Over the past year and a half I have continued my search for effective therapies to help persons with chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia syndromes. You can trace this search by reading my blog posts on specific therapies and subjects, however I feel that now is a good time to write a summary of my recent health "adventures".
I spent the majority of last year exploring various forms of energy medicine that employ electricity to stimulate healing. The science behind these therapies is based on the principle that all living beings are primarily energetic and governed by electrical impulses. Specific frequencies and amplitudes of electricity have been found to promote healing at the cellular level and provide the catalyst for restoring balance in damaged molecular systems of the body. The field of modern energy medicine, which includes low level laser, microcurrent, pulsed electromagnetic field, and static electric field therapies is developing rapidly and provides effective nonpharmalogical treatments for many chronic conditions.
After reaching a plateau in my improvements with LENS (Low Energy Neurofeedback System) I started using NeuroField, a pulsed electromagnetic field therapy developed by Dr. Nicholas Dogris, which is used in conjunction with LENS treatments. This therapy involved commuting once a week for five months to Orinda, California to work with a wonderful therapist named Dr. Candia Smith. I made progress in my sense of well being, emotional stability and energy, however these combined treatments failed to improve my sleep or muscle condition. For more information on this and on energy medicine in general read my post "Energy Medicine of the Future". http://fibrofriends.typepad.com/fibro_friends/2011/03/energy-medicine-of-the-future.html
In the spring of 2011 I was contacted by Justin Brost who manufactures a static electrical field technology called the Energetic Fitness System. The unique aspect about this form of energy medicine is that rather than employing specific digital frequencies determined by a therapist to treat different conditions, the energy field creates analog harmonic frequency patterns that are rapidly changing and different for each person, theoretically providing the frequencies each person needs to heal and balance their body. Brost's business is located in Bellingham, Washington about and hour and a half drive north of Seattle. I traveled to Bellingham, Washington ten times to try this technology out and then purchased my own unit. Although I initially had a very good response to EFS over time I became reactive to it and it was no longer therapeutic. For more information on this read my post "The Energetic Fitness System" http://fibrofriends.typepad.com/fibro_friends/2011/07/energetic-fitness-system.html
Then during the summer of 2011 I traveled twice to Portland, Oregon to try Frequency Specific Microcurrent with its developer Dr. Carolyn McMaken. McMaken uses specific frequencies that treat people with fibromaylgia caused by cervical spinal trauma. She insisted that I did not have any kind of fibromyalgia since my muscle pain is triggered almost entirely by physical exertion. McMaken treated me for a number of other conditions including concussion, liver toxicity, parasympathetic nervous system toxicity, and DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness). Although I initially had a good response to FSM the effects were not long lasting. McMaken referred me to a neurogist in Durango, Colorado named Dr. Catherine Willner who uses FSM in her practice. Willner tried some additional FSM frequencies on me that were not helpful. For more on this read my post "Frequency Specific Microcurrent" http://fibrofriends.typepad.com/fibro_friends/2012/01/freq.html .
Although none of the forms of energy medicine that I explored resolved my remaining symptoms, I feel that my overall health is better than before I used them. There are many anecdotal accounts of healing in persons with chronic illness using these technologies and they are all safe so I encourage others to give them a try. My personal opinion is that these therapies are excellent for treating acute inflammation and muscular and skeletal injuries, however they are not as effective in resolving long term systemic conditions such as chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia syndromes.
In October of 2011 I discovered by chance how beneficial female hormone replacement therapy is for my particular situation. After eight years of taking Activella, a combination of a plant based estradial and progestin, I decided to decrease my dose by one half. One week later my muscle condition and sleep became dramatically worse and this persisted for two weeks until I figured out the connection. A week after I went back on my regular dose, my symptoms improved to the point where they were before the decrease in hormone replacement. I spent several months researching the possible connection between female hormone levels and fibromyagia. To read about this and the conclusions I reached read my post "Hormone Replacement Therapy - An Effective Adjunct Therapy forFibromyalgia". http://fibrofriends.typepad.com/fibro_friends/2012/02/hormone-replacement-therapy-an-effective-adjunct-treatment-for-fibromyalgia-and-chronic-fatigue-synd.html
At the recommendation of Dr. Willner I went through a series of tests at Swedish Neuro Sciences in Seattle, Washington to assess my muscle condition. About half the doctors I have consulted think that my muscle pain is a form of fibromyalgia while the other half insist that I don't have fibromyalgia. My personal opinion is that I do have fibromyalgia but because of all the improvements in other areas of my health due to the therapies I have pursued, specifically Oral Systemic Balance and LENS neurofeedback, I do not present myself as the typical fibromyalgia patient (no fatigue, brain fog or all body pain). I was willing to undergo this rather lengthy process of testing which involved blood tests, EMG muscle and nerve testing, and MRI and muscle biopsy to see if anything would turn up but in the end nothing specific did. To read more about my personal understanding of the muscle dysfunction that I have and which I think is common to many people with FMS read my post: "Fibromyalgia - a Perspective on Muscle Dysfunction and Effective Treatments". http://fibrofriends.typepad.com/fibro_friends/2011/10/f.html
Most recently I embarked on a new therapy which appears at least in this early stage to be the missing piece of the puzzle for resolving my remaining health issues. I am working with a scientist who has developed a technology called Human Probiotics which reinstates beneficial human sourced probiotics or "vitamins" that are no longer produced by a person's microflora. The reintroduction of these microbes into a person's gastrointestional tract or gut repairs the immune system and "turns the genes back on" correcting methylation problems and restoring serotonin levels. The therapy involves monthly trips to the Boston area. So far my response has been excellent with consistently better sleep, muscle function and less reactivity to foods. I am optimistic that I am on the last stretch of recovery for which I am extremely grateful. The therapy is a process and only time will tell how successful it will be for me as well as a few others I know who are also pursuing this. Stay tuned for a future post on this subject. The best way to do this is to subscribe to my blog which you can do by clicking "Subscribe to this blog's feed" which appears at the bottom of the "Categories" column on the left hand side of my blog: http://www.fibrofriends.typepad.com .
Everyday I think about those suffering with chronic illness and how much courage and faith this takes. The support and friendship I recieve from my "fibro friends" is immeasurable and inspires me to move forward in my search for solutions to difficult health issues. It is my firm belief that chronic fatigue and fibromyagia syndromes are totally reversible conditions and that the treatments to do that have already been discovered, we just have to find them! To that end I continue to dedicate my personal search and this blog.