Fibromyalgia is a chronic disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, and multiple tender points. "Tender points" refers to tenderness that occurs in precise, localized areas, particularly in the neck, spine, shoulders, and hips. People with this syndrome may also experience sleep disturbances, morning stiffness, irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety, and other symptoms.
According to the American College of Rheumatology, fibromyalgia affects 3 to 6 million Americans. It primarily occurs in women of childbearing age, but children, the elderly, and men can also be affected.
From a medical perspective, the cause of fibromyalgia is unknown, researchers have several theories about causes or triggers of the disease. Some scientists believe that the syndrome may be caused by an injury or trauma. This injury may affect the central nervous system. Fibromyalgia may be associated with changes in muscle metabolism, such as decreased blood flow, causing fatigue and decreased strength. Others believe the syndrome may be triggered by an infectious agent such as a virus in susceptible people, but no such agent has been identified.
Fibromyalgia is difficult to diagnose because many of the symptoms mimic those of other diseases. The physician reviews the patient's medical history and makes a diagnosis of fibromyalgia based on a history of chronic widespread pain that persists for more than 3 months. The American College of Rheumatology (ACR) has developed criteria for fibromyalgia that physicians can use in diagnosing the disease. According to ACR criteria, a person is considered to have fibromyalgia if he or she has widespread pain in combination with tenderness in at least 11 of 18 specific tender point sites.
Treatment of fibromyalgia requires a comprehensive approach. The physician, physical therapist, and patient may all play an active role in the management of fibromyalgia. Studies have shown that aerobic exercise, such as swimming and walking, improves muscle fitness and reduces muscle pain and tenderness. Heat and massage may also give short-term relief. Antidepressant medications may help elevate mood, improve quality of sleep, and relax muscles. Fibromyalgia patients may benefit from a combination of exercise, medication, physical therapy, and relaxation. (National Institutes of Health)
EDGAR CAYCE'S PERSPECTIVE ON FIBROMYALGIA
According to the National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.(NORD), a division of the National Institutes of Health, the syndrome presently called fibromyalgia has been known by many names over the years. During Edgar Cayce's era it was commonly called muscular rheumatism. Several individuals with this diagnosis received readings on their condition.
For example, reading 5233-1 was given for a seventy-nine-year-old man who was suffering from muscular rheumatism:
(Q) What can be done for muscular rheumatism?
(A) We have just been describing what should be done for the general system and this includes those activities also. Do these things indicated and the conditions where there is the effect to heart, liver, lungs and kidneys will be improved; which all are a part of the general conditions here. (5233-1)
Note the references to the heart, liver, lungs, and kidneys. Edgar Cayce often referred to these vital organs as the "hepatic system." Thus the symptoms associated with fibromyalgia were linked to the functioning of these organs.
The liver and kidneys are primary detoxifiers of the body. Systemic toxicity usually involve these organs. Systemic toxicity is one of the most frequently cited causative factors in the Cayce readings for persons suffering from muscle and joint pain.
Treatment recommendation for this man included colonic irrigations, fume baths and massage, and mild laxatives. The emphasis was clearly on internal cleansing to decrease the toxicity of the body.
Reading 3255-1 was given for a sixty-four-year-old woman suffering from fibromyalgia. Systemic toxicity and hepatic system involvement were also noted in her reading:
This is what might ordinarily be called a condition wherein the general taxation has run down the battery for the body; that is, the toxic forces in the body have become excessive. Thus there are pains in the arms, or shoulders at times, in the back, through the lower limbs and through the abdominal area. All of these come and go, dependent upon how well and how thoroughly the eliminations are in the body, and as to whether in the diet the body keeps the general physical forces alkaline or allows the greater portion to become acid. Then we have those reflexes that cause some disturbance with the heart, with the kidneys and with the liver. These all arise from toxic forces that affect naturally (for, as the body battery is) heart, liver, lungs and kidneys. These must coordinate. When they do not, some portion of it is going to revert. (3255-1)
The Edgar Cayce readings consistently maintain that the liver and kidneys serve as the "batteries of the body." The liver is said to be the positive pole of the battery, the kidneys the negative. Thus, when the liver and kidneys are deficient in their functioning, the body's battery may be said to have run down. Fatigue and low vitality are the result. These features are common in people with fibromyalgia.
Note the emphasis on maintaining a proper alkaline/acid balance. Keeping the system slightly alkaline was encouraged by Edgar Cayce. The standard diet recommended by Cayce is helpful in this direction. This woman was told to obtain colonic irrigations, fume baths and massage, and to use a mild laxative. Thus, internal cleansing was a major emphasis in the treatment plan for this person.
Readings 1655-1 and 1655-2 provide further documentation on the causes and treatment of fibromyalgia. Most likely, fibromyalgia can be produced by a variety of factors. One pattern is that the individuals suffer a prolonged episode of the flu or other infectious disorder from which they never fully recover. Edgar Cayce described this pattern in reading 1655-1:
Some time back there were those conditions produced by an intestinal flu; and the condition produced in the ascending colon, and in the areas of the caecum as well as those farther up - or as related to the emptying of the duodenum; and also from inflammatory conditions - the right ovary.
All of these have produced and do produce the conditions where a neuritic, rheumatic effect has existed; and the effects of the poison, and the pressures upon the tissue through the area and the activity of same upon the organs of assimilation, are the seat and the cause of the disturbance...
All of these are the disturbances through the activities for this body. While, through care and attention, these do not produce so much disturbance, we find that at times - with the lack of proper eliminations, and overactivity mentally OR physically - the body tends to tire easily. Also a reaction is caused from the lack of the full eliminations; as does cold or congestion of any nature upsetting the digestive system as well as the activities of the organs of the pelvis during Periods; and the general tired and headachey feeling, with an aching all over when there are disturbances. (1655-1)
The mental/emotional aspects of the condition were addressed in the second reading for this woman:
(Q) Is part of my seeming illness mental?
(A) The attitude, of course, has much to do; but it is rather the physical condition creating the mental. But make for more hopeful, more helpful, more constructive thinking - and this would improve the general condition much. (1655-2)
The treatment plan for this person recommended moderate outdoor exercise and a basic diet with emphasis on fruits and vegetables. Manual therapy (spinal manipulations) was suggested relieve pressures along the spine and improve functioning of the hepatic and digestive systems. Castor oil packs were recommended to assist with eliminations and relax the body. A ginseng tonic to assist with digestion and eliminations was prescribed. Minute dosages of beef juice was recommended to increase vitality.
OVERVIEW OF THERAPEUTIC REGIMEN
The treatments recommended in the Cayce readings on fibromyalgia are mainly directed toward improving the digestive, circulatory, nervous, and eliminating systems. Diet, moderate exercise, a mild form of energy medicine (Radial Appliance), spinal manipulations and general massage, colon irrigation, and castor oil packs are therapies intended to improve these vital systemic functions. As was typical of Cayce's holistic approach, the mental and spiritual aspects of therapy were emphasized.
Here are the basic therapies recommended for the treatment of fibromyalgia based on the Cayce information on this disorder:
- INTERNAL CLEANSING: Hydrotherapy includes drinking six to
eight glasses of pure water daily, colonic irrigations (preferably)
or enemas, and a cleansing diet of fresh fruits and vegetables.
Castor oil packs across the abdomen are recommended to improve eliminations through the liver and colon. Mild laxatives may be helpful if constipation is a problem. Fume baths assist with elimination of toxins through the skin.
- MANUAL THERAPY (SPINAL MANIPULATION AND MASSAGE): Osteopathic or chiropractic treatment is recommended to relieve any pressures that may be hindering circulation and decreasing eliminations. Gentle massage is suggested to relax the body and improve circulation and eliminations.
- DIET: The Basic Cayce Diet is intended to improve assimilation and elimination. The diet focuses heavily on keeping a proper alkaline/acid balance while avoiding foods which produce toxicity and drain the system. Essentially, the diet consists mainly of fruits and vegetables while avoiding fried foods and refined carbohydrates ("junk food"). Certain food combinations are emphasized.
- ENERGY MEDICINE: In addition to the above therapies which will tend to improve circulation, the Radial Appliance is recommended to further assist in increasing relaxation and nervous system coordination. Edgar Cayce said that this appliance would be helpful for anyone having problems with disturbed sleep and fatigue.
- MEDICINE: A ginseng tonic is recommended to improve digestion and eliminations. Small dosages of beef juice are recommended for persons who experience significant fatigue and lack of vitality.
- MODERATE EXERCISE: Walking or other moderate exercise is recommended. Be outdoors in the open as much as possible.
- ATTITUDES AND EMOTIONS: The mental and emotional aspects of healing are frequently discussed in the Cayce readings. Particularly, an attitude of desiring and expecting to be healed is important. A positive mental and emotional attitude and can be created and maintained by focusing on a high purpose (ideal) for being healed.