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East Meets West: How Alternative Therapies Complement & Help my Sjogren's Journey

As a Reiki Master practitioner and a student of yoga for 25 years, I have personally benefited from complementary modalities over the years -- long before my Sjogren's diagnosis (a serious, complex systemic autoimmune disease).

Before I launch into how I have personally experienced positive benefits from complementary therapies, remember that you have full autonomy over your body. What works for me may not appeal to you, and/or work for your body's specific needs and your symptoms.

Listen and pay attention to the signs and messages your body sends you. Do not push your body to the point of extreme pain, or allow any practitioner to tell you what you should do with your body. You know your body the best!

As a Sjogren's patient, I deal with a myriad of complex systemic issues and also have severe spinal stenosis so I deal with physical limitations. In the past, I hiked long distances but I can still enjoy outdoor walks in nature albeit my walking mileage is reduced. I am also a former dance fitness instructor so dancing and movement have always brought me great joy in my life.

While I also take prescription medication for Sjogren's and see multiple Western healthcare specialists, I also listen to what my body needs outside the parameters of Western-based medicine. I see a Traditional Chinese Medicine acupuncturist and I have found pain relief and ease of my symptoms through regular acupuncture sessions.

If acupuncture sounds too invasive or you dislike the thought of needles (although acupuncture needles are small and painless), there are other modalities such as gentle massage, Reiki (which can either be done hands-on or hands off), Bowen therapy, craniosacral therapy, EFT/tapping, myofascial release, aromatherapy, sound healing, and yoga nidra.

Reiki is a non-invasive healing modality. Studies show that reiki can help reduce stress and anxiety, and ease pain and help relieve symptoms related to chronic illness. Like acupuncture and massage, it is recommended to have Reiki sessions done on a regular basis.

While I personally tout the benefits of yin yoga to stretch my connective tissue and lubricate joints, I understand that yoga is not an option for some patients based on their limited mobility.

While other yoga styles focus on the muscles (Yan style of practice), yin yoga is a passive practice that holds yoga poses/stretches between 3 to 5 minutes. Chair yoga is another option if you are unable to sit or lie down on the floor.

Last year I added qigong to my daily self-care routine. Qigong is a gentle movement practice rooted in Traditional Chinese Medicine. It coordinates breathwork and meditation as you move through a series of slow-paced body postures and flowing movements. Qigong is very relaxing and as someone who deals with bouts of anxiety, it helps ground me and release tension and stress.

If interested in exploring alternative therapy modalities, along with Western medical care, I encourage you to be curious and ask yourself what sounds or feels good to your body.

Discuss with your doctors before starting a new movement practice such as yoga or quigong. Vet practitioners and research them online. Make sure they are certified and licensed practitioners. Read their client testimonials and reviews. Ideally, they should have experience working with clients who have a chronic illness.

There is no "one-size-fits-all" when it comes to exploring non-Western complementary therapies. If one doesn't work out for you, try out a different modality or practitioners. Look into community-based acupuncture centers which usually offer lower rates or research your insurance plan to find out if acupuncture is covered (some plans sometimes cover massage therapy).

Self-care is not selfish and dealing with a chronic illness can drain us not only physically but emotionally and mentally. I have personally benefited from looking outside Western medicine to help ease my physical pain and bring me comfort and peace throughout my chronic illness journey. I encourage you to find what works for you and remember you are not alone in your journey.

#sjogrens #autoimmune #Reiki #Acupuncture #massagetherapy #traditionalchinesemedicine

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Every Day, Lately

Yesterday, I shared how my mornings go. Today I will elaborate on why "Every Morning" is so very exhausting.

I've been in the mental hospital more times than I would like to admit. However before that, I went to college majoring in biology and neuroscience. I wanted to understand my chronic issues and "fix me".

Unfortunately, I did not find for what I was looking. Going through several different specialists, I found some diagnosis (treatment resistant depression, generalized anxiety disorder, a circadian rhythm disorder, sleep apnea mixed in with a bit of obsessive compulsive disorder and perfectionism).

I never found a medication or medication combination that revolutionized my life. I found many coping mechanisms that helped like medication, a proper diet, journaling, blue light therapy, talk therapy, yoga, dance, deep breathing techniques, transcranial magnetic stimulation therapy (TMS), acupuncture, Chinese herbs, teas and lately, homeopathy.

However, as I alluded to earlier life happens and you are left flat broke (literally), unable to pay for most of these services. For example, due to my mental health, I had to leave graduate school and move in with my parents. My business failed, and at this point no one will hire me. My ex-husband left because he couldn't support us (along with a mental breakdown of his own). So, I am left alone, depressed, anxious, unemployed, living with my parents, picking up the pieces fighting the strong urge to just give up. Did I mention I my mornings are actually afternoons? (More on that later.)

Yes, this is officially a "Cry Me a River" post. However, that's why I joined this platform. I officially have no one to really talk to or in my case 'vent'. However, I think that is why we are all here. Am I right? Let's get all of our problems out in the open and support each other?

Well, I definitely hope that is the case because most 'normal people' look at me, when they hear my story and say, "I am praying for you". They also say, "I am sending you good vibes".

That's all very nice and appreciated but I am sincerely looking for the support and strength to keep going. I want to keep finding the good things in life, the joy, the wonder, the excitement, anything that makes my life worth living. I don't want to give into the perpetual desire to clock out of the human race. (Not that there is any guarantee things will be better on the other side, just saying.)

As Angelica Hudson says to Drew Barrymore in "Ever After" (It's a really sweet movie by the way.) "No matter how bad things may get, they can always get worse."

It's up to me to make it better and that's a hard concept to swallow. It's just me against this crazy spinning rock. :/

#Support #Depression #Anxiety #ChronicIllness #Community #Support #venting #circadianrhythmdisorder #Journaling #TMS #Acupuncture #chineseherbs #homeopathy #financiallystruggling #unemployed #Divorce #Burnout #Loneliness #Hope #strength #NeverGiveUp #onwardandupward #togetherwecan

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🩻 I’m back! 🩻

Sorry, I’ve been a bit absent recently! I hope you didn’t think I’d forgotten about you all? You’ll be glad to hear that my chiropractor fixed me so now I’m back (pun intended 🩻🤗🤣)!! My body may be held together by Kinesiology Tape but it helps when you can have some fun with it! 🤷🏻‍♀️😂 I’d be lost, in agony, and falling apart, without my amazing chiropractor!!
#functionneurologicaldisorder #FND #fndwarrior #fndaware #fndhope #fndhopeuk #fndaction #FNDAwareness #JointHypermobilitySyndrome #Hypermobility #HypermobilitySyndrome #HypermobilityWarrior #JointPainWarrior #Jointpain #JointPainRelief #JointHypermobilityAwareness #ChronicFatigue #EhlersDanlosSyndrome
#ChronicPain #Chronicpainwarrior #ChronicPainRelief #ChronicHeadaches #ChronicMigraines #chronic #ChronicIllness #Painrelief #chiropractic #chiropracticadjustment #dryneedling #dryneedlingtherapy #Acupuncture #kinesiologytape #kinesiology #kinesiologytaping #ktaping #ktaped #SpoonTheory #Spoonie #SpoonieProblems

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Fastest way to regulate mania

Entering a manic episode from what I can tell. Heart racing, extreme energy, shallow breathing… doing #Acupuncture today and about to take #Gabapentin and #hydroxizine . I have a call into my psychiatrist and I have my appointment on Tuesday.

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Acupuncture, is it helpful? - Please can you share your experiences? 😊

Has anyone on here tried acupuncture and found relief from any of the following?:

fatigue, autoimmune illness, joint or muscular pain, long covid, anxiety or depression?

Would love to hear about peoples experiences, good or bad!

I cant make my mind up about trying it! I'm scared incase it causes a flare? or is just plain useless as it is expensive!
Thanks in advance 😊

#Acupuncture #Healing #alternativetherapy #Pain #UCTD #Anxiety #Autism #Fatigue #ChronicIllness #ChronicPain #Fatigue #ME #Disability #AutoimmuneDisease

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Relief with acupuncture?

What has been your experience with acupuncture? Specialists say that it triggers the release of natural painkillers and can help with RA pain and swelling. Does it help more for extremities than neck or back?

#RheumatoidArthritis #Acupuncture #ChronicPain

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Has anyone experienced nerve pain or nerve damage after getting acupuncture?

I got acupuncture twice about a month ago to help with my back pain and it worked really well for a little! However, unfortunately, I now have extreme pain in 2 toes on each foot following the acupuncture (he placed the needles in the top of my feet)
has anyone experienced anything like this before? if not, does anyone have any tips on how to deal with nerve pain?


#ChronicPain #ChronicIllness #Acupuncture #nervepain #Pain #Nerves #Nervedamage