Chronic Lyme Disease

Kim Edwards, RN, Dip Ref.

  • Research / Report

Lyme disease can also be called Borreliosis, it is an infectious disease caused by borrelia bacteria (spirochete). It is transmitted through ticks which feed on animals and transmit infections to humans through their saliva. Infectious material will have bacteria, parasites and viruses. Co-infections or other diseases that can be transmitted with the Lyme bacteria may include Babesioisis, Bartonella, Ehrlichiosis, Tularemia, Rikettsia and Mycoplasma.(Lyme Disease Association of Australia).

In the initial stage of the disease a person may experience flu like symptoms including headache, fever, muscle soreness and fatigue. A bull’s eye rash is diagnostic of Lyme disease after the initial bite, but occurs in less than 35% of cases and is sometimes mistaken for a spider bite, ringworm etc. (Lyme Disease Association of Australia). If detected with a blood test not long after the bite, most cases of Lyme disease can be effectively treated with antibiotics. (Centre for Disease Control and Prevention)

How does Chronic Lyme Disease occur?
Chronic Lyme disease occurs when the initial bite is missed or antibiotic treatment was ineffective and can occur months or years after a bite. Chronic Lyme is a clinical diagnosis, based on the patient’s history, symptoms and presentation. Blood tests are done to detect Lyme but are currently not very sensitive in Australia. Blood can be sent to laboratories overseas for a more sensitive test but are very expensive. (Lyme Disease Association of Australia).

Lyme Disease is currently not recognised in Australia. Antarctica is the only continent that Lyme Disease hasn’t been found. (Lyme Disease Association of Australia). A study that was conducted by the NSW government in 1994 by Russell and Doggett analysing ticks for borrelia, which proved negative. It is now questioned whether there are different bacteria that are more prevalent in Australia, whether they were using sensitive enough tests, or whether the spirochetes they thought were contaminants should have been analysed. (Mayne, P.J.) As far as the author knows there is no conclusive research in Australia that proves that Lyme exists in Australia. Though birds can be hosts for ticks, therefore Lyme disease is likely to exist in Australia, not to mention people who fly internationally and contract the disease overseas. (Lyme Disease Association of Australia). Other studies show that Lyme can be transmitted sexually and also in utero. (Mayne, P.J.)

Signs and Symptoms
The signs and symptoms of Lyme are very diverse and range from person to person. Symptoms most often affect the nervous system and the joints, but the range of symptoms are diverse and change in intensity and type over time. They can affect all body systems

causing symptoms such as fatigue, memory loss, difficulty thinking, insomnia, headaches, dizziness and balance problems, ear pain and tinnitus, eye pain and swelling, anxiety, depression, seizures, panic attacks, paralysis or muscle weakness, numbness, increased allergies, digestive issues, cardiac issues, breathing difficulties and the list goes on. (Australian Lyme Disease Association).

Diagnosing Lyme’s Disease
It is common for people who have chronic Lyme disease to be misdiagnosed with other conditions before Lyme disease is thought of. People can often be misdiagnosed with anxiety and depression, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, ALS, rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis. (LymeDisease.org). It is only when people don’t improve with standard treatment for these conditions, the person might think of Lyme disease. The medical profession in Australia don’t have a good understanding of this illness and sufferers are often considered to be making up their symptoms due to the way the symptoms move and change. Left untreated Lyme disease can cause joint inflammation, heart rhythm problems, heart valve problems and problems with the nervous system including seizures, paralysis of face muscles, pain and nerve damage and possibly death. (Medline Plus)

People with Lyme disease have trouble keeping down a job due to fatigue, insomnia, headaches, an inability to think clearly, poor memory as well as mobility and or balance problems and exercise intolerance. They need support from family and friends to do basic things like shopping, cooking and driving if they are feeling unwell. They make lack the confidence to be in public because of balance issues or they are worried they may have tremors or a seizure. They may have emotional issues such as depression, anxiety and panic attacks as well with which they need emotional and professional support. A person with Lyme disease will suffer from some isolation due to not being able to work, study or make it to social occasions. Friends and family may withdraw due to changes in the person, the person being unreliable and a sense that they are making up the illness or the lack of progress a person seems to be making.

A combination of therapies are required to address the bacteria, parasites and viruses passed on through a tick. (Lyme Disease Association of Australia).

The medical profession will mostly prescribe antibiotics to kill the bacteria for a short duration. (Meyerhoff, J.O). Lyme aware doctors may prescribe antibiotics for a longer period of years to reduce the chance of a relapse due to the dormant cycles of the bacteria or when they hide in a biofilm. This may work initially but may not reach areas of the body where the bacteria are hiding. (Daley, B.)

More than one method of treating Lyme is needed as the bacteria seem to adapt and change. (Dr. G. Kemp pers. comm.) Herbal remedies are also being recommended by some doctors to use in conjunction or stand alone to treat Lyme. Sometimes herbs are more successful than antibiotics in treating Lyme and can be changed regularly when progress stops. (J.Meagher pers. comm.). Herbs and supplements can also address the viral and parasitic components of the disease which is necessary. All the infections appear to support each other and they all need to be dealt with in order to improve. (Dr. G. Kemp pers. comm.). Herbal protocols for treating Lyme disease can be found in books such as ”Healing Lyme” by Stephen Buhner, or by consulting a doctor, naturopath or herbalist aware of herbal protocols for treating Lyme.

When the Lyme bacteria are killed, the dead bacteria release toxins which can cause a reaction called a Jarisch–Herxheimer_reaction, often called herx reaction for short. (Lyme Disease Association of Australia). Sometimes the herx reactions can be more debilitating than the disease. A herx reaction can be mild such as normal detox symptoms such as increased mucous production, headaches, upset stomach, fatigue , brain fog and other worsening of symptoms or can be life threatening with an anaphylactic respiratory arrest and septic shock. Managing herx reactions and keeping inflammation in the body down is a large part of treating Lyme disease. A herx reaction happens when the bacteria being killed produce more toxins than the body can easily eliminate.

Supplements are often needed to be given to reduce herx reactions, help with insomnia as well supplementing minerals and vitamins the Lyme disease depletes. Supplements can be in the form of types of food, medicinal mushrooms, herbs, vitamins and minerals. Such as activated B vitamins, pomegranate juice, milk thistle and fish oil capsules. Which supplements are beneficial for each individual will vary. A person with Lyme would need to consult a doctor or alternative health practitioner experienced in dealing with Lyme to work out which supplements would be best for them.

Having good detoxification pathways is also very important in treating Lyme disease. The supplements mentioned previously will also help an already exhausted liver, spleen and kidneys function better.

A very clean diet of lots of filtered water, a little organic fruit, plenty of vegetables and meats are important. Often people with Lyme have a lot of food sensitivities and are forced into a more paleo diet. Gluten, dairy and sugar often increase inflammation in the body and can increase symptoms markedly. (Tired of Lyme).

A multifaceted approach using other health modalities is also very beneficial to treat Lyme disease. Homeopathy can also assist the body to fight the illness, using specific homeopathy against the bacteria. Kinesiology and acupressure helps through strengthening meridians and chakras to help the body heal itself. Flower essences can support the person by maintaining a great emotional vibration to enable healing. Liquid crystals, gemstones, meditation, yoga, tai chi, qi gong, holistic counselling, EFT and reiki can also help a person change their vibration, and realise what they need to do in order to move forward on a journey towards healing. People with Lyme disease will probably be too sensitive to essential oils to use aromatherapy effectively.

People with Lyme disease are often sensitive to heat, which may be a self-protective mechanism for the bacteria who are also sensitive to heat. Some people recommend infra- red saunas as a treatment for Lyme disease. (Tired of Lyme) There are also facilities in Germany where people have reported complete healing when their bodies were heated to high temperatures in a controlled medical facility. (Lyme disease treatment in Germany). Other healing methods recommended for Lyme disease include oxygen therapy and/or ozone therapy where the person’s body is exposed to ozone in a tent/sauna. The theory behind this therapy is that bacteria can’t live in high oxygen concentration. Lyme bacteria often accumulates in areas of the body where there is less oxygen. (Ozone and Oxygen for treating Lyme Disease)

There are also a few therapies that work through the theory of resonance that if you expose the bacteria to the same sound, colour or electrical vibration as the bacteria, then the bacteria is destroyed. Colour therapy and Rife machines are examples of these. These treatments are found to be very effective and can also cause herx reactions. (Using Rife Machine to Defeat Lyme Disease) & (Colour therapy: the alternative therapy)

Electrical/vibrational grounding is also something that can help people with Lyme disease. Electrical grounding is where a person is in direct contact with the natural earth – lakes, beach, sand, rock, grass etc. People are thought to carry a more positive charge due to their exposure from emf’s, wifi mobile phones etc. By being in direct contact with the ground which is thought to be slightly negatively charged, a person can reduce their positive charge and therefore the inflammation in their body. The negative ions act like an antioxidant that mop up the free radicals which people with chronic disease processes have a lot of. People with Lyme seem to have a lot of inflammation in their body and are very sensitive to food, electrical frequencies (emf’s) from wifi, fluorescent lighting, mobile telephones and other people’s energy. They can benefit from grounding but as with all things to do with Lyme treatment they need to slowly increase their grounding so as they don’t suffer a large detox reaction. Clint Ober has done a lot of research on how earthing helps people’s sleep and symptoms of body inflammation. (Ober,C, 2000). Dr. Klinghardt believes that people’s exposure to emf’s is partly responsible for the increase in Lyme disease because it increases the bacteria’s activity. (Why is Lyme Disease Not JUST a Tick- Borne Disease Any More?)

Lyme disease can be a long road back to health often taking years. People with Lyme disease like all illnesses will benefit from the support of family and friends, journaling, affirmations and counselling. Anything that helps them re-frame things in a more positive way. Things like yoga, tai chi, chi gong and energy medicine (such as Donna Eden) they can do themselves to get their energy moving in a positive way again. Normal aerobic exercise

can make Lyme disease sufferers feel very sick often due to the adrenal fatigue component of the disease. (Liebell, D.). Non-aerobic, strengthening exercises like yoga, or weight training can help with the muscle loss often experienced by people with Lyme disease.

Reflexology Treatments
Lyme seems to flourish in very yin conditions. More yang treatments seem more effective in the beginning such as more yang whole foods, dry heat as opposed to wet heat, chi gong or active yoga as opposed to meditation. A lot of the yin treatments such as herbs and antibiotics can make people feel very helpless, unmotivated and blasé. Practices that help balance the abundance of yin appear to help a person’s functioning. (Wilson, L.) In what I have observed in myself and others is that people with Lyme disease often don’t seek out therapies that involve a lot of touch, like massage and reflexology as their lack of boundaries makes it uncomfortable. If a person with Lyme was happy to have reflexology, I would stick to the golden rule principles of less time and a light touch. This would also help minimise the chance of a large herx reaction. A more energy based touch like the Univeral method of Reflexology would be very helpful in helping the person find homeostasis. I would think working the whole foot very important as Lyme disease affects the whole body.

I would definitely work
– the head, eyes, ears and spine reflexes as the Lyme tends to be in these areas,
– the endocrine glands reflexes as they tend to be out of balance,
– the liver and spleen reflexes for immune function,
– the large intestine and lungs reflexes for detoxification,
– and reflexes for any other parts of the body that were being affected at the time.

Metaphysically I think Lyme disease is about allowing a negative energy into our bodies and energy field and then owning it as our own. Lyme bacteria burrow into areas of the body where the body has difficulty getting to them and hide. People with Lyme may have poor boundaries and low self-esteem. A person with Lyme may not realise that they have taken on a negative energy that isn’t theirs as they have done it their whole life. A person who is very empathetic, who isn’t strong willed and has a fear of being disliked may not realise that they are living their lives to other peoples’ tune. A journey back to health may involve developing a better understanding of themselves and their self-worth, their relationship to others and their own spiritual journey. Often the anger and inflammation surfaces as they realise that their boundaries haven’t been respected. Ultimately they will need to learn to love and forgive themselves and the people who have challenged their boundaries and find their own calling in life. People with Lyme may also have a degree of emotional trauma which may have allowed the bacteria to flourish, which they will also need to process before they can begin to deal with the core issues of reclaiming themselves and finding their own spiritual path.

References

Colour therapy: the alternative therapy,
http://colour-therapy.co.nz/how-it-works.html, date accessed May, 2015

Daley, B. When the ‘cure’ doesn’t end the pain; Some Lyme disease patients have symptoms that can linger for years despite standard treatment. Scientists are puzzling over how that
can be, The Boston Globe, http://www.bostonglobe.com/news/science/2013/08/17/huge- question-about-lyme-why-some-patients-report-lingering-
symptoms/DP82z7oYLdfq8wEQZ7ekaL/story.html, date accessed June, 2015

Liebell, D., Adrenal burnout: How Can a Medical Condition So Common…
So Important… Be Given So Little Attention?,
http://necksecret.com/Adrenal_Exhaustion.html, date accessed June, 2015

Lyme Disease Association of Australia, Lyme Disease.org: Advocacy, education and research
http://www.lymedisease.org, date last accessed, June, 2015

Lyme Disease Treatment in Germany
http://healthspaceclinics.com.au/assets/resources/Lyme_Disease_Treatment_in_Germany_
PDF.pdf, date accessed June, 2015

Mayne, P.J Published research on Lyme Disease from Dr. Mayne and co-authors
http://www.drmayne.com/research.htm, date accessed June, 2015

Ober C. Grounding the human body to neutralize bio- electrical stress from static electricity and
EMF. ESD Journal January 2000.

Mayne, P.J Published research on Lyme Disease from Dr. Mayne and co-authors
http://www.drmayne.com/research.htm, date accessed May, 2015

Medline Plus, Lyme Disease http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001319.htm,
date accessed April, 2015

Meyerhoff, J.O Lyme Disease Treatment & Management,
http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/330178-treatment, date accessed June, 2015

Ozone and Oxygen for treating Lyme Disease,
http://www.chroniclymedisease.com/ozone-oxygen-lyme-disease, date accessed April, 2015

Sunday Night, Lyme Disease: The Aussie threat – Part One
https://au.news.yahoo.com/sunday-night/video/watch/25589879/lyme-disease-the-aussie-
threat-part-one/, date accessed March, 2015

Tired of Lyme, http://www.tiredoflyme.com, date accessed June, 2015

Using Rife Machine to Defeat Lyme Disease,
http://electrocleansing.com/lyme_using_rife_to_defeat.php, date accessed March, 2015
Why is Lyme Disease Not JUST a Tick-Borne Disease Any More?,

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/02/05/dr-dietrich-klinghardt-on-
lyme-disease.aspx, date accessed June, 2015
Wilson, L. Lyme Disease, http://drlwilson.com/Articles/LYME.HTM, date accessed December, 2014

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