Hold onto It or Get Rid of It
By Aleksander Strande, Ph.D.
About twenty years ago, I thought I was going to die. I was a typical workaholic ... running 100 miles an hour, 24 hours a day, eventually I suddenly collapsed. It felt like a heavy flu, and I thought that within three to seven days it would be over. Instead, I got so ill that I could not get out of bed.
Soon many new debilitating symptoms started to appear. They included constant sore throats, low-grade fever, total body aching day and night, lymph node swelling, headaches, depression, anxiety, mood swings, inability to concentrate, hot and cold flashes, sensitivity to noise, light and temperature, intestinal discomfort, debilitating fatigue with the inability to sleep or sustain sleep although I was exhausted.
A variety of tests were taken, showing absolutely nothing but an antibody to a flu-like virus. I was subsequently diagnosed with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME), Mononucleosis, yuppie flu, Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Glandular Fever, plus a number of other name tags including being told that it was all in my head. I was offered drugs, vitamins, natural remedies, treatments ... you name it. None of it worked. I was struggling to work and maintain a family.
I started to recover only when I consulted with an excellent naturopathic doctor. Eventually he became one of my mentors at the Australian College of Natural Medicine. As I recovered, I became fascinated with this condition. Many health-care practitioners had claimed to be able to bring about recovery, whereas, in fact, people got showered with irrelevant tests and treatments. This led me to study Naturopathic Medicine.
My recovery took about three months. I went from being totally debilitated to feeling completely like my old self. People say that very often a doctor that experiences a disease himself, will attract and better help people suffering from said disease. In spite of the fact that I attend to many other difficult conditions, close to half of my patients come to see me to eliminate Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. As I became more proficient in addressing this condition, this firsthand experience was a great asset to writing my Ph.D. dissertation on “Effective Naturopathic Treatments in Post-Viral Chronic Fatigue Syndrome”.
I have found the reason some doctors or other alternative practitioners have a low success rate is because they don’t understand what the therapeutic dosage should be in the field of naturopathic medicine. In conventional medicine, one prescribes specific doses of drugs indicated by a pharmaceutical company. Standards in naturopathic medicine are different and vague as one is recommending concentrated extracts of foods, plants and other nutrients. A practitioner creates a personalized protocol for a patient. It is not the herbs, or nutrients that work, it is the knowledge behind it together with clinical experience in treating these cases. It definitely helps when a doctor has gone through the misery of these symptoms himself. He understands better and acknowledges it is not in your mind — it is in fact a disease.
In ancient China, a village doctor was paid wages by the village or community when no one was sick. Once someone fell ill, the wages were cut until such time that the doctor would cure the condition. One wonders how many doctors would survive if there were the same policy here in America.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is characterized by a myriad of seemingly unrelated symptoms. The determination is made on the basis of certain symptoms and the ruling out of other ailments that could cause these conditions.
The major criteria used to distinguish CFS are:
1. Persistent fatigue that does not resolve with bed rest and that is severe enough to reduce average daily activity by at least fifty percent for at least six months.
2. The presence of other chronic clinical conditions, including psychiatric disorders, can be ruled out.
CFS was hardly known in the 70’s and it was often misdiagnosed as hypochondria or a mental problem. “You’ve got it all in your mind.” I find even now here in America some practitioners have this type of approach. Currently, it has become one of the most common ailments people talk about. However, physicians still don’t always acknowledge the disease and most patients describe months or even years of being prescribed anti-depressants, steroids, anti-anxiety medications and antibiotics, none of which will resolve CFS.
Most clinicians dealing with a reasonable amount of CFS cases observe certain patterns of deregulation of immune and hormonal/metabolic systems as well as the whole body’s detoxification system. These cause the symptoms mentioned earlier. CFS is not only a vastly complex illness, but also one escalating alarmingly in frequency. Epidemiological studies confirm that is spreading and crossing all boundaries, including socio-economic, racial, political, gender, occupational and geographical. The most common antibodies discovered in CFS patients were those of Epstein Barr Virus (EBV), Cyto Megalo Virus (CMV) and Barmah Forst Virus (BFV). There are links to other viruses such as Ross River Virus (RRV).
Virus-induced metabolic and physiological changes in the body of CFS victims appear to cause five major areas of derangement or metabolic blocks:
1. Impaired ATP production in cells causing lack of physical and mental energy.
2. Disturbance in brain neurotransmitters and possible block of flow or production of precursors to catecholamines and serotonin, causing depression.
3. Other imbalances in nerve chemistry facilitating anxieties, mood swings, emotional problems and insomnia.
4. Fluctuation in hormonal metabolism, evident mainly in under activity of the adrenal output and in female hormonal imbalances.
5. Consequences of failings in the proper functioning of the immune system may be twofold: frequent colds and flu (an under activity of the immune system), and/or allergies, hypersensitivities, and autoimmune-type responses (over activity of the immune system).
I find that among the people who suffered from CFS or Fibromyalgia for more than five years, 50% seem to fall in love with their disease. I have no idea why this happens. Maybe the reason for this is that people go from one practitioner to another and after continued failure, they give up. They may also enjoy the attention that comes from chronic illness. However, if you are ready to get rid of CFS and/or Fibromyalgia rather than “treat” it, call my clinic.
Alex Strande, PhD is a Naturopath and a Microbiologist. His special interests are difficult conditions. He can be reached at his office in Irvine at (949) 587-1513 for questions and appointments. You may find more information about Dr. Strande’s background, articles published and testimonials at the website www.simplyhealingclinic.com
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