Fibromyalgia affects 2-4% of the population – mostly women. I’ve spent many years helping people manage the acute pain and tenderness that this troublesome disorder creates.
Sadly, no blood tests or X-rays can diagnose this disorder. However, doctors run these and many other tests to rule out other diseases and health issues that have the same array of symptoms. The most prevalent symptom is widespread pain caused by pressure or touch, basic movement, and even certain types of clothing. Because widespread pain is the main symptom of fibromyalgia, doctors will run through a list of questions to help rule out things like an underactive thyroid, hormonal imbalance, polymyalgia rheumatica, rheumatoid arthritis, or lupus – all of which create the same or similar pain symptoms.
One unique factor of fibromyalgia is that the pain can move to different body parts from day to day. Some clients say they feel pain “everywhere.” For many, the pain and tenderness comes and goes, but for most, they experience radical fatigue and flu-like symptoms, and although they’re exhausted, they can’t seem to sleep. With the lack of sleep, most of my clients also have depression, migraines, tension headaches, issues digesting food or food intolerances, and acid reflux. They also pee all the time and often have pelvic pain.
Because fibromyalgia is hard to diagnose, there is very little research so far on this disorder. Some doctors have said it’s genetic and it runs in the family. I disagree to a great extent. Part of the reason it occurs in women more than men is the hormonal imbalance that occurs as we age. Many female clients will tell me they had irregular menstrual periods most of their life, some are in peri-menopause (a time when there are fluctuations in estrogen and progesterone), and nearly all of my clients have a history of emotional or physical stress that seems to have an association with their symptoms. The level of chemicals and how neurotransmission from gut to brain operates also seem to play a significant role in the disorder.
So let me tell you what I feel in my hands when I work on a client with fibromyalgia. It feels like a stagnant, irritated, frustrated, confused energy. It seems like an internal struggle, as if the body is trying to figure out why the brain isn’t able to decode what the body is saying. It’s like the body is speaking English, but the brain is speaking German. They are trying to converse but neither is understanding the other.
I feel I become the go-between for my clients. I simply intervene in the conversation. Once I can get my client’s body and brain matching up, I’m able to guide the conversation and help the brain and body communicate more appropriately.
MELT has been a blessing because it keeps the conversation going long after my client leaves my office. I teach them to keep the dialogue open and try to explain it the same way I am explaining it now. MELT helps my clients translate the conversation from body to brain. It’s a slow process, and one of the biggest challenges I run into with my fibro clients is that they have to SLOW DOWN when they do it on their own. Often they rush through their self-care because they feel “so good” after they MELT, they want to do more than I recommend.
I explain it like going out on a first date. You don’t bring your overnight bag and start talking about marriage and babies on a first date. You simply want to get to the second date. You can’t make a relationship last a lifetime if you rush into it thinking you’ll get all of your answers on the first date. Don’t rush the relationship. You are learning a new language. You are “getting to know” your own body. You must go slow. Don’t look for a cure or an instant elimination of your chronic symptoms. Instead, develop a relationship with your body in an entirely new way. Just like a relationship with a new person. Don’t judge them or compare them to old lovers. It’s a NEW relationship. Treat it with care, caution, and LOVE!
MELT is like courting a new lover. Don’t stay too long, get in and get out. Don’t tell them your darkest, deepest thoughts in the first few dates… just get to know them. Get to know your body. Even if you think you know it really well, it’s time for a new relationship.
What’s been interesting is, my fibromyalgia clients feel immediate changes and then they simply do too much! They stay too long. It’s like moving in when you have only been dating a couple months! “Don’t settle down just yet,” I say! Give your body time to fall in love with YOU! I know it feels good, but if you stay too long or push too hard to make it work, it simply will fail.
So, if you have fibromyalgia, I urge you to do what my clients who have had amazing success using MELT do. SLOW DOWN. Follow the directions in the Connective Tissue Disorders and Related Diseases Self-Treatment Plan in chapter 14 of the MELT Method book, and it will be the best new relationship you have ever had! Remember, take your time – no more than 10 minute MELT sessions for at least two weeks. Just give your body and brain time to get to know one another!
If you have fibromyalgia, start with EITHER the Mini Soft Ball Hand or Foot Treatment every day for two weeks. You may not feel the changes, but this is how you start. It’s that simple. Then add the Rebalance Sequence with the MELT Soft Roller 2-3 times a week. This relationship will last the rest of your life, so take your time. Enjoy the immersion into your body and cultivate a new relationship with your body!
Originally posted April 29, 2013