PT on the Net Research

Dermatomyositis


Question:

My client is 53 years old and was recently diagnosed with an autoimmune disease called dermatomyositis. From what she has been told, the immune system attacks and destroys the muscles, and the sun triggers the worst part of the disease. She has been working with doctors, nutritionists, kinesiologists and gastroenterologists to get the muscle enzymes under control and deal with a gluten intolerance and celiac spru. She said her doctor has warned her about exercise "when the disease is active, efforts to work out only break the muscles down more." Any advice would be greatly appreciated to help take steps to further health and happiness.

Answer:

As you are finding out, one of the most common diseases that keep popping up with clients is of the immune system. You would think that this would speak to our society, letting us know that we are going overboard with everything we do. I think every month now, we keep seeing a new “autoimmune disease,” and they just keep coming! But when you break it down, it is all about self, fighting self and people having issues with their immune system attacking their own bodies. Yes, each disease has a different name, but so do sneakers and when you break those down, a sneaker is just a sneaker.

What does autoimmune mean? Literally, it means immune activity directed against the self. The immune system fights the body itself (auto=self). In autoimmune diseases, the immune system makes a mistake and reacts to the body's own tissues.

What is inflammation? Literally, it means setting on fire. It is a protective process our body uses when tissues are injured. Inflammation helps to eliminate a foreign body or organism (i.e., virus, bacteria) and prevent further injury. Signs of inflammation include; swelling, redness, pain and warmth. If the signs of inflammation are long lasting, as they can be in lupus, then damage to the tissues can occur, and normal function is impaired. This is why the treatment of most autoimmune diseases is aimed at reducing the inflammation.

What happens with dermatomyositis? This is a class of autoimmune diseases called myopathies. With this one in particular, there is such an immune system response that the skin develops reddish purple rashes and patches. They particularly are abundant in the eyelids, armpits, elbows, wrists, fingers, knees, ankles and toes. They are found mostly where major joints are located and where muscles work to extend or flex a joint. There is not much research to show why this happens, but I am going to give you some recommendations that will help to strengthen the immune system and hopefully bring your client to a point of being symptom free. This does not mean cure. All it means is that you are bringing your client closer to homeostasis by reducing her physiological load.

  1. Begin with the six foundational principles in Paul Chek’s book, “How to Eat, Move and Be Healthy!” You can find many references to this and articles/Q&As in the PTN Content Library (see “related articles” at right).
  2. Begin with the 4R gut healing protocol. You can find this in many of my other posts. According to Michael Gershon in his book, "The Second Brain," 70 to 80 percent of the body’s immune system is in the GALT system of the gut! So healing the gut with the 4R Gut Healing Program (Remove, Replace, Reinnoculate, Repair) over time will assist in your client’s healing.
  3. Have your client purchase what is called Dimethyglycine (DMG) and take one to three caps sublingual, three times per day. DMG is a nutrient found in the body but also in plants and animals. It has been found to be effective the nutritional environment of the cell. It has been found to support the immune system by allowing better utilization of 02 at the cellular level. You can purchase the 250mg tabs from DaVinci Labs (www.davincilabs.com) out of Vermont, Massachusetts (USA).
  4. A couple of other things I would do would be to refer her to a practitioner who can run these labs or just refer her to the lab companies themselves:
    • Biohealth Diagnostics: 201 (adrenal), 207 (expanded hormonal), 401h (stool test for the gut)
    • Metametrix: Comprehensive Organix Profile which test for cell metabolism, B-complex vitamins, NT, antioxidants, detoxification and dysbiosis. This is important because we all have external stressors that affect our inside biochemistry, as well as internal stressors that can make our biochemistry much worse. It is better to throw darts with light, than in the dark!
  5. Some other great techniques to strengthen the immune system are: acupuncture, herbs, energy work, tai chi and qi gong.

Hopefully this helps you to get started with your client. Anytime you have a client with a disease such as this, the goal is not to figure out why. Autoimmune diseases are so chronic, that it is the accumulation of many stressors that are creating dis-ease. The goal is to pull things away from the body to so call “put out the fire.” Start slow and progress and let your client realize that this is a one to two year process to get closer to homeostasis.