Archive for the ‘My Lymestyle’ Category
In this category I wanted to share with you a few of the amazing and simple procedures that have helped me find tremendous relief on my Lyme path. All of the procedures I have listed below can be performed on a daily basis in the comfort of your own home. Unfortunately, many afflicted with Lyme and chronic illness don’t have the means to seek help from the sometimes pricey Lyme specialists, so I wanted to offer cost friendly options that you can do on your own without necessarily seeking the guide of these doctors.
Many of these treatments are excellent methods for detox and will help flush the nasty stuff that has built up in your body from the Lyme bacteria, co-infections, viruses, parasites, etc. I have come to appreciate how vital detox is when healing the body from Lyme. Many if not all LLMD’s and LLND’s would agree that detox is just as important as the various antibiotics, herbs and natural remedies used to eradicate the bacteria.
I know that you will feel just as vibrant, energetic and alive as I do after working these essential routines into your daily healing schedule. They may seem a tad daunting at first but I assure you once you get comfortable with these procedures you will wonder where they have been all your life and you will look forward to making time in your schedule to enjoy them. You can have peace of mind knowing that you are treating your body like the temple it is!
I promise that all the information I have listed below is safe and that I undergo these treatments on a regular basis. I guarantee I will only suggest protocols that I have personally used and trusted. Many LLMD’s and LLND’s will recommend that their patients follow these natural healing strategies so if you have a trusted doctor you may want to ask their advice before trying any of these therapies on your own to make sure it is safe for your own individual healing process.
To feel keenly the poetry of a morning’s roses, one has to have just escaped from the claws of this vulture which we call sickness. ~Henri Frederic Amiel
Coffee Enemas – Oh, I hear ya! I was thinking the exact same thing when enemas were suggested to me by my practitioner! “You want me to put that hose where?!?” Coffee enemas can be a foreign and scary thought when first entertaining the idea of them. Although, let me tell ya, they work! Once I got comfortable with them I couldn’t believe the results. I felt so energetic, clean and lively after doing each flush. I now perform them 3-4 times per week and I love them. I can tell automatically if I miss a day because my body feels toxic, heavy and gross.
Coffee enemas are used as a great tool to detox as they help to stimulate the liver to release toxins and garbage to be carried out through the colon. They have been used for many many years by people with cancer and chronic illness and are now popular in Lyme culture. I recommend checking out S.A. Wilson’s website below as they are pioneers in the coffee enema business and create specially formulated organic coffee specifically for enema use. It is best to use only organic coffee so as to not introduce anymore chemicals into our already toxic ridden bodies. The website also offers instructions on how to perform an enema or you can just google “coffee enemas” as there are tons of recipes and information on them.
Epsom Salt Baths – I add 2-3 cups of Epsom Salt to a very warm bath and soak for a minimum of 20 minutes. This is a great way to detoxify and sweat toxins through your largest organ, your skin. Also, the salts help to relieve sore, painful muscles. Epsom Salt is very reasonably priced and can be found at your local drugstore, Wal-Mart or Costco. One tip is to work up slowly with the Epsom Salts as adding too much right away can cause weakness from released toxins. Also, when first starting out limit your soaks to 20 minutes and work up as tolerated.
Dry Skin Brushing – I find brushing to relieve my itchy uncomfortable skin tremendously. Preferably use a natural bristle brush with a long handle to reach your back and hard to reach places on your body. The purpose of brushing is to stimulate the lymphatic system and help the body rid itself of toxins. Also, it helps with circulation and encourages your skin to absorb nutrients which contributes to overall body health. A bonus is it can even help remove cellulite and it feels really pleasant on your skin.
A good rule of thumb is to dry brush toward the heart or the lymph nodes that the region drains to. You will find this helpful when you have uncomfortable swollen glands in your armpits or neck. At first your skin may look red and rashy but once you brush a few times you will get used to it. I do it everyday before I shower or bath and another helpful hint is to switch from cold to warm water temperatures when bathing to further improve circulation. Or, if you have a detachable shower head try running the coldest water you can tolerate over your body starting with your legs and slowly working upwards. The cold water will remove dead skin cells and stimulate the body.
Chiropractic Adjustments – What a godsend these have become! I never realized the importance of adjustments for the first few years I was struggling with Lyme. Now, they have become a staple in my regime. Some people prefer to go once or twice weekly but I find once every 2-3 weeks is usually sufficient unless I am having a flare up in my pain levels or something feels out of whack. I have recently come to realize that chiropractic adjustments are so much more than just getting “your back cracked”. They help to readjust your nervous system so all of your bodies signals are firing properly which in turn can significantly reduce your pain levels. I have been fortunate enough to find a holistic chiropracter in that he doesn’t crack backs but in turn uses a clicking device which aligns the bones properly in my body. Structural problems are now being addressed in Lyme practices as these issues can have a great impact on a Lyme ridden body. It really is just another piece of the puzzle.
Therapeutic Massage – Who doesn’t enjoy a delightful massage now and then? It is especially beneficial to Lyme patients. It helps relax the body and mind, provides pain relief and increases circulation to sore muscles and joints and it just feels really good. Another plus is massage greatly aids in lymphatic drainage and will help relieve sore painful lymph nodes. Any form of massage is wonderful but I feel the most beneficial forms are therapeutic, swedish and lympthatic drainage as these can help release toxin buildup, fluid and pain from your muscles and joints. A relaxing massage is nice but doesn’t work the body as much as needed when trying to relieve pain. I get regular swedish and lymphatic drainage massages and I look forward to them so much. They have helped tremendously with my pain levels and I feel such a sense of overall well-being and calmness afterwards. I think you would love them just as much as I do!
Mild Exercise- Stretching, swimming, walking, biking, dancing or gentle yoga are examples of exercise that shouldn’t be too strenuous to a Lyme patient as long as you listen to your body and start out slowly and not overdo it. Unfortunately, some Lyme patients are bedridden and wheelchair bound and it isn’t an option for them to do these types of exercise. If it is not possible for you to do these activities just do the little bit that you can, even if that is just walking around your living room or doing gentle muscle stretching. I do regular mild full body stretching which has been so beneficial to my tight sore muscles and joints. Boy, do I feel relaxed and oh so good afterwards!
Any form of exercise is necessary when trying to recover from Lyme. Many LLMD’s and LLND’s insist that it isn’t possible to recover from Lyme without exercise and I definitely agree with them on this issue. Don’t be hard on yourself thinking you need to run a marathon as even the gentlest forms of movement are incredibly helpful. As your body heals from this illness you will be fully capable of engaging in all your favourite sports and activities once again. In my own personal experience I have found any sort of physical activity to be fundamental in relieving depression and lifting my mood, relieving pain and improving my sleeping patterns.
Hormone Replacement – It is very important that hormones be tailored specifically to each individual person. Some Lymies may have more of a need for replacement hormones than others. This will need to be addressed through the proper testing with your Lyme specialist. I just wanted to be open about my own personal experience. Due to the chronic stress and illness on my body over the years it became very apparent that I needed some adrenal support. Adrenals are the little glands that sit on top of your kidneys and help your body deal with stress and support your immune system. Unfortunately, it is very common to see adrenal exhaustion in Lyme Disease and Chronic Illness. This illness can deplete these small glands rather easily but there are many promising prescriptions and natural products that will help to rebuild and support these little guys. Your doctor will know which product is best suited to your needs and you will be on your way to having happy healthy adrenals once again.
The thyroid is another gland that seems to have a rough go of it as well. More or less, it’s the same type of scenario in that the stress on the body can really wear down thyroid function. Oh, happy day…… there is great news when it comes to this gland also. With the proper replacement product (whether it be precription or au natural) all can be well again. Wow, have I learned that missing a dose is not acceptable! These hormones are so critical in the fight against Lyme and provide your body with all the fighting power it can. Also, your body receives the extra boost it so rightfully deserves and needs. Lyme specialists are very aware of the importance of balancing hormones so I feel quite sure this will be addressed in your treatment plan but if you suspect a hormone issue definitely feel at ease discussing this with your doc.
Supplements – Did I mention supplements? So, this tends to be the way the cookie crumbles when receiving help in the Lyme department. Many, so many supplements. Once I get used to each treatment protocol and get rolling with my supplements it’s a breeze. Although, I do have a schedule on my fridge to help with my Lyme brain. Anyone who can remember which supplements to take at which meals and before, between, at bedtime, etc. deserves a prize of some sort. Sure, swallowing all these pills can get frustrating at times and I have thought, “How can I possibly get another pill down my throat?” In the end, it is for the greater good since Lyme robs our bodies of so many essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients. Knowing that our bodies are being pumped full of all these glorious golden little pills definitely brings peace of mind and the willingness to get the job done.
Yes, indeed I am on a full spectrum arsenal of prescriptions and supplements but they are benefiting me so much that I now welcome them with open arms. You really do get used to it after a bit. Only a Lyme specialist can tailor the best treatment plan specific to your body’s needs so, if you have the means, I highly recommend this approach. Seeking the help from a Lyme doc is the best avenue to approach in order to avoid possible side effects, allergies and extreme herx reactions. They will know best which medications and supplements can be taken together at the same time.
Top Supplements – Although there are many different brands and variations out there that you might need to experiment with, the main supplements I have found to be most beneficial are:
- Magnesium – Lyme is famous for stealing our Magnesium supply in our bodies so replacing this essential mineral is very important. I find that it helps me feel more relaxed so I can sleep better at night. It alleviates my achy, sore muscles and decreases those odd chest/heart pains and palpitations.
- Essential Fatty Acids – These are an essential! Essential fatty acids including Omega 3′s and Omega 6′s are proving to become a staple in chronic illness. In Lyme, they help beautifully with inflammation and brain function and are a critical aid in the recovery process.
- Vitamin C – A super booster for the immune system! When battling Lyme we welcome all the help we can get in strengthening our immune systems to fight off these nasty critters. Recently, phospholipid and liposomal formulas have been gaining much attention as having the absorbancy rate of an IV as compared to taking them orally. These formulas are showing much promise in the Vitamin C circles.
- Probiotics – These are the healthy bacteria that are desperately needed in the gut after antibiotics, antimicrobials, herbs, etc. are ingested in strong doses to kill the Lyme bacteria in our bodies. Probiotics help to replace the good bacteria that is killed off during Lyme treatment and helps to restore our immune function and balance the gut.
- Vitamin D3 – This incredible essential vitamin is gaining much attention in the media in that it helps prevent numerous diseases including MS, Alzheimers, Cancer and so on. This is one vitamin that the majority of the population does not get enough of due to lack of natural sunlight on a daily basis. Even if we follow a healthy diet we run the risk that we are still not getting enough Vitamin D in our bodies. We absolutely need this little pill to help regulate our immune systems and help lower inflammation.
Clean Diet – Sorry to be the bearer of bad news on this subject! This is and continues to be a hard thing for me to accept. When I first started Lyme treatment it was stated to me over and over again that I have absolutely no sugar, no gluten and no dairy. Sugar and gluten have some wonderful substitutes out there and I thought I may possibly manage those ideas. Although dairy is one of my best friends and I couldn’t fathom life without it!
Fortunately, I have recently been muscle tested for dairy and the testing proved I can handle dairy quite well and there is no need to eliminate it from my diet. I was ecstatic to say the very least! I guess being a Type B blood type has its benefits in that I can handle dairy quite well!
So, when it comes to diet in the Lyme world it is often stressed that sugar, gluten and dairy are the enemies but I find it to be a very individual approach. If you are under the care of a Lyme doc I would recommend seeking their advice on the diet topic. If your doc performs muscle testing this is even better as this testing can address specific concerns to specific foods. Organic food is also very often stressed to cut down on the chemicals and preservatives in our already toxic bodies. Organic can get quite pricey so just do the best that you can. Even if you can only afford a few organic items that is definitely better than none at all.
Sugar is a particularly nasty substance to begin with as it weakens the immune system, breeds candida and causes major inflammation in the body. Indeed, sugar is a critical issue to those ridden with the Lyme bacteria. The Lyme bugs LOVE sugar and will gobble it up like it is going out of style! This in turn causes the bacteria to multiply like crazy and further spread into all the organs in your body. I can certainly notice when I treat myself to this ingredient that my symptoms flare like crazy, I become irritable and curse why I did this to myself. It really is addicting so the more you consume the more you want. I find after I cut it out I feel much better in a couple days and don’t get the insane sugar cravings. Many times this is not you wanting the sugar but the Lyme bugs, candida and parasites that are willing to do anything to get it.
I certainly don’t completely deprive myself! I find it easier when I am eating at home because I can prepare all my recipes from scratch using healthier substitutions. So, I try to make wise food choices as best I can when I can. I so look forward to dining out with my hubby and girlfriends so I can indulge in my pastime favourites from time to time. So, don’t be too hard on yourself for indulging in your favourite guilty pleasures from time to time. I find expecting to never touch sugar, gluten and dairy again a huge thing to expect and is much easier said than done. Have that occasional piece of pizza just don’t overdo it. Feel good doing the best you can and making healthy choices. I think you will find your symptoms to be much more tolerable when switching to a clean diet. This makes the process so much easier when you can reap the benefits! Please check out the Recipes / Diet category for more information.
Sleep, Sleep and More Sleep – Proper rest is so important for healing the body and reducing pain and symptoms. I am embarrassed to admit that some nights I feel the need to sleep up to 12 hours and that if I am sleep deprived my symptoms intensify and are much more pronounced. There is no reason to feel guilty for getting extra sleep or taking a nap when needed as this issue is at the top of the list to overcoming Lyme Disease. Lyme can cause symptoms quite similar to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and may cause that unrelentless sleepy feeling all day long. Even if it is not possible to get extra sleep during the day make sure to get enough at night otherwise your body will be screaming at you the next day wondering why you didn’t get proper rest.
You may want to get your thyroid and adrenal levels checked as low levels can rob you of energy and cause excessive sleepiness. I know if I miss my hormone pills at 8:00 am I can sleep in till noon without even flinching an eye lid. Insomnia can be a big issue for us Lymies as well and can be frustrating to say the least. Depending on our bodies cycles and flare-ups from treatment it can become such a hassle laying in bed at night for hours with the inability to doze off. Occasionally, I go through a week at a time having difficult sleeping patterns and I just want more than anything to soar off into dreamland.
Lavendar oil has worked wonders for me in this department! You can experiment with it to see what works for you. Some rub a little on their pillow case at bedtime to help them drift off. I dab a little just under my nose and behind my ears and breathing in the delightful scent helps calm the brain and make getting those zzzz’s happen much faster. Melatonin in small doses has worked for some Lymies and can be found at your local health food store. I’m not an advocate for prescription sleep aids as these pills have the potential of becoming habit forming and cause excessive drowsiness.
Avoid Stress as Much as Possible – Stress poses a negative impact on the body and further burdens a Lyme body even more. I realize it is impossible to entirely avoid all forms of stress but greatly reducing and managing stress can be a healing aid on its own. Mental stress can be just as bothersome and cause the same exhausting symptoms in the body. Some examples of stress management are meditation, avoiding negative and life draining people, only doing as much as your body allows, taking a mild walk, laughing as much as possible and thinking positive happy thoughts.
Positive Uplifting Thoughts and Attitude - I’ll be the first to admit that when you are suffering with Lyme and the accompanying issues that go with it, some days you feel like not crawling out of bed and you just want nothing more than to escape from reality. That once again, here you are on a new day, and nope nothing has changed because you are still sick. We are all human and anyone would be lying if they said they never had a down day with this illness. This disease pushes you to the edge and back again and you have no option but to become a stronger person because of it. Negative thoughts once in a while are understandable but it is so essential to maintain a positive attitude otherwise your body is never going to heal because negativity pushes you further into stress and illness. I have learned to accept that this illness is a part of me now and I look at all the things I can do instead of what I can’t do. I once heard a quote a while back that has stuck with me and makes me chuckle!
Chronic illness definitely isn’t for wimps. ~Unknown
Never, Ever Give up Hope! – Currently, this is such an exciting time in the Lyme world! There are constantly new conventional and alternative forms of treatment popping up everywhere and there are so many options to choose from. Just always keep the faith and remember that what works for one person may not work for the next person. You may feel like a guinea pig as you endlessly experiment with one treatment after another until you find the one that gives you relief. It is sad that so many are under the false pretense that Lyme is a quick fix, sometimes it can take years before you notice an improvement. But that doesn’t mean that you should give up hope, keep on truckin’ until you find that answer and be patient. I know sometimes it is easier said than done but if we don’t have hope what do we have?
Listen To Your Body – Try not to push yourself too hard as your body is healing and on the road to recovery. We all can have busy strenuous days but remember to take time for yourself. Find the time to read a great novel, soak in a relaxing bath or share a good laugh with friends. Let your body be your guide and when it says you need a rest don’t feel guilty to slow down and take a few minutes. Sometimes I get so excited to go out and have some fun for once that I don’t listen to my body when I should. I regret that later on because I am so beyond exhausted that it takes me days to recuperate. It usually isn’t practical to stay in bed for 2 days straight so do what works for you and find a happy medium.