Alternative Approaches to Health and Wellness

Discussion in 'Your Living Room' started by tamarak, Nov 9, 2006.

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  1. tamarak

    tamarak New Member

    It's becoming clear to me that there are various approaches to healing and therefore to dealing with this thing we call Menieres.

    There are quite a few on the forum who are interested in what is generally called "alternative" approaches ie. not about pharmaceutical medications or surgical interventions. These people generally post about things like trigger point therapy, massage, acupuncture, bodywork of various kinds, dietary approaches, lifestyle changes (handling stress/anxiety for example), traditional chinese medicine, various herbal approaches.

    I would like to dedicate this thread to those of us who are interested in these various approaches to health and healing.

    There are some caveats for this thread:

    1. It is understood that none of us are promoting any specific product that we stand to gain financially from.

    2. It is understood that none of us are promoting any of these techniques as opposed to other more "clinically recognized" approaches--ie. we're not telling anyone that they shouldn't get a MRI but to take herbs instead!
    That would be irresponsible. We are merely discussing different approaches we've tried or heard about.

    3. It is understood that herbs can be just as dangerous and have equally serious side effects as any pharmaceutical drug or medication--once again we are not promoting mindless or frivolous use of any herb or even chinese medicine without proper consideration and research. In fact, part of the purpose of this is to share research and information.

    4. With regard to our information, please give your source of information as much as possible--yes, it could be "someone told me today"---then we can make informed decisions about the validity of the information--or (in a case like the one above) we could go out and do research on the idea and bring it back for others!

    5. since many illnesses are often tied up and there is a general misdiagnosis of a variety of dis-ease that is related to auto-immune, chronic illness, allergies, food intolerances etc. and since the state of health is an intricate balance between mind/body/spirit--I would like the thread to be open up past Menieres related to general health tips that will help us all--eg. don't drink water from plastic bottles as it has had parabens seeping into it. This kind of information helps us all (if I give a reference!!!) because we are already weakened by Menieres and so are increasingly vulnerable to other tag along illnesses.

    6. there has been much fruitful debate on this site about the validity of alternative approaches. And the danger of them too. However, this is not the place for debate on this. Please post here only if you are interested and committed to the idea of alternative approaches to health. If you are concerned about a post here and you feel compelled to respond--please either pm the person directly or begin another thread. This thread is not to be filled with controversy and dissent. Personally, I'm tired of defending this approach. It works for me and I don't feel like having to explain the basics and my thinking and the premises over and over. Only post here if you believe in these approaches!

    Okay! If any of you can think of any other parameters so that we can just get on with the discussion without having to defend the approach...let me know! In the is an area that many of us will find interesting. Hopefully, this will enable us to keep all the ideas in one place.

    By the way, I don't have a printer--but this should end up being a very valuable resource for those of us who approach health in this way. Could one of you agree to keep a hardcopy of files so that if there is another crash we don't lose everything again!?


  2. sparrow

    sparrow Guest

    Hi Tamara ~ Why not begin with your beliefs and what you know and want to share. I for one am in the trial and error mode and so am open to hear what you and others have to share.

    Sparrow :D
  3. tamarak

    tamarak New Member

    Oh Sparrow--of course you're right...I'm just shortcutting into all the things I don't want to have on the thread because I've been too busy the past few months defending what I believe in!

    I'm not sure that I can call myself a believer of any type. Maybe my only belief is that most things are contextual--and that it is very hard for others to be able to assess the level of health/wellness/illness or sources thereof because they really do not know what is going on inside spiritually, or with diet etc.

    Let me give you an example...when I first got these dizzy spells I went to my GP--he said it was probably labyritnthitis and it would work itself out in a few months. He prescribed antivert. Antivert didn't help and actually made it worse. After months of suffering, I dragged myself to a local traditional chinese medicine doctor. He gave me endless bags of dried herbs. I had dead low chi and I was sooo tired and I had what appeared to be an overactive liver yang. He asked me if I ate well. I replied "yes" (generally) and he told me to work less and avoid alcohol. We're coming up to the one year anniversary of when I started with him now.

    Months later and several hundred dollars later I still have bouts of vertigo forcing me to close the restaurant so that I can collapse into 10 hour spinning sessions.

    In May, I return to my GP who is surprised that I am still having dizzy spells (well, he did say months, didn't he?) anyway, he sends me to the ENT. I get an initial diagnosis of having Menieres and he gives me a prescription for Serc.

    With my handy diagnosis I go to the internet where I do not find this site immediately. Instead, I find Rick's posts scattered in various places on the net.

    At this point, I'm closing the restaurant 2 times a week to have attacks. I am scared and anxious of when the next attack will hit and I'm just about ready to CUT MY EAR OFF if that will help!

    Finding Rick's posts was literally a GODSEND. First off, he had the same triggers as me (strong smells, caffeine--or what I thought was caffeine--but more on that later!) And he was in "remission". For the first time in two years, I had some hope (did I mention that it took me a very long time to get to the GP in the first place?). Rick's post talked about eliminating gluten. I eliminated gluten.

    I chose to make the dietary changes and to wait to take the Serc only as a last measure.

    Slowly over the summer, my attacks lessened in severity and in frequency.

    I made other dietary changes (eliminated msg, a lot of sugar, caffeine etc.) but eliminating bread was the hardest because as a busy restauranteur I never have time to eat! So I used to stuff myself up with bread. It seems that I might have some sort of gluten intolerance--I have a lot in common with celiacs--whether I want to take on that label or not, I'm not sure.

    Incidentally, at this time (that I stopped traditional chinese medicine remedies) I also began taking western herbal and alternative remedies which seemed to help me through the time...niacin to increase blood flow and circulation (a problem that both Traditional Chinese Medicine doctors noted), ginko biloba to do the same thing, swedish bitters to help digestion, vitamin b complex because I wasn't getting enough, folic acid (if I remember right, it's a detoxifier), selenium (also a detoxifier). Now, I've run out of most of these and I haven't replaced them but I am taking a vitamin supplement powder which my dad sends me. Thinking of this...I might re-introduce the supplements again to keep tuned up.

    In the summer, I saw a different traditional chinese medicine doctor--he said it's not so much that my liver is yang (overactive) but that it is in context of the other organs (ie. spleen, stomach, pancreas) which are under incredible strain.

    Now the two approaches (western (self) diagnosis "gluten intolerance"/"celiac" with gluten causing damage to the celia in my stomach and eastern diagnosis (overactive liver yang---comparatively to insufficient functioning of stomach, spleen and pancreas) actually have meaning when taken together!

    The first traditional chinese medicine practitioner couldn't really help me because you have to remember that his idea of a good diet is rice and fish and greens! He couldn't know that I was eating primarily bread and meat and coffee when I said I was eating well!

    So, you see that there is a complex relationship there.

    Also, I have begun to eat rice and fish (wild) and wild bitter greens. I also take organic yogurt smoothies with frozen fruit and ginger.

    In addition, I have really changed the way I've managed my lifestyle so that I do not have the killing deadlines in the same way (etc. I can give more details if you really want them).

    So, it wasn't one thing. It is a holistic approach to healing that's worked for me.

    Along the way in this journey, I became much more respectful of my body--of listening to my body (I used to be proud of how I could push on like a Spartan way past when my body was asking for rest!) and also much more understanding of how health really is the basis for a good life. Without health, everthing is so bleak and difficult. Now that I know this, I want to learn more about alternative approaches that can keep me and the ones I love in good health.

    Oh, and another thing...since the tcm's told me that I had overactive liver yang, and since I learned that the liver is the great de-toxifier of the body--I became interested along the way in environmental toxins (that's what drew me to your story initially, about the mold being an environmental toxin, Sparrow). Since then, I've learned that it is important to avoid parabens and also sodium laureth and lauryl sulfate which seems to be in every body care product! (except burt's bees--not a product placement--just all I could find!). I also try to breathe in deeply in order to flush out the toxins--and my attempt at getting a lot of good anti-oxidant green tea was what caused me to buy all the stuff in plastic bottles!!

    Now, when I was doing the research into environmental toxins, I noticed that a lot of the things that I was doing to help my Menieres were the same things that were recommended for people who were trying to avoid and people who were recovering from cancer! This is a very interesting correlation. It seems like our bodies can get dragged down and then vulnerable to various ailments, cancer included.

    Okay, enough about me. That's what's lead me to my interest area and I hope that some of you can recommend other ways to become and stay healthy and strong!

  4. Mya46

    Mya46 Knowledge is POWER!


    Alternative therapy for me is acupuncture at this point. Let me tell you why:

    I've done all the dietary changes/lifestyle changes and been very faithful to it, and did it all cold turkey (no booze/cigs/sugar/caffeine), i get the rest, i'm basically healthy all around except for my bouts with Meineres. This last one was bad, 8 months of vertigo daily. The only changes i had made year before was trying an abundance of SSRI's for my moods due to all the vices i gave up. The side effects were killing me, i couldn't handle them then BANG, Meneires was back. I had been in full remission too for a good 2 yrs, not one symptom and had all of my hearing back! I thought i was over Menieres.

    So i went to a naturopath, he @#[email protected]! I tried chiropractic but i didn't have the right doctors. I don't believe in readjusting the neck, it scares the hell out of me. I know others have done the NUCCA form but i don't have that offered anywhere. I also bought the trigger point therapy book Pardonme turned me on to and learned on my own but it wasn't enough.

    So, i turned to acupuncture and it was the key to my success, i rid myself of the daily vertigo i was experiencing. I was extremely tight in my neck/shoulders/upper back area ( stress ? ). Vertigo 2 to 3 times a day, out of work more than at work. Within 3 weeks of acupuncture my vertigo subsided, i was amazed. For 2 months i went once a week. She is a true healer. At one point i was actually clear of all anxiety, my mind was "empty" for the first time in my life, i chuckled a bit because it stayed with me for minutes (long time for me). I've tried counseling/drug therapy/exercise/friends/reading/you name it and never have i reached the point of "clear mind". That was on my first visit! I've since not experienced it but it opened my eyes to a different perspective that life can be dealt with easily, not everything has to be so HARD. I was searching too hard for a year (actually all my life), trying drug therapy and it was killing me inside, physically/mentally. I'm healthier now. I'm weening off the drugs i used for the vertigo (valium) with acupuncture/naturopathic remedies for my digestive system and lowwwwwwww stress. Good diet/rest/moderate exercise and lowwwwwwwwwww stress.

    I turned back to Naturopath, a new one, a wonderful woman! I have a huge thyroid goiter and i'm borderline hyperthyroid and i do NOT want surgery or drugs. I want help to keep me away from that through nutrition and supplements. So, that is why i'm on naturopathic supps right now, we think i have a malabsorption problem from all the SSRI treatment and antibiotics for years due to chronic ear/bronchitis/lyme disease too! Anyway, too much to go into, i did lots of research on my own and found myself happier with alternative at this point. I've gone the gammit too! And needless to say she informed me FINALLY that the thyroid is probably big part of my anxiety/depression/moods.....everytime i'd ask a doctor they'd just look at the numbers and say, well you are not there yet! :( The right naturopathic doctor really LISTENS, but like i said, the right one because there are some phoney balloneys out there too i've met!

    I never thought i'd say acupuncture worked for me but she is a true healer, i go there and just feel good the moment i get on that table. It's amazing how certain needles affect certain organs. She put one in me left arm, in the crook where you bend elbow and i felt a zing and a zap in my left ear last time! I had told her my left ear was really having problems with hypercusis lately (i attribute it to the rainy/damp weather here lately). Amazing! I feel much better might i add, the ear is quieter. You will feel the needles, but it's a good feel. A release for me anyway.

    I feel fortunate i found her, she is only around the corner too, another sign...i didn't have to drive far! It was all in the cards!! ;) I'm also fortunate my health care pays for it, she's on the list and not many are, another Sign!!! I tend to watch for signs in life to help me keep on track. I truly think this Menieres syndrome that i have is a wake up call for me to get away from my past lifestyle. I'm 45yrs old and it was time to wake up and grow up, i'm hoping i have another 40yrs now of clear mind/body and peace in my life!? My goal anyway.

    Tamara - I'll post my chicken soup remedy/recipe for you on the kitchen site so you can get that bird in the freezer cooked! :)

  5. sparrow

    sparrow Guest

    I'm hoping that Waxwing will post here Tamara, I will pm her :) Thank you for sharing and opening yourself up here. I, for one have learned alot from your post and also from Mya. I am excited that you started this thread. Thank you !!

    Sparrow :D
  6. pardonme

    pardonme Guest

  7. Mya46

    Mya46 Knowledge is POWER!

    First paragraph well said Pardonme! Rest of it is awesome too, thanks for your inspiration, you've done wonders in my healing on this forum. :-*

    ps...and you are so right about Linda, how inspiring she is...traveling all over with her condition is such inspiration to me (hopefully someday i will be as content as her)! And Ricks WORLD of knowledge!
  8. tamarak

    tamarak New Member

    Thank you for your beautiful post, Pardonme. That's what I meant about us all having bits of the puzzle--you brought a really important part of the healing up to the surface. That's what I'm going to think about. You know, this time I'm not going to lose all these wonderful posts! I'm going to manage to get to the internet cafe and print these posts out and make myself a healing book that I can look at and learn from. Sometimes it's hard to take in all the points when I'm at the monitor--and this will help me to be able to take in all the goodness!

    I'm looking forward to others' posts coming along.

    And, I'm going to look into that plastic leaching into bottled water thing and post the information with references as soon as I get some time.

    Pardonme, I also like the idea of going to massage as a treat! Something I don't allow myself. I'll think about this (don't feel too sorry for me, I have allowed myself the treats of learning tango and having a personal tutor in wine sommelier's ways!).

    By the way, the whole description of the mental approach of constantly pushing past the limits and being proud of it...that was me in a nutshell. I still have to be careful of my "macho" attitude (which is kind of silly to have--I've started letting my husband do the heavy work instead of expecting my little body to handle it...)


  9. waxwing

    waxwing New Member

    HI everyone! I feel like I found this party by accident and I'm so psyched to find it! I wanted to say that I am on my way to work and can't post too much right now, but I thought I could share this: This is an alternative site that has a lot of really good information, some of which may require a few grains of salt (hahah), some of it is political, but that can be skipped if you're not into it.
    I'll say more later!
    Thanks Tamara, for starting this thread! And thanks Sparrow for PMing me about it. Bye!
  10. milo

    milo New Member

    Yes this is a good thread.

    This is going to sound simplistic but the thing I realized is that "something" causes this disease. After my initial dx I was lost. I could not see what it was that was causing my symptoms. I did the usual and avoided salt, alcohol etc. and got no relief. Of course there was all the second guessing:"Oh I had a coffee/salt/beer yesterday and I had an attack today, did 1 cause the other". That kind of thing. I could never see a connection (Although I now have an issue with coffee). I was very confused. The dr's all give you that idiopathic line. It could literally be anything. However I was willing to try "alternatives". Alternative health care allowed me to eliminate causes. I tried everything from the most "out there" naturopath to the some very sensible diet altering stuff. I went sugar free, gluten free, probiotic. I did it all. What I did discover is that food really makes a difference. When I went gluten free I felt really awful. It actually altered my symptoms. In the end I have discovered that I have a structural problem in my neck. I am about 90% sure that I have licked mm. Of course I was sure that the meniett was the answer too. Right now I am getting my hearing back and living again. My particular treatment is high dose fish oild and Nucca therapy. I plan to write a letter to my ent's to let them know that they should explore structural problems in their mm patients. I wish I had this information 3 years ago.
  11. burd

    burd New Member

    In a nutshell, the more I learn of conventional medicine and healthcare, the more I am disillusioned by the whole money-making process. I do recognize much of it is valid and important, but I am becoming more and more open to alternative methods of maintaining our health.
    No one should ever follow a doctor's decisions blindly. The AMA is manipulative for reasons of profit, and the FDA is not there to protect us but to protect the interests of shareholders.
    But one should always investigate and research alternative approaches too.
    Unfortunately there is quackery and harm in all approaches to healthcare, whether it be conventional or alternative.
  12. Mya46

    Mya46 Knowledge is POWER!


    I like your post and believe you 100%. I'm also very happy for you! I like the theme of this whole particular post started by Tamarak, it's very positive but not enough response to alternative ways it seems.

    I feel similiar as i seem to go the same way with Menieres (i've had 2 flair ups since year 2000, the initial and this last one). I tried everything as you said, think it's this, think it's that. I'm heading back to remission (2nd time) because i think my body is finally detoxing all the "meds" i put into it last year! I also have borderline hyperthyroid because of a huge goiter i'm addressing as part of my problem. Which in turn can cause my years of anxiety/depression (which drove me down the path to AD meds), which in turn took a toll on my immune system which brought out my Lyme disease (viral) that lies dormant waiting to attack when weak in immune etc. I also found a structural problem with my neck (slight but xray shows small curve due to whiplash of sorts) which got me into massage therapy and acupuncture.

    So it's taken almost a year to detox all the AD meds out/boost my immune system and deal with my thyroid properly, address my neck issues with my help and alternative help. My hearing is once again returning, no vertigo, and my wellness of being is much improved.

    I've always noticed some of us on the board have the "extreme symptoms" for life for example tinnitus and the vertigo attacks/vomiting and severe hearing loss and always wondered why i seem to get 100percent better? I don't get tinnitus, did first time and it was EXTREME roaring, suicidal i called it and was bound and determined to rid it away which i did. It never came back.

    I read somewhere Menieres syndrome is "caused" by something so it's not officially Menieres disease which is idiopathic (unknown cause). I also wonder why some of us find the cause and others don't? I think i've found my causes, the puzzle pieces fit for me. I sure HOPE anyway! ;)

    Ha, and i often thought of writing my ENT a letter because when the going got rough this time he bailed OUT. And he always listened to me, he said i taught him a lot but admitted finally Menieres was "not his thing", he's more a surgeon ie, sinus..thyroid. He was scared this time when i got sick, had no clue what to do except UP the meds or send me back to the "specialist" who saw me 3 times for a total of 15mins, no tests, but wanted to do shunt surgery ( NO WAY to it all). Ah, the power of the word "NO" is sometimes a life saver!

    Best of luck to all, "knowledge is power"!
  13. sparrow

    sparrow Guest

    Removed this post.

  14. dmac

    dmac my sweet Holly

    I appreciate the reference to Quackwatch, noteworthy there is this one:

    I also acknowledge the questionable nature of the FDA.
    What's been bugging me about this site is, if you try everything at once, how could you know which is working? I might be willing to try accupuncture next.
    Such things as lemon bioflavonoids, vitamin B complex, grape seed extract, etc., have benefited me little from what I can rationalize so far.
    Let's remember that natural gas is "natural" and so is hemlock.
  15. sparrow

    sparrow Guest

    Removed my post.

  16. pardonme

    pardonme Guest

  17. sparrow

    sparrow Guest

    I deleted my posts in order that no other member be misinformed, my apologies.

  18. Mya46

    Mya46 Knowledge is POWER!

    I've learned NOT to try everything at once, it's "one thing at a time". I recently tried grapeseed extract, made my ear feel awful with hypercusis and i know this because i stopped and ear got better. ANd before i started the extract i didn't have the hypercusis! When people are desperate they try it all and want answers fast. I was like that in beginning but now i've learned it has be one thing at a time. I even dropped massage and stuck to acupuncture instead. With massage i felt worse, with acupuncture better ( i was doing both weekly). Now that i feel better i will go back to massage therapy as a treat and see how i feel this time around. I know sometimes feeling worse leads to feeling better but it wasn't in my case being that the acupuncture did such good over the massage. If i could do NUCCA i would be i don't know of anyone yet in the field. My acupuncturist is guiding me to massage therapists she thinks will work best, she knows them all. It's all a matter of what works if you listen to your body you can figure it out. Docs and naturopaths aren't THE answer always, we as the patient need to help guide them in order to dig deep and pull out what ails us.
  19. pardonme

    pardonme Guest

  20. tamarak

    tamarak New Member

    Sparrow...I just got back on and updated myself after a couple of days away from the site. I'm sorry I missed the points that you deleted because I am interested in this connection you seemed to be making between mouth health and Menieres symptoms...


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