As I develop my plans for my healthy living retreat and contemplate trying to meet the needs of the environmentally ill, I realize how much I need to know.
After a bout with severe asthma over the holidays, I came to find out that the asthma was triggered by a toxic chemical exposure to ethylene dibromide, a byproduct of jet fuel. I don’t know if I was exposed during my plane trip after Christmas, by drinking contaminated water, or by inhaling polluted air. This potent chemical seemed to act as a cross-sensitizing agent to all other sorts of aromatic hydrocarbons.
Translation: one whiff of the waiter’s cologne at a restaurant or the air freshener in the ladies’ room, and I started coughing and wheezing.
Because of my history with fibromyalgia, however, I know where to go when something isn’t right. My team of healthcare professionals includes a talented and caring naturopath who continues to train under the personal tutelage of Dr. Lee Cowden. He identified the chemical exposure and a few other culprits that come with most health crises: bacteria, viruses, and heavy metal toxicity. Among other diagnostic tools, he used an earthing pad to see how my heart is doing. Since I’ve been planning to purchase an earthing pad for a few months now, I was interested to know what the results would show.
The earthing pad definitely helped, but the shocker came when he told me that my optimal contact time with the pad is about one minute. One minute. Three minutes, the time I actually spent on the pad, was too much. He told me I needed to work up to longer periods of time and let my body gradually adjust to the changes. If I had ordered one and plopped down on it for a solid eight hours my first night with it, I might have gone into a healing crisis. An intense healing crisis is usually enough to make you wonder if you’re dying, then immediately wonder if dying might be the best option. I speak from experience.
As a person with chronic illness, I realize that everyone responds differently to treatment. I’ve known this for years, but this incident hit me like a kill shot between the eyes. If I recommend an earthing pad to any of my clients, how will I know what initial exposure will be too much? In order to do no harm, I must recommend they seek out the advice of a healthcare professional in conjunction with any changes they may make to their environment.
Building biology is only one component of a truly holistic healing village. If we embrace this and come to think of ourselves as a member of a team for any client, we can better serve those who need our help.
Melody Chan Graves is a literary writer who recovered from a debilitating case of fibromyalgia with the help of naturopathy, fascial integrative therapy, and earning professional c certification from Building Biology Institute, in 2010.