Why should I take your word for all this?
You shouldn’t. I certainly wouldn't.
The aim of this site is to give overwhelmed patients a simplified starting point in thinking about these topics, and a list of essential books they need to read to really get started. These are well-referenced books written by credible medical experts; Doctors that have experience in successfully treating thousands of patients, in many cases. These books contain not just the basic information about which treatments to try, as this site also does, but they contain masses of information which shows why and how they work.
I would advise having no one person that you blindly listen to about health topics
As much as you can it is a good idea to read widely on each topic and to get a few different viewpoints. Reading about a topic and finding agreement on it with a large number of genuine experts also gives you a lot more confidence in going forward with incorporating some of these ideas into your own disease treatment plan.
The more you read and learn the better off and more successful your treatment plan will be. Why not check out my book reviews page to start choosing your next health book purchase!
There is not much new info here, not much that isn’t in the recommended books you list, is that fair?
I think there is so much information out there that there is a huge real need for summaries and good overviews of many topics to be produced, combined with high quality ‘further reading’ guides.
It can take years for people to sort the good information from the bad (and most of it is bad!), or this may not be possible at all if a person is not able to read and process large amounts of text. This is a big problem when the information is needed as quickly as possible, as is the case with information about disease treatment.
If I were presenting all of the information on this site as my own and my word as being the final word on a topic, and not including any references or links to the source texts, I think that would be a big problem and very unfair to the authors of those books, however.
What is the ‘hummingbird’ thing all about?
See the Hummingbirds page on the website to read about the hummingbird metaphor for describing severe illness and severe M.E. in particular.
You are still really ill so obviously you don’t know much about health at all, so why should I listen to you?
Someone said this recently to me online. I hadn’t thought about the question in that way before.
To me, if I were going bald, I’d want to talk to someone who had gone bald and then been able to get hair to grow back, rather than someone with an unchanged healthy head of hair since birth. If I wanted to lose weight I’d choose to listen to someone that has put weight on and lost it rather than someone that has always been very thin and never had a weight problem.
But actually that is all only partly true. What I would want to do is talk to the person that has the best information, the information that works, no matter who they were.
So my answer to this question is in 2 parts.
A. The information I’m providing is a summary of books by the world’s best experts on healing. They have healed or partially healed thousands of people and saved countless lives. This information is not very well-known and so I’m trying hard to make it more so and get it out to more people. What has happened in my own case study of one doesn’t really impact on the veracity of this information either way.
B. To be accused of not knowing much about healing because my disease is still severe after several years of treatment, is to lack a basic understanding of what genuine healing is and how it works. Anyone that claims a person can recover and heal from 14 years of very severe disease in a matter of 2 or 3 years is talking absolute nonsense. With such a disease process you either make slow progress or none at all. Those are the only options. Genuine healing is not instant like the effect of a drug. Healing is utterly different to the way a drug works.
For example, Dr Klenner talked about patients often seeing significant effects after 6 months or so but it sometimes taking 5 - 10 years of constant treatment for his protocol to be effective in longer-term cases. One paper of his also says it may take a year of treatment for every two years spent ill with M.S. (or similar neurological diseases, which would include M.E.) for the full benefits of treatment to be seen. That would be 8 years in my case.
What is amazing to me is for someone that has had their disease slowly worsen for over a decade, slowly be able to make this change happen in the opposite direction. That is amazing, and something it has taken me years and lots of reading and experimentation to learn how to do. My disease was very resistant to treatment at first. It is also not something that most people with a similar disease process have been able to do. Most people I know are not slowly improving their health, and they continue to stay at the same low level or to deteriorate. Without the information on this site I would be with them, I’m sure.
So I have managed to do a very difficult thing and in a reasonable timeframe and right now I feel I am experiencing as much success with it as is possible with a disease history like mine. (How long this improvement continues and how much of my bodily damage turns out to be permanent remains to be seen, however, scarily. But that is another topic for another day.)
I’m presenting information from experts of a high quality and I also have personal experience that it works for a very resistant and difficult and long-term case study.
Improving from very severely ill to just severely ill might not sound like much to some but to be being able to cook a bit again after a 10 year break, being able to easily stand for a half hour or hour at a time instead of struggling with just 5 minutes, being able to lie in the sun now and then and look at the garden and the birds and have my blinds open a tiny bit instead of being inside in an almost dark room for years, being able to spend 3 hours on the computer some days instead of just half an hour a week, mean an enormous amount to me. I’m beyond impatient for more improvements and I have so far to go to really get a reasonable quality of life but what I have gotten even so far is wonderful. Life as disabled and ill as I was before is truly a living hell. Life is still hard every day but the difference in how I was then to how I am now is so immense I don’t have the words to describe it.
It is possible that what I have to say could be fairly judged as being of limited value for those that are healthy, or only moderately ill, or that are recently ill.
But for those battling severe, extremely disabling, long-term and very difficult or seemingly impossible to treat diseases I think I have a fairly rare perspective that is of at least some genuine interest. It is for those people that I am writing this website.
Do you have any medical training?
No, I do not. None at all. In this field high school level 'human biology' is probably as high as my qualifications go. I did go to university but I didn't study medicine or nursing or anything similar.
I'm just a somewhat well-read patient that that has spent lots of time talking to hundreds of other patients about treatments and symptoms, doing hundreds of (controlled!) studies on myself and my own significant health issues and symptoms over several years, and that is lucky enough to be close to a few experienced nurses that let me ask them endless medical questions at times.
I’m too ill for all this, it is all too overwhelming. How am I meant to do all this?
The information here is a lot to take in all at once if you’re very ill and possibly even if you are not.
It is important to remember that any changes you’ll make to your diet or to what supplements you take, all need to be done gradually and one at a time. Only small steps are needed and over time all these small steps add up.
You aren't meant to do 'all of this' just one small thing at a time.
I can’t afford all this stuff, how is this information useful to me?
At any budget you can do something to improve your health.
If money is very tight then it is more important than ever that you make every cent you spend on food, drinks and supplements work for you and very strictly avoid eating or doing things that impede health improvements.
A low budget is not a reason to not try at all. All you can do is the best you can with what resources you have. A heavily cut-back healing program that gives you slower progress than might be possible with a larger budget is still very worthwhile.
I’m too ill to do all that cooking, and don’t even have the carer help I need to live, how is this information useful to me?
If you are very ill and don’t have the assistance of the carers you need each day, then I am so sorry to hear it. I hope something changes for you in the future. Such a situation is horrific and it’s appalling it is allowed to happen. I wish I could send you all a carer to look after you as you need and deserve.
In such a terrible and desperate situation it is still important to make the best choices you can to at least try and stop your health situation worsening. (More information on cooking and preparing food when very ill and when assistance is not available in included on the HFME website.)
I’m too ill to do all that extra cooking and food prep, how is this information useful to me?
All you can do is the best you can with what resources you have. Make the best choices you can, each day.
If you are facing this problem, I hope that what happened to me will happen to you. That over time what you are able to do to improve your health will bring you results, and health improvements. So that you are naturally able to do a little more to make healthy foods etc. every few months.
I’m too ill to take supplements, how is this information useful to me?
When a patient is very ill and very sensitive to healing reactions caused by supplements and dietary changes, this doesn’t mean that no treatments should be attempted at all, just that changes must be made super slowly.
It is important to be aware of the difference between a supplement genuinely not agreeing with you, and suffering with a healing reaction from a supplement. A healing reaction is actually a sign that your body desperately needed whatever it was you were taking and was able to use it to start healing.
It is also important to be aware that healing the gut and eating a high-quality and very nutrient dense diet should always be done before supplements are taken anyway. This will also help give your body more strength and resources to handle future healing reactions from supplements. Dietary changes should also be made very gradually in sensitive individuals.
Slow and steady progress is the goal. The program should always be slowed further or taken back to a previous level when the body shows signs and symptoms that you are going too fast for it to keep up with.
Slow and steady progress is possible for so many of us, still gives a reason for hope and is far better than doing nothing and making no progress at all
Healing reactions mean you have to get sicker before you get better. Even though 'anti-viral herb product x' left me really ill last time I started taking it, I should really just toughen up and start taking it again shouldn't I?
Almost certainly not!
Just because healing reactions are a part of real healing, and just because something makes you ill when you take it and is 'natural' doesn't mean it is a good idea or helpful or the relapse it causes will remotely be worth it.
So many very ill patients I know have been made far sicker by trying this approach. Often the results can be devastating and very long-lasting. It is frustrating that this approach is promoted so often.
Taking strong anti-viral or anti-bacterial herbs or immune boosting herbs before you have corrected your nutritional deficiences and started healing is madness. It is like flogging a dead horse! It's like being starving hungry and then persuaded to spend all your money on a really fancy super-special garnish that does nothing but give you a stomach ache and indigestion.
It's trying to force your body to do something that it just doens't have the necessary resources and strength to carry through with. It's a huge stress on your body and doesn't make sense in the context of deep healing vs symptom supression. Not only will it not help it's pointless and will make you sicker for no benefit. Possibly much sicker.
Anti-viral and other 'fighting' type treatments sound so exciting and sexy and 'action-y' but what your body needs in chronic illness way before these are even considered is optimum levels of the nutrients vital to real health. Boosting the immune system or getting rid of a chronic infection are great goals but no anti-viral herb or drug can take the place of a properly fuelled immune system.
Please don't see avoiding this sort of product as 'wussy.' I am scared of the idea of such treatnents too, as I know how terribly ill they have made me (and friends of mine) many times over in the past. Avoding such products when you're a long way off from healed is sensible, not weak.
I just saw an ad for a coconut or lemon detox product. It was a drink or a powder or something. I think the ad featured a Kardashian on it. I know from your site that detoxification is important so Is this something I should try?
Almost certainly not. Genuine detoxification programs are quite different to those sold in bottles or all those silly ‘drink nothing but juice for a few days and this will totally detox you and then you can go back to doing what you like’ articles online and in newspapers and magazines.
These types of things are fads and are about money-making and marketing and not at all related to the real sdience-based therapy that genuine detoxification experts would recommend. It’s apples and oranges.
These products and diets give the topic of detoxification a bad name and make it seem lightweight and faddish, which is unfortunate. Getting health advice from the ‘beauty’ section of the paper, or any Kardashian, is never a good idea!
Do you support homeopathy?
No. I'm a supporter of only a few small parts of what might be termed the 'alternative' medicine industry, and in no way support it as a whole.
It is hard going all this healing stuff. A wonder drug would be easier wouldn’t it?
It really would. Working out what is a healing reaction and what is a bad reaction to a treatment, how fast to go with detoxification and all the other 100 things you need to constantly analyse and re-evaluate is a constant challenge.
One doctor says it is like working out how to play chess on a 3D chess board where the pieces sometimes move around randomly all by themselves!
But real deep healing is the only way to go, for all that. It is what works. It has the benefit over wonder drugs and drug cures of not being based on fantasy and pharmaceutical industry marketing hype!
I think what you are saying is crap and drug research is improving every day too and many breakthroughs are just around the corner. Why would I do anything but wait for a wonder drug?
Fair enough, each to their own. Might be a long wait though. While you’re waiting, perhaps you might consider looking into doing what you can to improve your health, right now too? Or not, of course.
What if I have cancer, is what you are saying still appropriate?
The difference with cancer as opposed to chronic neurological diseases is the time factor. People with cancer do not have the same luxury of time to allow slow healing. If you have cancer you MUST find yourself a good orthomolecular, functional or holistic medicine expert that is very experienced in treating your form of cancer and go from there. Getting some of the books by experts knowledgeable about cancer (e.g. Dr Sherry Rogers) listed in the book list section would also be a good idea.
General healing information based on making slow progress is not appropriate when you have cancer and a limited time to get big results. The challenges and limitations are also different when a disease is a long term problem as opposed to one with a recent onset.
I've been told I have 'CFS' (or 'ME/CFS') what does this mean?
CFS is made up of people with hundreds of different and unrelated diseases. Some patients are very mildly ill while others may be seriously ill or have life-threatening diseases. Everyone deserves better than one of these two misdiagnoses or non-diagnoses.
The vast majority of those diagnosed with "CFS' do not have M.E. although many with M.E. will be given a 'CFS' non-diagnosis, unfortunately. For more information both The misdiagnosis/non-diagnosis of CFS and Where to after a 'CFS' (mis)diagnosis? papers on HFME are vital reading.
All the 'CFS' and 'ME/CFS' hype out there helps nobody. M.E. and 'CFS' are not the same. Logic and science must again win out over financially motivated hype and nonsense on this topic.
How do I convince others to change their diets or to start taking vitamin C at reasonable doses etc.?
I wouldn’t really recommend trying. So many people are convinced that vitamin C is just ‘expensive urine’ and that the news media and medical profession couldn’t possibly be so wrong or untruthful about nutritional medicine. No amount of information on how financial vested interests drives public opinion on disease treatment so overwhelmingly, or legitimate facts on certain treatments will convince them otherwise most likely.
Trying to talk such people around is probably going to a be a waste of your time and you also run a big risk of getting very negative feedback which may even become quite personal. As Irving Stone writes, ‘It takes much more than logic and clear-cut demonstrations to overcome the inertia and dogma of established thought.’
Unless people are at least a bit open to new ideas and doing a bit of reading and fact-checking when you suggest it in subtle ways, it might be best to just keep quietly doing what you are doing and hopefully let the results speak for themselves.
How do you stick to such a strict diet all the time?
I don’t. I’m far from perfect in this regard. My diet compliance is usually around the 98-100% mark but it dips a bit below that sometimes, unfortunately. I adore many of the foods that don’t agree with me such as bread, potatoes, cheese, yogurt and rice and family occasions designed around special foods are very tempting for many reasons and so eating how I need to for health is not always easy.
Dr Sherry Rogers said recently that she estimates that only 5% of her patients follow the diet plan she sets out for them that will cure their condition or make a significant difference in some way to their health. I remind myself of this shocking statistic and how hard sticking to a strict diet is when I beat myself up too much for not following my diet plan perfectly all the time.
All you can do is your best and pick yourself up and start again when you lose the food plot a bit.
Why isn’t all this stuff well known if it works?
In a word, money. The ‘healthcare’ and pharmaceutical industries are some of the most profitable and powerful in the world, as is the food processing industry.
There is a bit more to it than that as well, such as the medical industry being arrogant and unable to admit it is ever wrong about anything and the overwhelming blind public trust for what ‘authorities’ tell us, as is explained in so many of the health books listed on this site by Dr Sherry Rogers, Dr Thomas Levy, and many others.
Many experts say too that they have given up caring about and analysing this question and prefer to just focus on getting on with it and doing what they can to advance knowledge and help people get well.
Why do you recommend so many books?
Because there is no one book that has everything in it unfortunately.
You’re wrong about unrefined sea salt and saturated fat being good for you, and about a vegetarian or vegan diet not being the healthiest choice, about the dangers of fluoride in the water, about high-carb diets not being a healthy choice, about the cholesterol con and the problems with statin drugs, about dairy and grains not being essential food groups for everyone, about weight loss not being just about eating less and moving more, and about vitamin C and other supplements being more than expensive urine, and lots more.
No, I’m not. Please check out the scrupulously referenced books by unbiased experts in these fields on these topics on the book reviews pages. Misinformation repeated many times over and made very popular is not the same thing as fact.
Even if all this stuff helps, shouldn't we still try and find out the actual cause of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis?
We know what causes M.E. right now and have done for decades!
The information on this website in no way changes the basic facts of M.E. and M.E. causation as described on HFME.
M.E. is an acute (sudden) onset neurological disease initiated by a virus infection (an enterovirus) with multi system involvement which is characterised by post encephalitic damage to the brain stem; a nerve centre through which many spinal nerve tracts connect with higher centres in the brain in order to control all vital bodily functions. This is always damaged in M.E., hence the name 'Myalgic Encephalomyelitis.'
M.E. has existed for centuries. The term M.E. was coined in 1956 and means: My = muscle, Algic = pain, Encephalo = brain, Mye = spinal cord, Itis = inflammation.
There are more than 60 different neurological, cognitive, cardiac, metabolic, immunological, and other M.E. symptoms. M.E. can be at least as disabling MS or polio, and many other serious diseases. M.E. is a chronic/lifelong disease that in some cases is fatal.
M.E. is a testable and scientifically measurable disease with a number of unique features. It is not difficult to diagnose, even within just a few weeks of onset, using a series of objective tests.
M.E. is caused by a virus and the evidence that it is an enterovirus infection is overwhelming and supported by all the most experienced M.E. experts including Drs Dowsett, Ramsay, Richardson and Hyde. While various vague and hard to diagnose 'fatiguing conditions' have a very uncertain etiology due to mixed patient groups being studied, M.E. is another kettle of fish entirely.
M.E. is not a 'mysterious' disease, such claims relate to 'CFS' and not to the distinct neurological disease M.E.
In diseases known to be caused by viruses the role of nutrition and bodily stress from toxic exposures is one of making the body weaker and so much more susceptible to the causative virus. Treatment must initially involve fixing these core nutritional issues and the new ones which have developed due to the ongoing infection and may or may not also involve anti-viral protocols. Unless in the very acute stages of M.E. an anti-viral-only treatment protocol just makes no sense. The chemical and nutritional havoc caused by years of a chronic viral infection running rampant must be fixed for health to start to recover. It is not merely a matter of eradicating the original virus and normal health being restored. The idea that the only ‘real’ M.E. treatment is anti-viral in nature is flawed.
Please see Acute onset M.E. treatment on HHH and also the entire HFME website for more information on all aspects of M.E.
Are there any affiliation links on this site?
Yes. These are the details.If you are a new customer to iHerb, and you put in my code when you order, you get 5 - 10$ off your first order, and 4% of your order total for the next year will be donated. Funds raised will be split evenly between The Nightingale Research Foundation and HFME. iHerb sells everything from neti pots, to NADH, to ubiquinol and their international postage charges are very reasonable. My iHerb reviewer page is here, the code is JOD573 and the website is www.iherb.com
Of course patients must always buy the supplements from the store most appropriate and convenient to them, and with the best prices and range. To do otherwise is not recommended or even supported by HHH. Details are included of this affiliation scheme for the use of those patients who had chosen to use these companies anyway.
It should also be noted that the information on HFME or HHH is never influenced in any way by this affiliation scheme, and that the monies raised by them are very small in comparison to the funds donated to/put toward HFME and HHH by the author (Jodi Bassett).
The Excellent Supplements List I've done on Amazon lists many products from iHerb and many not stocked by iHerb and is not linked to any type of affiliation scheme. It was created for those patients that are overwhelmed by product choice and need a starting point for research. It features products recommended by nutritional experts and which are high quality, high potency and have as few fillers or GMO ingredients as possible.
The HHH site doesn't make money for me, it costs me money. The HHH site is funded solely by me, Jodi Bassett.
‘It takes much more than logic and clear-cut demonstrations to overcome the inertia and dogma of established thought.’ Irving Stone
"In the last century the practice of medicine has become no more than an adjunct to the pharmaceutical industry and the other aspects of the huge, powerful and immensely profitable health care industry. Medicine is no longer an independent profession. Doctors have become nothing more than a link connecting the pharmaceutical industry to the consumer." Dr Vernon Coleman
'There was no way my patients could receive health benefits from optimal levels of nutrients without supplementing their diet. It became very obvious to me that my patients needed to supplement their diet with high-quality, complete and balanced nutritional supplements for the best protection against chronic degenerative diseases.' Dr Ray Strand.
'Taking high-quality, complete and balanced nutritionals are the least expensive health insurance policy you will ever purchase.' Dr Ray Strand.
'There are more politics in modern medicine than in modern politics itself. Today's average physician deserves even less trust than today's average politician, as doctors continue their refusal to allow the scientific data on the profound benefits of vitamins and other antioxidant supplements to reach their eyes and brains. And the staunch support of a press, which collectively no longer has a shred of journalistic or scientific integrity, completes the framing of today's colossal medical fraud. Money always rules the day: properly-dosed vitamins would eliminate far too much of the profit of prescription-based medicine.' Dr Thomas Levy
Note that the aim of this site is to provide a starting point for health and healing research for ill people; especially very overwhelmed and disabled ill people. This site provides recommendations, summaries and reviews of books but is not meant to be a replacement for actually reading some of these wonderful health books if the reader is at all well enough to do so. (Plus getting individualised advice from a doctor that is also an orthomolecular medicine expert if possible). There is no substitute for reading as many of these books as you can. The HHH site can only really hint at their full brilliance. The amount of insight, scientific references, logic, intelligence, compassion and experience in the recommended books will most likely amaze you. HHH aims to encourage people to do their own reading and learning, and to always make up their own minds. All content copyright Jodi Bassett 2006 - 2014.