Or else they imitate nature
I am a big believer in the healing power of #nature and will return to that subject in a moment. But first, I want to begin, in apparently contradictory fashion, by praising modern technology.
If you are a regular visitor to my blog or maybe a regular email correspondent, I thank you for your company and I bless the technology that enables us to communicate like this. For decades I lived alone with my #vitiligo, even though I had a loving family as a child - and I have a wonderful and devoted husband who has always loved and supported me throughout our 30+ years together. Yet, no matter how kind and caring our nearest and dearest are, only others who have vitiligo themselves are really in a position to understand completely what it is like.
Bless the internet!
The internet arrived just a little too late for me to benefit first hand – at least, while I still had widespread vitiligo myself - from the amazing sense of community that now exists among sufferers around the world. But it came along at just the right time for me to be able to spread the word about my own recovery and to embark on an fascinating and empowering journey of discovery, research and mutual support - and hopefully help to ensure others don't feel as isolated by the condition as I did for so many years.
Being able to talk to others who understand what you are going through is possibly the best therapy of all – and one of the most natural in the world. But it is only possible to do this as freely as we now do thanks to technology.
Nature knows best
Thinking about this fact on my daily walk today, it occurred to me – as I wandered past some flies feeding on the over-ripe blackberries in the hedgerows - how the very best technologies always mimic nature and how this just reinforces the truth that nature really does know best. Examples of this are all around us. If that were not the case why is it that helicopters look so much like giant flies, or submarines like whales or sharks?
Similarly, I believe that the best therapies for improving human health are based on nature and that when a truly effective, definitive cure is eventually developed for vitiligo, it will need to be one that works with nature, addressing the root causes of the problem and allowing the body to heal itself, rather than the kind of drug that merely masks the end symptom and causes all sort of side effects in the process. In other words, it will need to be a cure that eradicates the causes of de-pigmentation, not just the symptom.
A holistic approach
I am thankful every day that I was fortunate enough to find a natural treatment for vitiligo that has worked so well for me. The nutritional supplements I used 6 years ago to restore almost all of my lost pigment (and hang on to it ever since) are still the only solution that I can say, with all my heart, have completely changed my life for the better by helping me to feel like me again.
However, I know that my protocol is not a miracle cure. It has been a very effective way of reversing my vitiligo and keeping it 98% at bay. But I still have to be careful about avoiding triggers and I know that it has not altered my predisposition to de-pigmentation, which is almost certainly a genetic one.
The big, universal, game-changing, once-and-for-all cure for vitiligo has not yet been invented. So, in the meantime, I shall continue to use the nutritional protocol that has given me my life back and I shall continue to scour the internet for more clinical, anecdotal, therapeutic and research information. And I shall continue to try and test all the safe and credible remedies I can find and share the information on this blog site and at VitiligoStore.com.
Anyway, back to the topic of nature and how good technologies mimic nature… If you saw the final paragraphs of my last post you will know that I recently began wearing therapeutic jewellery on the holistic basis that anything that improves over-all health and well-being stands a good chance of improving the underlying causes of vitiligo and, consequently, allowing the body to heal itself. After all, this is, I believe, how the supplements work too. They don't magically rid the skin of white patches. They just strengthen the body's own natural ability to achieve a healthy balance and function.
Mimicking The earth's healing energies
It is now about 3 weeks since I started wearing the therapeutic bracelet every day (and most nights too) and the matching necklace on occasions, depending on what else I am wearing. I can report a noticeable increase in energy and concentration, as well as a decrease in the chronic joint pain that I usually experience because of arthritis. I have also noted a decrease in the sinus symptoms I usually experience at this time of the year, due to what I think is a mould allergy. Again, I find it interesting that the technologies used in these products all imitate nature… magnets mimic the earth's natural magnetic field, far infrared mimics the healing warmth of the sun and negative ions evidently create the same quality of fresh and invigorating air that you find in the mountains, at the seaside or near waterfalls.
In order to be sure that these technologies were backed by proper science I did quite a bit of reading up on them and, in doing so, I stumbled on a couple of other potentially interesting products that also utilise the same technologies. I have not added the other products to Vitiligo Store (only thejewellery) but I am trying them myself to see how effective they are. One is an indoor ioniser, which you simply place in any room that might need an improvement in air quality, plug it in and switch it on. It then produces negative ions, just like in the jewellery does, but it can treat an entire room, effectively removing allergens and pollutants from the air. I have been using it in the bedroom which can get musty and even mildewy during the Autumn and Winter months when the windows are closed and the difference has been quite dramatic. Based on results so far, I would definitely recommend one of these devices, especially if you have pets in your home.
The other, very simple, product I am trying is a “magnetic muddler”. This is a metal drink stirrer with a magnet at its tip which magnetises water and other liquids (you can also find magnetising mats that do the same when you place a cup or jug of liquid on top). Apparently, these have been used for ages in both Russia and Japan, where magnetic therapy is routinely prescribed by doctors to help treat a wide variety of chronic complaints, particularly digestive ones. This interested me because I believe the main cause of my vitiligo to be poor digestive function leading to nutritional deficiencies, something that seems to be common to a very high proportion of vitiligo sufferers. One of the effects of magnetising drinks is to make them “wetter” by breaking down the surface tension and this improves nutritional absorption. Again, it seems to be an example of technology imitating nature. It restores the water you drink to the same quality of “living water” that our ancestors would have drunk when they had spring water from their own well instead of chemically treated water supplies that are stored and then routed through endless metal or plastic pipes to our taps. I can't really say yet whether or not magnetising my drinks is helping my health but it certainly isn't harming it and for what I paid on Ebay for this (and for the indoor ioniser) it strikes me as another good value and potentially beneficial tool in my holistic “health kit”.
So, on that note, I will end this post by wishing you nature's healing power and reminding you that your skin, indeed your whole body, is designed to function well and will find a way to do just that, given half a chance and a helping hand from Mother Nature :)
Most people who have heard of #serotonin probably know of it as the brain chemical responsible for regulating mood and are aware that a lack of serotonin is associated with depression. What you may not know is that the vast majority of the body's serotonin (80 – 90%) is not found in the brain at all but in the intestinal tract and that it is responsible for a lot more than just mood regulation.
Because it is a neurotransmitter (i.e. it regulates signals between nerve cells) it is tempting to think that serotonin is primarily concerned with brain activity, when in fact it is involved in a much wider range of functions within the blood, central nervous system and the body as a whole. These functions include bowel motility (the muscular contractions that propel food through the gastro-intestinal tract, a.k.a peristalsis) and the regulation of all of the following: hunger, sleep, libido, blood-clotting, concentration, metabolism, energy, pain response and even bone density. So, if you suffer from chronic depression and/or from ongoing problems involving any of the functions listed above AND you have #vitiligo, you may be interested to know that serotonin is also involved in melanogenesis (the process that creates skin pigment) and that it has been found to be lacking in people with vitiligo.
What are the symptoms of serotonin deficiency?
Certainly, if I look at my own medical history, I can recognise several of the symptoms of serotonin deficiency, in particular, IBS, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue and insomnia, as well as vitiligo. And I have certainly had my struggles with depression in the past (although, whether this was actually part of the condition resulting in my vitiligo or just a result of coping with it, I don't know).
Of all my health issues, IBS symptoms go back the furthest. I remember suffering terrible stomach cramps from a very early age and firmly believe that digestive abnormalities have been inextricably linked to the development of my vitiligo and other symptoms. Whether or not serotonin deficiency is a factor in this process remains to be seen but I was interested to read an article published in The Telegraph entitled What your gut’s telling you: why your digestion holds the key to your health about a groundbreaking book called The Second Brain by Michael Gershon, a professor of anatomy and cell biology at Columbia University in New York. The author describes the gastrointestinal tract as being like a “second brain” because it is an autonomous nervous system. Astonishingly, he points out that it is the only part of the body – including the brain itself - that can function in isolation from the rest. The complexities and wide-reaching implications of how the digestive system functions are clearly far greater than anyone realised and Gershon is not exaggerating when he refers to functional bowel disease using the same term Winston Churchill once used for the Soviet Union: 'a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma’ .
Low Serotonin and Gastrointestinal Disorders
An article on Robb Wolfe's website called Low Serotonin and Gastrointestinal Disorders also caught my eye. The author, Kevin Cann, says “The Understanding of IBS and its roots are still up in there. Chances are it is not just caused from one factor. What we do know is that poor gut health can lead to poor mood and vice versa. Our serotonin pathways may be a large player in this part. Due to this understanding, we want to take action in making sure we have adequate serotonin. We do this by getting proper sleep, having proper vitamin D levels, getting sufficient sunlight, not drinking too much alcohol or coffee, and eating high quality protein. We need to make sure we also have good digestive health. Without proper digestion, the tryptophan and the nutrients required to convert it into serotonin may not be present.”
the implications for vitiligo sufferers
Reading this article, it struck me that it should come as no surprise that vitiligo sufferers have lower levels of serotonin because they typically have low levels of vitamin D too (and vitamin D controls serotonin synthesis).
All of this brings me to the reason for researching this particular topic...
I recently started testing a new product – a therapeutic jewellery range, no less, called Enerjii - for Vitiligo Store, that evidently helps to balance serotonin levels (as well as reducing oxidative stress and improving general wellbeing, concentration and energy levels). The jewellery works along similar lines to the more familiar magnetic bracelets that you can buy to help relieve pain but it takes the concept a couple of steps further because it is infused with a total of three natural energies which, it is claimed, work together to improve well-being. These energies are: 1) rare earth neodymium magnets, 2) far infrared and 3) negative ions.
Whilst I have had dramatic success in self-treating my vitiligo using just nutritional supplementation and sunshine, I have also become a firm believer, over the intervening 6 years, that any natural and holistic therapies that can nudge the body towards better over-all health cannot help but have a positive knock-on effect on chronic conditions like IBS, chronic fatigue, etc. and, of course, vitiligo. And since the technologies in Enerjii jewellery are known to reduce oxidative stress at the same time as increasing serotonin levels, it seems reasonable to expect that they could prove effective as part of an ongoing anti-vitiligo protocol.
A good start
So, I have been wearing one of the bracelets and matching necklace for a week now (very stylish they are too - I bought the Sportii set in lime green!) and I actually do feel some benefits already. Mainly, at this stage, these consist of a reduction of aches and pains in my joints and a definite improvement in energy and alertness. Of course, whenever you try out a new therapy it's always hard to know how much to attribute to real results and how much to the famous “placebo effect” but I would have to say I have become generally more upbeat and chirpier since wearing the jewellery too. Could this be partly due to an improvement in serotonin levels and a further reduction in oxidative stress, I ask myself? I will keep you posted ...
My name is Caroline.