When I was 18 I got bitten by a tick in the Australian jungle. Shortly afterwards I developed a red rash around the bite. Scared the hell out of me.
While I was waiting to hear back on my bloodwork, I tried my best to make peace with the implications of a potential diagnosis. I’ll never forget the panic/acceptance cycle you feel when you first confront something like that.
The results eventually came back negative, and as far as I know, I dodged a bullet.
In the years since, I’ve met many people affected by Lyme’s. Some quite severely.
The irony with Lyme’s is that it can be so debilitating, can rob so much vitality, and yet by the nature of transmission, those most likely to be affected are otherwise healthy, active, and living vibrant lives out in the natural world.
In Chinese Medicine, we have three major advantages when dealing with Lyme’s:
- Theory. Lyme’s disease falls into a broader category of disease called “Lurking Pathogens” in Chinese Medicine. This is a clinical situation where an external invader has taken up residence in the body, and usually has active defense maneuvers that prevent the immune system and pharmaceuticals from fully resolving it. These pathogens are responsible for an agitated immune system (leading to autoimmunity), and can be viral, bacterial, fungal, parasitic, protozoan, etc. Most chronic conditions that tend to have flare-ups are due to the pathogens increasing activity during times of stress or poor self care.
- Diagnostics. If Biomedicine can identify the pathogen, treatment is aimed at killing it (usually with an antibiotic). This can be tricky with Lyme’s, as the spirochete can lie dormant, avoid being detected, and give a false negative. A serious advantage of Chinese Medicine is that we do not need to definitively identify which pathogen is present. The nature of holistic treatment on the ecology of the body allows us to begin treating even with a suspected diagnosis.
- Treatment. Chinese Herbal Medicine is especially effective for Lyme’s, and similar cases of chronic flaring diseases. A well crafted herbal formula is designed to accomplish multiple tasks in the body:
- Kill the pathogen (and flush it out of hiding)
- Dissolve the protective Biofilm the Spirochetes use for protection
- Strengthen your inherent immune mechanisms
- Address specific symptoms as they come (brain fog, weakness, joint pain, temperature disregulation, etc)
Not all “herbal remedies” will do the job. Especially with complex scenarios like Lyme’s, you really need an experienced practitioner to build and modify your formula. Some herbs can inadvertently feed the pathogens. Inappropriate treatment can make things worse.
Expect flareups and “Herxheimer Reactions” as the pathogen tries to fight back.
Expect old symptoms to resolve, only to be replaced by new ones as the spirochetes try to hide somewhere else in the body.
Expect to have your formula modified periodically, rotating new herbs into the mix so that the spirochetes can’t adapt so easily. Keeps them from developing resistance.
Expect a 3-5 year course of treatment. It sounds like a long time, and it is. We take the long view and measure progress in 6 month intervals. This is why it is so important to have a balanced herbal formula that protects your body. You can’t simply take “killing” medicine long term without collateral damage.
Expect to modify your diet. Learn how to starve them out. Lay a siege. I know it’s not fun when your favorite foods get taken away, but there is power to be found there. I will help you.
Expect to learn breathing techniques (Qi Gong) and other lifestyle strategies to cultivate a balanced immune system.
These organisms are actively trying to survive in your body. It is not a battle, it’s a series of battles. A war. There may be ups and downs over time, but looking back you’ll be glad you fought it.
Shortly after beginning his herbs, my very first Lyme’s patient noticed pus discharging from the place he had been bitten. The bite had previously been scarred over for years.
My office is in Coupeville, WA. If you live too far away, I will manage your case via FaceTime or Skype. I mail herbs to patients all over the country. Call with your questions.