Updated: Jan 23, 2020
Treating complicated illnesses like fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, and many other autoimmune disorders requires a multi-faceted approach. You must address multiple systems and functions to fully heal. And yes, it's possible to do that naturally!
First, it's important to recognize that complex health problems with a long history rarely have a single cause. Often you hear a diagnosis of "general inflammation" but the reality is there are multiple causes and factors contributing to poor health.
It's very easy to become confused, frustrated, and lost as you search for answers to these often puzzling health conditions.
Here's the good news.
There are FOUR KEY AREAS that are common to people struggling with a chronic health condition. Addressing these areas using safe, natural, and supportive methods provides a reliable and reproducible way to significantly improve quality of life.
To understand these steps and stages, imagine the body as a house. If you are suffering from chronic pain, illness, fatigue, insomnia, and inflammation, the home (your body) is in a state of disrepair.
STAGE 1: Regulating Lymphatic and Immune System Function
In order to repair a broken down house that has water damage, mold infestation, rusty wiring, and wall rot, you have to prevent wind and rain from getting into the home. This is why the first step is to seal off the roof and windows.
In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), physicians described how “wind” would carry invasions like cold, heat, and dampness into the human body, causing symptoms like chills, fever, nasal discharge, headaches, muscle aches, and joint pain.
In modern language, these symptoms are often correlated to abnormal production of inflammatory cytokines, leukotrienes, histamines, chemotactic factors, and other markers of a heightened immune response to viruses, mold, and bacterial invasions.
While having a healthy immune response is important, a prolonged state of immune reaction that does not auto-correct may actually begin to damage the body. This can create an environment where the immune system attacks the host tissue itself which will eventually be diagnosed as one of many types of autoimmune diseases.
When the immune system is malfunctioning, the body may experience stiffness, swelling, wandering aches and pains, chills, fever, swollen lymph nodes, water retention, and other symptoms associated with inflammatory immune cell activity.
The primary goal in Stage 1 is to seal up the exterior of the body, preventing further external invasions.
Using the house analogy, installing or repairing the roof and windows prevents mold, insects, and small animals from coming in and further damaging the home’s structure. Treatment is characterized by using herbs, breathing exercises, massage and acupuncture techniques that have a regulatory effect on the immune system. A careful balance of herbs to strengthen a weak system or down regulate an overactive immune response is necessary.
Biologically, it is important to activate macrophages and regulate the T, B, and Natural Killer cells so they may scavenge any lingering pathogens in the body. This means using herbs with an antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-fungal property that will not cause stress or damage to a healthy gut microbiome.
Overall, a healthy immune system is neither overactive nor under-active, and is capable of maintaining an environment free of toxic pathogens and invasive microorganisms. Wind Tea can help to achieve this.
STAGE 2: Addressing Gut Dysbiosis and Restoring the Digestive System
Imagine your home is flooded and you live in a warm climate. You can picture slime, molds, noxious gases, and insects taking over! With stagnant water retention, the body can also develop nasty bio films, fungal overgrowth, and poisonous gas production. This describes the condition commonly called gut dysbiosis.
Every human shares their body with tens of trillions of microorganisms, mostly bacteria and viruses that are now understood as essential for normal and healthy body function. A healthy gut microbiome can be damaged by poor diet, environmental toxins, drugs, and of course, various external pathogens.
What happens when the healthy gut microbiome is damaged?
The doctors of Chinese medicine characterized the effects of this damage to the digestive tract as having the characteristics of a damp, wet, soggy swamp in the belly. Bio films accumulate as the bacteria and viruses secrete slimy substances that enable their survival from immune system attacks. The body feels stiff, swollen, puffy, weak and soggy. The result of this is often reported as heavy pain.
Gas, bloating, irritable bowel, reflux, and broken gap junctions in the gut lining (leaky gut) are a direct result of gut dysbiosis.
Allergic reactions and food sensitivities are commonly experienced when substances not meant for the bloodstream enter through these breaks in the intestinal lining.
Brain fog, anxiety, and emotional depression are also common with gut dysbiosis. This is because the trillions of microorganisms in our gut are involved in neurotransmitter production and regulation of vagal nerve signaling, both of which are associated with mood disorders.
These microorganisms also play a role in nitric oxide production and hormone regulation throughout the human body, influencing pain and reproductive health problems.
When a house is flooded you have to “drain the swamp.”
It's important to create a healthy microbiome by cultivating an environment for healthy bugs to flourish. Treatment at this stage involves removing water retention, dissolving bio films, regulating intestinal movement, and increasing secretion of digestive juices.
We want to dissolve undigested food, phlegm, and mucus, as well as eliminate the effects of fungi and mold that have overgrown in the gut. Fungi must be destroyed and endogenous antioxidants must be increased to reduce inflammatory damage.
The treatment at this stage is primarily botanical medicine. Specialized herbs to regulate fluids, clear undigested food, and dissolve phlegm have a long and reliable history of use in TCM.
The importance of herbs, like Microgard, in this phase of treatment is that they function to protect, rather than damage, the microflora of the intestinal tract. Therefore, we can achieve an antibiotic effect without damaging healthy levels of bacteria, fungi, and viruses.
Massage, diet, and acupuncture treatment can also be included. The primary goals are to regulate water metabolism, immune function, blood sugar, and blood fats. If brain fog is an issue, herbs that increase memory and brain cell regeneration are used.
STAGE 3: Regulating Cortisol and Reversing Nerve Inflammation
Imagine turning on all the electronics in your house and running them full strength. The TV, radio, blender, and microwave are all going. The electricity is drained. Wires overheat and are damaged. Some may begin smoking or even catch fire. With all the noise, light, and heat, it's difficult to go to sleep. This is the body with too much inflammation and poor distribution of nitric oxide.
This is exactly what happens when we experience too much stress and inflammation. It is often characterized by an excessive fight or flight response. This can manifest in a few different ways.
Pain in the shoulders. Fight response. You can’t punch or fight your way out of the situation, a natural response, so that energy gets built up and unused. This creates long term tension in the shoulders, eventually producing chronic pain.
Pain in the lower back. This is a flight response. Your instinct is to run away from the stressful situation and you get a surge of energy in the legs, but have nowhere to run to. The tension builds from the legs into the lower back.
Nervous exhaustion. Feeling overwhelmed. Anxiety. Insomnia. Stress induced abdominal pain. Tension headaches.
Stress related inflammatory processes are epidemic in our country today!
Treatment goals in this stage include turning the power usage down to keep the nervous system from shorting out or creating a fire. We want to lower stress hormones like cortisol and melatonin, regulate nitric oxide, and improve sleep.
We also address liver function here to clean out the bodies oil filter and regulate gut inflammation to reduce stress induced irritable bowel syndrome.
The herbs, acupuncture, and breathing exercises used in this stage have a modulating effect on hormones and gastrotransmitters to reduce the inflammatory pain over time.
Nitric oxide is a regulatory gas that influences almost all the cells of the human body. If there is too little, there is reduced energy output by cell mitrochondria. We may feel weak and tired. Too much, and it can signal a cascade of inflammatory chemicals, causing pain, tension, and heat.
The botanicals, such as Stress Free Tea, at this stage down regulate, or reduce concentrated nitric oxide levels to minimize the influence of stress and reduce chronic pain.
STAGE 4: Addressing Blood Circulation, Regulating Prostaglandin Production and Platelet Adhesion
Now imagine a home without waste disposal.
The hallways are filled with garbage. The door to the cleaning supplies and broom closet is blocked. There are stacks of paper next to the stove, occasionally catching fire. Clothes in the basement are growing mold. The attic is filled with dust. Rats and cockroaches are free to take over the house. The pipes are backed up. The toilets are overflowing and sewer gases are everywhere. The floors and walls are beginning to rot.
Pain at this stage is often at tendon and ligament attachments. Sharp and stabbing pains are common at this stage. This is the body with poor blood microcirculation.
To repair the body at this stage, the pipes need to be cleaned, the garbage has to be removed, and we need to tear out and replace the rotting walls.
This is done by increasing microcirculation and macrophage activity to clean out dead tissue and protect the central nervous system. At this stage we want to remove blockages that have resulted from direct trauma, and the damage done by faulty immune function, gut dysbiosis, and neurological inflammation.
The botanical medicines, acupuncture, and breathing techniques that target microcirculation function to prevent muscle atrophy, protect the central nervous system, increase new blood vessel formation, and overall enable the body to feed its tissues well. Foot Soaks are recommended in this treatment phase.
If you are suffering from chronic fatigue, pain, insomnia, anxiety, irritable bowl or other long-lasting discomfort and frustrated by lack of progress, use the house analogy to make sure you are addressing the multiple systems and functions that may be contributing to your poor health.
While addressing more stages of tissue health and body dysfunction may be necessary, these four stages are the foundation to getting the body out of immune dysfunction and inflammation that autoimmune disease patients find themselves stuck in.
Learn more about how we can help make improvements in these four key areas and improve health!
Contact us at +1(970) 382-0321 to find out how we can help!