Integrative tools for treating neurologic diseases
Neurologic diseases in pets may be managed with a combination of approaches for evaluation, and modalities such as neuronal adjustment, myofascial release and FSLLLT.
Neurological ailments can result from various disturbances in the body that ultimately affect different parts of the neurological system. Irritation from a physical, chemical or biological event can result in chemical reactions with inflammatory, infectious or degenerative consequences. Examples include seizures, cerebral vascular accident, encephalomyelitis, intervertebral disc disease (IVDD), degenerative myelopathy, diabetic neuropathy, amputations and sciatica, among others. I have had success managing these conditions using a combination of approaches for patient evaluation and the modalities further explained in this article. The intention here is to inspire the practitioner with the concepts of energy medicine, and its bearing on ultimate treatment success.
Newtonian versus quantum science
“If you want to understand the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency, and vibration.” (Nikola Tesla)
Conventional medicine is based in Newtonian science, in which the body is a veritable solid object surrounded by space. Current quantum physics shows that the body is more space than solid matter. Your choice of science will influence your treatment plans and outcomes. The conventional approach is to focus on treating physical symptoms (or organs) rather than the energetic root causes (which will then heal the physical symptoms, often permanently).
We are primarily energetic electromagnetic beings, and secondarily physical beings. Consider the following:
- Cell division is stimulated by a resonance event. Russian research has demonstrated the presence of photon emission (biophotons) in almost every tested living organism, from bacteria and yeast to plants and vertebrates. This photon emission was dependent on physiologic conditions.1
- Studies document energy auras radiating from us.
- Memory is said to be stored in much of this outer energy field. A true connection to the universe as well as to each other helps explain telepathy, a sixth sense, animal communication, and out of body experiences.
- Nikola Tesla, Royal Raymond Rife and Paul Nogier were pioneers who laid the groundwork for discovering that our bodies are in a constant state of vibration, the “language of the universe”. Different organs and tissues vibrate at different resonance frequencies, thereby explaining the benefits of pulse electromagnetic frequency (PEMF) on healing, and a subsequent increase in ATP production.2
- Laser light energy has been well documented for increasing ATP.
- No matter the energy form used (micro-electric current, sound waves or light energy), healing is enhanced as a harmony of resonance frequencies is encouraged. Tuning forks have shown benefits, and even a cat’s purring has been found to be therapeutic.
Systemic inflammation and mitochondrial dysfunction
Environmental and ingested pollutants, electromagnetic field radiation (EMFs), genetically modified organism (GMO) grains, and stress all set up systemic inflammation that can affect the gut microbiome, and disturb the normal resonance frequencies of healthy tissues. Vibrational frequencies are altered by the effects of chronic inflammation.3 Inflammation causes increased free radical oxygen and nitrogen species. Mitochondrial dysfunction is the by-product of chronic reactive oxygen species (ROS), and is ultimately an end result of inadequate ATP production.3
Based on the awareness that disease conditions result from impaired mitochondria, it would make sense to supply building blocks for healing, along with tools that can repair this dysfunction. Although numerous alternative modalities can and have been used with success, for the purposes of this article we will focus on some of the modalities I have trained in.
Integrative exams and treatments
The healing power of intention
Regardless of a patient’s primary complaint, all enlightened veterinarians would agree that the most important tool we can apply to affect outcome and healing success is the power of our intention. Literally falling in love with the animal can be transformative. He receives our positive vibrations through our body language and the relaxation of our energy. Being aware of the animal’s body language and emotional state furthers our goal of decreasing the deleterious effects of the stress hormone, cortisol.
Body language is universal in all species. An extrapolation of Natural Horsemanship principles inspired my own animal and owner personality assessment, called AnEmotionalityTM.4, 5 Reading cues and developing an awareness of the emotional state of the animal and owner during a visit creates an ability to minister to the primary need of the patient. Emotional states vary from day to day, as well as moment to moment, possibly due to changing environmental triggers. Learning to “key in” to the emotional currency the individual needs at the time can lower stress; this is important since stress can be an obstacle to the healing benefits of any future modality we attempt to incorporate.
- An animal showing fear and insecurity may require that his/ her safety and comfort be managed before he accepts a treat reward, after which play can seem interesting. Offering less eye contact, making postural changes, postponing the hands-on exam, calming our energy and slowing down before proceeding can be rewarding.
- Animals that are in a confident, dominant, playful state may welcome treat rewards, and/or an opportunity to show off their trick repertoire.
Demonstrating frequency specific LLLT and simultaneous communication of nerve root as well as area of involvement.
- Allowing extroverts to move their feet, and introverts to remain stationary, further establishes this relationship “dance”.
The desired outcome is an animal that feels more confident, cared for and understood, allowing for an easier examination. Likewise, the owner feels that he or she is being heard, and will be amazingly present to our diagnostic and treatment plans. The reward is the recipient’s further confidence in our intention, as well as decreased stress for all involved.
Using all our senses
In addition to a complete signalment, medical history and neurologic exam to assess cranial nerve signs, as well as to distinguish UMN from LMN disease, a holistic exam incorporates the following senses:
- Vision – needed for most of the conventional exam.
- Smell – of a patient’s coat, feet, mouth, excretions and secretions.
- Hearing – auditory cues from the heart and lung fields, gut sounds, mentation, footfalls for rhythm changes and lameness evaluation, vocalizations and purring. Any environmental contributor is especially important in house call practice.
- Touch – in the form of offering comfort, sometimes requested by the patient prior to evaluation, running your hand over the patient to feel heat patterns, feeling integument, muscle tone and symmetry, trigger points, texture changes, and observing response to pressure variations.
- Taste – can also play a role in evaluating feed, hay, certain medications, presence of essential oils, etc.
- Intuition – or our sixth sense, must not be minimized, and can overrule our subjective observations in some cases. We can generally sense when an animal “just ain’t doin’ right”, well before we have enough evidence to validate that insight.
Incorporating our sensory observations with a thorough history and signalment will provide many of the puzzle pieces. I use the analogy that the patient presents as a puzzle to be put together. The more we can learn from the edge pieces of the patient’s history, aided by our subjective and objective information, the less the owner may need to invest in diagnostic testing. This encourages a wealth of data that the owner may have otherwise been too sheepish to admit to.
Complementary treatment tools
The practitioner’s choice of tools allows for individualized medicine. Without a doubt, the most important tool for benefiting health and minimizing inflammation is the adoption of good nutritional practices, including a quality organic non-processed diet, with appropriate supplementation when indicated. Also, improving the gut microbiome, fecal transfers when indicated, the use of ozonated fluids, essential oils, tuning forks for balancing chakras, PEMF, LED red light therapy, and homeopathic remedies have all been used with great success by complementary therapists. For this article, I focus on tools I have used successfully for neurological conditions.
a) Neuronal adjustment: Everything originates from the nervous system, which is the first system to form embryonically.6 Rehabilitating the CNS, where the insult most likely originates, would be key. There are basically two forms of neuronal adjustment – “direct” and “indirect”.
i) Direct includes chiropractic, involving a high velocity thrust to musculoskeletal tissues; acupuncture, which involves the insertion of needles into soft tissue; and Veterinary Orthopedic Manipulation7 (VOM), involving the use of a human chiropractic activator to affect a high velocity low thrust impact to spinous processes.
ii) Indirect includes functional indirect osteopathy techniques. This form of manipulation relies heavily on subtle energetic forces to relieve soft tissue, as well as vascular and lymphatic restrictions, and also includes cranial sacral manipulations.
b) Myofascial release: There are numerous effective myofascial release techniques. As long as principles of circulatory blood flow, lymphatic drainage and thermal criteria are followed, and the animal’s acceptance and response to this tactile therapy is carefully monitored, this rehabilitation of the muscles and fascia (living matrix) is vital to optimal healing.
c) Frequency specific low level laser therapy (FSLLLT): There are numerous therapy lasers on the market. The low power laser chosen by myself allows for long-term cellular enhancement without the inherent risks of occult thermal damage. It is a non-heat producing visible light wavelength Class 2 laser, with a power output of 5mW and 7.5mW, depending on the device. This is nearly 100 times less power than that of a Class 4 laser at 500mW. Class 3b lasers are generally 60mW to 200mW. The wavelength provided by FSLLLT is in the visible light spectrum of 635nm (red) or 405nm (violet). No eye protection is needed due to the visible light wavelengths and inherent blink response. This allows for decreased pain and inflammation, as well as increased circulation and lymphatic drainage, without the risk of thermal damage or retinal scarring. The beam is line generated and can affect a larger area by increasing its distance from the patient. The ability to vary the pulsations of the laser beam by programming in different frequencies brings current the science of Tesla, Rife and Nogier. The focused, coherent (in sync) wavelengths of this true laser allow for little energy lost within the ideal treatment range of up to 12”. Another feature of this laser is its ability to affect the autonomic nervous system. It has been used to decrease sympathetic tone to calm fractious or painful animals, as well as increase the parasympathetic tone to promote increased appetite, gut motility, and an increase in homeostasis.7
The ability to treat the nerve root as well as the area of involvement aids in the management of sciatica, IVDD, degenerative myelopathy, amputation and traumatic induced neuropathies. Low power lasers have been found to stimulate stem cells, which can aid in regeneration of nerve and other tissues.8, 9 Since the ultimate end result of laser therapy is to increase ATP production and repair mitochondrial DNA and messenger RNA, it is quite obvious that this tool may be one of the most beneficial in repairing the damage of mitochondrial dysfunction, impacting multiple disease conditions.
Many neurologic conditions can be a symptom of a systemic dysfunction. The new paradigm for healing requires that both an awareness of the universe within our cells and the ultimate connections beyond our physical bodies be taken into consideration for optimal treatment success. Recognizing and managing the emotional state of the animal, his/her owner, and his/her environmental relationships can contribute to our success in forming an optimal diagnostic and treatment plan. Along with mindful practices and genuine intention, alternative modalities are being successfully used to guide the cells in our bodies back to optimal health. With this in mind, non-invasive modalities that would manage the consequences of cellular irritants, psychological stress, and mitochondrial dysfunction could all be used with varying success to return the body to a state of harmonic resonance.
Skippy — a “fractious” 16-year-old male neutered dachshund with a one-week history of posterior paresis secondary to IVDD. He was referred for integrative care because he was currently overdosed on Rimadyl. With little improvement of symptoms, and an inability to safely administer steroids, a guarded prognosis was made. FSLLLT was performed starting with a sympathetic/parasympathetic balance, followed by modules including management of pain, inflammation, circulation, lymphatic drainage, scar tissue, connective tissue, liver, and immune system balance. These were coordinated into four modules that were three minutes long and considered one “treatment”. An accelerated protocol of two treatments per day for three days, then one treatment daily for three days, then one treatment every other day was performed. Skippy immediately calmed and within two days began to walk with minimal CP deficits. After two weeks, he was able to trot. He was weaned off the Rimadyl, as his owner requested more natural ways to manage him.
Sugar – an adult mixed breed spayed female found in an abandoned sugar mill in Kauai. She had been lame on her left front leg since admission to the Kauai Humane Society three weeks previously with a diagnosis of cervical disc disease. Her primary need was safety, so a relationship with her was established by implementing approach and retreat concepts. VOM adjustment was performed using the chiropractic activator. FSLLLT was used over the cervical vertebrae as well as the entire dorsal spine. Two separate three-minute treatment modules were used. The first module used frequency settings specific for decreased pain, inflammation, increased circulation and lymphatic drainage. The second was for scar tissue, chronic inflammation, connective tissue and nerves. She was clinically improved upon completion of the treatment.
Archimedes – a canary with a history of being down on his hocks for several days, and an inability to perch that indicated lumbosacral disease. Mild tassel foot was present, but not considered to be the cause. No obvious trauma was apparent, but a night fright episode was suspected. A presumptive diagnosis of spinal insult was made. FSLLLT was applied to the entire spine, using settings similar to those used on Sugar. Two 60-second treatments were performed on days one and two, at least two hours apart. By the evening of the second day, Archimedes was able to stand up off his hocks and perch.
Skye – an eight-year-old husky with Cushing’s hypertension. His response to treatment demonstrated the benefits of performing FSLLLT over the sympathetic ganglion between T1 and L4. Once the laser beam turns off at three minutes, the sympathetic tone decreases and the parasympathetic tone increases. Skye calmed, and his blood pressure went from 220/110 to 148/72 within 25 minutes, even with an attempt at placing an in-dwelling catheter (which is not a calming procedure).
Blue – A young adult intact female DMH was thrown from a moving vehicle, resulting in a severe de-gloving injury. Safety was her primary need and much of the treatments were performed with approach and retreat concepts, as well as sedation for bandage changes. A VOM adjustment was initially performed, along with myofascial release in the form of manual massage, and FSLLLT using the red/violet laser. She received twice weekly laser treatments. MRSA was cultured during the course of healing; however, healing was not set back due in part to the bactericidal benefits of the 405nm violet wavelength. The entire paw regenerated with complete hair growth and minimal scarring within 16 weeks. There was no skin grafting.
1Van Wijk, Roeland. Light in Shaping Life — Biophotons in Biology and Medicine, Melina, Geldermalsen, The Netherlands, 2014, p 295-375.
2Meyers, Bryant, BS, MS. PEMF The 5th Element of Health, 2014, p. ix-209.
3Perlmutter, D., MD. “The Role of Inflammation in Neurodegenerative Disorders: Integrative Approaches to Challenging Neurological Disorders”, FACN, Director, Perlmutter Health Center.
4Gordon J. “Enhancing the Veterinary Exam Using Natural Horsemanship Principles”, AAV 2013; “Stress Free Small Animal and Equine Communication”, AHVMA 2016.
5Parelli, Linda, Pat and Handley, Patrick, PhD. Horsenality, Humanality, Pagosa Springs, CO, 2009-2016.
6DeLahunta. Veterinary neuroanatomy and clinical neurology, 3rd edition, Saunders, Elsevier, 2009, p 23-37.
7Inman, William, DVM, VOM. Technology, Couer de Alene, Idaho.
8Tuner, J and Hode, L. Laser Photo Therapy Clinical Practice and Scientific Background, Prima Books, 2014.
9Yang, C and Wang, J. “Synergistic effects of low-level laser and mesenchymal stem cells on functional recovering rats with crushed sciatic nerves”, J Tissue Eng Regen Med, 2013, 10:120-131.