not a final diagnosis
Ritchie J. Shoemaker, M.D., now retired, is a physician who worked on the forefront of biotoxin-related illness for many years and authored the ground-breaking book Mold Warriors. His research centered around MSH, an anti-inflammatory, regulatory hormone made in the hypothalamus. According to Shoemaker, an MSH deficiency can create “chronic non-restful sleep and increased perception of pain (i.e. chronic fatigue and chronic pain), in addition to other symptoms.”
Chronic widespread pain—usually relating to the pressure points shown in the diagram above—and debilitating fatigue are both hallmarks of fibromyalgia. Other main symptoms include a heightened and painful response to gentle touch, sleep disturbance, and joint stiffness. Multiple body systems are usually involved, with difficulty swallowing, bowel and bladder issues, difficulty breathing, sensations of numbness and tingling, and “brain fog” also being common. Each case of fibromyalgia is different, ranging in combinations of symptoms as well as severity.
In his article “Fibromyalgia: The Anatomy of a Phantom Illness” Shoemaker writes:
The disturbing reality is that in recent years, fibromyalgia has become a medical phantom—one of those handy “catch-all” diagnoses (including “irritable bowel disease,” “chronic fatigue syndrome,” some types of “depression” and several other vaguely defined ailments) that physicians turn to when they don’t actually understand what’s happening to their patients.
Without a biomarker to guide them, most disease researchers have not yet recognized that the symptoms most frequently associated with fibromyalgia are often caused by a new kind of disease process—and that the frightening illnesses which result from it are the direct result of massive, chemical-based changes in the human habitat during recent years.
Best defined as causing “chronic, neurotoxin-mediated illness,” these little understood diseases make people sick by producing low molecular-weight toxins (aka, “ionophores”) that “hide out” in the body’s fat-containing tissues, where they remain impervious to the germ-fighting “antibodies” which endlessly patrol the human bloodstream.
Linked closely to the kinds of ecological changes powerfully described 60 years ago in Rachel Carson’s classic book, Silent Spring, the alarming new illnesses include such toxin-mediated disorders as Chronic Lyme Disease, Sick Building Syndrome, Chronic Fatigue, Chronic Soft Tissue Injury and several waterborne maladies involving toxin-forming blue-green algae and one-celled dinoflagellates, including toxin-forming ciguatera and Pfiesteria.”
He is one physician who understands the relationship between human-caused environmental destruction and emerging chronic, neurotoxin-mediated disease processes that are crippling millions in America—and around the world—today. He says that our immune systems are not able to fight off this new genre of invisible disease because they act outside the bloodstream where our immune fighters cannot reach them.
Shoemaker developed an effective testing protocol for this relatively new class of illness and offers a potential solution for some in the form of the FDA-approved cholestyramine, a cholesterol-lowering drug that is not absorbed by the intestines and instead passes through one’s digestive system, pulling out fat and sequestered toxins in the process.
He views fibromyalgia not as a disease itself, but a small symptom of a much larger disease syndrome. For anyone with a diagnosis of Fibromyalgia, Planet Thrive recommends reading Shoemaker’s book Mold Warriors to see if it resonates with your situation. Mold Warriors does not focus solely on mold; but delves into the whole genre of biotoxin-related illness.
Brain retrainers Ashok Gupta and Annie Hopper both theorize that fibromyalgia is caused by an impaired limbic system – the part of the brain that controls our unconscious “fight or flight” stress response. They say that an initial environmental stressor (like toxic chemicals, mold, viruses, trauma) causes the limbic system to go into overdrive, where it gets stuck, and then all the other body systems (detoxification, immune, etc.) are downregulated in the body’s attempt to manage the perceived ongoing emergency. They each independently developed a non-invasive treatment plan that includes neuro-linguistic programming (NLP), breathing techniques, and other therapies aimed at mediating the unconscious fear response.
At Planet Thrive, we believe that illness is a wake-up call for deep, sustained lifestyle change. Our individual illnesses are a reflection of the sickness of our culture. And so we must fight them not only on an individual level—eating healthier, living chemical-free, etc.—but also as a community-at-large. When one person is sick, we are all sick. Until we, as a species, can understand this concept, disease will flourish and millions will continue to suffer. And one day, it might be you.
FIBROMYALGIA ON PLANET THRIVE
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