Reiki for Vitiligo

I could talk about Reiki all day. It is just some of the most comforting and soothing energy work modalities out there and it has become quite common to find Reiki practitioners working in hospitals and affiliated with Western medicine clinics.

I received my Reiki I, II and Master qualifications in 1999-2000 and have found it to be an invaluable tool in bringing peace to my mind and comfort to my soul.

You can find more about what Reiki is here and here. In a nutshell, it is an ancient Japanese healing modality based on enhancing and balancing life force energy in the body, mind and soul.

We are so much more than our physical selves. I like to think of Reiki as opening a doorway to the hidden potential of healing that is within and all around us, and translating that energy into a usable form that knows exactly how to help us best at any given moment.

One of the most intriguing things about Reiki and vitiligo that I have come across is an idea that Anthony William that proposed that vitiligo may actually be caused by a virus. Because there are specific symbols in Reiki that aim to withdraw viruses from the body. And I am psyched to incorporate these symbols into my healing sessions!

If you have yet to experience Reiki, I encourage you to seek out a local practitioner or email me to set up an appointment. In a Reiki treatment, most people feel warm, radiant light. Some feel a sense of comfort and a soothing feeling.  Some may not feel anything but may notice during a session but they may notice a sense of well-being that they carry with them afterward.

It profoundly changed my life when I was first introduced to it. I was having major anxiety attacks on a daily basis and was spending much of my day managing my mental and emotional health. I had found a local Reiki practitioner and before the session began, I was getting ready by lying on her massage table.  As soon as I lay down I started having a panic attack. She immediately started to do Reiki over my sternum and my panic DISAPPEARED. Like a magic xanax, the anxiety just dissolved.  I had never felt such a sense of comfort. I was surrounded by such a feeling of

“You’ll get through this. This is temporary. This is something you are going through, but it is not who you are.”

I saw her regularly, about every other week, and it changed the direction of my life.  I received my Reiki training through her and helped me see the world through the eyes of a healer, where healing energy is available at any moment and just waiting for us to engage it.

I look forward to hearing how you are tapping into the healing all around you. Please share!

 

Energy Medicine

I am a junkie of the healing arts. I love me some massage, some craniosacral, some shamanic work. Take me to a spa, get me some reflexology, give me some acupuncture. I LOVE IT ALL.

I’ve been studying the healing arts since I was in my early 20’s. The first time I experienced the feeling of energy in my own body was in massage school. I was laying on the massage table and one student was at my feet and the other was at my head. They were instructed to direct energy from my head down to my feet, with the person at my head sending energy through my body and the person at my feet receiving that energy.

I was stunned to realize I could feel the energy moving in my body. What is that? I thought. It wasn’t a physical sensation, it wasn’t a thought process, it wasn’t hot or cold. I just felt movement like waves drifting through me. This shit is real, I thought. And that was it for me. I’ve been a student of energy medicine every since.

A big part of me believes that if there is a physical manifestation of disease or imbalance, there is also an energetic disruption that needs to be addressed. Sometimes by addressing the energetic disruption, the physical imbalance heals on its own.

The concept of balancing the energy of the body is ancient. Tai Chi, Qi Gong and acupuncture have been around for thousands of years. Yoga too. These practices are invaluable when seeking out peace in the mind and a balanced energy in the body.

In future posts, I will talk more about these modalities and more including the ones I practice myself:

CranioSacral Therapy
Neurovascular Therapy
Reiki
EMF Balancing
Shamanic healing

Some of these practices are available for you from me over distance and you can find a link to my services here. I look forward to sharing these practices with you.

Supplements for Vitiligo #1

As I mentioned in a previous post, Anthony William is a medical intuitive who has a theory that vitiligo is caused by a combination of a virus, toxins, and an overly burdened liver. He has a podcast episode about vitiligo and summary of that episode here. 

I find his take interesting because I have always questioned whether the body would really attack itself. It seems counter-intuitive to me. I like thinking that at the root of my vitiligo, there’s a virus at work. It’s somehow…comforting to know that my body really is my ally and that something foreign and misunderstood is really what’s to blame.

This idea is something I’ll take with me as I meditate next time on vitiligo.

In his book, Liver Rescue, he lists specific recommendations for supplements to cleanse and support the liver, which he states is critical in healing vitiligo. I’ve listed some of them here and hope to visit each one in future blog posts. Remember I am not a doctor! It is important to always consult your doctor before adding any supplements to your regimen.

Selenium
B12
B Complex
Spirulina
Barley Grass
Hisbiscus Tea
Folate
L-lysine
Milk Thistle
Curcurmin
Turmeric


Help for autoimmune issues

Well, here’s something interesting. Going off my discovery of Anthony William’s article, I found another person who believes that Epstein -Barr virus could be the primary cause of some autoimmune disorders. I’m intrigued! Her name is Aviva Romm and here’s her book:

 


The Adrenal Thyroid Revolution: A Proven 4-Week Program to Rescue Your Metabolism, Hormones, Mind & Mood

 

This book is not about vitiligo, but I consider books like this to be vitiligo adjacent. Relevant in getting the big picture, I think.

I haven’t given too much thought to a virus causing vitiligo, but some combo of viral and toxic issues in my body make alot more sense to me than the idea that my body suddenly started attacking itself.

I tend to have at least a little faith in the evolution that got us here. If all of sudden our bodies started attacking ourselves for absolutely no reason at all, that would seem to go against the evolutionary wisdom that has ensured our survival for millions of years. (For a super cool history of human life, check this out.)

Could it be those words we hear “We don’t know what causes vitiligo and it’s difficult to treat,” are coming from people who have completely overlooked the interaction of viral and chemical components in the body? That would be WILD! I wouldn’t believe it. I want to believe it’s that simple. Could it be that simple?

Let’s read this book and find out. If you’ve already read it, please leave a comment!

 

 

Is vitiligo an autoimmune disorder or not?

Today I came across an interesting website belonging to Anthony William, a medical intuitive. In a podcast episode, he talks about his theory that vitiligo is not actually a result of the body attacking itself, but may be caused by specific viruses and chemicals oxidized in the liver. Ok.

So what he’s saying basically is that traditional medicine has it all wrong, that those systems are built on mechanisms made to monetize health care (well, true) and that the real truth actually lies in knowing that the body does not attack itself. That there are foreign invaders that cross wires in the system. And that it is possible to heal.

Hooray!

You know I love it when someone does not say the words every dermatologist says about vitiligo: “We don’t know what causes it and it’s really difficult to treat.” So I was doing cartwheels in my brain to hear this guy saying some pretty optimistic things about healing vitiligo. He’s even written a book with a deliciously looking apple on the cover about healing from this combo viral/chemical/oxidative influence in the body.  Behold:

 

 

Medical Medium Liver Rescue: Answers to Eczema, Psoriasis, Diabetes, Strep, Acne, Gout, Bloating, Gallstones, Adrenal Stress, Fatigue, Fatty Liver, Weight Issues, SIBO & Autoimmune Disease

 

I have yet to read this book, but it is now officially on my read list. This sounds promising. If you’ve read this or had any results from following his recommendations, please comment!

Damn, that apple looks good.

The Essential Journey

If we don’t open up to change and if we hold tightly to things that are behind us, our systems suffer. Suffering can be as simple as the concealment of some unprocessed emotion, or unintentionally ignoring some unnoticed part of ourselves, or the existence of an unspoken wish to be seen in a way that we aren’t.  Or weren’t. Noticing, hearing, sitting with, and unveiling ourselves is necessary for the full realization of our being.

We change water into wine every day without thinking about it, without even asking for it. We transform food into sustenance and break down molecules and perform chemistry within ourselves. We regenerate and grow taller, build muscle, heal wounds, store fats to protect ourselves from the elements. We become something new daily.

It isn’t just the ingredients and molecules within us that transform us, it is the context around the ingredients that create a specific kind of alchemy. In baking a cake, you may have eggs and oil and flour and sugar and baking soda. But if you just had the ingredients and you didn’t add motion to stir, a container to hold, heat to transform and time for the magic to happen, you’d just have a mess of ingredients with no transformation.

We are not just a bundle of ingredients: brown hair, tender heart, quick wit, tendency to cry at sad movies, long fingers, sluggish thyroid, healthy heart, cold feet, low blood pressure.

We are so much more than the sum of our parts. We are a living alchemy. There is motion within us, there are perceptions of time, there are rivers of sustenance, emotional containers, areas of heat and cold, movement and stillness. Our inner landscape is vast and intricate. We are changed by our thoughts, our emotions, our environment, what we were told, and what we chose to believe. We have hidden parts of ourselves, we have loud bold parts, we have parts that respond to our requests and parts that seem not to.

The past containers that hold our experiences within us are sometimes not helpful in achieving healing. Painful memories may be locked away tightly, without our even knowing that they are there.

Say, for instance, I stubbed my toe when I was 2, and I had a big owwie. And I wanted more than anything for someone to kiss my toe and get me a band-aid. And let’s just say at this particular time the person who was with me said, “Toughen up. You don’t need a band-aid. Shake it off.” Let’s say that the longing for tenderness within me became an unanswered call for love.  And along with that longing came disappointment that what I was longing for didn’t come. So a part of me back then that’s all about survival maybe said: “Well if that longing’s not going to be answered, I’m just going to go ahead and shut it off.” And the part of me that felt disappointed might have said: “Well this disappointment doesn’t feel good so I’m going to make a decision that people aren’t capable of giving me what I need.”

Let’s say that those two beliefs then fold into that memory and stay there until further notice as means of survival. It’s practical. It’s natural. If you can imagine a fabric crinkling up into a knot into that area. And the memory goes unnoticed, buried deep into the subconscious in the millions of other things are brains keep track of. But we might be moving through our existence with that energetic knot. The knot could manifest physically within the cells of your body that might end up restricted in their ability to perform function, it could be in your thought patterns or your emotional beliefs. This knot changes your inner landscape. It’s not good or bad, it just is a way you coped back then that worked. But maybe doesn’t work so good as time goes on.

The importance of doing the energy psychology work is not to discover deep dark secrets about your past, but to let your body tell you where its past way of dealing with things has inhibited your current spiritual growth.

Loosening those knots, either energetically, emotionally is critical to freeing up the energy that can be available to you for healing. It can be physical, it can be emotional, it can be energetic, it can be conscious, it can be unconscious. Lots of different modalities are helpful in getting that unraveled and opening so that there is flow.

It doesn’t have to be painful to revisit memories, though sometimes it may be. But when you unlock that energy that’s been stored, there’s more flow. Breath comes more easily.  Sometimes attention and intention alone – through meditating – cannot get you there because there are hidden stores in your body that don’t necessarily have a  means of communicating with you. And that’s why it’s so important to have a spiritual practice to have resources that can address the energy body to have therapies that speak directly to the unconscious patterns.

Western Medicine Approach

So the good news is: what you choose to do or not do about your vitiligo is entirely up to you. If your Western medicine doctor tells you there are no good answers for you and you’d like to end your journey there and let the spots do as they will, great. If that feels good to you, honor that.

If you’re like me and felt like some part of me was slowly fading away as the spots progressed, then know there are resources available beyond Western medicine.

You can find a list of typical Western treatments for vitiligo here: Mayo Clinic Vitiligo

What you’ll find on the Mayo page is accurate and up-to-date information about what treatments conventional medicine is offering and what new treatments might be up and coming. Quoted from their website:

“No drug can stop the process of vitiligo — the loss of pigment cells (melanocytes). But some drugs, used alone or with light therapy, can help restore some skin tone.”

So….not ideal if you’re looking to heal. But maybe a fix if things haven’t progressed real far.

The short list you’ll find there includes: drugs to increase pigment, creams to increase pigment, light therapy 3 times a week that insurance likely won’t cover, surgery, drugs to reduce pigment to match your spots, and….my favorite- skin grafting and other surgeries.

Western medicine is amazing. I love me some ibuprofen. I had epidurals with two of my pregnancies. But sometimes what Western med lacks is seeing the big picture, the emotional, the spiritual, the environmental factors that contribute to who we are as a whole. That’s what I’m interested exploring.

 

Origin Story

Let’s pretend vitiligo is its own comic superhero, with an identity all its own. It’s bringing news to the ecosystem of your body but it’s obviously using a language you don’t understand to communicate that news. Actually, that’s not true for me entirely. I do understand some of the things it’s saying like: get more rest, try to calm the fuck down more regularly, notice your inner beauty. 

But like any good superhero, it had an origin story. I spoke with an integrative dermatologist today who said, generally speaking, that any immune disorder (vitiligo included) has to have 3 things:

  1. Genetic predisposition
  2. A trigger
  3. Ripe conditions

I’m paraphrasing for number 3. But basically, just like planting a cactus on a coral reef won’t work, there are some body climates that won’t support certain disorders.

For me, I have my doubts about the genetic predisposition. As far as I know, there aren’t any cases of vitiligo in my ancestry on either side of my family, ever. Autoimmune disorders do not run in my family,. My grandmother had arthritis, and my dad had hypothyroid, but never mentioned that it was caused by Hashimoto’s which means it could have been unrelated to the immune system.

However, depression and anxiety are rampant in my family, and based on my experience with Low Dose Naltrexone (more later), I’m starting to believe that immune function and mental health are like peanut butter and jelly.

When I first noticed vitiligo, I had just had baby number 2, my dad had died the previous year, my marriage was on the rocks, we were somewhat broke, and I was getting no sleep. I saw whitish spots on my fingers scattered about. It was more a curiosity than anything given their small size (pea-sized or smaller) and they weren’t on every finger, and I didn’t see them anywhere else. I also noticed other changes to my body. Gray hair, more cellulite, less muscle tone, more fatigue. TMI?

The first time vitiligo is mentioned in my medical history is a year after that child was born. It’s right there in my chart notes. The dermatologist I saw identified it as vitiligo, said that for some people it didn’t spread and wasn’t a concern, and said to keep an eye on it. Oh, that I would have taken steps back then to remedy it. What I didn’t hear her say was, “Once you have it, at any point, stress can spread it rapidly all over your body. You need to address this now while it’s new and here’s how.” This was one of a dozen different times that a Western doc has blown off something that could have been quite life-changing if it had been addressed.

Setting aside my disappointment with Western medicine, she also didn’t mention that it was an autoimmune disorder. I had already been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s almost ten years prior. Had she looked at my chart and seen that diagnosis, she might have been more inclined to mention that this would make autoimmune issue number 2.

As it turns out, I learned that vitiligo was an autoimmune disorder when I googled it because I noticed it was spreading. It dribbled across my fingers a bit during my 2nd’s toddler years when my husband and I were getting no sleep due to my toddler’s sleep disorder. But in the spring of 2017, it was like a brush fire was lit, and it spread from my fingers to my hands, forearms, elbows, chest, and feet.

So what was the trigger?

I have some guesses.

  1. Lack of sleep. Having a baby and parenting during early childhood is a bitch on the nervous system. We have 3 kids. During those nursing years, for each baby, I was waking every 2-3 hours. I also went for 4 years with my sleep being interrupted at least twice a night by our son who had sleep issues…unless I slept away from home. With 3 kids that’s roughly 8 years of not getting a good night’s sleep.
  2. Stress. Money, relationships, moving, pregnancies, and my dad, grandmother, and stepmom died within 7 months of each other.
  3. Birthing. In the birthing suite, after birthing my 3rd baby and placenta, the midwife said, “That is seriously the biggest placenta I have ever seen.” What can I say? I build good placentas. But it got me thinking that building 3 babies, feeding them internally, nursing them…all of that in Traditional Chinese Medicine would equate to the need to build blood. Build and restore energy. Which I don’t think I necessarily spent a ton of time doing.

So what about the Body Climate?

I grew up on pizza, sandwiches, nachos, and Hostess cupcakes. I took loads of antibiotics in my twenties for chronic sinus infections. I was on Accutane for acne. And now…I eat pretty damn healthy. I’m not vegan, I love cheese and sugar and bread and wine. But I like veggies, I buy organic when I can, I avoid GMO’s. I’m gluten-light. I keep hearing from functional medicine docs that gut health is always the first step to healing auto-immune issues. And it’s hard for me to hear. Because who I am now, what I do now would mean my gut is healthy. But if all those gmo treats and antibiotics made for a bad gut party in my past, and guts and immune systems are best buds, then it makes sense that there might be some collateral damage. Any stress my gut may have had lingering from the years I took antibiotics might not have fully repaired.

IDK. So much of understanding vitiligo is guesswork. But in trying to navigate some of that guesswork I sought out pros who could help steer through the murky waters and unanswered question of Western medicine toward some kind of answers.

 

 

The Journey Begins

Thanks for joining me! Nobody wants or intends to lose pigment in small and large patches across the landscape of their bodies. But that is what I see when I look at my own body, like someone took a magic paintbrush and dabbed artistic spots on my arms and hands and feet and legs, spots where the pigment magically vanishes. The burning question that comes when you find that Western medicine has no real answers for curing vitiligo is this: Why? Why did my body choose this as a way of communicating something to me? Why now? Why vitiligo? You’ll find my search for answers here as I embark on a healing journey to heal vitiligo from the inside out.