about YOU, and what YOUR specific concerns are.

He informed us that, the body is a self-healing system, and the nervous system is what runs the program. Pain, illness and discomfort is the result of something interfering with the function of the nervous system. The objective of the Chiropractor is to free up this interference in order to enable the body to perform its function of self-healing.

He recommended we check out Click on "Fibromyalgia" and read about how Dr. Johnson (and Dr. Hancock) treats this complicated syndrome and listen to Dr. Johnson's video. They really DO understand!

Now about his weight loss! Dr. Hancock has come across a safe and fast diet, where he lost 60 pounds! 40 pounds of it in 6 weeks! And has kept it off for months! This system uses a combination of homeopathic herbs in a bottle as a supplement to assist the body while you consume a mere 500 calories of food per day! He says it sounds hard, but in fact it is quite easy...he invites you to click on to read his story and find out more.

Dr. Kevin Hancock can be reached by calling 574-271-1111
or you can visit him at 6910 North Main St., Granger, 46530 (the corner of Cleveland and Main St.)

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Fibromyalgia and a Plant-Based diet

The August meeting of our Fibromyalgia Support Group was extremely powerful! Dr. Candace Corson is a tremendously inspiring and gifted speaker. Her enthusiasm is truly contageous. It seems the more we learned, the more we wanted to know!

Dr. Corson is a Yale-trained Medical Doctor who has spent the past ten years focusing her energies on healing through teaching others about the importance of proper nutrition for health, something that was not addressed in her medical training, nor in her residency in New York. Not until she began working for the Public Health System via the National Health Services Corporation, and witnessed first-hand the major health problems that are so preventable with basic nutritional information, that she knew where she wanted to focus her life's work.

In the 1990's while a consultant for the Healing Arts Center in Mishawaka, events and specific cases to this point led her to begin seriously delving into all aspects of nutrition, supplements, and natural healing, complementing and adding to her medical knowledge. She began studying the works and information of Dr. Johnathan Wright and of Dr. Allen Gaby who is the current President of the American Holistic Medicine Association and one of the foremost authorities in nutritional and natural medicine.

Dr. Corson now works tirelessly at speaking, teaching, training and encouraging others to learn more about nutrition and the importance of a plant-based diet. That is, a diet who's base is plants, using meat and dairy as the "extras on the side," rather than the other way around. Our Western diet has long been basing meals on meat and dairy with the plant world taking a distant third or even fourth place, following sweets! This is what has led our rich country to sit at 47th place in health throughout the world--while we experience record and rampant chronic and degenerative diseases-- even to our children!!!! By the way, the Netherlands - Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden - are among the most health conscious and healthiest people in the world!

With this background of Integrative Medicine (a combination of Western and natural medicine), Dr. Corson has been sharing her knowledge and expertise in seminars, talks and a variety of venues just like this. Tonight she shared with us three of the most important things we can do for ourselves to help our bodies get back on track, with a solid base, that supports healing. The top 3 things we can do are:

1) most crucial of all, is to get ourselves back to a plant-based diet with loads of fruits and vegetables - lots of phytonutrients;
2) add Omega 3 EPA-DHA essential fatty acids - found in deep sea cold-water fish and/or good quality supplements, wild or free-range animals (who've NOT been fed grain), sea vegetables like kelp and other seaweeds, walnuts, and Omega 3 ALA in the form of flax seed;
3) add Vitamin D - which is not really a vitamin at all, but a very necessary hormone!

--> A plant based diet is crucial to everyone's health. Not only are plants balanced in vitamins, minerals, enzymes, probiotics, fiber, phytonutrients and more, but the antioxidants within neutralize free radicals! Free radicals are not only eaten in our foods, but they enter our body through air, water, noise, physical contact with certain things, electromagnetism - free radicals are everywhere...and they are NOT Fibro-friendly! Free radicals are also created by your cells when they function normally - they are the waste product that occurs after a successful transaction within the cell. You cannot get away from them.

When you eat a diet full of fruits, veggies and berries, you are keeping up with the constant creation and bombardment of these free radicals. When your diet is low in fruits, veggies and berries, these free radicals are allowed to run amok within your body, acting like razor blades in your blood stream, attacking organs, muscles, brain and heart tissue, and if allowed to grow there unchecked, without the proper nutrients to neutralize them, they can create very serious chronic and degenerative problems, up to and including cancerous tissue.

In the past, 5-9 servings of whole fresh fruits, veggies and berries were recommended. But today with so much more "stuff" added to our air and water and so much more electronic "static" around us, the recommeded servings are now 7 to 13 servings a day. But even more would be better, especially if you are living with a chronic illness like Fibromyalgia, Diabetes, Multiple Sclerosis, Lupus, Chrone's Disease or any other chronic illness. All the stress put on your body by having these conditions, creates even MORE free radicals within your body.

The moral of the story is to eat a wide variety of fruits, vegetables and berries - the more the better! This not only protects against free radicals, but also inflammation, heart disease, diabetes, toxicity, premature aging, cancer and all those other degenerative diseases described above.

--> Dr. Corson shared with us samples of flax seed so we could all see and taste them. She described how flax is like a wash cloth to our intestines and how, over time with regular use, it has been found to help heal diverticulitis (a serious intestinal disorder). The delicious nutty-tasting seeds are eaten raw, sprinkled over yogurt or cereal or salad, added to a smoothie, or green tea, etc. But because the outer shell is so dense/hard, flax seeds are best used when ground up to release all the beneficial nutrients within. Then they should be stored in the fridge for up to one week. After that they can oxidize and create free radicals. So grind as much as you'll need per day or per several days at a time and then store it in a jar in the fridge.

Flax seeds also help clean the blood vessels and arteries, again acting like a wash cloth to gently scrub loose bad cholesterol (LDL), as well as toxins, helping to flush and clean out those arteries like a good fiber and lignan should. Flax seed is very nutriant-rich-- very high in fiber, a number of B-vitamins, Omega 3 ALA, magnesium, manganese and phytonutrients, including antioxidants. They are also very filling as a few of our group can attest, having nibbled on them during the evening.

You may want to ease into this treat gently as it can have a powerful laxative effect if you're not used to it, because it is so high in fiber. Start with a little, then graually increase the amount used to prevent overflow (diahhrea).

Omega 3 EPA-DHA essential fatty acids are absolutely necessary to our diet. That's why they are called essential fatty acids. This Omega 3 is found in deep sea cold water fish, wild or free-range animals (who've NOT been fed grain), sea vegetables like kelp and other seaweeds, walnuts and free-range (or cage-free) chickens and their eggs.

This EPA-DHA is what coats the cell walls of each and every cell in our body. EPA and DHA make the cell walls flexible and porous and act as an conduit, enabling nutrients and oxygen to enter the cells which then create energy (ATP), among other things. When there is not enough EPA-DHA, the cell walls will use saturated fat. This makes these walls much harder, making it more difficult to to allow nutrients and oxygen in, causing stress to all of your cells, and by extension to your entire body. It is clearly better to add these essential fatty acids.

There is concern over eating too much fish or ocean fish due to contamination by mercury and PCB's, so many have begun to rely on supplements, which have been purified (not processed). Several brands which have repeatedly proven safe are Carlson's, Nordic Naturals, Barlean's, Coromega and others. Check the labels for the amount of EPA-DHA within each capsule for the proper dosage, not the amount of fish oil per capsule. Suggested doses are 1,000 mg to 1,500 mg of EPA-DHA per day for inflammation, pain, heart issues, eye care, and so much more.

--> Most people are low in Vitamin D - the sunshine vitamin. Dr. Corson highly recommends everyone have their Vitamin D level checked. Ask your doctor, or go to Any Lab Test Now at 207 N. Main St. in South Bend, IN where you can just walk in and request this test (and others, like B12, etc) at any time.

Proper levels of Vitamin D (D3 specifically) helps pain, osteoporosis, diabetes risk, heart attack risk, helps balance blood pressure, helps Reumatoid Arthritis, Multiple Sclerosis and so much more.

Most people north of the equator (and south of the equator) are extremely low in this hormone, especially older adults, those with darker pigmented skin, people who spend most of their time indoors and people who live in the northern or southern latitudes. Even if you do get outside regularly, for nine months out of the year your body cannot make sufficient Vitamin D due to the sun's being so low in the sky during those winter months.

On the first warm, sunny summer day when you do get outside for fifteen to twenty minutes, your body will make an average of 25,000 IU of Vitamin D all by itself! Because your body uses Vitamin D every day, in so many ways, you need to replenish it every day. But during the fall, winter and spring you may need to replenish this vitamin with a supplement. Dr. Corson recommends 2,000 to 6,000 IU per day. Vitamin D3 supplements are available nearly everywhere now, but Dr. Corson recommends Carlson's brand of liquid drops, where one drop in water or juice is 2,000 IU.

Aside from a great discussion on all of the above, Dr. Corson also discussed gluten and lactose intolerance and the fact that oats have been proven to have no gluten - rather any gluten reaction to oats may be due to the processing machines that may have gluten residue embedded in it. Many migraine headaches may be helped by doing an elimination diet - eliminating gluten and/or lactose for a period of time. [Also, hydrating has been shown to help relieve some migraines.] The nasty long-term effects of excess soft drinks was described by Dr. Corson from her personal experience while working with the Public Health System. (It wasn't pretty!!!) The benefits of juicing was discussed and importance of Vitamin B12 (sublingual tablets). She spoke of the Engine 2 Diet, the book written by a fireman named Rip Esselstyn who writes about the importance of a plant-based diet.

She spoke on all of the above and much more, but already there is here a very long epistle...Use your search engine to find out more about any of these topics...The more you know the better you can help yourself - knowledge is power!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Fibromyalgia and Reflexology

Our July Fibromyalgia Support Group Meeting was graced by Charlene. I was very pleased to once again feature Charlene Books, a wonderful healer in the arts of Reflexology and Reiki.

Charlene has had many clients with Fibromyalgia, both in the hospital in Chicago where she worked for several years, and here at The Advanced Healing and Reflexology Center on Emmons Rd in South Bend, IN. She understands that each and every case of Fibromyalgia is different and each needs to be addressed specifically for the person she is working on at the time. This alone tells us she knows how to help an individual’s pain. This is an important factor in choosing a Reflexologist.

Charlene spoke of stress. Not just the stress we all know about – the emotional stress — but also the stress the body holds just by being chronically ill. Someone who falls down and skins their knee, breaks a bone or has a cold is experiencing stress (physical stress, body stress)along with the emotional stress of the original condition. When you have a chronic illness (or two, as is often the case in those with Fibromyalgia) this creates physical stress on your body, along with the emotional stress of all that comes with it. So what we have here in a nutshell, as people with Fibromyalgia, is Emotional, Physical and Chronic Stress!

All this stress settles in your body adding insult to injury by creating knots, blockages and clumps of toxins collected at key locations within the body. This stress tightens up and blocks up nerve, muscle and system pathways, literally creating more pain, adding to that of your chronic illness!

Charlene had once explained that these blocks and knots are like traffic jams at the nerve endings. The nerves begin at the feet and end in the head and thus travel all through the body. But when there are traffic jams (blockages and knots), it’s like a tourniquet has been applied to stop the proper flow of energies to release those toxins that have built up.

These toxins and blockages build up in virtually everyone during a normal day or week, but most especially in those with Fibromyalgia. These blockages are often in the form clumps of lactic acid and other toxins in the muscle and other tissues, literally tying knots at the nerve endings. This is why regular treatments are necessary…they build up on a daily basis and must be released regularly, especially in those with Fibromyalgia due to the chronic nature of the condition.

Reflexology works well in tandem with other healing modalities, such as acupuncture, Charlene says. In fact, while in Chicago, she often had clients who had finished their acupuncture treatment, and then came across the hall to her for their Reflexology treatment. Not only are toxins released (during both of these two treatments) but, relaxation of muscles and mind are among the prime benefits. Reflexology treatments can loosen and relax all internal systems so that other therapies can work to their full potential – acupuncture, massage, chiropractic, etc!

Your feet are direct reflections of your body — a mirror image so to speak — as are your hands. As Charlene pointed out in her chart, each reflex area on the feet corresponds to each organ or part of the body. Stimulating and working the nerve endings in each of these areas of the feet (or hands) not only improves circulation in each organ, gland and the entire body, but also unblocks those nerve impulses where stress has caused a traffic jam. Working these traffic jams loose, allows the toxins to break loose and the blocked systems to begin flowing freely and return to normal function.

[Charlene demonstrated foot Reflexology on Terry, and hand Reflexology on Jo Ann, so that everyone could see just how it was done. This is a hands-on therapy with no other instruments or devises needed, so here in our library meeting room, it was quite easy to demonstrate. Terry and Jo Ann were most grateful for the demonstration!]

Releasing these stresses and tensions unblocks the free flow of many of the body’s systems, improves circulation throughout the body, improves nerve impulses and normalizes these systems within the body, all of which in turn stimulate the body’s own healing system.

Reflexology, like acupuncture, massage, etc, is a maintenance and preventative measure, working to help your body help itself. With regular treatments, once a month or more, stresses and toxins don’t have a chance to build up to a critical mass, which can cause unbearable pain and inability to function.

Drink Water afterwards. This is a key point to remember after each session (acupuncture, massage, etc too). Once these toxins are broken loose, and the highway is free and clear, you must flush the toxins out of your body by drinking at least one bottle or more of water. If you don’t, these loose free-flowing toxins will latch onto another muscle of organ or gland and begin creating more havoc right away. The idea here is to get rid of the toxins!

The release of knots and toxins can be a huge help for Fibromyalgia pain. Try it!

Charlene Books is a Certified Reflexologist who has been practicing this 5,000 year old therapy since 1990. She had practiced Reflexology and Reiki in Chicago for several years at the Galter Lifecenter, and has returned to this area to open The Advanced Healing and Reflexology Center, at 52303 Emmons Rd., Suite # 25, South Bend, IN 46637. Call her at 574-277-2323.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Fibromyalgia and our Health Coach

Fibro Notes for Dec 2009 - Our guest speaker was Cindy Cohen, RN and Health Coach. As expected, she was a veritable fountain of information. Our meeting went 45 minutes overtime, and we still weren't ready to leave.

Cindy first covered the risk factors for FMS. Then the Immune System Triggers. These need to be repeated here because these are the things we need to watch out for and consciously work at avoiding... The triggers that stress out our immune system are: Overexertion, Stress, Lack of Exercise, Too Much Exercise, Anxiety, Depression, Lack of Sleep, Physical Trauma, Emotional Trauma, Extremes of Temperature and/or humidity, Infectious Illness, Genetics, Emotional Family issues. All of these things are aggravators for Fibromyalgic symptoms, of course, but importantly they are triggers for running down and weakening our immune system. Good Whole Real foods build UP your immune system.

Cindy stresses that no one else cares as much about you, as you do. You must take responsibility to help heal yourself. Controlling your thinking about foods and deciding to eat healthy, nourishing foods can make a huge difference in your symptoms. Something as simple as saying over and over to yourself, "I will only eat foods that are good for me" will eventually put that thought in your mind.

We inherently know that whole nurtitious foods will help heal us; studies have shown that even cancer can be healed or prevented by eating only whole healthy foods--foods that grow in trees, bushes, in the earth, etc. REAL foods. Fruits and vegetables and foods with fiber like nuts, beans, legumes, whole grains, etc. But even at that, we also need supplements like Omega 3, Vitamin D, and others because the earth doesn't have the same nutrients that it did 100 years ago and some some foods are left wanting in vitamins and minerals. Even the Food Pyramid has changed because of this lack. We are now told that we need 9-13 servings (6 cups) per day instead of the 4-5 that we used to need.

Avoid the inflammatory foods--the ones that create inflammation and pain. These are trans fatty foods and saturated fats, as well as refined white sugar and flour and high fructose corn syrup. Avoid an overabundance of nightshade plant foods - tomato, potato, green peppers, eggplant. They have alkaloids that can trigger nerve and joint pain when eating two or three of these foods at one time. Try eating only one of these foods at a meal.

Cindy is also a Juice Plus+ distributor and that's because of the health benefits that she experienced with her own family. The nutrients in this product provide 13-15 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. She is a firm believer that good nutrition and good food is a major help for any condition, including Fibromyalgia. Starting with a good food diet makes Fibromyalgia and any other chronic illness much easier to deal with because you have a good base with less going wrong in the body.

During the Q & A she told of gluten and lactose intolerance being typical for everyone on the planet because humans have not evolved to have the enzymes to break these foods down sufficiently. Also it is a matter of degree, it shows up strongly in some people and hardly at all in others--until much later, that is, when they contract an autoimmune condition due to their system's inability to deal with these foods that we were never meant to eat anyway...gluten and cow's milk.

Cindy gave a couple of websites for quick videos to learn about the food industry--real eye openers! www.FoodMatters.TV and , a video from Food Inc.

And "Super Size Me" at

Also a quick video about a very special book and movie called The Secret. The idea that thought can create reality has been around for many centuries. Thoughts are things. Quite literally. Controlling your thinking, such as repeating "I eat only healthy foods," can indeed create that condition within you. Go to

This was an excellent meeting and we're definitely going to have her come back.
Stay well everyone. Come and say Hi on Facebook! Pati* Chandler *:)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


Information about our Fibromyalgia Support Group is on my Facebook page, as well as my website, I am pretty new at this particular feat, so have a little patience with me. I am a work in progress! *:) Always!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Fibromyalgia and the weather

I've not been blogging for a while, and as you can see I've changed "the look." I love nature and it seems that with this particular thought on my mind, I ought to bring a bit of nature along with me.

Do you hear doctors telling you that weather doesn't affect Fibromyalgia? Or Arthritis, for that matter. I do. But I don't find that true for me. I find that when the barometer is changong from up to down OR down to up, I get achy, more tired more easily and generally get a downturn in mood and a few other unnecessary symptoms. That is, it used to. I've found some things that have helped me turn this around.

I am very fortunate in having found my "right combination" - a balance - of supplements, diet, including lots of antioxidants, exercize, pacing and so on that I can live a mostly normal life. As long as I keep the stress down and pace myself appropriately I am literally in no pain.

However. The weather is one of those things that throws a monkey wrench in the works, throwing that balance out of whack. Because of this, I have learned to pay close attention to The Weather Channel . I am nothing if not a good little Gril Scout. Be Prepared. That's my motto. And it really is a good motto for all of those with Fibromyalgia. When you know rain or snow or dampness or humidity or heat or whatever is coming, you can prepare for it.

Clothing is of course a factor- too much or not enough. Staying indoors in the blazing heat, or the extreme cold is helpful. But I fortify as well. I take more Malic Acid when the humidity is up or the heat or cold is extreme. Malic acid helps my muscle pain - it helps magnesium absorb into the cells. Of course I take magnesium as a matter of course for my Fibromyalgia pain, but the Malic Acid helps it absorb better even in low oxygen conditions if I haven't been exercizing enough - which, I'm sorry to say is too often.

I also take Alpha-lipoic acid (ALA). This also fortifies the body because it is a super-duper antioxidant! (See previous blog for more about ALA.)But it is a great help to my nerve pain and those electric-shock-like zaps I get periodically in my wrists, hips, ankles etc. I don't get them very often any more, but when the weather is "electric" my body seems to do the same. So I take an extra dose of ALA.

With the three of these--Malic Acid, magnesium, Alpha-lipoic acid-- along with extra antioxidants, pacing myself and staying out of the heat, I am doing pretty good on the pain scale during these days of rain and humidity and heat. I hope you are all doing well too.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Fibro Notes - EFT

In October of '09, our Fibromyalgia Support Group proudly hosted Dr. Kevin Hancock, a very special Chiropractor in the Mishawaka area, who is so very dedicated to helping his patients that he has incorporated a few very helpful and somewhat unique methods of treatment into his repetoire.

One treatment is Oxygen therapy, which incorporates the intake of oxygen through a nasal tube as the patient exerts her muscles. This adds oxygen to the blood flow which in turn oxygenates the muscles helping to relieve muscle pain. Very Healing, indeed. Kudos Dr. Hancock!

Another Kudo comes from his use of EFT, as a very effective adjunct to his chiropractic and oxygen therapies. EFT is being used by a number of professionals, including psychologists, ministers, Osteopaths, Medical Doctors and social workers, all over the world. Anyone can use EFT. Even you.

What is EFT? Well, simply stated it is "an emotional, needle free version of acupuncture...." where one uses the tips of the fingers to tap on specific accupuncture meridian points, while reciting a specific statement, or affirmation, regarding your particular emotional dilema of the moment.

It has become common knowledge that our emotions (particularly stress) affect our well-being, indeed our overall health, especialy in the case of Fibromyalgia. When overwhelmed with specific stressful events, one can become ill almost instantly - ulcers, stroke or heart attacks are the most talked about, but headaches, backaches, intestinal issues and so on are also common. Using EFT, one can literally release the emotional hold on these specific acupuncture points, freeing the blockage that occurrs at these key sites.

This is a gross oversimplification, but the correct process and usage of this "tapping" has helped thousands of people with a wide range of issues, including cravings for smoking, soft drinks, sugar, and overeating in general, also for helping headaches, backaches, migraines, mild depression, anxiety, phobias such as fear of spiders, fear of flying, and much more.

This treatment method may not cure Fibromyalgia, but it can certainly help stresses that can aggravate symptoms. It may help recurrent headaches, sinus blockages, backaches, or stress when dealing with family members, or the boss at work, or calming the mind before going to sleep, or any number of things that crop up in a-day-in-the-life-of-a-Fibromyalgic.

Dr. Hancock's presentation provided us with a new and valuable tool. One that he uses for his patients when necessary, and one that we can also learn to use for ourselves. We really appreciated his insight and demonstration of this wonderful treatment method.

Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) or "Tapping" is a remarkable Mind-Body method of treatment. Find out more at or Google "Emotional Freedom Technique" or "EFT." You can even download a free training manual at some of these sites! It's easy to learn and may help immeasurably!

I am finding every day that there are more things in heaven and earth that are out there just for our use...we need only find them and apply them. One or more of them is bound to help our particular style of Fibromyalgia...The more we learn, the better we can choose.

Keep Smiling Everyone! It's Important! *:)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Fibro Notes- Immune Support

Our Fibromyalgia Support Group met on November 10 this year. And because the news had been full of fears over the pandemic Swine Flu, I chose to discuss the Immune System and ways that we can boost it and give ourselves an edge. Those of us with Fibromyalgia are completely familiar with aches and pains and feeling lousy in general, and we know whithout a doubt that getting the flu on top of it would be downright devestating!

It is to our advantage to find the best means and methods to protect ourselves. The Flu shot is one alternative, but not by any means the only one. For some people the flu shot is maniditory and they wouldn't think of going a single year without it because it affords them the protection they need to be sure of not getting the flu.

For others, the flu shot is not an option, for any number of reasons. So they choose to protect themselves naturally. How? The ways of our ancestors... fresh whole fruits, vegetables (with additional onions and garlic), nuts, whole grains, legumes (beans), dark leafy greens, herbs, especially elderberry, lots of water and living smart during the season. All of these are antioxidants by the way, so adding even more antioxidants in the form of the newer "hot" antioxidants like Mangostene Juice, Acai Juice, Pomegranates, etc...GO FOR IT! Take all the antioxidants you can get! The more the better.

Frozen and dried fruits and veggies are also an option. Cooked is the last option-they loose a lot in the translation. But get them any way you can. When cooking, add extra onions, garlic, sage, basil, rosemary and thyme...each of these herbs are antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral! Again, all are antioxidants too!

Be sure to tell your doctor of any supplements you are taking.

There are herbs and supplements that are especially helpful for boosting your immune system. Astaragalus, Eleuthero, Ashwagandha, Rhodiola, Basil and American and Asian Ginseng are commonly used as normalizers and/or stress busters...physical and body stress specifically. They help the body deal with hot and cold temperatures, the stress of illness, the stress of hormones going haywire, etc. These herbs are often called adaptogens because they help your body adapt to mild or even severe internal adjustments such as during an illness or hormonal shifts. It's also handy that they are antioxidants as well.

Elderberry, Olive Leaf Extract, Oil of Oregano are all extremely helpful at fighting off nasty germs, bacteria and even viruses. Elderberry is available in capsules, syrups, lozenges etc. Olive Leaf Extract and Oil of Oregano are available in liquid and capsules.

If you have heard of Juice Plus+, you probably already know they they are fruits and veggies in a capsule (or now also adlut-strength gummies). These are antioxidants "on-the-hoof" as it were. If you don't have access to or the wherewithall to eat 13 servings of fruits and veggies every single day, this is a good way to get them .

Getting antioxidants naturally through eating fresh whole foods, REAL foods and herbs like sage, Basil, etc is the number one way to boost your immune system, then there are the adabtogens and the supplements for even more boost. Wash your hands frequently and drink lots of water, preferably with a pH of 7 or above.

Stay well everyone and Keep Smiling! It's Important!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Oops...Forever Learning

Hi everyone! I just learned that I didn't enable a few buttons on my blog, one of which was the button that enables comments. This was unintentional, I assure you. It is now enabled. You can now post away...Please be kind...*:) Keep Smiling! It's Important!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

A Cosmic 2 X 4...Alpha Lipoic Acid

A Cosmic 2 X 4 is an attention-getting mechanism from Spirit, God, or the heavens above that ensures I "get the message." Picture a 2 X 4 banging me over the head until the message sinks in.

This often comes in the form of a word or a phrase coming at me (just showing up) repeatedly, sometimes for days, until I finally "get it." I'll open a magazine--there's that word. I'll get a phone call and someone will have a question about that word or topic. An "accidental" click of the mouse, an over-heard conversation, a TV comercial, a piece of paper falling off my desk face-up and there it is...again!!

All of these not-so-subtle hints usually means that I need to do something with this word. In this case, talk about it... The word? NERVE PAIN.

Twelve years ago, when I decided that I was unwilling to be subject to permanent prescriptions for this syndrome, I chose to use a natural approach and began researching supplements, herbals and trial and erroring multiple treatments like acupuncture, chiropractic, and much more. After the first month of research I began taking Magnesium, Malic Acid, Omega 3 EPA-DHA and a multi-vitamin. And I read that antioxidants were helpful too. The anti-oxidant I chose was Alpha Lipoic Acid because it is generally considered a super-antioxidant. It actually cleans up Vitamins C and E, then puts them back to work. Being a fat soluble AND water soluble antioxidant, it can do it's job anywhere and everywhere in the body, unlike other territory-specific antioxidants.

This combination of supplements, along with the other alternative therapies I was doing (and some things I was NOT doing any more) proved to be quite beneficial for my particular brand of Fibromyalgia symptoms, especially the pain.

But it wasn't until I began doing even more in depth research for my book, Managing Fibromyalgia - Getting to know Your Aggravators that I discovered how I had "accidentally" (if you believe in accidents) stumbled onto the one supplement that had helped my NERVE PAIN ten years earlier. I had assumed that my sizzling, tingling and burning skin, numb and tingling fingers and toes, and electric shock-like zaps of pain shooting up my legs and down my arms had been helped by just the right the combination of everything I had chosen to use, and do.

But in my research, I found out that this antioxidant, Alpha Lipoic Acid, had been used for 30 years in Germany, Switzerland and most of Europe for Diabetic Neuropathy...NERVE PAIN. It's not only used for diabetics, though. In fact, there are more than one hundred different types of periferal nerve pain according to the National Institute of Health (NIH), and Alpha Lipoic Acid is used for many of them in Europe, and by many Naturopathic, Holistic and knowledgeable Physicians here in the states.

An interesting note by Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum in his book Pain Free 1-2-3, tells that Benedryl, the antihistamine, also helps nerve pain for some people, although they don't really know why. He says Capsaicin also helps some people because it helps neutralize Substance P.

For more information about Alpha Lipoic Acid:
check out Univ.of Maryland Medical Center at
Or check out the article on,
Or check out the Mayo Clinic

NOTE: before taking any supplements please ask your doctor if they may be right for you. Please tell your doctor all the supplements you may be taking in order to avoid any unwanted interactions.

Keep smiling everyone! It's Important! *:)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Fibro Notes, Acid-Alkaline Factor

"Fibro Notes" are born from our local Fibromyalgia Support Group, which meets the second tuesday of each month.

September of last year (2009) I invited A wonderful couple to come speak at our Fibromyalgia Support Group, and demonstrate their Kangen Water Filter. Not only did they inform us of the acididty of our local water and numerous bottled waters, they also stressed the importance of the antioxidant nature of alkaline water. We had all brought small water bottles to take home samples, but they had brought 20 or so clean, empty milk jugs to give us even more free samples! This alkaline water was much appreciated by all who took it home-- which was everyone, of course!

Chronic illness and diseases of all kinds, Fibromyalgia, osteoporosis, arthritis, even cancer included, tend to run amok in a body that is acidic. In fact, Acidity breeds illness. And it makes it much harder for ANY kind of treatment of bring the body back to "normal."

The correct balance of acid to alkaline in the diet is 25% acidic foods (and drinks) to 75% alakline. The problem lies in our Western diet where these percentages are dramatically askew! With powerful acidics such as soft drinks, hydrogenated foods, trans fats, sugar, artificial sweeteners, and the everyday "normal" stuff like coffee, white bread, meats and refined-everything, it's nearly impossible to keep up that alkaline percentage!

Alkaline water helps raise the body's alkalinity, as do most fruits and vegetables (maybe that's one reason we're always told to "eat our fruits and veggies"). Onions and garlic, parsley and olive oil are all alkaline, as are green tea and herbal tea. A slice of lemon or lime added to your regular drinking water or tea will also help. Even though these and other citrus fruits like oranges are acidic to start with, once they enter the body they are converted to bicarbonates - Alklines. There is a new 0 calorie sugar substitute called Just Like Sugar, which has a pH of 8 that will help add to your alkalinity.

A few websites that tell more about the importance of acid-alakine balance are:,

Keep smiling everyone! It's important! *:)

Friday, January 22, 2010


Hello Everyone! Anyone!

This is basically a place where I intend to post helpful information about Fibromyalgia, and about how you can help YOU. Everyone is different, as is everyone's particular brand of Fibromyalgia. So the idea is to pick and choose what resonates with you and your particular style of this compound complex disorder. Not everything works for everyone. But the more you know, the better choices you can make.

I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia nearly 12 years ago. After the first month of Flexeril and Elavil, even though they helped tremendously at first, I realized that I didn't want to be raising the doses and become dependant on these or any other prescriptions. I asked my doctor, a D.O., if he could recommend anything natural that could help.

Little did I know that this simple request would open a floodgate of research, trial and error, visits to countless alternative and complementary websites of medical schools such as The University of Michigan Pain and Fatigue Research Center, University of Maryland Medical Center, The National Institute of Health (NIH), medical abstracts from, WebMd. and numerous other sites. All the while trying this and that, experimenting with different methods of treatments such as Acupuncture, Chiropractic, Massage therapy, Magnet Therapy, Light Therapy.

Much less did I realize that it would ultimately lead to my writing Managing Fibromyalgia- Getting to know your Aggravators (Treble Heart Books 2008), available at my website (along with more Fibro information and other helpful stuff), and, and

Although meditation and deep breathing exercises were already a part of my life back then, I found that when you're in pain it's REALLY hard to empty your mind and breath evenly... try as you might. I needed to be centered enough to get to a place where I COULD meditate. The deep breathing actually hurt sometimes, because my neck and shoulders would clamp up like a vice to where I couldn't move my head!

My doctor ended up giving me trigger point injections just so I could move! That helped a lot. But he said it could clamp up again. So I started doing a few neck and shoulder exercises - very slowly, very gently, two or three times a day to strengthen the muscles. I couldn't move my head far to the left or right or up or down, but I moved it just a slight bit farther each and every day until it became normal again. That was about two months after I was diagnosed, and I am still doing these exercises daily, twelve years later. I'm doing loads of other things too. And as I go along, I'll fill you in.

I have started a Fibromyalgia Support Group in my home town, near Notre Dame, in the heart of the country, and I will be inserting what has come to be called my "Fibro Notes," and other bits of info as I come across it. STAY TUNED.

Friday, January 15, 2010


Please check back soon for notes and articles on Managing Fibromyalgia