Alternative Healing for Dirt Bikers
Electro-Magnetism and Magnets for broken bones, pain, swelling, nerves, and other things,
Infra-Red Light Therapy for healing, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome help, Headache help
Harnessing electric and magnetic fields for healing and health
By Janet Raloff
from Science News, Vol. 156, No. 20
November 13, 1999, p. 316
Read http://www.sciencenews.org/sn_arc99/11_13_99/bob2.htm for full article.
Two previous studies had found that electro-magnetic fields (EMFs) reduce pain and swelling. EMFs also have that effect in his new trial -- presumably, he says, "by changing the chemistry of the joint." Studies by his team and others indicate that these fields can increase a joint's production of natural anti-inflammatory agents, such as transforming growth factor-beta. Not surprisingly, Aaron notes, medical supply companies are now developing products, such as a glove with coils, to deliver EMFs to arthritis-savaged joints. Softer tissues also respond to these fields. For instance, Pilla observes that many people with bone breaks experience significant pain in muscles around their injuries. Shortly after EMF therapy begins, however, that pain disappears. Though the mechanism remains elusive, Pilla says, the treatment seems to affect swelling, which can cause pain. If this proves true, he says, EMFs might benefit people with carpal tunnel syndrome, where swelling in the wrist pinches nerves going to the fingers. Despite some exploration of EMFs to heal nerves and other soft tissue, the majority of studies continue to focus on bone. James T. Ryaby, vice president of OrthoLogic, a medical devices company in Tempe, Ariz. (web site: http://www.orthologic.com/ ), has been using what he calls combined fields -- oscillating magnetic fields superimposed on a static magnetic field. They appear to spur bone growth more quickly than the older type of pulsed EMFs, Ryaby says. What's more, the combined-field devices require just a small percentage of the power used by typical pulsed EMF generators. More tantalizing, says Ryaby, are the data from a just completed study with female rats suggesting that the combined fields can reverse the kind of bone loss women experience after menopause. After removing the rodents' ovaries to simulate a postmenopausal state, Ryaby's team watched the animals quickly lose bone. Six weeks later, some of the rats began receiving combined-field therapy for 30 minutes a day. Within a little more than a month, he says, the treated animals were regaining lost bone while their untreated counterparts continued to lose it. Indeed, that's a possibility that Betty F. Sisken of the University of Kentucky College of Medicine in Lexington would like to explore. Currently, she's probing EMFs' direct influence on nerves. In their initial studies, she and her colleagues crushed a nerve in the hind leg of rats and then treated the animals with EMFs for 4 hours daily. In one 6-day-long experiment, the treatment speeded the nerve's recovery by 22 percent. In follow-up tests -- where 16 rats received EMFs for 40 days and an equal number were allowed to heal unaided -- treated animals again showed an accelerated recovery.
Note from Michael- Magnetic Pulsers create pulsed electro-magnetic fields (EMF's). A 'static magnetic field' is what a magnet creates. An 'oscillating magnetic field' is what Multi-Pulsers create although they are probably different in frequency and strength than the devices OrthoLogic used. But I put a 1" diameter magnet inside a Multi-Pulser's output coil and slept with it every night turned on and applied to a fractured toe of mine. I was walking normal in 10 days and from the very first treatment felt a huge difference.
A private research group reported this about Magnetic Pulsers: The results from using the Magnetic Pulser on trauma-type injuries, acute sprains and certain types of facial neuralgia---were nothing short of astounding. Some severe ankle sprains responded with total pain reduction within as little as 1.5 hours. DMSO, (70%) topically applied, greatly accelerated local pain reduction. Rapid swelling reduction occurred in 95% of all cases and bruise-site discoloring was markedly reduced.......sometimes within 4 to 5 hours. Some, intractably painful facial neuralgia (dentally-related) conditions were relieved within 4 to 5 hours. Some of these cases had experienced continual, excruciating, pain for up to 14 days prior to this protocol. The most dramatic pain abatement occurred when the magnetic pulser was used in conjunction with the administration of 400mg of bone meal tablets every 2-3 hours, followed by 20 minutes continual exposure (at 1.5 sec repetition rate) to the magnetic pulser. No more than 1600 mg of bone meal was ever administered during a 24 hour period. The longest time required for a complete positive response in these neuralgia experiments, was 48 hours. No untoward side-effects were ever experienced by any of the volunteers----regardless of the magnetic field intensity employed (up to 5 times the strength of the original Beck Pulser).
Neotonus products, which have been approved since 1998, utilize 'ExMI™' innovative technology (Extracorporeal Magnetic Innervation) which uses magnetic fields to treat neurological and neuromuscular disorders. It works by producing a highly focused pulsed magnetic field that penetrates deep into a targeted region of the body to painlessly stimulate nerve activity in the region which causes muscle contractions and increased circulation. (ps- this system is stronger than Jaguars which isn't sufficient to affect most muscles.)
Magnets & Pain
What Causes Pain
Everyone knows that many, many conditions like osteoarthritis and rhumatism can be very painful. But what is pain and what causes it?
Pain is the body's warning signal to the brain that something is wrong, such as an injury or inflamation. It can sometimes be amplified when the body is experiencing stress or tension. Pain starts when the body, at the point of injury or irritation, instantaneously secrets a peptide that starts nerve fibers sending pain signals through the central nervous system to the brain. A slight acidic condition is produced in the cells surrounding the area of pain minorly changing their normal alkaline state. As long as this condition exists, signals are continually sent to the brain.
Drugs can dull or mask pain, aspirin products can temporarily relieve it, but healing generally is required to get these cells back to their normal alkaline state. Pain is considered chronic when it has persisted for 30 days or more. Magnet therapy, acupuncture and osteopuncture are new and old techniques that have been used to ease the discomfort of pain.
Magnets and the Body
Magnets have been used to treat the body for centuries. In the last few years, evidence of the positive effects of magnetic fields on the body has prompted several medical studies. Here are some things that have been learned about permanent magnets as presented in the recently published book "Magnet Therapy - The Pain Cure Alternative" by Dr's Lawrence, Rauche and Judith Plowden. They state that magnets:
- increase endorphins, the body's own painkillers
- increase blood flow
- relax muscles
- speed fluid exchanges by improving capillary action
(Click here to see one company's bio-magnetic products.)
Natural Health Magazine, August, 1998
Natural Healing-By Sarah Fremerman
New Evidence is giving credence to this curious form of pain relief-and may be silencing long-time critics in the process.
Meet Magnet, P.I.
In 1993, a patient of Carlos Vallbona, M.D., told him that a cushion made with small magnets had cured his lower back pain. Vallbona was skeptical. "I thought it was a psychological effect," he recalls. "There was nothing in the scientific literature that indicated magnets were helpful."
At the time, most scientists would have agreed and some, like William Jarvis, Ph.D., executive director of the National Council Against Health Fraud, still do. "There's a lot of huckstering going on," Jarvis says. "Marketers are making extravagant claims for which there is no evidence."
Physicians and scientists ridiculed magnet therapy with good reason. Until last year, there was not a speck of scientific evidence showing that magnets did what patients-and magnet manufacturers-claimed they did. In fact, one informal study, conducted at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York in 1991 by physical therapist Benjamin Gelfand, tracked a group of 24 patients suffering from bursitis, tendonitis, and lower back pain. The patients wore magnets 12 hours a day for up to six weeks and none experienced any pain relief that could be attributed to the magnets. Gelfand concluded that magnet therapy merited no further investigation.
But magnet therapy wouldn't go away. Anecdotal evidence continued to mount, despite the inability of science to explain how magnets worked. Chronic pain sufferers like Vallbona's patient, went on claiming that magnets worked for them. Consider these three stories:
Golfer Jim Colbert's chronic back pain forced him to quit playing professionally. Then a fellow player recommended magnet therapy. "When you have the kind of back I have, you try anything," says Colbert, who returned to professional golf four years later. He now straps several magnets to his back when he plays and sleeps on a magnetic mattress pad every night. Today he is one of the top-ranked players on the circuit.
Ryan Vermillion, physical therapist and athletic trainer for the Miami Dolphins, says he regularly treats football players with magnets, including quarterbacks Craig Erickson and Dan Marino. Vermillion says that although there's no way to be sure magnets are helping the players' injuries to heal more quickly, he has noticed differences since he started treating them with magnets three years ago.
"The players are saying they're feeling better, but there are also objective things," Vermillion explains. "After applying the magnets you will get some decrease in swelling, or changes in post-surgical swelling or hematomas. You can actually see the swelling decrease faster."
Gail Banta of Weymouth, Mass., suffered from bursitis in her hips and arthritis in her back for 11 years. She had fibromyalgia, a painful neuro-muscular condition whose cause is unknown. When her husband told her what he had heard about magnets from a hunting guide in Canada, she decided to order a magnetic mattress pad. The result astonished her.
"In one week of sleeping on the pad, my backache was gone." Banta says she had been taking 12 pills a day for pain since the onset of her condition and that she had stopped needing them within two weeks of purchasing the mattress pad. (She was so impressed that she became a distributor for a Japanese magnet company that sells products in the United States).
Facts in Favor
After hearing story after story like these from his patients, Vallbona, the director of the Post-Polio Clinic at the Institute for Rehabilitation and Research, affiliated with Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, was interested enough to attend a 1994 conference on the effects of magnetic fields. What he learned led him to suspect there might be something to magnet therapy after all. He and his colleague Carleton Hazelwood, M.D., designed a double-blind study to test the effect of magnets on 50 patients suffering from pain associated with post-polio syndrome. What he found piqued the interest of even the staunchest critics of magnet therapy.
In the study, Vallbona examined the effects of one specific type of magnet known as a "concentric circles" magnet. He had some subjects hold these permanent magnets (permanent magnets have a static magnetic field) on points where they felt the most intense pain, and others hold inactive magnets. All were told to keep them in place for 45 minutes. After the magnets were removed, seventy-five percent of the patients who used active magnets reported a significant reduction in pain. Only 19 percent of the patients in the control group, however, experienced even a small decrease in pain. No side effects were reported. Vallbona published these results in the November 1997 issue of the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.
Vallbona's study did not explore how long this effect might last, but he has continued to follow the progress of participants, and the preliminary results look promising. "Many patients reported that the effect lasted not only hours, but days, weeks, even months in some cases," he says. "So we have the impression that the relief brought about by the magnets is lasting longer than relief by painkilling drugs."
Vallbona is no the only researcher finding promising results. In a controlled setting, neurobiologist Alvaro Pascual-Leone, M.D., Ph.D., and his colleagues at Harvard Medical School treated 17 severely depressed patients with a technique called "rapid-rate transcranial magnetic stimulation." The treatment involves using an electromagnet-produced by running an electric current through a coil of wire-to stimulate the activities of certain areas of the brain. After five daily sessions of the treatment, 11 of the 17 patients showed a marked improvement that lasted for two weeks after the treatments and no on reported significant adverse effects. Pascual-Leone published his findings in the July 1996 issue of the Lancet.
Several related studies on electromagnetic brain stimulation, including one at the National Institutes of Health, are currently exploring the use of this technique to treat a range of neurological disorders, including epilepsy, Parkinson's disease, and even learning disabilities. Ann Gill Taylor, director of the Center for the Study of Complementary and Alternative Therapies in Charlottesville, Virginia, has just begun a year-long study designed to investigate the effect of using static magnetic fields to treat 100 patients suffering from fibromyalgia.
Although intrigued by research results, Gelfand and Jarvis say they are still waiting for more scientific evidence that magnet therapy works. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which as not approved the use of permanent magnets to treat pain, has approved several independent review boards to track current research in the field.
No one knows for sure how magnetic fields interact with the human body. But there are a few leading theories:
Blood flow Experts agree that magnets probably help increase blood flow to a painful area of the body, which carries more oxygen to the region, decreases inflammation, and relieves pain. According to biophysicist Marko Markov, Ph.D., magnets probably stimulate blood flow because blood is composed of positively and negatively charged particles. Markov recently conducted a study-which has not yet been published-that found a substantially increased blood flow to an area of a horse's leg where a magnet was applied.
Pain perception Vallbona suggests that the magnetic field may affect pain receptors in the painful area, eliciting a slight anesthetic effect, or that the magnetic field might be transmitted via blood vessels to the brain, which then releases endorphins, chemicals that act as natural pain relievers.
Theories are one thing, facts are another, which is why Vallbona has plans for further research on magnets. In the meantime, since he completed his study with the post-polio patients, he has been successfully treating his own injured shoulder with two small magnets. And he now takes along several magnets whenever he travels-just in case he needs them.
by Dr. Julian Whitaker
As you know, conventional medicine doesn't have much to offer patients with carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS): splints, steroid injections, and surgery. With the exception of splints, which are of proven value in safely relieving pain (especially at night), I don't recommend that you follow the conventional treatment strategy as your first course of action.
There is plenty of research to support alternative therapies for the treatment of CTS. Some of these therapies will help relieve the inflammation and pain, while others may actually restore nerve function and help you avoid surgery. Let's start with therapies to relieve pain:
Natural Anti-inflammatory Compounds
For relief of pain and inflammation, avoid nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory compounds (NSAIDs such as aspirin and ibuprofen), which can irritate the stomach and cause gastrointestinal bleeding. Instead, try some of the natural anti-inflammatory compounds we use at the Whitaker Wellness Institute, which are far safer and just as effective:
Bromelain. This enzyme (found in pineapples) acts as an aid to digestion if you take it with meals. But if you take it between meals, it acts to relieve pain and inflammation by targeting inflammatory compounds called prostaglandins and kinins. The recommended dose is 250-500 mg between meals.
Curcumin. The active constituent in the yellow-orange spice turmeric, curcumin likely has the most potent anti-inflammatory activity of all the medicinal herbs. Unlike the pain reliever acetaminophen (Tylenol), which can be toxic to the liver, curcumin actually protects the liver. Curcumin's activity is enhanced when taken in combination with bromelain. The recommended dose is 250-500 mg between meals.
MSM. Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) is a sulfur-containing compound that is highly effective in relieving pain and inflammation. It also supports healing by increasing blood flow so that nutrients can be delivered to injured tissues. For carpal tunnel syndrome, I recommend taking 1,000 to 4,000 mg daily, in divided doses, with meals.
Vitamin B6. The rise in the incidence of carpal tunnel syndrome over the last 50 years parallels our increasing exposure to synthetic chemicals that interfere with vitamin B6 in the body, such as yellow/hydrazine dyes, oral contraceptives, and penicillamine. In studies, supplementation with vitamin B6 has proven highly effective in relieving pain and other symptoms of CTS and improving nerve conduction. The recommended dose is 100 mg of vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) twice a day. It may take up to three months to work, so be patient.
Topical Pain Relievers
For added relief of pain and inflammation, try one (or several) of the following topical pain relievers. Like the oral therapies above, they're extremely safe:
Arnica. The homeopathic remedy Arnica montana has a long history of use in relieving pain and inflammation. In a recent study, Traumeel (an ointment containing a synergistic blend of Arnica and other homeopathic agents) was shown to reduce the production of interleukin-6, an immune compound that plays a role in inflammation. Traumeel also inhibits edema, which is important for relieving pressure on nerve endings.
Penetran+Plus. This topical ointment contains ammonium compounds that neutralize pain signals by reestablishing the electrical balance in cell membranes at the site of injury. It also contains MSM to relieve inflammation and enhance the absorption of the ointment into the tissues for faster and more effective pain relief. Penetran+Plus is a standard part of our treatment protocol for nerve disorders, including carpal tunnel syndrome and diabetic neuropathy.
Magnets. Studies have shown that simply applying a magnet to injured or inflamed tissues can relieve the pain of arthritis, whiplash and head injuries, premenstrual syndrome, carpal tunnel syndrome, and other conditions. How magnets work is a bit of a mystery, but there are two generally accepted theories. One is that magnets enhance blood flow, decreasing inflammation and speeding healing. The second theory is that magnets activate electrical currents in the body and cause the release of pain-relieving neurotransmitters. I highly recommend magnets for any painful condition.
Age-Old Therapies for a Modern Ailment
The two therapies below deserve special mention for the ability to relieve pain and restore function in patients with CTS. Several of our patients have been able to avoid carpal tunnel surgery by using these therapies in combination with the pain-relieving strategies discussed above:
Yoga. Yoga involves stretching postures that enhance flexibility and strength and improve circulation. In a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, patients who were instructed in yoga postures for the hands, wrists, and arms experienced a significant decrease in pain and measurable improvement in strength. A control group of patients who had been assigned to wear splints had no improvement in symptoms. I recommend seeking a qualified yoga instructor who can show you postures to correct the alignment of your hands, wrists, and arms and improve your flexibility.
Acupuncture. In a recent study of patients whose carpal tunnel syndrome had not responded to medical or surgical treatment, acupuncture provided pain relief in 91 percent of cases. Even the National Institutes of Health has acknowledged acupuncture as a bona fide therapy for pain, and some insurance companies now reimburse for it. To find a licensed acupuncturist in your area, contact the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, www.nccaom.org.
by Dr. Julian Whitaker
Just about everyone has experienced a headache at one time or another. Tension headaches, perhaps the most common type, are characterized by a steady, constant pain that starts in the forehead or back of the head. They may be triggered by stress, anxiety, or physical tension that results in tight muscles in the upper back, neck or scalp. Withdrawal from caffeine or other drugs that constrict the blood vessels can also trigger headaches. In addition, headaches may also occur as an unwanted side effect of many prescription drugs. Chronic headaches are often triggered by allergies to certain foods or food additives such as monosodium glutamate (MSG) and aspartame. I don't recommend reliance on over-the-counter pain relievers, such as aspirin or acetaminophen, because these drugs have potentially serious side effects, especially with prolonged use. Instead, try the solutions below.
NOTE: Any sudden, long-lasting headache should be checked by your doctor, to rule out something more serious.
Natural Protocol for Headaches
Identify and eliminate food allergies that may be contributing to your headaches. The top offenders are milk, wheat, chocolate, tomatoes, fish, food additives such as MSG, and the artificial sweetener aspartame.
Take 800 to 1,000 mg of supplemental magnesium daily to reduce the frequency and intensity of headaches. Research has shown that individuals who experience frequent headaches are likely to have low levels of magnesium in the brain. Drink plenty of pure, filtered water eight to ten 8 oz. glasses per day. Chronic headaches may be caused, in part, by dehydration, so it's imperative to replenish your stores. In addition, water helps flush out toxins from your body that contribute to headaches.
Use magnets to relieve headache pain. A magnetic hat or band worn around the head does wonders to relieve pain, without any risk at all.
Consider caffeine. Believe it or not, studies have shown that caffeine alone can stop a headache. In one study, a 200 mg dose of caffeine (equivalent to 12 oz. of coffee) was more effective in relieving headache pain than 400 mg of ibuprofen during the first 1-1/2 hours.
Try wintergreen tea spiked with as much hot pepper sauce as you can tolerate. Wintergreen contains salicylates, the active ingredient in aspirin, while hot-pepper sauce (or any powdered version of hot red peppers, such as cayenne) contains capsaicin, another painkiller. This is especially effective for a hangover.
Consider seeing a chiropractor or acupuncturist. Both chiropractic and acupuncture have been shown to be effective in relieving headaches.
InfraRed and Red Light Therapy Can:
1. Increase circulation by increasing the formation of new capillaries, which are additional blood vessels that replace damaged ones. New capillaries speed up the healing process by carrying more oxygen as well as more nutrients needed for healing and they can also carry more waste products away.
2. Stimulate the production of collagen. Collagen is the most common protein found in the body. Collagen is the essential protein used to repair damaged tissue and to replace old tissue. It is the substance that holds cells together and has a high degree of elasticity. By increasing collagen production less scar tissue is formed at the damaged site.
3. Increase RNA and DNA synthesis. This helps damaged cells to be replaced more promptly.
4. Stimulate fibroblastic activity which aids in the repair process. Fibroblasts are present in connective tissue and are capable of forming collagen fibers.
5. Stimulate tissue granulation and connective tissue projections, which are part of the healing process of wounds, ulcers or inflamed tissue.
6. Stimulate the release of adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP is the major carrier of energy to all cells. Increases in ATP allow cells to accept nutrients faster and get rid of waste products faster by increasing the energy level in the cell. All food turns into ATP before it is utilized by the cells. ATP provides the chemical energy that drives the chemical reaction of the cell.
7. Increase lymphatic system activity. Edema, which is the swelling or natural splinting process of the body, has two basic components. The first is a liquid part which can be evacuated by the blood system and the second is comprised of the proteins which have to be evacuated by the lymphatic system. Research has shown that the lymph vessel diameter and the flow of the lymph system can be doubled with the use of light therapy. The venous diameter and the arterial diameters can also be increased. This means that both parts of edema (liquid and protein) can be evacuated at a much faster rate to relieve swelling.
8. Relieve pain. The photons of light energy enter the body as negative ions. This calls upon the body to send positive ions like calcium among others to go to the area being treated. These ions assist in firing the nerves thereby relieving pain. Light therapy is successfully used in pain therapy, dermatology and rheumatology with excellent therapeutic effects in the treatment of shoulder humerus periarthritis, tendonitis and carpal tunnel syndrome.
9. Stimulate acetylcholine release and other parasympathetic effects.
10. Increase phagocytosis, which is the process of scavenging for and ingesting dead or degenerated cells by phagocyte cells for the purpose of clean up. This is an important part of the infection fighting process. Destruction of the infection and clean up must occur before the healing process can take place.
11. Induce a thermal like effect in the tissue. The light raises the temperature of the tissue treated which can kill or disable temperature sensitive bacteria and viruses.