What Is Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is a chronic, widespread syndrome (a cluster of symptoms), presenting with multiple tender points upon pressure and incapacitating fatigue.

The CDC has estimated that 6 million Americans representing 2% of the population was affected in 2005. 80-90% of those are female and it is most frequent among women age 20-50 years old with a previous history of domestic violence, abuse or emotional trauma and lower income and educational status.

According to the CDC, 25% of those affected by fibromyalgia, also present with autoimmune disease such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.


The symptoms include: widespread pain, decreased pain threshold, fatigue, insomnia, stiffness, irritable bowel syndrome, SIBO (small intestine bacterial overgrowth), reflux, migraines, headaches, cold intolerance, numbness and tingling in hands and feet, Sicca syndrome-dry mouth, nose and eyes, exercise intolerance, painful menses, painful intercourse, depression, brain fog, anxiety, painful or frequent urination and incontinence.


A very thorough history and physical exam needs to be conducted since there is no specific laboratory testing for fibromyalgia. It is usually a diagnosis of exclusion after all other conditions have been ruled out. To meet the criteria for diagnosis, patients must experience at least three months or more of musculoskeletal pain and at least 11 of 18 specified tender points, mapped in the diagram below, along with incapacitating fatigue, sleep disturbances, increased stress levels and depression. The pain has an axial distribution of the spine and anterior chest. Pain occurs on both sides of the body (right and left), and above and below the waist.

In 2012, WebMD, created this diagram of tender points, to make the diagnosis more rigorous. This map consists of 18 points distributed along the front and the back of the body. To obtain a formal diagnosis of fibromyalgia, 11 of these tender points need to create pain upon pressure. The pain must be non-radiating upon a 4kg per cm pressure. This should be just enough pressure to blanch the nail bed, turning it white.


  • Occiput- sub occipital muscle insertion
  • Low cervical- anterior aspects of intertransverse spaces of C5-C7
  • Trapezius- midpoint of upper border
  • 2nd rib – 2nd costocondral junction
  • Supraspinatus – above medial border of scapula spine
  • Lateral epicondyle – 2 cm distal to epicondyles
  • Gluteal – upper outer quadrants of buttocks
  • Greater trochanter – posterior to trochanteric prominence
  • Knee – medial fat pad proximal to joint line

What Causes Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia appears to be the result of a disturbance in the hypothalamus, causing a cascade of adverse events in the HPA (Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Adrenal) axis.  The HPA axis is in charge of regulating sleep, hormones, temperature, blood pressure, sweat and blood flood.

This disruption causes sleep disturbances, impaired cognition, decreased immune function and increased opportunistic infections and abnormal sensitivity to pain. Lack of energy and lack of movement causes muscles to shorten and create more pain.

Stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol are secreted in excess, eventually leading to adrenal fatigue and opportunistic infections such as Candida overgrowth or bacterial infection of the small intestine. Leaky gut syndrome may develop with nutrient malabsorption, and neurotransmitter deficiencies may induce depression, anxiety and cognitive changes.

Our experience shows that the symptoms of fibromyalgia are alleviated by a systemic detoxification and we hypothesize that the hypothalamic disturbance comes from hormone disruptors such as chemicals and heavy metals, previous viral or bacterial infection or emotional trauma.

Conventional Treatment

Conventional treatment focuses on treating the symptoms with pharmacology. Often the medications prescribed have dreadful side effects that cause people to look for alternatives.

The drugs used include:

  • Muscle relaxers
  • Anti-depressants – TCA’s, SSRI, SNRI, MAOI
  • Anti-convulsants
  • NSAIDS and steroids have been found to be ineffective

Alternative Treatments

The National Fibromyalgia Association estimated in 2007, that 12-14 billion dollars is spent annually in the United States on alternative treatments indicating the interest for alternative treatments.

Alternative treatment focuses on restoration of adrenal function, neurotransmitter balance, gastrointestinal health, sleep and pain management, detoxification, stress reduction, exercise and a healthy lifestyle.

Fibromyalgia Recovery Program

Our Three Week Lifestyle Change and Nutritional, Medical Detoxification Program for Fibromyalgia begins with lab testing based on clinical symptoms and history, to identify the causes of fibromyalgia. This phase is conducted at home but can also be done upon arrival. Our in house program consists of a thorough detoxification from heavy metal and chemicals that may have disrupted brain function. It also addresses the possible physiological cause of your fatigue and pain such as low adrenal or thyroid. Psychological factors and history of trauma is carefully recorded.

1. Testing:  Pre-Arrival and Initial Visit

  • Pre- and post-prevocation heavy metal challenge test to assess your toxic metals load
  • CBC with diff, Comprehensive Metabolic Panel to eliminate possibility of anemia
  • Thyroid panel to assess your hormonal levels
  • U/A, urine test for iodine levels
  • Vitamin D levels
  • MMA, homocysteine (B12 levels)
  • Lactulose hydrogen breath test for SIBO
  • Aldolase-muscle enzyme that turns sugar into energy
  • CPK/creatinine phosphokinase – enzyme test that shows muscle damage
  • If joint swelling- RF, anti CCP, ANA
  • Cortisol levels to assess adrenal health and possible stress damage (Adrenal Stress Index – ASI)
  • Amino acids, vitamins, essential fatty acids and minerals to assess nutrient deficiencies
  • Possible food allergies or gluten intolerance

2. Detoxification

We live in a toxic soup. We are exposed to hormone disrupting chemicals (endocrine disrupters) on a daily basis by the air we breathe, the food we eat, plastics, cosmetics, body products, cleaning supplies, pesticides, etc. Our soil today is depleted in the essential nutrients needed in many important metabolic pathways. The liver and the kidneys are overburdened and natural physiological detoxification is backed up and not functioning optimal. Therapeutic detoxification is necessary to remove the toxins accumulated in the tissues. Fibromyalgia has a strong association with heavy metal toxicity and nutrient deficiency. Our program is designed to assist your body in an effective and gentle detoxification. Read this article about our Detoxification Approach. Or visit the Detoxification modality page.
We include:

3. Nutrition

Nutrition is the number one source of energy. Chemicals absorbed through the food cannot be metabolized by the body and then they linger around, poisoning tissues and creating chronic pain. The highest level of energy comes from non-processed non-adulterated foods. Many studies on fibromyalgia and a raw food diet have been conducted. One particular study was done in the US with fibromyalgia on 20 patients eating a raw vegan diet for seven months. Fifteen of the 20 patients showed a dramatic improvement in symptoms.
Our talented raw food chefs can show you how to prepare fresh, local organic fruits and vegetables (ask for Nutrition & Lifestyle Coaching) into delicious and emotionally satisfying meals. Freshly pressed green juices from our Norwalk juicer/ Angel juicer will give you more aliveness and vitality.

4. Our Supplement Regimen

Based on our assessment you will be given a personalized regimen of supplements to address lack of sleep, toxicity, adrenal fatigue, hypothyroidism, pain, depression and anxiety, low immune system, and poor liver function. These supplements consist of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals taken orally or administered by intramuscular injections or intravenously.

5. Intramuscular Injections

B12/liver injections – It has been shown that mercury toxicity depletes vitamin B12 levels. B12 is also needed to protect nerves. Liver helps improve immunity. We use a liver extract (Nexavir) that has shown good results with symptom relief.

6. Nutritional IV Therapy

We find that the fastest way to recover and alleviate symptoms is to start your protocol with intravenous administration of nutrients (intravenous (iv) therapy). These nutrients may be:

  • MSM IV’s – for pain and inflammation
  • Hydrogen Peroxide IV’s – for pain relief and to fight infections
  • Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) – for peripheral neuropathy, antioxidant
  • Nutrient IV’s – replenish deficient nutrients needed for metabolic pathways
  • Glutathione push – to aid detoxification
  • Immune drip to boost immune system
  • Amino Acids to improve mood and relieve anxiety

7. Exercise Therapy

Movement is important for the integrity and health of the body. Fibromyalgia tends to restrict movement and decreases the aerobic capacity of the lungs. Research supports aerobic exercise in decreasing pain, depression and fatigue. Strength training has been shown to improve global well-being and physical functioning. Yoga is important to learn relaxation, which will improve pain. Our exercise routine includes 10 minutes of aerobics, 2x / day for 2-3 days a week along with strength training, 8-12 reps per exercise, 2-3x week. Our exercise therapist will assist you in meeting these goals. Yoga is offered 2x/week for 90 minutes a session. And 2x/week we have a YogaLates class. Matt Pilates is also available. Go to Exercise Therapy page.

8. Mind-Body Therapies

Studies have found unresolved emotional issues are the main cause of 85% of all chronic illnesses. In our program for fibromyalgia, detoxification includes emotional and mental aspects as well as physiological. Often, depression is associated with fibromyalgia and in some cases may be the root cause of this illness. We specialize in post-traumatic stress treatment associated with abuse. Abuse may be physical, verbal, emotional or sexual. We find that a lot of our patients carry an emotional burden from childhood that has not been alleviated by multiple past therapies. Our approach associating awareness methods to psychotherapy, allows for the relief of traumatic memories and a breakthrough in the present. We find that these breakthroughs are accompanied by dramatic changes in well-being. Our program includes 5 one on one counseling sessions and elective sessions.
One on one counseling may use various technique such as cognitive behavioral therapy, relaxation technique for stress management, Gestalt therapy, laughter therapy or meditation. Additional sessions such as Reichian Breathwork, EFT, or The Work of Byron Katie may be useful in gaining a deeper self-knowledge and accessing past traumas that affect neurological pathways.

REICHIAN BREATHWORK frees the space taken by negative memories and liberate energy for use into positive thinking and motivation. It improves cognition and fatigue and decreases stress and pain.

GESTALT THERAPY works on resolving interpersonal issues creating worries and a stagnant life. It increases self-awareness.

COGNITIVE BEHAVIORAL THERAPY is effective in dealing with chronic pain and insomnia. It helps to develop methods for coping with stress and defining boundaries.

THE WORK OF BYRON KATIE has practical application with pain. Specialists at the University of Stanford have found that Byron Katie’s method of thinking is helpful in patients dealing with unrelentless pain.

EMOTIONAL FREEDOM TECHNIQUE (EFT) is very useful in dealing with post-traumatic stress syndrome as a study on veterans shows. EFT can melt away fibromyalgia symptoms.

LAUGHTER THERAPY derived from the work of Norman Cousins. Laughing forces oxygen into the lungs and circulation. This will decrease pain and stress and increase immune function, relaxation and sleep. I found that exercise and laughter are the best anti-depressants. Studies show that they increase endorphins, the happy hormones.

MASSAGE THERAPY relaxes muscles and eliminates stiffness. Massage enhances production of endorphins which results in decreased pain.

JOURNALING can be important to track triggers but is also useful in reflecting on ones thoughts and feelings.

MEDITATION 77 patients with fibromyalgia took part in a 10-week outpatient study. All the patients showed improvement in symptoms but over half showed moderate to marked improvement.

ACUPUNCTURE a study at the Mayo clinic concluded that acupuncture can relieve fatigue and anxiety associated with fibromyalgia.

WATSU is defined as a series of moves and stretches along with breathes in warm water while being supported and guided by a Watsu practitioner. The warm water promotes a sense of relaxation. Fibromyalgia patients tend to be deconditioned which means they are in a continuous cycle of pain, fatigue and lack of motivation. Watsu has been found to be beneficial for fibromyalgia patients.

9. Recreational Therapy

We found out that immersion in nature (ecotherapy) has a therapeutic value in itself. It is grounding and nurturing and beyond health benefits, gives meaning to one’s life. Our location offers plenty of outdoor activities to engage in, such as swimming, snorkeling, hiking, biking or walking. Special tours to the volcano or other magic wilderness areas can also be organized. Our educational and creative program includes arts and crafts, games, puzzles, talks and educational movies. Natural wonders special to Hawaii are a special treat and offer unlimited sources of pleasure, comfort and the opportunity to connect. Our geothermal pool, a mixture of rain water with incoming ocean water is naturally heated underground by the magma. Its perfect temperature and compatible salinity, reminds our unconscious of safety and comfort of the womb.
Our land of water and fire offers many beautiful areas. Enjoy a relaxing swim with lifeguards on duty. Hike to the lighthouse to watch for whales or walk to the champagne ponds for a swim. Nearby tidal pools offer exceptional snorkeling. Walk across the street to the ocean and rest on the lava rock while you watch for sea turtles or meditate.

10. Sleep and Rest

Sleep is an important component of therapy for the fibromyalgia patient. It is a time when the body rebuilds itself and the mind finds the ultimate rest. Healthy nutrition, exercise, meditation, psychotherapy, stress and pain management, all result progressively in finding an easy and uninterrupted sleep. In addition, herbs and specific supplements will aid your body in restoring its natural circadian rhythm. Good sleep hygiene is the key to health. Having a happy day is a good preparation to a good night sleep. Rocking in a hammock to the sound of rhythmic ocean waves induces a sense of peace during the wake time that will lure you to a peaceful night sleep.

Now is the Time to Mind Your Body & Mend Your Mind

HAWAII DETOXIFICATION &                                                    LIFESTYLE CHANGE SPECIALISTS

Holistic Natural Lifestyle Change Program for medical conditions. The Fibromyalgia Recovery program is a Lifestyle Change program. The Lifestyle Change program draws from Naturopathic and Detoxification medicine, Behavioral and Psychodynamic Therapy approaches, Stress Reduction Techniques, Meditation, Yoga and Spiritual Practices. We take only a small amount of clients, and our programs are individually designed. Our use of the ocean, the recreational activities & natural approaches facilitate recovery.

Get pricing and program info and get started with assessment