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Natural Treatments for Fibromyalgia
There are a multitude of alternative treatments for fibromyalgia pain and other symptoms. Natural treatments for fibromyalgia include diet, supplements, herbs, exercise, massage, and more.
Alternatives for fibromyalgia, and especially alternative treatments for fibromyalgia pain compose such a long list of options that the person who suffers from fibromyalgia can become stressed and overwhelmed just by reading them.
Fibromyalgia is such a complex disease that it is considered a syndrome. With over thirty- nine debilitating symptoms possible in the fibromyalgia picture, treating each symptom with a pharmaceutical drug ends up with chemical cocktail, drained finances, and no true results.
It is completely understandable that affected people would look for natural treatments for fibromyalgia.
In the medical community, doctors approach healing by addressing symptoms and hopefully making them go away.
Treatments for fibromyalgia include drugs for pain, drugs for fatigue, drugs for irritable bowel syndrome and candida, if they are present. Then there are drugs to counter the side effects of the drugs.
Alternative healers seek to find the underlying cause of the fibromyalgia, and address the mental, emotional, spiritual and environmental picture as well as the physical symptoms. The approach is entirely different than that of a medical doctor.
The problem often encountered in the alternative health care community is that some of the treatments for fibromyalgia do not work. Sometimes these treatments work for a little while but stop working, which indicates that the placebo effect may be coming into play.
Fortunately, medical science is beginning to respect the natural treatments for fibromyalgia that do work.
These researchers are publishing what they may consider to be “groundbreaking” work for “complimentary” treatments that the alternative health community has known about for years.
Everyone with fibromyalgia would love to be able to take a simple prescription medication and have their symptoms be gone. Medical doctors will be the first to tell their fibromyalgia patients that there is not one.
Respected natural health care professionals and herbalists will readily admit that there is no one alternative treatment that will work for every case of fibromyalgia, either.
Fortunately, there is clinical proof that some treatments for fibromyalgia do work, and there is plenty of anecdotal evidence that some other alternative treatments for fibromyalgia work, as well.
Most natural or alternative health practitioners operate under two premises. First, no living organism can sustain itself if it cannot assimilate the food it consumes or be able to eliminate it properly.
The second premise is that the human body has been either designed or has evolved to heal itself without outside help.
If the human body is in a state of homeostasis, meaning that it is balanced, with all organs functioning properly, it is getting the right foods, it is well exercised, it is getting enough rest, and there is little stress, it will thrive.
If anything is out of balance, disease presents itself. Homeostasis is what lay people call “being healthy.” Alternative health practitioners seek to put the body back in balance to achieve homeostasis.
The very first thing to look at when considering alternative treatments for fibromyalgia is the diet.
Although there are any number of “diets” a person with fibromyalgia could try, most alternative health practitioners would recommend starting the practice of “clean’ eating as a foundation.
Clean eating refers to eliminating all processed and junk foods as well as all fast foods.
Processed foods includes everything that has somehow been “processed,” whether by adding refined white flour or sugar, artificial flavorings or preservatives, or any other chemical.
“Clean” foods are simply foods with only one ingredient, such as apples, broccoli, brown rice, and chicken.
Many people with fibromyalgia have trouble with their digestive system. Food allergies are a common problem, especially with dairy products and grains.
If a person with fibromyalgia is still experiencing symptoms on a “clean” diet, a common next step is to adopt an ancestral diet, such as the Paleo diet.
The Paleo diet eliminates almost all grains, especially wheat and corn. Strict Paleo diets also eliminate all dairy products, with the exception of butter. Lean protein sources, healthy fats, and copious amounts of both cooked and fresh, raw vegetables and fruits are allowed.
The next diet to experiment with, if symptoms are still persisting, is becoming a vegan or raw vegan.
If a person becomes a vegan, care must be taken to get enough protein in the daily diet. Protein is easily available from plant sources. The debate over protein is more over the amount of protein which is required on a daily basis.
Raw vegans do not cook their food. They create beautiful and tasty dishes completely from raw, fresh vegetables, fruits, seeds, and nuts.
Some fibromyalgia patients have issues with foods in the nightshade group. These foods are tomatoes, white potatoes, eggplants, and peppers.
Perhaps the most extreme diet for the average person is juice fasting. However, juice fasting brings the fastest positive healing results.
The great alternative healers of the twentieth century, such as Bernard Jensen, Dr. Max Gerson, nd Dr. John R. Christopher used juice fasting as a way to get their most critically ill patients and clients on their way to health as fast as possible.
Today's alternative health professionals use juicing as a healing therapy as well.
With all of the above diet options, drinking pure reverse osmosis or distilled water is a must for the fibromyalgia patient, since fluoride poisoning and fibromyalgia share similar symptoms.
Natural healing protocols do not allow supplements except for herbs and completely natural substances such as apple cider vinegar, bee pollen and herbs.
Many alternative health practitioners do allow a variety supplements, and some supplements have clinical support for their use.
In 2009, Cell Biochemistry and Function demonstrated that fibromyalgia patients are significantly deficient in Vitamins A and E.
The blood in fibromyalgia patients contain larger than usual amounts of free radicals, which damage cells in a process known as oxidative stress. Supplying fat soluble vitamins such as vitamins A and E helped to reduce cell damage in fibromyalgia patients.
In 2010, scientists at Suleyman Demirel University in Turkey discovered that by combining Vitamins C and E with exercise reduced stress in fibromyalgia patients better than exercise alone.
Three different medical studies performed in 2011 showed that fibromyalgia patients are severely deficient in Vitamin D. The studies showed that women with fibromyalgia did not see improvements in symptoms until they were on high doses of Vitamin D.
There are strong links between muscle pain and Vitamin D deficiency. Only 15% of fibromyalgia patients have been found to have enough Vitamin D stores in their bloodstream.
Both the medical community and the Vitamin D Council are now recommending that fibromyalgia patients take 7000 IU Vitamin D daily for eight weeks for pain.
This can be achieved with 5000 IU Vitamin D3 capsules and two teaspoons of cod liver oil, which proved 1000 IU Vitamin D per teaspoon.
Magnesium is a crucial mineral or the body, one which can easily be lost from a combination of chronic stress and an unbalanced diet or otter physical reasons. A magnesium deficiency can cause sleep problems, muscle cramps, twitches, spasms, and restless leg syndrome.
Magnesium also stabilizes ATP, which is responsible for transporting energy to the cells for metabolism. Without enough magnesium, the body feels fatigued.
Low ATP levels cause brain cognitive dysfunction, which fibromyalgia patients often refer to as “brain fog” or “fibro fog.”
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, a magnesium deficiency can also trigger migraines, anxiety, mood swings, heart palpitations, nausea, and confusion- all possible symptoms of fibromyalgia.
If tolerated, up to 1000mg magnesium per day may help relieve the symptoms of fibromyalgia.
Magnesium does have a laxative effect on the body. Too much magnesium causes diarrhea.
Fibromyalgia patients may want to start with just a pinch of Epsom salt or some other source of magnesium and work up to bowel tolerance. Taking small amounts of magnesium throughout the day may be easier to assimilate.
Calcium and magnesium work together in the body. While many calcium- magnesium supplements have a 2:1 ratio, some nutritionists and medical professionals are thinking that this is too much calcium.
This is because most people in the United States get plenty of calcium in their diet. Taking an additional calcium supplement may be driving the ratio of calcium to magnesium to 4:1 or 5:1.
Magnesium balances calcium, acting as a buffer. Without sufficient magnesium, the body deposits extra calcium almost anywhere in the body.
Extra calcium cases joint stiffness, bone spurs, and even kidney stones. Too much calcium has been shown to cause osteoporosis rather than treat it.
Fibromyalgia patients might be low in sodium. With so much media attention about low salt diets for high blood pressure, may people believe everyone should restrict their sodium intake.
However, when scientists studied the effects of salt- loading for diabetes, they discovered that sodium lowered the norepinephrine (noradrenaline) levels in the sympathetic nervous system.
In fibromyalgia, the body produces too much norepinephrine, which triggers extreme pain signals in the brain.
In 2011, researchers at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio were able to demonstrate that sodium oxybate reduced pain, sleep disturbances and fatigue in patients with fibromyalgia.
Probiotics are the good bacteria found in yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, and the fizzy tea called kombucha.
They help the gastrointestinal system digest and assimilate food nutrition, help correct digestive issues such as irritable bowel syndrome, and protect the body from pathogenic microbes which can cause diseases and infections.
They also help ward off toxins found in the environment.
Rheumatologists at the University of Verona, Italy discovered that L- carnitine improved the mood and lessened muscular pain in fibromyalgia patients during a clinical study conducted in 2007.
The study was published in the medical journal Clinical Experimental Rheumatology.
5- HTP (5- Hydroxytryptophan) may be able to help people with fibromyalgia sleep better and deeper, as well as reduce anxiety and depression, according to the Journal of International Medical Research.
In 2001, the Journal of Pineal Research published a clinical stud which concluded that melatonin, either alone or in combination with a drug called fluoxetine, reduced pain symptoms associated with fibromyalgia, which helped the patients experience better sleep.
Contrary to what many people believe, certain herbs have been scientifically proven to be beneficial alternative treatments for fibromyalgia. They are:
This does not mean that the herbs do not work. It simply means that no clinical study has been conducted or published to document the effectiveness of a particular herb, in this case, for fibromyalgia.
One of the foundational elements of alternative treatments for fibromyalgia or any other disease protocol is detoxification. Old toxic waste must be removed from the body, as well as the mind, spirit, and emotions.
This allows room for great nutrition and other positive habits to be established. Colon cleansing is basic to any alternative treatment protocol. Certain herbs are very effective for this.
There are two parts to an effective herbal colon cleanse. One part stimulates the bowels to move in a laxative action, and the second part cleans or sweeps out old toxic residue out of the bowel pockets or diverticula of the large intestines.
Some people with fibromyalgia have problems with constipation, while others have issues with an overactive, or “hot” colon.
If constipation is an issue, the person would use the laxative herb formula for a couple of weeks before starting on the second formula.
For those with an overactive colon, the two herbal formulas are taken at the same time in order to slow down the bowels and help form solid stool.
Together, the two parts of a good colon cleanse regulate the bowels, remove residual toxins, and heal and strengthen the walls of the large intestine.
These herbs are usually taken orally in capsule form.
Many respected herbalists believe that fibromyalgia involves a toxic buildup in the liver, which must be cleansed in order to eliminate congestion.
One of the functions of the liver is to turn nutrition into energy. If both the gastro-intestinal tract and the liver are compromised, it may be easy to see how a person with fibromyalgia would have little energy.
A kidney and bladder support tea can be made by blending the following herb together:
Several alternative health care providers suggest kelp as a source of iodine for fibromyalgia. This is because iodine deficiency causes intellectual disabilities, thyroid malfunction, and hormone imbalances, which are all symptoms of fibromyalgia.
Medical studies abound on the benefits of Echinacea. Even famous medical journals such as Lancet give credence to echinacea’s immune- building properties. Although not specific to fibromyalgia, Echinacea specifically targets respiratory infections.
Medical scientists are still puzzling over fibromyalgia syndrome in 2012. Recently, Harvard Medical School neurologists were able to see that in brains of people with fibromyalgia, the central and sympathetic nervous systems misfire.
The pain signals tell the brain that pain levels are much higher than they are in reality.
Whereas healthy people may feel a normal headache as a pain level of two out of a possible ten, people with fibromyalgia may feel the same headache at a pain level of six out of ten.
Fibromyalgia patients can suffer from over thirty- nine different symptoms.
Pain and tenderness all over the body is the most common symptom, but fatigue, anxiety, mood swings, migraines, colon issues, vision problems, depression, and many others paint the fibromyalgia picture as well.
Herbs can help with these symptoms, but no evidence exists in the medical community that these herbs work specifically for fibromyalgia.
Although there has been no medical research performed with coffee enemas and fibromyalgia patients, there is anecdotal evidence to support its use.
Back in the early twentieth century, Dr. Max Gerson, MD, became famous for using coffee enemas as an alternative pain reliever for German soldiers when supply lines failed during WWI.
When Dr. Gerson defected to the United States and began practicing medicine as an oncologist, he used coffee enemas as a safe pain reliever with his cancer patients.
He recommended a gold roast coffee which has a higher caffeine content than commercial coffee which is intended to be sipped.
With the kind of pain fibromyalgia sufferers feel, exercise may be the last thing on their minds. However, exercise has been clinically proven to help relieve certain symptoms of fibromyalgia.
In particular, the following exercises seem to greatly benefit those with fibromyalgia:
Hydrotherapy is an easy alternative treatment for fibromyalgia pain consisting of alternating hot and cold water in the shower.
It is simply standing in the shower for fifteen minutes, alternating one minute of very hot water with a minute of completely cold water for seven rotations. This drives the blood up to the skin’s surface and back down deep into the body’s tissues like a pump.
This forces fresh oxygen and nutrients to every cell in the body, especially to the places on the body which are sick and hurting.
Web MD.com states that more research is needed to see how effective acupuncture is for fibromyalgia, but mentioned a small study showing that acupuncture did reduce pain and improve the quality of life in patients with fibromyalgia who had acupuncture therapy.
Acupuncture involves inserting needles into the skin to manipulate the release of endorphins into the body. Energy blocks are removed during the technique as well.
By changing the release of information being sent by cell neurotransmitters, the fibromyalgia patient’s pain tolerance is increased for a number of weeks.
Chiropractic care works for fibromyalgia by improving pain tolerance and helping to increase the range of motion in the back and in certain joints though spinal adjustments.
Chiropractors either gently press and stretch various areas of the body or conduct quick, high speed thrusts to help the bones align properly.
When most people think of “massage therapy,” they think of Swedish massage, which gently strokes and kneads the superficial layers of the muscles.
Oils are incorporated along with rubbing the muscles in the direction of the heart in order to increase circulation and remove tension in the muscles.
A more effective form of massage therapy is deep tissue massage. In deep tissue massage, massage therapists use pressure and kneading to reach the deepest layers of muscle tissue.
On occasion, deep tissue massage therapists will use their thumbs or elbows to push into the grain of the muscles to release tension.
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