Natural Fabrics for Sensitive SkinThose who suffer with multiple chemical sensitivities (MCS), as well as anyone with psoriasis, eczema, allergies, asthma or itchy skin rashes find it worth the time to pay attention to the 'fabrics' in their lives. Fabrics used for clothing and linens are often bleached, dyed and treated with flame retardants and/or permanent-press chemicals. Reactions range from uncomfortable to debilitating. More and more, the incidence of fabric-related reactions has escalated as the manufacturing of fabric has become increasingly chemically based. What may be surprising is that many of the fabric treatments such as bleach, dye, flame retardants, permanent press and sizing chemicals, sun protection and even insect repellants; remain in the fabric, even after washing. If you suspect that clothing may be contributing to your discomfort, try natural fibers such as: bamboo (Yes! bamboo textiles), organic cotton, tencel, linen, silk or hemp. See Laundry tips for the Sensitive-Skinned below.
Laundry tips for the Sensitive-Skinned
- Buy biodegradable, fragrance-free laundry detergents that contain no petrochemicals. An added bonus is that these are generally better for the environment too.
- Always wash new clothes prior to wearing them to remove chemical residue.
- Avoid dry cleaning; check out the wet-clean option instead. If you must occasionally have your clothes dry cleaned, pick a 'green' dry cleaner. Remove the clothes from the plastic bags and hang them in an out-of-the-way place to off-gas before wearing.
- Just say no to conventional fabric softeners and dryer sheets. Experts agree that these are often the worst offenders in the laundry room. There are a few healthier commercial alternatives on the market - check online or at your local natural products store. Or try adding a cup of vinegar to the wash water to prevent static cling, and some baking soda to the rinse to soften clothes.
- Allow the sun, not chlorine, to bleach your clothing. A lemon juice rinse followed by time in the sun is even more effective than bleach.
- Use a non-perfumed, vegetable-based liquid soap with a cup of baking soda or borax to boost the cleaning power of soap.
- Soak clothing overnight in diluted vinegar before washing.
- Be prepared to soak and wash new clothes several times before wearing, depending on how sensitive you are.
- Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of Epsom salts to the wash cycle to brighten your clothes.
- Using a washing machine that is designated for chemical free washing to avoid lingering residues from products others may have used. If you use a public machine, run a full cycle before washing your own clothes to clear out as much of the residue as possible.
- Experiment; you may find a new combination of products and procedures that works well for you!
My name is Deanna Benson, 55-year old widow. In 1991, I was diagnosed by a neurologist to have Multiple Sclerosis (MS). I had the classic symptoms which included numbness in my arms and legs, I was so numb from my waist down that I could not feel the sensation of urination. My right leg was weak and my right ankle dropped so I walked with a limp. I also had recurrent iritis in my eyes. I often stammered when I was on the phone. When I turned 49 and hit menopause, my problem became more pronounced, I was easily tired, my memory became much poorer, I experienced anxiety episodes and frequent headaches. I was also becoming more and more sluggish and constipated, my hormone replacement therapy (provera) did not alleviate much of my menopausal symptoms and hot flashes were getting unmanageable. At that point I decided to consult with Colet Lahoz, RN, MS, a licensed acupuncturist. I heard her speak at a workshop and was very impressed with her work and her perspective about healing. She combines acupuncture, herbal medicine and diet and had remarkable success in treating conditions like mine.Practitioner's Note
I consulted with her in May 1997, as part of an intake interview I filled out the questionnaire to determine if I had a long-standing, untreated condition called Candidiasis. She was able to pick up this possibility when I mentioned that I had severe sweet cravings but that every time I ate too much refined sugar, my symptoms became more pronounced specially the fatigue. The fact that my symptoms all got magnified during damp, cloudy days also were indicative of candidiasis. I scored high on the Candida profile which indicated I was positive for systemic fungal infection. She explained that her research as well as other research done by other specialists such as Dr. A. V. Constantini (director of the World Health Organization, division on mycotoxins) has documented the link between mycotoxins (the toxins from fungi absorbed in the blood stream) and the development of autoimmune diseases and even malignancies. Colet Lahoz claimed that she has observed this link with patients with diagnoses such as Lupus Erythematosus, Sjogrens Disease, Parkinson's Disease, and Rheumatoid Arthritis, and that putting them on the antifungal therapy reversed the autoimmune condition. I found this information very exciting and could not wait to get on the program.
The three-fold regimen I had to follow included a change in diet. She advised me strongly to adhere with the diet strictly, specially the first three months, in order to get the best results. The diet I followed eliminated all refined sugars, even fruits for the first three months, alcoholic beverages, any food items containing yeast as an ingredient, coffee and diary. I was allowed to have vegetables, grains, nuts, organic meat, eggs and seafood. Colet emphasized the importance of eating fresh foods, free from mold.
She also put me on an antifungal mix which included Caproyl (liquid capryllic acid, an antifungal), liquid Bentonite, Psyllium husks and seeds. I took these together twice a day as a shake. I also took acidophilus to replenish friendly bacteria in my gut.
The third part of my treatment regimen was a series of acupuncture treatments spaced about once a week. These treatments were to repair the damage caused by the long term fungal infection which has damaged my immune function, my nervous system and is causing the many symptoms including the MS I was experiencing.
She also advised me to learn to meditate and I used the self-hypnosis tape "Self Healing: A Meditation with Colors", a 25-minute meditation developed by Colet Lahoz.
I must say that by the 4th visit, I was beginning to feel better, the numbness in my arms and legs were the first to feel relief, and to my amazement, I could feel myself urinate again. As I began to improve, she advised me to try getting off the Provera, because hormone therapy can promote fungal overgrowth. I got off the Provera on June 3, 1997 and have not used it since. Instead I use progesterone cream (Femarone) and Colet uses acupuncture points and Chinese herbal medicine to correct the imbalance as shown in my pulses.
By the 5th visit, I was able to report that my ankle functioned much better and I was able to walk with a more normal gait. As the weeks went, my symptoms got better and I also recognized that when I cheated on my diet or missed taking my antifungals regularly my symptoms would worsen.
By the 6th week, I reported that my recurrent vaginal itching had completely gone and that my headaches were less often and when they occurred they were less intense. Needless to say, I was very thrilled and I adhered with the program closely. I am happy to report that after three months my energy had improved to the point that I was able to work full time for the first time since 1991. The symptoms that were attributed to MS were reversed and I was pronounced by my neurologist to be in remission.
I continued the anti-fungal regimen, rotating anti-fungals every three months. After three months I was able to tolerate having fruits and I tapered my acupuncture visits to twice a month (every other week).
It has been three years since I was first seen by Colet Lahoz at the East West Clinic. My MS is still in remission and all the other symptoms attributed to candidiasis such as fatigue, sugar craving, vaginal itching, and recurrent headaches are stable. I continue to receive acupuncture treatments once a month for preventive maintenance. I believe that I possibly still have MS but that the treatments keep the symptoms under control. When I am overextended and tired, or am sick with the flu, the old symptoms of numbness and weakness seem to recur, but as soon as I get balanced through the acupuncture treatments and I am able to sleep, the symptoms disappear.
I am writing my story in hopes that other people with the diagnosis of multiple sclerosis will be given hope that this usually incurable disease with no known cause, actually is caused by long standing untreated candidiasis or systemic fungal infection and that it can be cured. It is my hope that practitioners reading my story would look into the research done by Colet Lahoz and published in her book "Conquering Yeast Infections: The Non-Drug Solution". I waited three years to share my story to be sure that the results are permanent and so far so good. I thank God for helping me find the practitioner knowledgeable enough to make the proper diagnosis and treatment.
My conclusion: I concur with the research as reported by A. V. Costantini, M.D., that mycotoxins are implicated in many autoimmune diseases. Ms. Benson is one of many people with malignancies and autoimmune diseases who tested positive on the Candida profile and recovered using the three-fold regimen of diet, herbal anti-fungals and acupuncture.
Findings on her first visit based on traditional Chinese medicine: Generalized long-term pattern of chi (energy) and yang deficiency. Acupuncture points were those needed to correct the deficiency as well as address her many symptoms. Du20, Li4, Lv3, Li11, Sp6 and 9, GB34, TB5, Ki 3 and 6, CV4, 6,12, St36, PC6, and Ht7 were some of the points I used in combination at various visits.
It took 20 acupuncture treatments, strict adherence to diet restrictions and a whole year of antifungal therapy to stabilize her condition. I rotated antifungals every one to the three months. I used the Attogram products as they make the best initial cleanse. In subsequent months I used liquid grapefruit seed extract, Kolorex, Olive Leaf Extract and Undecenoic Acid in rotation. I used either acidophilus or homeostatic soil organisms as probiotic sources of friendly bacteria.
You can read more Case Studies in the book "Conquering Yeast Infections: The Non-Drug Solution" is available at www.wholeapproach.com.