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Lessons from Thai Medicine (doctors might be interested too)

Posted by alan k on 1/03/02 at 08:36 (068516)

Hi Nancy, Wendy, John, Dr. Z, and everyone...

I'm back after a year of research in Thailand and at %95 healed, after over two years of some degree of disability due to pf and tts of unknown causes. A day doesn't go by that while walking barefoot in the house I'm not tickled in the heart with wonderful feeling of getting my feet back. People who go on for years with this lose hope that it can ever be healed, as I lost hope, but it really is amazing when it suddenly dawns on you that it is happening, that you found the way and the time is right.

I posted some while back about treatment I had in Thailand and the possibility of bringing that to the U.S., but it doesn't seem practical now, especially the herbal medicine, for various reasons including I couldn't get any makers to reveal the contents and that is not what people want here-- to take something when they do not know what it is.

I was healed by exercise (foot strengthening followed by walking on a golf course), massage (Thai), and herbal medicine, and while the medicine may not be available it might be possible to find some substitutes-- I was able to discover how the medicine works, and so for the sake of scientific interest it should be enlightening to contemplate other agents that work the same effects.

NUMBER ONE PROPERTY ACCORDING TO TRADITIONAL THAI DOCTORS: the medicine works mainly by reduction of fat and other blocks in the bloodstream. This refers to reduction of lipofuscin (a kind of fat) in the blood, and lowering of cholesterol levels. The circulation has to be vastly increased for the healing process to occur. This can be done through exercise and massage, but medicinal work on the actual content of the blood vessels is very important to work alongside these treatments-- and presumably this would also help ESWT and other treatments that rely on a 'rebounding' effect from the healing systems of the body and especially the immune system. If you are interested in getting the effect I got from Thai medicine, you would need to explore ways to reduce lipofuscin in the blood.

In addition to the medicine, I was given a diet which had three main themes in it:

1) fatty foods, and especially red meat, were prohibited

2) cholesterol rich foods were prohibited (but keep in mind that the verdict is still not out on cholesterol-- it has some vital functions that go beyond the worn-out good/bad chol. distinction)

3) Foods high in uric acid were also eliminated, like bamboo shoots, organ meats, and red meats. I don't know what other foods are high in uric acid. This appears to be unrelated to lipofuscin in the blood.

There are many known lipofuscin 'scavengers' and circulation enhancers in pharmeceutical use, and these drugs could help with pf-- just a hypothesis. Herbal supplements available here could also accomplish this-- one common vessel dilator (expander) is Gingko Biloba, which is proven to work, though I'm not sure how specific it is to the brain as opposed to other parts of the body. But it is not a lipofuscin eliminator-- I wonder what could be used to get at this crucial part of the Thai medical treatment? I know of several drugs that scavenge lipofuscin in the brain, but I'm not sure if they work on the rest of the body.

NUMBER TWO: elimination of toxins. This is not number one, but it is easier to find things to do it.

This could be divided into two categories: 1) toxins that are absorbed but then bound to (I forgot what the molecule is) and then eliminated in the urine, and toxins eliminated by not being allowed to be absorbed in the intestine in the first place. 2) free-radical elimination. I guess that's three categories.

Free-radical elimination can be accomplished through vitamin supplements including but not limited to C, E (must be mixed tocopherols), and Selenium.

Intestinal flora can be augmented through probiotic supplements, avoidance of NSAIDS, and the intestines can be further treated with various products for cleansing available in health stores (I have tried none of them). An anti-yeast diet also helps intestinal health, but it is very difficult to maintain.

The inhibitor (something which lowers the levels) of the molecule I can't remember can be suppressed, thus allowing that molecule to work more freely to bind with toxins which then get siphoned off in the urine. This is a powerful detox strategy which I will have to get back to you about when I look up the details. I'm not sure how to do it with anything in the U.S. right now.

However sketchy it may be, I firmly believe that an important way to augment your treatment is to produce the same effects of Thai medicine, and that might be possible cheaply and easily. Maybe it won't cover everything in the formula which was never revealed to me (although I have a partial list of ingredients-- still working on getting the scientific names), but it will help

I just don't know exactly how to accomplish those tasks, but I am sure about the tasks. So... how do you reduce fat content in the blood? That is the main question. I suggest that people slow in healing explore the possibilities here.

For scientific inquiry, if anyone is interested, I would hypothesize that pharmeceutical interventions into the reduction of lipofuscin in the blood may be benificial to recovery from slow-healing pf.

Sorry about the dry tone of this post, but I just want to get this hypothesis out there for those who might take advantage of it. Sorry I can't make Thai medicine available, too!

yours, alan k

Re: so, basically, what you're saying is

elliott on 1/03/02 at 08:50 (068520)

this site is behind the times! (Sorry, couldn't resist. :-))

Interesting! Thanks. Question: would all this still be appropriate if our tts/pf was running-induced? I mean, I was on a pretty low-fat diet to start with when I got in trouble. I know a lot of runners who got pf trouble, clearly from classic overuse. So I'm wondering if this will help when one's problems are likely dueto overuse or are gait-related. I'm willing to try just about anything (except NST :-)).

Re: Must be something other than low fat

Carole C on 1/03/02 at 09:19 (068525)

Since I'm on Weight Watchers and follow that plan with nearly religious fervor and strictness, I have been on a low-fat diet constantly for the past 14 months. I have only had PF for less than 4 months, since last September 22nd. My doctor and my pedorthist attribute it to my increased mobility and cycling as I lose more and more weight, and I also think a pair of terrible shoes was an additional cause. Anyway, I don't think that a low fat diet will protect you or cure you all by itself.

Alan's article didn't really indicate that a low fat diet was all that was necessary, because he discussed more dietary and other stuff too. Maybe some of the other practices described are responsible for the improvements. (?) There is always the possibility of coincidence in anecdotal reports.

Carole C

Re: Must be something other than low fat

alan k on 1/03/02 at 09:49 (068529)

Right. I only incidentally mentioned the coincidence of banned foods being high fat, high cholesterol foods. The main point was the medicine itself, which works by reducing lipofuscin in the blood, and there are western medicinal agents that do that too. My main point being that substitutes for this medicine might be found here in herbal or pharmeceutical form. I know only about drugs that reduce lipofuscin in the brain, but not sure about the rest of the body. I could post more on these later. Those drugs that are said to also, coincidentally, reduce age-spotting or 'liver spots' (which are lipofuscin deposits in the skin), might do so because they work over the whole body as well as the brain. I'll have to look into that. More on those later...

Meanwhile, detoxing, though not the primary effect of the medicines, has a wide ranging knowledge base and anyone could probably find lots of products and info on the web and in health stores.

alan k

Re: I may have mis-written (also: more info)

alan k on 1/03/02 at 10:13 (068536)

As Carol C pointed out, my main point was not really about a low-fat diet, but that a low-fat diet would make sense if one was trying to reduce fat in the blood. But I'm talking about a more radical intervention into fat and cholesterol content, and talking about it for two reasons--

1) people might try gentle interventions directly into blood fat through nutrition and herbal medicines, as I did and was healed gently in the long run.

2) who knows, some doctor or scientist might stumble upon this and start giving pf (or rather some tendon or ligament disfunction) to poor rats and then work on their lipofuscin with drugs, or whatever. In other words, I just want to point this out for the sake of putting the idea out there.

I only mean this as a way to speed up the healing process, not as a cure all. I myself did it in conjunction with special exercises and special massage techniques, but others might do it in connection with other conservative modalities.

Elliot: I have to confess that I have always been more interested in non-running induced pf among people who should have healed but didn't. Four months however might qualify you as in the long haul-- that is, as some one who should start to begin wondering, why am I not getting better, faster? Still, you may have really traumatized your pf and four months can still be a normal amount of time for healing, depending. Also, as you probably know, the 'normal' for pf might not be what the ordinary doctor tells us, for several reasons-- we just don't have good figures.

Unfortunately my post is so scarce that you might notice I give no specific suggestions about what to try except-- 'reduce the lipofuscin, but don't ask me how.' By that I didn't mean to say that a low fat diet would cure pf. I will look into the drugs that I do know about, although my knowledge is limited more to brain and nervous system function right now.

Speaking of which, I may have some very valuable comments to make on tts and nerve impingement, but I'll have to put that off when I have time.

I will however be putting up free illustrated information on massage techniques for pf as I had last year, but I need to revise it based on my research and experiences in Thailand, including more training for Lee, my partner. We now have more specific information about treating pf, whereas before our techniques were based on general foot and leg health (which is still important, however).

I do hope to have some more specific, conservative treatment ideas soon.

alan k

Re: so, basically, what you're saying is

elliott on 1/03/02 at 08:50 (068520)

this site is behind the times! (Sorry, couldn't resist. :-))

Interesting! Thanks. Question: would all this still be appropriate if our tts/pf was running-induced? I mean, I was on a pretty low-fat diet to start with when I got in trouble. I know a lot of runners who got pf trouble, clearly from classic overuse. So I'm wondering if this will help when one's problems are likely dueto overuse or are gait-related. I'm willing to try just about anything (except NST :-)).

Re: Must be something other than low fat

Carole C on 1/03/02 at 09:19 (068525)

Since I'm on Weight Watchers and follow that plan with nearly religious fervor and strictness, I have been on a low-fat diet constantly for the past 14 months. I have only had PF for less than 4 months, since last September 22nd. My doctor and my pedorthist attribute it to my increased mobility and cycling as I lose more and more weight, and I also think a pair of terrible shoes was an additional cause. Anyway, I don't think that a low fat diet will protect you or cure you all by itself.

Alan's article didn't really indicate that a low fat diet was all that was necessary, because he discussed more dietary and other stuff too. Maybe some of the other practices described are responsible for the improvements. (?) There is always the possibility of coincidence in anecdotal reports.

Carole C

Re: Must be something other than low fat

alan k on 1/03/02 at 09:49 (068529)

Right. I only incidentally mentioned the coincidence of banned foods being high fat, high cholesterol foods. The main point was the medicine itself, which works by reducing lipofuscin in the blood, and there are western medicinal agents that do that too. My main point being that substitutes for this medicine might be found here in herbal or pharmeceutical form. I know only about drugs that reduce lipofuscin in the brain, but not sure about the rest of the body. I could post more on these later. Those drugs that are said to also, coincidentally, reduce age-spotting or 'liver spots' (which are lipofuscin deposits in the skin), might do so because they work over the whole body as well as the brain. I'll have to look into that. More on those later...

Meanwhile, detoxing, though not the primary effect of the medicines, has a wide ranging knowledge base and anyone could probably find lots of products and info on the web and in health stores.

alan k

Re: I may have mis-written (also: more info)

alan k on 1/03/02 at 10:13 (068536)

As Carol C pointed out, my main point was not really about a low-fat diet, but that a low-fat diet would make sense if one was trying to reduce fat in the blood. But I'm talking about a more radical intervention into fat and cholesterol content, and talking about it for two reasons--

1) people might try gentle interventions directly into blood fat through nutrition and herbal medicines, as I did and was healed gently in the long run.

2) who knows, some doctor or scientist might stumble upon this and start giving pf (or rather some tendon or ligament disfunction) to poor rats and then work on their lipofuscin with drugs, or whatever. In other words, I just want to point this out for the sake of putting the idea out there.

I only mean this as a way to speed up the healing process, not as a cure all. I myself did it in conjunction with special exercises and special massage techniques, but others might do it in connection with other conservative modalities.

Elliot: I have to confess that I have always been more interested in non-running induced pf among people who should have healed but didn't. Four months however might qualify you as in the long haul-- that is, as some one who should start to begin wondering, why am I not getting better, faster? Still, you may have really traumatized your pf and four months can still be a normal amount of time for healing, depending. Also, as you probably know, the 'normal' for pf might not be what the ordinary doctor tells us, for several reasons-- we just don't have good figures.

Unfortunately my post is so scarce that you might notice I give no specific suggestions about what to try except-- 'reduce the lipofuscin, but don't ask me how.' By that I didn't mean to say that a low fat diet would cure pf. I will look into the drugs that I do know about, although my knowledge is limited more to brain and nervous system function right now.

Speaking of which, I may have some very valuable comments to make on tts and nerve impingement, but I'll have to put that off when I have time.

I will however be putting up free illustrated information on massage techniques for pf as I had last year, but I need to revise it based on my research and experiences in Thailand, including more training for Lee, my partner. We now have more specific information about treating pf, whereas before our techniques were based on general foot and leg health (which is still important, however).

I do hope to have some more specific, conservative treatment ideas soon.

alan k