HEALTH: The therapy that saved my life
Emma HarrowingThe trial of Kay Gilderdale, the mother who helped her daughter die after a painful struggle with M.E, has placed the disabling illness in the spotlight again.Emma Harrowing
The trial of Kay Gilderdale, the mother who helped her daughter die after a painful struggle with M.E, has placed the disabling illness in the spotlight again. As Life Matters reported last year there is a therapy that can help relieve symptoms and can in some case provide a cure for M.E, yet it is still not widely available to all sufferers. EMMA HARROWING talks to Andy Carolan, who was lucky enough to have had the therapy and has made a complete recovery.
As Andy Carolan from Sprowston rushed home from work there was only one thing on his mind; to get ready to go out to meet friends for the evening.
He was like any other 32 year old. He had a full time job in retail and a very active social life. He was also working towards getting his full motorcycle licence.
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Then in 2006 he became ill with flu-like symptoms, which he recovered from but then developed again. These flu-like episodes quickly became frequent and his overall health deteriorated. He had gone from an active 32 year old to someone who was barely able to walk in a matter of months.
'My GP initially signed me off from work for one week with chronic fatigue, this was then expanded to one month, then two months and eventually I lost my job,' says Andy.
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'After becoming ill I not only lost my job I lost contact with friends as I could not longer go out and socialise. I was housebound and suffered from sleepless nights, constant muscle pain, headaches and fatigue. It felt like my body had undergone a complete systemic failure. Even the most basic physical and mental tasks became a struggle. It became almost impossible to concentrate on anything as it took too much valuable energy.'
Over the course of several months Andy had various hospital appointments for blood tests and an ECG. All of the tests came back clear. Finally in June 2006 after doctors' had eliminated all other possible causes he was diagnosed with M.E.
'When I was first diagnosed with M.E I really didn't know much about the illness and thought it would be something that I would have for a few weeks or months then it would disappear and I would get on with the rest of my life,' says Andy.
'As the months passed, I tried various management techniques, restrictive diets and therapies but nothing helped. The medical profession had no answers, any publications about the illness were filled with conflicting advice. It looked like it was going to be something that I couldn't escape from. It was at that point that I felt that there was truly no hope and that I would be this way forever.'
Andy had been suffering for M.E for three years, during which he had tried lots of remedies and treatments to no avail. Then after reading an article on the Life Matters pages in the Norwich Evening News last year his life turned a corner.
'It was thanks to the article the Evening News ran last year that I found out about Mickel Therapy and how it can help people with M.E,' says Andy.
'From what I read about it in the article and online it made a lot of sense to me and I thought that I would try it out.'
Mickel Therapy was developed by Dr Mickel a former GP in Elgin, Scotland, who has dedicated over ten years developing a treatment for M.E. The therapy involves identifying and rectifying the cause of the symptoms rather than working directly on the symptoms. It also requires the patient to take an active role in the therapy.
The theory is that symptoms are the result of a malfunctioning hypothalamus. When it is not functioning normally, it signals to the pituitary gland to secrete stress hormones, which cause the various symptoms. This can be corrected by understanding the principles of Mickel Therapy and going through the steps, guided by the therapist.
Andy went to see Norwich therapist Gill Gough for his treatment. Gill has also suffered from ME but Mickel Therapy helped her recover. She was so impressed by the results of the therapy that she decided to train as a therapist so that she could help others. She runs a therapy practice in Great Yarmouth and has recently set up a clinic in Norwich at The Royal in Bank Plain.
Says Andy: 'I did feel quite nervous when I went to my first session as I didn't really know what to expect. But when I got there Gill was very understanding and soon made me feel at ease about what the therapy involves. Mickel Therapy is a talking therapy that helps you to understand why symptoms are there and how you can work with them and not against them as most traditional therapies do. Gill's experience of having M.E herself means that she has a great insight into what you are going through.'
Andy's therapy started last September and after just six sessions he has managed to rid himself of the disease that had robbed him of his life.
'I actually started feeling better from the first session, but I do realise that it can vary between patients,' says Andy.
'The therapy itself is based upon the tools and techniques that you learn during the sessions so most of the recovery takes place between those sessions. I started to notice that my energy and strength were returning and I was able to do more without the consequences that had become normal for me after doing any form of activity. The constant headaches and muscular pain stopped and my sleep patterns slowly started to return to normal.
'Although I no longer have M.E the tools that I learned during the therapy have now become second nature to me and I use them every day.'
'Thanks to Mickel Therapy I am able to do all the things that I was unable to for such a long time. I regularly go for long cycle rides, play badminton and have just returned from Centreparcs Elveden where I was able to take part in all the activities on offer without any ill effects (however, I did find that I'm dreadful at Squash!) I am also expanding upon my job as a freelance illustrator/cartoonist which is proving to be a fun and rewarding career.'
Dr David Mickel, the founder of Mickel Therapy believes that the therapy can help the majority of M.E sufferers even if symptoms are severe.
Says Dr. Mickel: 'It was a pleasure watching Andy's recovery unfold as he applied the Mickel Therapy tools.
'The therapy has proven to be equally effective in all cases regardless of length of illness or severity. Of course some people recover quicker than others and for the more severe cases it can take a bit longer to get the treatment fully underway due to de-conditioning and prolonged bed rest.
'In the last ten years of providing and overseeing the provision of Mickel Therapy for more than 3000 cases several chronic cases have reported successful recovery.
'As a doctor who has committed the last ten years to developing a treatment for M.E, I was filled with a plethora of emotions when I heard about the plight of Kay Gilderdale and her family. Too many times have I seen the degree of suffering that this condition can cause both physically and psychologically due to the misunderstandings and mystery surrounding it.
'My main frustration is in knowing the potential of Mickel Therapy as a successful treatment for M.E, but the research required to prove this is very difficult to have carried out. The case of Kay Gilderdale strengthens my resolve to have the Mickel Therapy process studied in full so it can be made available to all sufferers.'
Andy agrees: 'This therapy is something that should be made known to all M.E. sufferers as the medical professions' care of people with this debilitating condition is woefully inadequate and in some cases makes the sufferer's health even worse.'
'Mickel Therapy has given me my life back and so much more!'
For more information about Mickel Therapy contact Gill Gough on 07920 179131 or visit www.gillgoughtherapy.co.uk
What is Mickel Therapy
Dr David Mickel MBChB MRCGP qualified as a Medical Practitioner in 1992 going on to specialise in General Practice in 1996, working full-time in a practice in Elgin, Scotland.
He developed an interest in M.E and Fibromyalgia during this time and frustrated by attempts to treat the conditions went on to develop the process of treatment now known as Mickel Therapy.
In 2002, following the success of this treatment, he resigned from his NHS position as General Practitioner in order to commit fully to treating sufferers. He currently provides a private therapy service in Elgin treating M.E and Fibromyalgia and other 'Energy Disorders' such as IBS, Anxiety and Depression as physical conditions.
The therapy involves identifying and rectifying the cause of the symptoms rather than working directly on the symptoms. It also requires the patient to take an active role in the therapy.
The therapy does not resort to medication, dietary change, supplements or psychotherapy.
Mickel Therapy can treat all types of energy disorders including CFA, Post Viral Fatigue, M.E, Fibromyalgia, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, anxiety, depression and migraines.
About Gill Gough
Gill suffered from ME for seven years before learning about Mickel Therapy. A course of treatment took her from having no energy and sleeping for large parts of the day back to her pre-ME days of being full of life and energy.
Gill trained as an SRN and Midwife and her nursing background helped with understanding how ME was affecting her body and causing her symptoms. She then chose to train as a therapist in order to help others overcome this debilitating illness.