Setting up a therapy business for the first time

Setting up as practitioner/therapist for the first time is both exciting, full of opportunity, and scary/confusing! The opportunities and challenges are similar for all starting a therapy business. Here are some thoughts about making your practice successful, and although this post was created for new APS Therapy practitioners, mcuh of it is relevant for all setting off on this journey!

Opportunities:

To change people’s lives!

To work flexibly, around the needs of your family or health.

To gain immense satisfaction and mental stimulation.

 

Challenges:

1) Where to practice

If you have your own house/garage/cabin with a space that can be adapted for use as a clinic, you can have people coming to you.

photo from chapelhousestudios.com

If you have somewhere that people can come to even without your being there, or on the premises but not necessarily involved in their treatment, even better, as one of the  great things about an APS Therapy business is that you can run a self managing clinic. After the first teaching session, people you assess as being able to manage, should be able to happily treat themselves.

You just need to:

  • Ensure your home or premises is insured for business use.
  • Consider parking, and make sure the drive and entry is clean and clear
  • Set up a booking system (online if possible)
  • Clean the bathroom/toilet each time!
  • Consider whether you will need a waiting area

 

 

Renting a place – This is an option, but it can present difficulties, because of the clients who cancel, after you’ve paid for your space, and the reduction in your earning ability. I would recoommend getting creative and working with an existing facility to set up self managing clinics in a local centre such as Sports Centre, Gym, Complementary Therapy Clinic, Yoga studio, Sports club, or a Community Centre in a space that isn’t currently being rented out, eg in a corner or part of a larger room, a lobby or waiting area.

photo from cisco.edu

By putting together a business plan, you will be able to see the kind of income that is possible,  with a self managing clinic; definately enough to split the proceeds between the hosting facility and yourself.

 

 

If you don’t have suitable premises,  you might want to work as a mobile practitioner.

 

 

 

For this, you just need to:

  • Ensure that your car is insured for business use
  • Consider your safety:
  • Only go to the home of people you trust
  • Make sure that somebody knows where you are going, and what time you expect to be back.
  • What would you do if someone else, that you weren’t expecting, opened the door?
  • Have an excuse ready for if something doesn’t feel right.
  • Keep a mobile phone within inobtrusive reach in a pocket, with a trusted friend on speed dial, and have a code phrase for emergencies.
  • Ensure you know how to exit any property that you go into.

 

 

Case study – an unexpected pracititoner

 

 

I recently had a chat with new APS Therapy practitioner Brendan. Brendan had to leave his long career in the army, after having an early stroke. He came on board through his work as gym assistant/wellness coach at the Joseph’s Court Wellness centre in Colchester, and admits to being very sceptical ” because how can it be working when you can’t feel it?!” However, having seen what APS Therapy can do in this work, he then registered as a practitioner in his own right, and began to see people from his contacts at the local stroke club and thorugh his contacts at ‘Help for Heroes’,  in their own homes.

Because the results he’s been getting for people have been so good ( some people’s pain resolving after many many years with nothing else working), he is now getting word of mouth referrals of people with many different types of condition or injury, and is constantly busy, working as a mobile practitioner in his local area. His charges are very reasonable, as £20 per hour plus travel expenses.

Because some of his referrals come from a local gym, Brendan and another APS Therapy practitioner intend to set up a clinic there in the new year, which I would expect to be very successful.

 

Rent out machines

This option allows you to have a face to face teaching session with your client, and then send them away with a machine and a treatment plan to follow at home for a few weeks, with follow up and support from you along the way. It does involve an element of trust, but certainly it works very well for me; in fact I use Skype and Facetime to teach people at a distance. it’s good value for the clients, and clients have reported favourably on the relaxed approach – see The APS diaries!

 

 

Of course your return on investment is a little slower, but if you end up with a few machines, it can work out very well. And if you get too much demand, you can rent a machine yourself from Painfree Potential, or send them our way.

 

2) Set your prices:

You are free to set your own prices, and these need to reflect the way that you offer the treatment, so, for instance,  prices for the client can be lower if they’re coming to a clinic and are going to be self-managing, or higher if you’re giving them your undivided attention.
 I always make sure that people understand that, although some people get immediate benefit, in general, results are not immediate, but come after some consistent treatment.  Blocks of treatments, 6 for a simple muscoloskeletal pain or injury, or 10 for a chronic pain condition is a good way to organise it.
And if your client goes on to buy their own machine, then as a registered practitioner, you get commission.

3)Registering as self-employed

If you’re not already self-employed, you need to register as self employed with HMRC / your government, and get an understanding of keeping your records straight so that at the end of the year, you can declare your earnings by completing a tax return. You can be both self-employed and employed.
As a sole trader, this isn’t much more difficult than adding up what you made, deducting what you spent, and putting it onto an online form.
Just make sure you get all the right information so that you start in an organised way.
And then of course you need to…

4) Promote the service!

 

 

 

 

Promoting the service is the part that most of us working in hands-on therapies find such a challenge.
When you are very first setting up, I recommend starting with friends and family. Make sure that everybody who has a good experience gives you a testimonial, and if possible shares it, and lets you share it, on social media, and/ or on a website, but most importantly, tells their friends and family face to face. Having some of your cards or leaflets at this point is important.
There is an abundance of advice available for small businesses in the use of social media for marketing, and wider marketing, so I’m not going to start replicating it here, but see if your local council funds any short courses and if so,  attend them!
Websites.
You are free to set up your own website; running your own website using either a blogging platform like WordPress, or a template system, is not so hard. But you are also welcome to guide your clients to the www.painfreepotential.co.uk website for information, where as a registered practitioner, you can also, if you choose, be featured as a practitioner, with contact details available.
Use  all your available channels to get people’s attention. Old style advertising in magazines and papers is expensive, and doesn’t necessarily work, but there is still merit in having leaflets and posters, and in getting an article printed in your local papers or local magazine.
Leaflets are available on APS Therapy, which have a space on the back for your sticker, ( just ask for the PDF) Canva.com is a great graphic design website that allows you to create marketing materials if you want to create your own. Just be careful that you don’t make claims that would be perceived as unrealistic.
Howevever, far more influencial than the printed word is You! Your integrity, and your experiences, are more likely to be the deciding factors in getting people to try APS Therapy with you.
So get as much experience as you can, and then find opportunities to meet people and talk with them; not through expensive exhibitions at first, but by small events, clubs, self-help groups and networking.
The important do’s and don’ts of being a therapist or practitioner, including record keeping, data protection, and moral and ethical behaviour, are always covered in the Code of Conduct for each discipline.  A good example of a generic code is  the one from the Federation of Holistic Therapists, which is their copyright code of conduct FHT

Connect

 

 

Treating people one to one and running your own business can be isolating if you don’t get involved with some supportive network or group, so you don’t get lonely, but connect with other like-minded people – there are lots of local therapists or small business groups who have an online presence but meet up locally, and this can also help you to thrive and set up creative collaborations.

 A Therapy business can be one of the most rewarding, flexible, and enjoyable ways to make a living, so I’m wishing you all the best for a rewarding, enjoyable and flourishing practice!
The next APS Therapy Training day is on Saturday 13th of January 2018! 

APS Therapy Summer News 2017

Welcome to the Summer newsletter. We’re continuing to get great results for people with pain, fatigue, spasm and sleep problems with APS Therapy. It was great to run workshops at the MS National Therapy Centres annual conference, and from that, 3 more centres have expressed an interest in joining the 8 centres already offering the treatment. NHS services are now also expressing an interest, and we hope to be speaking at the NHS England Health & Care Innovations conference 2017

 APS Therapy training

                        Sunday, July 16th (THIS SUNDAY!),

Saturday September 9th

    As always, it’s free to attend the morning out of interest,
and free to attend the whole day as a refresher, and you don’t have to be a healthcare professional to train as an APS Therapy practitioner.

“An update for you – I have now completed 4 weeks of treatments (2x per week) and for the first time in at least 3 years I am free from Spasticity in my hips. As of last Tuesday I have stopped needing to use my 12 tablets per day of Tizanidine and that was the day after managing 5 miles in the racechair!!”
– Rory Marriott, para-triathlete 
We have a new leaflet that’s designed to give clear information to people who may benefit from APS Therapy; it has a space on the back for your sticker, and registered practitioners can download a printable version here, or contact us to order a batch.

Long term pain and swelling, post surgery for fractured wrist

“If my hand is a bit swollen at the end of the day, using the APS machine makes a visible difference as I can see the puffiness decrease within the first cycle.  I’m still working hard on the flexibility of my wrist and after pilates or a physio session, when it aches and feels swollen and stiff, I relax with tea and the APS machine to allow everything to settle down again.

One of the best therapeutic gadgets I have ever bought.”–

Beverley Moss, Reiki practitioner, Wokingham

See all our testimonials in full here
What’s your experience? It’s so helpful to hear how people have used APS Therapy; the treatment plan and the results, and we always say Thankyou with a set of electrodes!
Headaches“I have suffered from food related headaches for about 5 years and have three lists of foods to juggle with to try to avoid them.  They were almost a constant in my life….

Within a week of using the APS machine I was headache free.  Four weeks later I can still hardly believe it.  It’s been a real life changer!  I even allow myself a chocolate every now and again…AMAZING!
– Liz Godwin, North London.

What about when APS Therapy doesn’t work?
Of course APS Therapy doesn’t always work for everybody, and every different pain. But I always like to give my cleint some guidance as to what to ask about next. I’ll be putting that into a blogpost very soon, at www.mirandasmsblog.com and on the blogpage at www.painfreepotential.co.uk, and will consult with some pain experts to make sure you get good relevant content.

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We send special offers to healthcare practitioners and therapists with a special interest in painOur mailing address is:
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63 Bedford road, Cranfield
Bedford
Bedford, Bedfordshire MK43 0EX
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Spring Draw!

It’s time for the Easter Competition! If you know anyone who has pain, insomnia or fatigue, and who’d like to try an effective drug-free option for a free 6 week home trial, please Share!

APS Therapy works directly on a cellular level – headaches, arthritis, tennis elbow, sports injury, arthritis, shoulder pain – the list goes on, read people’s stories here.
To enter the draw, Like & Share our Facebook page and this post , or follow & RT on Twitter , and message your name. ( or get a friend to do so and send your name!) We’ll draw the raffle on Sunday 30th April, and one lucky winner will get shipped an Action Potential Simulation Therapy machine to use at home for 6 weeks, with full teaching over Skype or Facetime, and email/ phone support throughout. See www.painfreepotential.co.uk to learn all about APS Therapy and how it helps for less pain, more energy, faster recovery!

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New packages for practitioners

Learn to zap pain with Action Potential Simulation Therapy; 10% off the new machine & training Clinic Package

With an Action Potential Simulation Therapy machine, you can get unexpectedly good results for people with pain, injury, fatigue or sleep problems; see Testimonials and Research.

APS Therapy can enhance your results and your business in many ways –

We’ve just launched our ‘Clinic Package’, which includes:

  • APS therapy clinic machine, mark 1.4, with 10 sets of PALS Platinum blue electrodes and 1 set water electrodes, headclips, applicator & gel.
  • Full day training workshop for up to 10 people, at your base, or in Bedford if preferred, with electrodes for each attendee; any spare sets go into your pack.
  • Mentoring, marking of case studies, certification, registration of up to 10 staff, and ongoing support & guidance for as long as you need, with free attendance at further workshops for further staff / refreshers.

The price of the clinic package is £2000; 10% off gives you a saving of £200 for orders made in March and April 2017!

Call 01908 799870 to discuss or arrange presentation

 

Presenting our research at the MS Trust annual conference in November
New learner Vicky tries out APS Therapy for headaches on a training day at Joseph’s Court Wellness Centre, Colchester
Dates for training for Individual Practitioners are out, with 10% off your machine & training package, for workshops booked in March & May!

March 25th       May 6th        June 17th        July 15th

Training days are interactive, informative and informal; give us a call or email to discuss or book on 01908 799870

Getting your APS Therapy machine working and earning

piggy bank…relieving pain and fatigue along the way. At www.painfreepotential.co.uk, we train, sell and hire, the pain relieving technology, APS Therapy. At the MS Therapy Centre in Bedford, where our story started, we run an APS Therapy clinic, which is free. But someone on a course recently worked out what our clinic, and any clinic, could be making.

At £10 per session, a 6 week course of APS Therapy costs the client just £180.

There are 250 working days in an average year in the UK, that’s 2,000 hour long sessions available per year; a potential earning of £20,000.

We have 3 machines, due to demand, and we are open and busy, 7 hours a day, 5 days a week.
We’ve been going nearly 3 years – we didn’t have 3 machines for the whole time, so just counting 2 years; at just £10 per session, we could have made £60,000.

Visit https://www.painfreepotential.co.uk/training-2/therapists/ to see how an APS Therapy machine can augment your business.

It’s a pretty small investment to buy your APS Therapy clinic machine.

and you, or your staff, don’t need a prior qualification in order to…

Learn how use APS Therapy machines 

It may not always be this way, but APS Therapy training workshops in the UK currently pack theory and practice into one day.
July 9th, September 10th, October 8th and November 19th are set, local/more on demand.
More about training

And come on board at an exciting time!

Summer newsletter belowPresenting  at CMSC Annual meeting 2016 in Washington DC recently was a great experience. You can see the poster as a PDF here. We are now submitting the paper to a peer reviewed medical journal, and will blog about CMSC onwww.mirandasmsblog.com very soon. Further prestigious events to come, as the 3 year data has been accepted at the European conference in September, ECTRIMS.

A team representing APS Therapy recently took part in a prestigious  ‘Hackathon’ in Amsterdam…this was a fantastic and stimulating event. Designs for the next model APS Therapy machine, with an app, communication features, and online community took seed and are in development!

more from the newsletter….

APS Therapy post Total Knee replacement

A total knee replacement (TKR) is a beautiful thing, and one of the wonders of modern medicine! But recovery can take a lot longer than many people anticipate, with pain, swelling, and limited range of movement persisting for months.  APS Therapy can speed recovery post TKR; here’s how.

total_knee_replacement
After the trauma of surgery, the body has several important processes to achieve in order for healing to occur: Blood clotting, or haemostasis, protection from infection, or inflammation, tissue growth, or proliferation, and tissue remodelling, or maturation.
Inflammation, protecting the body from infection, is vital stage – yet the swelling that it causes as immune cells flood the area, also causes increased pain, and prevents effective electrical nerve conduction through and oxygenation of the area. If the system is not able to shift and eliminate inflammatory substances effectively, the inflammatory phase can go on for too long, preventing the next stage of healing from taking place, and causing ongoing acute pain and swelling.
By conducting extra action potentials at up to 4 times the strength naturally produced by the body through the affected area using APS Therapy, the removal of inflammatory metabolites is speeded up, reducing pain and swelling, and encouraging de-escalation of inflammation. Circulation of blood and lymph is also boosted by the therapy, and boosted levels of ATP also contribute to the healing process.

Sharon struggled after knee surgery as she was unable to tolerate the analgesic medication, experienced unbearable pain especially in the evenings, and was unable to sleep properly due to pain.

“The APS Therapy has supported the management of my pain post knee and foot surgery. I was suffering from acute pain, especially at night and through regularly using the APS therapy I am experiencing much less troubled, pain enriched nights. My sleep is so much more continual and restful, as I wake now not from the pain, but from hearing my alarm J

I feel more able to function and lead a more positive life.
Thank you… for kindly supporting me to actively take control of my own pain management. I thoroughly believe anyone who needs to control their pain should try APS therapy, with an open and positive mind”
Sharon Davis, Teacher and cub leader, Bedfordshire.nail

Electrodes were applied initially:
Blacks top of spine, reds bottom of the spine,
Blacks on side of knee ( worst pain side), reds on opposite side
Blacks below knee, reds above
Blacks on feet, reds on hands

After the first week, spine treatment went to once a week and electrodes were applied straight to the knee.

Bonesmart.org is a useful forum for people post knee replacement, and NHS choices explains the basics.

This and more Testimonials on the website.

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Spring Newsletter for APS Therapists

Happy Spring!

The newsletter for APS Therapists will be coming out soon, with stories and experiences from all kinds of conditions, including post-surgical, back pain, injuries, fractures and painful conditions. In the meantime,a growing number of MS Therapy Centres across the UK have been taking on APS Therapy, I thought you might like to see theirs. All the best for Less pain, More energy, & Faster healing for you and your clients!

Spasms, Botox and APS Therapy
APS Therapy assists in the removal of waste products from the body. We recently had a report from a client that the botox injections he has in his legs for spasticity, which normally lasted him well for 3 months, were becoming ineffective much faster – probably due to the APS Therapy doing what it says it will. We have a client who uses it for Bell’s Palsy and still successfully uses APS on the rest of his body, and someone who has not noticed any problem with her bladder botox when using APS for leg pain, but we now avoid treating any area that a person is successfully using Botox on.
Having said that, we’ve now had many people who use it for painful feet & legs, report that their spasms are also alleviated by the treatment, so in cases of painful or annoying intermittent spasms, it’s worth trialling a course of treatment. It’s included in my latest MS blog; Natural treatments for MS spasms, which includes a rough & ready video showing one of our users discussing this effect.
If you’d like to find out more about using APS Therapy at your centre, but are based at a distance, we can arrange a  webinar presentation or visit. Regular info sessions and training also take place at the Bedford MS Therapy Centre.
Call 01908 799870 and we’ll call you back.
Fatigue, post-relapse blues and APS 
During our first 18 months of getting good results for pain, we noticed that some people also had a significant improvement in energy levels/reduction in fatigue. We have now made treatment available for people with fatigue, and for those who have had a relapse, or are just generally struggling with malaise.We offer no guarantee, but have had some really powerful success stories, from young people struggling with severe post-relapse fatigue, to people who’ve had MS a very long time. We are now using the ‘Modified fatigue Impact Scale’ or MFIS as an outcome measure for people using APS for fatigue. You can access it here, from page 47 of thisdownloadTestimonials can be seen here, & include this from Maggie, who’s had MS for over 20 years:
“Pain during day virtually gone. Pain at night much reduced – now only troubling between 6-8am.Energy levels greatly improved. Much more stamina…

I can move around with ease and no longer have to plan everything I need to do. I can walk around the centre without a stick.

I can stand long enough to do some housework and get myself some lunch.

Mood- has elevated to new heights. I am delighted with the transformation – I feel I am getting me back.”

Presenting research
We’re very proud to be presenting results from our first 2 years of APS therapy at the Beds & Northants MS Therapy Centre, at the Consortium of MS Centres Annual Meeting in Maryland, USA, in June. Results were remarkable consistent with the first year’s data, showing 78% of people having a good response to treatment. We’d like to invite all centres now using APS Therapy to consent your patients to use their data in research, and keep outcomes measures. I hope that one day we may be able to get funding and put together a large, multicentre study, but in the meantime, all results are gratifying and interesting; please do get in touch to share your data.
Also excited to be taking part in the ‘MS Hackathon‘, a Dutch event where software designers, engineers and medical innovators are invited to spend 36 hours focussing their skills on innovating for MS, to design an app, software, to make life easier or solve some part of the problem of MS. We’re aiming to design an app to make the use of APS Therapy even more effective in MS. It’s a competition, so wish us luck, but whatever the outcome, we should come out with something exciting that can be used by our patients in the future. All the best, Miranda & team. 🙂

Press release: Two British nurses trial effective non-drug pain relieving treatment APS Therapy in MS

We’ve recently been asked for a press release. Here it is!

Two MS Specialist Nurses from an MS Therapy Centre in Bedford, UK, have been trialling a drug-free microcurrent machine, APS Therapy, to treat pain in MS with very positive, and surprisingly wide ranging effects.
emma matthews (2)Miranda Olding with APS Therapy

The treatment, Action Potential Simulation Therapy, or APS Therapy, uses a copy of the body’s own electrical signals – the ‘action potentials’ that travel along nerve fibres, to enhance communication between the cells, using an APS Therapy machine.

“The results we’re seeing, are, firstly,  pain relief, in over 3/4s of the people with MS who have been treated over the past 3 years at the clinic. This is really significant, especially as the type of neuropathic, or nerve pain, that many people with MS experience, is very difficult to treat, and there are so many problems with side effects from the medication.

“I started off being most excited by the pain relief, and helping people to reduce and in some cases withdraw from medications they’re taking for pain, and of course I still am.

But recently, I’ve been most excited by the other improvements that some people get – we had a lot of people reporting improvements in energy, with reduced fatigue, better sleep quality, feeling less stiffness and spasm, and often, really improved wellbeing, when they used the machines for pain, and so in the past year we’ve begun to try using the machines specifically for these problems, and had some lovely results.” says Miranda.

APS Therapy machines

TCMSChe nurses, Queen’s Nurse Emma Matthews from Northampton, and Miranda Olding from Bedford, cannot share the data results of their report on the first two years of treatment with APS Therapy until it’s been presented at the CMSC conference in Maryland, which they are travelling to in June. They also aim to present their 3rd year results at other clinical conferences during the year.


active-nerve-cells-29027134

The mode of action of APS Therapy is to enhance cellular communication by sending replicated action potentials, which are up to 4 times stronger than the naturally occurring signals, through the body, between electrodes attached to the skin.

This assists the removal of waste and inflammatory products, which can reduce localised pain and swelling.  The production of ATP ( adenosine triphosphate) is boosted by the therapy, which results for some people in increased energy levels, and also stimulates natural healing mechanisms. Other neuro-hormones that encourage healing and endogenous pain relief are also boosted, and some neuropathic pain seem to respond very well to the application of this correct, rather than disordered, nerve signal.

Results for people with MS can be very wide-ranging. This report came from Maggie, who has had MS for over 20 years, on her 4th week into the treatment. ( She has retained all these benefits)nail

‘Notes on progress of the fourth week”

maggie does APS Therapy (2)

˜Sleep improvements maintained although still wake frequently. 

˜Pain during day virtually gone.

˜Pain at night much reduced – now only troubling between 6-8am.

˜Energy levels greatly improved. Much more stamina…

˜I can now easily get up from a chair even one without arms! 

˜I can lower myself gently down instead of flinging myself down.

˜I can move around with ease and no longer have to plan everything I need to do. I can walk around indoors without a stick.

˜I can stand long enough to do some housework and get myself some lunch.

˜The ‘electric shock’ feelings I was experiencing in the head have been getting less in frequency.

˜The physio that I do in the group and in the pool have got better.

˜I can stay on a gym ball for the whole session and the physio has noticed as improvement in my posture and walking.

Mood- has elevated to new heights. I am delighted with the transformation – I feel I am getting me back.”

Not everyone who tries APS Therapy experiences these type of benefits, but the team are having enough similar reports to merit offering APS Therapy as a trial treatment for people with MS who are struggling with fatigue as well as solely for pain, and to be excited by the potential applications of APS Therapy in people with MS.

Miranda Olding now splits her time between working as an MS Specialist Nurse, and working on introducing APS Therapy in the UK, both teaching and training and collecting data, and running a business where people can train, or rent or buy APS Therapy machines with one to one support over Skype, Facetime or Webex. You can find out more at www.painfreepotential.co.uk 

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9 key actions for arthritis

There are many syndromes that come under the umbrella of arthritis, which you can read about at Arthritis Research UK, but the two main types are mechanical ( as in osteoarthritis) and inflammatory ( as in rheumatoid and juvenile arthritis, which are also auto-immune.)

I made this graphic to stuff in as much as possible about reducing inflammation in one place:your 9 key actions for arthritis

Diet

In my exploration, I have found the most convincing evidence about diet to point towards a plant-based whole food diet. There’s a fantastic paper rounding up the clincial research in rheumatoid arthritis

The results of the largest study of human nutrition ever carried out, has been summarised in a book called ‘The China Study’

This 20 year study of the health and dietary habits in 65 counties in China found that ‘western’ diseases correlated to the levels of blood cholesterol, and that blood cholesterol levels correlated to diet, particularly animal protein. They found that plants protected against most disease. Significantly for inflammatory arthritis (RA), they found that auto-immune diseases correlated with high consumption of animal products, particularly dairy milk, and showed the disruptive factor that dairy has on vitamin D function, which is necessary to regulate the immune system. The  results from the study recommend a whole food plant-based diet as the best for long-term health.

This also correlates with the works of Dean Ornish, who found inflammation to be a key feature of heart disease, and  Prof.George Jelinek in the auto-immune disease Multiple sclerosis who, based on research, both advocate a plant -based, whole-food diet.

Supplements: Vitamin D and Flax/Linseed oil

it’s really important to be aware of the need for vitamin D – even Australians can be deficient! Vitamin D is powerfully anti-inflammatory, and helps to regulate the immune system. Deficiency of vitamin D is related to a higher likelihood of getting many different diseases, and in some auto-immune diseases, a higher frequency of flare-ups. It is made in our bodies by the action of sunlight on the skin, but you need to allow as much skin as possible to be exposed, in your first 10 or 15 minutes outside, without sunscreen, for the ‘minimal erythmal dose’ -or just before you start to go pink. This varies depending on the strength of the sun and the darkness of your skin. When you can’t get strong enough sun ( for at least half the year in the UK), consider supplementing with a high dose of D3. The Vitamin D council recommend 5000 IU for adults daily, which is a little higher than most individual countries standard medical advice.

Another powerful anti-inflammatory is omega 3 fatty acids. These are present in fish oil, but the highest source of omega 3 is cold pressed flaxseed oil, also known as linseed oil. There has been debate about whether your body can process the beneficial plant based fatty acid ALA as well as it can process the fish oils, EPA and DHA, but research into Fatty acid intake and relapses in MS showed a clear benefit in those taking fish oil, but was beaten by a reduction of 60% in relapses in those taking flaxseed oil. Make sure it’s fresh – when it’s fresh it’s nice, when it tastes bad, it means it’s rancid. I get it from www.flaxfarm.co.uk and keep it chilled, use cold only, 2 dessert spoons ( 20g) a day, on food or as salad dressing, dip, or in smoothies.

Other herbal or nutritional supplements with known anti-inflammatory effects are: curcumin ( turmeric), green tea extract, quercetin, ginger, white willow bark and boswelia.

Intermittent Fasting

There’s a growing body of evidence that fasting can be used to help ‘flip a switch’ to reset the immune system and reduce auto-immune behaviour. http://wp.me/p2wLSb-64

I recommend looking at the research on fasting, which is growing, but was well compiled in the book ‘the Fast diet’ by Michael Mosley, and considering doing perhaps one long fast and then some intermittent fasting.

Food Intolerances

Look at the theory of leaky gut, and how it can trigger auto-immune behaviour. The theory is that at some point, the gut wall stops providing a tight enough ‘sieve’, and some undigested food molecules get through into the blood stream. The body launches an immune attack on them, as they shouldn’t be there. However, later on, the body looks around, and spots similar molecules – actually your own body’s healthy tissue – and gets confused, recognising them as the previous undigested food molecules, and  sets up an auto-immune reaction to its own tissues. Casein in milk, and gluten are very common suspects, and another reason why people with RA might do a lot better without dairy products.

To identify whether you have specific problems with specific foods, you can either do an IgG blood test ( it’s possible to get false positives and negatives apparently, but a lot of people find them very helpful) or an exclusion diet. See http://avivaromm.com/elimination-diet for a good guide to doing this.

Exercise and relaxation

Mental and emotional stress cause a powerful inflammatory cascade in the body, making us more susceptible to genetic pre-dispositions to diseases, and acting as triggers for flare-ups in existing inflammatory conditions like arthritis. Meditation has been shown in many clinical studies to make people more resilient to stress, and to decrease inflammation at a cellular level – and so has exercise. To get the results, you need to do them as part of your regular routine. fro exercise, 3-5 times a week, as vigorously as is possible for you, and for meditation, preferably daily.

Assisting your body to remove inflammation

Inflammation is designed to protect us from immune invaders ( germs etc) after injury. Once the risk of infection has passed, however, the immune system should move into its anti-inflammatory stage,  pain and swelling should disappear, and healing take place.

However, sometimes, the body has not been able to heal the area completely, and these multiple failed attempts at healing, with multiple inflammatory cycles, move from being acute, to chronic. At this stage, immune cells that should long ago have left the area ( macrophages), are still found in large numbers, and scarring or fibrosis can occur. The area is congested by the products of inflammation, and it’s harder for the body’s electrical signals, or action potentials, to pass along the cells, causing a vicious circle of chronic inflammation.

Using a micro-current device (electricity delivered at millionths of an amp), can help the electrical signal to pass through the tissue properly again, stimulating release of waste products into the lymph for clearing.  APS (Action Potential Simulation) Therapy machines, use a current of the same wave-form and frequency as the body’s action potentials, and can be very effective; stimulating the body’s own healing mechanisms by enhancing production of ATP, and reducing or alleviating joint pain.

Using all these measures together gives you a powerful set of tools to address arthritis and find your way towards being well again.

 

 

 

 

Bacteria and Digestion –  intimately linked to all aspects of our health

Did you know that you don’t have to have digestive symptoms to be suffering from ‘dysbiosis’ or wrong bacteria in the gut? It might be easy to think of this as something that’s just a minor inconvenience. However – gut problems are not just miserable & uncomfortable,they can even be one of the roots of painful conditions and auto-immune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis. In fact  Hippocrates, the ‘Father of modern medicine’ is quoted as saying that ‘all disease begins in the gut’. So let’s take a look at this one aspect of gut health;  & how it affects us. The gut is basically a long tube, that travels from the mouth to the anus, with many shapes & sizes along the way, to accommodate the different stages of digestion! I’ve discussed constipation, diet and stool health, and the link between auto-immune disease and food intolerances before in my MS blog, www.mirandasmsblog.com , but today I’m thinking about the tiny beings who live with us, lovingly help to keep us healthy but also depend on us too for their existence  – Bacteria! bacteria          From the 1600s, and the invention of the first microscope, we have known about the existence of our internal bacteria, but up until quite recently, the focus for medicine has been more about the ‘war on germs’, and the eradication of infectious disease. We now understand that our gut is home to approximately 100 trillion micro-organisms. Did you know that: Bacterial cells outnumber our human cells to the extent that you could say that we are actually only 10% human, and 90% bacterial? Or that three pounds of your body weight is bacteria? 75% of our immune system is comprised of intestinal bacteria –  and it also helps to regulate metabolism, digestion and the absorption of nutrients from food. The health of our gut depends on this intestinal ‘flora’ being in balance, and gut health is critical to overall health, with poor gut health implicated in a wide range of diseases including diabetes, obesity, rheumatoid arthritis and other auto-immune diseases, autism spectrum disorder and even depression. So what can disrupt the healthy bacteria in the gut?  Top of the list is

  • Antibiotics – life saving but also seriously disrupt the ‘biome’

Amongst others,

  • Steroids and other medications like birth control and non- steroidal anti-inflammatories
  • Diets high in refined carbohydrates, sugar and processed foods
  • Diets low in ‘fermentable fibres’ – food for the good bacteria
  • Chronic stress          &          Chronic infections

What can we do to help repopulate the gut with healthy bacteria? And what to do if suffering from ‘digestive discomfort!’?

  • Eat plenty of fermentable fibers (sweet potato, Jerusalem artichoke, yams, dandelion greens, leeks, onion, garlic, or bananas) or take a pro-biotic ( good bacteria) capsule that includes Pre-biotics ( food for the good bacteria)
  • Eat fermented foods like kefir, live yogurt, sauerkraut, kim chi, – traditionally most societies do, but we’ve forgotten to!
  • and/or take a high-quality, MULTI-STRAIN PRO-BIOTIC ( good bacteria) capsule daily – Bio-Kult is a good one, many others too
  • Keep your diet as close to whole foods as possible
  • Learn how to manage stress healthily

Taking regular probiotics  helps to re-establish the strength of our gut and digestion, reducing the incidence of food intolerances, and allowing the body to free up more of its energy for healing painful conditions. It  has also been found to help prevent recurrent infections like urine infections, and increase our ability to fight off the bad bacteria. The cheapest dairy-free way to get good bacteria into your diet is by making your own sauerkraut – It’s super easy to make – just get a head of organic cabbage, chop it up, punch it in a bowl, sprinkle salt on it, let it sit for half an hour, then put it in jars with a bit of salt water and let it sit on your kichen top for a week. There’s loads of instructions on the internet, but that’s about the size of it. Then use it like pickle.  Til next time 🙂