Monday, June 8, 2015

"But Exercise Makes Me Feel Worse"

"Exercise improves your pain threshold,” says Trent Nessler, PT, DPT, MPT, a vice president with Champion Sports Medicine in Birmingham, Ala. “With chronic pain, your pain threshold drops -- in other words, it takes less pain to make you feel more uncomfortable. With cardiovascular, strengthening, and flexibility exercise, you can improve that pain threshold.”

“Exercise improves your pain threshold”  

Lets think about that for a minute. 

Ok minutes up!
Who wouldnt want to feel just a bit better if they could just from getting a little exercise? 

The first thing you think is "when I exercise I feel worse". 
The next thing you think is "I am so sick of people telling me to exercise!"
(Its ok, I dont get offended)
But you have to realize the only reason people say it all the time is because generally its true. NOT always, but generally.  (I'm not talking about those who think exercise and a good nights sleep will cure you!) Just as changing your diet "generally" helps. I always point out that I am never ever a one size fits all person. I don't like blanket statements because I am smart, experienced and open enough to know that not everything works the same for everyone. 
There is such a thing as exercise intolerance

Impaired oxidative phosphorylation not only causes muscle fatigue but also muscle cramping with or without tenderness, or a feeling of extreme heaviness in the muscles. These symptoms are especially severe in those muscle groups being used, and patients often complain of discomfort in the legs or even muscle spasms.The discomfort may be felt immediately following the activity or later on, waking up the patient from sleep. Following more prolonged or intensive activity, the pain or heaviness can persist into the next day(s) despite rest. A subset of patients has pain associated with elevations of CK and intensive exercise can lead to frank myoglobinuria; there may also be associated lactic acidemia (DiMauro, 1999).

With that said of course if you are going to hurt more you are not going to want to do it. And it takes a special determination to do it anyway knowing what lies ahead. One of the most common statements you hear from a Fibromyalgia/ME/CFS patient is  "I'll pay for it later"
Its part of our permanent vocabulary. But lets put this in perspective.

You drink foul tasting cough medicine because you know it will help your coughing. 
You take antibiotics when you dont like prescriptions because it will help your infection.
You spend $500 dollars on a brake job because you know it will save your life. 
You do so many things as a parent that "hurt", because you are trying to shape, protect and teach your child.
Something we are very guilty of is doing too much because we dont like to say "no" to others. We KNOW its going to hurt, but we do it anyway. We just decide to "pay for it later".

Well, a permanent part of my vocabulary is "you are in pain anyway". You are in pain anyway so why no make it count for something. Why not endure just a little more pain now, to prevent even greater pain down the road? I don't say that off the cuff, I don't think "if I can do it you can do it" and  I don't think its easy. 
BUT..aside from the abundance of articles, studies and "opinions", you do experience this yourself that....
The less you move, the more it hurts. The more it hurts the less you move.
 So it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy. It hurts so bad you stop for a while and when you try again you want to die because it nearly kills you. And that's real pain, not an excuse to avoid exercise. 
The first "exercise' you should do is with your fingers! Do some research. Look on the internet, ask questions in support groups, read blogs and see what types of exercises and modalities seems to have the best results.  Make a list and then rate them in order of effectiveness. 
#1 Would be the most common, popular or least painful to incorporate. #2 Would be the next most common answer. 
1. stretching
2. walking 
(certain types, not the twist in a pretzel type!) 
Then, call the doctor and make an appointment to discuss the best way to go about getting some exercise. Bring your list and your research. DON'T FEEL FOOLISH. Most times coming armed with information will make them take serious, and provide specific answers. Don't let them tell you "go get a trainer", or "just start walking". That's not a plan. 
A plan is a detailed proposal for doing or achieving something, OR an intention or decision about what one is going to do. You need to decide what to try first, at what intensity level and how often. It might be to even get a referral to a physical therapist or exercise physiologist to get the proper advice and program.

For example, If you decide to walk you shouldn't just walk 2 miles after having done little to no exercise. You could cause a flare and/other reactions. Graduated walking is best.  Decide with the doctor based on your condition how much and how far. Starting with only 10 minutes (any pace) 3 times week for 3 weeks. Then try to increase it to 15 minutes or just try walking a little faster.Then 4 times a week for 3 weeks (or simply increase to 15 minutes still 3 times a week), and so on. If it does not agree with you you will know right away. Maybe you have to cut back to 2 days, walk slower, or move on to the next thing on your list.  

If you chose yoga, start with only one class in a week. Wait and see how your body responds for the next few days. (Try looking on Meetup , facebook,  or local papers, gyms and studios for a free class in your area before you commit to the cost of a full session in case its not for you. A lot of studios also offer a drop in rate to you can try just one class) Its also not a bad idea to talk to the instructor ahead of time via phone or email and make them aware of your medical issues and what your goal is. They will be able to give extra instructions for your benefit, provide blocks or straps for you to modify some of the common moves so they do not cause you great discomfort and make sure you are in the right class, or tell you which one to try.  In my experience, Hatha, Svaroopa and Restorative are the top most effective types for Fibromyalgia and whole body pain related issues. Especially for beginners. 

The key is to find something that works for you. Don't judge  yourself or compare yourself to the others, especially "healthy" people around you. Each person has their own challenges, progresses at their own level and are motivated by different reasons. I beg of you to keep trying. Just keep trying and don't get discouraged by setbacks. 
I actually took that word out of my Rolodex because it has too much of a negative connotation. It's not a setback, its simply a communication from your body. Just as a dog has to bark or a baby has to cry to communicate, your body has no voice. It has to tell you when you have pushed it too hard somehow doesn't it? Its just a message to "slow down', pace yourself and in some cases when you seem to get no feedback, its actually saying "hey that wasn't so bad! you can probably do that again!"
    • tention or decision about what one is going to do.

Matthew Jones, researcher at the University of New South Wales who led this study   said “the results remind us that the longer we stick with an exercise program, the less physically discomfiting it will feel, even if we increase our efforts ... The brain begins to accept that we are tougher than it had thought, and it allows us to continue longer, although the pain itself has not lessened.” (A less technical article that translates the study can be found here.)

*This is not to say you will be healed, that you won't or don't need additional therapies or medications. Exercise it is just an additional tool for your arsenal to help combat pain. Always consult your doctor before starting any exercise program. 
A Beginners Guide to 8 Major Types of Yoga
Yoga Diciplines- Different types of Yoga
Relieving Pain Through Exercise-Not Medicaion

Monday, April 27, 2015

Lil' Bub Birthday Paw-ty!

Nothing like a good old fashioned birthday to get your mind off pain! 
My 7 year old was turning 8. She wanted a party at home and of course my first thought was 'oh my gawd'. The stress, the cleaning, the errands, talking o other parents, and planning....blegh
But then I realized might be exactly what I needed. Winter depression, pain, and the long wait for spring maybe be dulled a little by the excitement of planning a party. I used to love it, so maybe I can love it again.
I was right.
She is obsessed with Lil Bub and wanted that to be the theme.
Since you can't exactly go to IParty and get Lil Bub decorations, I was left to making my own. I scoured Pinterest and the internet for anything related to cat parties, kitten parties, Lil bub and basically took a few things from here and there. I got ideas, thought of a few things myself and I got it together. 

We printed out lots of pictures of Lil Bub  to use everywhere
(Personal use people!! To "whom it may concern": Dont sue me!) 

Pictures of Bub in frames

A cat mobile with cats from the dollar store around
wooden knitting rings covered with yarn.
Cattails and Pussy Willows around the house!
 Although I only got a "cute" from everyone else, I thought this was hilarious and it tickled me to no end! Sometimes you have to entertain yourself!

I weighted the balloons down with balls of yarn and cat toys

Even the bathroom had to be done! (wood burner)

Clay poop and a (NEW!) cat scooper and crinkled paper both from the dollar store

I rolled yarn around different size Styrofoam balls and wooden mini spools and placed them around with toy mice

I printed out Lil bub in different sizes and put them all around the house.

$1 wooden letters from the craft store painted to match  the decor.

"Meow Mix" 

Purr'fect Punch

I made at paw cookies for the kids to take home.

I used my Cricut to cut out "It's A Pawty" letter for the banner

Boas to choose your own "tail"
They picked collars and added beads and cat charms to make "Kitten Collars"

Boy oh boy did they have fun prancing and crawling and meowing around the house. It was much louder than I anticipated, but they had fun and it made all the tedious work pay off.

Called in a favor with some nice old ladies at the local supermarket who pulled this off !!! So cute right?!

The birthday girl was very very happy. There were a lot of little details that were time consuming and back breaking, like making tons of tiny balls of yarn, and hanging them from doorways and ceiling fans, but I did not apparently take pictures of everything. I blame "fog".

I still did stress. Type A's do that most of the time no matter what. Everyday I thought of something new to do and everyday I had anxiety that I would not get it done in time. My hands and fingers ached. I had to use patches, Aleve, heating pads and Icy hot a lot for a few weeks. Getting addresses and making sure people got invitations even seemed draining to me but I kept on because I wanted her party to be great. 
They slept over and after they were all finally gone I just crashed, on the couch...whew..over. It was so fun but also draining. I happened to have had ZERO help getting this all together, and my body paid for it afterwards. But as many things involving our kids ..

My middle girl happens to have been born on the fourth of July so every year it's sort of a big deal. Either  a trip to six flags or a lot of shenanigans and a rented bouncy house in the backyard. 
There's only so much you can do in the winter, so I wanted it to be just a big deal for her. Her favorite thing was the T-shirt we made (iron-on) because she can keep "forever". long as she loves Lil' Bub anyway. She is a pretty cute cat I must say. I wasn't sold in the beginning that I could create an entire party around her, but once I spent a minute reading her story and looking at that cute face I was hooked! And seeing how happy my baby was.....yeah
it was totally worth it!! 

Friday, January 9, 2015

I Love the Cold, said This Fibro Patient Never!

Yesterday feeling like the "master" of my body decided to NOT work out after 2 hard days of insanitary in a row. I can feel the signs and even though every type A bone in my body want's to push through and act like I am "fine", I am getting better at holding that back.  Good for me right? I still had to work an hour with my 11 year old because school was cancelled. It was too cold..go figure.

That fractured my attention span into a few pieces and made work a little scattered and stressed.  But I survived. I ate a healthy lunch, rested, chilled with my girl..
Well, late in the day on the way to bring kids to dance I saw my gas light was on, and had been on...(for a while apparently). I am talking BELOW the last line.
 I was driving on less than fumes. I pulled into the gas station..and of course I had NO forms of cash/cards on me whatsoever. 
Trying to be comfy and get out of "real" clothes and into sweats, everything was home......I made it to dance, called hubby and he would come with the gas card. I had to wait an hour for dance to finish anyway. 
No gas in the car means I couldn't leave the car running, so no heat. No heat on a day when school was cancelled because it was so cold! Awesome. At the 45 minute mark the pain in my back was excruciating, every muscle tense and my neck so stiff it felt like my skull weighed 200 pounds resting on it.  There are NO words for what I was feeling so let me give you this visual...

I fidgeted, twisted and turned, wrapped up in everything that was available in the car and I was almost in tears...then my husband pulled up. We switched cars so I could sit in the heat while he took my van to get gas.

 It felt so good. I felt like I was thawing out, slowly. My bones still ached and it still hurt but felt good at the same time. 
Fast forward to 2 hours after I'm home...Everything still hurt. It made me nauseous, dizzy, extremely fatigued and my head was pounding.  Warming up was not the end. It was temporary. I wasn't cold anymore but the pain never really left. I went to bed to lay down a few hours earlier than normal because even standing and sitting put too much pressure on my spine. It lasted all night. Sleeping was awful and getting out of bed today was like many other days. It was slow, painful and walking resembled that of an ape. Today was going to be a day of working out and cleaning but looks as though its downtime again. Maybe some light stretching. 

Thank you  cold intolerance and thank you sensory issues said no one ever!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Different Types of Fibromyalgia Therapy: Some you may have never heard of!

                             If you have any chronic pain condition you know by now that relief comes in many different forms for many people. People will tell you the chiropractor is best when it did not help you at all. Some one will say massage therapy is best thing but you can't even bear to have pressure of any kind on your skin. One thing that most sufferers agree on is that there is never just ONE thing that works to make people feel better. Some people can remove gluten from their diet and feel less fatigue and even less pain, but feeling even better requires to also eliminate "junk" food from their diet, or add more water, find ways to reduce stress or add exercise. 

Combination therapies have been proven to work best over just one thing. One thing besides that accompanies a lot of people with chronic pain are depression and anxiety. What came first the pain or depression? That's always up for debate depending on the doctor you talk to or study you read. Your best bet is to find a therapy that works right for you. If its one or 2, great. If you need to be more diligent and use 4 or 5 different kinds then that's what you must do. Its frustrating, daunting, and sometimes feels hopeless but any relief is worth it in my opinion. Any amount education on your own health makes you that more equipped and empowered when it comes to decision making, working with doctors and therapists, and spreading awareness. 

There are many many forms of therapy but here are a few you may want to check into if you feel it may be worthwhile to try. Always make sure you check out any practitioner you find, meet with them, interview them and other patients ahead of time if possible, look them up with the BBB and do internet searches. 

Ecopsychology is concerned with the relationship between people and the natural environment. Although we tend to think of our psyche as something separate from nature, an ecopsychologist views this perceived split between mind and nature as the source of our present eccological problems.
Ecotherapy is an overlap of ecopsychology and psychotherapy. Ecotherapists facilitate their clients' connection with the natural world to help them connect with their inner nature. By developing environmental awareness and respect, people learn to take better care of themselves.
Practices used in ecopsychology range widely and may include: mindfulness practice while in a natural environment where one pays attention to the sensory experience of nature, vision quests where one spends several days immersed in Nature, spending more intentional time in a Nature, and using Nature as a metaphor.

There are Eight Principles of Ecopsychology

  1. In ecopsychology, the mind’s core is believed to be the ecological unconscious, that part of our unconscious mind that is inherently connected to the cosmic and planetary nature we are a part of. It contains the record of our evolution.
  2. Life and mind have emerged from the evolution of natural systems, starting with the physical and going through the biological, mental, and then to the cultural systems we have today. All of these aspects of our universe need to be real to our experience.
  3. Ecopsychology’s aim is to awaken an individual’s innate sense of their reciprocal relationship to the environment, to heal the alienation from nature that is apparent in our urban mind-set.
  4. Babies arrive into this world naturally enchanted by nature. Ecopsychology attempts to help adults rediscover this quality of experience through various traditional healing methods, nature mysticism as found in art and religion, by experiencing the wilderness, and contemplating ecological insights. This helps people develop an ecological ego (self).
  5. Ecological egos, as they mature, develop a sense of ecological responsibility that colors their social and political activities.
  6. Ecopsychology draws on concepts from ecofeminism, or the care and nurturing of our environment, to counter the masculine attitude of dominance that currently pervades political and business decisions affecting our natural world.
  7. Ecopsychology is not anti-industrial but is post-industrial, meaning although the wisdom of large urban-industrial culture complexes is questioned, technological advancements that enhance life are welcome.
  8. An ecopsycologist will tell you that there is a “synergistic interplay” between our personal well being and planetary well being. It follows then that what is good for the planet is good for the person, and our individual rights also belong to the planet.


This therapeutic technique can be traced back to ancient Egyptian, Middle Eastern, and Chinese cultures and is still popular today in Eastern medicine. Cupping therapy is a form of alternative medicine in which cups are placed on the skin to create suction. It is believed the suction of the cups mobilizes blood flow to promote the healing of a broad range of medical ailments.

There are various types of cupping therapy, including:
  • Dry cupping (suction only)
  • Wet cupping (combination of suction and controlled medicinal bleeding)
During both types of cupping, a flammable substance such as alcohol, herbs, or paper is placed in a cup and set on fire. As the fire goes out, the cup is placed upside down on the patient's skin.
As the air inside the cup cools, it creates a vacuum. This causes the skin to rise and redden as blood vessels expand. The cup is generally left in place for five to 10 minutes.

Benefits of Cupping Therapy

The British Cupping Society says cupping therapy can treat a variety of conditions. This has not been backed up by studies. But the organization says cupping therapy is used to treat:
Supporters also believe that cupping therapy can reduce pain and inflammation throughout the body. And they say it can promote mental and physical relaxation and well-being.
sources WebMDIIHC

Bioresonance Therapy

Bioresonance therapy (BRT) is the technique of diagnosing and treating problems by measuring the electromagnetic oscillations of diseased organs or cells. This is possible because diseased tissues emit different vibes than healthy ones.
Proponents of BRT say it is effective in restoring the body’s ability to self-heal by complementing its energy system. An electrical device detects both healthy and unhealthy electromagnetic waves and separates them. Then, the healthy waves are amplified and returned to the patient.

Unhealthy waves are returned to the body after being inverted, canceling their negative effect.
Bioresonance is said to be especially helpful in diagnosing dermatitis (eczema), asthma, and allergies, and is a beneficial treatment for cancer and rheumatoid arthritis.

THERAPY: A patient’s first BRT treatment session is typically used to clear large energy blockages. Patients usually recline on a massage table and have an electrode placed under their back. The electrode sends bioresonance signals into the body to detect areas of stress, called stressors. Stressors are thought to be accumulated energy from several energy disrupting causes.
There is no pain involved. A computer prints out the locations of stagnant energy and the large stressor areas are then treated.
Stressor origins can be physical such as x-rays, radiation, and mobile phones, or chemical such as metals, pesticides, food additives, and industrial toxins. Biological stressors are viruses, molds, bacteria, pollens, and food allergies.
Depending on the problem, bioresonance requires three to eight sessions although using this method to quit smoking is said to take one session. BRT is also used to reduce pain, reduce performance anxiety, increase concentration, reduce stress, manage weight, and balance hormones.

Light box therapy (used to treat SAD,seasonal effective disorder)Seasonal affective disorder is a type of depression that occurs at a certain time each year, usually in the fall or winter.
Light therapy is thought to affect brain chemicals linked to mood, easing SAD symptoms. Using a light therapy box may also help with other types of depression, sleep disorders and other conditions. Light therapy is also known as bright light therapy or phototherapy.
During light therapy, you sit or work near a device called a light therapy box. The box gives off bright light that mimics natural outdoor light.
You may want to try light therapy for a number of reasons:
  • It's a proven seasonal affective disorder treatment.
  • You have another condition, such as nonseasonal depression or insomnia, and your doctor recommends it.
  • You want to try treatment that is safe and has few side effects.
  • You want to increase the effectiveness of antidepressant medication or mental health counseling (psychotherapy).
  • You need to avoid antidepressant medications during pregnancy or while breast-feeding.
  • It may allow you to take a lower dose of antidepressant medication.
Light therapy is particularly useful for treating fibromyalgia syndrome. It can help to reduce:

  • muscle pain
  • mood disorders and depression
  • fatigue
  • insomnia

Bright Light Therapy
Bright light therapy is the most commonly used form of light therapy. It is based on the idea that your body is specifically attuned to light. Known as the circadian rhythm, your body’s sleep cycle, energy levels, and mood are all governed by changes in natural light. Bright light therapy uses high-powered fluorescent lights to help trigger the release of specific hormones which will help to restore your body’s natural circadian rhythm and your overall health.
Color Light Therapy
Color light therapy is becoming more and more popular among chronic pain sufferers. This form of phototherapy delivers colored beams of light to various body parts. When your eyes see this colored light, the light energy is converted into electric impulses. These impulses travel through your brain, triggering the release of particular hormones, including serotonin and endorphins. This helps to improve mood and ease pain.
Color therapy typically uses four main colors: red, blue, violet, and white. These colors can be applied directly to certain body parts, or they can be UV filtered and shone into your eyes. Color light therapy is very relaxing and typically lasts between 15 minutes and one hour.
Low Light Laser Therapy (LLLT)
Low laser light therapy involves the application of low-frequency laser light beams to various painful areas of the body. Also known as cold light therapy and soft laser light therapy, these low-level lasers produce no heat, and thus cause no damage to the skin or underlying tissues and organs.
Low laser light therapy helps to reduce pain and promote healing by increasing the energy levels of certain cells in the body. Low-level laser light emits photons that are absorbed by your body’s cells. These photons are converted into cellular energy by the mitochondria (energy powerhouses) within your cells. This helps to increase the rate at which your body heals, eliminating pain.
Low laser light therapy is generally applied to specific areas of the body (painful areas or acupuncture points). Using a special laser wand, your caregiver will apply the laser light to these areas for about 15 to 20 minutes. Pain relief can usually be felt immediately

Electric Stimulation Therapy (TENS)

TENS therapy stands for transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation that uses a low-voltage electrical current to provide pain relief.  Women are starting to use TENS as a natural pain reliever during childbirth and sufferers of fibromyalgia find that TENS provides great relief.
Electric Stimulation Therapy (EST) improves the quality of life for people recovering from wounds, and muscle or nerve damage. The theory behind EST is that when large nerve fiber activity is increased by an electrical current, a “gate” is closed, and pain signals to the brain do not make it past the gate.

So, Does it Work for Fibro?

The answer to this question is both yes and no, depending on your perspective. Not all medical experts agree that TENS treatment is effective for providing relief of fibromyalgia pain but some would agree that it could help relieve the pain symptoms of associated conditions.
Fibromyalgia pain tends to be chronic and widespread. According to Dr. April Chang-Miller of the MayoClinic, "TENS therapy isn't likely to be an effective fibromyalgia treatment" since fibromyalgia pain is so widespread and not limited to just one area. However, some new research has shown that TENS may be effective for reducing pain in people who have fibromyalgia, especially in combination with other treatments, such as exercise.
Electrical treatments are usually administered for extended periods of time. If a person’s muscle function is poor, the stimulation is needed every day to compensate for loss of voluntary muscle control. Or, after a bone fracture at the wrist is healed, electric stimulation therapy several times a day for several days restores mobility and muscle strength.
Electric stimulation therapy is typically one part of a patient’s recovery plan, and is rarely used as a stand-alone treatment. It is only applied when a specific outcome is determined that will improve the daily quality of life for the patient.

Cranio-Sacral Therapy
Cranio refers to the head, and sacral to the base of the spine. Our body’s craniosacral system consists of cerebrospinal fluid and protective membranes that surround the spinal cord and brain.
CranioSacral Therapy (CST) is a gentle, hands-on approach that releases tensions deep in the body to relieve pain and dysfunction and improve whole-body health and performance. Using a soft touch which is generally no greater than 5 grams – about the weight of a nickel – practitioners release restrictions in the soft tissues that surround the central nervous system. CST is increasingly used as a preventive health measure for its ability to bolster resistance to disease, and it's effective for a wide range of medical problems associated with pain and dysfunction.With a light touch, the CST practitioner uses his or her hands to evaluate the craniosacral system by gently feeling various locations of the body to test for the ease of motion and rhythm of the cerebrospinal fluid pulsing around the brain and spinal cord. Soft-touch techniques are then used to release restrictions in any tissues influencing the craniosacral system. By normalizing the environment around the brain and spinal cord and enhancing the body’s ability to self-correct. 

Uses for Craniosacral Therapy

  • Pain: neck, back, migraines, TMJ (temperomandibular joint syndrome)
  • Learning disabilities and autism
  • Orthopedic and coordination problems
  • Post traumatic stress disorder, emotional problems, and stress
  • Spinal cord and brain injuries
  • Fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue
  • Central nervous system and neurovascular dysfunction
  • Colic and other infantile disorders
  • Problems post-surgery
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Poor coordination
  • Eye problems
  • Depression
  • Hyperactivity
  • Problems with the central nervous system, the immune system, and the endocrine system; and more
CT is performed by chiropractors, massage therapists, and osteopaths. During a typical treatment session, clients lay on a table wearing their street clothes while the therapist applies pressure or massage where needed. Sessions are typically 30 minutes to one hour.

Healing Touch Therapy
Healing touch (HT) practitioners believe that hand techniques do influence mind, body, and spiritual health. The core idea behind healing touch is that people are fields of energy and continuously interact with other energy fields in their environment. Therapists use their hands to purposely direct their client’s energy into a balanced state of health.
Pain, illness, and stress disrupt the flow of human energy. This results in energy blockages that diminish our well being. HT practitioners eliminate the energy blockages by lightly placing their hands on a client’s body, or by making sweeping hand movements over the body.
During sessions, clients lie fully clothed on a massage table as the practitioner places their hands on and above them. Sessions run from 40 to 60 minutes. Because there is a cumulative effect with HT, clients frequently schedule regular weekly sessions. Most people report sessions are relaxing and they leave enjoying a sense of peace.

Healing touch is sometimes used to treat mood disorders as an adjunct to other therapy. Small studies indicate it is effective in alleviating anxiety and depression in clients being treated for serious medical problems. It is thought that HT gives depressed and anxious patients a sense of connection and of being cared about, reducing the severity of their emotional symptoms.
 Bowen Therapy has been very successful in relieving acute and chronic pain. It is an effective way to treat sciatica, fibromyalgia, carpal tunnel, back, neck, and shoulder pain. Bowen Therapy also relieves asthma, sports injuries, plantar fascitis, and even emotional pain (depression). The Bowen Technique is not massage, acupressure or chiropractic.  There is no manipulation, adjustment or force used.  The practitioner uses thumbs and fingers to gently move muscles and tissues.   In between each set of moves, the practitioner leaves the room.

Music Therapy for Fibromyalgia

Bicknell (2011) states that music therapy has been used for pain management and it improves the quality of life. Bicknell proposes that music relieves pain by distracting oneself from pain intensity, by disturbing the body’s pain and stress feedback loop, which evaluates one’s sensitivity to pain. This happens because music influences different neurochemical effects, which distracts one from negative feelings and past experiences of pain. Music can also inhibit the release of stress hormones and decrease the arousal of the pituitary-adrenal stress axis, which are responsible for increased pain intensity. Music can also influence the opioid system of the brain, which is responsible for the control of physical pain and negative emotions.

Therefore music therapy can be used to alleviate symptoms of pain and quality of life for fibromyalgia pain, by distracting patients from the experience of pain and negative emotions.
Sixty patients diagnosed with fibromyalgia were randomly assigned to either a music intervention group or a control group. Music interventions consisted of listening to music once a day for 4 consecutive weeks using two types of CDs. Pain was measured with the McGill Pain Questionnaire Long Form and depression with the Beck inventory; a100-mm visual analog scale was used to measure pain and depression. The treatment group reported a significant reduction in pain and depression at week 4 compared with the control group. Members of the control group reported no differences in pain. The findings of this pilot study suggest the importance of music therapy as a nursing intervention and justify further investigation into music as a self-management intervention to reduce pain and depression.
In a  study, University of Granada researchers showed that music therapy in association with guided imagery or other relaxation techniques significantly reduced pain, relieved depression and anxiety and improve sleep.
Experts believe use of music therapy and guided imagery allows people to have more control over their body, thereby enhancing personal well-being.
Sources FMA UK and those linked

Sand Tray Therapy

Expressing ourselves symbolically can be both healing and revealing. Sand tray therapy, a type of play therapy, allows a client to rediscover and connect with their true self, and lost hopes or dreams. This therapy focuses on the here and now (or present moment) experience by engaging people in an activity where communication is indirect.
There are different types of sand tray therapy, and every therapist has preferences for facilitating a session. Jungian sand tray therapy has the longest history. It developed from the symbolic language Carl Jung, a psychologist, studied and wrote about.

Advantages of Sand Tray Therapy

  • It is indirect, using symbols, making it easier for some people to go into difficult issues or feelings.
  • It is an especially good technique for getting people “unstuck,” or out of a rut.
  • It helps those client’s who are insight oriented to go deeper into themselves.
  • It is a visual medium, so the issue at hand cannot be easily dismissed or sidetracked.
At the therapist’s home or office, clients will see a tray or box, often blue, approximately three feet by two feet. It will contain a layer of whatever type of sand the therapist has purchased. On a table(s) or shelves will be an array of miniature figures and maybe some things found in nature such as shells. There will be both friendly and unfriendly looking miniatures to chose from.

The Sand Tray Session: Two Parts

1. Scene Creation:

The client is asked to create a scene of their life by choosing and arranging symbolic miniatures in the sand tray. This can take anywhere from ten to fifteen minutes, depending on the client. The therapist may remain silent during the scene creation.

2. Processing Phase

The client talks about the scene they have created. Whatever feelings they experience while doing this are processed with the counselor’s help. The therapist is there to keep the client focused on the present, and to foster awareness and growth.
Sand tray therapy is very helpful to people who have suffered a loss. It also facilitates the expression of fear and anger in those who usually bury their feelings.

Cognitive Behavior Therapy

Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) is a type of psychotherapeutic treatment that helps patients understand the thoughts and feelings that influence behaviors. CBT is commonly used to treat a wide range of disorders including phobias, addictions, depression, and anxiety.
Cognitive behavior therapy is generally short-term and focused on helping clients deal with a very specific problem. During the course of treatment, people learn how to identify and change destructive or disturbing thought patterns that have a negative influence on behavior.

Cognitive therapy is not merely positive thinking but is the pursuit of accurate thinking. The problem with positive affirmations are that they re often not very believable or true. For example, if you are having "one of those days" filled with frustration and disappointments, saying to yourself: "Each day can be a little better, each and every way" is not likely to make you feel better. The reason why this positive statement wouldn’t make you feel better is because you have data that indicates that this thought is clearly inaccurate. Changing your thinking in ways that are most accurate and believable generally does make you feel better.

Art Therapy
 Art therapy is a form of expressive therapy that uses the creative process of making art to improve a person’s physical, mental, and emotional well-being. The creative process involved in expressing one’s self artistically can help people to resolve issues as well as develop and manage their behaviors and feelings, reduce stress, and improve self-esteem and awareness.
Art therapy involves the creation of art in order to increase awareness of self and others. This in turn may promote personal development, increase coping skills, and enhance cognitive function. It is based on personality theories, human development, psychology, family systems, and art education. Art therapists are trained in both art and psychological therapy. 
For the most part, anyone can use art therapy. In a world where there is a multitude of ways to communicate and express one’s self, expressive arts therapy is yet another. One of the major differences between art therapy and other forms of communication is that most other forms of communication elicit the use of words or language as a means of communication. Often times, humans are incapable of expressing themselves within this limited range.
One of the beauties of art as therapy is the ability for a person to express his/her feelings through any form of art. Though there are other types of expressive therapies (such as the performing arts), expressive art therapy as discussed here typically utilizes more traditional forms of art…such as painting, drawing, photography, sculpture, or a variety of other types of visual art expression.
According to TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine), acupuncture works by correcting energy pathways through your body. This life-force energy is called qi or chi.  Qi flows through meridians in the body, each of which corresponds to an organ or group of organs. If you have too much, too little, or it's blocked TCM teaches that it will create health problems.

The potential benefits of acupuncture include:
  • Less pain
  • Better sleep
  • Relaxation
  • Possible immune system boost
  • Better overall health
You may try it for (temporary) relief of a variety of diseases and conditions, including:
  • Chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Headaches
  • Labor pain
  • Low back pain
  • Menstrual cramps
  • Migraines
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Dental pain
  • Tennis elbow
Research released in 2008 showed that after 20 acupuncture treatments, people with FMS had significant improvements in pain and quality of life that lasted for 3 months after treatment was stopped, with a gradual decline in those areas until all benefit was gone after 2 years.
Acupuncture can be much safer than other therapies, especially if you're combining several different treatments. Benefits as a complementary therapy include:
  • No negative interactions with other treatments, including drugs
  • Extremely mild side effects
  • Low risk
Sources About Health 

Chiropractic Medicine
Chiropractic care is based on the theory that illness and pain are caused by misalignments in your skeletal structure. It sees the body as a connected system, which relies on your bones, joints, muscles, ligaments, and tendons to keep it functioning efficiently. When your skeletal structure is sound, your body should feel healthy and happy. But if parts of your skeleton are slightly off balance, it could cause serious problems, like chronic pain.
Because fibromyalgia causes numerous tender points all over the body, many fibromyalgia patients suffer from back pain, neck pain, and leg cramps. In an attempt to solve these problems, many sufferers have looked to chiropractors. Because simple adjustments to the neck and spine can restore the carriage of the whole body, a lot of fibromyalgia sufferers find that alignments of the spine can significantly reduce pain all over their bodies.

 A 1985 study asked 81 fibromyalgia patients to indicate drug or alternative treatments that best relieved their pain. Chiropractic care treatment scored surprisingly high in this study. Another study examined the effectiveness of spinal manipulation in relieving fibromyalgia symptoms. After just 15 treatments, fibromyalgia patients suffered from less pain and fatigue, and actually enjoyed better sleep quality.
In order to adjust the spine and neck, a technique called manipulation is performed. Manipulation usually consists of a short, quick thrust to one of the vertebra in your spine, achieved through twisting, turning, or hand pressure. This causes the vertebra to shift back into its proper place.
When it is performed, you may hear a cracking or popping noise. This might sound scary, but it is actually a healthy release of built up oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide within the joint. As these gases are released, you should notice immediate relief, though sometimes manipulations can cause slight discomfort.
Manipulations can provide numerous benefits including:

  • better range of motion in your joints
  • increased blood flow (which helps to release toxins and promote muscle healing)
  • increased production of endorphins, your body’s natural painkillers
  • better pain tolerance


Biofeedback therapy was designed to treat a variety of illnesses including chronic pain disorders, paralysis, and fatigue. It has also proven helpful in relieving some types of psychological illnesses, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder. Biofeedback has also proven to be helpful in reducing various symptoms of fibromyalgia.

Biofeedback is an alternative medicine technique that allows a person to control certain bodily functions that typically occur automatically, such as heart rate, blood pressure, and muscle tension. It may alleviate a variety of troublesome conditions and improve emotional and physical health.The feedback may come in the form of muscle tension, skin temperature, or brain wave measurements. Biofeedback is helpful for many painful conditions when it is used along with other therapies. 

Types of Biofeedback
There are a number of different types of biofeedback therapy. They are often used together in order to achieve the best affect.
Electromyograph (EMG)
EMG biofeedback is the most common type of biofeedback therapy and is especially useful for fibromyalgia patients. It is used to correct muscle pain and stiffness. A biofeedback device called an electromyograph measures electricity given off by your muscles.
Peripheral Skin Temperature (PST)
This type of biofeedback measures electrical impulses given off by the flow of your blood. This provides information about your skin temperature, which can be used to fight persistent cold or Raynaud’s phenomenon.
Electroderm Response (EDR)
EDR monitors electricity produced by your sweating reflexes, and is also known as sweating biofeedback. It is used to correct anxiety and depression.
Brainwave Electroencephalogram (EEG)
EEG biofeedback measures the type of waves that your brain produces. It is helpful in correcting all sorts of ailments, ranging from depression to sleep disorders.
Breathing Biofeedback
Breathing biofeedback gives you information about your pulse rate and how fast you are breathing. It is used to help correct anxiety and fatigue.

Benefits of Biofeedback for Fibromyalgia
Biofeedback has proven to be very effective in reducing symptoms of fibromyalgia syndrome. It helps to:

  • increase physical function
  • decrease tender points
  • minimize pain
  • decrease disordered sleep patterns

In one recent study, fibromyalgia patients who attended 15 biofeedback sessions experienced a decrease in their number of tender points, as well as improvements in their muscle stiffness and pain symptoms. These benefits lasted for up to six months.