THE STARTING POINT
Welcome to our blog. ForeverWell is dedicated to introducing a new way of treating migraine disease. Our philosophy and approach have their roots in traditional healing philosophies and are supported by leading edge, university based, medical research in the growing field of neurogastroenterology. While focused on migraine we believe our approach also has application with any neurological (depression, ADHD, anxiety, etc.) or gastrointestinal (irritable bowel, gastric reflux, colitis, etc.) condition. To learn more about neurogastroenterology see Michael Gershon, MD’s book The Second Brain. You can also receive a free detailed description of his work by sending an email request to firstname.lastname@example.org .
The purpose of this blog is to establish a place for an ongoing dialogue with our customers and those interested in our work. Your questions and comments will guide our discussions so please feel free to ask questions or challenge anything. You will find additional information and specifics about our treatment approach on our website www.foreverwell.com .
I have been studying migraine for the last ten years and I speak daily with migraine sufferers. I can only say that I am shocked, appalled, and saddened by the level of suffering that most of you are forced to tolerate. Most often I am talking with people who have been suffering from migraine for 10-30 years. They have been on a wide variety of medications over the years and are frustrated, desperate and skeptical. I don’t understand how, as a society, we can have annual marches for diseases that affect 500,000 and largely ignore a disease that affects over 30 million.
My heart goes out to all of you and I am determined to play an important role in unmasking this devastating disease. I trust you will learn and understand that I am sincere in trying to introduce new ideas and new views in how to treat migraine disease. I also trust that your interest is sincere and my only request is that we keep the discussion open, honest and respectful.
In order to establish a starting point for understanding the philosophies and belief system that serve as the foundation of ForeverWell and our approach to treating migraine disease please consider the following:
1. The dominant medical community, the one that focuses on the use of drugs and surgery in their treatments, does an outstanding job in the treatment of infectious disease, trauma care and extension of life issues. Their success in the treatment of chronic disease on the other hand is relatively limited. No one knows this better than migraine sufferers who often feel like human guinea pigs. Most of you have tried a vast array of migraine and off label pharmaceutical drugs with limited success. This is not to devalue the attempts the pharmaceutical companies and doctors have made to eliminate the suffering of migraine patients. Indeed, there are successes and even dramatic examples of pharmaceutical interventions improving the quality of life of migraine sufferers. The triptan drugs come immediately to mind.
2. It is clear that one of the reasons for the lack of success in the pharmaceutical treatment of chronic disease in general and migraine in particular is that most all diseases are described in the medical literature as incurable and of unknown cause. This is certainly true of migraine. This leaves the treatment of symptoms as the only alternative. There is nothing wrong with this approach in that anything that can successfully deal with the pain of migraine is a welcome intervention. However, as long as treatments are focused on symptoms there is little hope of actually recovering from the disease. Please note that there is always new research providing deeper insight into the biochemistry and physiology of migraine. However these insights are again focused on the symptoms of migraine because the root cause is considered unknown.
3. At this point there is no reason to believe that the answer to migraine disease will come from the continued research into the physiology of symptoms. Improved pain medication or abortive treatments sure, but not resolution of migraine disease.
4. Most of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is also focused on the treatment of symptoms. Sometimes herbal, nutritional, homeopathic, or physical medicine modalities are more gentle and more effective than treating symptoms with drugs and sometimes they are less effective than pharmaceutical approaches.
5. There are a handful of doctors out there who consistently get sick people well. Their success rate with migraine and other chronic diseases is far superior to that of the colleagues. For a variety of reasons, which I will discuss in future posts, I became familiar with them and their work. Some are MDs, some are chiropractors, others are naturopaths or nutritionists. The common thread that connects them all is a philosophy as to the root cause of disease that guides their treatment efforts. They believe that disease including migraine is caused by the breakdown of normal function of the body and their job as doctors is to help return the body to normal function. Their experience shows them that as the body works better the various symptoms of disease dissipate and then disappear. They are also guided by a deep faith and reliance in #6 which follows.
6. The human body is an amazingly intelligent organism. Whether you believe in evolution, intelligent design, or creationism it is clear that by design the human organism is not only capable of healing itself, it is also constantly trying to do so. Therefore, if disease is present there must be some obstacle to the cure, something stopping the body from returning to balance. What I have learned from the best of the best doctors out there is that the principal obstacles to cure are either the body is not getting what it needs, the body is not eliminating something it cannot use or the vitality is low. To the extent that these areas can be successfully addressed most migraine sufferers will recover from migraine disease.
7. The balancing and counterbalancing mechanisms of the body have a tremendous capacity to compensate for insults and abuses that the body absorbs from our dietary choices, environmental toxins in the food we eat, the air we breathe and the various liquids we drink. Additionally, the emotional stress of daily life can have a detrimental effect on the human organism. Understanding how to help the body in its determination to be balanced and healthy is the primary purpose of this blog and of ForeverWell.
HOW I GOT HERE
While my efforts for the last ten years have been focused on migraine, my career in medicine began about 20 years ago as the result of an entrepreneurial opportunity. I was intimately involved in starting a company that made a nutritional supplement that we marketed to the alternative doctor market. I was the only member of our company who had any sales or marketing experience so it was up to me to attend the various complementary and alternative medical (CAM) conferences all over the country. My lack of medical or scientific training was a hindrance in the beginning but in the long term proved to be a blessing as you will see.
Almost from day one I fell in love with my new career. I started attending a wide variety of CAM conferences including chiropractic, naturopathic, Chinese medicine, nutritional medicine, and even conferences for MDs and DOs that were doing alternative therapies. I started out thinking I was going to meet a bunch of quacks but I quickly realized that I was meeting a lot of individual health care practitioners who were dedicated to helping their patients get well. Sure there were some whackos and charlatans in the group but the overwhelming majority were good people searching for the best answers they could find.
I was introduced to homeopathy, acupuncture, herbal medicine, functional medicine, therapeutic massage, chelation, ozone therapy, cranial/sacral massage, energetic healing, electro dermal screening, a vast array of nutritional therapies, and on and on. You name it, I was exposed to it. I found it all fascinating and largely confusing. I could not figure out how the various components of CAM fit together.
You understand this from your own experience. We all have some sense that there is something good about alternative medicine but we are not sure what and so we turn to the Internet, the health food store and the book store to learn more. The result is that we get overwhelmed and confused. Too many products, too many stories and modalities, we simply do not know which way to turn or whom to believe.
I had the perfect learning opportunity as I was attending all the major conferences. I started sitting in the lecture hall and reading all the books and for awhile I just got more confused and overwhelmed. There was no apparent path to clarity, no guiding philosophy through the morass that is complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). Slowly but surely the uncertainly lifted and I found a path to clarity and a guiding philosophy. This will be the subject of my next post.
My clarity came from doctors, some of whom are the guiding lights of ForeverWell. The product I was marketing to the CAM doctors was a predigested, peptide based, protein concentrate (now the main ingredient in ForeverWell Foundation Formula) that was very good for digestive problems of all types. My customers would see me at various conventions and report that they were getting great results with irritable bowel, colitis, constipation, chronic diarrhea, etc. Naturally, I responded that I was pleased that they were happy with the product and asked that they continue to use it.
There were a small number of doctors, less than 1% of my customer base, who were also my best customers. They reported they were seeing great results with all the digestive problems but additionally, they were getting excellent results with migraine, diabetes, arthritis, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, MS and other chronic conditions. My reaction was "whoa, slow down, I'm not a snake oil salesman, what is this all about?" First they explained that they believed that digestive dysfunction, whether it was diagnosed or not, played a role in almost all chronic disease and since the predigested, peptide based, protein powder was working on the obvious digestive problems they were adding it to their protocols for the other disease states and seeing better results. It is important to recognize that they were not using my product by itself but as an addition to their standard treatments for these other diseases and it was stimulating noticeably improved outcomes.
On a deeper level these doctors began to share with me their philosophy as to the root cause of chronic disease. They believe that disease is the result of the breakdown of normal function of the body and their job as doctors is to focus on the needs of the body rather than the treatment of symptoms. They deeply honor the wisdom of the human body. They believe the human organism is not only capable of healing itself, but it is also constantly trying to do so. If disease is present there must be some obstacle to the cure. The best way to cure disease is to honor the wisdom of the body and remove the obstacles to cure. The two principal obstacles are either the body is not getting something it needs, or it is not eliminating something it cannot use.
My first reaction to hearing their ideas and explanation was that it spoke to my intuitive knowledge as to how the body works. My second reaction was that it could not be that simple. My third reaction was to wonder that if these doctors were being guided day by day and patient by patient by a philosophy as to what causes disease, what is guiding everyone else. What is the basis for the other treatment protocols that were being used? What does everyone else think causes disease? These questions inspired me to do so research in the medical literature relative to the definition and cause of all the various chronic diseases including migraine.
I was shocked to learn that all the chronic diseases are essentially described as incurable diseases of unknown cause. Some are called auto immune which means the body attacks itself but when you ask why, the answer is we do not know. So the great majority of health care practitioners of all types are focused on the only thing they can do...treat our symptoms. This is not, by itself, a bad thing. When a migraine strikes and a triptan drug can cut it short and return the migraineur to an acceptable quality of life that is a very good thing. The sad part is that it does nothing to stop the next migraine from coming.
This realization that most all pharmaceutical treatments as well as most alternative treatments were focused on our symptoms left me with one burning question. What if the other doctors were correct? What if disease is simply the breakdown of normal function in an intelligent human organism that is striving to be healthy? What if many if not most people suffering from chronic disease would get better if the focus of treatment was helping the body work better?
I turned to my best customers, the doctors who deeply believed in this “heal the body don’t treat the symptoms” philosophy, and said "I think what you have taught me is that if we make a great digestive product (give the body what it needs) and a great liver/kidney product (make sure the body is able to eliminate what it cannot use) and use this combination to treat a particular disease we should see good results." They responded that yes they thought that was true. I said "okay, let's do migraine." When they asked why migraine I said "because there are over 30 million sufferers and there is not much helping them, if we can make a difference in migraine, then people will pay attention to your philosophy.”
This was the beginning of ForeverWell. We are determined to inspire you to consider a new way of looking at migraine and more importantly how to recover from the disease. I have come to realize that our guiding philosophy the whole idea of honoring the wisdom of the body is reflected in most of the traditional healing methods. You find this same philosophy reflected in naturopathy, traditional Chinese medicine, ayurveda from India, and most of the native culture healing traditions. They all honor the wisdom of the body.
I kept believing that somewhere in modern medical research there had to be someone who was providing evidence that supported this philosophy. I just believe that the more we learn about how the body works that the research will provide knowledge that honoring the wisdom of the body makes perfect sense. Perhaps the best example of that research is the field of neurogastroenterology which will be the subject of my next post. Thanks for reading; I welcome your comments and questions. Tom