SI Pain: 1/100 | Rib or Shoulder Pain: 9/100 | Concrete Back: 7/100
It was quite an interesting weekend because I experienced an explosion of fringe ankylosing spondylitis an autoimmune symptoms.
• A constant runny rose whenever I was outside
• The blocked ear sensation in my right ear (where it feel like it needs de-pressurising) was in force
• Some low level tinnitus
• Light pain in my right shoulder
So, it was sinus-related issues mainly.
This automatically makes me think ‘histamines’ and whether it was caused by something I’ve had to eat or drink. There is also the weather. It has been miserable, wet and cold in London. Plus there are some winter bugs going around and a dash of underlying stress, so who knows? Lots of potential culprits.
My take is that because all the symptoms seemed to ramp up on Friday it was related to the previous night. I went to see some friends and drank beer (and not one I was used to).
So its possible the combination of alcohol, and/or some ingredients in the beer, had an impact and my immune system spent the rest of the weekend trying to recalibrate.
Today, as I write this, I still have a few of these elevated symptoms but they’re definitely not as strong as they were on Friday or Saturday. Specifically, the runny nose and ear block sensation are still lingering.
The ear block was really quite bad last night, so it’s a relief it seems to be improving.
The other thing I want to talk about is the new test I am doing!
New test incoming! Infrared sauna blanket
This is actually my second go on my new infrared sauna blanket.
I really want to be jumping up and down and saying this is life-changing and I love it and life has a rosy new sheen but…
At the moment, after having done two sessions, one week apart, it feels like one of those health protocols which feels more of a chore than anything else.
That might sound like a weird thing to say, given that I do cold exposure every day, and the strict diet, and all thes other things I do, but just to put it into context…
When I do my cold exposure, I feel a really powerful and instantaneous benefit.
If I have blocked sinuses, or light inflammation, more often than not it will completely melt away within literally just a few seconds of exposure cold (a cold shower, normally).
I realise this effect might not be so potent for everyone, but it is something that really REALLY impacts me.
Doing that for just 2 minutes makes me feel so rejuvenated and this can sometimes last a few hours. I feel alert and focused.
So, even though it’s not necessarily pleasant, I know I will feel really dramatic benefits, and it’s only for 2 minutes.
The food and strict diet thing I don’t see as a chore at all anymore.
The only time I did was when I was struggling not to feel ravenously hungry all the time. It was hard and it was challenging but in the end it was really just the case of figuring out the foods which were safe for me to eat, and then just getting the portion size right.
Once I did this and once my body adapted, it became a non-issue.
I really don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything, because the things that cause me pain are not really things I want to eat (because I don’t want to be in pain).
Instead of feeling like I’m being deprived or left out, I just see it as an opportunity to try and enjoy completely new things.
But I come to the infrared sauna blanket having done weekly ‘real’ saunas for well over a year, so maybe it’s the contrast which is disappointing.
Sitting in a sauna room is such a happy and uplifting experience. You go and sit comfortably, get a whole sensory experience for around 12 minutes, jump into a nice ice cold plunge pool and get that tingling and inflammation busting feeling.
You then repeat the process and the whole thing has a kind of magical and restorative effect.
With the infrared sauna blanket, my body definitely heats up, and I sweat, and it’s likely this is having a positive impact. However, the process itself isn’t that enjoyable.
This probably flies against what everyone else is saying on YouTube but this is my take on what it feels like:
You effectively lie cocooned in what feels like a weighted blanket, marinating in your own sweat for an hour.
With that said, I do come out of it feeling relaxed and quite loose.
The one really positive thing I took out of the session from yesterday evening was doing yoga straight afterwards. This was really great and effective having pre-warmed all the joints.
I definitely need to test my approach the infrared blanket.
I might try having it on my bed next, instead of on a yoga mat, as that might be more comfortable. I might also try doing it earlier in the day, and then having a freezing cold shower immediately afterwards, to get that cold exposure benefit.
So, at the moment (and it is still early days) while I think it could be helpful and useful, particularly if I go into a flare, it’s not something that I am screaming from the rooftops about… just yet.
I hope things will change on this front. I do think the infrared blanket is a good way of mixing things up, and I think it’s also quite beneficial as a protocol to have in the winter, if you are living in a cold country.
I guess what I wanted to highlight is that it can be very easy to go into an internet vortex, where you hear hundreds of people saying the same thing, saying that this or that device will be a magical fix, and you’ll feel great and so on.
Quite often, there is a financial benefit to people recommending these things, which is absolutely fair enough, but it is worth bearing in mind when you are investigating.
I was just expecting to feel as good as I feel after I do my regular sauna, and to be honest I don’t. I certainly wasn’t expecting the experience to be uncomfortable but maybe I can tweak the comfort levels over time.
Taurine test complete
In other news, I finished my Taurine test.
I think this one has been largely positive.
I feel like it has had a slight impact on nudging stress levels down a bit, but it’s hard to say definitively so it is something I’m going to continue taking for the time being.
I’ll do a full report on taurine once I’ve compiled all my data.
There was just one thing I wanted to add today…
I am wondering whether my twice daily bone broth is causing me histamine issues. It’s slow cooked for 48 hours so this could be a red flag.
It is one thing I haven’t really properly tested over the nearly 3 years I have been doing the diet.
I felt like I noticed an immediate benefit introducing bone broth, and find it comforting, so just fell into a routine of having it twice a day, pretty much every day since then.
When I go on holiday, I don’t have it, but I would like to test this more formally at home, with my normal regime.
So, my plan, once I finish the current batch of bone broth, is not to have it for 2 weeks, and see how my symptoms are, in particular my sinuses.
Often on the Facebook groups and forums, when people are talking about histamines, they mention how slow-cooked bone broth can be high in histamine, so we’ll see.
A random feeling of unease…
At around 3 or 4pm I suddenly felt quite panicky and despondent.
This is not like me, and it was baffling and uncomfortable. I had a hot bath with Epsom salts, and this helped a little bit, although I still felt panicked. At the same time I was aware that this would pass.
I took magnesium and taurine at 5pm and hoped this would help. Whether or not it did the trick is tricky to say for sure but I definitely felt calmer by the evening overall.
My right shoulder has been annoying most of the day and I wish this symptom would just clear up now. It is just a kind of nagging ache pain.
I forced myself to do yoga, and found it mind numbingly boring. I know it helps, but it just doesn’t have the interest factor that other things I do have.
After yoga, I did the bed of nails, and I realised how much I had missed doing this.
For the last week or two, I’d neglected it, and doing it again for the first time in a while makes me realise just how powerful this really small, nifty (and cheap!) little thing is.
If I had to write the things which were most effective for my AS, outside of diet and exercise, right at this moment, I would say it was:
1) Cold exposure
2) Bed of nail
The more expensive infrared sauna, would come way behind that currently, which is interesting.
I want to do a video where I explain how some of my most effective protocols are the free or low cost.
Hoping to feel a bit more positive tomorrow.
💡 Mini Findings
• Alcohol, and/or some ingredients in a beer possibly aggravated some edge AS symptoms, particularly sinuses
• Future Discovery Lab test: test cutting out bone broth for two weeks to see if it affects histamine symptoms