Lyme Education & and Resources
Part 3: Treatment and Management
Lyme disease adversely effects the human body in many ways. This third installment in a three-part series from Natural Awakenings South Central and Lancaster-Berks Pennsylvania, magazines provides suggestions and resources regarding treatment and management from four local contributors: Dr. Ross Marchegiani, of Turnpaugh Health and Wellness Centers, in Manheim and Mechanicsburg; Dr. Robert Mauss, owner of Gettysburg Osteopathic Family Health Center, in Gettysburg; Tina Prins, director of public relations and marketing and vice president of the nonprofit PA Lyme Resource Network; and Benjamin Weiss, founder of Susquehanna Sustainable Enterprises and Susquehanna Apothecary.
Marchegiani, Mauss, Prins and Weiss concur that an herbal-based approach, antibiotic-based approach or a combination of the two are valid options. Herbal preparations can be used successfully if a patient works with a physician knowledgeable in their use.
“My time spent in wild places has repeatedly exposed me to Lyme disease, which is why Susquehanna Apothecary specializes in the Buhner Protocol, an herbal regimen created by Stephen Harrod Buhner, author of the book Healing Lyme: Natural Healing and Prevention of Lyme Borreliosis and Its Coinfections,” explains Weiss. “It is important to consult a trained naturopathic physician who can provide guidance and tailor treatment.”
“At Turnpaugh Health and Wellness Center, we use both approaches depending on the patient’s preference, the severity of the Lyme disease and co-infections, other ailments coinciding with Lyme disease and the length of the time the patient has been dealing with the symptoms (the health of the host),” explains Marchegiani. “We let our patients know that both options are effective in killing Lyme disease bacteria, but more treatment time is needed for doing the tincture-based approach.”
“Lyme disease causes disruption of many different body systems and the use of integrative medicine measures to balance these insults can be extremely beneficial,” says Mauss. “Hormonal imbalances can be corrected with appropriately dosed supplemental hormones or herbal remedies to support gland function. Adaptogenic herbs to support adrenal function are frequently used to lessen fatigue in patients.”
“When treating Lyme bacteria, it is common for a person to have a Herxheimer reaction, which may initially make the patient feel worse,” notes Prins. “Although the patient feels worse, this is a good sign, because it occurs as bacteria die during treatment. Supporting the body’s ability to detoxify in order to process and expel the killed off bacteria may help.”
Detoxification support includes increased hydration; increased vitamin C and anti-oxidants; zinc; drinking lemon water, green tea, ginger tea or tumeric tea; Epsom salt baths in warm water; far-infrared sauna; dry skin brushing; herbal remedies targeting the liver and kidneys; daily bowel movements; eliminating gluten, dairy and sugar, which can feed the infection, and opting instead for an anti-inflammatory diet.
Musculoskeletal problems may respond well to osteopathic or chiropractic manipulation, and massage therapy and acupuncture may also be beneficial. However, deep tissue massages and hot detox baths should be avoided, because they can cause too fast a die-off and trigger a Herxheimer reaction.
Essential oils may soothe stiff muscles/joints, ease anxiety and nausea, and support more restful sleep, and may also be added to detox Epsom salt baths. Anti-inflammatory herbs can help to lessen pain. Gentle exercise, specific to what a patient can tolerate, may also help with pain and even benefit a patient’s sense of well-being.
Prioritizing a healthy immune system and supporting the patient’s physiology is agreed upon by Marchegiani and Mauss. Creating a balanced immune system and healthy microbiome, regulating adrenal function and improving liver detoxification may support a higher success rate when trying to kill the infection.
“Reaching out to others who have or are experiencing life with Lyme disease can create a community for sharing and support,” suggests Weiss. Prins agrees, “PA Lyme Resource Network regional support groups offer monthly educational meetings.”
PA Lyme Resource Network (PALRN), PALyme.org; Content presented by Tina Prins and PA Lyme is for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal or medical advice regarding the treatment of any symptoms or disease; the National Capital Lyme Disease Association, NatCapLyme.org; Columbia University Irving Medical Center, Columbia-Lyme.org; International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society, ILADS.org.
Dr. Ross Marchegiani, Mechanicsburg office: 717-795-9566, Manheim Office: 717-879-9899, DrRoss@TurnpaughHWC.com, TurnpaughHWC.com.
Dr. Robert Mauss, Gettysburg Osteopathic Family Health Center, 28 Apple Ave., Gettysburg, 717-334-2233, GettysburgOsteopath.com.