If you’ve been diagnosed with Lyme disease, chances are good you’ve been prescribed antibiotics. That may be fine, but it may not be enough to keep symptoms at bay. You may find the problems you were having return a few weeks, months, or even years later. This happens because the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria (which causes Lyme disease) likes to “hide out” in tissues where blood flow and therefore oxygen is reduced, such as in connective tissue.
Borrelia has also been found to create biofilms, which are like a walled-in city, and the bacteria can survive there in safety until antibiotics are no longer in the body’s system. Then the Borrelia bacteria will reemerge, causing symptoms of Lyme disease to appear once again.
Do You Have Lyme?
Fewer than 50% of patients with Lyme Disease recall getting a tick bite. It is thought that the longer the tick is attached, the higher the risk of transmission. However, transmission from an infected tick can happen very quickly. It’s possible to contract Lyme disease even if the tick is attached for less than 24 hours. If you don’t develop the classic “bulls-eye rash”, the Erythema rash, it doesn’t mean that you don’t have Lyme. Some studies show that the rash can occur in less than 20% of Lyme patients, therefore this is not necessarily a good indicator as proof of infection.
If you do find a tick on you or your child you should proceed to carefully remove the tick as instructed on the ILADS (International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society)
As cautioned on their website, do not squeeze, burn the tick with a match, or place Vaseline on the tick. Go to: http://www.ilads.org/lyme/what-to-do-if-bit-by-tick.php for instructions as well as a video on their recommended tick-removal process. Once you have the tick, I advise my patients (unless they are coming into the office with the tick) to send the captured tick for testing. Tick Report (https://www.tickreport.com/) is an excellent place to send the tick for testing for Lyme Disease and other tick-borne diseases. Tick Report is a non-profit resource based at UMass Amherst; the turn-around time is fairly rapid, and their price is very reasonable.
How Can We Detect Lyme?
I have had patients come in that have been told they do not have Lyme because their tests are negative. Standard blood tests are not always very accurate or sensitive enough. The first test that the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) says to do is the ELISA (Enzyme-linked immunosorbant assay) test. The ELISA test must be done within the first 30 days of symptoms appearing and even then, it can miss up to 35% of culture-proven cases. The next test that is recommended is the Western blot test; however commercial lab kits remove certain bands which represent an antibody which is specific to a part of the cell wall of the Lyme bacteria causing the Western blot test to miss up to 20-30% of culture-proven positive cases. Armin Labs (https://www.arminlabs.com/en/tests/elispot) in Germany, offers an excellent test called the EliSpot test which has been found to be between 20 to 200 times more sensitive than the ELISA test. The EliSpot test shows current activity in chronic and recent infections. Also, by monitoring this test, your doctor can tell if your recommended treatment is effective.
Testing is just one factor in diagnosis; symptoms can even be more important. Very sick and chronically ill patients may not show an immune response to bacteria. Only after treating the patient and restoring their immune system, will they demonstrate a positive response to testing.
In our office, we use instrument testing known as EAV testing (Electro-acupuncture According to Voll). This device can measure the flow of electrons or electromagnetic energy running through the patient’s acupuncture meridian points and can determine whether the electrons are flowing properly. Once we establish the flow along a meridian, we can further test for the signals of various things such as toxins or infections (like the signal for Borrelia burgdorferi) and whether these signals are altering electrical conductance. I like to call this testing Biological Signal Analysis. For instance, if we send the signal for Borrelia down a pathway that we know has a disturbance and it changes the electrical conductance on that pathway, then it indicates the presence of a Borrelia signal. We can also test how strong that signal is. I find that EAV with Biological Signal Analysis is a very accurate method for giving insight into the patient’s case and into the type and locations of infections and toxins a person has. Although we find a high correlation with the other testing methods used, we never use this method as a stand-alone diagnostic test for Lyme.
In addition, we use EAV testing to help us understand which botanicals (see Botanical Medicine below) will best help our Lyme patients. We also use this testing to determine if our patient’s mesenchyme is blocked. Mesenchyme holds our cells together, also known as interstitial tissue. Our nerve endings, capillaries, venules and lymphatic(s) are located here and this is where the exchange of nutrients and wastes take place. For example, as you breathe in oxygen it is transported to your lungs, then to your arteries, and down to your capillaries where it is unloaded into the mesenchyme and then diffused into the cells of your organs. The CO2 (carbon dioxide) comes out of the cells into the mesenchyme, and is picked up by the venules, goes to your veins, and from there to your lungs to be exhaled. If the mesenchyme is blocked and cannot function efficiently problems may occur. Botanicals, nutraceuticals, and even drugs will have a hard time working properly if your mesenchyme is blocked. We test for this, and can unblock a blocked mesenchyme with specifically selected homeopathics, (See Acupuncture and Traditional Japanese Reiki below).
How Should You Treat Lyme Disease?
There is no one treatment that is guaranteed to work for every patient; however here are six “alternative” approaches that we use in our office, which we find very effective.
Botanical Medicine. No matter how advanced medical science becomes, never underestimate the powers of Mother Nature! Many antimicrobial herbs and herbal formula combinations have been shown to effectively kill Borrelia burgdorferi (the bacteria that causes Lyme disease) and other tick-borne pathogens.
Herbs have an incredibly complex combination of phytochemicals that can be very harmful to certain bacteria, yet are harmless to people. Even top pharmaceutical researchers have a hard time creating such things in the lab. Incorporating botanical medicine into a patient’s overall treatment protocol can help prevent developing a resistance to medications such as antibiotics. We use EAV testing to help us identify which botanicals are right for the individual patient.
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy. Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) is incredibly effective at killing Borrelia burgdorferi. In fact, one clinical study has shown that 75 percent of patients with chronic Lyme disease experience improvements in their symptoms while using HBOT. (Of this 75 percent, a quarter experience complete remission of symptoms!)
During HBOT, patients are placed inside a hyperbaric oxygen chamber with an oxygen concentration of 100 percent. The chamber is slowly raised between 1.5 to 2 times the normal atmospheric pressure, allowing more oxygen to enter the bloodstream and cerebral spinal fluid.
Borrelia bacteria are microaerophilic anaerobes, meaning that they don’t like a lot of oxygen. Under hyperbaric conditions, the concentration of oxygen can become great enough to kill Borrelia, especially in combination with antibiotic and/or herbal therapies. Furthermore, since HBOT reduces inflammation in the brain and other tissues, it can bring healing and resolution to many of the inflammatory side effects of Lyme disease, such as brain fog and other neurological impairments.
EEG Neurofeedback and other Neurotherapies. An electroencephalogram (EEG) is one of the most accurate tools to measure the functioning of the brain. As patients’ brain waves are read in real time, special software gives rewards—for example, audible feedback or making a movie brighter—when optimal brain wave patterns occur. This prompts the brain to subconsciously re-pattern itself.
Because Lyme Spirochetes can cross the blood-brain barrier, Lyme patients often will suffer from brain fog, poor concentration, memory issues, anxiety and depression. I find that Neurofeedback can help treat the ‘brain fog’ from which many Lyme patients suffer. Certain neurofeedback protocols can even help boost the immune system, since the brain is the master commander of the immune system. We use Neurofeedback as well as other EEG-guided neurotherapies such as Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation and Transcranial Electrical Stimulation in our health center. We use these frequencies to help reduce swelling and inflammation and to increase blood flow to areas of the brain where there is comprised blood flow as seen in immune-comprised patients.
Diet. Diets that are pro-inflammatory and depleted of nutrients cause imbalances in the body’s biochemistry. Specifically, the body will become more acidic and inflamed, and less oxygen will be available on the cellular level. Infections such as Borrelia burgdorferi thrive in these conditions. Borrelia bacteria and other co-infections common with Lyme then release their own toxins, which further disrupt cellular functions and chemistry. Enter nutritional intervention, which focuses on using supplements and a proper diet to restore biochemical balance.
We use blood tests and hair analysis which can pinpoint which nutrients are most needed for a particular patient. These tests can also indicate how the patient’s body best metabolizes foods, and which type of diet will work best. Most Lyme patients will benefit from a low-glycemic, high-antioxidant diet, rich in fresh organic produce. Patients should also be tested for hidden food sensitivities, such as gluten since these can increase inflammation. In addition, we may use stool analysis to check for pathogens, parasites, and gut dysbiosis (microbial imbalance).
Homeopathic Medicines. Homeopathics are gentle yet effective medicines that use highly diluted natural substances to stimulate the body’s natural healing abilities. They can boost the immune system to more effectively fight the infectious pathogenic organisms that are contributing to the Lyme patient’s symptoms (including the Borrelia bacteria, viruses, and other co-infections). Homeopathics can also assist various organs in eliminating toxins.
I tell my patients that Homeopathics do not actually kill the organisms themselves, but send information to the body that tells it to ‘wake up’ and address pathogens via its natural immune responses. It is important to understand that the remedies chosen are tailored to the individual patient and may be updated on subsequent visits as organism levels change.
Acupuncture and Traditional Japanese Reiki. Lyme disease tends to create energetic blockages that can contribute to the patient’s symptoms and make them harder to treat. For instance, many patients have blockages in some of the meridians that feed energy to the head, and may experience symptoms such as brain fog or headaches. These same energetic blockages can prevent medicines from reaching their intended destination. On the flip side, the toxic die-off of the Borrelia bacteria may have more difficulty exiting the body effectively. Opening these energetic blockages through acupuncture or traditional Japanese Reiki will often improve a patient’s symptoms and allow other therapies to work more effectively.
Traditional Oriental medicine is rapidly finding its way into the mainstream and for good reason. Electromagnetic energy (referred to as Qi) flows in “rivers” (or meridians) throughout the body. When certain meridians have too much or too little Qi flowing through them, the body becomes imbalanced. This can be corrected by tapping into acupuncture points. Just as Acupuncture helps Lyme patients in clearing restrictions along meridian pathways, Traditional Japanese Reiki can provide an even more powerful means to also open these pathways. In our office, we have an expert in Traditional Japanese Reiki. Traditional Japanese Reiki is different than the Reiki normally experienced in the United States. This original form of Reiki requires many years of study of Chinese medicine and incorporates traditional Chinese diagnostic techniques like tongue and pulse diagnostics. It also requires someone that can move energy very powerfully. Very few people have the ability to both “push” and “pull” this energy. Reiki masters who have come to our office have commented that the experience was both unique and powerful.
Do the best you can to purify your body and live a healthy lifestyle. It’s important to supplement antibiotics with natural therapies that promote whole-body balance. When the body is overwhelmed with toxins, chemicals, viruses, and bacteria (which is a common state of affairs in the modern world), the organs of detoxification like the liver and lymphatic system become stressed and overtaxed. This makes it much less likely you’ll be able to fight off Lyme disease and its symptoms.
Dr. Adam Breiner practices naturopathic medicine at Whole-Body Medicine in Fairfield, CT. Patients from Connecticut and surrounding states seek his care for Lyme Disease, Brain Injuries, such as stroke, concussions, TBI, as well as enhanced Brain Performance. Visit: www.wholebodymed.com or to schedule an appointment call 203-371-8258 ext. 2.