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ME/CFS (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome)

ME/CFS (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Fibromyalgia • Chronic Viral and Bacterial Infections • Autoimmune Disease • Chemical Sensitivity/Injury

Fatigue - Photo by Kinga Cichewicz on Unsplash

What we’re talking about are these complex chronic diseases. What you might call the chronic-chronic disease. It’s when people are left with inability to function and we don’t know why. Often it’s precipitated by an infection, but it doesn’t have to be. It can be a minor trauma, car accidents. The body winds up in a state of chronic inflammation and it doesn’t always have pain. Sometimes the inflammation is mostly in the brain. In that case, it might be difficulty thinking and being able to organize your day. It’s amazing how debilitating these illnesses are.

Now they are often lumped under chronic fatigue, immune deficiency syndrome or chronic Lyme disease, or post-Lyme. These are all names that depend on which doctor you go to. Some people it is called CIRS, chronic inflammatory response syndrome. But basically, these are illnesses that are not yet understood.

The most important thing is if you’ve been ill for a long time,  to not give up hope. These are difficult illnesses. But so many people do get better because there are so many different reasons that you can wind up with chronic illness. Don’t give up because somebody you know didn’t get better. There are so many pieces that can allow the body to enter the healing cycle and really go back to normal.

Eric Gordon, MD – The Mitochondria in Complex Illness

Audio And Video Talks

The Mitochondria In Complex Illness

Audio interview with Eric Gordon, MD.

Our topic for today is a complicated one. We’re going to talk about the role of the mitochondria in complex chronic illness. The mitochondria is the organelle that’s most responsible for cellular energy and it plays a crucial role in chronic diseases. Every cell in our body contains several thousand mitochondria and mitochondria produce 90% of the energy our body needs to function.

See complete transcript.

Helping the Unusually Sensitive Patient to Heal

Interview with Wayne Anderson, ND.

We see many patients who cannot tolerate the typical doses of medications, supplements, and even homeopathics. This broadcast will be devoted to understand how this happens and how we can help those patients to heal.

Environmental Toxicity: What You Don't Know May Hurt You

An audio interview with Dr. Eric Gordon.

Many of our patients are not fully aware of the problems associated with heavy metal toxicity (mercury and lead, especially), chemicals, electromagnetic waves and radiation and how these exposures may significantly impact their health.

The Future of Medicine and Health

A discussion of where we feel the future of medical care is going from a variety of perspectives. One particularly exciting new development is our work with Dr. Naviaux’s concept of the Cell Danger Response and how that work has the potential to change the way medicine is practiced.

See our paper on “Metabolic Features of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome“, Published in 2016.

Mold Toxicity and Chronic Inflammatory Illness

Dr. Gordon has been actively involved in research into the underlying causes and treatments of chronic inflammatory illnesses.

These illnesses can be triggered by biotoxin exposure, mold, Lyme disease, and a variety of other insults to the immune system. Find out how Dr. Gordon currently understands the process of inflammation developing in the body, and what you can do about it.

The Role of Dysbiosis and Chronic Infections on Cognitive and Psychological Health

Nafysa Parpia, ND Interview by Daniel Schmachtenberger, Part of the Collective Insights Podcast Series

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Nebulized Glutathione for Smoke Inhalation

Nebulized Glutathione for Smoke Inhalation

Fires seem to be a part of living in CA now. Many people are finding that the smoke has caused lung irritation, chest constriction, asthma, coughing or wheezing. GMA is offering nebulized glutathione, which acts as a powerful antioxidant and detoxifier for the lungs, protecting the whole respiratory tract from oxidative stress. Because many pulmonary diseases and respiratory related conditions are affected by deficient antioxidant status, poor oxygenation and/or impaired host defenses, glutathione is an excellent choice to support healthy lung function. Oral or IV glutathione will not be as effective for treating lungs as the nebulized glutathione.

Nebulized Therapy

With a nebulizer, glutathione is delivered as a fine mist into the upper respiratory tract and lungs through a mask that covers the nose and mouth or delivered directly into the lungs with a mouth piece. Each nebulizer treatment takes between 15-25 minutes.

In terms of side effects, glutathione is very safe. Some people will experience mild coughing and a unpleasant sulfur odor. However, for those who are sulfite sensitive, glutathione is contraindicated. If you aren’t sure if you are sulfite sensitive, sulfite strips can measure your urine. Those who test positive for sulfites should not use glutathione.

Nebulized glutathione is offered to established patients of GMA during fire events. To make an appointment, contact us through the Patient Portal.

At other times, GMA offers Nebulized Glutathione to new patients after seeing one of our practitioners. To become a patient at GMA, contact us on the New Patient form, or call (707) 575-5180.

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Use Breathing to Improve Your Health

The following suggestions are generally safe for most patients. Some patients may have issues with detoxification, and may need to move very slowly. If you have questions, please schedule an appointment to speak with your practitioner.

Breathing is the basis of life, after all. What’s that saying… you can go without food for a month, you can go without water for 7 days, but you can only go without breathing for 3 minutes before your brain begins to die. We breath 20,000 times a day! It makes sense if I’m doing something 20,000 times a day, I’d like to be know more about it, and feel like I can have an impact on something that is so important. Right!?

How does good breathing benefit those of you with chronic complex diseases? One of the biggest problems with being chronically ill is not being able to get enough movement into your daily life. This can cause a significant amount of stagnation in lymph and blood flow. Did you know that breathing deeply brings more oxygen into the blood, as well as improving lymph flow? It also happens to be the best massage for your digestive system there is… and you don’t have to travel or pay money for it!

Breathing
Let’s look at some basics about how this all works. Every time you inhale your diaphragm goes from a dome shape (at about the 5th rib, which for women is about where a bra might be) to a more flattened out shape. This is more dramatically experienced on a “diaphragmatic breath”. On an inhale the diaphragm will move 2-3 cm (just under 1 inch) downwards towards the pelvis. The organs below the diaphragm simultaneously move down and then forward.
Diaphragm in Breathing

The diaphragm is shown in red.

See this for yourself. Lay down on your back, knees bent and put something on your stomach, like a light book or an eye pillow. As you breath in, the diaphragm moves down towards the pelvis and the belly goes towards the ceiling. As you continue your deep breath, the rib cage widens and the sternum (the breast bone) rises to the ceiling as well. Does this happen for you? Take a moment to notice how your breath feels to you.

Here is a effective, simple way to make a change in your breath. Place your hands horizontally at the front of your rib cage at the level of your diaphragm at the dome (for women, just below bra strap zone.) Move your hands down with the inhale and up with the exhale. You could also imagine the diaphragm to be like an elevator moving up and down in its shaft (the ribs). As you inhale the elevator goes down, and as you exhale the elevator goes up.

Excerpt from Dynamic Alignment by Eric Franklin

Take some deep breaths again and notice if you feel a change. Perhaps more movement, or a sense of breathing with more ease?

 

Now let’s try the free, no travel necessary abdominal massage.  Notice in the picture above how the liver and stomach are right under the diaphragm. Also notice how the intestines are just below the liver and stomach. They ALL move, glide and slide when you breath as well as in every movement you do. Isn’t that cool!

Have you ever considered this internal movement of your organs before?

 

Now try this: Lay on your back, knees bent, and inhale. In this moment, as the diaphragm descends, the abdominal organs are moving, gliding, and sliding towards the pelvis. They reach a point where they can’t go down anymore and start to be compressed, and your belly rises. This is your organs being compressed – squeezed like a sponge.

As you exhale, the diaphragm returns to it’s dome shape and the organs decompress. Voila! – abdominal massage.

Do this 6-8 times, and imagine that the organs are being squeezed like a sponge. You can even use your hands over your abdominal organs in a squeeze and release action – as if you were wringing a sponge.

To help out even more, say it to yourself – squeeze like a sponge, and release. Squeeze on the inhale, and release on the exhale.

After you’ve done this 6-8 times, stop to see how you feel. Maybe move your spine around, bring the knees towards the chest, any movement you’d like. Do you feel different somehow? Is there some improvement?

If you haven’t moved much recently, do this slowly and thoughtfully, and stop whenever you feel you need to. Do a little each day, working up to what feels good to you.

 

The magic doesn’t stop there. The organs above the diaphragm move as well! Besides the lungs moving, the lining around the heart (called the pericardium) has a substantial ligament that attaches to the diaphragm. With each inhale the diaphragm descends, lengthening that ligament. On the exhale the diaphragm goes back up to its dome shape and recoils that ligament, giving the heart and pericardium an action similar to massage.

Try this on yourself, either sitting or standing with your spine nice and tall. Put your right hand over your heart. With each inhale let your hand glide down a few centimeters towards your belly. On the exhale let it glide back up.

If you want to add another part, use your left hand as a representation of your diaphragm. Both hands follow the downward motion on the inhale and the upward motion of the exhale.

Feel free to move your spine around while you do this. I like to arch back with the chest up to the ceiling doing a full breath. Perhaps you can feel  more ease in your chest and/or your breathing. Notice any change in your body, and take a moment to appreciate that change.

 

So take several deep conscious breaths now, know how your diaphragm moves and impacts the organs above and below it, and take note of any changes you may feel. I hope that this helps you live more comfortably in your body and gets your blood, lymph, and organs moving. Blessings to you embodying the healthier you.

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Techniques to Use at Home to Stimulate Lymphatic Drainage

The following suggestions are generally safe for most patients. Some patients may have issues with detoxification, and may need to move very slowly. If you have questions, please schedule an appointment to speak with your practitioner.

* If you have had any lymph nodes removed or have had radiation therapy, please consult with your healthcare practitioner before beginning these suggestions.

Basic things that encourage your lymph to get going are movement, laughter, and deep breathing!

The primary function of the lymphatic system is to keep the fluids equalized throughout your body. It also works closely with your immune system. You’ve experienced this when your lymph nodes increase in size when you are sick. There is no pump for the  lymph fluid so we need to work to get a sluggish lymph system going. For some people these techniques to stimulate the lymph system are only needed to get it started, while others need to do these on a regular basis.

Female Lymphatic System

Female Lymphatic System

Male Lymphatic System

Male Lymphatic System

All lymph has its final drainage place just above your collar bone. The main areas of lymph nodes are in the armpit and groin (imagine a line between your hip bone and pubic bone). The main drainage for the head is behind the angle of the jaw and a muscle just behind it (SCM). It is about one finger width. I give you these details because knowledge is powerful and so is imagery. Use these techniques below with this in mind.

Lymphatics of Head and Neck

Lymphatics of Head and Neck

Simple Movements to Stimulate the Lymph Circulation in the Chest and Underarm area

Stand in a relaxed position. Hold your arms out parallel to the floor, palms down, parallel to the floor. Rotate your arms in small circles; forward ten times, backwards ten times. Then repeat this, now rotating in medium size circles and again in large circles. Repeat this cycle two to three times, several times during the day. Breathing while doing it will increase your lymph circulation even more! If this is too much, lie on your side and do one arm at a time, and do as many repetitions you can. If ten circles is too much for you, start with one. If you are flared up and can’t move your arms, move your wrists and ankles, breathe deeply, and laugh as much as possible.

To Stimulate Your Lymph, Begin with One of the Following Methods Daily

Use one for 2-3 days, then add another for 2-3 days, then add another. Stop anytime you feel it stimulate your lymphatic system too much, causing a detox reaction that is too intense for you.

* If you have had any lymph nodes removed or have had radiation therapy, please consult with your healthcare practitioner before beginning these suggestions.

Dry Brushing

Dry Brushing for Lymph Circulation

Using a natural dry bristle shower brush on dry skin. Lightly scrub little circles on your skin from limbs inward towards the heart (as you do it more you can scrub with more pressure). Scrub the neck down to the collar bones. Scrub the back, chest, and abdomen in any direction.

Contrasting Showers

Contrasting Showers for Lymph Circulation

The last minute or so of your shower make it hotter than usual. Then the last 30 seconds turn the water to tepid. When you leave the shower you shouldn’t be cold, but refreshed.

See Hydrotherapy

Salt Scrubs

Salt Scrub for Lymph Circulation
Alba Botanica has a very nice salt scrub. We like the combination of oil to salt and they use a very effective essential oil for the lymph, grapefruit. Cypress is another good one. If you choose to do this continually, it is very easy and much less expensive to make it yourself. You can find lots of recipes on the web.

Contrasting Baths

Contrasting Baths for Lymph Circulation

Take a bath that is hot enough to sweat for about 20 minutes. To begin with use 2 cups of Epsom salt, and 1 cup of baking soda.  As you continue doing this, you can add more salt and baking soda – up to 1 pound of Epsom salt.

At the end of the bath, shower off in refreshing (not  freezing) tepid water.

You may use essential oils in the bath if you tolerate these well.  Many people prefer lavender for this purpose.

See Hydrotherapy

Combine Dry Brushing, Salt Scrubs, Hot Bath Once a Week

Conscious Breathing

Concious Breathing for Lymph Circulation

Even if you cannot walk or jump on a rebounder right now, you can sit in a chair outside or by a window and do some simple  breathing  exercises.  Here are a few basic breathing exercises to get you started.

Sit up in a comfortable position, maybe a chair or chaise  lounge.  Sitting outside is preferable or at least by an open window with some fresh air, if it’s not too cold.  Get  comfortable and relaxed.  Just sit and let yourself breathe naturally, admiring  the view and letting go of all thoughts or emotions right now.

Bring your attention to your lower abdomen – the area just below your belly button. If you like, you can rest the palm of your hand there, with your thumb resting on your umbilicus (belly button). Simply  let your attention rest on  the  lower belly, observing  the rising and falling of your belly with each breath. You are not making your breath do anything, you are simply observing.

After a  few minutes of  this, slowly  take a deep breath, breathing  right  into  the palm of your hand resting on your belly. Feel your belly fill with air. Then slowly exhale, allowing your hand to follow your belly down. As you inhale again, feel the expansion in your diaphragm (the  lower part of the rib cage) as that gently expands with each inhale. As you exhale, notice again how the diaphragm feels. Do this gently and rhythmically for a few minutes. This rhythmic expansion and contraction of  the diaphragm helps pump blood and lymph through the liver.

About Julie Galvan

I learned the basics of massage therapy from a fellow dancer. We would work on each other during our breaks, and before long, I would have a line of tired, sore dancers waiting for me to work on them during our breaks. Upon graduating from the University of Utah Modern Dance Department in 1987, I moved to San Francisco, where I continued working as a dancer and choreographer. I also received my Certification for Massage Therapy at the National Holistic Institute; a 500-hour certification course. In those days, that was practically a doctorate in massage. When a car accident slowed and eventually ended my dance career, I turned to Pilates and Yoga. At the same time, I had the great opportunity of being the Director of a free-standing birth center and Women’s Wellness Center. My interaction with so many women during their pregnancy and birthing experiences, as well as with women coming in to learn more about their bodies enriched and deepened my hands-on skills. This eventually led me to working at a busy, internationally-renown medical clinic, Gordon Medical Associates. During the 6 years I was there, I worked directly with several amazing doctors who taught me much and who were open to my unique view of healing.

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How Long Will Treatment Take?

When new patients make their first appointments, they usually have many questions about how long they should plan to stay with us at GMA. Understandably, they get frustrated when we cannot answer those questions with any kind of specificity.

Here’s the problem:

Before we actually get a chance to take a patient’s history and examine them thoroughly, it really is not possible to formulate a therapeutic treatment program. Some patients insist that if we reviewed their massive medical records, in advance of their arrival, surely we could tell them how long their treatment will take.

Let us try to explain why this isn’t possible.

First of all, it is illegal for any physician to make a diagnosis or treat a patient without a complete history and physical first, taken in person with the patient. 

That technicality notwithstanding, the complexity of our patients make it virtually impossible to design a treatment program without delving into the details of their medical lives first. Often the information we really need is not in their medical record. Most of our patients are extremely complicated.

They usually have some combination of Lyme disease with multiple co-infections, mold toxicity, allergies, chemical sensitivities, mast cell disorders, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, chronic viral infections, coupled with a bewildering combination of other medical diagnoses.

If that wasn’t complicated enough, because of each person’s individual biochemistry and genetics, combined with the way they process stress and spiritual/emotional upheaval and cope with their illness, those named illnesses play out very differently for each individual patient. Our patients are far more sensitive to medications, supplements, homeopathics, chemicals and electromagnetic radiation than most; some exquisitely so.

The variability of that sensitivity is difficult for most people to grasp – some of our most sensitive patients can take large amounts of antibiotics, but even the tiniest dose of a homeopathic remedy throws them completely out-of-kilter. Often the only way to know how they will respond is to try.

So, our task, when we begin the process of helping a new patient to heal, is not only to clarify the diagnosis (which is difficult enough), but to stratify those diagnoses into layers, attempting to identify with as much precision as possible, exactly which layer requires the most immediate attention and will lead to the most immediate benefits. Adding to this difficulty is that for each individual we must delve into their sensitivities so that we can determine not only what they need initially, but how much they can handle initially so that we can begin to make forward progress.

Alas, there is not a lot of science that will allow us to do this properly. We have been working for some time with a variety of diagnostic aids (electrodermal, kinesiological, and microscopic, for example) but those have never proven to be as accurate as we hope, and need them to be, to bring true precision to these important decisions. We have therefore come to rely on our experience, our knowledge, and our own personal sensitivities to our patient’s descriptions to make these difficult decisions.

As Dr. Gordon describes this, “it is like pinning the tail on the donkey with a blindfold on, but we peek.”

When patients come to spend time with us, we cannot know in advance what they will need, or how they will react to our suggestions or treatments. Every day is new. We have the privilege of treating a number of delightful patients from Europe – they have come a long way to see us, but every day they need to report to us how they responded to what we did yesterday, so we can formulate the treatment program for today. Those responses change from day to day, and so do treatments. 

Although we may know what my first day’s treatment will consist of, their response will alter what we do next. We might start with one type of intravenous treatment and switch to another, or add another medication, or reduce the dose, or increase the dose, or add Frequency Specific Microcurrent or the neurofeedback, or a wide variety of detoxification options – all based on their individual response.

This description is a microcosm of the treatment program: a constantly shifting, changing response to each being as they begin or complete each phase of our program. That response requires that both the patient and the practitioner communicate as clearly as possible on a regular basis and that each is ready to re-think or change what we are doing as the clinical picture evolves. When we do this we find that the vast majority of the time good things happen (but not always on our time table). The best results happen when we both (patient and practitioner) have the flexibility to optimally respond to changes as they arise.

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