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Multiple Chemical Sensitivities

The topic of multiple chemical sensitivities became a focus of mine about three years ago as I was trying to understand some of the symptoms I encountered with a few of my massage clients.  I purchased a far infrared (FIR) sauna because I had heard of its many health benefits, and I began studying about FIR saunas so that I could safely offer this detoxification therapy to my clients.  In researching about FIR, I came across an environmental physician researcher that completely captivated my attention; with her personal experience with multiple chemical sensitivities, her medical knowledge, and her passion to help others overcome their discomforting experiences.  Her name is Dr. Sherry Rogers.  Her educational outreach is all about Chemical Sensitivity and what can personally be done to overcome the oftentimes debilitating effects such exposures create in the human body.

What I have learned that I have firmly come to believe is that many of the symptoms and discomforts, as well as the slow and sometimes not so slow onset of symptoms, baffle us because they appear to have no reason for being.  We ask for information from our doctors, our friends, and sometimes even strangers when we overhear someone else talking about their experiencing something we have.  At the same time, I know many of us are asking the big “why” question:  “why are so many young people coming down with disorders that not so long ago were reserved for or only experienced by the aged?

I began to understand these questions that arose in my mind when I more closely considered the evolution of our technological society.  Since the industrial revolution following WWII, manufacturing, industrialization, agriculture, and pharmaculture have accelerated at phenomenal rates bringing to the human experience new ideas, improved living standards, enriched scientific knowledge, and ease at accessing information.  At the same time, marketing all these new found expressions of development became a primary focus as well as an avenue for economic success.

We all KNOW that with industrialization, development, continued ease and comfort, and our adaptation to instant gratification that is a beautiful outcome for such progress, we have also begun to recognize with a little bit of horror that there have been consequences of such a forward moving pace.  More people are suffering from and dying from diseases.  Research scientists are frantically trying to keep up with the “latest strain” of this or that.  We mourn our losses while we ingest the ingredients of the latest “discovery.”

This trickles down, for me, to a reality that the people of the world are exposed to an excessive amount of pollutants the human body, and the bodies of all other living things, for that matter, struggle to keep up with.  Our human body task is to maintain health and well being.  It utilizes many innate sources and systems every day to keep us going.  But when the overload tops out, our bodies can only “keep on keepin’ on” as a daily struggle.  And then, when it can no longer keep up, it begins to fail, a little at a time, until disease takes over and a new struggle begins – detoxifying the contaminants, cleansing, restoring, repairing, rejuvenating, and then – my favorite “r” word – “rejoicing” when we have figured out what we need, walk the walk, and choose healing pathway for ourselves.

This is no easy endeavor.  The myriad avenues for gathering information on any particular subject can become mind boggling.  I am learning about holistic nutrition and my academic guidance leads me into many websites with abstracts utilizing language I am just beginning to acknowledge with a degree of understanding.  Prior to my exposure to how to do research and what to look for, I was overwhelmed by searching, by trying to learn from all the presentations “out there at the ready for me” and to decipher good science from bad science.

Dr. Sherry Rogers provided for me a balancing perspective.  The human population is exposed to so much pollution our bodies have become sick and chemically sensitive.  Our children (as well as our pets) have experienced exposures from the womb.  While past generations suffered disease at older ages, it took longer to accumulate the negative detritus their bodies had to deal with.  Today, our chemical sensitivities arise with contaminated food, air, water, buildings with tainted paints, carpets, and treated furniture fabrics, and such; all toxic ingredients that test the human body’s ability to detoxify and eliminate.  It becomes understandable why our children and pets suffer earlier and oftentimes succumb to illness we still consider as reserved for the elderly.

As a medical massage therapist, I see the dynamic value of massage therapy to assist in detoxifying the human body.  I see the value of experiencing a Far Infrared Sauna therapy session on a regular basis to assist in detoxifying the body.  I see the value of experiencing a manual lymph drainage massage to assist the body in specialized ways to detoxify consequences of treatments or illness.  And as a student of holistic nutrition, I see the value of eating an organically grown and locally grown, whole foods diet rich in vital vitamins, minerals, proteins, and enzymes to assist the body in its detoxifying pathways because of exposures we cannot ultimately control-what is outside and created by our advanced technology.  What we can control is our approach to what we are experiencing.  What we can control is teaching ourselves and our children more efficient ways of dealing with or coping with exposures and supporting those exposures with good food rather than processed foods that do not support health.  We can chose professionals who seek answers and who want to educate, and who see that human wellness is attainable in spite of what circulates around us.

Krystle Shapiro is a member of the Sandpoint Wellness Council.  She owns Touchstone Massage Therapies and can be reached at 208/290-6760.

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