Archive for the ‘Herbs’ Category

Finnish Doctor Uses Herbs to Heal Lyme Disease & Coinfections

https://www.lymedisease.org/marjo-valonen-herbs/

This Finnish doctor uses herbs to heal Lyme disease and co-infections

 

 

 

Herxheimer Reactions & Lyme Disease: All You Need to Know

https://www.bca-clinic.de/en/herxheimer-reactions-and-lyme-disease-all-you-need-to-know/

Herxheimer Reactions And Lyme Disease: All You Need To Know

Warm weather brings many opportunities for fun, especially for people who enjoy being outside. Whether it’s hiking, camping, picnicking or simply reading a good book in the garden, the spring and summer months have much to offer in the way of outdoor activities.

But along with opportunities for fun, unfortunately, spending time in nature during the warmer months also brings danger in the form of Lyme disease. This is especially true for people who live in regions where the ticks that carry Lyme infection are common. But Lyme disease has been found on every continent except Antarctica, and cases of Lyme disease are growing at such a high rate that almost anyone who spends a significant amount of time outdoors could be at risk of exposure to Lyme disease.

What is Lyme disease and how is it transmitted?

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection caused by a spirochete (corkscrew-shaped) bacterium named Borrelia burgdorferi. This bacterium is carried by rodents and animals like the white-footed mouse and deer that are the preferred hosts of ticks known as Ixodes, deer or black-legged ticks.

When an Ixodes tick feeds on a creature that’s carrying Borrelia burgdorferi, it becomes infected with the bacterium. An infected tick can then transmit Borrelia burgdorferi to humans through a single bite, causing Lyme infection.

People who contract Lyme disease are often bitten by ticks that are still in their nymphal, or immature, phase. Nymphal ticks are tiny – about the size of a poppy seed – and their bite is usually painless, so many of those who have been bitten by a nymphal tick have no idea.

The chance of Lyme infection being transmitted from an infected tick to a human goes up the longer the tick stays attached, so the tiny size and painless bite of nymphal ticks are frightening factors that can increase infection risk.

What are the symptoms of Lyme disease?

Lyme infection can be separated into two phases: acute and chronic. The acute phase is the preliminary stage of Lyme disease and typically includes the following symptoms:

  • Erythema migrans, an expanding red rash that sometimes resembles a bullseye
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Headaches
  • Neck pain and stiffness
  • Fatigue
  • Joint pain and swelling
  • Weakness and paralysis of facial muscles
  • Lightheadedness and fainting
  • Heart palpitations and chest pain
Neck pain is one of the symptoms of Lyme disease.

If Lyme disease is caught within the first few weeks of infection, it may be effectively treated with antibiotics. But if it’s not properly diagnosed or treatment fails, Lyme disease can progress to the chronic phase. Symptoms of chronic Lyme disease are many and varied, but some of the most common ones are:

  • Joint pain
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle aches
  • Memory loss, trouble concentrating or ‘brain fog’
  • Neuropathy (including nerve pain, numbness, or tingling)
  • Sleep problems
  • Changes in mood
  • Digestive issues

What is a Herxheimer reaction and how is it connected to Lyme disease?

Officially known as a Jarisch-Herxheimer reaction (and often called a Herx for short), a Herxheimer reaction occurs when the beginning of an antibiotic treatment course causes a spike in the die-off of spirochetal bacteria. It was named after European dermatologists who were the first to observe that symptoms worsened in syphilis patients being treated with mercurial compounds. This exacerbation of symptoms continued to be observed when penicillin became the main treatment for syphilis, usually occurring within the first 24 hours of treatment.

Like syphilis, Lyme disease is caused by a spirochetal bacterium. Herxheimer reactions sometimes happen to patients with Lyme disease when they first begin antibiotic therapy as a result of the Borrelia burgdorferi dying. The die-off causes your body to release proteins called cytokines. While a moderate amount of cytokines can help boost your immune system, too many of them can cause adverse effects.

Although they are sometimes considered a good thing because they indicate that the medication is working to kill Lyme bacteria, Herxheimer reactions can cause patients experiencing them to suddenly feel very poorly. Herxheimer reactions are characterised by a worsening of existing Lyme symptoms like:

  • Inflammation
  • Fatigue
  • Memory impairment and/or brain fog
  • Nerve and muscle pain
  • Chills/sweats

How is a Herxheimer reaction treated?

There’s no question that going through a Herxheimer reaction is difficult, and knowing that it’s a possibility can cause some Lyme patients to delay or even avoid treatment. When they’re already struggling with the symptoms of Lyme disease, the idea of feeling even worse is sometimes unbearable.

Although Herxheimer reactions be a necessary evil when beginning treatment for Lyme disease, there are things you can do to mitigate the damage. Some of the supplements believed to lessen Herxheimer symptoms include:

  • Glutathione, a powerful antioxidant that can help the liver process toxins
  • Activated charcoal, which may remove toxins from the body by binding to them
  • Curcumin, another strong antioxidant that has been shown to reduce inflammation
  • Epsom salts, which are used externally for bathing and contain magnesium sulfate for relaxing muscles and drawing toxins
Bathing in Epsom salts may help with symptoms of a Herxheimer reaction.

Aside from supplements, lifestyle choices like moderate exercise can alleviate the discomfort of Herxheimer reactions. While working out may be the last thing a Lyme patient experiencing a Herxheimer reaction wants to do, exercising stimulates the body’s lymphatic system, allowing more efficient removal of toxins from the body.

A Herxheimer reaction during Lyme disease treatment can make a bad situation worse, but knowing what to expect and how to support the body during this process arms patients and practitioners alike with the information they need to handle the challenge.

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For more:  https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2015/08/15/herxheimer-die-off-reaction-explained/

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2019/01/26/lyme-herxheimer-reactions-dr-rawls/

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2015/12/06/tips-for-newbies/

https://www.lymedisease.org/lymesci-herxing/

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2017/06/28/jarisch-herxheimer-a-review/

Enzymes:  https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2016/04/22/systemic-enzymes/

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/03/05/how-proteolytic-enzymes-may-help-lyme-msids/

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/10/24/herbs-habits-to-revive-your-gut/

MSM – another detoxifier, gut support, & inflammation & pain reducer:  https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/03/02/dmso-msm-for-lyme-msids/

One of the hardest things to understand about this complex disease(s) is that you feel a whole lot worse before you feel better and this can take considerable time.  Managing the herx is a challenging job.  See links above for ideas.

 

Riding Out The Storm of Lyme

https://rawlsmd.com/health-articles/riding-out-storm-lyme-healing-lifestyle-that-carried-jeff-tkach-recovery?

Riding Out the Storm of Lyme: The Healing Lifestyle that Carried Jeff Tkach to Recovery

Riding Out the Storm of Lyme: The Healing Lifestyle that Carried Jeff Tkach to Recovery

By Jeff Tkach
Posted 5/22/19

Throughout my adult life, I’ve always been a proactively healthy and fit person. I’ve been known to ride my bike more than 100 miles in a given day, have been committed to eating a mostly organic diet for the last 15-plus years, and I take great solace in sleepand in managing my stress through yoga and meditation. But all of this was challenged in 2016, when I hit a point in my career that exposed me to prolonged and intense periods of stress.

That October, after pushing relentlessly beyond my limits (jumping on and off airplanes, flying back and forth across the country for business meetings), I was struck with flu-like symptoms that kept me sidelined for more than two weeks. I went to and from my family doctor several times, who ran a battery of tests and bloodwork, only to find no positive results for anything I was tested for. He even administered a Western Blot Lyme test that was negative.

Over the next few months, I would get well enough to go back to work for a few weeks only to crash again, each time a little bit harder. I kept returning to that same doctor, determined to get answers, and he kept referring me to one specialist after another, none of whom provided answers.

At one point, my doctor put me on a 30-day course of Ciprofloxacin, a very potent, broad-spectrum antibiotic, that left me feeling decimated. He convinced me that this was the best course of action for one of my symptoms. But the antibiotic gave me no relief, and my energy levels plummeted by the end of the 30 days.

“ I realized that if I were going to get better, I was going to have to become my own health advocate.”

By the time Christmas rolled around, I was completely bedridden and forced to go on medical leave in early January. The same family doctor whom I had been seeing for the past three months finally diagnosed me with “depression and anxiety.” He put me on an antidepressant and told me that there was nothing more that he could do for me.

Completely depleted and unable to work, I felt hopeless beyond despair. I suffered from chronic gastrointestinal distress, fevers, night sweats, hallucinations, intense body aches, and panic attacks. I felt like I was losing my mind, and I was terrified because no one could give me a reason for my health collapse.

Jeff Tkach meditating, black and white photo

At that point, I realized that if I were going to get better, I was going to have to become my own health advocate. And thus, the journey to wholeness began. I was referred to a Functional Medicine doctor, whom I got into see during the last week of February, 2017.

To this day, I do not know where I would be without Dr. Kracht. Not only did he provide me with a sense of assurance, but he became my advocate. He immediately treated me for fluoroquinolone toxicity, a condition that is often caused by antibiotics from the Fluoroquinolone family (Cipro). He treated me using IV therapy, detoxification protocols, and supplements like glutathione.

I started to feel a little better over the next few weeks, and miraculously got back to work by mid-March. A few months into this treatment regimen, I started having headaches and neck aches again, so my doctor decided to run a more elaborate Lyme test (iSpot). Sure enough, I tested positive for Lyme (my numbers were off the charts) even though I never found a tick or bulls-eye rash.

I started a combination of antibiotics and herbs, but after a week or so I was unable to tolerate the antibiotics, due to gastrointestinal distress. Now that I knew Lyme was the culprit behind my health collapse, I began my own research that set me on the path that I am still on today.

“Healing became multi-layered and encompassed so much more than healing from the physical symptoms: It was spiritual and emotional, too.”

I continued to add modalities to my protocol, such as infrared sauna treatments and IV therapy (Meyers cocktails), as well as supplements and herbs to aid detoxification and ease inflammation. Yoga and meditation became daily disciplines. At first, I could only do 5 or 10 minutes at a time, but I stuck with both practices, which helped to ease the panic and anxiety symptoms and deepen my sleep. I also began weekly acupuncture which helped to reset my parasympathetic nervous system; those weekly visits to Dr. Jenn became foundational to my healing. I was making progress, albeit slowly.

I began to read every book available on the topics of Lyme and chronic illness, and my healing became a “trial and error” process. Or, to put it another way, it was like peeling back the layers of an onion. Healing became multi-layered and encompassed so much more than healing from the physical symptoms: It was spiritual and emotional, too.

From the very beginning of my health collapse, I was fortunate enough to have a caring and compassionate therapist in my life. Our weekly visits during my darkest times helped to shed light on emotional trauma that I had been harboring for years, if not decades. This trauma was holding me back from healing. The more that I unpacked it and “befriended” my grief and suffering, the more I began to slowly and incrementally heal. It was then that I finally came to grips with the fact that if I were going to fully recover, it was going to take time, patience, and focused effort.

https://rawlsmd.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/jeff_2.jpg

My journey eventually led me to more and more reading and studying, and I came upon Dr. Bill Rawls’ book, Unlocking Lyme. After reading his book, I was fortunate to have a one-hour session with him over the phone, and he opened my eyes to the complexities and intricacies of Lyme. Dr. Rawls explained the analogy of “the pot boiling over” and helped me to understand how the body operates as an ecosystem, and that my job was to bring the ecosystem back into balance.

I began to use his herbal protocol, and embraced the restorative diet that Dr. Rawls outlines in the book. At this point, I was still experiencing intense gastrointestinal distress (likely from the Cipro and other antibiotic use). I had lost more than 20 pounds and was not able to properly digest food.

What Dr. Rawls helped me to see and understand is that overcoming Lyme, or any chronic illness, had to become a lifestyle. The idea of “healing as a lifestyle” made total sense to me, and so I began to treat each decision each day as an incremental step towards full health.

From that point on, I made my healing journey a lifestyle, and I accepted the fact that there was no quick fix. My healing became a daily rhythm: morning meditation, journaling, prayer, yoga, healthy movement, sauna therapy, proper sleep, mid-day walks, and deep breathing. I focused on making nourishing meals that healed my gut and restored my energy. I used infrared sauna therapy, acupuncture, massage, polarity therapy, and qigong.

“The idea of “healing as a lifestyle” made total sense to me, and so I began to treat each decision each day as an incremental step towards full health.”

Every decision and every modality slowly peeled back, layer upon layer, the illness. It was three steps forward, one step backward. Trial and error, not without its frustrations. But I continued to live the lifestyle, and little by little I got my life back. In fact, I received the gift of a much deeper, more present, and more meaningful life.

To this day, two and a half years into the journey, I continue to see improvements from Dr. Rawls’ herbal protocol and from living the lifestyle he recommends, including eating whole, organic foods (most plants, healthy fats, and chicken and fish). Over the last few months, I have been amazed by the dramatic improvements in my physical endurance and strength. I am back to cycling up to 30 miles a few times per week, running 4 to 6 miles, swimming, and have recently taken up surfing (my new passion!).

Jeff Tkach sitting happy, recovered from Lyme disease

I want to personally thank Dr. Rawls and everyone on his team for providing us with such great resources to help us on this healing journey. Thank you also to Dr. Kracht, Dr. Jenn, and Dr. Hoffman for all of your support. And most of all, thank you to my amazing wife and partner, Jackie, for your love, patience, and support through the most difficult journey of my life. You are my rock and my light.

During my darkest days, I took great solace in poetry. It was a healer and companion that gave me a ray of hope and meaning during the most difficult times. I would like to share one poem in particular with all of you, my fellow healers. I hear your grief cry. You are not alone, we are in this together, and we will reclaim our vitality and wholeness.

Pushing Through
It’s possible I am pushing through solid rock
in flintlike layers, as the ore lies, alone;
I am such a long way in I see no way through,
and no space: everything is close to my face,
and everything close to my face is stone.
I don’t have much knowledge yet in grief
so this massive darkness makes me small.
You be the master: make yourself fierce, break in:
then your great transforming will happen to me,
and my great grief cry will happen to you.

Rainer Maria Rilke
(Translated by Robert Bly)

Welcome to the #MeAgain Story Series. Our aim is to share stories from people who have recovered, or are recovering, from chronic disease in order to give you hope that healing is within your reach. This series will highlight their struggles and triumphs to inspire you to take action and reclaim your life. Enjoy!

Hank’s Story | Shawn’s Story | Julie’s Story | Ron’s Story | Stephanie’s Story
Donna’s Story | Brad’s Story | Mira’s Story | Jeff’s Story

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**Comment**

I love stories with people getting better.  Please remember that what works for one may not for another.  Also, there’s a tendency with some patients to give “natural” things all the credit when they did extensive antibiotics which killed pathogens before.

There is nothing “holy” or better about natural products.  They are strong medicine too and some people can’t tolerate them either.

The reason I write this is that throughout my journey I’ve had well meaning people essentially blame me for being ill as well as discredit and label pharmaceutical treatment  of any kind “The bad guy.”  While Big Pharma has done some pretty rotten things, I don’t believe the medicines they’ve made are to be blamed for their unethical behavior. I didn’t enjoy taking antibiotics as they made me feel worse at the time (herxheimer reaction) but the results are undeniable.  I have my life back.

Whatever makes you improve, USE IT, but don’t diss others who use something different.  The end goal is to get better.

BTW:  The Ciprofloxin that didn’t help him, helped me dramatically. Throughout treatment you will have to weigh the risk with the benefit. Also, Bartonella is known to cause GI issues. The intolerance to antibiotics due to GI upset could very well be the killing of Bartonella or other pathogens – in essence a herx reaction.  This too needs to be weighed and balanced. All adverse reactions should be discussed with your practitioner but there were many times I wanted to quit treatment due to discomfort of one type or another.  Treatment is hard and long. Sometimes we just need to tough it out, and other times we truly need to switch things around and even discontinue some things.  Also, the things we discontinue at one point might work at another point.

This will test you like nothing else.  Strap yourself in for a wild ride.  Patience required.

Breaking Free From Lyme’s Grasp: How Writer Mira Carroll Reclaimed Her Creative Life

https://rawlsmd.com/health-articles/breaking-free-from-lymes-grasp-how-writer-mira-carroll-reclaimed-her-creative-life?

Mira-Carroll-Reclaimed-Life-from-Lyme-2

Breaking Free From Lyme’s Grasp: How Writer Mira Carroll Reclaimed her Creative Life

By Mira Carroll
Image Credit: Elaine Mays
Posted 5/10/19

Lyme pounced when I was vulnerable, in 2011, a year when I did a little too much. My immune system surely faltered under the weight of my normal workload, plus that of publishing my first book, and three significant trips — one to each coast and a third across the pond.

The overt assault started with a bad case of “the flu” on the tail-end of a week at a California retreat where deer (and likely, ticks) were ever present. The significance of this timing flew under my radar. In the aftermath, the microbes surreptitiously installed a fortress inside me, using weakness and prior injury for cover.

Around the same time, I had landed in menopause, the life stage I was calling my “less extreme youth,” and my whole body was starting to deteriorate. The diet and exercise habits I’d honed to stay slim stopped working, and I gained weight for no reason. Not a lot of weight, but noticeable on my small frame. It disturbed me, so I mentioned it at my annual physical.

The doctor opined that the only thing that works for women in my age bracket is extreme dieting and exercise. But I couldn’t fathom such a plan — I’d noticed I was experiencing more fatigue lately, and the mere mention of extreme exercise set off sirens in my joints. Besides, “extreme dieting” sounded unhealthy. My suspicions chimed in: Maybe I was just aging badly?

Still, aware of many sparkling, energetic oldsters, I knew the “just getting old” hypothesis had to be wrong. Until recently, I had enjoyed vibrant good health that I credit to several good habits. I kept my weight down, gave up smoking and drinking many years before, and exercised regularly. I had been a vegetarian for more than 35 years, and had stopped consuming most processed foods. I made sure to consume food and drink that also gave me pleasure — no cardboard food substitutes and nothing solely because “it’s good for you.” You could call it a dynamic, sustainable diet.

My work was fulfilling, too. As a massage therapist and spiritual counselor, I had the privilege of helping others find their way to feeling better. I was spiritual and had cultivated positive mental habits. I had close, supportive friends and beloved animal companions.

“I knew the ‘just getting old’ hypothesis had to be wrong.”

And yet my body no longer responded to this nurturing. Instead, I slowly got worse, with stiffening muscles, roving painful joints, creeping brain fog, and a shrinking capacity for stress of any kind. Things I’d been able to take in stride became more irritating, and my fuse felt perilously short.

Soon other symptoms mushroomed: seasonal allergies, and an allergy to some preservative in multiple eye products. Persistent floaters. Difficulty fully emptying my bladder. My cognitive abilities also took a hit, as I had more trouble recalling words (especially when speaking), limited short-term memory, and less ability to learn and remember new things. Then came neuropathy in one arm, then one leg, and finally, a crashing fatigue with muscle weakness that materialized with customary (to me) exertions.

Eventually my entire body felt inflamed. I woke up tired every morning, mentally and muscularly. My eyelids looked like I’d just emerged from a 12-hour, face-down sleep. It got so bad that holding my body upright felt like work. Whatever I did wiped me out sooner or later.

Being self-employed, I couldn’t afford extended exhaustion, so I contracted my world. I curtailed all optional activities and stuck close to home. I drank more coffee. I quit my most strenuous and stressful work, expecting to recover in the resulting ease. I limited my schedule to only one client per day. I added or increased supplements for joints and overall health. I tackled my diet. Over a couple of years, I cut out carrageenan (a common food additive), wheat/gluten, corn, and peanuts, hoping I’d finally find the answer in food sensitivities.

Mira Carroll on laptop, searching for answers about Lyme disease

These measures brought some improvement, but I still felt bad with a lot of pain. A pound or two came off, but nothing fixed my ailing mind and body. I skirted stressors like a water-phobic child evades a bath. It felt like there was three feet of clear, rubbery gel between the world and me. There was a hitch of pain and difficulty to little things: crouching down to pick up a cat, pouring from a full pitcher, going up and down stairs. Somewhere along the way, life had become hard.

But I wasn’t paying for my partying past; I was settling some bug’s bar tab. Undiagnosed chronic Lyme disease had conga-lined me into the clink with no notice or formal charges. It had been happening for six years. The cell door was swinging shut, yet I didn’t know what country I was in, much less the path to release.

Lyme disease, one of several common stealth microbe infections, is enemy territory. Symptoms can flare and recede as the bacteria dart around the body using guerrilla tactics. If, like me, you tend to minimize what’s not happening right now as well as tune out routine impediments, it can sneak up on you. I found myself infiltrated and surrounded.

Borrelia burgdorferi, Lyme’s stealth microbe, punished capriciously. It poisoned my food, starved my body of energy, and hooded me in brain fog. It sabotaged my sleep. It sprinkled pain dust on my insides. It let me out on a short tether only to work, leaving me spent and wondering how long I’d be able to keep it up.

By the time I was sure something was wrong, a single explanation for my many diverse symptoms was hard to come by. No one looked at all of them as possibly related, including myself. I thought I was full of arthritis, but imaging showed it was “mild” and “age appropriate.” I worried about my numb arm and leg, but EMG testing asserted my nerves were fine. Aside from my usual high cholesterol, I had normal blood values on standard tests.

If you judge me by my symptoms, I’m infected with Borrelia and Mycoplasma. Considering my history of cat scratches, I should also have Bartonella, but physical manifestations have not specifically suggested it. I haven’t had a positive Western Blot assay for Borrelia or any coinfection. By the time I was tested, my body may have lacked the ability to produce enough antibodies to trigger a response.

“Like a shrewd abuser, Lyme disease punches where it doesn’t show.”

My gamma globulin — immune proteins that generate antibodies — was low. Borrelia and coinfections hack the immune system and turn it to their purposes; disrupted antibody production is one havoc these masterful bacteria can cause. I did have some laboratory results associated with Lyme disease — low CD57 and high TGF-Beta 1 — but these are not diagnostic in themselves. And how can a body be full of inflammation, yet C-reactive protein values are normal?

It is in this sense that my good health almost cost me everything, because standard lab tests didn’t yield results that prompted my doctors to consider infectious disease. Instead, these tests also functioned as a cover for Lyme. Like a shrewd abuser, Lyme disease punches where it doesn’t show. I was sick, but from the outside my life looked normal.

The stories you read about Lyme don’t typically portray an undramatic decline like mine. Most medical information streams seem preoccupied with the bulls-eye rash, doxycycline, and new ways to “eradicate” Borrelia with antibiotics. The popular press loves dramatic, life-and-death Lyme stories. Rightly so — they’re compelling because of the terrible consequences, and it’s important for us to understand that Lyme et. al. (coinfections) can be both highly debilitating and fatal.

But there is a vast sea of lesser suffering. Due to poor diagnostics and unsuited treatment of stealth microbe infections, many of us are more quietly sick. Countless lives are severely limited, and millions of healthcare dollars are wasted on treatments aimed in the wrong direction. And then there are the sick people offered nothing but dismissal, often with a psychiatric referral.

Enter my liberators, the gifts of nature and Dr. Bill Rawls.

Rather than fling my shrinking resources at the sieve of a positive laboratory test, I chose to invest in my health. By then I’d had undiagnosed Lyme for at least six years; to wait longer for proof that might never come while getting sicker made no sense. I began Dr. Rawls’ herbal protocol, tailored for symptoms like mine. It has been my core protocol for almost a year and a half; I’ve also added other herbs as appropriate.

The first chains to loosen were the dastardly brain fog. I’d been taking Dr. Rawls’ protocol for three months when I added chlorella for detox. Around the same time, I also added chia seeds to my diet, one tablespoon per day. Three weeks into this expanded protocol I had a moment of mental clarity. Standing in my kitchen that morning I thought: This is how I used to feel. Clear-headed. Brain power rumbling and ready to roar.

It didn’t last, but it lifted me. This tiny event could have been strung with lights and announced by fanfare, it was so foreign to my experience the past many years. In the next several months I had more and longer clear-headed periods until, at about nine months on continuous herbal therapy, the cloud around my mind was gone.

Mira Carroll playing piano, happy, Lyme symptom freeMy health on herbs has leapt from caged to free. It’s the difference between store brand instant decaf coffee with lukewarm non-fat milk and a fresh, coffee-bar, full-fat, turbo-charged latte. I wake up with energy for life. I no longer hold the walls to protect my knees while descending stairs. The stiffness caused by being still is all but gone, and so is the bent-over crone who used to hobble up from sofas, chairs and bed.

I’ve lost 10 pounds without dieting. I can do gentle yoga without triggering pain. Overall, pain is greatly decreased and manageable — most days I forget about it most of the time. Viral nerve pain still comes and goes, but may be settling down. What a contrast to the achy, roving pain of active Lyme disease.

Dr. Rawls’ herbal protocol works best with his supportive diet — the notion that diet is irrelevant to healing is naïve at best. The raw materials (and detritus) from what we eat can’t be separated from health, so diet is the other key part of my protocol. I choose foods that support my healing, and avoid those that are problematic, especially highly-processed fake foods and engineered components the human body doesn’t recognize as nutrients.

It bears mentioning that even though I’m gluten- and corn-free, I still get to eat pizza, thanks to the tasty cauliflower crusts available in the freezer section. All this said, my diet isn’t perfect and probably never will be. I choose to be at peace with that. The perfect part of humanity isn’t in how well we do what we do, it’s in what God created. That perfection is an intrinsic gift we each can choose to cover up or let shine.

I’ve been able to use an obsessive-compulsive energy, a common facet of chronic Lyme, to my benefit. Like many others, I obsessively read about Lyme disease. (In our defense, people with Lyme are in critical need of information most doctors don’t have — yet. I was confused until I found Dr. Rawls’ comprehensive and readable book, Unlocking Lyme, which became my core resource.)

“Due to poor diagnostics and unsuited treatment of stealth microbe infections, many of us are more quietly sick.”

Unlike some other methods, Dr. Rawls’ protocol doesn’t require me to devote all my waking hours to the healing protocol. I’m in control of my treatment, which gives me more control in life. I’m able to stay at home, see clients, handle important responsibilities, and care for my two cats. (Had I known the future, I’d have named them “Bart” and “Ella.”)

Although some days were very challenging, I’ve been able to work throughout my illness. Herbs haven’t caused such bad side effects that I had to give up and just be sick for weeks, months, or years. I can safely stop any of them at any time. Being in charge of my own schedule is important to my life working while taking treatment, but the gentler nature of herbal therapy is key.

Mira Carroll playing with pet cat outside, Lyme symptom freeHerbs are one of God’s gifts to humankind, for our healing, comfort, and pleasure. We can choose to embrace this gift, or insist that our own creations are better. With pure, high-quality supplements, we can benefit from modern technologies that make herbs even more effective, easy to use, and accessible to inhabitants of the concrete jungles and far away corners.

I’m grateful for the steady, reassuring voice of Dr. Rawls in Lyme’s swamp of complexity and contradiction. All the information and resources his team puts together for our use is a priceless gift.

The improvement in my health over 18 months is amazing! My digestion is fully recovered from the ill effects of five weeks of antibiotic treatment. My biggest sleeping problems are bedtime (my bad) and when I wake up (my indoor kitty’s one fault). Before, my body woke me up because all comfortable positions had expired after six hours horizontal.

My hands don’t hurt when I play the piano anymore. My memory may be sub-par, but an ease has returned to my writing process. If I’ve lost a word, Google is easy to find. I start each client session full of energy, and no longer fear that I’ll crash before it’s complete. My “oomph” is great!

“Without the wise and kind healing of herbs, life as I’ve known it would have been over.”

My stamina is still precarious, though. Too much of any kind of stress can cause a major crash. At least now I recognize some warning signs. If I feel sleepy during the day and a little movement doesn’t erase it, I’m wise to take a nap. Another early sign I’m close to the edge of exhaustion is weakness in my thigh muscles.

I use this information to not push myself, and soon my strength will return. The stealth microbe takeover didn’t happen overnight, and I don’t expect such a formidable foe to let go overnight.

Without the wise and kind healing of herbs, life as I’ve known it would have been over. I was on track to be ruined financially while my mind and body painfully crumbled. I know now that the devastation of loss is surmountable. Loss always comes with gifts we can choose to claim. Nonetheless, I am grateful beyond words that I didn’t have to experience the sweeping losses of unchecked Lyme disease.

Welcome to the #MeAgain Story Series. Our aim is to share stories from people who have recovered, or are recovering, from chronic disease in order to give you hope that healing is within your reach. This series will highlight their struggles and triumphs to inspire you to take action and reclaim your life. Enjoy!

Hank’s Story | Shawn’s Story | Julie’s Story | Ron’s Story | Stephanie’s Story
Donna’s Story | Brad’s Story | Mira’s Story

____________________

**Comment**

For desperate patients: please know that what works for one, may not work for another.  Just because one person is improving on one particular treatment, doesn’t mean you will.  If you want to try different things, chat with your doctor and get his/her perspective.

FYI: I did Dr. Rawl’s treatment (as well as my husband) and we both relapsed.  I don’t tell you this to dissuade you but to present another side for your consideration.

We ALL desperately want to be well and would stick a needle in our eye if we thought it would work.  Stick with what works for you.  Stay the course.  Nothing about treatment is easy or simple:

For more:  https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2016/02/13/lyme-disease-treatment/

CBD Has Unique Ability to Cross Blood-Brain Barrier

https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2019/04/29/cbd-ability-to-cross-blood-brain-barrier.aspx?

CBD Has Unique Ability to Cross Blood-Brain Barrier

Written by Dr. Joseph MercolaFact Checked
cbd ability to cross blood brain barrier

STORY AT-A-GLANCE

  • Your body has a barrier to keep foreign chemicals from accessing your brain and spinal cord. Researchers have discovered by coating nanocapsules with CBD oil, they could carry particles into the brain of mice
  • CBD is the nonpsychoactive component of cannabis, which has strong anti-anxiety effects. Its ability to cross the blood-brain barrier suggests your brain has cannabinoid receptors used to maintain health
  • Although it’s normal to be concerned, too much stress and anxiety steals your time, energy and health; according to the World Health Organization, by 2030 global costs of anxiety treatment are expected to reach $147 billion annually
  • Low levels of endocannabinoids impact your risk of migraines, fibroids, irritable bowel syndrome and neurological conditions, but using CBD alone is not the answer to support your endocannabinoid system (ECS)
  • Natural ways to boost your ECS include avoiding pesticides, optimizing omega-3 intake, fasting, exercise and reducing stress

The cannabis plant has over 400 chemicals and at least 60 different cannabinoids1 — chemical compounds the human body is uniquely equipped to respond to. Of the two primary chemicals, cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), only THC has psychoactive properties.

THC is the compound in cannabis triggering a “high,” whereas CBD has no psychoactive effects. Both compounds, and other phytochemicals found in medical marijuana plants, have a long list of beneficial effects on health.

Medical marijuana is a term used for the use of the whole, unprocessed plant or its chemicals to treat a medical condition.2,3 With the exception of four cannabis-containing or cannabis-related products for specific conditions with a prescription, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not approved any “marketing application for cannabis for the treatment of any disease or condition.”4 On the other hand, some states have gone ahead and approved it themselves for certain medical conditions.5

The number of states that have decriminalized, legalized or allowed medical marijuana sales continues to grow. In some states, cannabis is fully legal or illegal, but in others the laws are mixed, allowing medicinal use but not recreational.6

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse,7 notable scientific study results led to the creation of two FDA-approved medications containing cannabinoid chemicals in pill form, but not the use of the whole plant. Recently scientists proved CBD can carry other chemicals across the blood brain barrier, opening up its medicinal potential even further.

The Blood-Brain Barrier Is Designed to Protect Your Brain

More than 100 years ago, scientists discovered not everything injected into the bloodstream would reach the brain or spinal cord.8 Through research, scientists discovered the blood-brain barrier is semi permeable; in other words, it allows some materials to cross into your neurological system, but prevents others.

The importance of the blood-brain barrier to the health of your neurological system cannot be overstated. One portion of the system is formed by endothelial cells lining the microvasculature, which feeds your brain. This protects it from circulating agents and substances capable of disturbing your neurological functioning.9

The endothelial tissue in other capillaries in your body have small spaces allowing substances to move between the inside and outside of the vessel. In the brain, these cells fit together so tightly that many substances cannot leave the bloodstream and enter the brain.10

Additionally, glial cells — astrocytes — form another layer around the blood vessels and are involved in a two-way communication affecting physiology and pathology.11 This barrier mechanism is vital for normal functioning and providing a stable internal environment. One compound known to normally pass the blood-brain barrier is CBD.

Pharmaceutical Industry Finds Way to Use CBD as a Trojan Horse

In Greek mythology, the Trojan War was fought between the Greeks and the city of Troy.12 To gain access, the Greeks used a massive wooden horse constructed to hide a select force of men. It was presented as a gift, thereby allowing the Greek warriors to enter and destroy the city. Researchers believe CBD can act as a Trojan horse, helping move restricted chemicals across the blood-brain barrier.13

Researchers were interested in using CBD as a means to an end. They attached CBD, resembling endocannabinoids made by both mice and humans, to the outside of nanocapsules loaded with fluorescent molecules.

The fluorescence enabled the researchers to track the particles with the hope the experiment would mimic what occurs in the blood-brain barrier of humans. They demonstrated the CBD nanocarriers could transport fluorescent molecules across the blood-brain barrier in mice.14

When added in vitro to human cells mimicking the blood-brain barrier, the nanocarriers with CBD were more successful in passing through the cells than those without the CBD. Researchers also found when CBD nanocapsules were injected into healthy mice, 2.5 times more of them entered the animals’ brains than nanocarriers of equal size lacking the CBD coating.

Cannabidiol — Nonpsychoactive Component Has Anti-Anxiety Effects

The ability of CBD to naturally move across the blood-brain barrier indicates there are endocannabinoid receptors in the brain, which your neurological system uses to maintain optimal health. One of the benefits of CBD on your neurological system is reducing anxiety.

A meta-analysis15 evaluated the potential for CBD as a treatment for anxiety-related disorders. They found preclinical evidence strongly supported it for the treatment for panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

A second large retrospective study16 looked at cases in psychiatric clinics involving the application of CBD for anxiety and sleep complaints. It too found the data supported the use of CBD for anxiety-related disorders.

In a small study17 involving 24 patients with generalized social anxiety disorder who, while diagnosed, had never been treated, half received CBD while the other half received a placebo. Another 12 healthy control subjects performed the test without receiving either medication or a placebo.

Each volunteer participated in a double-blind procedure. The researchers compared the effects of a simulation of public speaking on the 36 individuals, finding CBD pretreatment significantly affected cognitive impairment, anxiety and discomfort in speech performance.

The participants in the placebo group experienced higher anxiety, cognitive impairment and alert levels than the control group. No significant differences were observed between those taking CBD and the healthy control subjects who took nothing.18

These results piqued the interest of Dr. Esther Blessing, psychiatrist and researcher at New York University. She obtained funding from the National Institutes of Health, and along with collaborators are beginning a clinical trial to test if CBD helps those with PTSD and moderate or severe alcohol use disorder.19

The researchers plan to use pharmaceutical grade CBD or a placebo daily on 50 participants with the goal of evaluating alcohol intake in those who take CBD.

A second study20 now in Phase II is exploring whether CBD may help prevent relapse in opioid addicts. As explained by Blessing, CBD is different from cannabis. Although it’s extracted from cannabis, it does not lead to altered perception or cognition.21 She commented:22

“Drugs can be non-psychoactive and still have an effect on the brain. CBD does have an effect on the brain, but it seems to affect the brain in possibly medicinal ways.”

Anxiety Steals Time, Energy and Lives

Although it’s normal to be concerned about aspects of your life, too much stress and worry may devastate your health. A rise in stress levels and anxiety may trigger physical, mental or emotion changes, an indicator of anxiety disorders.23 Anxiety disorders are among the most common mental illnesses in the U.S., affecting an estimated 40 million adults.

Those suffering are three to five times more likely to see their physician and six times more likely to be hospitalized. It’s not uncommon for someone with anxiety to also suffer depression.24 Anxiety disorders carry a significant financial burden to individuals, families and communities.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), by 2030, the global annual cost of anxiety will reach $147 billion.25 Researchers in one study concluded:26

“The cost burden of depression, anxiety, and emotional disorders is among the greatest of any disease conditions in the workforce. It is worth considering methods for quantifying direct and indirect costs that use administrative data sources given their utility.”

The cost of anxiety is measured in more than finances, as it takes an enormous emotional and physical toll. Long-term negative health effects may include digestive issues, insomnia, substance abuse disorders and depression,27 each of which come with a laundry list of physical symptoms, emotional disruption and financial burden.

Differences Between Recreational and Medicinal Use

The healing properties of medical cannabis come primarily from high levels of CBD and critical levels of other medicinal terpenes and flavonoids. However, THC, responsible for the psychoactive effects of cannabis, also has medicinal benefits.28,29 Growers are able to use selective breeding techniques to increase CBD and lower levels of THC for medicinal use.

While CBD has gained the most attention, CBD alone cannot fully support your body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). Cannabinoid receptors in the human body were discovered in the 1990s,30 which in turn led to the realization our body makes endogenous cannabinoids that influence these receptors.

It was also discovered the ECS orchestrates communication between other bodily systems, such as your respiratory, digestive, immune and cardiovascular systems. The ECS does this via receptors found in every organ, including your skin. The use of medicinal CBD is aimed at the health benefits derived from providing your ECS with sufficient support.

However, if you choose to use exogenous CBD, it’s important to choose the right product as some do not meet the claims made on the label.31 Since CBD oil became a focus of popular holistic medicine almost overnight, the rapid innovations in the market have been impressive. However, while products quickly enter the market, effective control has not caught up yet.

Despite CBD being sold as a food supplement, it is often used for significant health problems. The WHO analyzed available scientific data and concluded CBD does not require drug scheduling. Nevertheless, CBD manufacturing may benefit from a preparation analysis to reduce contaminants and ensure the product in the bottle is what’s on the label.32

Researchers believe the methodology to achieve this goal already exists and the approach would hold the producer accountable for quality and safety. Until a system is in place, if you live in a state that has legalized CBD, it is important you purchase any products from a trusted source.

Single Magic Bullet Is Not the Answer to Support Your Endocannabinoid System

In this video clip from an interview with Carl Germano, board-certified nutritionist and phytocannabiniods expert, he discusses the need to move away from the single magic bullet idea of separating one nutritional compound from a plant and expecting miraculous results.

It’s important in many cases to consume the whole plant. The cannabis plant contains at least 60 other cannabinoids and 400 other chemicals, and many of these other phytocannabinoids and terpenes are needed to fully support your ECS.

However, the vilification of cannabis continues to negatively impact the ability to use the compounds medicinally.33 CBD oil has demonstrated use in the treatment of pain,34 which represents a significant threat to the sale of opioids responsible for a large piece of the financial growth of Big Pharma in the past decade.35

Purdue Pharma went even further, trying to position the company as an “end-to-end provider” of opioids and the treatment for addiction.36 The cannabis plant also poses economic threats37 to the lumber, energy, food and other industries as the fiber may be used to make paper, biofuel, building materials, food products and oil, clothing, shoes and even jewelry.

Cannabinoids Necessary for Optimal Health

Low levels of endocannabinoids in your system result in ill health. As you age, your body becomes less efficient in creating endocannabinoids needed for optimal health. According to Germano, cannabinoids may be used as biological markers for specific conditions and illnesses.

Endocannabinoid deficiency has been identified in those with migraines, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome and neurological conditions, for example. Research has also discovered an intimate relationship between ECS and your omega-3 status, as omega-3 fat improves your cannabinoid receptors.

Other conditions associated with low levels include stress, anxiety, insomnia and eye health. For a long list of health benefits you’ll receive from supporting your ECS system, see my previous article, “The Many Medicinal Benefits of Cannabis and Cannabidiol (CBD).”

How to Boost Your Natural Endocannabinoid Levels

In my previous article, “The Endocannabinoid System and the Important Role It Plays in Human Health,” I discussed the importance of activating your ECS. There are several natural ways you may activate the system to improve your health without using external cannabinoids:

Avoid pesticides and phthalates — Start by avoiding chemicals blocking the receptivity of your endogenous system by reducing your exposure to neonicotinoid pesticides and phthalates. Find more information about phthalates in my previous article, “Phthalate Exposure Threatens Human Survival.”
Optimize your omega-3 intake — There’s an intimate relationship between your ECS and your omega-3 status. Omega-3 fats make your cannabinoid receptors more active, and are used as backbone structures to produce cannabinoids in your body.
Expose yourself to cold temperatures — In past articles I’ve written about some of the surprising benefits of extreme temperatures. One of those benefits is the regulation of endocannabinoid in white and brown adipose tissue.
Fasting — Intermittent fasting may improve your health using yet another mechanism in your body — by increasing your endocannabinoid levels, and regulating your ECS.
Caffeine — Regular caffeine consumption regulates and enhances the activation of cannabinoid receptors. Remember the added caffeine may also disrupt quality sleep, so it’s important to forgo any caffeinated substances after 2 p.m.
Reduce stress — High levels of emotional stress have been shown to downregulate endocannabinoid levels in your body. High levels of cortisol also reduce binding to your endocannabinoid receptors. I recommend my previous article, “How Stress Affects Your Body, and Simple Techniques to Reduce Stress and Develop Greater Resilience,” to help you find methods that work for you.
Exercise — Although exercise is an excellent stress reducer, research also finds the much talked about “runner’s high” may be a function of the release of endocannabinoids in your brain and not just endorphins. If you are new to exercise, you’ll find suggestions and links in my previous article, “Exercise to Improve Your Body and Your Brain.”

______________________

For more:  https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2019/01/16/ldn-cbd/

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2019/02/10/the-endocannabinoid-system-and-the-important-role-it-plays-in-human-health/

 

This is the Difference Between Probiotics and Prebiotics

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/difference-between-probiotic-prebiotic_

This Is The Difference Between Probiotics And Prebiotics

Plus, how to make sure you’re getting enough of each so you’re healthy.
There’s a good chance you’re familiar with probiotics (at least familiar enough where you make sure to stock up on Greek yogurt at the grocery store or pick up pills from your pharmacy).
But when it comes to your gut health, it’s actually the balance of two types of bacteria ― probiotics and prebiotics ― that helps keep everything operating as it should.
“There is a balance between [bacteria] in the gut called homeostasis,” said Ashkan Farhadi, a gastroenterologist at MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center and director of MemorialCare Medical Group’s Digestive Disease Project in Fountain Valley, California.
When this homeostasis becomes imbalanced, it’s important to restore it by providing the body with good bacteria that then help gut health, Farhadi said.
Enter probiotics and prebiotics, which you can get through diet and supplements.

But downing a cup of Chobani alone isn’t going to solve the issue. There are specific ways to balance your gut health with probiotics and prebiotics, and multiple ways to get them from what you consume.

Differentiating between probiotics and prebiotics

Here’s an easy way to keep probiotics and prebiotics straight when it comes to their function in the body: “Probiotics are ‘good’ bacteria that are introduced to the gut to grow and thrive,” said Erin Palinski-Wade, a registered dietitian and author of the “2-Day Diabetes Diet.” “Prebiotics are essentially ‘food’ for these good bacteria.” This means they help stimulate and fuel the growth of probiotic bacteria already present in the body, acting like a fertilizer.

“It is essential to have both prebiotics and probiotics to promote gut health,” Palinksi-Wade added.

Probiotics help keep gut bacteria balanced by limiting the growth of bad bacteria, explained Alan Schwartzstein, a family physician practicing in Oregon, Wisconsin.

“Probiotics compete with these ‘bad’ bacteria for prebiotic food and do not allow them to multiply and cause harm to us.”

When there is a balanced amount of probiotics and prebiotics in the body, your digestive health is able to hum along.

This bacteria balance is also beneficial to your overall health, Palinski-Wade said. A good amount of probiotics in the body helps with vaginal health. A healthy gut contributes to a strong immune system, as well as good heart and brain health. What’s more, research published in Medicina has linked healthy bacteria in the gut with healthy body weight, lowering inflammation and stabilizing blood sugar levels.

How to know if your gut is OK ― and how to get it there if it isn’t

There’s a pretty simple sign that indicates if your gut has enough prebiotics and probiotics.

“Those who have a gut imbalance will have symptoms like increased gut sensitivity or changes in bowel habits,” Farhadi said. This means issues like diarrhea, constipation and excess gas.

You don’t have to wait for these unpleasant symptoms to pop up to start taking a probiotic. Whether you do it through diet or supplement, prebiotics and probiotics can be used by anyone to proactively maintain gut health, Farhadi said.

For example, in his own practice Farhadi recommends a patient eat a tablespoon of Greek yogurt (which has probiotics) sprinkled with Metamucil (which contains prebiotics) on top to restore balance in the gut.

Schwartzstein added that most people can get enough probiotics through their daily diet without a supplement. This includes eating foods like yogurt (make sure the label says “live active cultures” or the full name of the bacteria), soy drinks, soft cheeses like Gouda, and miso. There’s one main exception where heavier amounts of the bacteria might be needed.

“There are circumstances that can cause fewer probiotics in our digestive system; the most common is when we take antibiotics,” Schwartzstein said. “These antibiotics kill the healthy bacteria in our gut that serve as probiotics at the same time they kill the harmful bacteria that is causing the infection.” (This is also why most doctors only prescribe antibiotics if they are positive a patient has an infection caused by bacteria as opposed to a virus, like a cold.)

In these instances, you may need to take a probiotic supplement until you finish taking antibiotics. Talk to your doctor to make sure you take the correct strain and be aware that taking a probiotic supplement can come with side effects like gas and bloating, Schwartzstein said.

For prebiotics, Palinski-Wade said that a diet high in plant-based foods and fiber is a good way to make sure you’re consuming enough. Sources of prebiotics include garlic, vegetables, fruits and legumes.

If you don’t think you’re getting enough probiotics or prebiotics through your diet you may be leaning toward taking a supplement. In the case of prebiotics, any psyllium-based product (like Metamucil) can be used, as fiber acts as a prebiotic in the body.

Probiotics are a little trickier, as there are many different strains of probiotic bacteria that may be beneficial for certain conditions.

“Our research is so limited in this field,” Farhadi said. “Currently, the recommendation is based on individual experiences.”

Many times, Farhadi said a doctor may ask a patient to start a probiotic and see if it’s helpful. If not, they can switch between different brands and bacteria strains until they find the right fit. Talk with your physician before trying anything ― they’ll make sure you’re set up on the right path.

__________________

**Comment**

I would caution against using yogurt, kefir, and Metamucil unless they are without sugar.  A good substitute for Metamucil is just plain psyllium husk fiber.  https://fiberfacts.org/consumer_psyllium/  I found two opposing opinions on psyllium being a prebiotic, so discuss this with your practitioner. Both, however, are soluble sources of fiber. If you try this, go slowly so your body can acclimate to it.

If you detest the taste of plain yogurt products, you can always add fruit or liquid Stevia which comes in a myriad of flavors, but avoid processed sugar like the plague.

Some examples of food-sources of Prebiotics:

  • bananas
  • cold potatoes
  • milk
  • dandelion greens
  • legumes (beans)
  • chickory root
  • artichokes
  • garlic
  • onions
  • leeks
  • asparagus
  • barley
  • oats
  • apples
  • cocoa
  • burdock root
  • seaweed

All of these contain inulin which is an oligosaccharide or type of sugar molecule that is hard to break down so it can travel into your colon. Once there it becomes food for bacteria (probiotics). https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/probiotics-and-prebiotics#section5

Some examples of food-sources for Probiotics:

  • yogurt
  • kefir (daily & non-dairy)
  • Sauerkraut
  • Kimchi
  • Kombucha tea
  • Some types of pickles (non-pasteurized).
  • Other pickled vegetables (non-pasteurized).

Regarding pro and prebiotic supplements, there are many varieties and types. Get probiotics that are refrigerated as they have live cultures in them. 

Also, look for probiotic supplements that are designed to carry the bacteria all the way to your large intestine for better effects, while others probably won’t survive stomach acid.

And, the Health line article cautions that some should not take a probiotic, or who may feel worse after taking them, such as people with small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) or people sensitive to ingredients in the supplement. For these issues, work with a practitioner to find the right strains.

My LLMD has been utilizing both in his treatment for Lyme/MSIDS patients and he reports that he has far fewer patients suffering with gut issues now – even while using antibiotics.

Three Alternative Strategies That Can Address Severe Chronic Pain

https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2019/04/07/essential-oils-for-chronic-pain.aspx?

Three Alternative Strategies That Can Address Severe Chronic Pain

 Approx. 1 Hour

Written by Dr. Joseph Mercola

STORY AT-A-GLANCE

  • Dr. Mark DeBrincat, a chiropractor also known as the “Good News Doctor,” recovered from severe injuries that kept him in severe chronic pain for 15 years using neurofeedback, essential oils and pulsed electromagnetic field (PEMF) treatments
  • With the use of eight essential oils, DeBrincat was able to remodel the tissue in his spine, reducing his pain from a 10 to a 5, and then to zero
  • The neurofeedback device consists of a cap with 19 leads hooked to a computer that register neural activity, giving you a three-dimensional map of your neurology
  • Once dysregulated areas of your brain have been identified, they can be targeted to increase neuroplasticity. Once neuroplasticity kicks in, you start growing new tissue
  • Essential oils are volatile compounds found in grasses, trees, roots, bark, leaves and flowers. Essential oils in general are about 50 to 70 times more powerful than herbs, and should be used sparingly

Dr. Mark DeBrincat, a chiropractor and natural health physician also known as “The Good News Doctor,” has a most amazing story of recovery from one of the worst chronic debilitating pain syndromes that I’ve ever heard of, so I asked him to share his journey with you, in the hopes it may motivate you to seek natural approaches to pain.

Many see opiates as the only option for severe pain, which can have severe health consequences. Opioids are extremely addictive and 130 Americans die from opioid overdoses each and every day.1The death toll from opioids is so great it has actually contributed to lowered life expectancy in the U.S.

A Terrible Accident

Twenty-one years ago, traveling from Georgia to Florida to attend a chiropractic conference, DeBrincat and his wife were in a terrible car accident. That they both survived was a miracle in itself. His wife ended up with whiplash and fractured C3 through 5.

“I remember laying in the hospital and threatening her doctor that if he didn’t put a perfect curve into her neck or if he fused all her bones together, he’d never hear the end of my name,” DeBrincat says.

“He literally took the titanium plate home and pounded in a nice curve for me. Here, 21 years later, she’s got a beautiful cervical lateral curve and she still has her joint below a fusion, which is just amazing.

She healed in just a few months and then took care of me for years. I was a hot mess. Bracing my legs on the dashboard on impact saved my life, but also literally split my pelvis in half. The pubic bone snapped in the front, and my sacrum cracked top to bottom in the back.

I ripped the muscles off most of my legs [on] both sides … Then I lost my sigmoid and descending colon in all of that, amongst many other injuries. I spent months confined to a hospital bed. It took me several years to be able to go back to work again as a chiropractor. I had to become my own patient …

By 2010, I was permanently disabled and confined to a wheelchair. I had stabbing pain from my neck, all the way to my tailbone. I had no feeling in my arms or legs, but my hands and feet felt like burning broken glass all the time. I was trying everything.”

Remembering the Body’s Self-Healing Capacity

Raised by holistic parents, DeBrincat was determined to heal from his injuries without drugs, but after seven back surgeries and years of pain, he succumbed to Oxy, Soma and Xanax.

“I let them just throw any medication at me that would take my pain level from a 10 down,” he says. “We found the combination of narcotics, muscle relaxers and anti-anxiety pills that would take me from a 10 to an 8. That was survivable; 10 was just — you cannot live in that environment for the rest of your life.”

Eventually, he also had a computer implanted in his spinal cord at T10, which when turned on would numb his entire spine. “It was basically radar-jamming the pain so that I could move my limbs and actually start to be a little bit independent. That was a big breakthrough,” he says. Still, even this device was not enough to get him off the narcotics. It signified a turning point though. Fifteen years after the accident, he had an epiphany.

“I remembered back in school we talked about healing, getting better and overcoming anything. It’s always innate. We heal from the inside out. We get harmed from the outside in. I really started studying more epigenetics.

In studying the health of our cells, something clicked one day and I thought to myself, ‘You know, every cell has a turnover rate. If I can just simply make the next version of my cells be better than this one, I think I might actually be able to overcome this problem …

Our eyes only take two days. Our gums take two weeks. All the cells are replaced. Our throat takes two months. The lining in our lungs takes eight days. I started having hope, [thinking] ‘I can start doing more things now to impact the health of the cell. The new versions of these cells are going to be better than the last.’”

Step 1: Aggressive Neurofeedback Training

One of the strategies he used was neurofeedback, which is also recommended for people recovering from traumatic brain injuries. For years, he’d been doing quantitative electroencephalography (qEEGs) and neurofeedback training, but only for 30 minutes, two to three times a week. “We were told that you could never do more than that because your brain can’t handle it. You’ll fatigue and it’ll cause more problems,” he says.

During the time he was wheelchair bound, his brain map indicated neural overactivity, and the neurofeedback training wasn’t correcting that. He then heard a lecture in which it was stated that patients addicted to narcotics for pain need very aggressive neurofeedback training. DeBrincat immediately began doing hours of neurofeedback each day.

“In a few short months, my ability to feel more in my legs, to do more for myself and get myself dressed, was amazing. It was like I’d had the answer all along. I didn’t know I could be tapping into that. With my newfound freedom of, ‘I’m growing new cells, now I can grow new cells in my brain and spine where I have all this damage,’ that was super exciting.”

Discovering Essential Oils

Shortly after that, he met a woman who gave him a bottle of an essential oil. “She says, ‘Honey, just put this wherever it hurts and all your pain is going to go away’ … I remember putting it in my bag and rolling away thinking, ‘Come on. I’ve got the best doctors in the world who get me the best, strongest medications. And your little oil, it’s kind of a joke to me,’” DeBrincat says.

He admits he knew nothing about essential oils, and the oil sat in his bag, untouched, for five weeks. During a vacation, his wife ended up using it while giving him a massage one day. Remarkably, it eased his pain. That was five years ago, and for the first time, he felt no pain anywhere.

“I just sat bawling and crying,” he says. He’d been in pain for so long, he’d forgotten what it felt like to be pain free. With the computer in his spine, he could normally walk 20 to 30 steps max at a time. If he pushed further, he’d be bedridden for days.

That day, he set the pedometer on his watch and started walking. “I walked 5,700 steps,” he says. “I could not believe it.” The next morning, he was still pain free. From there, he went on to study essential oils.

“I found eight different oils that remodeled all the tissue in my spine. I put them on and it would bring me to a pain level 5 from a 10,” he says. “Then somebody who knew a whole lot more about oils looked at my list and goes, ‘You know what? Just turn your list upside down and do it in the other order. When you do it that way, it’s going to have a much greater effect on you.’

I did that and, oh my goodness, it went to pain level zero. Now, I could be pain-free completely for literally 12 hours before any pain came back. I would do it twice a day …

The body is remodeling itself. The oils that are helping remodel tissue are literally getting in there with the DNA when it makes 3 billion copies of itself before it finds the cleanest one to go into the new cell. It helps take out debris, damage, toxins, scars … so that you can give back to your root cell, which is the purest form before you had all your problems …

I did this back protocol for 90 days, then stopped. Within 24 hours, I was right back in this horrible pain again … I went another 90 days and then stopped, and made it four days before any pain came back. Now, this was a second epiphany, because now I really, honest to God, believed I was getting better … [I did] another 90 days and then stopped. That was August 2014. I’ve never had to do that protocol for my back since.”

He used peppermint, Siberian fir, and cypress for his essential oils, Remarkably, the stenosis in his neck and low back is now gone, herniations throughout his spine are gone, as is his arthritis. Even the scars on his back have radically improved.

“I got my life back. I was so passionate. I could teach again. Anybody who saw me walking was like, ‘This is an absolute true miracle. I can’t believe what I’m seeing. Are you a twin brother?’ I taught continuing education in a wheelchair for a lot of years. For them to see me walking was astonishing.”

PEMF — Another Breakthrough

He still had limitations though. He couldn’t exercise, lift weights or stretch, for example, and his feet would go numb when walking. His next breakthrough came when he discovered pulsed electromagnetic field (PEMF) therapy. After five weeks of PEMF treatments, his blood circulation dramatically improved, resolving the remaining limitations.

“My kids grew up with me in a wheelchair most of the years, especially during all their middle school years, and that was so crucial. To be able to have this amazing abundant life with them now and to be able to mountain bike, snow ski, dirt bike, snowmobile, hike and all the wonderful fun things we love doing, it’s just a dream come true.

We’re always looking for products and things that impact us, that give us hope again. That’s why I’ve been known as the ‘Good News Doctor.’ People say, ‘You know what? I always get bad news from my doctor. You’re the first one who’s given me hope again.’

When you’ve been through any major health crisis and you come out the other end, your purpose kind of changes. It evolves into, I guess, how God wants to use you to help people. From being in a wheelchair for so many years and coming out, our main passion is helping people with neurofeedback.

We do the brain mapping … in the privacy of their own home … We can literally give [patients] two years of care in one month, aggressively, and then make those breakthroughs happen over and over again. That’s so exciting.”

While DeBrincat’s story may sound too good to be true, it’s important to realize he did a lot of work on himself throughout. He juiced every day, ate whole food, avoided toxins, and would do his own physical therapy for three to four hours a day for all those years. Still, his recovery is astounding, considering the extent of his injuries and the time spent in disability.

Neurofeedback Explained

The neurofeedback device basically consists of a cap with 19 leads that hook to a computer. The leads can be likened to very sensitive microphones that register neural activity. Placed around the head, you end up with a three-dimensional image or map of your neurology.

Once the dysregulated areas of your brain have been identified, those areas can be targeted to increase neuroplasticity in that region. Once neuroplasticity kicks in, you start growing new tissue.

“This is inspiring for those who are stuck in pain, because you have what’s called a pain network. When that network is not functioning right, you are experiencing pain through your nervous system and you can’t just turn it off …

Knowing there’s technology that can pinpoint a specific network and grow tissue to help that network, this has given us so much hope to help people who are needlessly suffering in pain, because honestly, there’s no drug that’s going to heal them …

I think doctors who don’t either refer out to this or don’t have [neurofeedback] in their practice have a big black hole in trying to help people, because there’s so much information that we’re getting from the brain …

It really should be the foundation, and part of the initial examination … We need to see how well your brain’s functioning, because that’s controlling everything … A great starting point is to get everything back online, then everything else you’re doing after that will work better.”

Essential Oil Benefits

Essential oils are volatile compounds found in grasses, trees, roots, bark, leaves and flowers. Essential oils in general are about 50 to 70 times more powerful than herbs, so must be used sparingly. Quality and purity are of the utmost importance when seeking medicinal benefits, so it’s important to do your homework.

“Some of them help wake you up, like peppermint oil. One drop of peppermint on your hand, rub your hands together, hold it in front of your nose; in 15 seconds, you’re going to have about 20 percent more oxygen in your brain.

Some of these oils are so small they can go right through your blood-brain barrier and actually enhance your mood and change the way you’re feeling. That’s phenomenal as far as people who are depressed and have anxiety and so forth.”

DeBrincat found there’s a definite synergy between the brain mapping and the oils. Using qEEG, he could see the effect of an essential oil on the brain, often in as little as 30 seconds, either calming down an overexcited area or waking up a low-functioning region.

Essential oils also work as adaptogens. For example, the same oil that works to calm anxiety will work to ease depression, which are two poles on the spectrum. Helichrysum is a blood adaptogen. “I put that over my heart every day,” DeBrincat says.

“If my blood’s too thick, it’s going to thin it. If my blood’s too thin, it’s going to help thicken it. Oils are very intuitive in nature to know what properties you need. The way it does that is by using different vibrations on both sides of the active ingredient to be able to illicit different responses with the same oil.”

More Information

You can get more information about DeBrincat and his practice on TheGoodNewsDr.com. He takes care of patients all across the U.S. In closing, he stresses the importance of neurofeedback for getting more rapid results when you’re trying to address severe pain. You have a number of options for that. You can try doing an online search for local doctors that provide the service. Some will offer home units for rent, which is the most ideal option if you’re going to use it daily.

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For more on pain relief:

CBD: https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/10/08/thc-vs-cbd-for-pain-the-differences-interactions/

Medical marijuana: https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/01/24/medical-marijuana-for-lyme-a-doctors-perspective/

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/11/30/medical-cannabis-superior-to-opioids-for-chronic-pain-study-finds/

DMSO/MSM: https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/03/02/dmso-msm-for-lyme-msids/

LDN: https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2016/12/18/ldn/, https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2017/06/12/ldn-reduced-pro-inflammatory-cytokines-in-fm-after-eight-weeks/

Magnetic Fields:https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/08/15/treating-pain-with-magnetic-fields/

Laser Therapy: https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/02/27/march-2018-support-group-laser-therapy/, https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/04/08/class-iv-laser-therapy/

Heat: https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/09/28/hotter-bodies-better-at-fighting-disease/

Enzymes:  https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/03/05/how-proteolytic-enzymes-may-help-lyme-msids/

 Acupuncture:  https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/11/06/acupuncture-beats-injected-morphine-for-pain-groundbreaking-study/

Essential Oils:  https://www.healthyandnaturalworld.com/essential-oils-to-relieve-pain/  Studies are given for the following oils helping pain: chamomile, lavender, sweet marjoram, eucalyptus, peppermint, rosemary, thyme, clary sage, sandalwood, juniper, ginger, frankincense, yarrow, wintergreen, vetiver, helichrysum, black pepper oil, lemongrass, rose geranium, bergamot.  Directions are given for making massage oils, bath soaks, compresses, & inhalation techniques.

PEMF:  https://pulsedenergytech.com/pemf/

https://blog.bulletproof.com/pemf-therapy/

https://www.drpawluk.com

https://www.drpawluk.com/category/education/pemf-information/