Issue #30, September 2010
In This Issue:
Communicating Thoughtfully – An MCS Case History – 13 Tips for Kicking Insomnia
JoAnne’s Motivational Minute: The Joy of Slow(er) Communication
By JoAnne Boettcher-Verigin
When I was a kid, my mother baked bread and cinnamon rolls every Saturday morning, filling our house with that wonderful aroma. In the afternoon, we nearly always had visitors. My dad said it was because they all knew the cinnamon rolls would be ready by then. Mom’s wide circle of friends stopped by for conversation along with a cup of coffee and those rolls. The talk took many turns – everyday things, new recipes, problems that needed sharing and help in solving. Communication happened not only with words but vocal tones, facial expressions, laughter, tears, pats on the back and hugs of encouragement.
At its heart, communication is an exchange of thoughts. Most of the time, we use words, but they’re not the only way we communicate. A gentle touch on the shoulder of one who is in pain needs no words. Eye-to-eye contact when speaking to someone gives validity to the message. A relaxed attitude makes a difference in how our words are accepted (or rejected).
Back in the days of those cinnamon roll Saturdays, our most high-tech gadget was the telephone. Party lines communicated the local gossip for eavesdropping neighbors. We communicated with the operator when she’d ask, “Number, please?” We didn’t call long distance too often, as it was very costly. Instead, we relied on telegrams and “snail mail.”
Today, we’ve still got phones and snail mail. But we’ve also got email, texting, video conferencing and all manner of social media to connect with others. Via phone or computer, we can call anywhere in the world at a very low cost.
I wonder, though: Does all this instant communication come with costs we’re not aware of?
One such cost may be the pressure to put your thoughts out there right now, without really thinking about what you’re saying and how it may affect others. In text-based media, we can’t see facial expression or hear tone of voice. You can’t see how your listener receives what you have to say. But if you’re writing a letter, you have time to review and reflect on what you’ve written before sealing the envelope and dropping it in the mailbox – time to consider how your message might be received and revise your message if needed so you can have the kind of effect you want.
Don’t get me wrong. I love the ability to connect with people instantly and the access to unlimited amounts of information. I love to be able to keep in touch with friends and family via email. But I also enjoy reading (and writing) letters. Maybe I’m just old fashioned, but I like to think that we can embrace the new technology without losing the good things of the past, including the ability to thoughtfully communicate with each other.
The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitudes. – William James
Dr. Verigin’s Comment: A Biological Dentist’s Perspective on Living Systems
Part 3: A Case History
By Gary M. Verigin, DDS, CTN
Several times a month, people call about getting their mercury amalgam fillings removed. They’ve read it might help them achieve a higher level of wellness. Too often, though, it seems they’re looking for a silver bullet.
The best question to begin with is not “Are mercury fillings the problem?” but “What are all the factors that may be contributing to the illness or dysfunction?” This helps us identify all potential sources of homotoxins, whether of dental origin or otherwise. It also can cue us to the possibility of dental foci – the source of many chronic and degenerative diseases, recurrent illnesses, allergic reactions and unclear ailments such as chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia.
So our first visit always starts with a relaxed conversation in my office rather than in a treatment room that may trigger bad memories of unpleasant dental procedures in the client’s past. At this point, I’ve already studied the detailed, chronological history we ask each biological client to write for us. Since I already have a basic sense of what’s going on, we can focus on details, moving toward a more profound understanding of the situation. Almost always, it extends far beyond mercury fillings.
With this in mind, I’d like to share a case history that pulls together all the concepts from the first two parts of this article (here and here) and illustrates how they work. While no two cases are alike, it can give us a good glimpse of what true healing looks like when sought from a biological perspective.
In 1994, Kathy R. developed multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS), believed to have been triggered by exposure to petrochemical releases from a refinery near her home. Over the years, she became increasingly sensitive to odors of all kinds until she could seldom leave her home, lest any chemical exposure trigger the headaches, flushing, shortness of breath, profound fatigue and other symptoms. It got so bad that her husband had to literally “launder money,” as she now jokes, washing bills with peroxide and vinegar to remove any chemical residue possibly left by a previous owner.
For more than five years, Kathy talked with various physicians about her health problems, but none could help. Some even let her know they thought the MCS was all in her head. Eventually, though, she found an integrative practitioner who not only believed her but could offer some help. They began to work regularly over the phone, as Kathy was physically unable to tolerate the scents in the office. To encourage detox, she also began a short course of glutathione and vitamin C drips at the office of another integrative physician closer to her home.
One day while she was receiving her IV treatment, Kathy says, a nurse mentioned our practice.
In particular, she mentioned that there was a test [Dr. Verigin] had talked about that could tell what dental products would be good or bad for an individual. She mentioned it was kind of expensive. My response was that it would probably be worth it in my case, as I was very concerned about materials being placed in my body because of my reactions to plastics, glues, adhesives, you name it – anything made from a petrochemical is a potential hazard for me….So my husband Roland did a little research on the Web for me (I couldn’t use a computer at the time because of off-gassing and heated up components) about biological dentists…and Dr. Verigin in particular. Then it was up to me to gather up my courage and make a phone call – courage, because every single encounter with another human being was a chemical threat; because every new space – interior or exterior – was fraught with peril.
In late 2004, Kathy contacted us to arrange an office visit before committing to an appointment. Understandably, she needed to make sure that she could tolerate the physical space. After spending some time there, she felt that she could.
Kathy’s physician provided us with a number of blood and other diagnostic tests that could give us some insight as to how much of an issue mercury was. None of the blood work indicated that low levels of chronic mercury exposure could be affecting her health. There were also results from the popular Huggins test that gauges globulin as an indicator of mercury hypersensitivity. A value of 2.4 g/dL is considered optimum. Anything higher is read as a sign of hypersensitivity. Kathy’s values were 2.0.
So did this mean that mercury was a non-factor in her illness?
To be sure, we had Kathy do two more tests, starting with the two hour DMPS urine test run by Doctor’s Data, which indicated a creatinine level of 63 ug/g, well over the maximum expected levels. (The reference range is less than 4.)
We then had Immunosciences Lab run a saliva sample for the presence of mercury IgA. The reference range is 0-20. Kathy’s level was 32.
Even when mercury is a factor – as it proved to be here – we don’t just start taking it out. (Click here for a PDF describing our mercury removal protocol in detail.) First, we must determine if the client is physically ready for it, which we do via a process called Biological Terrain Analysis (BTA). This test of urine and saliva helps us correlate the client’s physical condition with Reckeweg’s paradigm of homotoxicology.
As explained in Parts 1 and 2 of this article, Reckeweg showed that we are ever at war with homotoxins and that our bodies try to repair the damage they do. These reactions of self-repair are what we call “illness.” They are expressions of proper healing. In early phases – the “humoral” stage, consisting of three distinct phases – detoxication and excretion of homotoxins occurs. Lingering diseases arise through the later “cellular” stage – also consisting of three phases – as the rate of damage outpaces the body’s self-regulating ability.
Kathy’s medical history and current symptoms all indicated she was in the fifth phase. It was clear that she shouldn’t undergo mercury removal until her body was able to rid itself of the toxins that had been making her so sick for so long.
Reflecting now on the BTA test, Kathy remarks that she had a “funny reaction” to it – not chemically but emotionally.
The BTA indicated that my “biological age” was older than my actual chronological age, and that stunned me, and depressed me. I snapped out of it when Roland remarked that we knew something was wrong with me, so it shouldn’t be a surprise when a test indicated that my body was stressed.
I think it took two or three months before I got back to Dr. V about proceeding with a treatment that he had outlined….Although I was completely, completely skeptical about the efficacy of homeopathics, some of the rest of the regimen made sense – not a scatter-shot approach but a systematic one that started out quite gently and more generally, and then became more targeted to particular issues. So, after some thought, and the decision that I was signing on to this plan,…willing to take all the stuff that Dr. Verigin recommended, I started in.
We began with a protocol we call “Opening the Channels of Elimination,” in which we use biological formulas to set the stage for detox by clearing the body’s pathways of elimination – organs such as the colon, liver, spleen, kidneys, skin, lungs and urinary bladder. The formulas help with digestion, excretion, hydration, pH balancing and liver and gut repair. They work with body’s natural flow system according to Bertalanffy to restore a healthy balance. The working matter of the flow system is enzymes, which are directed by hormones of the autonomic nervous system.
When all is well with the nervous system, the natural healing power works in a straightforward, process-driven manner, sort of like a computer. When a stimulant treatment such as homeopathy is used, it follows Reckeweg’s table (PDF) in a right-to-left fashion.
Kathy reported improvement within the first few weeks of following the protocol. As time went on, she found that she was gradually able to get out more. Sometimes, all would be fine until someone would walk in wearing a heavy scent, and she would have to leave. But within a year, she reported being able to finally – for the first time in six years! – enter a salon to get her hair cut and accompany her husband on shopping trips to Whole Foods. Of this, Kathy says, “Maybe the ability [to do such banal things] doesn’t strike anyone else as miraculous, but it’s pretty darn close.”
Twenty different physicians would offer 20 different explanations of Kathy’s diagnosed MCS, each focusing on a slightly different factor – of which there are very many to choose from. After all, the human body can consist of as many as 250,000 billion cells, each of which is continuously subjected to fermentative chemical reactions – 35,000 per second, according to Manstein. All are controlled by homotoxins. The reactions are the cells’ defense. If you feed these reactions with toxic drugs, you create more interference. But if you nourish them with homeopathics, you support and encourage the reactions – hence, the body’s innate healing abilities.
By the following year, we all agreed – Kathy, her husband and the dental team alike – that she was well enough to undergo mercury removal with high expectations of success. Kathy says she didn’t notice a dramatic change afterward, just continual improvement. “I think it was because my body had already done much of the preparation already,” she says, “so the actual removal was icing on the cake.”
And how is she doing today, a few years later?
There are many things I still can’t do, but my life has normalized to a greater degree than I thought possible a few years ago….I don’t have to be afraid of people anymore, of what they can do to me. I’m able to tolerate perfumes and detergents, paints and carpeting without collapse. Well, at least for a while. I can talk to workmen, at least for a bit. I may not want to hang around, but I can be polite. My reactions, when they do happen, are much less severe.
I’m much less isolated than I was. I can attend a few local functions (concerts or art shows) without too many ill effects, although there’s almost always a cost of some sort. But, at least these days, I can go try them out. I can travel more easily, though still not in public transportation of any sort.
So, so far, no full recovery. And I don’t expect that really. But it doesn’t mean we aren’t continuing to try to move me onto the next phase. It’s just that there isn’t a quick fix (which I think most people want and expect). If someone’s expecting a quick fix to a major health problem, this isn’t the place for them. But if I’m any example, there’s tons of progress to be made, and you can get your life back.
Indeed, Kathy’s healing will be ongoing – in Reckeweg’s terms, a regressive vicariation guided by the Physiological Defense System, or what Pischinger alternatively called the body’s Basic Regulative System. Regardless of the name, the task is the same: removing homotoxins or compensating for them and the damage they do.
And this is the thing that gives us hope and optimism, for it means that the progression of illness is not inevitable. Illness can be reversed. The body can be encouraged to heal itself; right-to-left movement from illness to health, induced.
This is true healing.
A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty. – Winston Churchill
From Our Blog:
Is Insomnia Harming Your Immune System?
By Christina Grant, PhD
I recently heard a celebrity doctor say seven hours of sleep per night is ideal; more than that, we are shortening our life spans. But not long after, I read an article in a health journal advising eight hours of sleep for optimal health.
Obviously, there are conflicting views about how much sleep will help us heal, remain healthy and perhaps extend our lives.
Some people can get six to seven hours of sleep, seem to function well all day and continue without fatigue, while others who sleep the same amount feel tired, look tired and are foggy-minded and generally irritable. It’s the latter who especially need to be aware of their own well-being. Why? They’re the ones who will first come down with a cold or flu, their body unable to fully recuperate through sleep.
By knowing and honoring our own ideal sleep rhythm, we’re better equipped to remain healthy and avoid not only infections that might be going around but more serious diseases, as well. Stanford University psychiatrist David Spiegel, MD, reviewed studies and noted a correlation between sleep-regulated hormones melatonin and cortisol, and cancer. Cortisol helps regulate the immune system response, while melatonin may have an antioxidant effect on cells, which can prevent the damage that can lead to cancer.
This is just one of many links between sleep deprivation and immunity.
So what are we to do if we know we’re not getting the sleep we need? We can start by understanding our own true “sleep nature.” Here are some things to consider:
- Think back to when you were a child and what your sleep cycle was like then. On weekends, would you stay up late and sleep in the next day? Or were you falling asleep in front of the television by 9:00 and waking early the following morning? Many of us have had to change our true sleep rhythm in order to get along in life, and its worth getting in touch with it again.
- Are you at your best during the day if you go to bed by 10:00 pm, or, can you stay up past midnight and feel great the next day?
- If given a choice, would you rise with the sun or sleep late into the morning?
- Is your energy highest in the morning? Or does it increase in the evening?
- How sensitive are you to judgment around sleep patterns? For example, do you hear criticism from a society that says you should not be ready for bed as early as 9:00 pm, but you shouldnt stay in bed very late in the morning either?
- Do you like to take naps?
- Do you like to be up doing things in the middle of the night?
- At what time during the day do you get a lull in your energy?
Becoming more familiar with your sleep nature can help you accept the way your own body wants to rest. And it does want to rest, very deeply, because this is when it heals itself, rejuvenates and recharges, and mends what needs mending. I believe the best, most renewing sleep happens when you are in sync and mindful of your natural sleep traits, the ones that truly suit you. Perhaps it is easy to lose sight of what they are because of the structured work and school day. But if youve had lowered immunity, its completely allowable to adjust your schedule to honor yourself and your rhythm.
There are many ways to get to sleep without the use of drugs and other artificial methods. The following suggestions have worked for many people, even during times of intense stress.
- Be sure to get adequate magnesium and calcium, in proper balance, through a source or supplement that is food-based, not synthetic. This will help calm your nervous system.
- Try an L-theanine supplement. This is an amino acid that calms the mind. Studies have shown it to help people sleep better, if not necessary longer.
- Adaptogens such as ashwaganda help reduce cortisol levels to lessen stress and help you sleep. I would get this through a licensed practitioner so the right dose can be determined for you.
- Calms Forte is a homeopathic remedy that can help calm the nerves and induce sleep without the heavy feeling of sleeping pills. It can be found in any natural food store.
- Drink chamomile tea in the evening.
- Walk daily, if only for 20 minutes.
- Avoid caffeine during the day, or drink green tea, but only in the mornings.
- Calm your mind and spirit in the evenings by turning off the computer, telephone and television at least an hour before bedtime.
- Go to bed and get up at the same time every day, even on weekends.
- At the end of the day, write down your thoughts, feelings, worries and concerns to get them out of your head and down on paper.
- Clear your bedroom of clutter, including computers and electronics. Remove papers and extra books from your nightstand.
- Stop answering the phone or having animated conversations in the evenings if these activate your mind too much.
- Meditate before bed or read a novel to relax and clear your mind from the day.
If you still dont sleep well through the night after trying the above, see an acupuncturist, herbalist, naturopath, homeopath or holistic practitioner to assist you so you can come back into balance, sleep soundly, and keep your immunity strong.
Know Thy Health guest blogger Dr. Christina Grant is a holistic healer and spiritual counselor who works in person and by phone. She has helped hundreds of people attain physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being through personal transformation. Her writing is published nationwide. She is co-author of Eight Minute Muse and is completing a book with a fresh perspective on womens health. To learn more, visit www.christinagrant.com.
For more articles like this one, as well as health news, tips and video, visit our blog, Know Thy Health.
The rung of a ladder was never meant to rest upon, but only to hold a man’s foot long enough to enable him to put the other somewhat higher. – T.H. Huxley