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Note: Be sure to read the Update" at the end of this article, or you will get the wrong impression of the writer's final attitude towards NAET.
I have been going through old files and came across some older emails. These are all commenting on the treatments I utilized to overcome some of my health problems. The comments are still pertinent, so I am running them in this issue of FitTips for One and All.
The first email below is commenting on my eBook Overcoming Back Pain. In it I describe how I was crippled with back pain for six years. But then, by reading Dr. John Sarno's books and following the suggested mind./ body techniques, I was able to completely overcome the pain to the point that I am now powerlifting again. Sarno uses the term TMS (Tension Myositis Syndrome) to describe such stress-generated pain.
The second email is commenting on a related issue. I used the same mind/ body techniques I used to overcome the back pain to overcome pain from fibromyalgia and posted about it in a fibromyalgia Newsgroup. The last emails discuss the NAET allergy treatments I underwent.
The emailers comments are black and enclosed in "greater than" and "lesser than" signs. My responses at the time are in red, while added current comments are in purple.
>Subject: Your "health challenges" story
I sincerely appreciate posting your story of being a powerlifter, to becoming injured, and then back again. It got me to get the same Dr Sarno book [Healing Back Pain: The Mind-Body Connection] and between the two of you I am back in the saddle.
I rowed in college and for several years after graduation, finally succumbing to a "career-ending" injury. I was, relatively speaking, an invalid for years. Thanks to your story and the suggestion to read the book I am back to deadlifting and doing power-cleans and living life.
Once again, thank you very much for putting your story on the Internet. Whenever I come across people complaining about back pain I refer them to your website.
Thanks for letting me about your story. It is very exciting to hear about what you have overcome. And I am thankful I had a part in it. That is why I posted my story, hoping it would help others.
>Subject: TMS/FM [Tension Myositis Syndrome/ Fibromyalgia]
I read your post [in the alt.med.fibromyalgia Newsgroup] from Oct. 2001 and I really wanted to thank you. My FM [fibromyalgia] story has some similar references to your experiences. In 1997, after lifting weights for 10 years, when I was 28, I "blew out" my shoulder while doing bench presses. I essentially heard a tearing noise that, to this day, still haunts me. Anyway, my shoulder was diagnosed as having bursitis, but that pain soon "moved" down to my chest, over to my elbow, to my neck and even jaw/teeth. It constantly morphed. Unbearable type pain. I also started getting mouth ulcers and fell into a deep depression.
I went to Dr. Sarno in 1998, but it took me essentially a year and half to get better, because it took that long for my brain to accept that there was nothing structurally wrong with me. In November 2002, I fell down some stairs and for the first time, I had back pain. It was excruciating for 5 months, but somehow just disappeared last May without much emotional work on my part....probably not coincidentally, at the same time I ended a terrible relationship.
Anyway, just recently, a traumatic "trigger" event with my shoulder. Innocent enough, it happened while I was using a power drill. I realize the physical incident has nothing to do with my current pain. I know the pain has been emotionally triggered, of course. I just moved to a new city and I'm in the middle of a very difficult relationship. I have contractors who are threatening to sue me. Plus I have tons of old stuff from the past haunting me. It's caused my TMS and FM to flare up dramatically. Especially in the past week, I have been in chronic pain, especially in my jaw, mouth and tongue. However, I have been re-reading Dr. Sarno's book and also picked up Nancy Selfridge's FM book. Both seem to be working.
After nearly 2 weeks of horrible pain, I went essentially pain free for a whole day and a half. Amazing. Today has not been great, but the pain was alleviated dramatically after reading your post to the alt.med.fibromyalgia site. I just hope I can lick this flare-up thing soon....I know I (and my brain) controls my own destiny.
I just really wanted to thank you. You post is great motivation to heal and get better.
Thank you for your email. And I am glad my post helped you. It sounds you have quite a "testimony" as well to the theories of Sarno and pain. As for me, the only time my back pain bothers me is when I think about it! And when I get stressed out about something, my FM pain, especially in my lowest front rib where it started, will flare-up some, but not too much.
You might also be interested in my eBooklet on my back pain story. It describes my experiences in much more detail. And I recently updated it with the fact that I am now powerlifting again!
>Subject: Powerlifting inspiration
I wanted to send you an E mail to say how much I have enjoyed reading your site. I especially have found helpful your dietary tips and reading your training routines.<
Thank you for the kind comments. And I am glad my site has been of help to you.
>I myself have weight trained for a while now, my main goal being functional strength. I've found it hard to consistently keep up my routines and so have often lost the gains I have made due to laziness!<
Consistency is the most important thing. I've made the gains I have because I have only very rarely missed a workout.
>I too have had health problems, mainly caused by the fact I have suffered from depression for 10 years, and this has affected my training. I have looked at many web pages since getting my computer in august and have found yours and John Berardi's site the most helpful and informative.
>I am now about to re-start my routine and try to gain back the strength I have lost… Am looking forward to when I can deadlift 300lbs plus!<
Stay with it consistently, and you'll be up to 300 in no time!
>But as I said earlier, well done on an excellent site and thanks for the inspiration.
P.S. The weight you gained during your training phase, was it all muscle mass?<
I've gained some fat along the way, but much more muscle than fat.
Note: When I was at the worse of my health problems I was down to 106 pounds (I'm, 5'1"). That was back in April 2002. But now, I am weighing around 124 pounds. So I have gained about 18 pounds in the last four years, and most of that has been muscle. Not bad for someone in his mid-40s.
The following was one of the first emails I received after starting the Web site. The emailer is referring to the NAET treatments I underwent, which is an alternative form of allergy treatments. The main reason I underwent these treatments was for my Stiff Person Syndrome. And they worked in helping me overcome that condition.
Before the treatments, I was virtually paralyzed 24/7 and began having episodes where I was totally paralyzed for hours or even days at a time. These flare-ups were occurring almost weekly at my worst. But after the NAET treatments, my flexibility returned and the flare-ups became less and less frequent. Today, I am as flexible as I was before the problems began, and I have not had a flare-up in over two years. But for some reason, this improvement seemed to anger the emailer.
>Subject: I got Stiff Man too! And I am a woman!
YOU WASTED YOUR MONEY WITH YOUR "ALLERGY" TREATMENTS. You've been taken for a ride, my friend. I, too, tried the raw foods, the allergy treatments, all of it. You will improve. You are. I can now walk nearing two miles, after almost three years. The reason you test POSITIVE for all these supposed allergens is because your bodies is producing antigens - that is why it is an auto-immunity. Help yourself and your pocketbook and do what you know in your body/mind is the path, the path of exercise and courage.
I continue my yoga. I can even dance again, within my new limits. I wish there were better information available to people with SMS. Athletic, like you, my body may have been breaking down for years and then it hit. It hit hard and I was in bed, then crawling and then walking a block and then picking things up with my toes and then..... I am performing again. I don't know about relapse. Who knows? And, yes, prednisone is useless. So is IVIG. Valium helps. It's not toxic. It helps, especially in the morning, on those "bad" days. Then, it sucks 'cause the pain may come back with a vengeance as soon as it wears off. It's also difficult if you need to actually think!
Take care and stop the madness with these phony-baloney illusionists. I have closet full of vials to "clear" my allergens, and I am now in debt to a tune.... You don't want to know. I'll tell you if you want to donate to Maureen's Stiff Man Syndrome Fund!
Thank you for your email. But I must say I am a little flabbergasted by it. A year ago I was completely crippled, helpless, and unable to care for myself.
Today, I am powerlifting again and doing very well. The improvement I have seen is nothing short of miraculous. So I see no "waste of money" whatsoever.
Granted NAET was only one factor in my recovery, but it was a very important factor. Proper diet was another. And by this I do NOT mean a raw foods/ vegetarian diet. As I make clear on my site, I believe that such a diet contributed to my problems. I am now following a healthy omnivore diet.
A positive mental attitude was also a very important factor. I always had the confidence that I would improve.
As for you, it is possible that the NAET practitioner you went to was not doing the treatments properly. I mentioned this as I started with a practitioner who did not help me, but when I switched practitioner I found out he was doing the treatment incorrectly. It was with my new practitioner that I began to see improvements. So please see the article on this subject on my site.
Also, I kindly suggest you think about another factor. You appear to be a rather anger-filled person, and your anger could very well be contributing to your continued problems. The book that helped me overcome my back pain might help you in this regard: Healing Back Pain: the Mind-Body Connection, by Dr. John Sarno.
>Subject: RE: I got Stiff Man too! And I am a woman!
So, obviously, you are just trying to sell your b*****t alternative medicine. If you were better informed on the process of our disease, you would understand that after the crippling effects of the initial onset, it will get better. Go and profit from your b*****t. Go for it. Sell your lies. It angers me to think that perhaps your "treatments" affected some sort of miracle for you. You know the truth. You wrote about it. But you will sell lies anyway. Because you are in the business of taking advantage of people with unusual illnesses.
I'd really like to know what your problem is. I'm doing well, and that somehow bothers you???
The treatments I underwent worked. If that that doesn't fit your worldview, oh well. But facts are facts.
And note, I am not "selling" NAET treatments as I am not a practitioner. If someone is interested in NAET treatments I refer them to NAET certified doctors, who in no way reimburse me.
The above was written almost three years ago. It is now July 2006, and my attitude towards the NAET treatments I underwent has changed somewhat. The NAET treatment did help greatly in terms of the stiffness I was experiencing at the time. They also helped immensely in regards to food allergies. Before I underwent the treatments, I was reacting to just about all foods. But now, I can eat most foods without problems, as long as they are natural/ organic foods. But I still have problems with artificial ingredients, pesticides, and the like. And this leads to next point.
Initially, it seemed like the NAET treatments also helped with environmental allergies. But over time, such allergies have grown worse. I especially have problems with chemicals. So my condition could be described as "multiple chemical sensitivities." Especially troublesome are cosmetic products, like perfume, make-up, cologne, and the like. Just being near anyone wearing such products causes me problems. So I am being forced to live an almost isolated life.
And now, the NAET treatments no longer seem to help. So I stopped doing them. And it is possible that my condition now is some kind of after-effect of all of the NAET treatments I underwent. In other words, maybe the NAET treatments somehow screwed-up my immune system. Or maybe my current problems are unrelated. I simply cannot say. All I know is that the NAET treatments did seem to work initially, but now chemical allergies are worse than ever.
So I'm not sure what final evaluation of NAET treatment would be. They helped me to overcome my stiff person syndrome. But they might have led to my multiple chemical sensitivities. At the very least, they are not helpful for the latter. All I can suggest is the reader research out the issue carefully before undergoing NAET treatments. For further details, see Dangers of Applied Kinesiology and NAET.
But in regards to Sarno's theory about back pain and other forms of chronic pain being emotionally based, there is no doubt that he is on the right track. I was crippled with back pain for six years. During that time, I couldn't lift more than two pounds without ending up in extreme pain. But using Sarno's techniques, I completely overcame the pain. And in the six years since then, I have not experienced back pain to any significant degree. And I am now squatting and deadlifting over 400 pounds.
So if the reader is experiencing back pain or other forms of chronic pain, I can wholeheartedly recommend Sarno's books. And see my eBookOvercoming Back Pain for further details on how I utilized his theories to overcome my pain.
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