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Wild Goose Chases...

I did it again! Dang it. And I know better. I got caught up in another wild goose chase as I searched to learn more about acupuncture and its possible affect on relieving anxiety and maybe fatigue. Learning to manage stress caused by school, swim meets, her illness, and life in general has been a challenge. We continue to look for ways that are manageable and practical. We haven't found "it" yet - but continue to try new things. In an earlier blog post, I mentioned how I almost tried earthing or grounding for Meghan's symptoms - earthers believe positive electrons in the form of free radicals build up in our bodies and that direct contact with the ground balances this out. They will sell you a grounding sheet for $179 (that's just for a twin size) that plugs directly into the wall to get the grounding effect while you sleep - supposedly curing chronic illnesses. I was so close to trying it while we were still in the desperation stage. Be skeptical when you google. If the source is trying to sell you a cure when there currently isn't one, talk to your doctor to find out more about it.

I have to continuously remember how easy it is to fall into that wild goose chase. Somehow reading about acupuncture lead me to fatigue and fatigue turned into a site pushing a "glutathione recycling" method that claims, among other things, to get rid of fatigue found with chronic illnesses. I thought I was really on to something - not a cure, but a way to decrease the fatigue that Meghan continuously feels. I started researching the supplements that are recommended for this "recycling" process and the "doctors" that are recommending it. That brought me to a sight called quackwatch. Needless to say, I am back to sticking with what our doctors and specialists recommend for Meghan (see our blog post on doctors and specialists). Use caution with websites and doctors that use terms like functional medicine, naturopathic, free radical neutralizing, evidence based medicine, homeopathy, healing impulses, integrative medicine - these terms sound convincing and, well, logical. But many of these sites and doctors are trying to sell supplements and methods that claim to heal those in pain or to help those who suffer from chronic illnesses. They use pseudo-science to explain the method or processes and it sounds like it makes sense. It really does. But the truth is, if it really worked, your doctor (or any doctor) would tell you to use the supplement or perform these magic procedures themselves. These sites aren't hiding the big secret that no one else knows about. Millions of people suffer from a chronic illness and finding things that really work, would be hard to hide from the general public. If it sounds too good to be true, most likely it is.

Unfortunately, that was only the first part of my wild goose chase. I then found a place that has acupuncture therapy near us and booked an appointment. After everything was set up, I went back to their website to do a little more reading. The website seemed informative, well organized, and factual. I came across a tab with procedures that cure neurologic disorders. Had I missed something in all my other google searches? We had traveled out of state to see doctors and also become part of a university study - had they missed it, too? The site talked about a method called NRCT that releases the tension in the meninges (three membraneous envelopes that surround the brain and spinal cord), thus releasing the irritation to the nerves. And that this tension is often the source of a patient's fibromyalgia, arthritis pain, insomnia, migraines, chronic illness, chronic pain and more. Sounded logical. I couldn't wait to have them assess Meghan for this when we went for her acupuncture appointment! I even emailed a friend about it.

I then googled NRCT method and immediately came up with the doctor who invented the method. How exciting! I clicked the link and then read how he had lost his license to practice. And about the lawsuits. Lots of lawsuits. And that an associate of his went on to teach and market this NRCT method to others as way to make money - claiming that 95% of patients are healed. I cancelled Meghan's acupuncture appointment. Not the kind of place we are looking for. I have since found a new acupuncturist that works mainly with athletes. I am hoping that the acupuncture can be a way to relieve stress and maybe lead to other relaxation techniques Meghan can use. But not as a cure for POTS.

Be careful - and be vigilant about researching trends you find. Some things may provide small amounts of relief or actually provide help to a patient. But sometimes it seems people get so caught up in the words natural, organic, or whole body approach, that they lose sight of common sense. Herbs and supplements can be useful but they can also be dangerous and harmful. Very few have studies to back them up or facts of what long term use can do - and pseudo-science is not evidence! It is made up talk by those who are financially benefiting from it. One of the supplements recommended for the "glutathione recycling" I talked about above was called gotu kola, which the University of Maryland found causes liver damage and disease, cancer, allergic reactions, gastric problems, skin rashes and more. It shouldn't be taken by those under 18 and should only be used for short periods of time. None of those things were mentioned on the website I found that recommended it. None. Eating healthy foods, trying to have a balanced "in moderation" type diet, and exercise that fits your lifestyle are really what you need. Your body does not need supplements unless your doctor finds you are deficient in an area. Those with chronic illnesses are often deficient in various areas and your doctor can help you decide what is right for you. Even if it takes years of searching and persistence...

Okay - one more thing I found this week that made me smile - a place that claims to be able to "heal patients by programming cells with harmonic impulses that direct and trigger healing impulses in the body - achieved with glass tubes filled with argon, neon, and evacuated air." Wait. What? We can have this done at a place near us! Why has no one else discovered this? Why is this not done at every doctor's office around the country? It would be on the news everywhere as a miracle cure...

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