Alternative Health Options That Can Complement Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Lyme Disease Treatment
As mentioned in a previous post there are many alternative health options that can complement treatment with antibiotics and which may reduce side effects, and there are many natural remedies that have antibiotic and immune-enhancing properties of their own.
Acupuncture may help to improve blood circulation and oxygenation to various areas of the body, enhancing the immune system’s ability to fight off infections. The increase in oxygenation can also create an inhospitable situation for bacteria that prefer a low oxygen environment. It also can stimulate the body to release natural pain relieving opiates into the body. The improvement in blood circulation may also help to increase body temperature in hands and feet and other areas of the body that tend to get cold easily. These are often areas of the body where bacteria, such as borellia burgdorferi, which prefer a low body temperature, may tend to congregate. Acupuncture can be used in conjunction with antibiotic therapy. It may help to improve the efficacy of antibiotic therapy by improving circulation.
Chinese herbs: According to Chinese research, there are many Chinese herbs that have immune enhancing and antibacterial properties. There are also many Chinese herbs that can help the various symptomatic aspects of fibromyalgia and CFS. Some herbs such as astragalus and schizandra can improve the body’s ability to handle stress and can boost immunity. Other herbs such as coptis and scutellaria have anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
Zyzyphus seed may help with sleep problems and anxiety. Bupleurum root may help relieve the moodswings and emotional aspects of fibromyalgia. The various types of ginseng can help to improve one’s energy level. Pseudoginseng, frankincense, and myrrh can help stimulate blood circulation and may help with symptoms of muscle weakness due to poor circulation. Walnuts, gingko biloba, frankincense, gotu kola, and fo-ti may all help with the brain fog and cognitive difficulties that many people with fibromyalgia and CFS experience. Codonopsis, atractylodes, mint, and citrus peel may all help with digestive problems. Chinese herbs are used together in herbal formulas that are individualized to address the pattern of disharmony that the person presents. They are generally not used separately on a symptom by symptom basis.
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy has been used to treat people with Lyme Disease. Many have experienced good results and there is ongoing scientific research at the moment concerning its efficacy. The bacteria that causes Lyme Disease prefers an oxygen deprived environment. Its presence in the body appears to increase coagulation of blood and decrease circulation. It may thereby create the oxygen deprived environment that it prefers. This is great for the bacteria but can be the source of much of the difficulty that a person with this disease experiences. Many of the symptoms that people with Lyme disease, CFS, or fibromyalgia complain of are similar to symptoms that people experience from altitude sickness, which is caused by oxygen deprivation at high altitudes.
The fatigue, the mental difficulties, the sleepiness, the feeling of having a ton of bricks attached to one’s limbs are all similar to symptoms that people with altitude sickness experience. It makes sense to me that creating an oxygen-rich environment could potentially be very helpful. It is important for testing for co-infections before beginning this process, because there are other bacteria that could be present that prefer a high oxygen environment, complicating the picture. There are potential side effects as well such as nearsightedness.
Colloidal silver is supplement that may have broad-spectrum antibiotic properties. Its proponents claim that it can aid all sorts of conditions from asthma to rheumatoid arthritis. It did appear to help my fatigue quite a bit at the early stages of my Lyme disease. There is the possibility that excessive use can cause a condition called argyria, which is a permanent bluish discoloration of the skin, although many people have huge quantities of colloidal silver with no problems at all. I is also helpful to take an acidophilus supplement while using this supplement in order to replace the good bacteria in your intestines and prevent problems with candida. Large amounts may be required to have an impact on Lyme Disease. It is possible to buy a colloidal silver generator and make your own colloidal silver at home. This is much cheaper than buying it on a regular basis at the health food store, but care must be taken to make it properly.
Aromatherapy is one of the most promising holistic therapies for conditions such as fibromyalgia, CFS, and Lyme Disease, in my opinion. The essential oils are concentrated versions of the volatile components found in herbs. It can take many pounds of plant matter to make an ounce of essential oil. For the most precious oil, made from the Bulgarian rose, it can take a ton of rose petals to make a pound of oil. Most of the oils have antiseptic and antibacterial properties. Many of them stimulate the immune system and trigger increased production of white blood cells. The oils also improve oxygenation of the body’s tissues and promote detoxification. They may have a chelating effect, which means that they may assist in carrying toxins such as heavy metals out of the body. Some oils such as lavender can be sedative and aid with sleep and reduce anxiety. Oil of oregano, which is a popular supplement found in health food stores is essential oil of oregano diluted in vegetable oil. It is almost always necessary to dilute the oils before using them because they are so concentrated.
Interestingly, many people with CFS, Lyme Disease, and fibromyalgia are likely to find that some of their symptoms worsen when inhaling the fragrance of the oils. This is often a detoxification reaction. People with Lyme Disease generally seem to derive greatest benefits from stronger dilutions of essential oil than most aromatherapists typically use. It is important to use care when the oils are utilized in this manner. The oils are processed by the liver and kidneys and may cause liver and kidney problems in extremely high amounts. One should reduce the amount used if there is nausea or discontinue use if there is any allergic reaction.
People with these diseases may discover that much of their fatigue, muscle weakness, mental fogginess, and pain can be significantly reduced with regular application of the oils. The oils can be used diluted in vegetable oil for massage of affected areas of the body, and they can be used by the drop in one’s bath water. They can also be absorbed into the bloodstream via the lungs simply by inhaling their fragrance. The oils also penetrate the blood-brain barrier and may be helpful for neurological issues due to infections or other reasons. Some of the oils can trigger seizures in people prone to them. Some other oils, such as jasmine and ylang-ylang may help people to control seizures. Oil of oregano taken internally as directed can also be helpful in the treatment of Lyme Disease.
Massage can improve oxygenation of body tissues and improve blood circulation as well as reduce pain. If a person has fibromyalgia or CFS due to an infectious disease process, or a person has Lyme Disease, massage should only be used in combination with a therapy that is antibacterial in nature. Otherwise, it is likely to stir up dormant bacteria and stir up symptoms instead of providing symptom relief. When massage is used in combination with a therapy that is antibiotic in nature, it may improve the efficacy of that therapy by bringing bacteria out of hiding in order to be killed. Deep tissue massage may improve the efficacy of treatment with antibiotics, with herbs, with aromatherapy, or with heat. Used on its own, though, it may stir up latent problems in people with these conditions.
Heat can be helpful for treating Lyme Disease because the bacteria appears to prefer a low body temperature and is vulnerable to high heat. There are many different sources of heat that can be used to treat this condition. Heat can also be helpful for people with fibromyalgia and CFS who may actually have undiagnosed cases of Lyme Disease. People usually feel a worsening of symptoms before they feel an improvement with the use of heat. My personal theory is that this is because the heat stirs up the bacteria before it kills it off or triggers the immune system to kill the bacteria off. This is speculative on my part. The use of saunas can be very useful. A far infrared heat lamp can be used on problem areas. Hot baths taken for forty minutes at 102-104 degrees Fahrenheit have been shown to enhance immune system response in people with infectious diseases and auto-immune disorders in a research study done at Bastyr University. A Chinese therapy called moxibustion can also be useful in warming problem areas. I do not recommend the use of cold packs or ice for pain in people with Lyme Disease, fibromyalgia, or CFS as these therapies reduce circulation to areas where circulation is likely to already be compromised. Also, the bacteria that causes Lyme Disease appears to prefer a cool environment, so cold therapy may cause real problems in people with this condition.
In spite of the fatigue that people with fibromyalgia, CFS, and Lyme Disease may feel, a certain amount of exercise can be very beneficial if they are up to the challenge. It is important not to overexert oneself, but a brisk walk or other exercise that gets one’s heart pumping can be helpful. Again, exercise can be helpful because it can improve circulation in the body, and improve oxygenation of the body’s tissues. Exercises such as stretching and yoga that help to improve flexibility and loosen muscles can also be helpful. Hot yoga, where yoga is done in a room where the heat is cranked up can be particularly helpful because it combines exercise with heat therapy. It is important not to push too hard when doing exercise. The point is to improve your health, and not to wipe yourself out more.
Magnesium appears to be a useful supplement for people with these conditions. Many people report an improvement in their muscle pain when taking a magnesium supplement on a regular basis. It is important to reduce intake of sugar, dairy products and bread while increasing intake of green vegetables. Spirulina can be a useful addition to your health regimen as it is both nourishing and detoxifying. It may also be helpful to reduce consumption of tomatoes as they seem to encourage acidity in the body. Flax seed oil has an anti-inflammatory effect that can be very helpful. Alpha-lipoic acid is a helpful anti-oxidant. It may help nerve function and improve liver function.
As you can see, fibromyalgia, CFS, and Lyme Disease are complex ailments, but there are many promising therapies that people with these conditions are likely to find helpful.