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Month: October 2016

NAET Treatments and Hashimoto’s: Treatment #5 – Sugar Mix –

NAET Treatments and Hashimoto’s: Treatment #5 – Sugar Mix –

Here’s a list of all of the previous treatments we have covered:

  1. Brain Body Balance
  2. Egg Mix
  3. Calcium Mix
  4. Vitamin C

You can click on any of these to go back and catch up on anything you may have missed.

Treatment #5 was for sugar. Normally, you would treat for vitamin B at this point in time, but because my body was asking to be treated for digestive enzymes after the calcium treatment and we couldn’t do that until we treated for sugar, we decided to do sugar, then digestive enzymes, then vitamin B. It’s really nice that these treatments can be tailored to the needs of each individual.

For a lot of people, treating for sugar would be a biggie, in terms of avoidance. For me, it was just a normal couple of days because I’ve not been able to tolerate sugar of any kind for a number of years anyway. But for someone who is eating sugar, you would have to avoid the following kinds of sugars: cane, beet, brown, corn, rice, maple, fruit [fructose], date, grape sugars, glucose, maltose, dextrose, glucose, sucrose, lactose, molasses, honey. This means anything to which sugar has been added, in addition to fruit, dairy products, and root vegetables. You would also have to avoid toothpaste and mouthwash! I just used baking soda instead.

Stevia is not included in this list, so if you eat something that is only sweetened with stevia, that should be fine.

As usual, at the beginning of the appointment, we discussed any changes or difficulties that occurred since the last treatment. I told my practitioner that I had to cut way back on my vitamin C after the treatment because I was feeling really anxious. She muscle-tested me for the vitamin C and found that 1500 mg would be the optimal dose.

That was half of what I had required before the treatment!

Since then, I have found that I actually do better with only 1000 mg a day, which is an even bigger reduction from my original 3000 mg a day!

After this, I was muscle-tested for sugar and, of course, my arm just fell to the table when she tested me. If you missed the post where I discuss muscle testing, you can find it here.

My sugar issues have been going on for a really long time. You would not be wrong to characterize my past eating habits as those of someone addicted to sugar. Over the years, I gradually weaned myself off because I knew that sugar was contributing to my fatigue. I finally took myself off of all sugars, including fruit, about 4-5 years ago because even the fruit was making me tired. But elimination has not allowed me to reintroduce any fruit with any success. I’ve suspected SIBO (small intestine bacterial overgrowth) for a while, but tests for SIBO are not usually very conclusive and I’m not willing to drink that horrible sugary stuff they make you drink as part of the test. My biggest hope for this treatment is that it will help to resolve these sugar issues.

After testing, we went through the normal spinal “massage” followed by energy work, followed by acupuncture. Afterward, she tested me again for sugar and I was strong.

As I mentioned earlier, this avoidance period was really no problem for me. The only thing I had to avoid that I eat fairly regularly were root veggies, and avoiding those for 2 days was easy.

When it was over, I didn’t go all out and try to eat every sugary thing out there. I feel like sugar is a big enemy of the body, so I’m not so anxious to re-incorporate it into my diet. I did cook some apples, with no added sugar, and eat some after meals. Apples are really important for handling inflammation and for feeding the muscles, so this is one food I would like to be able to tolerate well again. My body seemed to handle these better than it would have before the treatment. Aside from that, I just stayed with my usual sugarless diet after the avoidance period.

A few days after the treatment, I started feeling wound up and hyper again. I decided to decrease my dose of LDN to 2 mg. This helped some, but after a couple of days, I could tell it was not going to be enough. So, I decided to decrease my thyroid medication as well, from 1.75 grains to 1.25 grains. That seemed to help quite a bit. To reiterate:

I was able to cut my LDN in half and reduce my thyroid medications by 1/2 grain after this treatment!

I have to say, I continue to be surprised by the vast improvements I am experiencing in such a short period of time as a result of these treatments.

I’m hoping that, after I’m done with the “Basic 15” treatments, I will get be able to get more adventurous with trying foods that I haven’t been able to eat for a long time. For now, I’m just really happy to be making my supplement list shorter and feeling stronger as a result. I know there is some point in the treatment sequence where it’s considered safe to start trying new foods again. I’m sure my practitioner will let me know whenever that is and give me some guidance as to how to go about that.

By the way, I found a booklet on the NAET site which details the results of a 10 year study of the effects of NAET treatments on various health issues. It’s really pretty amazing. You can check that out here.

More soon.

Wishing you the best of health,

Vanessa

Vanessa Gunter, D.M.A., M.A.

 

Emotions and Hashimoto’s

Emotions and Hashimoto’s

If you’ve been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s or are thinking you might have it, then you are probably already familiar with the fact that this condition can wreak havoc on your emotions.

Do any of these scenarios sound familiar?

  • After a day of dragging yourself around with absolutely no motivation, beating yourself over the head because you don’t feel productive, worrying that you’re going to lose your job because you just can’t seem to get everything done on time, you fall into bed and start thinking about how nice it would be if you didn’t wake up in the morning…
  • You and your partner/spouse have different ideas about some things, which is to be expected in any relationship. You used to be able to handle this with ease and calm, but now, anytime you disagree with each other, you feel devalued and criticized. You find yourself becoming verbally aggressive in situations where it’s just not appropriate, but you can’t seem to help yourself.
  • You’re watching some piece of schlock on the TV and you burst into tears for no reason.
  • Your partner forgets to ask you about your day and you become sullen and withdrawn.
  • You find yourself in an argument and your gut goes into a knot. You cannot figure out why this situation feels so scary to you.

I could go on, but if any of these sound familiar, be assured:

You are NOT losing your mind.

So many of us have felt as though we were. No one ever explained to us that this comes with Hashi’s territory. If we had only known, perhaps it would have made it easier to handle.

Well, now you know. Hashimoto’s is intimately tied to your emotions. This is because the attacks on the thyroid that occur as a result of the antibodies involved in Hashi’s compromise your entire endocrine system. The endocrine system is hormone central and your hormones regulate your emotions. Your thyroid is part of that system along with a whole host of other organs and glands.

Here’s a list of all the glands that are part of the endocrine system:

  • hypothalamus – regulates hunger, metabolism, body temperature
  • pituitary gland – produces the following hormones:
    • growth hormone
    • thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) – stimulates the thyroid to produce hormones
    • adrenocortocotropin hormone (ACTH) – stimulates the adrenals to produce hormones
    • luteinizing hormone and follicle-stimulating hormone – control sexual function and production of estrogen, progesterone and testosterone
    • prolactin – produces breast milk in females
    • antidiuretic hormone – controls water loss by the kidneys
    • oxytocin – contracts uterus during birth and stimulates milk production
  • thyroid – helps regulate metabolism, blood pressure, heart rate, digestion, muscle tone and reproductive functions
  • parathyroids – help regulate calcium levels in the blood as well as bone metabolism
  • adrenal glands – produces corticosteroids which regulate metabolism, salt and water balance in the body, the immune system, sexual function and handling stress
  • pineal body – secretes melatonin which helps with sleep
  • reproductive glands (which include the ovaries and testes) – the main source of sex hormones
  • pancreas – secretes digestive enzymes and hormones which regulate blood sugar

If you read the job descriptions of each of these glands and then look at the common symptoms which often go along with Hashi’s, you’ll see that they are very closely aligned with your endocrine system. All of these glands are connected and support each other, so when one starts to fail, it becomes almost like dominoes. It’s just a matter of time before the rest of them join the party.

Here’s a list of the possible emotions a person may experience during the course of dealing with Hashimoto’s:

Depression

  • Doctors have been aware of the connection between thyroid issues and depression for some time now. In fact, it is general practice to rule out any thyroid conditions for an individual presenting with depression before prescribing anti-depressants. I’m not sure how often this actually occurs. But, even if it occurs as much as it should, many doctors are relying on lab values that don’t tell the whole thyroid story, so a lot of people are told that nothing is wrong and given anti-depressants anyway, which then masks the thyroid problem even further, leading to a worsening of the condition.

Anxiety

  • This often goes hand-in-hand with depression and can be tied to the adrenal glands. Hashimoto’s often comes on as the result of stress – perhaps you’ve experienced a huge stressor, like the death of someone close, or a car accident, or abuse of some sort – if the body is already struggling and the immune system is compromised, this stressor could be the trigger for those antibodies to start attacking your thyroid. This can also happen to someone who has had ongoing stress throughout his/her life, whether it be large or small.
  • For a discussion on the connection between histories of stress and autoimmune disease, click here.

Anger/Rage

  • Anger is a secondary emotion, meaning that it occurs as a result of another emotion, and is usually connected to fear. If you’re experiencing a lot of anger and/or “losing it” at the drop of a hat, not only is your mind trying to protect you from something you’re either not aware of or not ready to process, but your body isn’t able to regulate your emotions in order to keep you calm due to your compromised immune system. It’s going to be important to begin to look inside yourself and ask some questions about what you might be fearing.

Fear

  • Our culture has gradually become one that is actually based on fear. From the time we get up in the morning until we try to go to sleep at night, many of us are faced with a long list of uncertainties that keep us insecure and fearful. Perhaps you have money issues that are worrying you or you have a relationship or a job that isn’t going all that well. Maybe you have a child with problems of some kind. If you watch any TV or listen to any radio, these fears are then compounded by the drama of what is passing for news these days. Sensationalism is the order of the day and it only serves to stoke our fears further.
  • This ongoing undercurrent of fear contributes to stress levels which contributes to further weakening of your system, especially if you’re dealing with something like Hashi’s. Additionally, the inability of your system to handle fear very well means that you are likely going to feel more fearful than you used to, perhaps for what seems like no apparent reason.

Abandonment/Isolation

  • Given the state of medical care regarding Hashi’s, it’s very easy to begin to feel like a) no one can help you and b) no one cares enough to help you. Many of us have gone to numerous doctors only to be discounted or sometimes even chastised for our problems and views regarding our treatment. In addition to that, it can often feel as though no one in your life understands what you’re going through. People are quick to say “well, she/he looks ok” and then conclude that nothing is really wrong or that you just have “psychological” problems.
  • As your condition worsens, it can also become harder to maintain a social life, especially if you’re dealing with multiple food sensitivities. Between not being able to eat anything and having to go to bed at 9:00 just in the hopes that you might be able to get through the next day successfully, your friends soon realize that you’re not generally up for a lot of activities and you find yourself at home alone most of the time. This feeling of aloneness can be especially amplified if you have had to quit work as a result of Hashi’s.

Grief

  • A lot of us who have Hashi’s feel as though we have been grieving for decades, not only over the loss of our health, but over what that has meant for our lives. When you have an autoimmune condition, whatever it may be, you are going to experience loss – loss of good health, loss of social engagement, loss of employment, loss of relationships – and all this is in addition to whatever trauma or loss you may have already experienced prior to becoming ill. For a discussion of the connection between past trauma and autoimmune disease, click here.
  • Many people with Hashi’s are Type A personalities – driven, competitive, needing to stay productive. When you are no longer able to do any of that, then you begin to ask profound questions about who you are and what your place is in this world.

Uncontrollable Sadness

  • I distinguish sadness from depression here, because depression is a conglomerate of things that include sadness, but sadness can present by itself in a way that makes it both surprising and difficult to deal with in relation to Hashi’s. You might be watching some schmaltzy movie and burst into tears at the slightest provocation, or you might just think about some innocuous situation in your life and be unable to stop crying. These are all symptoms of the inability to regulate emotion which is connected to the dysfunction in your endocrine system.

 

So I’ve touched on some basic emotional issues related to Hashimoto’s in this post which I hope will be helpful to you. In future posts, I would like to take each of these issues and explore them in detail in order to give you more insight into how these emotions really present as a result of Hashi’s and what might be done in order to feel better.

More soon.

In healing,

Vanessa

Vanessa Gunter, D.M.A., M.A.

NAET Treatments and Hashimoto’s: The Fourth Treatment – Vitamin C

NAET Treatments and Hashimoto’s: The Fourth Treatment – Vitamin C

If you’ve been following the acupuncture posts I’ve been writing, then you know that this is what we’ve done so far:

You can click on any of the above links to refer back to any posts you haven’t seen yet or would like to read again.

My fourth NAET treatment was for vitamin C. As usual, I looked ahead to see what I would need to avoid and how this would affect my supplements. Once again, I was looking at having to do without a lot of my supplements, but I made a note to myself to discuss this with my practitioner, given how difficult it was for me to get through the last treatment.

The food avoidance was also going to be challenging, as I would need to avoid all fruits and veggies. If I ate french fries, drank soda, or included dairy in my diet, I would’ve had to avoid those as well. So it was going to be a couple of days of meat, eggs, nuts and quinoa.

The beginning of my appointment involved a discussion of my difficulties with the last treatment. Since my practitioner believed that the problem was due to my not clearing the calcium, the first thing she did was muscle test for that. As I stated in my last post, I did clear the calcium, but my body was asking that it be treated for digestive enzymes as soon as possible. This made a lot of sense to me, since my digestive system has been screwed up for as long as I can remember and I’ve been taking digestive enzymes for many years.

Next, she muscle tested to see when we could do the treatment for the enzymes, as this typically occurs a few more treatments down the road. She concluded that we could do it after she treated me for sugar, so we agreed that we would do sugar at the next treatment so that we could then do the enzymes after that. We also agreed that I could use my “workaround routine” in order to take my multivitamin with this treatment. She then muscle tested me for the vitamin C and, of course, my arm fell right to the table.

There is an established order for these treatments, but everyone is different, so it’s really important that your practitioner be able to adjust to what your body needs, to the degree that this is possible. If you’re curious about the order and the details regarding what you can and cannot eat or touch during these treatments, you can find a complete listing of the “Basic 15” here.

Next, we went through the usual routine of spinal “massage”, energy work and acupuncture, followed by muscle testing for vitamin C to make sure my body had accepted the treatment. She then calculated how long I would have to avoid vitamin C and it was my usual 50 hours.

I am happy to say that this avoidance period was much easier for me than the last, due in large part, I believe, to being able to take my multivitamin. I did get a little tired toward the end, but I bounced right back after the avoidance period was over.

Over the next couple of days, I noticed that I started feeling tense and wound up. It took me a while to figure out what was going on. It seemed logical that this reaction was connected to the treatment, so I reduced my vitamin C and stopped taking all but one of my histamine supplements. After a day or so, I started to calm down again.

The problem with getting well is that you have to try to figure out what you can do without, but this is a great problem to have.

By the time I got to my next treatment, I was only taking 1000 mg of vitamin C (as opposed to 3000 mg) and one histamine supplement (out of 4) and I felt ok with that!!

Since I had this treatment, I have had to add another histamine supplement back in, but I’ve been fine with the reduction in vitamin C which means that my body is obviously getting more vitamin C out of the food I’m eating. I cannot tell you how exciting that is, because malabsorption has been a problem for me for a very long time.

This is the point of NAET – to help your body recognize and process food again.

This treatment totally restored my faith in this protocol and my hope that I can, once again, be a normally functioning individual. I am really looking forward to upcoming treatments and the progress that I know is going to happen.

In healing,

Vanessa

Vanessa Gunter, D.M.A., M.A.

 

 

NAET Treatments and Hashimoto’s: The Third Treatment – Calcium Mix

NAET Treatments and Hashimoto’s: The Third Treatment – Calcium Mix

Today’s post is about my third NAET treatment. My previous two posts discussed NAET treatments in general and what occurred with my first and second treatments. This third treatment was for calcium, which meant that, after the treatment, I would have to avoid all things containing calcium for a given period of time.

When I first thought about this, prior to the treatment, it didn’t sound like it would be too hard, since I’ve been off of dairy for a long time. But, you don’t realize how many foods and supplements have calcium in them until you have to avoid it. Turns out, I would have to avoid a lot of veggies, beans, nuts, seeds, eggs and about half of my supplements. Two of my medications also had trace amounts of lactose in them. If I had been eating dairy, soy, spinach, or fruits, the avoidance list would have been even longer.

So, the first thing we did at this third treatment was discuss the issues surrounding my medications and supplements. My practitioner provided me with a “workaround routine” that I could use before and after taking my medications. This consisted of a series of acupressure points that assist the body with clearing the small amounts of lactose I would be exposed to after taking these medications.

Next, we went over my supplements. I have to tell you, I was very afraid of letting go of this support because my system has been very weak for a very long time and it was hard for me to imagine that I would be able to function at all without half of my supplements.  My practitioner reassured me that, during the avoidance period, the calcium from the treatment would be circulating through my body, so my body wouldn’t really miss the calcium. But, I was also having to go without my multivitamin, which is a major support piece for me. I agreed to give it a try and to call her if I felt like I was getting into any trouble after the treatment.

The treatment began with my practitioner muscle testing to see if I cleared the Egg Mix from the last treatment, and I did. She then tested the one supplement that we agreed I should probably take (chromium) to be sure I really needed it. Turns out I did, so we agreed I would use my “workaround” for that as well. Following that, she tested me for the calcium – my arm was definitely weak, weak, weak, which indicated that I really did need the treatment.

Next was the spinal “massage” routine that she does, followed by energy work, followed by acupuncture.

I always feel significantly better right after these treatments – rested, clear-headed – it’s really wonderful.

After the acupuncture, she muscle tested me again for the calcium, and my arm was strong this time. She calculated that I would need to avoid calcium for 50 hours following the treatment, so I went home and tried to put together a calcium-free lunch.

I typically eat greens, both at breakfast and at lunch, so I had to avoid those. The only vegetable that I could eat successfully for these 2 days was zucchini, so that’s what I did. I also cooked some quinoa because I couldn’t eat the special bread that I usually make, since it also contained calcium. Basically, I lived on meat, zucchini and quinoa for 2 days. I suppose it could have been worse.

By the end of the first day, I was really, really tired and by the time my 50 hours were up, I felt like total crap.

I called my practitioner on the third day to tell her that I still wasn’t feeling very well and her hypothesis was that I didn’t clear the calcium. But, I felt that the problem was not being able to take my multivitamin. My system was and is just too weak to go through these food and supplement changes without more support. Thankfully, by the fifth day, I was feeling more normal (normal for me, that is), so that by the time I went for my next treatment, I felt up to trying this again.

As it turned out, I did clear the calcium, but my practitioner also discovered that my body really needed to be treated for digestive enzymes as soon as possible, so she felt that this also played into the problems I had after this treatment.

This treatment was a real challenge for me. Not only did I not do well physically after this treatment, but I was pretty low emotionally as well. This would stand to reason, since Hashi’s tends to mess with everything on days that you aren’t feeling well. I started to question whether I could do these treatments, which led to feeling pretty hopeless for a while, since I have tried so many things over the years with only mediocre results. I’m really thankful that my husband is a kind, supportive man who is willing to help me through these depressive episodes. He’s definitely my #1 cheerleader!

Because this treatment was so difficult for me, I really had no idea what to expect going forward, but I was determined that I would continue to take my multivitamin during my avoidance periods, because I knew it would help a lot.

Moral of the story is: trust yourself to know what your body needs and be sure to discuss this honestly with any practitioners you are seeing.

Before going to my fourth treatment, I looked again at what I would be having to avoid so I could shop accordingly. I also looked at my supplements so that I could make decisions about which ones to discuss with my practitioner. I just had to hope that the next treatment would be easier to get through…and it was.

More soon.

To healing,

Vanessa

Vanessa Gunter, D.M.A., M.A.

 

 

NAET Treatments and Hashimoto’s: The Second Treatment – Egg Mix

NAET Treatments and Hashimoto’s: The Second Treatment – Egg Mix

In my previous post, I talked about what NAET is and how it generally works. This was followed by a description of what occurred in my first appointment with my practitioner.

Today, I want to talk about my second treatment, which was for Egg Mix. Egg Mix basically means all things related to chickens. Thankfully, following this treatment, as long as I avoided anything connected to chickens, I could eat or touch pretty much anything else, so the avoidance period would not be too horrible.

At the beginning of this treatment, my practitioner muscle tested me to see if I cleared the Brain Body Balance Formula, and I did. (If you need an explanation of muscle testing, please see my other post here). She had requested at the first treatment that I bring all of my supplements and medications with me. I practically needed a suitcase to haul all of this stuff to my appointment. When she saw how many there were, she decided to just test me for my medications to be sure that the dosage I was taking was on target. It turns out it was, which didn’t surprise me.

Next, she tested me for the egg mix and I was totally weak. I mean, my arm just fell to the table. I guess I didn’t expect to react that strongly to eggs and chicken, because I’ve been eating both for a long time with, what felt like, no problems.

Apparently my body wasn’t handling these things as well as I thought, and that is a lesson in itself. You just never know.

After that, we did the same routine as during the first treatment: spinal “massage” with varied breathing patterns followed by energy work, followed by acupuncture. She let me rest after the acupuncture for about 15 minutes or so and then tested me again for the egg mix and my arm was strong this time. It’s always amazing how that works. She also calculated that I would have to avoid eggs and chicken for 50 hours following the treatment.

If you’ve ever done any acupuncture before, you know that you are always advised to eat something before the session so your blood sugar doesn’t drop. I found out pretty quickly that I also needed to eat something after NAET treatments. Acupuncture always makes me hungry, but I also found myself getting very tired about halfway home from the treatments, so I started bringing an extra snack to eat afterwards.

The next 2 days were spent avoiding eggs and chicken and anything associated with them. Luckily, I don’t sleep on feather pillows or with down blankets, or I would have had to change the bed. But I did need to come up with a different breakfast, since I usually eat eggs. I don’t eat any grains either, so I decided to make baked lamb chops, which were yummy. The recipe is here in case you’re interested. I left out the garlic because I usually don’t handle that very well, but it was still really delicious.

The only other big adjustment to those 2 days involved my husband having to make his own omelettes for breakfast. But, he already knew how to do that, so it wasn’t a big deal. I felt ok for the most part, maybe a little more tired than usual, but that was it. I was grateful that this second treatment was not too difficult because I could tell the ones coming up were going to be more challenging.

After the 2 days were over, I went back to eating eggs and chicken as usual. I didn’t feel any real difference in how my body was handling these things, but I didn’t expect to, given that I hadn’t felt any real reactions to them prior to the treatment. The rest of my week went pretty well – no depression, little or no anxiety, and decent levels of energy.

I began to look ahead at the next treatment to see what I would need to avoid and to start planning ahead for groceries. It’s really important to have a plan in your head regarding what you will eat during your avoidance period for the upcoming treatment, because each treatment is a little different. As I was looking ahead this time, I saw that my supplements were going to be a affected, so I wondered how that would work. I would have my questions answered at the next treatment.

More soon.

In healing,

Vanessa

Vanessa Gunter, D.M.A., M.A.

NAET Treatments and Hashimoto’s: The First Treatment – Brain Body Balance

NAET Treatments and Hashimoto’s: The First Treatment – Brain Body Balance

In my previous post about acupuncture and Hashi’s, I wrote about the fact that I began “specialized” treatments for food sensitivities and allergies in September. In this post, I want to talk about this form of treatment and describe my first visit to my NAET practitioner.

What is NAET? It stands for Nambudripad’s Allergy Elimination Techniques.  According to the NAET website, these treatments were discovered by Dr. Devi S. Nambudripad in November of 1983. The treatments are a combination of acupuncture, kinesiology (muscle testing), energy work, chiropractic work and nutritional and supplementation guidance. The treatments adhere to a particular schedule, clearing one allergen or sensitivity at a time, although the schedule is often amended based on what particular issues an individual might be facing. The explanation behind the procedure is that the treatment causes the substance for which you are being treated to circulate throughout your body while you are actually avoiding taking in that substance for a period of time. This allows your body to become reacquainted with the substance and to remember how to process it correctly.

For instance, if you are being treated for vitamin C, then your practitioner will determine how long you will need to avoid all contact with vitamin C after the treatment. This includes not only ingesting vitamin C, but touching it as well. After your avoidance period is over, your body will be absorbing vitamin C better than it was before the treatment because it has “relearned” how to process vitamin C correctly.

The official protocol for NAET states that substances should be avoided for 25 hours; however, my practitioner has found that, if she tests and asks the body how long it needs to clear a particular substance, and follows that advice, then her clients are much more apt to clear everything successfully. My “magic number” to date has been 50 hours. I wish it were 25 because, depending on what you’re trying to avoid, 50 hours can be a mighty long time. It is becoming easier with each treatment, though.

The First Treatment

My first visit was booked for 2 hours, but it actually lasted for 2 1/2 hours. I find that my practitioner is very generous with her time, unless I come on a day when she has a really full schedule.

Most of the first visit was spent discussing my lengthy and complicated medical history. I realized a long time ago that I needed to just create a document with my medical history on it so that when I start with any new practitioner, I can just hand them the page or refer to it myself when answering questions on their intake forms.

We talked at length about all of my issues, most of which she was pretty familiar with since she’s been doing this for a long time. I found her very easy to talk with, which is important for me if I know I’m going to be working with someone long term.

After the intake process, we went into her acupuncture room and she had me lie down on the table. She did some muscle testing to see where my “base” was, so she would have something on which to reference my reactions later.

What is muscle testing, you ask? 

If you do a search for muscle testing, you will find a lot of varied opinions about this technique, but I have found it to be very helpful to me. People out there can say it’s quackery all they want, it has worked for me and continues to work for me. So, you need to stand back and keep an open mind if you’ve never experienced it before.

Conventional medical people always like to say “there are no studies supporting this”, but we have to include patient reports in any treatment modality we investigate and, until people are willing to start investing money in studies for alternative treatments, we won’t have any studies to support those treatments.

The first time I encountered this technique was with a naturopath I was seeing some years ago. She used muscle testing to determine various weaknesses in my body and also to determine which supplements would be best for me. The theory behind the testing is that the inherent strength in your muscles is connected to quality of function in your inner organs, therefore, if you have a weak liver, for instance, and you test for that via the muscles, the muscles will also present with weakness.

Typically, you stand or lie down and hold up one arm, resisting against a push on that arm by the practitioner. If the practitioner touches a part of the body that corresponds with a weak organ, you will not be able to push against the force any longer and your arm will fall. I went into my first experience with this not having any idea what to expect, so I wasn’t “preconditioned” in any way, and I was amazed at how it worked. There is no way that you can force your arm to stay up in these situations – the strength just isn’t there.

My chiropractor uses muscle testing at every session to determine where my muscles are weak so that he can decide what kinds of adjustments to make. As soon as the adjustments are made, my strength comes back in that arm. It has worked beautifully for all the years that I have continued to see him.

So, back to my first NAET treatment.

Once she had her reference base from the initial testing, she tested me for the substance that I was to be treated for that day. The first NAET treatment is always something called “Brain Body Balance Formula”. I have no idea what it’s comprised of, but its purpose is to begin to balance the body in preparation for the second treatment.

When she tested me for this, of course, I was weak. To date, every time she has tested me for a substance prior to the actual treatment, I have been weak. But, this doesn’t surprise me, given how many allergies and sensitivities I have.

After this, she had me turn over on the table and she performed a kind of spinal massage, beginning at my neck and going all the way down to the tailbone. While she was doing this, I was instructed to do different kinds of breathing, like holding my breath, exhaling and holding, breathing rapidly, and breathing normally. She went through these cycles a number of times and then did energy work where she placed her hands on my back for about 5 minutes or so. I have found that this “massage” and energy work always relaxes me.

Acupuncture followed the energy work. She only used about 10-12 points, but, make no mistake, it was still very powerful. She inserted the needles and then gave me time to rest.

At the end of the treatment, she tested me again for the substance for which I was being treated and I was much stronger than during the previous testing. Thankfully, for this first treatment, I did not have to avoid anything, so she didn’t have to test to see how long my avoidance period would be.

It became clear to me within a couple of days that I needed to cut back on my adrenal supplements completely. I have been off of them ever since.

To understand how amazing this is, is to understand that I have not been able to be without those supplements for years and years. I was stunned. I am still on my hydrocortisone, but the long term plan for these treatments is that I will eventually go off of that too.

I will be writing about all of my NAET treatments here, but I have had enough of them by this point in time to tell you that some pretty amazing things have been happening and, for the first time in a long time, I have real hope that I can get well. It’s an incredible feeling.

More soon.

To getting well,

Vanessa

Vanessa Gunter, D.M.A., M.A.

 

 

Acupuncture and Hashimoto’s!!

Acupuncture and Hashimoto’s!!

You may have noticed that there are two exclamation points after the title of this post. This is because my own personal experience with using acupuncture to address symptoms of Hashi’s has been incredible. In fact, I recently began a series of specialized acupuncture treatments aimed at clearing the body of food sensitivities and allergies and, after only three treatments, I am already feeling significant changes.

Before I go into that, I just want to talk about the general benefits of acupuncture for someone dealing with Hashi’s.

I have found that acupuncture, more than anything else I have tried, has significantly reduced my levels of anxiety and depression.

Now, I’m trained as a psychotherapist, so I am very familiar with the “party line” when it comes to trying to deal with these two very common, but often implacable issues. Literally everyone I saw during the time I was practicing therapy was struggling with both anxiety and depression. Typically, what is offered to clients is a combination of therapeutic approaches and medication. Talk therapy can actually be quite helpful, but if someone is dealing with some level of chronic illness, chances are that these symptoms are being generated by an imbalance in the body.

You see, these two conditions are often thought of as “emotional” disorders. Well, they are, but we tend to divorce things associated with the mind and the emotions from what’s going on in the rest of the body when what goes on in the body directly affects your emotions! This is because conditions like depression and anxiety are a result of your body’s biochemistry being out of balance.

Because of the way the immune system is affected by Hashimoto’s, I would be willing to say that probably 99% of people who have this condition are also struggling with anxiety and depression. This is because of the involvement of the endocrine system, specifically the thyroid and adrenal glands. The endocrine system is in charge of keeping your hormones in balance and your hormones control your emotions. So, when this system cannot maintain the balance it needs, you get all kinds of “emotional” symptoms, like anxiety, depression, huge mood swings, and an inability to regulate your emotions.

I will be talking about these things in greater detail in coming posts. For now, just remember that your emotions are a result of your biochemistry.

Now, back to the acupuncture. If you’ve never had acupuncture before or don’t know much about it, it’s actually quite fascinating. This ancient art uses the “meridians” or energy channels of your body to bring the body back into balance. It is literally working with the body’s electrical energy to re-establish or awaken connections that may have gone dormant for some reason.

I found a quote from an article in Acupuncture Today entitled A Simple, Easy-to-Understand Explanation of Acupuncture by John Amaro, LAc, DC, Dipl. Ac.(NCCAOM), Dipl.Med.Ac.(IAMA) which explains it this way:

“Acupuncture deals with homeostasis, which is the body’s ability to maintain balance. The patient who is out of balance electromagnetically becomes ill and expresses specific symptoms.”

I’m not a fan of needles, so it took me way too long to consider using acupuncture for my Hashi’s. I’m hoping you will take advantage of it earlier than I did. This is easier to do than it used to be because many insurance companies are now paying for acupuncture.

I searched for a good practitioner and managed to find one who also had Hashi’s! What a gift. It was amazing to be able to talk with her about what I was experiencing and have her actually “get it”! She said during our first conversation that she felt like she was talking to herself when I was telling her about my symptoms.

I did some research before going to my first session and found most people talking about a high level of benefit and no pain from the needles. Well, I did experience pain – but, it wasn’t unbearable and it only occurred for a second while inserting the needle. It also didn’t happen with every needle. After a few sessions, I didn’t care anymore, because I was feeling so much better emotionally that whatever small level of pain I experienced was totally worth it.

My initial sessions involved a lot of needles in my ears – apparently there are a whole lot of acupuncture points in the ears. My practitioner was focusing on decreasing anxiety and depression, increasing energy levels and improving digestion.

After 4 or 5 sessions, I was able to decrease my adrenal supplements by half.

I also noticed that my energy was better for much of the week, as compared to only a couple of days out of each week prior to beginning treatments. My digestion also felt stronger – I felt like I was handling histamine a little better, which is a huge issue for me. I eventually got to the point where I could go for 10 days without a treatment and still remain relaxed and with good energy.

After about 15 sessions, my acupuncturist recommended that I see someone qualified to do N.A.E.T. acupuncture. She had gone through these treatments herself and credited them with healing her to the point where she could eat many foods to which she had become overly sensitive, maintain consistent energy levels and go back to work again.

So this is where I am now. I started these specialized treatments about a month ago and, as I stated at the beginning of this post, I really feel that they are making me stronger. I am continuing to reduce certain supplements with every treatment, and this is something I’ve really not been able to do since I was diagnosed decades ago.

I’ve decided to dedicate a series of posts to N.A.E.T. acupuncture – sort of a journaling experience, if you will – so you can be a part of this as I do it. Click here to get started with the first post.

In healing,

Vanessa

Vanessa Gunter, D.M.A., M.A.

 

 

More Resources for Finding a Doctor for Hashimoto’s

More Resources for Finding a Doctor for Hashimoto’s

I have been watching a great documentary series this week, hosted by Dr. Tom O’Bryan, entitled “Betrayal”. The series covers several important aspects of autoimmune disease, including gut health, cross reactivity, environmental toxins and brain health. In doing this series, Dr. Tom interviews many of the leading figures in autoimmune health and I want to supply you with a list of these people as an additional source for finding a practitioner. All of these people are practicing functional medicine. If you’re not familiar with what that is, you can read more here.  Functional and integrative medicine has a much higher success rate in dealing with autoimmunity than conventional medicine, so these are the kinds of practitioners you want to work with if it’s at all possible.

Unfortunately, most of these people do not take insurance. They are usually happy to provide you with documentation so you can file for reimbursement, but the reimbursement rate may be lower than what you would have experienced with an in-network doctor.

The rates for many of these practitioners are very high as well. You will just have to go to the links I’m providing and look at the details in order to decide if it’s a situation you’re able to invest in. Remember that there are also online programs that many people are opting to do, and they tend to be more affordable. I mentioned some of those in my other post.

So here’s the list. Please click on the names to find out more about each one:

Hopefully this list will give you a good place to start, but please also refer to my other “Doctors” post for more names. I will post more resources as I find them.

In health,

Vanessa

Vanessa Gunter, D.M.A., M.A.