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Fibromyalgia - A Natural Approach - April 2014

Life can be worth Living Again!

By Jennifer Strong

lady with a beautiful smile

After a slip and fall in a shopping mall, my mother was diagnosed with fibromyalgia (FM).  Typical of FM patients, she has a history of stress, over-work, under-exercise, and had an impact injury (for most, it is a fall or car collision).  FM patients develop muscle and joint pain, fatigue, depression, insomnia and a sense of being ‘out of kilter.’

                FM is defined as, " A chronic disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, and tenderness in localized areas." In 2007 FM affected 343,000 Canadians. 

                Natural medicine has a great deal to offer FM patients through herbal medicine*, diet, body therapies, exercise, meditation and treatment.  Effective anti-inflammatories include Can Prev’s Pain Pro, turmeric, devil’s claw, and meadowsweet.  Kelp helps with a sluggish thyroid.  Licorice promotes adrenal function, regulates cortisol activity, promotes energy, acts as an anti-inflammatory in joints, however, licorice is not to be taken by those with hypertension or edema.  There are many herbal remedies effective for FM patients.  It is best to consult with a certified herbalist to find which are best for you.

                Your diet is a great way to help yourself!  Avoid dairy and gluten if they produce digestive upsets, heartburn, and/or flatulence.  Minimize red meat, eggs, dairy, acidic foods (vinegar, pickles), those rich in oxalic acid  (rhubarb, gooseberries, black currants and red currants), as well as coffee, black tea, alcohol, sugar, salt and anything made from red grapes.  Enjoy fresh, untreated foods - lots of green and root veggies, citrus fruits, at least 3 pints of water daily (can be mixed with a little apple cider vinegar or apple juice), fish and white meat.

                You can also help yourself with body therapies.  Dry brush your entire body daily, always toward the heart, before every bath or shower.  Nancy K. Brown’s Capsaloe Liniment available at www.nancykbrown.com and at my clinic, provides great, long-lasting relief.  Grow lavender and put it in your button hole, bath, or eyepillow.  Lavender relieves stress, tension, anxiety, fear, persistent unwanted thoughts and disturbed sleep.  Mullein Oil relieves muscle aches.  You can make it by infusing the flowers in olive oil.  Prepare a glass mason jar by filling it 2/33/4 full with semi-dried mullein flowers. Pour organic olive oil over the flowers until they are completely submerged and the container is full. Tightly close the jar’s lid. Place it in a warm, sunny location and let it steep for two to four weeks. Strain out the plant matter with a cheesecloth (or old, clean t-shirt). Rub oil thoroughly into skin.**

                With the right herbal medicine, dietary adjustments and body therapies, your pain will likely begin to ease, making movement easier.  Consider chi gong, yoga, daily walks beginning in water and later on land, and swimming.  My mother swims every day, and now also goes to the gym for cardio and weight-training, and finds these essential for both pain and stress relief.

                Chi gong and yoga prepare your body for deep relaxation.  You may also enjoy listening to The Dreamer - Romances for Alto Flute by Michael Hoppe; lying on your back, lower legs resting on a stool, knees at 90 degrees; meditation, chanting, and prayer.  I teach Sheng Zhen Healing Chi Gong, done seated, and patients find this practice deeply healing.

                I also practice medical acupuncture, which my mother found key in her healing journey.  Medical acupuncture, provided by qualified, registered medical professionals *** is instrumental in recovering from FM's impact injuries, stress and pain. 

                My mother recovered from fibromyalgia and you can too!  See a certified herbalist for herbal medicine that is best for you, adjust your diet, try some effective and gentle body therapies, include movement and exercise in your day, enjoy some meditation and seek professional natural medical treatment.  Life will be worth living again!


*Note: This information is intended to supplement, not substitute for, the expertise and judgement of your certified herbalist, M.D., pharmacist or other healthcare provider. It should not be construed to indicate that the use of this medicine is safe, appropriate, or effective for you. Consult your healthcare provider before taking herbal medicine.

Jennifer  StrongJennifer 's Bio: Strong completed her graduate degree, Master of Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine at the Oregon College of Oriental Medicine, after earning her undergraduate degree at Mills University, an ivy-league school near San Francisco. She practiced at the Edmonton General Hospital for ten years, then six at Guthrie Medical Acupuncture Clinic in Comox, and is now delighted to help patients in the South Okanagan. Her new address is: Penticton Integrative HealthCare Medical Arts Building Suite 202, 626 Main Street Penticton, BC V2A 5C8 - Jennifer Strong Website - Email

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