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Show Notes

In this episode world renowned fibromyalgia researcher Professor Dr. Kati Thieme shares her research and understanding about the root cause of fibromyalgia. She tells of how her theoretical research accidentally led to the discovery of an effective treatment for fibromyalgia called Systolic Extinction Training (SET), which when combined with psychological brain-training strategies, is very effective in resolving chronic pain in fibromyalgia and other conditions.

Professor Dr Kati Thieme explains how blood pressure and baroreceptor sensitivity relays to the autonomic nervous system (ANS) in the brainstem via the NTS nucleus, and how this part of the brain becomes 'blind' to the data from the body leading to dysregulation or dysautonomia as well as chronic pain.

We discuss heart rate variability in this context as well as problems around fibromyalgia research and why a tailored approach to recovery is required, plus much more.


Podcast Disclaimer0:03:57
Dan introduces Kati and asks why she focusses on fibromyalgia0:04:39
Dan and Kati discuss whether fibromyalgia is a syndrome and the connection to 'other' illnesses0:06:53
Dan asks Kati about the importance of understanding how the illness works0:08:54
For a non-psychological illness, why is psychology relevant? How does ANS dysfunction occur?0:11:28
Dan asks about how the blood pressure variation sensing changes in fibromyalgia0:18:30
Dan reflects on heart rate variability vs blood pressure variations0:21:34
How does pain and blood pressure sensing delay connect?0:23:24
How can this occur in people with different blood pressure?0:26:15
Why people with POTS & ME/CFS sometimes don't develop pain0:30:08
Dan asks about why people struggle to create a healing environment to encourage recovery0:37:40
Dan asks about medical consensus about the cause of fibromyalgia & evidence that ANS dysfunction is central0:41:46
Dan highlights the issue of needing different treatment evaluations and tailored treatments0:47:42
Katie talk about the need for different medications and how some medicines provoke diminished baroreceptor sensitivity0:49:01
Dan asks how they discovered the process of Systolic Extinction Training (SET)0:50:38
Dan asks if she had any other surprises or unexpected findings - discussion about other pain conditions0:52:57
Dan raises discussion on opioid and cannabinoid effectiveness1:02:05
How effective is SET and operant conditioning for fibromyalgia1:03:07
Dan asks about physical treatments 1:06:24
Dan talks about the importance of education in the medical community1:08:00
A discussion of the different psychological factors of pain perception1:10:30
Katie talks about how the perception of muscle tension is disturbed in fibromyalgia1:16:41
Dan discusses how our hormonal cycles affect pain and what is the mechanism1:21:14
When will people be able to benefit from Systolic Extinction Training (SET)1:28:38


Here is a link to a recent study on Systolic Extinction Training:

1. Thieme K, Meller T, Evermann U, et al. Efficacy of Systolic Extinction Training in Fibromyalgia Patients With Elevated Blood Pressure Response to Stress: A Tailored Randomized Controlled Trial. Arthritis Care & Research. 2019;71(5):678-688.


Other Resources

Paperback & eBook

CFS Unravelled is the book that started it all, outlining the explanation for the pathogenesis of ME/CFS, Fibromyalgia, POTS, MCS and related syndromes and explaining how recovery is possible.

Learn more HERE.

All my email subscribers receive additional FREE resources like my book Discover Hope.  So consider subscribing and reading the book to rediscover hope.

Discover Hope Bookcover

To learn how other people recover, listen to the recovery interviews!

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If you would like to learn more about the ANS REWIRE program, check out the 4 free intro lessons or visit the ANS REWIRE website.

Check out some other recent episodes

Episode 4: Dr Jacob Teitelbaum, world leading MECFS Fibromyalgia POTS physician, shares his research and experience
Episode 1: How to cope and deal with the injustice of invisible illness including chronic illness like Fibromyalgia, ME/CFS, POTS and MCS
Episode 6: What we learned from 100s of conversations with people who recovered from MECFS Fibromyalgia & POTS
Episode 2: How ANS REWIRE helps people experiencing Fibromyalgia MECFS POTS MCS

You can see the full list of episodes HERE.

Comments about this episode

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This was so interesting, I will have to listen to it again, to pick up some details, but some interesting insights on the role of partners in shaping how we perceive pain, and so interesting that deep sleep is later in the night and that affects our cortisol levels when we are unwell. The role of blood pressure is also very interesting. Thank you, still gaining insights, even though recovered, still learning


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