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Fibromyalgia Part I

An article written by a medical professional I read stated that everyone with Fibromyalgia has low thyroid function to some degree.  That’s a bold statement and yet I agree.  The question that remains is whether the problem is the thyroid or it’s related mechanisms, or something else affecting the thyroid or thyroid hormones.  Ultimately it may not matter, as treating with hormone replacement helps low thyroid function (LTF) regardless of the cause.

First, what does low thyroid mean?  Many think low thyroid means your blood work for thyroid appears abnormal.  When your doctor checks your thyroid function they usually look at three markers, TSH, T4, and T3.  There are other tests that can be done, reverse T3, anti-thyroid antibodies, as well as other types of tests that can be used to rule out other abnormalities if your doctor finds reason to believe something else is wrong.
There are serious medical conditions that can affect the different mechanisms and structures involved in the production of thyroid hormone.  These need to be ruled out by a qualified medical professional.  This information is NOT intended to be a substitute for such health care.  If, however, everything is ruled out and the blood work shows you have, or even if it doesn’t show you have low thyroid function, you may benefit from thyroid treatment.
TSH refers to Thyroid Stimulating Hormone, which is produced in your brain in the anterior pituitary.  TSH tells your thyroid to produce T4 which in turn breaks down into T3.  T3 is the active hormone used by the different systems of the body for metabolism regulation as well as many other functions.  (this is a simple version)
In most cases, Doctor’s including Endocrinologists prescribe T4 (Synthroid, Levothyroxine) for hypothyroidism.  The theory is that your body will break down the T4 into the needed T3 making you will feel better.  Many times, however, even though a patient’s blood work may look better, they continue to feel terrible.  Inevitably they are then prescribed even more T4, and the process continues.  More about this will be said in the section on reverse T3.
Symptoms of Low Thyroid
Depression
low body temperature (below 98.6)
no sex drive
Anxiety
insomnia
constipation
brittle nails
high cholesterol
cold hands / feet
fatigue
hair loss
restless legs
neuropathy
dry skin
weight gain
muscle / joint pains
fibromyalgia
mood swings (sometimes misdiagnosed as Bipolar)
lack of concentration and focus (sometimes misdiagnosed as ADHD)
That’s an incomplete list of symptoms one can experience with LTF.
What if you have hypothyroid symptoms but your blood work is normal?  Often times people will have hypothyroid symptoms yet their blood work remains normal.  In fact blood work for TSH levels only started to be used in the early 1970’s.  Before then doctors looked at clinical symptoms such as those above.  The main medication for treating LTF for years was Armour’s Thyroid, which is typically desiccated porcine thyroid which naturally contains both T4 and T3 in a ratio similar to what humans produce.  It has been around since the late 19th century actually.  If you went to a doctor in 1910 then, feeling lethargic, gassy, constipated, and depressed your doctor may have prescribed Armour’s thyroid.
Today no doctor would treat you unless your blood work, specifically your TSH, is abnormal.  Yet many people continue to have hypothyroid symptoms even though their blood work continues to fall in normal range.
What are other reasons for treating with Armour’s Thyroid?  If a patient who has been diagnosed with LTF continues to feel poorly despite being given a T4 preparation, most likely it’s because they don’t break down T4 properly or they tend to produce too much reverse T3 instead of the active T3.  Reverse T3 is something we all produce.  Most likely reverse T3 is an old evolutionary mechanism that we still carry that slowed our metabolism during times of hunger or injury until either food was found or we healed.  Once some people start producing reverse T3 they may have a problem turning the mechanism off.  Another theory that may explain the overproduction of reverse T3 is a lack of enzyme to break T4 down into healthy or active T3.  Reverse T3 as the name suggests doesn’t work like active T3, and if you have a tendency to producing too much of this, all the T4 in the world won’t make you feel better.
The reasons why someone may produce too much reverse T3 are irrelevant.  The only option to taking only T4 is adding T3 to it in a ratio of 4:1, 3:1, 2:1, or even 1:2 of T4:T3.  This can be given as regular prescriptions of Synthroid / Levothyroxine and Cytomel.  Another option is to have them compounded.  And lastly another option is Armour’s Thyroid, Natur-Throid, or a synthetic T4:T3 formula.  I personally take only T3 every day, and every other day add T4 because I don’t feel well taking T4 on a daily basis.
by Mark Michalica, LPC

Hedging their bets in the battle to defeat cancer, many patients are turning to the benefits of integrative therapies for cancer, using herbs, enzymes, visualization, and healing diets to curb the disease. Oxygen, exercise and certain forms of beneficial bacteria are also employed as unconventional therapies for malignant tumors and lesions. According to David Hess, author of the investigative book “Evaluating Alternative Cancer Therapies,” more than a half million people are experimenting with non-traditional approaches ranging from consuming asparagus puree to downing health drinks and supplements. Some patients exclusively use integrative therapies, eschewing radiation and chemotherapy, while others mix both traditional and non-traditional medicines.

The benefits of integrative therapies for cancer are numerous. They include a restoration of strength and energy, easy accessibility and the possible avoidance of negative side effects caused by chemotherapy and radiation, such as nausea, infertility and hair loss. Depending on the treatment chosen, the procedures could also prove less costly. Patients also report enjoying a greater level of control and choice through exploring integrative therapies.

The lynchpin of integrative cancer therapy is that healing comes from the natural / organic substances and strategies themselves as well as the body’s immune system. The immune system is presumed to be revived and strengthened in its defenses through natural therapies.

Also inherent in the use of integrative therapies is that chemicals in highly processed foods, such as pesticides and preservatives, weaken rather than empower the body. For this reason, most patients using integrative cancer therapies avoid processed foods, fast foods and even foods that are likely to have hormones, are genetically modified, or contain chemical preservatives.

An organic diet anchored on fruits and vegetables is a typical route chosen by many users of integrative cancer therapies. Specifically, they seek dark purple and green produce that is ripe with phytochemicals and tannins and is believed to have protective powers. Phytochemicals specifically have been cited in medical research for halting and reversing malignancies.

In addition, many integrative therapists recommend that cancer patients skip salt and fat, except natural oils. The focus is also on raw foods and raw juices, or as close to their natural form as possible, with no added sugar. In fact, refined sugar is usually avoided due to a few preliminary studies suggesting sugar feeds cancer cells.

Oxygen therapy has been a popular option for those seeking a natural way to fight cancer. While oxygen is necessary and life-sustaining for humans, cancer cells, according to researchers, are anaerobic and are less likely to survive in the presence of increased oxygen levels. Enemas, detoxification, and fasts are also features of many integrative cancer therapy regimens because they are believed to rid the body of toxins.

Although integrative therapies for cancer may take longer to achieve results, participants embrace its ultimate benefit: maximizing quality of life for every day the patient might have. Many patients that have been diagnosed with aggressive or late stage cancers, like breast cancer, mesothelioma, or phyllodes tumors, adopt an integrative approach to promote better survivability.

by Allison Brooks

Stress / Anxiety

What is it?:

Stress is a psychological and physical response to the demands of daily life that exceed a person’s ability to cope successfully.

Anxiety disorders are conditions that cause a person to feel frightened and apprehensive for no apparent reason.

Stress and anxiety that is not resolved can lead to a variety of psycho-emotional conditions as well as a number of adverse physical changes. These two conditions are the most common mental disorders in the US.

There are five types of anxiety disorders:

Panic disorder- with panic attacks. Symptoms include heart palpitations, sweating palms, chest pains, shortness of breath, and terror.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder- symptoms including anxious thoughts and uncontrollable ritualistic behavior.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder- this is a severe anxiety which is linked to a traumatic life event

Phobias- irrational fears of specific situations or things

Generalized Anxiety Disorder – Imagine all the little worries in your life about paying bills, your health, family issues, your job, etc. Crank up the worry by about a factor of 10, and it never goes away.

Symptom categories:

While the mental component is certainly the root issue, there are some common areas that are effected.

Respiratory issues

Gastrointestinal and digestive

Gynecological

Fertility Issues

Lowered immune response

What can Traditional Chinese Medicine do to treat this?

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) can work on many of these categories of symptoms to address the over arching issue but specifics will have to be established on individual cases. However TCM can

Improve your respiration

Restore homeostasis for immune response and other symptoms

Improve digestion

What can I do?

  1. Breathing exercises. I would want to know at least some of your symptoms first before prescribing a specific qi gong exercise but I believe it should help. The practice of consciously doing something that your body does automatically is theorized to carry over into other areas. Thus by consciously directing your breathing, which is something your body does automatically, you can learn to control your emotions, which also happen automatically. Contact me at invigorating.qi@gmail.com for more information. Meditation in general should also help.

  1. Take Omega 3 fish oil. There are elements in the bio chemistry of this product that act as regulating agents on the nervous system.

  1. Oxygen therapy may be a route to explore.

  1. Limit your exposures to chemicals and pollutants. While many of us have to live with oil and natural gas and other toxins/pollutants there are some we can avoid. Panic disorders are twice as likely to occur in women and it is my opinion that this statistic is linked at least in part to the amount and type of cosmetics that are used. Make up and lipstick tend to have heavy metals in them, and the chemicals in the various hair dyes and bleaches are not healthy either. The olfactory nerve is the only nerve in the body that is exposed. When you inhale something the information goes into the brain and travels past centers for pain recognition, emotional response, and memory. The chemicals of the cosmetic products, which a person would smell as they are applying them, travel up this path. For ideas on safer alternatives please see this link: http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/

  1. Vitamin C, blueberries, green tea, and other anti oxidants will help to remove free radicals which can cause cellular damage and exacerbate existing issues.

  1. Glutathione will help to improve mental clarity and Magnesium will also be helpful in conjunction with Omega 3 fish oil for calming the nervous system.

  1. Eat healthy. A good diet will make you more tolerant of stress levels.

  1. Exercise and or Sauna. If there is a chemical component that is either causing this or keeping it from resolving, sweating will help to remove it.

  1. Identify if there is anything specific that cases you undesired stress. Work to adapt or avoid these issues.

Aside from an acupuncturist who can I talk to?:

      1. A psychologist, counselor, hypnotherapist, or psychiatrist would be a step in the right direction for addressing any behavioral aspects of this condition. An energy worker may also be a good idea.

      1. Someone who does therapeutic yoga/exercise. If they are a personal trainer and have access to a sauna or a steam room all the better.

      1. A nutritionist to help with getting a healthy diet.

      1. A reflexologist. While it is possible that you may need allergy testing for various foods and chemicals, if you are not that severe you may just need a ballpark idea of what you can and cannot expose yourself to.

Some Notes:

First and foremost please remember that, while I am a talented practitioner of TCM I still recommend that you see a psychologist or counselor before consulting with me.

Secondly, please note that some doctors believe this condition to have a genetic predisposition. Realize that a genetic predisposition means that, while it may be easier for you to develop this condition it will only occur if something triggers it. Beyond this if the trigger is removed the condition may be reversed or mitigated. When people talk about genetics they believe that is the end all, it is not. Think of it like this, Native Americans are genetically predisposed to become an alcoholic. If they never touch alcohol, they still have the predisposition, but are not an alcoholic, same as if they did drink heavily for awhile and then have been sober ever since. Your genetics may give you certain traits or tendencies, but your choices are what determine who you are and play a larger role in your health than your genetics.

To make a further point if you and your parents live in the same environment, eat the same foods, have the same activities, do the same job, and share the same genetics, well how many variables are there besides genetics?

References:

Disease Prevention and Treatment Expanded Third Edition from Life Extension Foundation.

http://notjustaprettyface.org/

http://www.safecosmetics.org/

http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/

http://missourikidshealthcoalition.wetpaint.com/page/Dr.+William+Rea,+MD

http://www.negativeionsinformation.org/ions_vitamins.html

Feel free to call or e-mail me at any time to set up an appointment, ask for a consultation, or request a referral.

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Audience learned about the importance of language at the NLP Session by Lane Pierce

The Denton Holistic Health Network is hosting its first holistic fair on September the 10th from 9AM to 4 PM @ Shambhala Wellness, 215 E. University Drive.

The fair will feature talks and demonstrations on various therapeutic practices as well as introduce the public to many holistic practitioners who will be present to answer any questions and provide information on their approach.

Please see more information about the event on the EVENT page of this website.

The event is free!

Visit Our Facebook Page

Visit Our Facebook Event Page

Hello world!

Well here it is, the first post.

I just want to say hello to all the folks who I hope will benefit from this group of caring individuals coming together in our community, and also thanks to all of those who have chosen to participate in this network.

May we all learn something, meet new friends, and have fun doing it.  Be well.