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Could Inclined Bed Therapy (IBT) replace surgery for varicose veins and oedema?

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Well, after getting soaked to the skin today and sinking into a foot of mud and slurry, and whilst only daring to wear my walking boots rather than wellies after that latest, nasty bout of phlebitis, I am about to take a pair of strong, sharp scissors to my wellies! Am aiming to cut away the area that causes direct pressure on the varicose vein that is regularly affected by phlebitis. Although that has almost recovered now, there are still a few hard, lumpy areas present to the touch, and I don't want to cause it to be kicked off again.

Andrew, I posted the following on a Welsh forum that I belong to, please let me know if I have missed anything out, as someone there asked me what IBT stood for because I'd mentioned it in a post and in passing...

--- Quote ---Original question: What's IBT, never heard of the abbreviation ???'

IBT stands for Inclined Bed Therapy. It was discovered by medical researcher and engineer, Andrew K Fletcher and back in the 1990s. However, his idea was dismissed simply because it appears to fly in the face of the previous beliefs on the part of the medical text books about how the circulatory system works. Andrew discovered that, instead of the heart being solely responsible for pumping our blood around the system, gravity also played a vital part, and especially in removing toxins and solutes from the blood, and removing these from the body via the kidneys and urine.

For a long time, I have had problems with varicose veins and oedema, and periodic bouts of phlebitis, so when, a few months ago, I discovered a study was being done on The Naked Scientists forum - see this link: Varicose Veins & IBT Study - I followed some of the links shown there, and realised that this could also help a long term back problem that I have, and other conditions, too.

Andrew agreed that I could join in the study group, and I spoke with my doctor about it too. My doctor said he couldn't see any reason why I shouldn't join in, but to expect my oedema and varicose veins to get worse! This because instead of raising the legs, one sleeps at a 5 degree angle and with the legs lower than the head. Well, he was astonished to see the difference himself, because my oedema disappeared within days! My calves were measured prior to commencing IBT and after, and they reduced in size by as much as 5cms - about 2.5"!

I also started to get decent quality, restorative sleep almost immediately, which is something I've not experienced for years! Indeed, due to my back problem, and a natural chemical reaction that it seems to cause when flaring, very often I would go for days or even weeks at a time without any sleep at all, or just brief periods of dozing, and when in a sitting position, because often the back would not even allow me to assume a prone position.

Other benefits include a lowering of blood pressure - and a friend (aged 58 and in Wales) who was recently told by his doctor that his BP was so dangerously high that he could die at any moment, commenced IBT and with almost immediate benefits! His BP, and without medication, has now reduced consistently to a range between 130/75 and 120/70, and sometimes as low as 110/65! His doctor was stunned by this result!

Now that I have been doing IBT for a couple of months, I am beginning to notice improvements in my back problem. This I was told likely wouldn't be noticeable for four to eight months, and mainly because there are two conditions that affect my spine. In the lumbar region, I have osteoarthritis, and there I have noticed a lessening of the pain in that region. In fact, sometimes I realise I don't even have that dull ache that never seemed to go away at all! Higher up, and in the thoracic region, I've been affected by periods of severe inflammation and pain, including severe muscle spasms (like electric shocks) that can sometimes have a paralysing effect and make breathing difficult and also affects the use of my hands and arms. After many years, that has finally been diagnosed as arachnoiditis, and after those medically qualified people following the IBT trial recognised the symptoms and alerted me to mention it to my doctor, when all the pointers over the years suddenly fell into place! Whatever, there has definitely been a lessening of the incidents of inflammation and therefore muscle spasms and their strength since commencing IBT. (Also my need to take medication to address thesee!) I have also started to lose some weight at last, and had been really struggling to do that for years, and largely because I wasn't able to exercise much at all - and now I can (to some degree) and without aggravating the back!

There are lots of conditions that IBT can help to improve, and quality of life is not the least amongst them! The best of it is, it is virtually free! Raising the head end of the bed just 6" can be achieved with a couple of breeze blocks - even recycled ones! In my case, and because of the type of legs on my bed-settee, I chose to have wooden blocks made with a hollowed out section in them that would hold the bed's legs securely in place, and those cost me just 30! A price well worth paying for the improvement in my sleep quality alone, and because now I have energy again, and feel really quite well! (This even despite undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer during much of the time I've been doing the IBT trial!)

If you think it could help you, why not just try it? Beg a couple of old breeze blocks from a builder, wrap them in old towels to protect you carpet or flooring, and raise the HEAD end of your bed by 6". Do make sure that you drink plenty of fluids too, and so that you don't become dehydrated as the solutes and toxins are removed from your body. IBT provides quite a powerful detox to the system and you may well find yourself popping to the bathroom on a more regular basis. If you find yourself slipping down the bed a bit, wrap an extra duvet around the mattress and under the sheet to provide some extra comfort and friction, also don't sleep in pants that could cut into the groin a bit, and do remove any footboard from the bed to avoid pressure on the feet. You can always add a throw over the end of the bed to keep your feet warm if the poke out a bit, but one thing I have really noticed, is that my previously cold feet (due to poor circulation) are now like toast!

There are a huge number of medical conditions that can benefit from IBT, including heart conditions, sleep apnoea, breathing problems, spinal problems, arthritis, MS, circulatory problems, skin conditions, and so on.

So far the only person amongst those friends whom I've recommended it to to complain about its benefits, is a chap who has suddenly started getting early morning erections on a regular basis, and after years of having a problem in that department!  Others that have discovered this same thing don't see to consider it a problem at all - at least, not one they cannot deal with!  In fact, it's been quite a handy thing when it comes to couples where the wife may have had leg problems and the husband being reluctant to raise their bed just for his wife's benefit! Fit people trying it, have noticed that they wake feeling more refreshed and energetic, and young, fit couples, tell me that yes, it does seem to improve their love lives too! (Well, haven't the Welsh always been a pasionate race?  [;)] )

--- End quote ---

If you think there's anything that I might need to add, or have missed out anything important, please let me know, thanks.  [:)]

Hi Old Dragon

I must say, i am impressed with your write up on i.b.t. (Hope Andrew thinks the same.)

Well when i read the bit about wearing tight clothes in the groin area, i can not stress that i have had probs from this.

Please learn by my mistake, as this was pointed out at the start by andrew. I had complained of a blow-out in the groin area, which i thought was a lymph node swelling.  Anyway i talked to andrew and he mentioned that i may be experiencing a night wedge effect,that could have also been causing the blow out aswell.

Now i did take this on board, but made the mistake of accessing my activite in bed when i was awake.

I feel a bit silly now, as i was experiencing a discomfort in that area which would sometimes be a problem and other times it was not.

This looking back was due to my positioning in bed not always being the same.

I am so glad that the penny dropped and i rectified this problem.  Within the first night of doing commando, i am not getting this discomfort and hope to see the blow out at the top of my leg decrease now.

Sometimes new things can be misunderstood, but i am glad i relised whot was happening. and am now feeling much better.

(How i thought i could access the activities of my sleeping position when i was awake, i do not know  LOL)

(Feeling slightly silly) alun

Hi Andrew,

I am Aluns wife (I must have sinned in a previous life!)
I have recently started on IBT and just wanted to post a few of the observations I have made over the past three weeks.
Firstly I have to say that if anyone was a cynic to this process it would have been me, like a lot of people we are all programmed like robots to believe that whatever a medical professional tells us must be right, so the idea that you should sleep inclined in the opposite direction to that which is conventional was a mystery to me.  Alun began this process about 3 months ago and I have closely watched his progress.  I have to say that the bed looked very uncomfortable but he stuck with it and has gained so much from this process.  I have seen him gain confidence, a definate improvement in his varicose veins but above all he no longer has constant pains in his legs and this is something that has bothered him for some 30 years.
It was this that persuaded me to give it a go. 

I am fortunate to have little medical problems but a brief description would be;

Lower back pain
Pain in left hip on walking distance
Disturbed sleep patterns
Some spider veins

Now out of these the lower back pain has got to be the worst. In 2005 we purchased a very good quality bed, our excuse was 'look after your back you spend a lot of time in bed'
Well the back pain began and has continued everynight since. 

Since beginning the IBT I have to say, and this is an honest evaluation, I have slept like a baby, it is complete bliss and definately not uncomfortable. 
I wake up pain free almost every morning and this is a huge improvement. I used to hold back from drinking before bed because I knew I would definately be up during the night, now this is not the case.  I can drink as much as I like and not wake up. 

I am drinking a lot more, sometimes 3 litres of liquid(not tea or coffee) in a day. 
I still get the pain in hips on walking a distance but I genuinely dont suffer for 2-3 days afterwards as I used to.
I definately feel more energetic.
I have not noticed a significant difference in my asthma yet but this is difficult as it is worse during summer months or when I have a cold.

In the first few days I had really bad heads and spots and I can only assume that these symptoms were caused by the amount of toxins that were being flushed from my body at that time.  The odd morning I will wake up with a headache that is similar to that you would have after a real good night out.  On these mornings I know that I must drink alot more and this clears.
I have felt tingles/nerve flutters in my legs and sometimes hands, more in the first week, but still occasionally.
My period normally follows the same pattern, though not always regular. As well as the usuall mood swings etc, I will have back ache for a couple of days before hand and restless sleep, stomach ache for the first day, then I will have a headache for a day or so after the end of my period. This last one though came without any warning, and this is something that has only ever happened on one other occasion. Dont know at the minute whether this is good or not. 
I have not noticed any significant change with the spider veins but I know it is early days and to me this is not that important.

Overall, I can honestly say I feel alot healthier,  I have more energy,  I sleep so much better and dont regret it at all. I would definately reccomend it and urge people to try it. I am amazed that simply adjusting the angle of your bed can make such a difference.

Thanks Andrew!

I hope I'm not too late to join this study as well.  I have varicose veins and was looking up natural alternatives to the conventional therapies as I would rather fix the parts in my body than just remove them and still be none the wiser.  Anyhow I came across Andrew Fletcher's ideas and am willing to try them out and document my experiment if it could help anyone else.  I have already seen a specialist about getting the veins removed but especially after already having an operation in my teens am a little wary about removing any more "redundant" body parts.  It's getting late now so I'll join in the discussion when I'm more alert. 

Before I go should I use any natural herbal medicines like Horse chestnut or should I refrain for the length of the study as this could compromise the results?


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