Mind-Body Book Review and New Article

Ooh, nice review from Michelle at FoodsMatter to wake up to this morning!

Follow the link below to read the new Introductory article on mind-body medicine and my journey that she asked me to write for the Foodsmatter site.

Last month I flagged up Micki Rose’s new book on the mind-body approach to managing multiple sensitivities and chronic illness. Well, now I have read it – and it is absolutely fascinating. As a guide to for those who have totally failed to find an answer to their own illnesses, it could be life changing. Micki describes her journey and the book that has come out of it.

Hope you enjoy it 🙂

Can You Test For CSS – Central Sensitivity Syndrome?

a lab icon productsIn the Healing Plan (HP) and on a previous post, I have discussed the fact that many of us with multiple sensitivity, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia and chronic pain are probably suffering from some form of Central Sensitivity Syndrome illness. 

So, of course, I started trying to work out if we could get any clues. What could we test to see if we were too-turned up? Here’s a bit from the HP that might help – there’s more in the Plan:

What we’re looking for here are clues about what the sympathetic nervous system is up to. Is the dial turned up?

We can start by checking for neurotransmitter patterns – is the glutamate high and the serotonin, dopamine and/or noradrenaline low? Are you over-stimulated with excitatory neurotransmitters and yet don’t have enough of the inhibitory ones to offset it?  

Some researchers have suggested looking at the catecholamines  – that’s dopamine, adrenaline (epinephrine) and noradrenaline (norepinephrine) – and others say, if on an organic acids test Vanilmandelate and Homovanillate are high, the person is likely having a heightened sympathetic nervous response and the dial is up, especially if the serotonin marker 5-HIAA is low.

Happily, I have persuaded one of the labs to list the dried urine ZRT NeuroAdvanced test, which includes all of these markers including the VMA, HVA and 5-HIAA below so I reckon this could be termed our CSS test, or as close as we can get to one currently (I am taking a bow…!).

Looking at the adrenals can help too. Seeing cortisol levels on a DUTCH test might be useful. You want a clear picture whether metabolised cortisol is high or low.

In general, these are the two patterns to look for – and to get this you would need the ZRT NeuroAdvanced test and a DUTCH Adrenal Advanced preferably.

I am not an expert by any means and I am feeling my way a bit here, but this is how I might interpret the tests in terms of confirming CSS and relevant treatment; I hope it gives you some clues as to what form of treatment might be best for you. There’s a lot more detail in the Healing Plan in terms of lowering Substance P and things to watch out for in treatment:

  • If adrenaline, noradrenaline and/or dopamine are high and/or HVA and VMA are high with 5-HIAA low and metabolised cortisol is high – that is an acute stress CSS picture to me and this person definitely needs calming down before the body becomes tired out by it all. I would use the Lowering Cortisol advice and protocols in the Adrenal Plan (TGF version preferably) and the amygdala-calming techniques in the Healing Plan.
  • If adrenaline, noradrenaline and/or dopamine are high and/or HVA and VMA are high with 5-HIAA low and metabolised cortisol is low – this person likely has CSS and needs calming down sort of therapy like the Healing Plan. This is the pattern most often seen in PTSD. These people are hyper, anxious and reactive internally, but shattered.
  • If adrenaline/noradrenaline/dopamine are low and cortisol is low, the person is flat, fatigued and needs adrenal boosting as this is more an adrenal fatigue type picture. Use the Cortisol Boosting advice and protocol in the Adrenal Plan.

Healing Plan Feedback. Aw shucks..

Home page flow chartPeople have been finishing my new Healing Plan – whilst I have been hiding behind a cushion in case they hate it!

But the consensus, so far, is: they love it. Yay 🙂

It was such a tough, personal thing to write but I am so glad I did now – I tried not to several times!

“..just thought I’d let you know that I read through this very quickly for the first time now and was greatly touched by it.  Part of it is sheer empathy and when you are speaking sometimes I know – literally – exactly what you are talking about.

I think [your] openness will really help other people so much and make them feel very much less alone.

I am also overwhelmed by your knowledge and understanding of so many different approaches.  It truly is a compendium of how to approach chronic illness.  

Well done – massive congratulations, both on the book and on your brave and gentle journey. You are a genuine inspiration xx”

“I have just finished your Healing Plan – what an amazing piece of work! It resonated very strongly with me… I think it is very comprehensive and gives people a really structured way forward while explaining difficult concepts clearly.

I also like the way you are so generous at referencing others’ work – not everyone is.
I loved the book and feel you deserve all the extra success and recognition that will come your way.”

“I dived straight in and read the first 90 pages. Found it excellent and really looking forward to putting this into practice!”

Smiley Micki 🙂

New Mind-Body Medicine Shop Section

Brain icon  I’ve set up a whole, sparkly new section on the shop where you can find all the mind-body medicine stuff now. It suddenly occurred to me that it might be useful to have the key stuff linked to in the Healing Plan in one place. Anything to make life easier when you’re feeling poorly!

It will evolve, no doubt, but for now you can find:

Healing Plan 3D  The Healing Plan, of course. Plus, the sixteen page sample Preview of the Healing Plan so you can have a nose. 

logo Julie’s hypnotherapy, behavioural and CBT services.

Inner Calm & Peace Meditation   A link to all Julie’s hypnotherapy instant audio downloads, many of which I used during my own healing. She will be adding new ones very shortly I credit some of Julie’s self-hypnosis and meditation audios as a BIG part of my healing, so please do yourself a favour and start with these if you’re not ready for full hypno sessions yet.

Yoga Nidra CD  I’ve included some of the key recommended programmes and DVDs I followed during my healing journey, such as the Perfect Health challenge, Yoga Nidra and Qi Gong DVDs.

Reinventing the Body, Resurrecting the Soul, Deepak Chopra  And, many of the key books for your ‘knowledge therapy.’ These are Amazon links so I make a teeny bit on them, which helps to keep everything going, so thank you. 

I hope it helps. The new Mind-Body Medicine section is here.

The paperback Healing Plans arrived today too – very exciting. I have been carrying one round and stroking it! It was such a labour of love 🙂

Here’s the back cover as you’ve not seen that!

No automatic alt text available.

 

The Thymus Thump

Image result for thymus gland diagramIf you’ve got an infection or are coming down with something, you can do something called the Thymus Thump (or Thymus Tap or even Thymus Pump) to stimulate your thymus gland to make more white blood cells. Clever, huh?

I had forgotten about it until today when I found myself in need of some thymus support. One of my lingering symptoms has been the mouth infections and sores which have never gone, despite antibiotic and all manner of my own attempts to crack them. I’ve had a rotten flare up of it in the last few weeks with mouth pain, ear pressure, swollen lymph nodes in my jaw, neck pain, collarbone pain etc – an infection, no doubt. But, no matter what I have done, it won’t go.

So, last week, Julie and I worked on removing any emotional trauma stuck in the area, which sounds a bit mad, I know, but there had to be something blocking healing somewhere, so we did some clearance in the area in a hypnotherapy session. I envisioned loads of gunge coming away. Ugh. the pain I had been in for days went an hour later. Go figure.

Unfortunately, it did come back 😦

A week later, I am now feeling like I’ve got flu; my whole body aches in the lymph areas, my chest is congested and gunge is on the move in real life. Not very nice, but I have chosen to think that the body has at last got the ability to heal and fight in that area with the emotional trauma block removed.

So, I was thinking about what I could do to encourage it to fight and end this flamin’ mouth infection and inflammation once and for all.

I have sent healing love to my body, thanking it for trying so hard for me, drunk some thyme and rosemary tea, inhaled hyssop essential oil, massaged teatree oil onto the lymph nodes and gum sores. And then I remembered the thymus thump.

The thymus is the master immunity gland, if you like. It’s where we produce and control T cells for fighting infection. It does a lot more than that but I’m focusing on immune-strengthening here. Basically, as children, our thymus gland is full and healthy, but as we age, it often becomes smaller and weaker.

I have often tested people’s IgA levels to see what their thymus level is like and then given thymus glandulars to boost production, when appropriate. But, the thymus tap is another DIY way we can do this. The thymus sits behind our breastbone just above the heart and tapping it vigorously is believed to ‘wake it up’ and get it working more on your behalf. I’ve not read any science behind it – it is an old Ayurvedic tradition I believe, but I choose to do it anyway!

As usual, there are myriad videos on YouTube about it. Here are a couple I liked:

This chap gives a good explanation of the thymus gland and its importance:

And this lady gives a nice explanation of how to do the thymus tap (I prefer tap; it sounds more gentle!):

 

So, I am thinking positively, encouraging the fight like a good little naturopath and tapping away at my thymus! I hope it works and my body can get rid of the darn infection at long last. Six years is a long time to have an infection in your gob! Wish me luck!

(This is a mind-body medicine sort of blog post, which I will post on the new blog at http://www.mind-bodymedicine.co.uk as it fits in with the Healing Plan stuff, but I will always post them here too if I think it is generally useful.)

New Healing Plan Now Available!

Healing Plan 3D

Ta-dah!!!! It has taken me over a year to write it, but here is the Healing Plan for you at long last!

195 lurverly pages to help you get well from unresolving chronic illness. The five steps I took to get myself back from very few foods, chronic fatigue and body-wide pain when I couldn’t eat or take any foods, meds or supplements to get myself well. I had to find new ways; what I call: ‘nil-by-mouth’!

Those of you who have followed my epic journey via the Healing Series will know the research and effort behind this book – I thank you for bearing with me through the tears and joy!

Behind the scenes, I have been beavering away trying to pull it all together into something coherent for you. We have….

info iconNew Website Section

You can read all about the Healing Plan here on the new Mind-Body Medicine section of the website.

shop iconPreview and Purchase Ebook or Paperback

You can see a 16 page Preview, buy an ebook and even avail yourself of a paperback version (by popular request!). I’ve deliberately kept costs down to the same as the other Plans, despite it being bigger. The printed version is a little more but much cheaper than the Gluten Plan was – and I have brought the Gluten Plan down to the same price for the ebook and much reduced for the printed version now. Why? Because I want the awareness to continue and I think, as you’ll see below, the two main Gluten and Healing plans work really well together to form a combined functional and mind-body medicine approach so people will no doubt need both at some point. I daren’t combine them; the weight would kill a poor postie! Anyway, I hope it helps.

chatNew Facebook Group

Healing Planners will be able to join a new HP Facebook group for peer-to-peer support.

blog iconNew MBM Blog & Website

And, knowing that I will be wittering on about mind-body techniques, new research, tips etc over the coming months – much as I did with TrulyGlutenFree! – I have set up a new blog site at www.mind-bodymedicine.co.uk where you can register for email updates.

Phew! I have been a busy bee.

 

Reviews..

My pre-launch readers were very complimentary about the book, which so gladdened my heart. Some of them are still reading it, but here are a few choice comments for you so far:

“I think this is a tremendous health plan that seeks to educate people about the emotional and psychological components of chronic ill health. It teaches the link between the physical and mental and will really help those people who firmly believe this does not apply to them! Just making the effort to purchase and read the Healing Plan will be a big step forward in someone’s healing and recovery.”

“It really is phenomenal. I nearly wrote I felt it was better than the Gluten Plan but then changed my mind as that would be very unjust as I think the GP is fantastic too! But the HP is unique and very comprehensive in addressing a particularly difficult and sensitive topic.”

“I bet lots of people will cry reading this…”

“Another masterpiece!”

“This book is truly exceptional. You should be incredibly proud.”

 

Eek. How lovely is that?!

 

Putting it into context

The creation of the Healing Plan and my own healing ‘journey’ has sparked a whole re-think of my approach as a clinic to illness, actually, and I have been busy thinking all that through as well as doing the book. My next job is to spend quite a bit of time on streamlining the Purehealth websites to better direct people to the resources they need.

To that end, I have begun by creating a new Start Here…page on the Purehealth website to guide people. Here’s the flow chart I’ve shared there:

Home page flow chart

I was quite proud of that 🙂

Anyway, I’ve made a start and over the next few weeks and months, I will develop the resources and simplify a bit as I promised in my last blog post.

I hope you like the Healing Plan anyway – do let me know. I’m sure there will be typos aplenty as I went cross-eyed staring at it for so long – as did the beta-readers! So do let me know your thoughts and anything you spy.

OK, I truly hope it helps for you. Go and have a read about it and I’ll see you on the other side in the Facebook Group where we have Jilly, Julie and me ready to chat with you! After I’ve had a lie down….

I wish you much success in getting better. I never thought I would say I was ‘normal’ again. But I am – and that’s all I ever wanted. Isn’t it you?!

 

 

New Year Healing – My Daily Programme

naturopathy symbolIf you read my first post of the year (and well done if you did; it was massive!), then you’ll know that I am focusing on my physical body this year, having done tons on my brain retraining and subconscious work the last two years. My poor little physical body feels a bit left behind and needs a bit of TLC and rebuilding now.

Some of you asked me to share what I plan to do so here it is for you. This will evolve, I have no doubt and, as you’ll see, the physical work needs to be dovetailed with the work to keep my amygdala desensitised and new brain neural pathways strengthening so I can maintain my food reintroductions! It also needs to fit in around my work if I am to develop this chronic illness work the Universe seems to have chosen for me!

From a physical perspective, the aim is primarily to start encouraging better lymphatic flow, tissue and organ oxygenation, muscle flexibility and strength. I also have a feeling I am still holding trauma in the muscles and that needs to be released.

Time was when I was really strong, fit and lean, worked out several times a week with free weights and in the gym and had powerful upper body strength from all the massage and manipulation work I was doing in-clinic. Now, I feel weak, tight and congested much of the time.

I sit on my backside most of the day writing, reading and answering questions. When I was really thin, I had to sit on a few cushions as it was so bony-painful. I also had to wear lots of warm clothes as I was so cold. Now, the food is going back in and the pounds are piling back on.

This is to be expected – when the body has been in starvation mode for as long as mine has, it will happily cling onto every calorie you give it for a while until it feels it can trust you again. That’s a survival mode switch and there’s no getting around it. If you restrict your food intake, for whatever reason, the body just gets more efficient at storing and using what you do give it as fat mainly. That’s why food restriction diets don’t work.

Women are especially good at this. We are the ‘feeders’ of the babies; it’s our job to keep the species going, if you like, and we hold more fat deliberately so we can continue producing enough hormones to have and feed babies during the leaner, scarce-food times.

Anyway, I am being kind to my body and giving it some TLC and a year to get used to me eating again. Which it will.

The importance of Self-care

Image result for messy hair cartoonWhen we are in chronic illness mode, we tend to ‘give up’ on our physical bodies; we distrust it, don’t like it, blame it, even hate it. I know I did. That often translates into self-sabotage types of behaviour, which of course can be horrific for some souls, but it can very commonly be seen in simply avoiding looking after yourself in the ways you used to.

Part of this next healing phase for me is to restart some of those. I’ve had my hair done into a new style – braving a big proper hair salon with smells n everything – started massaging oil into my nails which are as dry, ridged and bumpy as sandpaper and today treated myself to some ‘proper’ hair products and bugger the chemicals. I used to model my hair, for goodness’ sake, and my family will testify to some of the weird and wonderful hairstyles I’ve had -including very high sticky-up ones, pink, sponged-green and even an M shaved into my hair. Oh yes, I had fun.

Someone said to me the other day that I’d had the same hair style ever since he’d known me. That is NOT good. I realised during this last decade or so of illness, I had barely even looked at my hair really, so I vowed to start with that in my self care and now I have.

I used to LOVE having long baths with a glass of wine, some music or a good book. In fact, I used to finish work, get straight in the bath and call friends or family for a chat. It was my ME time. Then, I started reacting to the bath products in the water, then to the water itself, then I had panic attacks even getting into filtered non-chlorinated water.

Recently, I have been able to start having baths again. The first few resulted in panic attacks. The next few I meditated and WHEE’d in the bath (I just wanted to say that!) to tell myself I was safe. Then I had plain baths and, today, I am up to ones with Faith in Nature bubble bath, a candle and a glass of wine (sometimes). To treat myself and celebrate my bath progress, today I used a voucher from my birthday to buy this bamboo bath rack:

Bliss.

Anyway, I share all that to illustrate the self-care point. This is all part of the physical body healing plan for this year. To make friends with my body again.

checklist iconDaily Healing Plan

So, here is my daily plan, such as it is, in case it helps you – I’ll point out all the new stuff too as I know it gives some of you hope and you ask me to (stop press: coming back here after I have written this post, I have even astounded myself at the number of new things!!):

Wake. Hot water and lemon (new) or ginger (new) or a coffee (bean to cup)

Breakfast: Smoothie with fruit, slowly adding greens (new), banana, a date (new), almonds (new), brazil nuts (new) and sometimes cashews (new), flaxseeds (new) and pumpkin seeds (new) all blitzed up with RO water (not got tap yet) in my blender. I make enough for one and a half big glasses. I might add supplements in to it as I get to them. I currently spray magnesium oil (new) on after a shower and have started working on adding the TGF core supplement protocol (new). I also want to add some spice like turmeric and have got some fresh root ready for the purpose.

Image result for Qi gong

Before starting work: if it’s raining, I do a 10 or 20 minute morning, energising Qi Gong routine. If it’s fine, I walk up and down the road, which involves two steep hills and a glorious view of the sea, more than enough to set you up for the day! If I’m having a crap, poorly day, meditation for 20 minutes. If I have a migraine, I can’t meditate; I lie down and read, watch Homes under the Hammer or sleep, depending on how bad it is!

Mid-morning: drink the other glass of smoothie. I am perpetually hungry – I assume to do with the insulin control loss of PCOS and the gluten related disorder causing malabsorption. I need to eat very frequently or I will fall over. Or kill P. If I’m really starving, I need more fat so I might add half an avocado and re-blitz.

More work til lunch.

Lunch varies. Usually omelette or egg-based (new) or left overs from the night before. Often fresh mackerel or fish from the harbour. I am trying to get back to salad. I went off it for a long while because of my mouth pain. You’d think chewing leaves would be easy, right? Nope. The grinding motion was really painful a lot of the time so I just stopped and ate soft, non-grindy foods instead – loads of cooked root veg and fish mainly. Even things like spinach (grindy) or broccoli (couldn’t bite through it unless overcooked which I hated) had to be avoided because of the mouth pain. It might be a slice of roast beef now too (new). I’d love to get soups or casseroles or (please) curries in and I’m working on that.

I might have an apple (new) or a pear (new) to finish my lunch with something sweet.

After lunch is my most vulnerable time of the day. I have learned to just rest if I can. I often meditate for 20 minutes and then do some personal bits and bobs such as cooking, ordering stuff, putting the washing on, looking stuff up etc.

I am ALWAYS hungry about half an hour after I have eaten lunch. I haven’t worked this one out. Adrenal crash maybe from the exertion of digestion or gastric dumping syndrome I’ve had suggested to me, but haven’t worked on yet (part of this year!). It doesn’t matter what I’ve eaten; it always happens.

I’ve tried everything. Nothing works like 2-3 squares of really dark chocolate (new). Maybe it is a magnesium need. (I just thought that as I wrote it as a craving for chocolate is often a magnesium need). Anyhow, that’s what I do. When I couldn’t have the chocolate, it was a nightmare; I’d feel like I was going to collapse to be truthful. I recall P had to have the chocolate ready for me to pop out of a clinic appointment with a patient and give it to me as soon as he saw my pale face run into reception lol. Poor P. When I couldn’t have the chocolate – or a magnesium spray or any supplements – my saviour: plaintain crisps came to the rescue. I somehow needed fat and the salt which is what makes me feel it is to do with my adrenals. I swear those crisps stopped me losing even more weight. I still have some occasionally in the afternoon.

Image result for hibiscus teaBack to work. I am trying a cup of tea here (new). I have so far had Golden Monkey black tea – very gentle. I have several new ones to try and started with hibiscus flowers today, bright red colour and bursting with Vitamin C. Focusing on anti-histamine and nourishing types such as lotus root, moringa and olive leaf as well as my faves like spearmint and licorice.

In this new year, after lunch and my break, I will be focusing on writing the Healing Plan and doing the chronic illness development work. That involves reading, listening, watching stuff and writing mostly. This year, part of my plan is to build up to going for a longer walk three times a week and listen to a training podcast. I have got several series saved up especially for this that I’m really looking forward to.

Of course, this has physical body benefits in terms of the walking, the fresh sea air and resting my eyes on the sheer beauty of where I am lucky enough to live. This increases lymphatic flow, oxygenation and muscle strength as well as overall cardio fitness. Listening to the podcasts is training, but it is also part of my neuroplasticity work to keep strengthening those new neural pathways that healing is not only possible, nor even probable; it is a question of time and putting the effort in. Listening to others’ stories and understanding how things went wrong for me – and many chronic illness sufferers – and how to turn it around is a big part of the therapy.

Sometimes, of course, it is best to use the walk as ‘movement meditation’ and just concentrate on what you’re seeing around you. It’s a balance and intuitive.

Come back in from walk. Check for any urgent emails, finish off anything needed. Once I’ve finished emails, if I’ve not done a walk, I will usually do a 10 or 20 minute evening Qi Gong routine to release stress. There are shaking exercises in this that I find really work for me; I feel miles more relaxed in the evening if I’ve done them.

Interestingly, so-called trauma release exercises usually involve muscle ‘shaking’ so I am starting with the Qi Gong routines, but may upgrade to TRE or psoas release exercises later on when I feel ready. These are specific methods of releasing stored trauma and stress from the body tissues. I have tried them but they are too strong for me currently. If I feel rubbish, I will have a bath or do some more meditation.

Go and have some tea. Nowadays, that could be fish or seafood, egg (new) or meat (new) with courgetti pasta (new), mini baked, jacket or boiled potatoes (boiled in tap water!)(new), mayonnaise (new) or tomatoes (new), mushrooms, cucumber (new) or root veg with greens such as spinach, broccoli or cabbage mostly. I might have a glass of wine (new) rarely if I feel like one – usually if I have a bath, see above!

I might then follow that later on when I’m watching the telly with a couple of squares of chocolate (new) or a portion of my current fave: a nut fruit crumble made using apples (new) and plums (new), ground pecans (new) and almonds (new) with either dates (new), coconut sugar (new) or honey (new) and a little grapeseed oil (new).

So, that’s the ideal and what I can do food and energy-wise so far. It doesn’t always work out like that, of course, for various reasons, mainly if I feel rubbish or have got loads of work on, but that’s what I am now aiming for most days.

And that’s a heck of a lot better than life has been I can tell you!

As I have said many times, you need to have a plan, you need to know what you’re aiming at and you need to put the work in to get better. This is not as simple as taking a pill, although if that’s all you can do for now, that is fine. Like me, maybe you can start with lying-down meditation and WHEE and, just by doing that, you will start to turn yourself around and point yourself in the right direction for wellness.

Image result for healthy and happy

For me: I am determined to keep all the ‘body balls’ as I think of them in the air. I need to keep the emotional trauma work going with the hypnotherapy, WHEE, CBT etc, maintain the mental, cognitive neuroplasticity work to strengthen those neural pathways, continue my ‘spiritual’ work with the meditation and connection to the Universe (the most weird and hardest for me to accept, but ultimately, the most change has come from this) and now add in the physical work to build nutrient levels and optimum physical functioning. Ultimately, this will also build into better social connections and stepping back out into the world as a fully-well person.

Just a wee bit to do there then – I swear this getting better lark is a full-time job!

This year, peeps – are you coming with me???