From the category archives:

fibromyalgia

Anti-Inflammatory Diet

by Ed

Contribution from freelance writer, Jackie.

How to Go on An Anti-Inflammatory Diet: Eating the Right Foods To Prevent Diseases

Your immune system works hard to protect your body against infection and injury. This reaction called inflammation is how your body naturally reacts to fight off viruses or chemicals – basically anything that may cause potential harm to the body. But in some cases, inflammation can still occur even though there are no threats to your health, and this can lead to certain health conditions and diseases.

Reversing chronic inflammation has long been a way of life among the Chinese as they are quite adept at the use of certain herbal medicines to restore the body to its optimum condition, but Westerners have yet to catch on when it comes to correcting this health problem. Experts say that ongoing inflammation can lead to chronic diseases such as arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Moreover, chronic inflammation can become better or worse depending on the types of food that you eat. The good news is that going on an anti-inflammation diet is much more straightforward than you think it is. It’s easy enough to follow that you can eat anti-inflammatory foods no matter where you are, and in time, you begin to see what works to stop chronic inflammation from affecting your body.

Here’s how to go on an anti-inflammatory diet.

Avoid unhealthy foods

Unhealthy foods that contribute to weight gain such as processed food, fried food, and trans fat which can be found in a lot of fast food can contribute to inflammation. You should also reduce your consumption of refined flour and sugar as these foods raise insulin and blood sugar levels which can trigger inflammation.

Try incorporating some Chinese medicinal herbs into your diet

Studies have shown that Chinese herbs such as Coptis Chinensis (Huang Lian), Isatidis Folium (Da Qin Ye), and Patrinia Herba (Bai Jian Cao) have antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties to keep the balance between yin and yang and maintain the body’s overall health. You can make an herbal decoction of these Chinese herbs and drink it like tea a few times a week.

Increase your intake of whole foods

Experts say that one-ingredient foods such as apples, broccoli, and chicken can keep inflammation at bay. Fish, especially cold-water varieties, are also recommended, so try eating fish at least three times a week. You should also incorporate more whole grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds into your diet.

Switch out your cup of coffee for a cup of green tea

If you love drinking coffee twice a day, consider switching out your afternoon cup of joe for a healthful cup of green tea. This contains catechins and polyphenols, which have anti-inflammatory properties.

Flavor your food with healthful ingredients

To add seasoning to savory food, use spices with anti-inflammatory properties such as cinnamon, rosemary, ginger, and sage. If you’re craving for a hint of sweet flavor, add berries, apples, pineapples, or other fruit to your dish. Pineapple, in particular, contains an anti-inflammatory called bromelain, which improves protein digestion, so combining pineapple with chicken makes for a satisfying and anti-inflammation meal.

Indulge in dark chocolate

An anti-inflammatory diet doesn’t have to be boring – in fact, dark chocolate has anti-inflammation properties, and you can indulge in a few pieces every now and then. Consider eating dark chocolate with pieces of apple or berries to further reduce inflammation.

Consume less dairy

Dairy contains saturated fat which you need for a healthy body, but too much of it can cause inflammation. Try cutting back on dairy or consuming dairy alternatives such as soy milk or almond milk.

It has been said that chronic inflammation is the root of most diseases, so choosing the right food can go a long way to keep you healthy. Choose to go on an anti-inflammatory diet and enjoy the full health benefits for years to come.

How Qi Gong can help with Fibromyalgia and CFS

by Ed

Getting enough sleep and exercise is crucial to the wellbeing of those suffering with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. Qi gong can be very helpful in both areas. Qi gong is a Chinese form of therapeutic exercise and meditation. There are many different styles that have developed over the centuries.

According to Chinese Medicine, FM and CFS are due to a deficiency and a stagnation of the body’s vital energy. There may also be latent toxins (viruses, bacteria, etc.) in the body. Qi gong, which means energy work can increase our store of vital energy, improve it’s flow and strengthen the immune system, which can help expel the latent toxins.

The movements in most forms of qi gong are gentle and flowing like the movements of tai chi, making it easier for people with low energy reserves to do them. They provide the body with needed exercise while slowly building strength and stamina. Meditative forms of qi gong help to calm an agitated mind and body, improve sleep, and strengthen the immune system. Most practitioners also report an increased pain tolerance.

If you live near Berkeley California, check out Dr. Bingkun Hu. He is an excellent teacher of the Wild Goose style of Qi gong. Wild Goose includes both active and meditative qi gong forms. You might also want to check out Ken Cohen’s The Essential Qigong Training Course.

One of my favorite qi gong meditations is the inner smile meditation. If you would like to download a free mp3 of the inner smile meditation, mention it in your comment, below.

Stop fighting it

by Ed

One thing I have learned, especially with pain, but also other symptoms, is to not fight the symptom. If you are experiencing pain, tensing up against it, does not help, it only makes it worse. If you can completely allow the pain, accept it with your whole being, not only will you feel better, but you may have a breakthrough in your healing.

There are several things you can try, to allow the symptom in.

  • Close your eyes and bring your awareness to the area that has pain or another symptom. As you breathe in imagine the breath going to that area. As you breathe out allow that area to soften. On the inhale you can also try breathing in light or warmth.

  • Imagine that your resistance is a fist held tightly around the symptom. Feel the fist and slowly let go. This can be combined with the previous point.

  • Just explore the sensations. When you get curious about pain, it’s quality changes dramatically.

  • Practice surrender. I am not sure how else to put it, but sometimes, when in intense pain, I just keep surrendering to it.

I have a food allergy, and one of my reactions is that my esophagus goes into spasm. It is incredibly painful and I can’t swallow for about half an hour. I have never felt pain as bad as that. One time when that happened I practice surrender and exploring the sensations, together. It was an almost ecstatic experience. The pain went away very quickly, but I almost wished it didn’t because I was enjoying it so much. I have never had that pain, so intensely, since that experience.

Fibromyalgia

by Ed

The chronic pain and other symptoms of fibromyalgia are not fun to live with, but there are things you can do to make life easier. Probably the three most important things you can do to improve quality of life and decrease symptoms, are gradually increase your exercise, reduce stress, and improve sleep.

Exercise may be the most difficult because it hurts and it is so easy to overdo it. It is important to very gradually increase your exercise program, so as not to have major setbacks. You may start out with a minute a day of walking. You want to aim for 30 to 60 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise, 3 to 6 days a week. Strength training and stretching are also helpful. You may consider tai chi or yoga, for both the exercise and the stress reduction.

One of the best methods for stresss reduction is meditation. In 1998, a study on meditation and fibromyalgia found that meditative practices lessened the achiness, sleeplessness, muscle pain, and depression experienced by fibromyalgia patients. You can try the Inner Smile meditation that I mentioned in my post yesterday. Guided visualization and self-hypnosis are very similar to, and have the same effects as meditation. Search for a technique that works for you and stick with it. The more you do it, the better it works.

Sleep. Nobody wants to get up feeling like they did not get any rest all night. Not only do you feel lousy, but it aggravates all the symptoms of fibromyalgia. Getting good sleep is very important. The stress reduction techniques mentioned above should help a lot. Changing your eating habits may help as well. Reduce or avoid caffeine and sugar. Try to finish eating early in the evening. Going to bed when you are still digesting disturbs sleep. Another lifestyle change that may help is not watching tv in the evening. Tv can be very stimulating and keep you awake. If you have tried all of these things and still have problems with your sleep, you should seek treatment. research shows that acupuncture is helpful for sleep and other symptoms of fibromyalgia. Hypnotherapy is a very good method for improving sleep. I would turn to Western Medicine only as a last resort.

Finally, keep an active social life. It helps with your mood and keeps your mind off your symptoms. If you join a support group, join one that supports a more postsitive lifestyle rather than one that supports complaining about your problems. You are alive, you might as well enjoy it.