Heal Pain Naturally has MOVED

Heal Pain Naturally has moved to its new location -- please click link to visit and bookmark new location at Jenny Mannion.com. While you are there PLEASE also visit the Heroes of Healing Group Writing Project!

Friday, February 29, 2008

A Kool Product from a Kool and Inspirational Woman: Andrea Leake

Self-growth.com has brought so much goodness into my life in the short month I have been a member. I wrote about finding my mentor, Karin Hiebert and today I am writing about another inspirational woman. Andrea Leake has also healed herself (of partial blindness), is an inventor of the amazing Kool Bandanna that helps many health conditions for people AND pets, is a social worker working with patients that have Alzheimer's and Parkinson's Disease and she is a commissioned wildlife artist. It has been an absolute pleasure talking with Andrea and as you will see her life is very inspirational.

Andrea was a single mom in Toronto working as a Social Worker when she started to go blind in one eye. Within a few days she could only see black out of her left eye. She followed a close friend's advice and started listening to Louise Hay's audio book "You Can Heal Your Life" and was able to heal herself and regain full sight. She not only regained full sight but suddenly had an urge to start drawing wild birds. With no prior lessons she began to draw amazing pictures of herons, eagles and more. Andrea's art is sold worldwide. She has a company "Inner Vision" where she sells her artwork and you can purchase them as greeting cards as well.

If you read my blog regularly or have read my ebook, you know that I am inventor. I was so excited to find out Andrea is one as well. Her Kool Bandannas are made of non-toxic plastic absorbent crystals which absorb 400 times their weight in water and are reusable. Kool Bandannas reduce your body temperature by 3-4 degrees and stay cool for 4 DAYS before you need to re-soak them. They are effective for sports injuries, headaches, avoiding heat stroke and eliminating hot flashes. Andrea also makes them for pets so that when they are out in the heat you can keep them cool. They even have the ability to be used as a heat pack if you soak them and put them in the microwave. These are wonderful products, only $10 and you can visit Andrea's site to see testimonials.

Andrea's healing story is also featured in Darlene Montgomery's "Conscious Women: Conscious Lives Part 2" book. I am so very grateful for selfgrowth.com for introducing me to my new friend, Andrea. We share so many similarities and she is an inspiration to me so many ways; the ways she helps others, the story of her own healing, her wonderful drawings, her invention that helps others and her generous, funny and warm spirit. Please take the time to learn more about Andrea and stock up on her "Kool products" before the warm weather is back before we know it!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Inspiration for the Inspirational

I have finally gotten used to being called inspirational over a year after I have healed myself. Yep, my self-esteem was very low there for a while and I am JUST getting the hang of receiving the compliment gracefully. After all, healing myself of all the illnesses and chronic pain I had for 6 years was my proudest moment -- so I think I deserve the title of "inspirational". I certainly understood my parents, husband and kids thinking so because they saw how bad my pain was for years and now it is nice that others are recognizing it without experiencing me at my worst. What keeps me inspired and wanting to learn more and be the best person I can be in ALL areas of my life? I wrote a post about "The Power of Inspiration and Knowing No Limits", I have written about Blogs I read that inspire me (I could add a lot more to that list now and want it to include "I Will Change Your Life", "We the Change", "Practical Personal Development" and "The Next 45 Years") , I have had inspirational people such as Dr. Judith Orloff and Dr. Ingrid Bacci write guest posts on my blog, I belong to a Master Mind Group started after joining Aaron Pott's wonderful "Personal Development Partners" and NOW I have found a mentor who defines inspiration to me, Karin Heibert.

I met Karin through selfgrowth.com where I am an expert on Law of Attraction. She is a Success Skills Expert at selfgrowth.com and when I read her profile I knew we would connect. As I was reading her story on her website I was mesmerized and in disbelief that someone could have lived through the severe childhood abuse she endured. I know there is no "quantifying" pain and suffering but hers was the worst I had ever heard of. It gave me chills and I had to finish reading her life story to find out how she overcame her trauma.

Karin reminded me of myself even though her pain was much more emotional/mental while mine was mostly physical (at least on the surface). ;-) She was always very much a perfectionist and felt she had to prove herself. She is a world renown hairstylist and is one of the "World's Top Ten Hairdressers" winning every competition she entered after studying at the elite Vidal Sasson Advanced Haircutting Academy. Though she was seemingly moving forward and succeeding in her life (same as I was) there were underlying issues she needed to confront and deal with in order to heal and move on with her life.

When Karin's children reached the age she was during her abuse it triggered several reactions including PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), Dissociative Disorder (Formerly Multiple Personality Disorder), and severe asthmatic attacks that had her hospitalized several times. Her career suffered and she was on several medications for all her symptoms and diagnoses.

Through The Laurel Center (which is run by therapists who are survivors of sexual abuse), becoming a Dale Carnegie Graduate Assistant with high honors, Learning the Universal Laws including The Law of Attraction through "The Secret" and others (including Neale Donald Walsch's "Conversations with God") Karin was able to heal herself. Not only did Karin heal herself but she was able to develop her own success program called Inspiraction Training (Inspired Action), become an expert at Web 2.0 and coach many people to success. She is inspirational in every sense of the word and when I first made contact with her I KNEW I wanted her to be my mentor. She makes herself very available to her clients and we have talked via Skype several times already.

I am honored to have Karin as my mentor and am excited for all she will help me with. I know one thing on my list is getting over my fear of seeing myself on video. As you can see from the below video of Karin -- she is completely at ease and exudes kindness and quiet confidence. If you like this video visit her You Tube Page. To find out more about her coaching you can visit her myspace page. I am so excited to have a mentor -- I have been searching for the "right one" for a year now. Whoo Hoo someone to tell me how to be more efficient and kick my butt a bit when I slack off! I am sure you will be hearing more about Karin as we move forward but please check out this video and her website to learn about her incredible life. Thank you Karin for being my inspiration! Here is Karin's video on "9 Important Life Principals":

Monday, February 25, 2008

Influences -- People, Places, Things -- Make them Positive

A few weeks back I did a guest post on Alex Blackwell's wonderful blog "The Next 45 Years". I wrote outlining my "Paging Me System" (which I go into depth within my e-book and also Priscilla Palmer's upcoming book) about the methods I used to heal myself and KEEP myself healthy. "Paging Me" is an acronym for the methods I use to "Page Myself" or wake up my subconscious to keep me happy, healthy and in the moment. Today I am talking about Influences which is the I in Paging. In order to maintain health and happiness I need to keep the influences around me MOSTLY positive.


Whether it is the people you are watching on TV or the people in your lives -- ensuring they are people that inspire versus people that drain is key. We all know a complaining friend, relative or acquaintance that James Ray calls the "Energy Vampire". Try to be a positive influence for this person and share your learnings on the Law of Attraction and the act of being positive with them -- but don't exhaust yourself or try to "change anyone". You have to want to change to facilitate change. Limit time with people that suck your energy away from you and try and be aware of your feelings during your time with them. Make sure after you spend time with someone negative, if you do feel drained, do something positive to "lighten" your mood.

I have written about the news being negative and that there are better options for media to surround yourself with. Listening to or watching negative news can exhaust you and make you feel hopeless. The traditional news tends to focus on all the bad things happening in the world instead of the positive. There is a LOT of positive growth and news being made -- you just have to look a little harder to find it. Happy News is a good option. Also KNOWING how many people are working to make the world a better place helps as well. I listed a bunch of social networking sites that do a good job of this. Another example is the people involved in the movie "The Shift". Watch the trailer below to be blown away and if you can figure out a way to promote or help finish it being made -- please do so.


Do you like where you live? Is your house filled with stuff? Do you enjoy where you work? All of these things influence your happiness and how you see your world. Home should be an oasis in every sense of the word. I work from home and know that things pile up fast and that having kids makes it near impossible to keep my place truly spotless the way it is in my mind's eye. My house is very comfortable for me though. When I see it getting overcrowded with "stuff" I KNOW it is time to donate, sell and give away things. According to the Law of Attraction if you have too much stuff you are sending out signals that you have more than enough. Look around and ask yourself how much of the stuff you actually NEED. Clean off one drawer or dresser top a day and see how much better and powerful you begin to feel within one week. Messiness and being unorganized contributes to feeling out of control and unwell.

Along with your home is the area you live in. Are you happy where you live? Do you enjoy walking outside? Is there a place you can go nearby (park, museum, village) and enjoy "being". I grew up in NYC and LOVED walking around the city. Now I live in upstate, NY and absolutely love looking out my windows and seeing mountains as well as walking to my nearby park. I walk there most of the year and cross country ski in the winter. I love the "downtown" area and enjoy walking around there. It is so important to get out of the house and explore other places. Make sure you have a few favorite places you can go that will bring that smile to your face.

Work is another place that you should be happy. Lawrence Cheok of "A Long Long Road " has a wonderful series of posts called the "The Career Lover Series" in which he gives suggestions on how to turn your passion into a money-making career. If you are at a job that you don't like you need to find some things positive about it until you can make that leap to doing something you love. Whether it be a positive person to have lunch with, the fact that you are making a salary big enough to put some away for when you will venture out and try something else....whatever it is be GRATEFUL for the things that are good about that position while you are figuring out "what's next". Concentrating on the bad at your job will only make it worse. Instead start looking into how you can make money doing something you love and be thankful you have some stability while you do that.


Movies, books, television, songs, hobbies - all of these "things" influence our lives. Once you start to pay attention to what you are watching, reading or surrounding yourself with it is important acknowledge how those "things' make you feel. Watching or listening to materials that make you laugh instead of feel negative or "down" is an easy way to change your mood. Chuck at "Personal-Development" has a post that goes deeply into all the "benefits of laughter". Eckhart Tolle has a great video on "Your Pain Body is Very Seductive" below that touches on what watching violence does to your body and the importance of becoming aware of it.

It is critical to be aware of the influences you are surrounding yourself with and how they are affecting you. People, places and things contribute to how you see your own life. Take action, make the influences around you mostly positive and you will enjoy experiencing the changes that take place in you.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Do I Have to Stay Positive ALL the Time for the Law of Attraction to Work?

This is a question I get a lot and the short answer is "no". Everyone encounters moments or events that get them "off track" and that require some thought other than "I can't think of that because it is negative". It is natural to notice when things are not going the way you want them to in your life -- it is what you do with that knowledge that makes the difference. Are you sulking around for days wishing it was different or are you using the knowledge to move you in a more positive direction?

I would spend days in bed sad over the latest test result I got when I was ill. It seemed they were always coming up with additional diagnosis and I was always being sent for more tests. I would concentrate on "how sick I was" and "how I couldn't be the person I wanted to be" and would read books on my illnesses and go to online forums where people talked about "being so sick". I was focusing on my illnesses and I would WISH I would wake up one day and be healed but it was just that -- a desperate wish surrounded by all my negative thoughts. Before learning about the Law of Attraction or the mind/body connection I would never have dreamed that actually visualizing myself well and shifting attention to the few body parts that didn't hurt could influence my physical health.

It is certainly OK to realize what is not right in your life. Admitting what you don't want should allow you to shed a light on what you DO want. Knowing what you do want allows you to set goals, mini goals and plan for action to lead you to your final destination. The law of attraction says "Ask, Believe and Receive". In order to Ask you need to KNOW what you want. Some people have spent months or years concentrating on what they don't want, "I don't want to be fat", "I don't want to be poor" -- these are the wrong messages to send out. Turning them around and affirming them is simple. "I do want to be skinny", "I DO want to be rich". Not only are you speaking in positive terms but it is putting yourself in the right space for the next step.

Belief is an arguable point. Some people say that if you write down what you want and say it enough times it will come true. For me, I KNOW I NEED to believe in what I am trying to accomplish for what I want to come true. There were times in my healing process that I got off track and felt "this is hard". Sometimes I would have worse pain then I had experienced in a while. But KNOWING and BELIEVING with all my heart that I would make myself better allowed me to quickly get back into that space. I experienced set backs as you do in the road to achieving most goals. There were a few days when I had more stress than usual or a meeting for my invention didn't quite go the way I wanted and I would feel pain starting to creep its way back in. The difference was that I was focused on my end goal, believed it and would use that awareness of me feeling stressed to re-focus myself. I would tell myself "things won't always go perfectly the way you imagine them -- you have to learn to live with these little bumps and notice them and let them go so you can get on with your healing". I would also ask myself 'What can I learn from this experience?". Sometimes I would give myself a time limit to wallow in my sadness a bit. "Ok, Jen you can be upset tonight but you will do your gratitude list before bed and you will wake up feeling MUCH better".

Along with believing I think self-love and self-worth are integral to be in the right place to receive. Do you believe you are worthy of your final goal? Do you keep questioning whether or not this can work for you? You do not have to ALWAYS be sending yourself positive messages but are you MOSTLY sending positive or negative messages to yourself? Are you listening (REALLY listening) to your self-talk? Are you living consciously and believing you can do what you have set out to do? It does not matter what others say about your goal (if you have shared it) -- it matters what YOU believe. We often put a lot of self-limiting beliefs on ourselves as well as fear. There are methods to "let these things go". Meditation, EFT, NLP, The Sedona Method -- find a method that feels right to you and "let go" of the emotions that are holding you back from receiving. There are tons of videos available on youtube that highlight each of these methods for free.

No, you don't have to walk around in some fog "acting happy all the time" for the law of attraction to work for you. You DO have to be conscious of your self talk and what you are feeling and how you react when things "don't go your way". After all who are we to say we know exactly how things are meant to be? Life sometimes moves in ways we think are "bad for us" and it turns out to be the best thing possible. Try and find the lesson to be learned the next time something goes differently than expected, "let go of the negative emotions attached to the event" and refocus on your goals so you are in the right mind frame to receive.

Friday, February 15, 2008

New FDA Warnings & Recalls for MANY Drugs

I am trying to make this blog about ALL ways to heal pain and to write about varying topics on the subject. The Pharmaceutical companies are making that challenging since every week now I feel I need to post warnings on the newest batch of drugs that have been deemed unsafe or recalled. PLEASE use caution if using ANY drugs to control pain and make sure you and your loved ones are tuned into the weekly warnings coming out. This week the Fentanyl patches and over 10 anti-epileptic drugs also prescribed for Fibromyalgia, Migraines, Neuropathic Pain (and more) have come out with warnings and recalls. One was even for the drug I wrote about last week, "Lyrica".

I don't know whether drugs are not being given time to be tested like they used to or if they are being rushed to market for their seen potential OR simply for greed. One thing is for sure -- more drugs than ever are being recalled and are getting "extra" warnings AFTER they are released. Maybe if the Big Pharmaceutical companies would start spending less on advertising and dedicate more of their resources to research this would not be an issue. People are dying because of these oversights and these are people that are actively seeking relief FOR their pain.

From the Associated Press, "Patches sold in the US under the brand name Duragesic which contain the painkiller Fentanyl were recalled on February 12, 2008. The recall includes all 25-microgram-per-hour patches that have expiration dates on or before December 2009. The cause of the recall is a possible cut in the lining of the reservoir where the drug is stored in gel form. A gel leak into the drug's packaging could result in difficulty breathing and a potentially fatal overdose."

"The cut in the patch can be seen when the foil pouch container is opened. Any damaged patch should be flushed down the toilet, and the handler of the drug should be immediately rinsed with water, but not washed with soap. The powerful drug is used with patients such as cancer patients, who are experiencing chronic pain and are used to narcotics. Therefore, it can cause trouble breathing in people not used to this class of painkillers. In December, the FDA put out its second warning in two years about the dangers of misusing the powerful drug. PriCara estimates that two patches out of every million included in the recall have the defect that causes the leak", according to Associated Press. If you or anyone you know has used these patches I recommend going to Associated Press article and finding the links to contact the manufacturers for updates or concerns.

For the second BATCH of drugs the FDA is issuing a relabeling but not a recall. The FDA has now has analyzed reports of suicidality (suicidal behavior or ideation) from 199 placebo-controlled clinical studies of 11 of these medications:

  • Carbamazepine (Carbatrol, Equetro, Tegretol, Tegretol XR)
  • Felbamate (Felbatol)
  • Gabapentin (Neurontin)
  • Lamotrigine (Lamictal)
  • Levetiracetam (Keppra)
  • Oxcarbazepine ( Trileptal)
  • Pregabalin (Lyrica)
  • Tiagabine (Gabitril)
  • Topiramate (Topamax)
  • Valproate (Depakote, Depakote ER, Depakene, Depacon)
  • Zonisamide (Zonegran)

The results show that the risk of suicidality (suicidal behavior or ideation) is double while taking these drugs. If you or anyone you know show signs of depression or extreme sadness PLEASE see your doctor. For more information about this study, read MyMigraineConnection Expert Teri Robert's article: Risk of Suicidal Thoughts Linked to Anticonvulsant Medications.

These recent additions make it even clearer to me that people need to start looking to be on as FEW of these medications as possible. Your body HAS natural healing mechanisms built in. It is time to start using them and to take a more holistic approach. There are an unlimited amount of resources online to learn about natural healing. You need to find what methods and teachers resonate with you. I wrote a guest article on Alex Blackwell's site "The Next 45 Years" on the system I adopted to heal myself. Through studying you can find ways to heal yourself. Even if not 100% like me -- I would love for everyone to recognize the healing power of the mind and the body. I want people to be as healthy as they can be without medications and to be taking as few medications as necessary. If you are currently on medications and want to cut back please see your doctor and find out a safe way to go about this. Most of these drugs require being "weaned" off of for your safety.

I am available to talk to readers, offer my e-book as a total look at how I healed myself and offer a lot of resources on my site to find natural means to heal that resonate within. Take control of your health and make sure you have a good doctor that treats the whole you and not just your diagnosis. Remember in most cases Prescription Drugs Numb Pain but do NOT Heal Pain. To heal you need to look within.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Dr. Judith Orloff "The Five Steps to Intuitive Healing"

Dr. Judith Orloff and I connected through the new site selfgrowth.com. Dr. Orloff is a prominent psychiatrist, best-selling author, writes for Oprah Magazine and has been on many TV shows including The Today Show. It has been said that she has transformed psychiatry. She shows how breakthroughs in healing our body and emotions are accomplished by listening to our intuition and building our energy. She currently writes for Happy News which I have recommended before. Dr. Orloff's words and her kind nature resonate with me and I highly recommend visiting her site which includes an area where she answers a lot of reader's questions, watching her numerous videos and reading her books, "Second Sight", "Dr. Judith Orloff's Guide to Intuitive Sight" and her latest "Positive Energy". You can also check out her free video classes on intuition and energy at www.youtube.com/judithorloffmd. Thank you Judith -- I am so happy to know you and for your friendship -- you are an inspiration. I am grateful to include an article written by and a video of Dr. Judith Orloff.

"The Five Steps to Intuitive Healing" by Dr. Judith Orloff
(Adapted from Guide to Intuitive Healing)

I am a psychiatrist and intuitive. My passion is combining spirituality and intuition with mainstream medicine. When patients come to see me, I listen to them with my intellect as well my intuition, a potent form of inner wisdom not mediated by the rational mind. Accessible to all, it's a still, small voice inside-an unflinching truth-teller committed to our well-being. Sometimes I experience it as a snap-shot-like flash, a gut feeling, a hunch, a physical sensation, a dream. Whatever the form, it is always a friend, keeping a steady eye on our bodies and spirits, letting us know if something is out of sync.

As a psychiatrist I see many people with everything material they can ever want, and still they feel lost. What's missing is a palpable connection with their intuitive voice, one that will always guide them in a heartfelt direction. I believe that without this connection, it's impossible to lead a truly passionate life, based on instinct and authentic inner knowledge. I've written my latest book, Dr. Judith Orloff's Guide to Intuitive Healing: Five Steps to Physical, Emotional, and Sexual Wellness (Times Books) as a primer on how everyone can develop intuition and utilize it as a powerful tool for living. Intuition is not something I simply teach my patients. It has become a way of life for me. The magic of intuition is that it insists you live in the moment with no expectations, a continuing freshness. Intuition is our birthright, available to everyone. To access it, I've developed five steps that can be applied to any issue you'll ever confront from healing your body, to riding a roller-coaster of emotions to sexual awakening. I live by these five steps; they continue to sustain me. I suggest you give them a try. My hope is that they will bring you the joy and clarity you've been searching for.

Step 1: Notice Your Beliefs (more)
Your beliefs set the stage for healing. Positive attitudes stimulate growth. Negative attitudes impede it. It's important to rid yourself of counterproductive attitudes that you may not even realize you have. If you examine your beliefs, choose life-enhancing ones, you'll create optimal wellness. No organ system stands apart from your thoughts. Your beliefs program your neurochemicals. I'm not suggesting that you be Pollyannish, but that you be completely true to yourself. This will free you from unconscious negative beliefs that can sabotage your healing.

Step 2: Be In Your Body (more)
Your body is a complex and sensitive intuitive receptor. You must make a commitment to be in it completely to heal. Most people in Western society are conditioned to live from the neck up, ignoring the rest of their body. This stance is counter-intuitive. I'd like you to shift that perspective-to enjoy your intellect but revel in your physicality as well. Being aware of the sensuousness of your body opens intuition. Then you'll become more cognizant of early warning signs your body sends. This gives you a head-start on preventing illness, choosing healthy relationships, and avoiding detrimental situations.

Step 3: Sense Your Body's Subtle Energy
We are composed of flesh and blood, but also of subtle energy. Chinese Medical Practitioners call it "chi," a vital substance which penetrates the body and extends many feet beyond it. From an intuitive point of view, these vibrantly colored energy fields, whose centers are called chakras have a significant effect on our health. For that reason, it is important that we learn to sense this energy within us, recognize when it is off, and learn to correct the imbalance. Feeling energy can be very sensual, an extension of love. Learning to tap into your body's energy is healing.

Step 4: Ask for Inner Guidance
We each possess an intuitive voice that contains answers about our healing. Because our intellect is often so loud, this voice often gets drowned out. It's essential that we learn to access the stillness within--though meditation, quite contemplation, connecting with nature, prayer-in order to gain answers about our health. Spend a few minutes each day devoted to listening to this voice. It may appear as a gut feeling, a hunch, an image, a sound, a memory, an instant knowing-as if a light bulb suddenly switched on. Learn to trust the signals your inner wisdom sends.

Step 5: Listen To Your Dreams (more)
Intuition is the language of dreams. Every ninety minutes each night during the REM stage of sleep, we dream. Dreams provide answers about health, relationships, career choices, any new direction. The secret is to remember them. I suggest keeping a dream journal by your bed. Before you go to sleep, ask a dream a question. For instance, "Is this relationship healthy for me or should I move on?" The next morning, write down any dreams immediately before getting out of bed. Try repeating the question, every night for the next week until your answer comes. As you develop the habit of remembering dreams, you'll be able to benefit from this form of healing. As a physician, I have a continual sense of awe for the relationship between body and spirit. As your heat opens, so does your intuition. Your intuition will teach you how to see and how to love. It will instill in you a renewed faith to face anything.

Monday, February 11, 2008

The Power of Inspiration and Knowing No Limits

Inspirational stories stir something within us and are wonderful to pass on -- especially to children. I Stumbled Upon the story of Ben Underwood a few days ago on Oddee's Post of "Real-Life Super Heroes". I have been telling everyone I come across since then (including my son) about the amazing boy with no eyes who can see. It is an inspirational story and truly goes to show when you have someone telling you that you can achieve anything and BELIEVE it -- you can! These videos are amazing -- the first is longer and more thorough and the second is a three minute version with some different content.

Ben Underwood's mother is a perfect example of how to encourage your children and I am sure a big part of the reason Ben developed his incredible gift. She told him he could see. She told him he was normal. She did not let him see her upset or ever feel sorry for him. One year after his eyes were removed Ben could see (some might say better than the rest of us with eyes).

I healed myself of some very bad illnesses so I KNOW how strong the mind is. Nevertheless this story amazed me and proved further what I already knew. "Your thoughts become things" and "You need to believe to achieve" -- Ben was told repeatedly he could see, believed it and MADE seeing possible. This showed me again how important it is to share these messages with your children.

When I showed the video to my 8 year old son I prefaced it with, "this shows you can do anything you set your mind to". He is currently studying sound at school and sat utterly shocked as he watched Ben "see" with his ears, much the way dolphins do with echolocation. I could tell it helped him that day as he was about to set out on ice skates for the first time. He is usually cautious and instead was looking forward to it tremendously and he KNEW he would be able to do it. He did in fact discover a new love and I have reaffirmed the power of inspiration.

There are a few books I use to teach my children about the Law of Attraction and to know no limits that are VERY valuable. "Incredible You" and "Unstoppable Me" by Wayne Dyer and "How to Talk to Your Kids about the Law of Attraction E-book" by Robin Hoch with Rich German. "Incredible You" is my children's favorite bedtime story and the first time I read it my son said to me, "You know mommy -- this guy thinks a lot like you -- you should call him". WHAT a compliment -- and I am so grateful my children now see me AS thinking like the great Dr. Dyer because for the first 6 years of my son's life I definitely did not.

Share stories of inspiration with your children and tell them there are no limits to what they can achieve. Can you imagine how great a world it would be if all kids grew up KNOWING this?!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Fibromyalgia & Lyrica

In light of The New York Times article on Lyrica, (the new Pfizer drug being prescribed for Fibromyalgia) -- I had to write about a topic close to my heart. I will not go into how The New York Times is debating whether Fibromyalgia is a real dis-ease or not. I feel that is beside the point right now. The point is millions of Americans HAVE been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and are now being seduced into taking this new drug.

What is Fibromyalgia and what does it have to do with me?

I lived with a diagnosis of Fibromyalgia for 2 years before being re-diagnosed by a rheumatologist as having Benign Hypermobility Syndrome (Ehlers Danlos III). Fibromyalgia is a widespread pain illness. The symptoms are vast and not everyone diagnosed has the same exact symptoms. The predominant symptom that everyone does have is chronic pain that moves throughout your body and specifically to many different pressure points throughout the body. It has been described by many as feeling like you have the flu ALL the time.

I have heard some doctors say it is nerve based -- the person that has Fibromyalgia perceives pain differently and more extreme than others. I have also heard it described as a soft tissue ailment like rheumatoid arthritis. Some of the other symptoms associated with it are insomnia, headaches, Fibro Fog "feeling disconnected and unable to concentrate", abdominal pain, jaw tenderness, extreme pain during exercise and there are numerous others.

Fibromyalgia has never had a "cure". Doctors usually recommend managing it with a cocktail of miscellaneous prescription drugs including a low dose anti-depressant (helps to break the sleep/pain cycle), pain killers, muscle relaxants, sleep aides and sometimes anti-migraine medication. When I was treating my dis-ease as Fibromyalgia no natural means of pain control or "healing" were mentioned. Doctors tell the patient that the best thing is to "manage their pain using prescription drugs". People that are diagnosed with Fibromyalgia often are on many medications, gain weight because of the lack of exercise and most often do not get any better but need more and more medication.

What is Lyrica and what does it do?

Pfizer released Lyrica a few years ago for nerve pain associated with diabetes and for seizure disorders. My doctors mentioned that it was being tested on Fibromyalgia patients. In 2004 the FDA recommended Lyrica be rejected for diabetic nerve pain because of its unimpressive results and the very real side-effects. Lyrica can cause SEVERE weight gain, edema, sleepiness and dizziness. It also should not be given to people who have had a history of drug dependence because it can make you feel "high". It has to be carefully monitored and you have to see a doctor to wean you off of it. You CANNOT drink alcohol while taking Lyrica.

Lyrica is the first drug being prescribed specifically for Fibromyalgia as the new commercials point out. This alone will have millions of people lining up to take it. Sales from Lyrica totaled $1.8 billion in 2007 and are expected to rise 30% in 2008. It brings up some very interesting questions.

If this drug was found to have dangerous weight gain as a side-effect (which we all know causes other health issues) why would they prescribe it for a population that is already mostly over-weight? The New York Times article lists the average Fibromyalgia patient (Findings from the 2007 survey have 2,500 people surveyed) weighing 180 pounds and standing 5 feet 4 inches. The average weight gain on Lyrica during a 12 week trial was 7% of the person’s body weight. So the person standing at 5’ 4” and weighing 180 lb. would now weigh 192.6 lb (and that was just after 12 weeks).

There are already MANY prescription medications doled out for this diagnosis that result in dependence. I finally gave in and took Hydrocodone when I was in severe pain. Luckily I have always been terrified of dependence and was very mindful when I was taking it and never got up to the 12 pills/day I was allotted. Still, in the few short months I was on them I went from ½-1 pill taking away my pain to needing 2 at a time (every 4 hours). Lyrica is similar in that you need to take it often (for pain) and it is habit forming. Hydrocodone is now the most common household drug and we are facing record number of addictions. I personally have known MANY people who could not stop this drug once they started it – even after the pain had gone. WHY in the world would you release a drug like this when you know it will likely lead to another epidemic in dependence and addiction?

Again, from The New York Times article, “Pfizer has steadily ramped up consumer advertising of Lyrica. During the first nine months of 2007, it spent $46 million on ads, compared with $33 million in 2006, according to TNS Media Intelligence.” Wow, that is a LOT of money. One would hope they spent as much researching the illness Fibromyalgia over the last 2 years as well as the long term effects of Lyrica – but somehow that is highly doubtful! You can read my post on Pharmaceutical Companies Spending Double on Ads than Research to see why I feel this way.

So what worked for me?

Getting the diagnosis of Fibromyalgia is upsetting in so many ways:

  1. The extreme pain you are in and the many tests you are subjected to for ruling out other illnesses.
  2. There is a huge controversy surrounding whether it is a real or phantom illness – which doesn’t help if you are trying to explain to your family and friends that you are in REAL pain.
  3. The experience of having chronic pain and feeling unable to participate in your own life causes ENORMOUS amounts of stress which exacerbates ANY dis-ease.
  4. The lack of sleep (due to pain) contributes to the feeling of dis-ease and makes pain worse. (This is the sleep/pain cycle)
  5. You are told essentially “there is nothing you can do” and to “manage your pain” by drugs. HERE is where I strongly disagree – you CAN help yourself.

I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and later with what many would consider an even more debilitating disease that has a lot of similar characteristics as Fibromyalgia. I have been pain and pain pill free now for a year. I had to do it myself. No doctor aided me in coming up with options for my well-being. It took me saying and believing I would heal myself and finding the tools to help me to do so. I needed to face my demons and things that I had not dealt with. I needed to stop blaming others and myself and start forgiving. I needed to feel gratitude for what I did have in my life. I needed to exercise no matter how badly it hurt in order to get my body stronger. I needed to set goals to move forward with my life. I needed to be OFF of the pain pills to even fully assess what my pain was and to be sure that it wasn’t the pain pills causing more pain. (They did actually contribute to a lot of stomach pain). I needed to STOP going to the doctor 3 times a week to hear how sick I was and to stop concentrating on my dis-ease all the time.

Wait, Are you Saying Fibromyalgia and the Pain is ALL IN MY HEAD?

No! My pain was as real as it came. I was not happy to be crawling out of bed hysterically crying, passing out from pain or to question whether or not I should drive my kids somewhere because of how dizzy I was. Those memories are ingrained as are memories of JUST how badly my body could hurt. I have not experienced pain like that or taken a pain pill in over one year now.

I am saying your mind is SO powerful and can be USED as a tool to heal. I have written about some of the methods I have used on my blog and I fully outline them in my e-book. I also have recommended a bunch of teachers to pursue further learning. You need to find someone that resonates with you for you to be able to fully understand the power that lies within. EVERYTHING affects your body; your environment, the food you eat, the medications you take, how active or inactive you are, your emotional state and your thoughts and self-talk. Some of my personal favorites are Dr. Mercola, Dr. Deepak Chopra, Dr. Wayne Dyer and Dr. Ingrid Bacci. With the internet you have the means to get a lot of information for free and from that you can decide who you want to pursue learning from.

Please, if you or someone you know is debating taking Lyrica, stop and evaluate other options. TRY some of the mind/body techniques and just see what happens. Find a holistic doctor near you. What do you have to lose? If you are on medications you might need your doctor’s assistance in weaning off of them. I am not a doctor and cannot advise you on how to go about this. I was never on the maximum doses of anything so was able to wean myself off without assistance. Think about it, chances are you probably know someone with this diagnosis – what will you recommend?

So Under No Circumstance should ANYONE take this drug?

For the Fibromyalgia patient that has gone through the plethora of drug treatments available, the one that has seen holistic doctors and the one that has exhausted every mind/body technique – maybe this will be the drug that finally takes away your pain. I would guess a very small percentage of Fibromyalgia patients have done all of this though. Alternative methods of healing are not even addressed by most doctors much less advertised in the media. Before taking Lyrica I would investigate what kind of research has gone into long term effects. Will this be another drug pulled off of the shelves in 5 years? What bodily damage can this pill cause? I know Hydrocodone can cause liver, kidney, stomach damage and even death. I think you owe it to your long-term well being to investigate ALL other options before taking this drug. Remember, “Prescription drugs NUMB Pain but do NOT Heal PAIN” – to heal you need to look within.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Mind-Body Healing for Back Pain

It is my pleasure to present a guest post by Dr. Ingrid Bacci, PhD. Ingrid is an inspirational author, healer and teacher. She graduated top of her class at Harvard and obtained her PhD in philosophy from Columbia University. Ingrid has self-healed and has taught many others to do the same. She has written two excellent books, "Effortless Pain Relief" and "The Art of Effortless Living" which I am currently reading and thoroughly enjoying. I look forward to reviewing them on here soon. Please go visit Ingrid Bacci's site for many more inspirational, educational and free articles.

Mind-Body Healing for Back Pain

By Ingrid Bacci, PhD

Do you suffer from chronic back pain, leg, neck or shoulder pain? A number of mind-body tools that can help you dramatically reduce your pain. This can help you take charge of discomfort that until now may have seemed out of your control, and move forward in your life with greater ease and confidence.

Traditional Medicine Offers Only Limited Help:

Traditional medicine is known to offer only limited help for chronic neuromuscular and skeletal pain. There are two predominant modes of treatment for these types of chronic pain: surgery and medication. While surgery is beneficial in some cases, it may not be a viable option. And medication, which aims either to reduce inflammation or to suppress symptoms, generally does not deal with underlying causes of pain. Medication is most useful as a short-term therapy. Over the long term, reliance on medication can result in toxic side effects that may outweigh the benefits of short-term relief.

It should therefore be welcome news that we can do far better than simply tolerate and medicate our pain. The reason lies in the causes of pain. Understanding those causes opens the door to developing effective techniques for pain management.

The Causes of Pain

While in some cases an injury or accident can trigger the onset of chronic pain, it is actually lifestyle habits
that are a governing force in the development of chronic pain. These habits involve the way we live in our bodies: the way we breathe, stand, sit, lie down, move, and hold or release tension from our bodies when under mental or emotional stress. Over months and years, improper bodily habits can foster increasing physical stress, wearing down muscles, joints and bones. That’s why changing those habits can be the critical factor in pain reduction. Just as developing unconscious bodily habits can result in pain, so too becoming conscious of and altering those habits can alleviate and even dramatically lessen discomfort.

Body and Mind:

Chronic pain involving muscles, bones and joints involves both body and mind. This does not mean that pain is solely in our minds. On the contrary, it means that by enhancing awareness of our bodies--of how they function and react to situation--we can apply that awareness to changing patterns of bodily use so as to decrease discomfort and increase ease. When you are in pain, your body may be signaling to you that you are doing something that is causing you a problem. If you fail to pick up the meaning of that signal, your discomfort may become habitual. If, on the other hand, you can become more aware of your body’s signals, you can learn to reverse some of the lifestyle habits that create chronic pain.

What Lifestyle Habits Create Pain?

There are four basic lifestyle habits that play a major role in creating pain. These habits are:

a) Inefficient or restricted breathing;

b) Poor alignment;

c) Excess muscle tension; and

d) Negative and reactive mental/emotional states.

By exploring mind-body training and movement therapy (a form of mind-body training), you can learn how to replace these dysfunctional habits with:

a) Deep, relaxed breathing;

b) Comfortable, easy alignment;

c) Decreased muscle tension;

d) Positive and proactive mental/emotional states.

As you do this, you will be replacing tension and effort in your body with greater ease and flow of movement.

Change Your Life by Focusing on How:

Reducing pain involves exploring and changing how you breathe, how you stand, sit, and walk, how you move with less muscle tension, and how your emotions affect your body. As you learn how to do this, you will adopt habits that feel easier, softer, more relaxed. Make a decision that your strongest interest for the immediate future is to explore how to move more easily, more fluidly. How to do this is the subject of my website, and is described in my book Effortless Pain Relief and in my CDs and DVDs. I recommend that you explore mind-body healing for chronic pain.

© 2007 Ingrid Bacci PhD All Rights Reserved

Written by: Ingrid Bacci PhD, an internationally recognized healer and teacher of self-empowerment. For free information and products on mind-body healing from chronic pain and stress, visit http://ingridbacci.com. For Ingrid books, Effortless Pain Relief and The Art of Effortless Living go to http://amazon.com.

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