Where, oh Where…?

So, I’ve spent most of the day looking at current research and trying to find something to write about; BUT it’s all so BLAH!

203. acupunctureYes, acupuncture has been found to help those suffering from FM – where’s the new information in that?

Yes, marijuana has been shown to help those suffering from FM – where’s the new information in that?

Yes, dysmenorrhea is especially common in FM – where’s the new information in that?

Obesity, tai-chi, hydrotherapy,  shiatsu, reflexology, yoga – it’s all the same…there is nothing new!

I’ve kept reading, checking Facebook, watching tweets and I can’t find anything! And, obviously, I have done nothing else to tell you about. So, I’m setting you a mission: can you find (somewhere, anywhere) something new about FM?


Related Articles:

Day 2 without Cymbalta (and no other anti-depressant)!

Walking up the street; pause to catch my breath but feels like my body is still moving!

18 degrees celsius and I’m sweating profusely (this had better stop before Bali or I’m in big trouble!)

Get back home & sit down – heart pounding throughout my whole body! What is that?

Absolutely boiling to death.  Leave door open to allow cool breeze to come in.

Now freezing. Close door and turn up heating.

Call Mommy to give her my reflexology session as there is no way I can drive that far.

Can I make it to Zack’s (restaurant) for dinner? asks Mommy. It’s only a 3 minute drive – Sure, I think.

Drive to Zack’s. Make myself carsick – can you do that if you’re the one driving?

Boiling again. Wait outside restaurant, in cool breeze, ‘til Mommy gets there.

Starving! Haven’t eaten all day, due to nausea.

Breathed in a Coke. Felt much better – supposedly, sugar (and chocolate) makes depression slightly better!

Ate dinner – boiling again! And nauseous…thanks for dinner but I have to leave NOW!!!

Drive home. Leave door open to allow cool breeze to come in.

Now freezing. Close door and turn up heating.

Want to pull off my face, to get to the pain underneath.

You know how you can put your thumb in that hole-type spot at the bottom of your skull, to relieve the pain emanating from there? Where is that spot under your cheekbones? I NEED that spot.

Swallow a handful of panadeine forte with some water. Rip bra off. Pain patch on my spot between my neck and my shoulder (have no idea what it’s called!)

Feels like my arm is going to tear off – from my clavicle down. Can’t even feel the pain patch.

Pain under my ribcage, like my body has been squished between the thumb and forefinger of a giant.

Pounding heartbeat again. I think I’m dying.

Need to lean back between lines of this post as leaning forward is making me nauseous…

Enough now – please go away.

You get the idea.

Can Sudafed Cure Fibromyalgia?

So, I’ve been in hell for the last couple of days with head, neck and face pain that would not quit. No matter how much Panadeine Forte and self-treatment I threw at it, it persisted. I had a reflexology treatment on Wednesday with about an hour of some relief. I hid in my darkened, heated house for the whole day Thursday; and on Friday, I went to physio and hydro – still no relief (except while actually in the pool). Tried a joint – it loosened my shoulders but my face felt like it was about to explode. In the evening, I went to a shiatsu treatment. By the time I drove home with all the lights in my eyes, I was ready to die.

Finally, despite knowing that the pain wasn’t sinus pain, I tried Sudafed PE and Panadeine Forte. Oh my, without jinxing it, relief! But how?

I looked up Sudafed PE and found that the three main ingredients are Guaifenesin, Dextromethorphan and decongestants. Hold on! I’ve seen that word somewhere – Guaifenesin?

Guaifenesin is an expectorant that helps thin and loosen mucus in the lungs, making it easier to cough up the mucus. No, that wasn’t where I’ve seen it…

Aah! The Guaifenesin Protocol: Dr St. Amand claimed that the drug Guaifenesin could treat FM symptoms by removing excess phosphate from the body. These deposits were believed to cause serious impediment of blood flow to these tissues, resulting in an impairment of vital cellular functions throughout the body. Naturally, if this were truly the case, it could explain the widespread pain and body-wide dysfunction that fibromyalgia patients have.  Now I know absolutely nothing about this protocol (other than what I have just looked up) so I do not mean to offend those who are fans/followers with this post. I am only making personal comments from my recent experience.

The removal of the phosphate should supposedly lead to a reversal of all FM symptoms, which would essentially be as close to a cure as possible.  Dr St. Amand claims that he has successfully reversed all FM symptoms in 90% of his patients.  Additionally, Dr St. Amand himself claims to have had fibromyalgia, but that he has been pain-free for decades.

At the 1996, Orlando American College of Rheumatology meeting, Robert Bennett, M.D., presented the results of his one-year placebo-controlled trial of Guaifenesin. The Oregon Health and Science University professor from Portland posed the following question at the opening of his speech: “Why on earth would someone choose to study an expectorant for the treatment of fibromyalgia?” Bennett says: “The answer lies in the realm of popular demand.”

As Dr Bennett explained, the study of Guaifenesin for the treatment of FM had to do with the patient demand for this drug and the frequent claims on the Internet and elsewhere that it was a cure for FM. The proponents of this ‘cure’ often claimed Guaifenesin wasn’t for wimps! Yes, as this drug was drawing the calcium phosphate deposits out of your tissues and into your bloodstream, you would have to go through symptom flare-ups. In the long run, after cycling in and out of severe pain, Guaifenesin would rid your body of the damaging effects of these deposits. As long as you stayed on a maintenance dose of this drug, you would live out the rest of your life pain-free. What an enticement, especially for those patients who are already up to their eyeballs in pain!

The likelihood that Guaifenesin was the cure was slim, but for the benefit of patients who were dumping conventional therapies to try it, Guaifenesin needed to be tested. Dr Bennett agreed to take on the arduous task of a one-year double-blind, placebo-controlled study to get to the truth about Guaifenesin.

Twenty FM patients were placed on Guaifenesin twice a day and another 20 patients took a placebo twice daily. None of the patients knew what they were taking, but all were given the same instructions to not take salicylates (like aspirin) because they interfere with the functioning of Guaifenesin. After a year, the response to Guaifenesin was the same as that for the placebo. Now, what about the claims on the Internet and elsewhere that this study was fatally flawed because patients might have used cosmetics and other topical products that contain salicylates? Dr Bennett provided six scientifically based reasons to toss out this claim:

Lastly, Guaifenesin was not found to increase uric acid or phosphate excretions. Thus the postulated action of Guaifenesin—the reason cited for its effectiveness—could not be demonstrated.

Dr Bennett commented, “We have shown the placebo is just as effective as the placebo!”

Nonetheless, Guaifenesin, also, has a property which is not well-known by many people (including doctors), but is well documented in the medical literature.  It is capable of acting as a skeletal muscle relaxant.  It does this by depressing transmission of nerve impulses in the central nervous system.  The reason that this information is not well-known is because Guaifenesin was a grandfathered drug, so it was never subjected to thorough testing, as later drugs had to be.  And it is not used for this property, by traditional doctors, because other drugs with similar properties were found to be more effective.

Hmm, maybe Sudafed PE is the cheaper alternative to all those expensive FM drugs?


  1. I am not really promoting the use of decongestants or cough medicines to get Guaifenesin. There are potential side effects from various additives. I am NOT a medical practitioner and this post, although based on minimal internet research and my own personal experience, is tongue-in-cheek and should NOT be taken seriously.
  2. If any of my readers are actually on the Guaifenesin Protocol, perhaps they would be willing to tell us about their experience.

The Body Love Reflex

I’m in LOVE!!!

Her name is Amy – no! I haven’t turned – Amy is the student therapist who performed my reflexology treatment. I want her to spend every night with me – then she will be there in the morning to do amazing, mind-blowing things to my feet!

Remember I told you about the ‘reflexology massage’ (and I use that term loosely, now that I know the REAL thing) that I had at one of the little Asian places that have popped up in all shopping centres? Well, it was nothing like that.

I was taken into a warm, womb-like room – absolutely welcoming after the 11 degree temperature outside. Amy gave me a choice of a comfy chair or the practitioners’ bed. I hate those platform things so it was the chair for me. My socks came off and Amy wiped down my feet (not quite as nice as a Balinese foot-wash but still refreshing).

Then three deep breaths as Amy held pressure to my feet, and off we went. I expected to just lie back and relax because I had been feeling very fragile, with a headache that had been hanging on for four days and the decathlon-performance pain that we all know too well; but, instead, very slowly, I became energised and we talked about all the different nerve endings in my feet (did you know there are over 7000?) and what organs and other bits were affected when she touched different parts of my feet.

As a therapy, reflexology is not invasive – only the feet, and/or hands and ears are worked. It is deeply relaxing yet surprisingly energising – while I was lying back in my chair, I was thinking to myself ‘yeah, this is nice but that’s about it!’ You may feel you are being pampered during a reflexology session but do not underestimate the powerful effects this treatment can have on all of your body systems. After going back to reception, I suddenly realised that I felt great. There was still a dull ache in my left shoulder but my head didn’t hurt and I almost bounced back to Mommy’s house (about three blocks away).

I’m booked in Shiatsu tomorrow, reflexology next Wednesday and another Shiatsu on the Friday after. Like I said – I’m in love!

Anyone in Melbourne? (Or Need an Excuse to Come to Melbourne?)

I told you about the great shiatsu treatment that I had on Friday; and today, I had a marvellous reflexology treatment  (which I will tell you about at a later time).

The EastWest College is having a fund-raising event on June 24th 2012. All treatments will be $15 – yes, you heard me – $15:

  • $15 for one hour of shiatsu
  • $15 for one hour of reflexology
  • $15 for one hour of massage

Now, there are only two problems:

  1. EastWest College is in Caulfield South, Victoria, AUSTRALIA; and
  2. Places are restricted.

So, if you live in/near Melbourne, or you really need an excuse to come for a visit, the weekend of June 24th is the time to come!

Shiatsu Saviour

Last night, Mommy surprised me by taking me for a shiatsu massage. Almost every day, we pass EastWest College, which is a school that delivers training for the professional practice of Therapeutic Massage, Shiatsu, Oriental and Complimentary therapies. Almost every day, we have said that we should go there. So last night, we did.

Shiatsu literally translates as ‘finger pressure’ and is a Japanese therapy originating in Oriental medical theory and traditional Japanese massage techniques.

Shiatsu therapists treat the whole body as well as specific problem areas by addressing both emotional and physical wellbeing. The aim is to treat the body by balancing the flow of Ki (life energy); applying pressure to obstructed or weak areas. This relieves symptoms and resolves conditions, improving the patient’s strength and vitality. The patient lies on a thin mattress on the floor, not a massage table which means the practitioner can use his/her body weight to increase pressure where it is needed, often synchronising the pressure with your breathing. Generally it is very relaxing and although some acupoints will be more tender than others.

Shiatsu is recognised as being suitable for treatment of most common conditions including musculoskeletal, menstrual, digestive and immune system disorders as well as being one of the most effective therapies for stress management and relaxation.

Currently, there is a randomized clinical trial being carried out by the University of Sao Paulo General Hospital, with the aim of verifying the efficacy of Shiatsu in the improvement of pain, flexibility, quality of sleep, anxiety and quality of life of individuals with FM. (This study is ongoing but no longer accepting participants.)

The EastWest College offers massage and reflexology as well as Shiatsu, so I know that I’ll be going back – in fact, I have already phoned and left a message.

The massage courses offered by EastWest College cover many of the different styles of massage such as Relaxation, Swedish, Sports, Remedial, Shiatsu and Lymphatic.  Particular emphasis is placed on the integration of Oriental and Western Massage, which allows graduates to acquire professional skills in Oriental tactile medicine in combination with the popular musculoskeletal therapy of Remedial and Therapeutic Massage.

I have talked about reflexology before as a healing art that uses acupressure and massage on the feet, hands or ears to promote relaxation, alleviate pain, treat illness, and stimulate the body’s ability to heal itself. Reflexology aims to help the body’s energy circulate effectively without blockages, stagnation or energy loss by manipulating reflex points in the feet, hands or ears. Unlike acupuncture, reflexology is non-invasive.

Not so excited about students working on you?

Firstly, it was fabulous – my masseuse/student explained everything that she was doing, made sure that I wasn’t hurting too much (I had told her about my FM); and, actually built up a sweat working and stretching out my tired and taut body. Maybe I was lucky but Mommy (with sciatica) was thrilled with her massage, too.

Next, it is totally supervised. This is not one of those 6 week courses that people do at the local college – these are nationally and internationally accredited courses over 12 -24 months. Does that make the thought more comforting to you?

And finally, it was $15 for an hour!!! (that’s introductory – normally $35) You really can’t beat that.

I know that this particular college is in Melbourne, Australia but perhaps you may now consider giving the opportunity to students, near you, to learn (and become aware of FM) while receiving the benefit of a great treatment!



A Reflex Action

You know that absolutely wonderful thing, that gorgeous men/women who love/lust after/appreciate a woman do, which makes us squirm, sigh, shriek and purr? The thing that we don’t really talk about yet still can’t get enough of? That thing that gives us such a guilty pleasure that we can’t even watch our beautiful partner perform the act?

Well, I had that same sort of guilty pleasure (although not nearly as pleasurable) today.

Mommy and I snuck away to get a massage from one of the Asian massage places that have popped up everywhere recently. Mommy had a sciatica massage and I decided to try some reflexology. WHAT? you say…it doesn’t even compare! Let me tell you that there are a myriad of similarities: latex (in this case, gloves), lubrication, pleasure and guilt, while trying to enjoy the entire process while a little Asian man (really! I am not being racist – it was an Asian man who was shorter than me!) massaged my feet. Comparable to the act I described earlier, I couldn’t actually watch the man performing the massage – it just felt wrong.

Reflexology is a wonderfully relaxing therapy that works on many levels, soothing, calming, balancing and boosting your entire body. Reflexology is based on the principle that certain parts of the body reflect the whole. Reflex points, which relate to all parts of the body, can be found in the feet, hands, face and ears. These points respond to pressure, stimulating the body’s own natural healing process. The body starts progressively clearing blockages, re-establishing energy flows and balancing itself, resulting in better health. There are many different styles and approaches used in reflexology, however the basic principle is constant. Subtle yet powerful, reflexology is becoming increasingly popular in the world of complementary therapies.

As a therapy, reflexology is not invasive – only the feet, and/or hands and ears are worked (we only did my feet). It is deeply relaxing yet surprisingly energizing – all part of its balancing capacity. You may feel you are being pampered during a reflexology session but do not underestimate the powerful effects this treatment can have on all of your body systems.

All body systems benefit from reflexology but you immediately notice the effect on your circulation, nervous and lymphatic systems in particular. My feet are tingling – and not the yucky FM pins and needles feeling, it’s my blood coursing through all the bits that feel like they normally get detoured.

Reflexology can address all of our particular needs: painful, congested, sluggish or overactive states within the body can be balanced and normalised. A Chinese survey of 8,096 case studies noted a 94% effective or significantly effective rate.

Stress and Anxiety

Lessening of stress and anxiety is demonstrated in twenty-nine reflexology studies with study participants including healthy individuals, senior citizens, women and cancer patients. The stimulation of reflexology’s pressure techniques creates change in the body’s basic level of tension as demonstrated by research showing that reflexology relaxes the body using a variety of measurements: brain waves (EEG), blood pressure, systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, pulse rate, and anxiety.

Lessening of Pain

Reduction of pain is a significant result of reflexology work. The lessening of pain in response to reflexology is documented in thirty-six studies including individuals of all ages and health states: birthing mothers, menstruating women, phantom limb pain sufferers, lower back pain sufferers, cancer patients, kidney stone patients, senior citizens and individuals with pain resulting from surgery. Such results find explanation is what researcher Dr Nancy Stephenson considers as an effect on the neuromatrix of the brain, an expansion of the Fate Control Theory of Pain. According to Wikipedia: Gate control theory asserts that activation of nerves which do not transmit pain signals, called nonnociceptive fibers, can interfere with signals from pain fibres, thereby inhibiting pain. Stimulating nerves that sense touch, heat, cold and pressure – as does reflexology – overcomes the action of the pain nerves. (YIPPEE!!!!)

Cancer Care

Twenty-four studies conducted by nurses in ten countries show that reflexology helps with each stage of the cancer experience: following chemotherapy, post-operatively, management of symptoms and during palliative/hospice care. Research demonstrates that cancer patients who receive reflexology work show significant improvements in physical and emotional symptoms: lessened pain, anxiety, depression and stress; reduced nausea and vomiting; lowered fatigue and improved quality of life.

Thousands of documented case studies from around the world have demonstrated benefits for:

  • PMT
  • Migraine
  • Sinus
  • Colic
  • Menopause
  • Constipation/Diarrhoea
  • Back Pain
  • Neck Pain
  • Sciatica
  • Shoulder Pain
  • Asthma
  • Stroke
  • Menstrual Irregularities

As my reflexology massage was not the ‘official’ kind, I had a half hour session. If you attend a ‘real’ session, it will usually last about an hour depending on your age and state of health. First sessions tend to be longer as the practitioner needs to take a case history prior to any treatment (Umm, we missed that bit, too!)

The exact number of sessions required depends upon several factors including the condition being addressed and the healing response of the individual. A minimum of 3-4 sessions are usually recommended, however chronic conditions may take longer to respond.

As blockages clear and the body reaches a state of balance, the sessions would be cut back to fortnightly, monthly or whenever the client feels the need. It is generally recommended that sessions should be at least a few days apart to allow the body time to adjust to the changes that are taking place as toxins released from congested systems are processed and eliminated.

So, maybe all I had was a foot and calf massage but it still feels amazing! Perhaps our partners have a new wonderful thing to do for us?