Migraine Headaches Caused in Part by Antibiotics

Are Migraine Headaches Caused by Antibiotics?

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The majority of people do not think that antibiotics cause migraine headaches – or that pharmaceutical medications used to manage their migraines may be directly inhibiting their ability to heal.

If you ask most people with migraines if indigestion, inflammation, muscle tension, and hormones are all part of their migraine headaches, quite a few of them will say YES. Many of these people are also aware that getting plenty of potassium and magnesium is important for proper electrolyte balance, but may not understand why their electrolyte levels are off.

Increasingly, more and more people are also aware of a disorder called Histamine Intolerance, and understand that their indigestion and migraine headaches may be resulting from an overload of histamine which occurs in the gut when the body is unable to break histamine and tyramine-rich foods down due to an enzyme deficiency (primarily, DAO, aka diamine oxidase).

Most migraineurs are also aware that dilated blood vessels are implicated in migraines, but won’t see a connection between their low blood pressure and the blood vessel dilation during migraine.

This constellation of symptoms can be very difficult to understand, and rarely do we see a clear presentation for what these different symptoms have to do with each other much less what their underlying cause is.

In this article, I’d like to share with you the pieces of the puzzle as I have come to understand them in the process of healing my own migraine headaches and histamine intolerance.  It’s my (layperson’s) belief that even sporadic antibiotics cause migraine by way of negatively affecting primarily the gut flora and the kidneys.

Laypeople and medical doctors use the term “cause” and “causation” differently.  Strictly speaking, it is inaccurate to claim that antibiotics “cause” migraine headaches, in the sense that we know that many migraine headaches have other or multiple confounding causes as well.  In a very general way, this article is simply pointing out that antibiotics can be one of the major causative factors in the development of migraines in many but not all cases of migraine, and that this is often not fully recognized.  Clearly, antibiotics is a huge category of drugs with many different specific effects depending on the type of antibiotic used, but generally speaking, they are all recognized to negatively impact gut flora balance and kidney health.

Please note that this hypothesis and all the information contain here is based off of my own research, self-experimentation and observations helping others as an experientally-trained health coach, and not as a traditionally-trained medical doctor.

Mainstream and Alternative Classifications of Migraine Headache and the Role of Pharmaceuticals in Migraine Causation

The International Headache Society’s ICHD-3 classification system outlines three types of migraine: migraine with aura, migraine without aura, and retinal migraine. Migraine types formerly thought to be distinctive disorders, such as chronic migraine and hemiplagic migraine, are now being classified as “complications” of migraine.

In contrast, clinical nutritionist Byron J. Richards has created his own classification system for migraine headaches because, “From a practical point of view the different types of headaches that Western medicine classifies have little use in fixing the source of the problem and stopping the headaches from happening in the first place.”  He classifies migraines into four types of headache: Lymphatic/Pressure Headaches, Hormonal Headaches, Blood/Toxic Headaches, and Nerve Inflammation Headaches. He says:

It is a sobering commentary on the skill of Western medicine that their toolbox for this issue is limited to a variety of pain killers – which sometimes treat or manage the pain in a symptomatic way and sometimes don’t work so well. While some type of pain killing is better than the headache, getting stuck in the rut of ongoing painkiller use is also problematic and not addressing the source of the problem.(Source)

WebMd doesn’t recognize that antibiotics cause migraines.  It describes “medication headaches” and reports that many drugs, including antibiotics, can induce “acute headache”:

Many drugs can induce acute headache, including nitroglycerin, antihypertensive agents (beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers, angiotensin-converting enzyme [ACE] inhibitors, and methyldopa), dipyridamole, hydralazine, sildenafil, histamine receptor antagonists (e.g., cimetidine and ranitidine), NSAIDs (especially indomethacin), cyclosporine, and antibiotics (especially amphotericin, griseofulvin, tetracycline, and sulfonamides).

If, however, we know that many people with histamine intolerance manifest with symptoms of migraine, the question becomes which medications in particular lower DAO or trigger mast cells to release histamine. A growing list of medications known to be indirectly implicated in migraine headaches, histamine intolerance, and mastocytosis is outlined here.

In addition to the direct impact of meds on mast cells, gut microbiome, kidneys, and liver (not to mention thyroid, pancreas, etc), it is well established that many pharmaceuticals are “Drug Muggers” – they steal vital nutrients needed by the body to make enzymes and complete any number of important functions, like facilitating muscle relaxation. (So, deficiencies in vitamins and minerals caused by pharmaceuticals can contribute to hypertension of muscles in the neck and cervical area.  These nutritional deficiencies are compounded by gut inflammation and leaky gut caused by antibiotics).

Notice that none of the explanations in this section for how meds affect us implicate antibiotics in chronic migraine. So why do I insist that antibiotics are the main culprit?  Because their use leads to a predominance of histamine-producing bacteria in the colon, and hormonal, electrolyte, and blood pressure problems that manifest due to kidney dysfunction. If we look at the history of people with migraines, they almost all have had numerous doses of antibiotics throughout their life (who hasn’t?).  Many who have tried my protocol confirm that their migraine headaches started after a major surgery or dose of antibiotics. This assault so undermined their own body’s resilience that a chronic debilitating condition resulted.

It’s my view that these cases are not a result of that single dose of antibiotics or pharmaceuticals, but rather, that the person was already compromised from intermittent antibiotic use throughout their life and that one incident was the straw that broke the camel’s back.  As with many other pharmaceuticals (such as vaccines), the question is: how many doses can the body handle, and at which point is a threshold reached that tips the body over into chronic inflammatory disease?

All medications probably affect the microbiome, which explains why people who take daily pain meds or migraine meds do not respond as well to the SimplyWell Migraine Relief Protocol as those who only do occasionally. From an evolutionary perspective, pharmaceuticals and synthetic chemicals are novel and challenging for our bodies. We did not evolve to process them.

Why do so many people with migraine headaches have high levels of histamine?

It’s great that more and more people, including physicians, are becoming aware of the problem of histamine intolerance. Anyone familiar with histamine intolerance will know that DAO (diamine oxidase) is one of the enzymes that breaks down tyramine and histamine, both of which are found in a lot of foods, especially aged or fermented foods (and supplements).  Therefore, the idea goes, histamine intolerance is caused by low DAO levels. This is the classical perspective on histamine intolerance.  It’s also well known that some opiates trigger mast cells to degranulate and release histamine that way.  This is called mastocytosis.  So clearly there are many routes through which one can end up with a lot of inflammation (ie, histamine) in the body. A DAO level test can be done, but if a person were to show normal levels of DAO, this would not mean that they don’t have histamine intolerance, in my view.  It would only mean that there was so much histamine in the body that even normal DAO levels couldn’t break it all down.

I personally prefer to refer to the symptoms of an overfull “bucket” of histamine as “Histamine Overload” rather than “Histamine Intolerance.”  “Histamine Intolerance” implies there is a malfunction in the person’s body, whereas “Histamine Overload” correctly describes an excessive amount of histamine caused by factors that have overwhelmed the body’s ability to break it down.

I feel its always important to remember that the view of disease that sees the body as a malfunctioning machine that needs to be fixed is outdated and inaccurate. The body is incredibly sophisticated and intelligent, and sends off alarm signals and symptoms when it has been assaulted, overwhelmed, or is lacking the support it needs to function optimally.

I think the more important and overlooked factors in Histamine Overload manifesting as migraine headaches (besides low DAO) are:

  • Excessive bacteria in the gut (colon) that produce histamine.  (Histamine-producing bacteria include: Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus delbrueckii, Lactobacillus bulgaricus, Lactobacillus reuteri, and Lactococcus lactis, Enterococcus faecalis, and various types of E. coli.This is rectified by prebiotics that feed friendly bacteria, as outlined in the SimplyWell Migraine Protocol.
  • Estrogen dominance.  Estrogen is known to suppress DAO and increase histamine. Estrogen dominance is also addressed through the ingestion of specific plants in the SimplyWell Migraine Protocol.
  • Damaged cell receptor sites for DAO. DAO receptor sites are affected by Na+ and Cl- levels, ie, electrolyte balance (Source here).  Could the damage to the the kidneys and the subsequent effects on electrolyte balance be affecting not only DAO levels, but also cells’ receptivity to DAO? The SimplyWell Migraine Protocol improves electrolyte balance and cell receptivity to DAO.

Why do so many people with migraine headaches have dilated blood vessels, low blood pressure, and electrolyte imbalances?

There seem to be mixed views as to whether migraine is an issue of constricted or dilated blood vessels.  But it is clear that with migraine, there is less than optimal blood flow and that this leads to loss of oxygen to the brain and attendant pain.

Constricted blood vessels would seem to logically be the cause of lack of blood flow, whereas it would seem dilated blood vessels would lead to more blood flow. However, the opposite is true.  The important key to understand here is that dilated blood vessels are also associated with low blood pressure.  Most migraineurs have low blood pressure, so while the vessels may be dilated and wide open for the blood to flow, if the pressure of that blood is low, it will not be able to bring the blood and oxygen to the head.

Additionally, low blood pressure will prevent good circulation to the extremities, which is why many with migraine headaches have cold hands and feet, tingling in hands and feet, and various peripheral neuropathy issues.

So the root question is actually, “Why do so many migraineurs have low blood pressure?”  Well, what regulates blood pressure?  The kidneys do.  They regulate blood pressure partially by way of how they regulate electrolyte balance.  Antibiotics are known to cause electrolyte imbalances via damage to the kidneys. This can be mitigated as outlined in the SimplyWell Protocol by consuming the optimal levels of potassium to sodium electrolytes (2:1 ratio), which will raise blood pressure, increase DAO levels, and improve cellular respiration and metabolic function.

As it turns out, there are also bacteria in the digestive tract that help to regulate blood pressure as well.  Therefore, anything that assaults the colonic bacterial balance and the kidneys (ie, antibiotics) will seriously compromise a person’s ability to regulate their blood pressure.

Researchers at The Johns Hopkins University and Yale University have discovered that a specialized receptor, normally found in the nose, is also in blood vessels throughout the body, sensing small molecules created by microbes that line mammalian intestines, and responding to these molecules by increasing blood pressure. The finding suggests that gut bacteria are an integral part of the body’s complex system for maintaining a stable blood pressure. (Source)

To make matters even worse, stress also dilates blood vessels, as does histamine.  So once you are caught in a state of inflammation and high histamine, which in and of itself is very stressful, your blood vessels will be constantly dilated.  When this happens, small amounts of blood proteins (fibrin, glubulin, and albumin) leak into the interstitial spaces, get trapped around the cells compromising optimal electrolyte balance and cellular respiration, and congest the lymphatic system.  When the lymphatic system is congested and cannot be fully cleaned out via the venous blood because the kidneys are congested from antibiotics, varying degrees of sepsis result.

I’d like to give credit to Angela Stanton (creator of the Stanton Protocol) for her insights into low blood pressure and the importance of salt to raise blood pressure.  Stanton’s protocol is based on reduced carbohydrate consumption and increased potassium and salt intake.  Her protocol does not address histamine intolerance or inflammation in the gut, however.  The prebiotics in the SimplyWell Migraine Protocol are an example of how healthy sugars from root vegetables can and do lower insulin sensitivity, thereby making carbohydrates easier for the pancreas to process, and less triggering for migraineurs.

What role do hormones play in migraine headaches?

The adrenal glands sit atop our kidneys and regulate our stress hormones.  Going through a surgery or getting antibiotics is extremely stressful, especially if the damage done from that surgery leads to a debilitating condition like chronic migraine headaches.

For many women like myself, the triggering surgery may have been a c-section operation.  So on top of antibiotics and the stress from the surgery, the mother is going to have taxed adrenals from sleep deprivation from caring for her child, and in some cases years of breastfeeding which can be literally very draining even in the absence of migraine headaches.  There are clearly many compounding factors that contribute to stress and adrenal fatigue, but I contend that it is the original stress to the kidneys from antibiotics and surgery that undermine the mother’s ability to be resourced and resilient in the face of the new challenges of motherhood.

The adrenal glands use progesterone to make cortisol. Therefore, the more stressed out you are, and the the more cortisol you produce, the more progesterone you will need to manufacture it.  Progesterone puts the brakes on estrogen.  If progesterone becomes depleted because of the high demands on it by the adrenals, there will be an excess of estrogen in the system.  Estrogen suppresses DAO, thus leading to excessive histamine.

The liver processes estrogen. Many people try to treat their migraines by focusing on liver health, but it may make more sense to heal the gut first and thereby support the liver. Some bacteria in the colon act to help detoxify the body, and therefore can be seen as a “second liver” (see Dr. Perlmutter’s book “Brain Maker” for more info). If the liver is already overloaded because the colonic bacteria that act as the second liver are missing, the liver will be more compromised, further contributing to the hormonal imbalance.

Luckily, this situation can be mitigated by improving gut flora balance and eating estrogen-reducing foods like raw carrot as featured in the SimplyWell Protocol. Once the most debilitating symptoms of histamine overload and migraine headache subside, sleep patterns will be re-established, the body can rest and repair itself and the kidneys/adrenals will gradually heal.

The SimplyWell Migraine Protocol can mitigate the damage done to the gut and kidneys by antibiotics.

It’s important to note that while clearly, not all migraine headaches have the same root causes, people with different migraine types are responding well to the SimplyWell Migraine Protocol, indicating that in many cases, migraines with the same root cause (imbalanced gut flora and compromised kidneys) can manifest with different symptoms in different people.

I developed the SimplyWell Protocol in January of 2016. It is a completely drug-free, plant-based approach to migraine headaches that relies on the use of specific vegetables and fruits (especially prebiotics available in various humble starchy roots) to feed healthy gut flora, balance estrogen levels, clean out the liver and gallbladder, and support kidney function (and thereby lymphatic health).

I didn’t fully understand why or how the protocol worked when I first discovered it, but the past nine months of research have shown me specifically why the plants used in the protocol work so well, and has helped me to connect the dots as to how and to what extent my different migraine symptoms were related to each other.

It was through the firsthand experience of reducing inflammation in my colon and the subsequent disappearance of my migraines that I realized that compromised digestion was the primary source of my histamine load and therefore, that antibiotics were the primary culprit in my imbalance. It was also in the process of cleaning up my diet and doing a few six day grape fasts which flushed my kidneys out of large chunks of mucous that I started to look into the connection between antibiotics and kidney disease.  It is well established that antibiotics damage the liver, thyroid, gallbladder, and kidneys, but it took me months to realize the implications of compromised kidney function on blood pressure, hormonal and electrolyte balance, and chronic migraine headaches.

The bottom line?

There is an enormous need for us to discover alternatives to pharmaceutical treatment, which are not only ineffective at addressing the root cause, but in many cases are exacerbating or undermining the body’s self-healing abilities.  This suppressive approach to medicine is in its death-throes.  People are waking up to a new paradigm of medicine that involves a return to common-sense, self-care, and natural solutions.  The problems is that while many people believe in a very general way that food is medicine, it can take years to discover which foods are the best medicine for specific conditions like chronic migraine headaches.

We are in the process of reclaiming our Folk Medicine and also discovering new applications for plant-based solutions that address modern problems largely caused by pharmaceuticals that our grandparents didn’t have to deal with and so were not in the lexicon of their Folk Medicine before it was lost.

I’m overjoyed to offer the Simplywell Migraine Protocol to the Folk as a gift from Mother Nature as she continually reveals options for us that are gentle, nourishing and profoundly effective at addressing intense chronic pain conditions such as migraine headaches. Part of my excitement in sharing these plant-based solutions comes from all the positive “side-effects” of truly holistic medicine (like clear skin, more energy, deeper sleep, improved gum health, diminished PMS and cramping during menstruation, etc).  The good news is that the body doesn’t know how to selectively heal, which is why a whole host of bothersome long-term ailments simply dissolve once the body is truly supported through proper nutrition.

It’s my hope that we can start to wake up to the reality of the damaging effects that antibiotic medications are having on our whole physiology, which for some of us manifests as migraines.  Luckily, there are very simple, affordable, and gentle plant-based solutions to reverse this damage, as outlined in my SimplyWell Migraine Protocol

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://www.simplywell.info/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Marya.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Marya Gendron is a biodynamic craniosacral therapist and health coach specializing in chronic migraine headache relief and alleviation of brain fog, indigestion, and histamine intolerance through plant-based solutions. She practices out of Portland, Oregon. In January of 2016, Marya healed herself of chronic debilitating migraine headaches caused by pharmaceutical medications she received after a c-section operation. Her life purpose is to educate people about broader health-care and self-care options through promotion of specific fabulous medicinal foods that have been forgotten or ignored. She is actively trying to form a Folk Medicine movement to transform the culture of suppresive and poisonous medications to one of holistic health accomplished through an educated, pro-active, and mutually-supportive community.[/author_info] [/author]

 

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Resuscitating Folk Medicine

Folk Medicine

My Accidental Discovery of Folk Medicine

In the first few months after I discovered what I am now calling the Simplywell Protocol, I would catch myself noticing that something felt decidedly weird: my head felt clear, my energy levels were normal, I could finally fall asleep at night, and the migraines that had been torturing me literally for years due to medications after c-section were now suddenly and completely gone.  What felt strange to me was feeling normal.  It had been that long since I had known what it was like to go through the day without being compromised with brain fog, indigestion, and some level of headache from mild to severe.

The euphoria I felt at being able to simply function was intense.  This euphoria escalated when I realized that in discovering the healing properties of a few humble roots that singlehandedly dissolved a huge constellation of otherwise intractable health problems, I had participated in and contributed to Folk Medicine.  Not only had I healed myself, but my determination to reclaim my life had resulted in a rather unusual discovery of safe, affordable, and effective food-based solutions that apparently no-one else had seemingly yet discovered because they were burdened with the luxury of having healthcare and therefore of outsourcing the solution to others supposedly more knowledgeable on the topic than they were.  After a few out-of-pocket investments in seeing various doctors, I had decided it was up to me to heal myself, and had transformed my lack of health care into an intense form of self-care that involved years of research and self-experimentation mixed in with some grace and luck.

I’ve spent the past nine months since the time of this discovery researching the how and why my protocol works as well as it does. In coming to understand the ways that these culinary folk medicines have helped me, I’ve also come to better understand the nature of migraine headaches, and how and why they developed in my life.  So this form of Folk Medicine I’ve accidentally become a practitioner of has involved an inverse sequence of logic in terms of my diagnosis and treatment of myself.  First I found a solution, then the solution clued me in to what the deeper problem was by way of understanding what the medicinal properties of these foods are.

The irony was not lost on me that the solutions to my years long struggle with migraine headaches were not only in my kitchen right under my nose the entire time I was suffering, but that the little old Ukranian lady who lives down the street who doesn’t speak any English could probably have given me a few important clues along the way.

Now, having helped a number of people regain their clear heads after years of debilitating migraines, I find myself incredibly enamored of Folk Medicine but also so excited to articulate what Folk Medicine means to me, why it is so important right now, and what can be done to resuscitate it.

What happened to Folk Medicine?

Folk Medicine is also known as “traditional medicine”,  “indigenous medicine”, “native medicine” and “ethnomedicine.”  It is still the dominant form of medicine practiced by indigenous, place-based, and rural people in third world countries.  This indigenous medicine is declining and under threat as indigenous people are displaced due to habitat or ecosystem destruction and along with it the loss of plant biodiversity that these people rely on for their source of medicine.

Ethnomedicine is the mother of all other systems of medicine . . . The traditional medicinal knowledge is thought to be within everyone’s reach and does not require any study or training to practice it. (Source)

In so-called “first world” countries, the history of folk medicine looks different.  In the United States, for example, a huge diversity of folk medicine traditions converged as immigrants from all over the world came here with their respective cultural indigenous folk medicine traditions and knowledge.  This knowledge has gradually been eroded due to political maneuvering (especially by the Rockefeller Foundation) that succeeded in stamping out alternative and plant-based medicines and molding the new practice of medicine to favor medical institutions, societies and doctors as the exclusive source for medical advice, expertise, patented, chemical-based medications and “evidence-based” medicine.

The Flexner report, written by Pritchett, concluded that only medical schools that committed to using synthetic based medicines and avoided plant based treatments (homeopathic and naturopathic protocols) should be offered large grants that were created by Rockefeller and Carnegie. Some 17 years after the Flexner report had been written and published, almost half of the previously existing medical schools had been forced to close due to an inability to attract students that would pay tuition. In a nutshell, these schools were unable to compete with the medical institutions that were regularly funded by the large foundations set up by Rockefeller and Carnegie. From that point forward, only medical schools philosophically aligned with petrochemical companies would become successful in graduating medical physicians. Presently, the same petrochemical companies have great influence and control over most components associated with modern medicine. (Source)

Along with this trend came a demonization of both alternative medical practitioners and anyone practicing medicine without a license, which would include local community folk healers.

Through expensive and extensive PR campaigns, folk-medicine began to be viewed as dangerous and ineffective quackery. The use of food and herbs for healing made way for the use of pills and synthetic compounds mimicking nature. Part of the reason for this push towards petrochemical drugs was patents. You cannot patent a plant, therefore you cannot make money from it. Since money is the bottom line for the industrialists it is obvious why they invested so much time and energy into creating an entirely different paradigm around health care. (Source)

This new way of practicing medicine shifted the role of the doctor from that of teacher (from the Latin verb docere, to teach) to that of “doer” or performer of specialized diagnostic and therapeutic procedures. Our new sense of the word “doctor” when it is used as a verb, means roughly to “tinker” or “fool around with” . . . Dr. Moskovitz says in his article “Plain Medicine”,

Especially in a profession dominated by science and technology, it provides our best assurance that health and illness, improvement and worsening, and the success or failure of our work as physicians will be judged according to the patient’s own standards, rather than others imposed arbitrarily or coercively by and for the profession itself.  Our failure to keep these priorities straight is a lot of what I hear from patients about what they think is wrong with the medical system today, and it is difficult not to agree with them. (Source)

Welcoming the Wake Up Call

Currently, we’re reaching an apex in our culture where many people are waking up to the horrifying reality of systemic chemical pollution to our bodies that this form of corporate chemical “medicine” has created, which manifests as a huge variety of chronic inflammatory diseases.  In general, people are more and more interested in and open to exploring alternative healing modalities, and taking responsibility for the self-care and lifestyle choices that are the foundation of wellness.  We are arriving at this wake up call through the very uncomfortable realization of just how incredibly sick we’ve become.

Because the damage to our basic bodily systems by pharmaceutical medicine has been so severe, it has become imperative that Folk Medicine traditions be not only rediscovered and resuscitated, but also upgraded to address this relatively recent damage that our ancestor’s particular form of folk medicine traditions had never encountered.  This is just fine, because even if they had known or did know how to address it, we have basically lost their knowledge at this point anyway.

One way that we know that real medicine (which results in healing) is different from medications (which can create even worse problems through masking of symptoms), is that the body doesn’t know how to selectively heal. So, real medicine will usually have a number of unexpected but desirable “side-effects” that include the dissolution of various other seemingly unrelated (but apparently related) niggling health issues falling away simultaneously.  For me, this meant that in addition to my migraines clearing up, my skin also did, the ringing and ache in my ears subsided, brain fog, PMS, and bloating also disappeared.  Now these are the kinds of “side-effects”, (ie, systemic holistic effects) I can get behind.  Real, plant-based folk medicine heals by way of supporting the body as a whole system.  Migraine medications – which are not medicine in the sense that they suppress rather than cure – do the opposite: they target specific symptoms at the expense of the whole.  Our bodies did not evolve to process pharmaceuticals.

The Courage to Care

There is no clearly defined professional scope of practice for folk medicine (or, therefore, malpractice), because folk medicine is by definition an untrained, unstandardized and unstandardizable, mutable, and informal tradition of healing practices.  Not only are both the practitioners and practices of folk medicine highly diverse depending on the culture and person practicing them, folk medicine itself, as a practice, can’t be controlled or regulated because folk medicine is simply the inevitable process of people taking care of themselves and their communities with the most common solutions available to them.  And we’re starting to do it – we’re starting to learn to care about our quality of life again and realize we are our own most powerful agents in our state of wellbeing.

Caring is not only an emotion, but an activity.  Physical pain and suffering requires physical acts of care to alleviate.  The use of plant foods, spiritual practice, human touch, and sharing of helpful information are all native, indigenous forms of folk care that naturally arise out of the process of being a human being who cares about herself or himself and those he or she lives around.  The results of this care, especially when food (which is generally regarded as safe) is used to care, usually don’t have very disasterous consequences.

(This brings up the converse but important point that one reason that allopathic medical practitioners need the specialized education, standards, and scope of practice that they do, is because the medicines they use can be extremely dangerous if used improperly – and even when used properly.  Serious systemic damage to the body is not impossible, but less likely to happen with the use of time-tested herbs, but even less likely to happen when common foods are used in the practice of culinary folk medicine as compared to herbal folk medicine or other alternative healing modalities.)

The scope of practice of actually caring is infinite.  Caring cannot be embodied by standardized treatments or pills, but it is called forth in the healing process. As Dr. Moskovitz clarifies here, treatment and healing are decidedly different.

1. Healing implies wholeness.
Etymologically, the English verb “to heal” comes from the same root as “whole,” meaning essentially to make whole [again], and refers to a basic attribute of all living systems, which is evident both in wound healing and in spontaneous recovery from illness . . .  Like the metastatic cancer patient who pulls off a regression against every probability or expectation, healing represents a concerted response of the entire organism, cannot be achieved or ascribed to any part in isolation, and implies a deeper level of integration than could be defined or approximated by any mere assemblage.

2. All healing is self-healing.
As a fundamental property of all living systems, healing proceeds continuously throughout life, and tends to complete itself spontaneously, with or without external assistance.   This means that all healing is ultimately self-healing, and the role of physicians and other professional or designated healers must be essentially to assist and enhance the natural healing process that is already under way.  However useful and necessary it may be, merely correcting abnormalities will also have to be judged in relation to that fundamental standard.  Finally, a self-healing orientation transforms the doctor-patient relationship itself, from a hierarchy of knowledge and command into a partnership of consensus and trust.

3. Healing pertains solely to individuals.
Always possible but also inherently problematic and even risky, healing applies only to individuals, to flesh-and-blood creatures in unique, here-and-now situations, rather than to abstract “diseases,” abnormalities, principles, or categories.  In other words, whatever else it may be, it is inescapably an art, and should never and can never be reduced to a mere technique or procedure, however scientific its foundation. (Source)

With Folk Medicine the scope of practice is contained within caring and supportive rather than manipulative and corrective activities. Folk Medicine is passed on by word of mouth as a form of gossip, such as “this worked for me” and “I heard that this works well for that,” or “I heard that this worked well for so-and-so.”  The gossipy or second-hand nature of Folk Medicine, rather than being dangerous and ambiguous, forces any person wanting to implement it to use common sense, discernment, and their own faculties of intelligence, cautious experimentation, and research to integrate the information, probably customizing it along the way according to their own specific knowledge of their body’s sensitivities and vulnerabilities.

Folk Medicine is generally the most empowering, gentle, affordable, accessable, time-tested, common-sense form of health care that exists.  It is born from attention, relationship, and a belief in the resilience of the body if given the right support.  It involves self-responsibility and ownership, and the ability to communicate with one’s body intelligence.  Let’s breathe some life back into Folk Medicine, and be conscious that whenever we take good care of ourselves or someone else, we’re practicing it.

The art of healing comes from Nature, not the physician . . .
Every illness has its own remedy within itself . . .
A man could not be born alive and healthy were there not already a Physician hidden in him . . .
~ Paracelsus

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://www.simplywell.info/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Marya.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Marya Gendron is a biodynamic craniosacral therapist, health coach, and wellness researcher. She specializes in chronic migraine headache relief and alleviation of brain fog, indigestion, and histamine intolerance through plant-based solutions.

The SimplyWell Protocol is available here, or you can book a consultation with Marya.
Learn more about Marya’s healing journey here.
[/author_info] [/author]

Migraine Medications or Folk Medicine?

Migraine Medications or Folk Medicine?

The Necessity of Pharmaceutical Migraine Medications

It’s very clear that pharmaceutical migraine medications allow some people with migraines to function and keep a job while dealing with what is considered to be the sixth most debilitating condition.  The annual burden of migraine costs in the US in 2005 was estimated at $17 billion annually.  Without migraine medications, migraines are a serious handicap which lead to lost productivity, huge impacts on quality of life, lowered energy,  compromised presence with kids and family, and on migraine days – inability to function in any capacity.  Therefore, use of migraine meds is totally understandable, especially given the scarcity of truly effective, safe, natural alternatives – or the fact that they are not being actively marketed to us and so require a lot of digging and research to hear about.

Since most people manage their migraines by way of health insurance and the treatments that the practitioners within their networks provide, they are less likely to discover natural and plant-based solutions unless they have literally become so desperate to find a solution that they spend much of their time researching how others have healed themselves and/or experimenting with ways to heal themselves.

This is what happened to me.  Without health insurance and after a few expensive out-of-pocket expenditures with various alternative health care practitioners, I still had debilitating migraine headaches a few times a week and finally reached the point where I decided to take matters into my own hands.  Two and a half years of self-experimentation, online research, cleansing and dietary and lifestyle changes, mixed with some incredible luck, led me to the discovery of a folk medicine solution to migraine headaches that completely cleared my head and is now helping many others to do so: the SimplyWell Migraine Protocol.  There is now a choice between pharmaceutical migraine medications and folk medicine solutions to chronic migraine headaches.

In comparing pharmaceutical migraine meds with plant-based, drug-free folk medicine solutions to migraine headaches, it’s not my intention to judge or demonize anyone who is taking pharmaceutical migraine medications.  Some people have had daily, weekly, or monthly migraine headaches for literally decades, and must do something to manage them.  These people are acutely aware of the drawbacks of pharmaceutical medications and their attendant side effects, but haven’t found a better solution to manage their migraines besides meds.

I wish I could say that the SimplyWell Migraine Protocol were an easy replacement for migraine meds, but it appears that frequent use of migraine medications makes the protocol take longer to be effective, and in the case of daily use of migraine medications, may render it totally ineffective until those meds have been weaned off.  It’s my belief that this is because anything we ingest orally will affect our microbiome (the gut flora balance in our colon), and that pharmaceutical meds feed pathogenic bacteria (this is just a hypothesis) which keeps the histamine load in the colon high (thus perpetuating migraines).  They also steal vital nutrients needed to create important enzymes that break histamine down.

The good news is that people who only use migraine medications very intermittently, or who wean themselves off these meds, usually respond very well to the SimplyWell Migraine Protocol.  Since I never took migraine meds, I didn’t have to go through that process, but very soon I’ll be highlighting the stories here of some of the courageous people who have managed to successfully wean themselves off meds and how they did it.  So stay tuned!

Pharmaceutical Migraine Medications:

  • require a prescription, are high-tech and patented (not easily accessible)
  • are expensive (require costly health insurance or are subject to random price hikes)
  • have negative so-called “side-effects” (in other words, are making you sick with dizziness, fatigue, rebound headaches, medication-induced headaches, drowsiness)
  • are suppressive, so don’t solve the underlying problem but rather, drive it deeper into the body.
  • are foreign substances to our bodies (evolutionarily novel for our organs to process)
  • steal vital nutrients needed for essential body functioning
  • compromise liver, kidney, and gut health (thereby affecting bile flow, gallbladder health, lymphatic health, and gut flora balance).
  • some opiate-based medications activate mast cells and increase histamine release
  • are habit-forming and prevent some other natural therapies from working
  • we don’t really know how many of them actually work

The Ultimate Migraine Medicine

  • Reduces histamine load
  • Reduces estrogen dominance
  • Balances the gut flora
  • Balances electrolyte levels
  • Balances blood sugar levels
  • Raises blood pressure and thereby improves blood flow to the brain and extremities
  • Improves vitamin/mineral absorption
  • Supports liver, gallbladder, kidney,  pancreas, colon, adrenal and thyroid function
  • Improves sleep
  • Improves digestion
  • Improves energy levels

In other words, a truly holistic medicine will have POSITIVE SYSTEMIC “SIDE-EFFECTS”.  The Simplywell Migraine Protocol is the ultimate migraine medicine.

Medicine by the People, For the People
(ie, Folk Medicine)

  • discovered by laypeople without expertise or specialized training
  • easily accessable, affordable or free
  • self-administered, ie, self-empowering
  • free from unwanted side-effects
  • safe, gentle, and effective
  • easy to comprehend and therefore, relay to others
  • easy for our bodies to process
  • natural, nourishing and supportive
  • low tech and open-source (free from trademarks and patents)

Wellness comes about through a lifestyle of self-care, firsthand experience, self-experimentation, and community gossip about what works.  The Simplywell Migraine Protocol is an expression of Folk Medicine.  Folk Medicine is happening.  It’s not prescriptive – it’s descriptive of what people prefer and are creating, rediscovering, and sharing as laypeople, as the “Folk”.

To learn more about Folk Medicine, read my article “Resuscitating Folk Medicine – for Migraine Headache Relief and Beyond”

To get your copy of the Simplywell Migraine Protocol E-book, go to the homepage and subscribe for a free copy.

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://www.simplywell.info/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Marya.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Marya Gendron is a biodynamic craniosacral therapist and health coach specializing in chronic migraine headache relief and alleviation of brain fog, indigestion, and histamine intolerance through plant-based solutions. She practices out of Portland, Oregon. In January of 2016, Marya healed herself of chronic debilitating migraine headaches caused by pharmaceutical medications she received after a c-section operation. Her life purpose is to educate people about broader health-care and self-care options through promotion of specific fabulous medicinal foods that have been forgotten or ignored. She is actively trying to form a Folk Medicine movement to transform the culture of suppresive and poisonous medications to one of holistic health accomplished through an educated, pro-active, and mutually-supportive community.[/author_info] [/author]

Histamine Intolerance: What it is, and Foods to Avoid (Video)

Histamine Intolerance: What is it?

Histamine Intolerance is an overall state of inflammation characterized by an overly full “bucket” of histamine, which is caused mostly by various pharmaceutical medications and dietary habits. For a more detailed paper on Histamine Intolerance, click here.

Histamine & Tyramine Rich Foods

Antihistamine Foods

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Antihistamine Recipe Links

Anti-inflammatory Chai with Turmeric, Ginger, & Coconut
Antihistamine Mint, Jicama, and Radish Prebiotic Salad

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://www.simplywell.info/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Marya.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Marya Gendron is a biodynamic craniosacral therapist and health coach specializing in chronic migraine headache relief and alleviation of brain fog, indigestion, and histamine intolerance through plant-based solutions. She practices out of Portland, Oregon. In January of 2016, Marya healed herself of chronic debilitating migraine headaches caused by pharmaceutical medications she received after a c-section operation. Her life purpose is to educate people about broader health-care and self-care options through promotion of specific fabulous medicinal foods that have been forgotten or ignored. She is actively trying to form a Folk Medicine movement to transform the culture of suppresive and poisonous medications to one of holistic health accomplished through an educated, pro-active, and mutually-supportive community.[/author_info] [/author]

SimplyWell Classes for Migraine Headache Relief Portland Oregon

Our next migraine relief class will be held at Fettle Botanic Supply at 3327 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland, OR 97214.  Please visit their site to RSVP!

Plant-based, Drug-Free Migraine Relief with the SimplyWell Protocol
Join Marya Gendron to learn how a few humble healing plant foods can help you to relieve migraine headaches by: balancing the bacteria in your colon, improving your electrolyte balance, healing your kidneys, and gently cleaning your lymph, liver and gallbladder. The information shared in this class may be beneficial for anyone who is recovering from the impacts of antibiotics and/or NSAIDs, or who has symptoms of inflammation and histamine intolerance. We will go over the healing properties of foods in the protocol, foods to avoid while getting stabilized, and how to adapt the protocol according to special dietary needs and busy lifestyles.
Length – 90 minutes.  The actual presentation will probably not be more than an hour but its good to have extra time for questions and conversation.
DateMarch 29th, 7-8:30pm


Previous classes:

Simplywell_Celestial Awakenings

 

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Migraine Relief Coaching & Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis

I offer health coaching over the phone or via Skype to people globally. Health consultations for migraine headache relief come with a complimentary copy of the SimplyWell Migraine Relief Protocol.

Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis (HTMA) is a very helpful tool and service that I offer to get accurate information about your mineral status.  A HTMA is not required for migraine coaching but it is highly recommended. To learn more about HTMA and mineral balancing, visit this page.

Rates

OPTION 1: Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis (HTMA) Lab and Report
This option involves a hair analysis without a one-on-one coaching session.  After receiving your intake and lab report from Trace Elements, I will write up a report including my analysis of the results.
Cost: $155 including lab fee of $55

OPTION 2: One-on-One migraine coaching
This includes a free copy of the SimplyWell Protocol, a one hour phone or Skype session with Marya, and a follow-up email including all instructions and summary of the consult.
Cost: $150

OPTION 3: One-on-One migraine coaching with HTMA:
This includes a free copy of the SimplyWell Protocol, a one hour phone or Skype session with Marya, a HTMA lab and mineral analysis written report, and a follow-up email including all instructions and summary of the consult.
Cost: $205 including lab fee of $55

To Schedule an Appointment

To schedule an appointment, email me at marya at simplywell.info, or call 802.281.2948. In your introductory email, please let me know 1) where you live and your time zone 2) your schedule and preferred time frame for a session, and 3) your Skype username if you have a Skype account.

Coaching Intake Form

Here is the intake form in

Some people print it out and scan or photograph it and send it back to me. If you don’t feel like you want to share personal info over the web we can go over the intake during the session, but this will cut back on our time discussing other things. If you do get the intake to me before the session, please do so at least one day prior to the session so that I can review it.

How to Cut Your Hair Sample

Complete instructions for how to obtain a hair sample for Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis are available here.