an Alternative to Natural Health
Nature's Sunshine Products
Our Story of Recovery
By Richard and Cyndi
Our Odyssey with fibromyalgia (FM) began in 1994 when Cyndi was diagnosed with the syndrome. A key word here to remember is syndrome. Syndromes are defined as constellations of symptoms and signs and/or lab findings. They are different from diseases, which are defined by their causes. Anyone who has the symptoms and exam findings that define a syndrome has that syndrome by definition, whatever the underlying disease mechanism. Two different diseases may cause the same syndrome. The same disease may cause two different syndromes. It is even possible that a person could have that as yet incompletely elucidated disease processes that causes FM but not have FM.
There are 43 related diseases and syndromes.
These are considered related because patients with fibromyalgia (PWFM) are more likely to have these than the general population. Cyndi had over half of these.
One important thing to remember is that in treating the FM, though these related disease/syndromes may improve, some may never disappear, usually they need to be treated separately. You will notice that most of these are hormonal in nature.
Richard was already seriously ill at the time and it would take a book as big as all outdoors to share the trauma and stress that we were already undergoing with Richard's illness, let alone talk about the stress and depression that this brought us. Major long-term illnesses take a toll in many ways. Stress from finances and personal relationships are two things we quickly think about. These external stresses, the stress the body causes, a vicious circle contributing to the expansion of the illnesses.
Our doctor sent Cyndi to a rheumatoid specialist. Rheumatoid specialists are supposed to be the most knowledgeable and experienced in the field of FM. The doctors she was referred to at our major medical center were supposed to be the best of the best. This was the first time, but not the last, that she was told that there was no cure. They placed Cyndi on the traditional protocol of anti-depressants, anti-inflamatories and pain pills. These drugs irritated her stomach so they then had to add medication for her stomach.
At the time Richard was very ill and Cyndi needed to be able to wake easily at night. With these medications she could not awake easily, so she stopped the treatment. This was the first of many times that fate, destiny or serendipity played a positive role in Cyndi's recovery. The wind for the sails in our odyssey.
The Guai Protocol
By 1997 the symptoms had accelerated and the pain and mental confusion made it impossible for her to work. We had moved our medical care to a new doctor who presented himself and his clinic as more holistic or at least open to alternative treatment. He placed Cyndi on the Dr. St. Armand's Guaijenisen Protocol. This is more popularly known as the Guai Protocol. This protocol's hypothesis is that the patient's body can not process certain types of phosphates as it stores them in the cells. It required that the patient take massive doses of Guaifenisen. This is the key ingredient for most cough syrups. The protocol had very strict diet restrictions. The theory is that the Guai would release the phosphates and the diet would prevent the patient from adding any more to their body. In addition to the diet, the patent was not allowed shampoos, herbs, etc. that might have phosphates in them. Dr. St. Armand does not believe the possibility that aspartame may be part of the problem. On this protocol Cyndi experienced a major flare up of pain and an aggravation of the related diseases and syndromes she had. She stopped participating in the protocol after about five months due to poor improvement and the stress of trying to maintain the diet and to the enhanced pain during flare ups.
Help from the Internet
We met Miryam Williamson. She wrote the book called, "Fibromyalgia: A Comprehensive Approach." The book helped us to better understand the problems, protocols and resources that were available. We are thankful for her and consider her one of our dearest friends. It was through her that we discovered Internet discussion groups of patients with FM. It was through these discussion groups that we found the next part of our odyssey, the Lowe protocol.
Dr. John Lowe, in conjunction with his research team and a French research team, found that all patients with FM have a hypothyroid (low thyroid) and that this had been missed because of the inadequacies of the standard thyroid test used in America. (For women the easiest way to know if you are hypothyroid is to have a thermometer by your bed side and take your temperature upon waking for five days in a row. If you have a subnormal temp most of those days you probably have a hypothyroid condition.)
The Lowe protocol used thyroid hormone replacement and supplements. Through our Internet connections, we were able to get copies of the studies he had published and one that had not yet gone to press. We took these to the endocrinologist. He was very hesitant to step on the toes of the "rhumies" who had dominated the treatment of FM, but with a lot of begging and persuasion he agreed. Cyndi showed almost immediate improvement.
It was just a little while before this that Richard's health had greatly improved through the use of herbs; specifically NSP herbs. Richard has this thing about learning everything he can, so he began to compare symptoms of FM with herbs using the body systems approach. It was an example of "fate" that he did this.
Just three months after Cyndi began using this protocol, she was diagnosed with osteoporosis, a potential negative side effect of the Lowe protocol. The endocrinologist really wanted out of the program. He stated his discomfort and that calcium should be increased. He was frightened of what might happen to Cyndi.
By observing Cyndi and a number of other patients with FM, plus reading the mainstream medical research, Richard had come to the conclusion that there exists, in every REAL case of FM, five similarities. They are: 1) malnutrition; 2) a slow acting virus; 3) parasites; 4) hormonal imbalance that always included hypothyroidism; and 5) low blood pressure when it was measured on a tilt table. Many if not all of the related diseases have the same pathology. These conclusions were later supported by the independent work of Dr. Teitelbaum.
Something we would like to state here, before sharing the program, is that if you look at the above five similarities we must come to the conclusion that the last four are a result' of the first, malnutrition. Malnutrition is defined as faulty or inadequate nutrition.
A psychological history seems to go with FM patients. Whether this is contributing to the cause or a result of the FM is open to interpretation. In respect to malnutrition, we need to remind ourselves that stress/trauma depletes the nutrients we take in and interferes with the body's ability to process these nutrients. When you factor in that most expectant mothers eat the standard American diet (SAD) we believe that the predisposition for FM, etc. starts with the fetus suffering from malnutrition that causes a mutation to the DNA. This mutation is later triggered by a trauma. FM is being diagnosed more and more in children. Children should not suffer growing pains. When they report them, FM is one of the first things to check for.
When we started Cyndi out on her program, we put her on a bowel cleanse and then a parasite cleanse. She suffered, but it was tolerable. So we "assumed" that this should be the first step with everyone. WRONG! The following is where we are at today with our recommendations and some additional comments.
The client must cease the use of any and all aspartame and refined sugars. This is not negotiable. We will no longer work with people who do not make a commitment to this.
Essential 90 nutrients
It is our belief that the body was/is designed to heal itself. If it is given the essential material (nutrients) it needs to function in appropriate quantities. If it has the nutrients it needs the body not only operates on a day to day basis but responds to toxin attacks and heals.
There are 90 essential nutrients we have identified that the body needs. These nutrients are 16 vitamins, 12 amino acids, 60 trace minerals, fiber, water and three essential fatty acids. The NSP products we prefer for PWFM to insure proper nutrition are Super Supplemental Vitamins & MInerals, Mineral Chi tonic, Free Amino Acids, Fat Grabbers (we recommend this because it is gentle and the lecithin and chickweed in the formula help the liver) and Flaxseed oil. We had her taking Whole Leaf Aloe Vera Juice and Liquid Chlorophyll. These two products help with oxygen in the body and seem to increase the potency of the rest of the essential nutrients. We chose Mineral Chi Tonic for the adaptogen herbs that are in it. We found that most of the PWFM we have worked with have reversed polarity.
Enzymes are import for digestion so we also recommend Food Enzymes. Remember again that we are dealing with malnutrition even if the person weighs 500 lbs. We recommend Proactazyme to assist in digesting the herbs.
Sleep and Pain Relief
The next part of the program was difficult to determine. What do you do for someone when it seems that everything is broken? We decided and have found that addressing the following two areas are the most beneficial; 1) increase the quantity and quality of sleep; 2) reduce the pain.
We can not emphasize enough the importance of improving sleep in PWFM. We start people out on Herbal Sleep and Super Algae for sleep. Super Algae should be taken at least twice during the day and at bedtime. If, after a few days, this does not seem to be enough we look to non-herbal products, such as 5-HTP Power.
We found that if the PWFM also has PTSD the non-herbal Melatonin is not appropriate. It tends to generate nightmares interfering with sleep in a different way but still interfering with sleep. We have been successful with PWFM and PTSD by adding SUMA Combination.
For pain, we suggest a combination of Una de Gato, APS II, Magnesium Complex and Vitamin B6. In the clinical research on FM, they have found an increased amount of substance P in the spinal column and a deficiency of ATP. These products seem to reduce the pain when the sleep is improved, specifically improving REM (dream) sleep and increasing the ATP when used with the Essential 90 nutrients. (An interesting observation is that if you ask a patient with untreated FM if they dream, they always respond no or that they do not remember).
It is at this time that we attack the virus. We heard a virus described as bad news wrapped in a protein. We suggest St. Johns Wort, Olive Leaf Extract and VS-C together. The St. Johns Wort helps with the obvious depression that goes with this kind of illness and has an anti-viral asset.
Speaking of depression, PWFM will most probably be suffering from some nasty depression. They are in pain. They feel helpless and hopeless. They seldom have the personal and social support they need, not to mention their doctor probably is not much help. Unless the depression is debilitating we try to avoid treating it with herbs at this point. Usually, this depression digresses with the essential nutrients and the new belief that they can get better.
The above is all we do for 30 days and is continued throughout the program. We want the body to have a chance to adapt and heal. We know many would argue that more drastic measures should be used up front. All we can say is that we have found this works. It provides enough results to give hope and often removes many of the ancillary symptoms.
Remember, the people we have dealt with that have been properly diagnosed, including Cyndi, are or have been on some massive prescription drugs and are in severe pain. Their personal relationships are a disaster and they have probably been told by their doctors, families, etc. that this is all in their head. So this is plenty to work on.
After the first 30 days we begin to work on the imbalanced H-P-A axis (hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal) and the thyroid. One interesting observation we have made and verified with others that people with FM are always pituitary dominated when muscle tested'".
Editor's Note: As experts in glandular body typing, we need to clarify that you cannot muscle test someone to determine their glandular body type. By definition, a glandular body type is a person with a particular body shape. Muscle testing is a way of evaluating the body's energy flows, not a way of examining the body's physical appearance. You don't muscle test someone to determine glandular body type anymore than you would muscle test to evaluate someone's iris for an iridology reading.
Muscle testing may suggest a current glandular imbalance, but the body type is a long term life pattern, not an immediate imbalance. A person may have an overactive pituitary gland when muscle tested, but not be a pituitary dominant type, as is probably the case here.
For this phase we use Master Gland, TS II and Target TS II. It is the combination of the three that does the trick. It is vital that the patient only uses one Target TS II for a week and increase by one per week. Too much to fast is like putting rocket fuel in a broken down Ford.
One word of CAUTION about the TS II and Target TS II. We have had clients/customers report back that they experienced the jitters, etc. We have found that in most cases they are either not taking enough Master Gland and/or too much of the TS II and/or Target TS II. When that is not the case, we have found that they were not diagnosed properly. We have become very aggressive in finding out who and how they were diagnosed before we start (live and learn). Those with ADHD and FM will need extra Hops.
FM is primarily a female problem. Only one in six PWFM are male. As we have stated above, endometriosis and PMS are two of the related problems with FM. If these conditions are present we make additional suggestions. Cyndi had these so bad that we made monthly pilgrimages to the emergency room for morphine shots. When a client/customer is in pain/distress this can not be ignored both out of compassion and out of what the body may be saying about its condition. The stress to the body with these depletes necessary nutrients the body needs to heal making the FM and any other condition worse. If these problems exist, we add Evening Primrose oil, Pro-G-Yam Cream and/or Female Comfort.
As we stated previously, we have started people out on Fat Grabbers so the cleansing process has already begun. After 90 days (or sooner, if they have progressed more rapidly) we begin a serious look at the colon and parasites. We have come to the school of thought that says we encourage people to cleanse too much.
Then we have the people do a Tiao He Cleanse, we do this for two reasons. First, from Richard's experience, we have learned that not only does this product clean the bowel while taking it, it tells us a lot about the present condition of the bowel. Richard has many physical ailments but FM is not one of them. When he took the cleanse he got constipated. This told us about the peristalsis of his bowel. If you go back and look at the related diseases you see some that are bowel related like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Though Fat Grabbers is a great product for IBS. IBS is usually a symptom of a greater problem. From the results the client is getting from the Tiao He Cleanse we make not only short-term adjustments but longer term healing suggestions.
After completing the cleanse and allowing five days to rebuild and rest we begin the parasite cleanse. This is another time that a healing crisis can occur. We are here to help people help themselves recover from whatever physical distress they may be facing. It is important to stay in contact with the client not only to reassure them but to help them make adjustments in their herb program. You need to make it clear to them from the beginning that it is THEIR responsibility to stay in touch with you and keep you informed. We recommend three rounds instead of just two of the parasite cleanse.
If Candida is present or suspected, then the client should begin a Candida diet with the beginning of the Tiao He Cleanse and maintain the diet throughout the cycles of the Para cleanse. Then follow with Candida Clear and diet for 3 months.
If the program has been followed and adjusted, as needed, the completion of this phase of the program is the pivotal point of the customers/clients recovery.
It goes without saying to be sure to add Bifidophilus Flora Force at least at the time the PWFM patient starts the cleanse. Take 2-4 capsules at bedtime on an empty stomach.
One of the ongoing problems with FM is Fibrofog or brain-fog. Unless you have had it or have observed it in a spouse, etc. it is impossible to describe. It is a sad and pitiful' condition. The best we can do is to relate it to the behavior of early Alzheimer's. FM is not related to Alzheimer's but the inability of the PWFM to remember things would be a Woody Allen comedy if it were not for the embarrassment and damage it brings.
As an herb specialist, you need to be aware of it for a couple of reasons. First, because the client will often forget to take their supplements. Second, because when the Fibrofog flares the PWFM will become very disheartened and want to quit. They have already been told many times by many people that it is all in their head and/or that they can never be cured. Another problem with this condition is the stress it creates physically for them. This stress adds more problems for the H-P-A axis, especially on the adrenals.
There are a number of self-help things they can do for themselves. I will not try to recite them because Miryam Williamson in her book does it so much better. Things like carrying a pad and pencil everywhere, even across the room. However, there are some NSP products that we have found are helpful in addition to the behavioral things. We have found that Brain Protex and Focus Attention do wonderfully.
In addition, a simple exercise done 20 minutes twice a day is a miracle in disguise. If you have been following the drift of this information you probably have already realized that one of the physical responses to FM is insufficient oxygen to the brain. By lying on an incline board just 20 minutes twice a day with the head in the downward position, this is greatly overcome.
We do not recommend these herbal products until after the cleansing. The reason for this is that often the problem is greatly diminished by this point. Feed the body and you feed the brain. In addition, by removing obstacles like a dirty colon and parasites the brain gets more oxygen and other needed nutrients.
Exercise and Diet
Though physical exercise and diet are important from the beginning, some things we have learned are worth mentioning here. One is that people eat better as they feel better. Food cravings for bad stuff are an indication of the need for certain nutrients. As those nutrients are given to the body, the cravings go away.
Second, people with FM are FORCED into too much exercise too soon. The PWFM client needs to exercise daily, but they might start out with only one minute and build up from there. It also needs to be exercise that is convenient and enjoyable for them. Start slow and easy. If it hurts, stop.
The diet should be made up as much as possible of organic, fresh raw veggies, fresh veggie juice and whole grains. Wheat allergies and intolerance should be watched for here. However, the PWFM person should be allowed to eat whatever they want when they want. Remember that they are not getting enough nutrition and they have Fibrofog. Little changes, at a time are best. Big changes cause stress and with an already stressed body, big changes cause an exacerbation of the illness.
The psychological problems are not something we, as herbalists, are necessarily equipped for. During prolonged illnesses of any kind, but especially those involving pain, the brain rewires itself. In addition, the negative outside influences can alter our belief pattern in a downward spiral. We believe that counseling and support groups are a must. However, if the counselor is not FM familiar or the support group is a "woe is me" this will act against the patient.
In this same vain, PWFM, as with any long-term illness, usually are having relationship problems with their significant other and families. It is best if they are educated and also receive counseling and support. Most often the SO (significant other) has become co-dependent.
Drugs and Prescriptions
One last consideration to mention that is, in our opinion, vital. Clients you may get who are on prescription drugs, almost always are on anti-depressants. Many are also on pain and anti-anxiety medication. Most often they are addicted.
Some PWFM are also heavy users of alcohol and sometimes "recreational" drugs. They have gotten on these to deal with the pain and/or to allow them to sleep. When we talk about FM being a total and disastrous illness we are not understating this nor are we saying it just because of our direct personal experience. We have seen and talked to hundreds of PWFM and many of their families. Doctors have failed to even recognize its existence until recently and most have no idea what to do. Yes, it has also become the "catch all" for many Doctors who have no idea what it,is or how to diagnose it. So if they do not know what you have .... you have FM.
We have found no easy solution to the problem of people on prescription medication. It compounds the problem not only because of the dependence factor but also damage to the liver and other organs. Also, if they continue to take them, it slows if not stops the ability of the supplements to work. In addition, if they just discontinue taking them you have the compounded problem of more pain and possible withdrawal.
If the physicians, and there usually is more than one, are cooperating you have an ally. However, as we all know, most physicians are not prone to work with herbs and supplements. The advice we give to our clients is to ease off the drugs as the herbs do their job. In Cyndi's case, for whatever reason (fate, serendipity, etc.) she was not on any of the drug protocols when she started herbs. Those that are familiar with Richard's story and know that he tossed all his 24 medications prior to having anything to fall back on. We do not recommend this to anyone.
Structural misalignment is another problem. You have muscles that need work and due, at least in part, to the way the PWFM carries themselves to compensate for the pain, the structural system is misaligned. We have found that massage (polarity and gentle touch) from even a loved one along with regular manipulation of the spine from a Chiropractic physician are an intricate part of a successful program. Again, we want to say/warn people that if the massage therapist and/or chiropractor are not familiar with FM they can and usually do more damage than good. If it hurts ... STOP!
The massage helps the lymph nodes to move the toxins that are the immediate and on-going cause of the body's congestion. The massage also helps to fill that "touch quota" we all have. With PWFM, because of the pain, they are not touched as much as would be healthy. Their significant other and family members withhold touch for fear of hurting them.
So where is Cyndi at now? As we write this, Cyndi has just finished working full time for seven months in a factory in addition to running our NSP business. She has not been able to work full time since 1997 when she spent a lot of her time in bed. Is it all roses? Not hardly. As we wrote above, Cyndi suffers from over 20 of the related illnesses that go with FM. She still, upon occasion, has FM flair ups. With any odyssey you have to look at where you have been and where you are at now.
In working with other FM clients using this program we have found that if they have been properly diagnosed and follow the program, the quality of life improvement has been tremendous. The people we have helped includes a doctor who had given up his practice and was nearly bedridden who now is a professional sales person.
Ive learned that the enemy to healing is often the very thing we hold up to try and prove our art to the public, the holy grail of science, which is the philosophy of reductionism! What is reductionism? It is the philosophical belief that before anything can be utilized, let alone understood, it must first be reduced into bits and pieces, extruded, studied, figured out and worked upon as separate units. Somehow it is magically hoped that in this process we will discover the meaning of the whole.
The problem with reductionism is that the more a part is extruded, studied and worked upon the more questions arise as to its nature, function and purpose. This means that 'putting it back together' may never happen. It's what specialization is based upon. By its very nature reductionism results in that ever present problem of 'the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing.'
The word "heal" means to make whole. Thus, reductionism is the opposite of healing. Hence, it can never generate the knowledge that teaches us how to heal, i.e., to make whole and unite all the varied aspects of our being.
Reductionism does have its rightful role, but not in the actual act of healing. That act of healing (as opposed to an act of learning or figuring something out) is a process of unifying the pieces and seeing how each part affects all the other parts. Indeed, healing is a symbiotic act. The whole, not just the part, is affected (for good or bad) by the one acting or being acted upon. This is why our philosophical approach to healing is referred to as being 'holistic,' the opposite of 'reductionistic.'
I was taught by a wise Maori spiritual teacher that when you get right down to it, everything this life is made up of, from the least of life (bacteria itself) on through to us humans and still ever outward until it encompasses the earth itself, is all tied together. He also taught me that whether we care to recognize it or not, we are dependent to one degree or another on everything that's part of life on this planet. I just find it ironic that we humans are the only thing on the face of this earth that all other forms of life could get along fine without, however the opposite is definitely not the case.
That same Maori teacher also taught me that a true healer is many things wrapped up in one package. He said one must be a minister (spiritual), counselor (emotional), teacher (intellectual) and nurse (physical), all at the same time, to be a truly effective healer. I've never forgotten those simple words taught by a simple man in a simple way.
People don't need more reductionistic science to find healing. They need more integrated healers who can show them the path to wholeness.
This is how FM is properly diagnosed. People with FM score a five or more in the pain scale on at least eleven of the eighteen tender points in the diagram below, and aching all over. The pain scale is where a 1 is the least amount of pain you've ever felt and 10 is the worse amount of pain you've ever felt.
Since this article was wrote NSP now has some new products that could be used with or in place of some of the supplements listed. Super Omega 3 EPA, DHA, Pro-G-Yam Cream (500mg), Ionic Minerals, Thai Go, Solstic Twenty Four (vit & min) and Relief Formula (for pain).