The Beginner's Guide to Natural Living
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Dr. Angela Agrios, ND
My very talented Naturopathic Doctor
She treats a wide variety of conditions
Office & phone appointments available
Los Angeles, CA (Pacific Palisades)

Naturopathic Medicine Treatment
Interview with Dr. Arlan Cage, ND

Fibromyalgia Symptoms & Conventional Treatment
Fibromyalgia is a name given to a set of conditions. It basically means fibrous, achy muscles. And it’s highlighted by pain in the soft tissues—not the joints. So muscles, where muscles and tendons insert into bones; sometimes on either side of the spine; and it’s especially common at the base of the skull, the shoulders, the back, and the hips and thighs. Conventional treatment involves pain-suppressing medications, sometimes antidepressants, which also can help suppress pain, and mostly they don’t work long-term. More than half the people who take these for fibromyalgia actually don’t experience any benefit from the pain-suppressing drugs or the antidepressants. These drugs, long-term, have side effects: the antidepressants can inhibit your sex drive; they can make you emotionally flat.

The pain medicines often will inhibit your GI tract—you can become constipated, which leads to other systemic problems as toxins are improperly eliminated from the body. So it’s basically a no-win situation.

Cause of Fibromyalgia
In fibromyalgia patients, what I have found in my practice is that there are two primary causes: the first is in one hundred percent of the patients I’ve seen with fibromyalgia—when I test them, they are toxic with heavy metal poisoning. The second cause is that many, many people in our society are deficient in the element iodine, and when any tissue in the body becomes deficient in iodine, it will become fibrous, painful, and can possibly develop cysts and nodules, which are often found in fibromyalgia patients.

Naturopathic Medicine Fibromyalgia Diagnosis
Most people come to my office—they’ve already been given a diagnosis of fibromyalgia, perhaps by the rheumatologist or some other doctor, or maybe they just don’t know but they look up symptoms on the internet and think, “Oh gee, maybe I have fibromyalgia,” and then they find me through my website usually, because I have some extensive information about fibromyalgia. So when they come in, I do exhaustive health histories when did it start, under what circumstances? Then we proceed to a physical examination where I confirm that they do have pain at the classic fibromyalgia trigger points, and then we’ll proceed into a testing phase: I will test people using what’s called the “provoked urine test” to look for the presence of heavy metals, and then I also do a function test—that’s also a urine test—to look for iodine deficiencies.

Fibromyalgia Toxin Considerations and Iodine Deficiencies
When I evaluate the patient and they have the classic pain pattern with pain at the trigger points of fibromyalgia, I basically consider all cases of fibromyalgia to involve heavy metal toxicities, and/or iodine deficiencies, until I prove otherwise through the test results. So far, in every fibromyalgia patient I’ve seen, I have yet to prove otherwise, meaning they all have heavy metal toxicities, and usually iodine deficiencies. So that’s where I start—I begin a treatment protocol aimed at assisting the body to eliminate heavy metals from the body and replacing iodine at a sufficient dose based on the test results.

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Fibromyalgia Diet - Eat Whole, Oragnic Food
In what I’ve found works in my practice is most fibromyalgia patients come in and they need some kind of improvement in their diet and lifestyle situations, and so I put them on a very hypoallergenic diet using foods that are low in arachidonic acid and are high in other nutrients like bioflavonoids, a lot of fruits and vegetables. I then find that the part of the main therapy I use is intravenous vitamins and minerals in a combination of something called a Meyer’s cocktail—it involves intravenous vitamin C and B-vitamins, and a few minerals like magnesium, calcium, and selenium. I’ve had patients who come in and had to practically crawl into the office, and after one treatment of these intravenous vitamins and minerals were able to skip out of the office. Sometimes it works that quickly; usually it can take longer. Because we know of the presence of heavy metals in these patients, I will always add in some form of oral chelation using some combination of EDTA or DMPS. And that’s a long-term treatment, and I prefer it over the intravenous chelation simply because side effects of the chelation therapies are lessened by spreading it out over time.

Fibromyalgia Supplements - Iodine
The ones who test deficient for iodine—I will add some form of iodine supplement, and it needs to be a combination of both iodine and potassium iodide. Different tissues in the body will need one form or the other, and so proper supplementation will require both forms of iodine. In some patients who are able to get in three days a week, I will add something called constitutional hydrotherapy: this is a treatment that involves alternating hot and cold applications over the torso of the body, combined with an electrical sine wave stimulation over the liver. And what this does is it stimulates the body’s parasympathetic nervous system, which is the opposite end of the spectrum from the fight-or-flight response, and it’s a form of the nervous system used to promote healing. The electrical sine waves stimulation increases the flow of bile through the liver and actually will accelerate detoxifying the metals from the body.

Fibromyalgia Supplements - Castor Oil Packs
Something I have patients do at home is the use of castor oil packs: these are external applications for about a half hour every evening of a piece of flannel cloth that’s been soaked in castor oil. And this, too, will accelerate the flow of lymphatic fluid through the liver and help accelerate the healing. There are a couple things that I will add in my treatments that will involve basically symptom-control while these other, more root-cause therapies are having a chance to have their effect. I’ll use homeopathic injections at the trigger points, which can control pain; and in some patients, I will also include acupuncture treatments to control the pain.

Fibromyalgia Naturopathic Medicine Treatment Success
Well I actually have a great success rate. Depending upon the severity of the heavy metal burden in each individual patient, most of my patients will be completely pain-free within six months to a year-and-a-half. If someone wants to reverse fibromyalgia, they need to start with a natural living lifestyle that includes whole foods—not processed foods. They need to include supplementation of the essential nutrients that aren’t in our food any longer, like vitamins and minerals, and essential fatty acids from fish oil or flax oil. They really need to learn about detoxification and how to take care of themselves, because our environment does cause us to be exposed to heavy metals and other toxins on an ongoing basis. And then they need to find a naturopathic doctor near them who can implement a therapeutic plan based on the principles I’ve discussed here.

Interview with Dr. Arlan Cage, ND

Also See: Dr. Angela Agrios, ND Naturopathic Doctor Health Series