By Donna Gregory Burch
As a fibromyalgia warrior and blogger, I read a lot of articles about new research findings. I continue to be amazed by how much time and money are wasted by researching the obvious or studying the same treatments over and over again.
After all, how many times do we need to prove meditation can reduce fibromyalgia pain? Didn’t we figure that out years ago?
I really thought I’d seen it all until an article entitled, “The Power of Flowers May Ease Fibromyalgia Symptoms,” showed up in my inbox last month.
As I read it, I literally said out loud: “Are you kidding me?”
In case you haven’t read the article, it summarizes a recent Israeli study in which 61 women with fibromyalgia completed a 12-week flower design course presented by a trained florist. At the end of the course, Tel-Aviv University researchers reported “quite amazing” improvements in the women’s fibromyalgia symptoms.
Yep, you read that right: The researchers claim arranging a few daisies and baby’s breath in a vase actually improves fibromyalgia.
Now, I don’t doubt for a minute that flower arranging is relaxing and could have a calming effect on the central nervous system. That, in turn, could lead to a reduction in pain and other fibro symptoms.
But so could watching butterflies or painting rocks.
While I think it’s wonderful researchers are looking at non-pharmaceutical treatments for fibromyalgia, studies like this completely invalidate the seriousness of our condition. These types of studies make it seem like almost anything will fix fibro, and that is just not reality.
Because of the stigma of fibromyalgia, we already struggle to prove to our doctors and loved ones that we’re really sick. What do you think the average person is going to think when they read flower arranging helps fibromyalgia? While I’m sure the researchers had good intentions, this study makes a complete mockery and joke out of an extremely painful, life-sucking condition.
In my mind, I think back to all of those doctors who tried to give me anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications when I complained about unexplained pain, fatigue, bladder urgency, neuropathy and a long list of other symptoms. The message was clear: “It’s all in your head. You’re just a stressed out, middle-aged woman who needs to chill out.”
What happens when these same doctors read the Israeli study? I can envision them now referring their patients to the nearest community college for classes on cupcake baking and basket-weaving. As if we weren’t frustrated enough with the conventional medical system!
The truth is we don’t need more BS fibromyalgia studies like this one. We need researchers to get serious! We need them to take a deep dive into the minds and bodies of fibromyalgia patients and figure out what causes us to feel like a three-day-old warmed over microwave dinner.
We need real solutions – treatments that get to the root cause of our illness – not a new hobby!
Donna Gregory Burch lives with fibromyalgia and chronic Lyme disease. Donna covers news, treatments, research and practical tips for living with fibromyalgia and Lyme on her blog, FedUpwithFatigue.com. You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.
Donna is an award-winning journalist whose work has appeared online and in newspapers and magazines throughout Virginia, Delaware and Pennsylvania. She lives in Delaware with her husband and their many fur babies.