Lyme Disease Research Database Independent reporting on all aspects of Lyme Disease

Jun 2011

Dr. Peter Muran, Lyme Disease Management

I had the opportunity to interview Dr. Peter Muran this week about his approach to Lyme disease management, which he refers to as functional medicine. Dr. Muran practices Holistic Integrative Medicine in San Luis Obispo, CA, and specializes in diagnosing and treating immune system disorders and diseases such as Lyme. Functional medicine is about treating the whole person, body, mind, and spirit. To those of us who are aware of the role we must play in our own healing, this might seem like a no-brainer, but in Western medicine it is still quite revolutionary and new.

There’s a profound sense of relief that resonates deep inside when a trained and experienced medical doctor tells you, “there’s nothing stronger than what goes on in your own body.” It felt like music to my ears to hear this. Yes, we need medicine -- sometimes very powerful medicine indeed -- but our own miraculous bodies are often resilient and strong and capable of healing themselves, if only we let them.

The main point I came away with after our talk was that immune disorders can be managed if we take a whole person, whole life, approach. Healing from Lyme is literally a life-changing experience. I’ve said in the past that I’d almost rather have something easily diagnosable, such as cancer, instead of this mysterious condition that is so difficult to treat. Dr. Muran set me straight. Cancer is much harder to get over, he told me, more devastating overall to health. Lyme is treatable. We just might not want to make the effort to change in the radical ways it seems to insist on, but if we do, we can get better.

Have you ever had a doctor tell you that “diet has nothing to do with it”? I’m pretty sure I’m not the only Lyme patient who has ever heard that from a conventional doctor. I’m no expert, but I know a line of bull when I hear it.  As it turns out, diet does have something to do with it. When I asked him to say a few words about our eating habits, and about the role of sugar, Dr. Muran offered some basic widsom:
don’t live to eat, eat to live. Diet should always be nutritional. Become aware of how the foods you eat affect you. In other words, instead of ignoring that bloated sensation, recognize that your body is giving you feedback. When beginning to work with a new patient, Dr. Muran conducts food allergy tests to help distinguish food sensitivities from a reaction to bacterial infection.

During our hour-long conversation, he touched on subjects that are close to our hearts, including of course the astounding immune system and GI tract, diet and nutrition, exercise, the function and role of the body’s secondary responders: the hormones, cortisol, insulin, and adrenal. He doesn’t go into detail, but intriguingly also mentions the importance of the role of meditation.

We also talked about his approach to handling herxes. The Herxheimer reaction is a double-edged sword for Lyme patients, because we know it is generally a sign that the Lyme bacteria are dying -- good. But with that die-off, more symptoms or more severe symptoms may also emerge -- not good. Instead of pushing the patient and risking more stress to their system, his recommendation is to back off the newly introduced antibiotic or treatment causing the herx. Reduce it to a point where the patient can stabilize and continue to heal without additional stress.

On a personal note, I was surprised and gratified to discover during our talk that Dr. Muran actually played a central role in my own healing although I never knew his name. I lived in San Luis Obispo at the time I discovered I had Lyme, and the naturopathic doctor who treated me was new to the field at the time. I was aware that he was given guidance every step of the way by a group of Lyme experts in California. That group included Dr. Muran and Dr. Steve Harris, who incidentally are both featured in Connie Strasheim’s excellent book:
Insights into Lyme Disease Treatment. Also included in the book are Dr. Lee Cowden and master herbalist Stephen Buhner, both of whom are featured guests in our own interview with experts’ series.


Listen to my conversation with Dr. Muran on managing Lyme disease.


For further information about Dr. Muran’s approach, please visit his website page on Lyme disease:
http://www.alternativemedicinehealthcare.com/immune-health/lyme-disease.www.longevityhealthcare.com
Tel: (888) 315-4777



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Safe mosquito & tick repellent

A friend dropped by with her 8-month-old baby the other day. We sat at the picnic table, enjoying the deep shade of the bamboo. She set the little guy down on the ground, buck naked, where he proceeded to crawl around and gleefully do what babies do best -- put everything into his mouth. As he sampled the bamboo leaves, I flashed on how much my relationship with nature has changed since having Lyme. In the past, I never would have worried about an occasional bug bite. I was like my friend in that respect, assuming that nature, in small doses, mostly can’t, or won’t, cause harm. Now I’m older, wiser, or perhaps just merely unluckier, but one thing’s for sure, I’m definitely much more cautious when interacting with the Great Outdoors.

Typically, I take any recommendation for tick and mosquito repellent with a grain. Either they’re full of poison or they don’t work because they’re ‘natural.’ However, I’ve been experimenting with a safe mosquito & tick spray repellent in my yard and around my house. It’s made of garlic juice. As an honorary Italian, I love the smell, but it does fade after a few hours. This stuff, Mosquito Barrier, is safe to use around people, fish, butterflies and birds, but it supposedly disturbs ticks and kills mosquitoes.

So far, I like the results but I’ve only been using it for a few weeks, so can’t tell if it’s made a huge difference. The baby didn’t get bit, so you can breathe a sigh of relief now. I live on a creek near a lake, so we’re no strangers to bugs. They’re part and parcel of our community, which is actually a certified wildlife habitat. We see no evidence of deer, but there are plenty of resident birds, geese, ducks, frogs, fish, squirrels and other critters (even reportedly a black bear) which means that ticks are probably here as well.

I’m aware that some people discourage deer with certain deer-repelling plants. Others put up fencing to keep deer out, which is a much more complicated and expensive proposition, but worthwhile, if it works. I picked up a citronella-scented geranium at the nursery and placed it by the front door, and I’ve got a truckload of garlic juice ready to spray in another week.

What are you using to repel ticks from your yard? Please share. I’d love to hear.
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