One of the latest treatments for fibromyalgia is an alternative fibromyalgia treatment known as environmental therapy. Environmental therapy is so beneficial to the treatment of fibromyalgia symptoms because of the disease’s close link to environmental factors.
In fact, a recent study found that worldwide incidences of fibromyalgia syndrome, as well as chronic fatigue syndrome, have increased by 400% over the past ten years, an astounding increase which is due in part to environmental pollution, as well as increased levels of stress, over stimulation, the American diet, and lack of sleep. But what exactly is environmental therapy and can it truly help those with fibro?
What is Environmental Therapy?
Also known as environmental medicine, environmental therapy (previously known as clinical ecology) is the diagnosis and treatment of illnesses, diseases and other conditions that are caused due to environmental factors.
Environmental therapists have identified several substances that can cause harmful reactions in individuals, including disease. These substances include chemicals, pesticides, drugs, car exhaust, tobacco smoke, as well as food allergens. Other substances that can have an adverse effect on people’s health include common allergens such as animal dander, dust, pollen and mold, as can different foods, such as dairy, corn syrup, meat, nuts and fruits and vegetables.
Health Benefits of Environmental Therapy
There are a variety of health benefits associated with environmental therapy. Some conditions and diseases that environmental medicine has been used to treat include:
- chronic allergies
- chronic fatigue syndrome
- immune system disorders
In addition, environmental therapy has also been found to be helpful for conditions which are influenced by the environment, such as cancer, as well as in the treatment of individuals who have been exposed to high toxin levels either for occupational reasons or because of an accident.
Environmental Therapy and Fibromyalgia Syndrome
Because environmental stress can aggravate fibromyalgia symptoms, environmental medicine can be beneficial in minimizing common fibromyalgia symptoms, including the following:
It can also help to minimize the effects of associated conditions of fibromyalgia, including irritable bowel syndrome and chronic fatigue syndrome.
The first step in environmental therapy is identifying the environmental causes of a condition or illness.
In order to determine whether environmental factors are either contributing to or causing health problems in an individual, an environmental therapist will perform blood, urine, stool and hair analysis tests.
One blood test that is of particular value is a liver function test, as the liver is the main organ that controls the removal of toxins from the body. A zinc deficiency test is another important diagnostic tool, as a zinc deficiency is usually indicative of metal poisoning or exposure to pesticides or environmental toxins (PCBs). Allergy and hypersensitivity tests will also be performed.
Once the environmental causes of a condition or illness have been identified, the next step is to remove them from an individual’s home and/or work place or to minimize the individual’s exposure to them, as well as to improve the individual’s overall physical and mental health.
Detoxification is central to environmental therapy and includes dietary therapy, exercise as well as dietary supplements.
Supplementary treatment, such as traditional Chinese medicine and homeopathy, may also be prescribed.
Some side effects associated with environmental therapy are headaches, fatigue and aches and pain.