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Gravity + Sleep = Improved P
Dear Ed: I feel I have some answers for you and other people like you who suffer from Psoriatic arthritis.
This is copied from an earlier post by me to the psoriasis-help.org web site operated in the UK. (Go here for the full thread: http://www.psoriasis-help.org.uk/forum/index.php/topic,18376.0.html )
First of all, I do not have psoriasis, although I did have it around six years old following a fall in the playground at school, developing on my knees following severe grazing of the skin. This persisted for quite a few years, and was treated with Betnovate, eventually clearing up, possibly due to age, although the cream obviously helped control it to some degree.
I mention this, so you can get a feel from where my interest in psoriasis lies, having first-hand experience of the itching, bleeding and flaking skin.
I have been researching the effects of minor postural changes in relation to the direction of gravity acting upon the fluids in the body since 1994 — mostly directed towards helping people with neurological conditions, ranging from cerebral palsy to spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease etc. During several pilot studies, many participants have reported huge changes in skin tone, skin temperature and huge obvious circulatory improvements in the skin. I have seen the some of these improvements in people for myself!
For many years now, I have been trying to get the medical establishment to take onboard the simple logic of avoiding flat bed rest in favour of a head-up incline of five degrees to the horizontal, where the whole bed slopes gently down from head to toe, by elevating the head end of the bed by 6 inches or fifteen centimetres. The important thing to realise here is that we are not talking about raising one half of the bed and having the legs either raised, or level. The whole bed slopes from head to toe.
A simple self study/experiment would be required to identify exactly what changes have occurred as a result of sleeping slightly inclined, instead of flat, and more importantly how long any changes take to develop in a group of people with the same condition.
Initially, I contacted several vascular surgeons, winning their support, along with a professor and doctor at Exeter University, who agreed in principle to test my theory on a large group of people with leg ulcer, varicose veins, oedema, gangrene, in order to determine any obvious improvements. One of the vascular surgeons had already witnessed at first hand a massive improvement in one of his patients using the inclined bed method, so was completely convinced by the explanation and method.
Varicose veins and leg ulcer would have provided photographically self evident and irrefutable results. This would have provided a rapid move towards making this simple non-invasive therapy — Inclined Bed Therapy (IBT) — available to millions of people suffering needlessly. But as usual all of the promises of help to achieve this goal were dutifully ignored, possibly because of the implications of redundant surgery practices.
I had all but given up trying to find a way through the medical brick wall to drive this simple message home, when a lady with possibly the worst case of psoriasis I have seen walked into my home with my son and his girlfriend. I tactfully asked her if she would be interesting in conducting an experiment to see if her psoriasis would improve as a result of IBT. And thankfully she has agreed to test my theory experimentally for herself. She also let me take photographs of her arms, hands feet and legs, and as far as I know, tilted her bed on the 19th June 07, although, I have still to verify this with her personally.
During many years of research into this fascinating subject of gravity assisted circulation , several cases of psoriasis have been reported to have improved dramatically. One case in point is a regular visitor to my home, who was featured in the Woman’s Realm Magazine, having experience massive improvements in psoriatic arthritis, and to this day, the only visible evidence on her whole body are two small circular patches on her elbows. The lady in question is a former nurse who used to wake up every morning racked with pain in her joints and unable to move her hands for up to 2 hours, immersing them in hot water to get them moving. She had holes in her fingernails and toenails, and is over 60 years young. Several other reports of psoriasis improvements have been noted, including 76 year old going topless on a beach for the first time in her life following huge improvements in her skin.
But alas, no amount of anecdotal evidence will embarrass the medical profession into accepting a drug/surgical free method of treating patients with a whole range of medical conditions. IBT has been infuriatingly slow to progress towards becoming mainstream.
Ed’s Response: Thanks for this email and introduction to IBT. I read it with much interest and then read through the page-1 posts on your thread at psoriasis-help.org.uk. I appreciate your frustration. I'm not familiar with how the medical research community in the UK operates, but here — as with most things run by money — there's a “good-old-boy” network that either unlocks doors or inhibits entry.
Do you have “sleep disorder centers” where you live? Here, major medical schools often have them and they do some compelling research. (One recent news story focused on a new theory that many nursing home deaths among the elderly may be attributable to undetected, fatal sleep apnea.) I ask the question about sleep disorder centers because my knee-jerk guess is that such facilities would be equipped to thoroughly study the effects of IBT. (That is, they could monitor all vital functions as well as changes to the target disorders being investigated — in this case, psoriasis.)
I can think of a number of reasons why changing the effect of gravity on circulation might alter psoriasis symptoms ... but most of those initial reasons are mitigated by the variety of forms of psoriasis and hugely variable areas of the body where people develop lesions. Of course, gravity could be one of several factors working together, and this could explain the differences in how people manifest the condition. I don't think the role of the immune system in the disease can be refuted (though it probably can be better described). I say this because of the number of biologic drugs known to work on the immune system and now being successfully deployed against psoriasis (as well as the established efficacy of drugs like methotrexate and cyclosporine). My guess is that a gravity influence on psoriasis might be aggravating or, reversed, palliating. In any event, I hope you find a way to continue your investigation. –Ed
Andrew Fletcher’s Response: Hi Ed you are not wrong about the good-old-boy network.
I have also thought about enlisting the help of sleep study units, but alas your other remark about money and funding is counterproductive as I would need to locate a source of funding and have long since realised that this is not going to happen unless sufficient irrefutable evidence has been put forward in order to shame them into admitting they got it wrong.
Also see: http://youtube.com/watch?v=u3D7tBQfCxQ
Psoriasis is the key to unlocking the bolted doors:
Ed’s Response: I encourage readers to check out the links Andrew has provided. His idea and his anecdotal evidence present a compelling story.
I’ve thought about how I might try it out. Not so easy in my case. I do share a queen-sized bed with my wife (who may or may NOT find involuntary participation “okay”) and the bed itself poses a problem as its headboard is a mirror, shelves, cupboard and drawers. Elevating the box and mattress by 5-degrees at the head isn’t possible. On the other hand, dropping the foot of the bed by 5-degrees might be (if I can find a new place for all the stuff currently stored UNDER the bed).
Readers: Your comments on IBT, or experiences if you’ve had any, are welcome here. -Ed