Edith is back with Part II of naturopathic treatments that have helped her with fibromyalgia. See 17 Years: A Fibromyalgia Naturopathic Story – Part I
The Miracle of Amino Acid Therapy
“Amino acid therapy has been the most beneficial treatment I’ve received in the past 20 years living with FM”
Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. The body needs them to make protein structures that build and maintain the tissue in our bodies. Some amino acids act as neurotransmitters, which is the basis of my successful treatment.
Some, our bodies make, and others called essential amino acids, must come from the food we eat. Now, if you can’t digest properly, especially protein, that can cause you problems, which is a big issue for me. My ND when he first saw me, knew I had digestive problems because of the two sores I had on the corners of my mouth. He immediately put me on a quality digestive enzyme Panplex 2 Phase.
As the years went on and as he reviewed lab tests, I was told to increase my enzymes and then to eat more protein. Then six years ago, he decided that I should have a complete test review of my amino acid status. It consisted of a 24 hour urine collection, that was couriered to a lab. in the USA called Doctor’s Data, Inc.
The extensive report that came back showed that most of my amino acid were rock bottom. The report also included the exact amounts of those amino acids that I needed in milligrams, to be included in my prescription. My ND. got the prescription filled at a compounding pharmacy here in Canada.
The prescription arrived in plastic containers, in the form of white powder. I was to take 1 heaping teaspoon 2 times a day, morning and evening. My ND. also told me to take a B6 tablet with each dose, in the form of P5P, pyridoxal 5 phosphate. Soon, I was sleeping soundly again, and it was like someone had turned on the light switch in my brain. I felt normal again.
Two years later, my ND. wanted me off my amino acid prescription for a month for retesting to adjust the dose. I could not believe how much and how fast I deteriorated. I was okay the second day, but it was all downhill from then on. After the first week I was completely disoriented. I could no longer even read a book and also had to stay away from the computer because It was affecting my own brain waves. I ended up mostly in bed, so it was an extremely long month!
When the test was completed, I was allowed to resume taking my old amino acid prescription until the new one arrived. Within a week, I had regained 80% of my neurological function and life was good again! That short term memory problem that confounds all of us that have FM and ME/CFS, did not improve however. I’m sure some of that problem is due to sleep and pain meds. Amino acid therapy also had no effect on my pain level, but other therapies had helped, which I will cover later. I can always lower my pain level, but how do you get brain function back? So, I’m extremely happy with the results I did get, on my amino acid prescription. 80% is a true miracle.
I googled “amino acid therapy for fibromyalgia” and later for ME/CFS, and then for Alzheimer’s, and got all kinds of information. Alzheimer’s is a big problem on my mother’s side of the family, but my Dad kept all his faculties till the end. There’s hope, and I’m keeping my finger’s crossed. I did ask my ND. if he was using amino acid therapy for his ME/CFS and Alzheimer’s patients. He said “yes, but it doesn’t help everyone, but for those it did help, their benefits are similar to yours.”
I bought a book on amino acids, and I was left wondering why we are using drugs with serious side effects to treat depression and anxiety etc. when we can be using this natural therapy. It’s worth the read, as it warns that taking too much of a particular amino acid can also have consequences, which tells me to always get tested first.
The amino acid test cost me $400 two years ago, and my particular prescription is about $850 for 6 months, which is what I paid for Celebrex. (Celebrex is now generic, and I paid just $140, the last time I bought it. If you are in the US, I’m sure the test is a lot less expensive)
Amino acid therapy has been the most beneficial treatment I’ve received in the past 20 years living with FM, however I needed all the rest of the therapies to have the quality of life I have today.
Food Allergies and NAET
Since developing fibromyalgia, food allergies have become a big problem, for me. Leaky gut is probably the reason, where food particles cross into the blood stream causing the immune system to see them as invaders and going on the attack. Symptoms can be quite severe, such as irritable bowel and neurological problems, not to mention sleep disruptions. The worst ones for me were dairy and sugar, which my Naturopath doctor took me off of after testing my blood. The dairy was causing my colon to spasm and the sugar was burning my stomach. He told me to eliminate them from my diet and I had immediate relief. As time went on, though, I kept developing more and more food allergies, to the point where I could only eat meat and vegetables, which is all right but awfully boring.
In the past, at some point, I read about a new way to eliminate allergies of all kinds and the name of the process is called NAET. It was developed by an M.D. who is also a chiropracter and has a Phd in accupuncture. Her name is Devi Nambudripads (www.naet.com).
At that time, I had looked on the Internet to see if I could find a NAET practitioner in my area with no luck. A few years later, an old friend who also has FM happened to mention that she had been seeing a doctor of Chinese Medicine who was clearing her of allergies using NAET. This doctor was only45 minutes away, so it didn’t take me long to phone for an appointment. When I did meet her, she told me that when she had first come from China, she had worked for my Naturopath Doctor, and had had learned so many things from him. He was not aware that she was doing NAET.
NAET combines kinesiology (muscle strength testing) chiropractics and accupuncture, as follows
First Visit: Testing
- As I lie on her examination table, she gives me a tiny tube that holds the substance to be tested and tells me to hold it in the palm of my hand forming a fist.
- I’m told to raise my right arm and she applies pressure to my wrist. If I can hold strong,it’s a sign that I am not allergic to that particular substance. If she can easily overpower my arm, that means I’m allergic to it. I’ve also had NAET done by an accupuncturist that uses thumb touching a finger, forming a circle, and he tries to pry them apart with one of his fingers. I like that method better, as I feel more in control of my own strength. Because of fatigue with my illness, it doesn’t take long for a raised arm to become tired. In any case, both methods work quite well. You are then tested, one tube at a time, for the most common allergents. That takes up the whole time of the first visit.
Second Visit: the Treatment
- While holding the small tube of substance you are allergic to in your fist, I’m asked to sit down. The practitioner runs a clicker type of chiropractor instrument up and down both sides of my spine several times.
- I then lie down on my back, still holding the tube and she puts 3 or 4 accupuncture needles on both sides of my legs. I remain like this for 20 minutes, just relaxing.
- When the 20 minutes are up the practitioner comes back into the room and removes the needles.
She tells me I can go home, but I’m to stay far away from the allergen I was just treated for. Now that takes a bit of planning ahead. I’m told ahead what allergy will be cleared, so I make sure it’s not anywhere that I can come in contact with it when I come home. 25 hours later, I can eat that food again, or I can touch that weed or whatever again, and have no reaction. That’s it in a big nutshell.
I get NAET treatments for the foods I can’t live without and just eliminate the other ones from my diet. I’ve substituted dairy and soy for rice cheese, and I found a restaurant that will make me a pizza with it. Life with FM without the allergies has become a lot more pleasant.
In his book “The Fatigue and Fibromyagia Solution”, Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum, MD., says: “Many food allergies settle down after you provide adrenal support and treat candida”.
Arthritis and Spinal Problems
I’ve had spinal problems for many years, aggravated by early degenerative arthritis. At the age of 35, I had my first sign of what was to come. My husband and I owned a general store and one day I lifted a heavy box. The next day I could not get out of bed. I phoned my M.D. and explained to him that it was impossible for me to even come to his office. He was kind enough to call the pharmacy for pain medication for me and I was to come in as soon as I was able. When I did, he told me he wanted me in bed for a month.
Three months later I was still at home – barely able to get around. I got so fed up one day, that I just decided to go back to the store and catch up on some things. It was fall, and I needed to organize the footwear storage area to make room for the winter boots. I spent the week bending down and then up, down and up, moving stock and by the end of the week all my back pain had disappeared.
After that experience, I realized that it’s okay to rest for a short while, but some targeted exercise is necessary to recover. Spend too much time in bed and your muscles weaken terribly.
I was good for a couple of years, but it happened again.
This time I decided to see a chiropractor. I had been aware of chiropractors but was afraid they might hurt me. I was not about to go through another 3 months in agony, though, so I got my courage up and made an appointment. After a few adjustments I was as good as new and the treatments were not painful at all. That was the beginning of my long association with chiropractors to this day. They have gotten me through some pretty rough times. I did not tell my MD. way back then as they were wary of chiropractors.
I was born with a slightly shorter right leg which has caused enormous spinal strain, and no doubt, a good candidate for fibromyalgia. A specialist had also diagnosed me with Scoliosis, a curvature of the spine. If my life’s work was to learn everything about pain, I was well on my way to a PHD.
Neural Cranial Restructuring
I happened to mention to my Naturopath Doctor one day that my spine was curving worse than ever. I knew he was also a chiropractor, but I already had my own at home, so I had never asked him for an adjustment before. He told me that he had noticed that my head was sitting too much forward and not aligned properly over my spine. He told me that NCR (Neural Cranial Restructuring) could be of great help. Well the “little chicken” in me, OKAY, the “Big Chicken” in me said No-o-o’, but then I thought: This man has done nothing but good things for me so why not give it a try. It ended up working like a charm and not painful at all. There were 4 treatments, 4 days in a row. (It’s hard for me to explain the procedure. Please go to www.ncrdoctors.com for an accurate account.)
I want to tell you, though, how I knew the treatment worked. When I arrived back home after the first visit, I went up to the kitchen counter to get a glass of water and was immediately struck by the thought that there was something different here. What had happened was that after my NCR treatment my spine had straightened up and I had grown an inch or more.
When I went to the bedroom, I could have sworn that my dresser had shrunk. It was amazing to realize how our brains are always keeping track of our position in relation to everything else, even when we are not consciously aware of it. When I reported this to my doctor, he smiled and said that he’s heard of many similar funny stories from his other patients who have had NCR.
NCR gave me better mobility and relieved a lot of my spinal and referred pain. This is only one example of how my Naturopath Doctor is always staying on the cutting edge of his profession. To think, I only came to see him mainly for vitamin advice!
Around the age of 11, I broke out in a body wide rash that looked similar to the measles. I was kept at home for a week till it disappeared. A day or two later, while playing baseball, the rash was back with a vengeance. The doctor could not figure out what it was, as I had already had the measles a few years back. He put me on some type of allergy pills, and I remember being on them for a good while. The rash did disappear, but after that, I was covered in itchy hives whenever I went swimming or entered a skating rink, and that went on to the age of 30. My immune system then settled down for more than 20 years.
My Dad was the caretaker at the court house across the street from where we lived and I remember seeing him wearing a mask spraying the weeds on that whole block of lawn. Us kids were often on that grass passing along messages to him or just watching what he was doing. I also can recall spraying flies in our house with a long tube type sprayer filled with DDT. and I can still picture the cloudy fumes. The instructions were to stay outside for 20 minutes, but the smell was still strong when we re-entered.
DDT has been banned in Canada for many years now, after people realized why there were so many birds dying. In spite of my mother having immune system problems, I can’t help but wonder what role these deadly chemicals have on my present health. Four years ago I was using a new furniture polish and forgot to check the label. It caused me to lose all my energy for a whole month and I had only slits for eyes.
The last time I got the flu shot, quite a few years ago, My FM pain level went “SKY HIGH” for ten days and then returned to its norm. My ND. said that it damaged my immune system but that it would come back. From then on he gave me the flu shot in the form of tiny beads, from small vials which I put under my tongue to melt once a week. It’s called influenzum by the Boiron company, and I get the new doses in the Fall.
Every 2 years, my ND. likes to check my heavy metal status, through a hair analysis. If I need to drop my levels, he has me take 5 to 6 drops of a product called NDF by Bioray, once a day for a period of time. My aluminum levels were high at one point, so he told me to use a crystal deodorant from a health food store instead of the regular one I was using. I had my doubts, but It works just fine and in no time my aluminum level dropped to normal.
On several occasions, my ND has given me IV infusions of Meyer’s Cocktails which delivers various nutrients directly into the cells. That’s especially helpful for people like me that have trouble digesting our food. My energy would surge after a series of these IVs and they also helped with my severe leg cramps. A few years back he had also given me IVs to help replenish my glutathione levels to be able to detoxify. I got into interesting conversations with some of his other patients while we were having our IVs and I was absolutely amazed at some of the other treatments he was also giving them, and the many benefits they were receiving.
During my years of seeing a Naturopath Doctor, I hadn’t stopped my searching for anything else that might be out there that could help with this complicated illness. Here are a few gems that I found.
Other Naturopathic Treatments For Pain Relief
Infrared Sauna For Muscle Spasms
I have a friend that was selling Far Infrared Domes and she lent me hers for a few days. After that I’ve never wanted to be without this wonderful deep heat for all my sore and spasmodic muscles. It’s 14 inches wide and has wheels for pulling the dome over your body. I like to use it in bed. You can set the timer for 15 to 60 minutes. (Far Infrared Dome are available from www.hteamericas.com. Click on your Country’s flag and search products).
If it’s a bit too warm in the bedroom, I direct a fan my way. I drink a glass of water before and after to keep hydrated and to detox. If there’s an HTE representative in your area, you may be able to try it before buying and the price is the same. This dome releases muscle spasms and I find it works better than massage therapy. It’s called the “The Hot House”.
Revitive Foot Massager For Foot Cramps
The foot massager looks a lot like a scale to weigh yourself. Even though I’m on plenty of magnesium, the minute I would lie down at night in bed the leg spasms or cramps would start. Now, all I do is sit down and put my bare feet on the massager for 30 minutes before bed and I’m not bothered by cramps all night.
The foot massager also increased my circulation and my ankles and feet no longer swell, even during the day. Slowly increase the mid dial till you can feel the electrical impulses go up your leg at a comfortable rate. This machine has been approved by the FDA and Health Canada.
While waiting for a hip replacement, the referred pain to the inside of my leg was extremely difficult to stand as I could not take more pain medication besides the one for FM.
Someone had alerted me to an article about laser treatments and it was done by a physiotherapist. I phoned my Provincial Association of Physiotherapists to see if any of their members did laser and they gave me the name of a new clinic that did. I ended up having 10 treatments that were very helpful and absolutely painless.
I would lay on my good side and the therapist would put a rubber type pad on my bad hip. I stayed like this for 20 to 30 minutes? He then came in and put protective glasses on himself and me as well and did more direct targeted work on my hip. Much of the inflammation in my hip was reduced and in turn, the referred pain to the inside of my leg largely subsided.
Dr. Newton’s glucosamine cream is also exceptional for muscle pain and is odorless if that is important to you www.drnewtons.com It’s fairly expensive, but they do offer specials on their website and E-Mails.
The Power of Distraction For Pain
Life was pretty grim, the first few years with fibromyalgia. When times were particularly bad, I’d phone my son, who lives in the same town, and asked him to bring my young grandchildren over for a visit. The power of distraction is incredible. I recently heard of a scientific study on trying to harness that power for people like us who live day in and day out with chronic pain. It sure would be nice to throw out all those pain pills.
Physiotherapy and Exercise
When I was halfway through writing this series, I started having severe lower back and hip pain because of sitting too long. Even though I have a terrible spine, I decided to go on the treadmill for just 5 minutes a day. What a difference, I needed to move to get those endorphins to do their job and give me some pain relief. I always feel better when I’m more active. It also gives my brain a boost. I also don’t have to turn up the dial as much when I use the Revitive foot massager, which tells me that my circulation has improved (see below). Speaking of moving more, Physiotherapists are great for teaching stretches, plus floor and water exercises.
D-Ribose for Energy
I first heard of this supplement in Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum’s book “From Fatigued to Fantastic” He suggested taking 1 scoop 3 times a day to start and then go to 1 scoop 2 times a day after that if it works for you. Before using D-ribose, my legs felt like they were bound together by a wide rubber band, making it very difficult to walk. Within 2 weeks of taking d-ribose, I was walking normal again. D-ribose increases cellular energy.
The best price I’ve found is at www.endfatigue.com. Click on the products and click supplements link. The brand name is SHINE, towards the end of the list. It’s only $19.50 or $16.00 US auto ship. Amazing, as most cost between $40 & $50 US. You will find most of the supplements you might need on this website. Dr. T gives all his royalty money to charity.
The number one most helpful thing I can pass on to everyone with FM & ME/CFS is not to eat before bed, as it absolutely destroys your deep sleep. If I did, I paid a big price the next day, as my brain function was severely affected, and I often had to go back to bed. If I also eat any food I’m sensitive to, goodbye deep sleep as well.
999 cream works great for eczema when used on a regular basis. I paid $5. a tube on Ebay. I also like Neosporin Ezcema Essentials daily moisturizing cream (steroid-free). Buy at a pharmacy.
Saving Money on Medications and Supplements
I’ve spent a small fortune keeping myself well, so it has paid off big time to check around for best prices. For best price on prescription meds. always ask your doctor to prescribe you the generic form, if available. Here’s an example: I was paying $850 for a six month supply of Celebrex. The patent on this drug expired 6 months ago and the price now is just $140 for the same 6 months.
The generic name is Celecoxib. You can go on google and type in the name of the drug and add price check to view on line and retail pharmacy prices. Costco often has the best price, and you don’t need a membership card to buy from their pharmacy.
In the USA my favorite company is www.totalhealthdiscountvitamins.com In Canada I like www.canadian vitaminshop.com, www.healthpalace.ca and www.vitasave.ca. Local health food stores have flyer sales, and some have special sale days or membership discounts. Many health food companies give special discounts on American or Canadian holidays, so check their websites on those days. You may also save shipping costs by checking their minimum order requirements.
How Am I Doing Today?
- Sleepwise – I usually get 8 hours of quality sleep every night (minus a couple of “pit stops). I wake up a bit groggy from the sleep meds, but that soon clears up and I am usually looking at a good day ahead.
- Brainwise – I’m pretty close to normal in sharpness and focus. I recently read about a thyroid supplement that claims to change T4 into T3 and it’s from a company that my ND. says is excellent and to go ahead and add it to the other one I’m on. I was a bit shaky on it the first week, but now it’s working great and my energy and brain power got an extra boost. I’m still doing some “word searching” but my husband, who is well, is doing the same thing too, so that’s pretty normal for our age.
- Pain Level – Well controlled by my pain med. and magnesium citrate, a few minutes on the treadmill every day and trying to be somewhat active, not to sit around a little too much.
- Activity Level – I’m able to do my house work every day, but I do hire someone to do the more difficult things. It’s not that I don’t have the energy to do it, but the harder scrubbing motions can spasm my muscles really badly. My husband had to take over cooking the dinner meal, 20 years ago, and he still loves doing it, bless his soul (how more lucky can I get). I’m the “cleaner upper” after, though. I’m able to drive to the closest city to do a bit of shopping, eating only protein to be sure I don’t run out of energy, once and awhile. I’m a current affairs person and like to keep in touch with Canadian, American and World news. Since I ended up on Health Rising, about 6 months ago, I also check what’s new there every day as well.
- Doctors – I usually see my MD. once a year and my ND. twice a year.
- Most Important For Me Now – To “stick to the program” given to me by my Naturopath Doctor, and I find that easy to do, because who wants to get up in the morning feeling sick!
I ended up on Health Rising’s website by chance about 6 months ago and have been truly amazed at all the current research and other information Cort has made available to us. Thank you to the lady who asked the question, ‘Why is there nothing on natural health?” It got me thinking why don’t I do it as I’m sitting here with 17 years of experience with a Naturopath Doctor and all this information has been accumulating in my head for years.
How can I even begin to thank my amazing Naturopath Doctor? I hate to think where I’d be today, in bed for sure, if here at all, since I was suffering from vitamin deficiencies 17 years ago already.
I owe him my life as he gave me the same care that a specialist in FM & ME/CFS could have provided. Naturopath Doctors are experts at bringing your body back into a healthy balance, by going to the root and correcting each problem, without using just symptom relief. I did not get better overnight, but I slowly improved with each treatment I received from this exceptional Naturopath doctor.
I know that not everyone is in the position to consult with a Naturopath Doctor, but I’m hoping that the information in my story can at least help many in knowing what questions to ask their own doctors and insisting on treatments for the problem.
God bless you all on your journey back to wellness.
- See Part I of Edith’s blog here: 17 Years: A Fibromyalgia Naturopathic Story – Part I
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