Float Tank and Myasthenia Gravis: My experience

“The contraindication for magnesium in MG is when someone is in the middle of a MG crisis you are not supposed to use intravenous magnesium. But the warning has gotten MG people afraid to try magnesium in any form. Myasthenia Gravis causes muscle weakness and the theory is that since magnesium relaxes muscles, maybe giving it will cause even more muscle weakness. But magnesium doesn’t cause muscle weakness, it keeps muscles from spasming and it actually makes muscles stronger – such as the heart muscle.”

source

My Float Tank Experience

While the numerous people who’ve been diagnosed with Myasthenia Gravis tend to heed all warning of magnesium use, I decided to see what my body thought. I was gifted the experience by my beautiful mom on mothers day. She has always gotten me something to thank me for giving her the opportunity to be a mother to me. Kind, isn’t it? 

We walked into the float studio and received our tour. Although I still had my reservations, I was cautiously curious. I mean, I had been reading and researching the effects float tanks are said to have on the mind and body for some time. Having MG though, I knew the caution spread every which way across the internet and even out of the mouths of many doctors’. There is a caution said that serious trouble can be caused by magnesium for those who have been diagnosed with MG. 

I decided I was only going to dip my foot into the tank and see how I felt; I wanted to do this cautiously. I did and I was fine. Next I wanted to try to get into the tank for a few minutes to see if it affected me in any noticeable way.  I set my phone timer for 5 minutes and went in, full body. I was fine. Actually I was better than fine however I still decided to leave the door to the pod open. 

After the 5minute timer was up, and I was fine, I wasn’t as nervous although I was still being cautious. Needless to say, thirty minutes later I had shut the pod door, turned off the lights and rung the front desk to request the relaxing music be turned back on (the music automatically turned off after 15min).

I’m not sure how long I was in there for. I believe the session lasted for just 45 minutes. With just-perfect temperature water, the ability to float on my back effortlessly (without the ability to sink) and the soothing sounds of music in complete solitude, I drifted away. It was over too soon. As I got out and rinsed my body off, I realized that I didn’t feel weak or heavy. I simply felt relaxed. It was a mind+body relaxation. One I soon plan to visit again.

My first float tank experience with Myasthenia Gravis was amazing. I walked out of that room feeling calm, relaxed and peaceful. I am stable with my MG so I was more willing to see how the high concentration of magnesium in the water affected me. It affected me in only the best ways. Pain in my back decreased and I had a mind and body calm that lasted into the night. I was apprehensive but so glad I took the risk because believe me, I will float and float again!

If you want to learn more about float tanks (‘sensory deprivation tanks’) and the said benefits on our health, you can do so here: Float Tanks

 

 

 

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Is Exercise Good For Myasthenia Gravis? Yes!

Most simply put, exercise within your limits is absolutely recommended if you are able.

Lack of exercise can actually cause fatigue; try something pleasant and nonstressful. Those who are able don’t necessarily exercise for how it feels when they do it, but how it makes them feel afterward. Listen to your body. Start slow and short. Always heed your body’s “NO” at its first hint.

From an Expert

Watch a physical therapist discuss Myasthenia Gravis and Exercise. Purchase the full-length video Practical Strategies for Living with MG.
Should myasthenia gravis patients undertake an exercise program? Different sources provide different answers. The very general answer is — exercise is helpful for people with MG, but patients should not embark on exercise programs that require maximum output and produce weakness. Exercise should be done in a way that stops short of muscle fatigue, and this point will vary from person to person depending on age, overall fitness level, MG symptoms and other factors.

From Livestrong.com: One of the most frustrating components of myasthenia gravis is the tendency of symptoms to come and go. Some days you may feel capable of exercising, while on others a simple walk to the mailbox may leave you extremely fatigued. For this reason, only your doctor can advise you on how and when to exercise. Together you can set up guidelines on how much exercise is healthy for you and under what circumstances you should attempt it.


If your doctor approves, the elliptical machine may be a good way to build an exercise regimen. First, look for non-skid foot panels. You won’t need to lift your feet off the panels to use an elliptical, so there’s less danger of falling than with a treadmill. Many ellipticals offer two sets of grab bars – one set that moves and one that’s stationary. Be sure you use the stationary set for extra support.

So, exercise is a good thing. Be sure to talk to your doctor before you begin any exercise program. Ask your doctor for specific guidelines. If he is vague about specifics for you, ask him if he knows of a physical therapist who has worked with MG patients. A PT can get you started on a program that you can continue on your own. Keep in mind that slow progress is fine and very worthwhile.

 

Exercise and MG: A Study

Exercise for Stable Myasthenia Gravis is an ongoing clinical trial sponsored by the Baltimore VA Medical Center. One of the study’s goals is to determine whether a 3-month comprehensive home exercise program can enhance fitness, strength and lung function to improve physical activity and reduce cardiovascular disease risk.

“Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”
– World Health Organization 1948

 

source: MyastheniaGravis.org

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Myasthenia Gravis – Medical Marijuana Research Overview

 The following information is presented for educational purposes only. EatToBeatMG.com provides the following information to provide an understanding of the potential applications of cannabidiol. We share and create a discussion about possible alternative ways to improve symptoms, health or things to be cautious with. Your experience and thoughts are welcomed.

 

Overview of Myasthenia Gravis

As we all know, Myasthenia gravis is a chronic autoimmune neuromuscular disease characterized by a breakdown in communication between nerves and muscles, resulting in weakness and rapid fatigue. The muscle weakness associated with myasthenia gravis increases when one is active, but then improves after periods of rest. The degree of muscle weakness varies greatly between individuals.

Myasthenia gravis causes the immune system to produce antibodies that either block or destroy muscles’ receptor sites for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. With some receptors blocked, the muscles receive fewer signals and subsequently prevent muscles from contracting, resulting in weakness. Sometimes the antibodies, rather than block receptor sites, block the function of a protein called muscle-specific receptor tyrosine kinase, which is involved in creating the nerve-muscular junction.

Due to muscular weakness and fatigue, myasthenia gravis also commonly causes eyelids to droop and can make it difficult to speak, swallow, chew, and make facial expressions. The neck and breathing muscles can also be affected in some cases.

Anticholinesterase medications are often prescribed and effective at inhibiting the enzyme acetylcholinesterase, which is responsible for catalyzes the breakdown of acetylcholine. By inhibiting acetylcholinesterase, the amount of acetylcholine at the neuromuscular junction increases and eventually overcomes the blocked receptors.


Findings: Effects of Cannabis on Myasthenia Gravis

Research suggests that cannabis, like anticholinesterase agents, has the capability of inhibiting acetylcholinesterase, the enzyme responsible for the degradation of acetylcholine. By inhibiting acetylcholinesterase, acetylcholine has more time to interact with its receptor before its breakdown, or turnover, and can therefore overcome the blocked receptor and cause muscle contractions. 

Multiple cannabinoids have demonstrated effective at increasing acetylcholine levels and slowing acetylcholine turnover. One study found that tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a major cannabinoid found in cannabis, completely inhibited acetylcholinesterase, thereby raising the levels of the neurotransmitter (Eubanks, et al., 2006). Another study showed that three cannabinoids, including THC, cannabidiol (CBD), and cannabinol (CBN), each caused a significant elevation of acetylcholine in the brain and THC and CBN caused a decrease in acetylcholine turnover (Tripathi, Vocci, Brase & Dewey, 1987). Additional studies have demonstrated THC and CBD’s effectiveness at decreasing acetylcholine turnover rate (Revuelta, Moroni, Cheney & Costa, 1978) (Revuelta, et al., 1980).

Cannabinoids’ long understood pharmacological effects are caused by their activation of cannabinoid receptors. However, the cannabinoid’s effects on enzymes and neurotransmitter transporters appear to be due to a mechanism other than their activation of cannabinoid receptors, but the exact method is yet to be fully understood (Oz, et al., 2014). 

States That Have Approved Medical Marijuana for Myasthenia Gravis

Currently, only the state of Illinois has approved medical marijuana specifically for the treatment of myasthenia gravis. However, in Washington D.C., any condition can be approved for medical marijuana as long as a DC-licensed physician recommends the treatment. In addition, a number of other states will consider allowing medical marijuana to be used for the treatment of myasthenia gravis with the recommendation from a physician. These states include: California (any debilitating illness where the medical use of marijuana has been recommended by a physician), Connecticut (other medical conditions may be approved by the Department of Consumer Protection), Massachusetts (other conditions as determined in writing by a qualifying patient’s physician), Nevada (other conditions subject to approval), Oregon (other conditions subject to approval), Rhode Island (other conditions subject to approval), and Washington (any “terminal or debilitating condition”).


Recent Studies on Cannabis’ Effect on Myasthenia Gravis

  • THC shown to completely inhibit acetylcholinesterase, the enzyme responsible for the degradation of acetylcholine.
    A Molecular Link Between the Active Component of Marijuana and Alzheimer’s Disease Pathology. 
    (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17140265)
  • Animal trials show THC, CBN and CBD significantly increases acetylcholine in the brain and THC and CBD decreased acetylcholine turnover.
    Effects of cannabinoids on levels of acetylcholine and choline and on turnover rate of acetylcholine in various regions of the mouse brain.
    (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3620017)

 

References

Eubanks, L. M., Rogers, C. J., Beuscher, A. E., Koob, G. F., Olson, A. J., Dickerson, T. J., & Janda, K. D. (2006). A Molecular Link Between the Active Component of Marijuana and Alzheimer’s Disease Pathology. Molecular Pharmaceutics, 3(6), 773–777.

Myasthenia gravis. (2013, April 23). Mayo Clinic. Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/myasthenia-gravis/basics/definition/con-20027124.

Myasthenia Gravis Fact Sheet. (2015, July 27). National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Retrieved from http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/myasthenia_gravis/detail_myasthenia_gravis.htm.

Oz, M., Al Kury, L., Keun-Hang, S.Y., Mahgoub, M., and Galadari, S. (2014, May 15). Cellular approaches to the interaction between cannabinoid receptor ligands and nicotinic acetylcholine receptors. European Journal of Pharmacology, 731, 100-5.

Revuelta, A.V., Cheney, D.L., Costa, E., Lander, N., and Mechoulam, R. (1980, August 18). Reduction of hippocampal acetylcholine turnover in rats treated with (-)-delta 8-tetrahydrocannabinol and its 1′,2′-dimethyl-heptyl homolog. Brain Research, 195(2), 445-52.

Revuelta, A.V., Moroni, F., Cheney, D.L., and Costa, E. (1978, September). Effect of cannabinoids on the turnover rate of acetylcholine in rat hippocampus, striatum and cortex. Naunyn-Schmiedeberg’s Achives of Pharmacology, 304(2), 107-10.

Tripathi, H.L., Vocci, F.J., Brase, D.A., and Dewey, W.L. (1987). Effects of cannabinoids on levels of acetylcholine and choline and on turnover rate of acetylcholine in various regions of the mouse brain. Alcohol and Drug Research, 7(5-6), 525-32.

 

Article adapted from medicalmarijuanainc.com

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Using Meditation for Health When Faced with Chronic Illness

Instead of viewing your chronic illness as a disease in your body, choose to view it as an opportunity to reconnect with yourself and learn to love yourself through meditation.

In my senior year at college I was involved in a school tradition called “Marathon,” where every freshman was assigned to a senior, and that freshman makes fun of you in a series of theater skits. My freshman’s performance was eye-opening. She whined, “I can’t do this, and I can’t do that. My neck hurts, my back hurts, my shoulders ache.” Everyone in the audience was laughing, but I was hurt and surprised. That’s how my classmates saw me? As a whiner and a complainer—a joke? A hypochondriac? Everyone else’s skit portrayed something truly funny, but I had a real health problem. And I was being laughed at for it.

There’s a reason why chronic illnesses are considered the “invisible diseases” and sometimes perceived as hypochondria: if others actually can’t see the pain you’re in, they think you’re a faker. The truth is, I actually did think of myself as a “sick chick” for a long time, so I bear responsibility for transmitting that message out to the masses. Until we stop defining ourselves as sick, other people will continue to see us that way too.

Instead of viewing your condition as a disease in your body, choose to view it as an opportunity to reconnect with yourself and learn to love yourself. When I discovered the Glow Warrior within, I knew it definitely came directly from the power of the Universe (you can call it God, the One, or Gaia—it all works!). It’s there within you too. You won’t drown, get lost, or lose your way. You will, however, start seeing yourself as bigger than your physical challenges or limitations.


 

Do Nothing—with Purpose

First of all, don’t just sit there. Sit there and get comfortable in the present moment. The first step to truly healing is to fully surrender to where you are in this moment. And to let it be. When you allow yourself to be truly present in your body, your heart will soften and open, and you can begin to use that feeling as your guide. This is how you will begin to heal yourself. Focusing on your breath is what will bring you back to the present at any moment you choose. Your breath is your life force and your anchor, and unfortunately it is something that, for a lot of us, tends to get lost in the shuffle when we are dealing with severe stress in the body. The first place to start getting reconnected to yourself is through your breath.

Focus on breathing in through your nose, lowering your breath all the way down into your tummy, and expanding your ribcage out to the sides. Then slowly exhale out through your mouth. The first time I sat and did nothing but breathe, I thought I was going to scream hard enough to ace the part of the hysterical heroine in the next zombie apocalypse movie. After a few tries I started looking forward to it because doing nothing with purpose really does put you in touch with your higher self, your inner guide, the present moment, and the spiritual forces that are all on your side. It’s called meditating, which is a practice that helps us build and maintain our internal energy and develop patience, forgiveness, and compassion.


 

If you have a chronic condition or are physically struggling, you have to make a clear intention to sit in the initial discomfort and distractions beginning meditation often brings. There you are, sitting cross-legged, replaying a particularly annoying conversation at work, or thinking about the laundry you need to pick up (or dry cleaning you need to drop off), and all of a sudden you’re not meditating anymore. Eventually, you re-center yourself and let those random thoughts float by, and you do begin to see yourself differently. You begin to feel more loving and more forgiving, less critical of yourself. You get yourself out of the “what ifs” of the future or “coulda shouldas” from the past and get comfortable in the present moment.

Don’t stop even if you feel very uncomfortable and strange in the beginning. Be persistent. Give time and space for your inner voice to make itself heard. That will happen either right in the moment or sometime later during the day. Doing nothing is so powerful it has an amazing residual effect—sort of like taking a time-release capsule of inner peace and wisdom. Some synchronistic event will occur; someone will tell you exactly what you need to hear; you will get a sudden flash of insight. Along with that, you’ll realize you are so much more than your tingling legs, irritable bowel, or migraine headache.

Connecting with my soul has been one of the best things I have ever done for my physical condition and my mind. Finding my soul was like finding my home, and when I found it, everything else started to flow, and my body started to heal.

 

A simple meditative breathing practice to connect to your soul:

Sit still and tall somewhere comfortable; a chair with good back support works well. Close your eyes and begin breathing through your nose. Inhale for a count of two, and exhale gently for a count of four. Keep breathing evenly and smoothly. Set a timer and breathe this way for at least five minutes.

One nice element you can add to this exercise is a mantra. On the inhale say to yourself, “I am,” and on the exhale, say to yourself, “perfectly well.” In doing so, you’re tuning into the idea that you’re not just your physical ailments, and you’re making room for your true self to breathe. Afterward you will notice a positive difference in your mood.

Kicking Sick: Your Go-To Guide to Thriving with Chronic Health Conditions

Adapted from Kicking Sick: Your Go-To Guide to Thriving with Chronic Health Conditions by Amy Kurtz. Copyright © 2017 by Amy Kurtz. To be published by Sounds True in January 2017.

About the Author
Amy Kurtz is a wellness expert, an AADP-certified Holistic Health Coach, and a regular contributor on popular wellness websites such as MindBodyGreen and Yoganonymous. She lives in New York City. For more information, visit amykurtz.com.

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Video: Myasthenia Gravis and Exercise

 

I have written previously on the undeniable benefits of exercise for those living with MG as well as my own personal journey back to health which most defiantly included (and still does to this day), exercise or ‘physical therapy’.  

So after being inspired by my good friend who is on a similar journey of improving his health after not being able to walk, today, I wanted to share a helpful and informative video with all of you. 

 

My dear friends…I want to remind you that when you take the time to focus on improving the various elements of health, your body will respond and your health will improve. Speaking from personal experience, by incorporating physical therapy, upgrading nutrition and working to reduce stress and calm the mind, you can and over time will, improve your strength and overall MG health.

*Always talk to your doctor before starting a physical wellness plan and never exercise if in a crisis. Don’t be afraid to ask your doctor to request physical therapy as part of your treatment plan!

Myasthenia Gravis and Exercise 

Video from the Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of Illinois

 

 

 Have you read:

Exercise for MG: the 9 tips you need to know 

 


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Complementary therapy for improved muscle strength

Have you ever thought about visiting an Osteopathic physician since being diagnosed with Myasthenia Gravis?  

 

Medical News Today explains that, “Osteopathy is a form of drug-free non-invasive manual medicine that focuses on total body health by treating and strengthening the musculoskeletal framework, which includes the joints, muscles and spine. Its aim is to positively affect the body’s nervous, circulatory and lymphatic systems. 

This therapy is a unique holistic (whole body) approach to health care. Osteopaths do not simply concentrate on treating the problem area, but use manual techniques to balance all the systems of the body, to provide overall good health and wellbeing.”

 

 

Why Try?

The overall philosophy of treating the body with osteopathic care (complementary to other existing treatments) is what really stands out. So many times we see doctors and physicians who, although may do a terrific job, fail to integrate the important goal of whole body wellness into a plan for treatment. 

 “The philosophy of Osteopathy is what sets it apart from other medical disciplines. The key principles are based on all parts of the body functioning together in an integrated manner. If one part of the body is restricted, then the rest of the body must adapt and compensate for this, eventually leading to inflammation, pain, stiffness and other health conditions. When the body is free of restrictions in movement, Osteopathic treatment assists the body with pain minimization, reduced stress and greater mobility providing the body with the opportunity to heal itself.”

 




 

 

Chronic illness

This is especially important for those living with various chronic illnesses. Naturally, the entire body should be functioning in a friendly manner but when the symptoms of chronic illness shows up, something within the system of our body has very obviously been thrown off.

General improvement in mobility and structural stability of the body are known benefits of osteopathic care. While this course of action may not be beneficial for all chronic conditions, It may play a positive part in the lives of Myasthenia Gravis patients. The possibility for improved overall body function due to improvement of structural stability and general mobility is there. 

In addition, when the body is internally and physically at a resting, pain-free and stress-free state, other systems within body such as the circulatory, nervous and lymphatic systems function more effectively. This is what osteopathic treatment aims to help. 

 

Symptom relief for general wellbeing

While this is not by any means the end all be all of Myasthenia Gravis symptoms, I see great potential for osteopathic care to be a solid complementary treatment while working towards whole body health. It is important that we keep what muscle and strength we do have to push back against the potential for muscle atrophy – which can easily happen as many of us are not as mobile as we once were.

I have experienced the benefit of guided strength training as well as muscle release therapy for pain reduction myself. Both of which improved my mobility and general strength overtime. The key is to work with someone who is aware of the quick weakness and fatigue Myasthenia Gravis can cause. While you must ease into any physical treatment, given time, I feel that physical therapy or Osteopathic treatment has the potential to greatly help those living with Myasthenia Gravis. 

Yes, we may have a few things pushing against us but as long as we’re pushing back, we will always have persistence and determination on our side.

 



*the complementary treatment described above is meant to share a look into another therapy that can be looked into in addition to continuing your normal doctors care but not in place of. As always, make sure you are stable enough, especially with breathing, and talk to your doctor before trying any physical complementary treatment.

 

source: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/70381.php

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