(Disclaimer: The STS machine is no longer available for treatment in the USA. The machine is no longer made. I do not know why. I purchased my own STS machine in 2001, and I still use it to this day.)
I started going to physical therapy to work with a man named Dave Solheim. He believed in chronic pain. He believed in Fibromyalgia Syndrome. And he believed in me! He introduced me to the Sympathetic Therapy System machine; the STS machine. The STS machine looks like a TENS unit, the set up is very similar. He warned me the STS machine may work, but it just as likely would not, so not to be upset if nothing happened during this first trial. The treatment time on the machine was 60 minutes. About 20 minutes in, I could feel my body begin to relax, it was working! I couldn’t believe the relief I was feeling! Sharp pains were dulled. I began to cry, and a very worried technician ran into the room to stop the machine! I explained it was working and I couldn’t believe it. I was experiencing a longed-for relief of the sharp, constant pain I was always in. I could actually take a deep breath in without pain! I began seeing Dave three times a week. Within a month, I could receive hugs without reeling from the pain they caused. I was able to purchase my own STS machine. (I used it once in the morning and once in the evening for years, now only as needed.)
The TENS unit creates a buzzing feeling on your skin to send a message up the spinal cord to release pain-killing endorphins in the brain. The TENS machine did not work for me. Unfortunately, it increased my pain. The TENS unit does work for the majority who try it. You can purchase home units rather cheaply. My husband has one for his bad back. The STS machine works on the sympathetic nervous system.
So let’s decipher what the sympathetic nervous system is? I turn to Wikipedia for the explanation because it made me chuckle at the end! This is the description;
The autonomic nervous system functions to regulate the body’s unconscious actions. The sympathetic nervous system’s primary process is to stimulate the body’s fight-or-flight response. It is, however, constantly active at a basic level to maintain homeostasis homeodynamics. The sympathetic nervous system is described as being antagonistic to the parasympathetic nervous system which stimulates the body to “feed and breed” and to (then) “rest-and-digest.”
Okay, so since our fibro bodies are stuck in the fight or flight response, the STS machine signals the brain that the body response is not needed. We are able to relax go on to the parasympathetic part of the nervous system to “feed and breed and to (then) rest and digest.”
This machine did not work for everyone. I fact, it did not work for the majority of people who tried it. Many times the signal could just not get through. I was one of the lucky ones. It worked for me…
Class dismissed! (I’ve always wanted to say that.)