fragmented.ME …
illness & health ...

my health gadgets …

Reading time: 27 Minutes

Of all the blog posts I’ve written so far, this one feels like it could be one of the most useful to share and to help you also save money.

I will start by giving you a brief overview of the illnesses I have been diagnosed with and please know that I deal with these on a daily basis so that you can see why I would want to try alternatives ways to treat them.

introduction …

I have severe ME/CFS, fibromyalgia, migraine, hemicrania continua, cluster headache, chronic pain, TMJ, MCS, NAFLD, and probably lots more that I have forgotten to mention. However, I will add to the list as and when I remember something else that I have a diagnosis of.

I have been ill most of my adult life and until approximately seven years ago I haven’t taken any form of medication for the illnesses. You can read more details around my story on my ‘about ME & me …’ page in the ‘my story …’ fly out. That said, I now take daily pain medications, I use high flow oxygen, and feel extremely unwell all of the time.

I also use many alternative methods to supplement and try to encourage health. Below, I will aim to document and discuss some of the devices I have tried, I will show the ones that worked for me and the ones that I found to be a complete waste of money.

   . . .   m y   h e a l t h   g a d g e t s   . . .   
   . . .   the good, the bad, the ugly,   . . .  

the devices …

I have tried so many alternative health devices that it would be confusing for me to mention them all here. Yet, it would also not be responsible, or informative, enough for me to only discuss the ones that I’ve stuck with because they either work or I feel there is some benefit to continuing to use them. And so, I will discuss as many of them as I can. Referring to them as the good (those that I have found useful), the bad (those that I have not found useful), and the ugly (those that I found to be downright cons).

I will additionally mention the cost, and go on to give a brief history of my own personal use and views and discuss what I use each one for and when etc so that you can emulate these if you wish to try them out.

take note please …

These are my own honest and personal views and experiences and I have purchased every single device with my own money. Nothing if what is say is to be taken and deemed as medical advice. Nor is it a substitute for seeing a medical professional for your own illness.

please read before continuing:
please see my ‘disclaimer policy (reviews) …’ for further information.

After reading the disclaimer policy you agree to the sentiments contained within it if you continue to read this article.

Without further ado let’s now continue …

 … the good … 

The ones I personally found good …

FitBit Sense … (£279)

my health gadgets : FitBit Sense …

FitBit Sense is the advanced health smartwatch that helps you tune in to your body with tools for stress management, heart health, SpO2, skin temperature & more.

  • Battery Life: 6+ day battery & fast charge**
  • Compatibility: Compatible with iOS 12.2 or higher & Android OS 7.0 or higher
  • EDA Sensor & Stress Management: The on-wrist EDA Scan app for Sense detects electrodermal activity, which may indicate your body’s response to stress so you can better track and manage it.
  • Fitbit ECG (Electrocardiogram) App: With a compatible ECG app right on your wrist, assess your heart for atrial fibrillation—a heart rhythm irregularity—and share the results with your doctor. (The Fitbit ECG app is only available in select countries. Not intended for use by people under 22 years old. See for additional details.)
  • On-Wrist Skin Temperature Sensor: Sense logs your skin temperature each night to show how it varies from your personal baseline, so you can be aware of trends over time.
  • Free 6-month Fitbit Premium Trial: Your Sense smartwatch unlocks a free 6-month Fitbit Premium membership complete with personalized insights, advanced analytics, guided programs, mindfulness & sleep tools, workouts and more.
  • Premium Design: A polished stainless steel ring, custom AMOLED display, laser-bonded Corning Gorilla Glass 3 and innovative biosensor core make every piece of Sense exceptional by design.
  • Use built-in Amazon Alexa to get quick news, info and weather, set bedtime reminders and alarms, control your smart home devices and more—just by speaking to your smartwatch.
  • To use the button on your watch, press the entire button sensor, where you see the indentation. You’ll feel your watch vibrate. You may have to experiment to find the best position.

I have used a FitBit, of one kind or another, for many years to log my activity. 

However, since getting much sicker I have used my FitBit to monitor sleep, heart rate, oxygen level, and to also aim to stay within my anaerobic threshold.

This is the only smart watch that allows the right kind of app to be installed, which can be set to your individual anaerobic threshold and to vibrate when you reach it.

my use & views …

As I have already mentioned above, I have used a FitBit for years to monitor my activity. But in the last five to seven years I have been using one to track my sleep and heart rate.

I had to upgrade to a more expensive model in order to have access to these readings. I did so because I was sure these readings and graphs would help me solve the puzzle of why I was getting sicker by the day and why sleep made me so much worse.

I have scrutinised the graphs and information readings from tracking my heart rate and sleep to try to work out what has been going on with my body and health.

I sincerely thought I might be able to use the information I gained to avoid further progression and maybe fix something that I feel is wrong with my sleep.

But I couldn’t.

I haven’t.

In more recently years I have installed an app that vibrates when I go into anaerobic threshold in order to help me avoid post exertional malaise (PEM). I’ve been doing this now for over 12 months. Yet sadly, I still haven’t managed to avoid PEM.

All of this said I wouldn’t be without a FitBit, it offers insights and readings that I have come to rely on..

the good * the bad * the ugly …

The Good — the product is reliable and the app is good enough and battery life is excellent. The watch looks nice too.

The Bad — with my latest FitBit, the Sense, I received a six month free trial of the premium readings available in the app. They were very useful and offered even more insight and readings. So why bad? Because it costs £9.99 a month to have access to this. As far as I am concerned the item costs enough and this pre I’m access should just come with the product.

The Ugly — exactly the same as the bad … paying for readings and insight that a watch you’ve already paid for monitors is plain extortion.

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Apple Watch … (£379)

my health gadgets : Apple Watch …

The future of health is on your wrist. Measure your blood oxygen level with a revolutionary sensor and app. Take an ECG anytime, anywhere. See your fitness metrics at a glance with the enhanced Always-On Retina display. With Apple Watch Series 6 on your wrist, a healthier, more active, more connected life is within reach.

I owned the first edition Apple Watch, but battery life made me swear I’d never buy another until their battery life matched the FitBit.

But last month my boy_1 bought me a series 6 and I absolutely love it.

It reads and reports different information to the FitBit and so I use the two of them, one on each arm.

left arm = Apple Watch …

right arm = FitBit Sense …

LoL …

my use & views …

I use this for the heart rate, HRV, oxygen and ECG properties as well as the other typical things that an Apple Watch helps with.

I love it … really love it …

Yet, I still think my next one with be many series away from this version. I’ll keep this for about six years and then hopefully in six years it will be able to offer statistics for someone with severe illness, especially ME …

the good * the bad * the ugly …

The Good — who doesn’t love an Apple Watch … everyone wants one … don’t they …

The Bad — the price of the watch and the extra straps, the battery life.

The Ugly — it should really do a lot more for the price and surely by now Apple should have found better battery components.

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Yoke acupressure mat & pillow … (£54.99)

my health gadgets : Yoke acupressure mat & pillow …

Looking For Natural, Drug & Caffeine Free Energy in 10 Minutes A Day? This Acupressure Body Mat and Pillow Set is a muscle massager, relaxation aid and self-care tool. TEN MINUTES a day is all it takes to feel a full body tingle and spa quality relaxation. Sit, stand or lie on the mat for a flood of endorphins, giving you a personal treatment right at home.

I had one of these sets a few years ago that I won from a migraine competition. But I tried it once and thought ‘sod this I’m not into self torture’.

However my migraine and my upper back have been severely deteriorating and on researching things further these acupressure mats are highly recommended and so I purchased another.

my use & views …

I struggled at first to use it and so started with two minutes at a time and with a thickish t-shirt on. What I noticed is, that after using it at 2 minutes for around a week, that my back began to feel much better and had really erred back to previous pain levels, which was encouraging. So I upped to 5 minutes a day then after about ten days I upped it to 10 minutes a day. Six weeks on, I am now doing 30 minutes on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I also intend to begin to start a programme using the pillow for a migraine treatment. However, as yet I’m avoiding it because of how much it might hurt initially.

As bizarre as it might sound, I am actually enjoying using it.

I will add any further information as and when it improves or deteriorates.

I would highly recommend trying this as it’s cheap and it’s worth a try.

I may try a more expensive one next time but in all honesty this felt good I would just have preferred a prettier colour that’s all 😉 …

the good * the bad * the ugly …

The Good — the price and surprisingly, and unexpectedly, the results too. I’m pleasantly surprised. Absolutely great if you carry any kind of tensions in your body. It’s working for me and I am one of the most tense people I know.

The Bad — the fear … fear it might hurt, which is does but after a few minutes it no longer hurts and it’s now something I look forward to.

The Ugly — nothing, maybe the colour LoL, …

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sensate … (£299 (introductory price £199))

my health gadgets : sensate …

Experience The Effects Of Long-term Meditation, Without Effort Or Concentration. Improved Ergonomic Design That Builds On The Already Classic ‘Pebble’ Concept. Better Stress Management. Feeling Instantly Relaxed. Lower Depression. Improved Blood Pressure. Reduced Anxiety. From the first use, Sensate users will understand that they have just experienced something unique and special. The vagus branch of the Autonomic Nervous System speaks directly to your sense of vibration and sound; and the magic comes from combining the Sensate device with the app experience. Each session is a synchronised soundscape that is both felt and heard simultaneously. This resonates through your body to tone and uplift the capabilities of your vagus nerve. Nothing is needed except 10 minutes of your time – feel the benefit right away.

I bought this as a replacement for the stress releaZer, which broke after a few months of use. It is meant to strengthen the vagus nerve using infrasonic waves to target the vagus nerve, which can in turn positively impact inflammation markers in the body, lower pain levels, improve digestion, as well as improve stress coping ability and a whole host of other issues that are impacted by ME. I am sincerely hoping this proves true for me.

my use & views …

I use this device several times a day for at least 10 minutes at a time.

On a Monday, Wednesday, and Friday I use it for 30 minutes while I am using the acupressure mat.

I thoroughly enjoy using it and definitely feel better, in the here and now, for using it. However, I don’t feel any long term benefits or improvements as yet.

I will update this post as I use the device for longer with any positive, or even negative, results if or when I have them.

*** I have been using this now for around a month and I’m scared it’s making me sicker, just like the devices in ‘the bad …’ section below. If after some experimentations I still feel this way then the review will be shifted down to the bad.

the good * the bad * the ugly …

The Good — I absolutely love this device. Despite my niggles below I do love it and would replace it at £199 if it broke, but not at £299. I feel it’s value is more representative of £99 – £150 (if it were available in different colours I’d pay £150, but in the awful colour it is I feel it’s really only worth £99. That said if it helps me feel better then I’d obviously increase my cost / value ratio).

The Bad — it’s a tad expensive. I paid £199 as an early bird discounted order with the full RRP set to be £299 I am not yet sure if it’s a worthy purchase. As regards my purchase, I did also have a code that deducted £20 but after a £6 delivery fee I only saved £14, meaning I paid £185, which is steep.

Also the app could do with improvement. I’m being picky, because of the price of the gadget. Overall the app is ok  it because the RRP is £299 the should be brilliant and it’s not it just ok.

The Ugly — the high cost and the awful awful smell of the rubber chemicals when it’s new. Plus, if I leave it touching my skin for too long I get an allergy to the device.

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ōura ring … (£275)

my health gadgets : ōura ring …

Ōura Helps You Stay Motivated and Reach Your Goals with Performance and Recovery Insights. Find Out How You Can Sleep Better For Wakeful, Mindful, and Productive Days. Track Every Heart Beat. Optimize your sleep. Stronger, Accurate Data. Sleep & Perform Better. Styles: Heritage, Balance, Balance Diamond

I finally purchased this 02.07.2021 after wanting one for years. Some of my reasons for wanting one were linked more to anecdotal evidence over categoric claims. For instance, users have been able to read the reports and graphs and preempt illness and so I was curious if I might be able to use my readings to be more balanced and not push anything on my very sick days.

If you haven’t bought one before you get a free sizing kit, which is extremely useful as the sizes are American and I’m in the UK. The kit took 7 days to arrive and I choose the finger to wear the ring on ordered my size on the 10.07.2021. The ring arrived 14.07.2021 with additional duties and handling fees of £53.80.

my use & views …

My honest first thoughts were how sort of cheap it feels. But I didn’t buy it for it’s looks or feel I bought it for it’s capability, which I will add as I learn and experience it. Plums on wearing it it’s not cheap at all, it’s quite classy really and very easy and enjoyable to wear. I’ve had it almost a week now and I really love it so much.

I’m enjoying rather app read puts too and it feels pretty spot on when it reports my sleeps. I’m obviously not complying with the activity side of things and keep getting warnings that my activity levels are poor and I spend too much time inactive. So next week, I am planning on aiming to get up every hour and do a little walk around our living room or house if and when I can. That might help with those scores.

Coming soon …

the good * the bad * the ugly …

The Good — it feels super light to wear but (read the bad …), coming soon … the battery life is xxx … regardless I actually love it and definitely want the diamond version LoL

The Bad — it is expensive and with import taxes and duties it is best part of £350. Also, the one I wanted was $999, which I obviously couldn’t get 🙁 … Plus, although it has lots of digital components it really feels like a piece of light plastic, not a piece of jewellery. This said, it’s definitely metal and is turning out to be a solid well covered metal ring and seems to be upholding me feeling like it might have scratched it a few times, yet when I check there are no marks.

The Ugly — the longevity of the internal rechargeable battery is questionable with some reviews claiming less than 12 months and others saying their battery is still good after 24 months. We will see and I will update according.

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LightStim for pain … (£250)

my health gadgets : LightStim for pain …

LightStim delivers light energy in a similar way plants absorb light energy from the sun. Each LightStim device uses different wavelengths, or colors of light. LightStim for Pain emits light energy that reduces pain and increases local blood circulation. This increased circulation accelerates your body’s recovery process and relieves minor muscle and joint pain and stiffness, minor arthritic pain, and relaxes muscles.

I bought this around 10 years ago on offer from either CurrentBody or Amazon and I bought it because I was being plagued by weird pain and considered it might mean that I could avoid pain medications.

But sadly, no …

I still ended up needing plenty of daily pain medications since.

That said, I do still use and also find this useful …

my use & views …

Initially, when I first purchased this I used it on every pain that I had and they were many. I quickly noticed that for most of them it did absolutely nothing for the pain.

Two of my painful ailments, TMJ and trigeminal neuralgia, I really wanted this to work for. It didn’t. But it was quite soothing after some heat had built up.

But when I used it on new bruises, bangs and falls it worked a treat. Healing was much faster and pain died down a lot quicker. So now I use it at the first sign of any new injury.

the good * the bad * the ugly …

The Good — it works well for new injury but not so good for old pain and injury. However, the heat that you feel after a few sessions can be very soothing on the face and jaw.

Plus, even after ten years it still works, which is the sign of a well made product.

The Bad — it did do everything it claimed and it feels rather expensive now considering there have not been any improvements or upgrades to the device.

The Ugly — lack of substantial evidence to claims and expensive.

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Dr Harris eye mask (£89)

my health gadgets : DR Harris eye mask …

Dr. Harris had his eureka moment on a long-haul flight from London to Toronto. He was feeling particularly stressed during the journey, and after being handed a sleep mask, he was trying to stop himself from frowning while wearing it. He realised that if only the mask could stop him from frowning and could help him to relax, he would be able to sleep better and stop wrinkles from forming at the same time.

Now, after six years in the making, we’re delighted to finally bring you the Dr. Harris Anti-Wrinkle Sleep Mask – a world-first anti-ageing sleep mask. It’s clinically proven. It’s patented. And it’s powerful. In a clinical trial, users saw wrinkles visibly decrease with just 15 minutes* of use.

Plus, you’ll enjoy the naturally-relaxing side-effect of the treatment process. It’s stress-free and needle-free anti-ageing.

I was given this to try and review. My main reason for accepting it is that I’m hoping it helps with sleep quality and morning migraine, headache and face pain. Yes … when you suffer as much as I do you will try anything.

my use & views …

Even though this is a beauty device there are reports of it stimulating relaxation and we all know that relaxation means less tension, which in turn means less pain.

So, of course I’m up for it …

the good * the bad * the ugly …

The Good — I didn’t pay for the item I got it free to try …

The Bad — it is quite expensive for what it is …

The Ugly — …

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high flow oxygen … (NHS prescription)

Cluster headache is the only indication for oxygen therapy in the absence of hypoxia. High flow oxygen is very effective in some patients in relieving symptoms of an acute cluster headache (CH) quickly and safely.

I was prescribed this after a GP suggesting that maybe some of my eye pain was in fact cluster headaches, not in clusters throughout the one day but in clusters lasting months at a time.

I willingly, and eagerly, internet tried the oxygen therapy as it was a much more natural option over the other toxic medicines available.

my use & views …

I use high flow oxygen when I wake with intense eye pain, which prior to oxygen use would go on for months at a time and feel never ending. Since using oxygen I never er get more than a few days in a row. But mostly, they respond to 15-30 minutes of high flow oxygen and don’t return form a few months. This feels almost miraculous considering how long I have suffered with this kind of eye pain for. It started in my early 30s and wasn’t treated until my 50s.

I would suggest that if you have severe eye pain in clusters, not only clusters throughout the day but clusters of weeks, months, or even years you ask your GP if it could be cluster headache. If it is, high flow oxygen is an excellent treatment and is available on the NHS if you are in the UK.

the good * the bad * the ugly …

The Good — if it’s going to work for you it will work fastish and may even break a pattenern before you are suffering for days, weeks, months, or even years and there are no known side effects.

The Bad — it’s hard to know if you have cluster headaches if you don’t know about them and if you are used to being in very severe pain.

The Ugly — it can be difficult to get your GP or commissioning group to approve it and even though my GP suggested it I had to fight to get it.

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 … the bad … 

The ones I personally found bad …

iMRS energy bed … (£3,500)

my health gadgets : iMRS energy bed …

Pulsed Electro Magnetic Field (PEMF) devices for home use have been on the market for nearly two decades. Swiss Bionic Solutions, the only company in the world with it’s own in-house research, engineering, development, and manufacturing divisions, is the world leader in PEMF systems for home use. Our legendary MRS 2000 + series of products have been on the market for over 20 years, with an estimated 500.000 daily users worldwide in 35 countries.

We bought this in 2008 because of the excellent reviews and initially I had great success using the device. It ended up that I stopped taking any pain medications and managed for quite a few years feeling much better.

maybe a fluke, who knows …

Then I became complacent and stopped using it and no matter how gentle I go the device no longer benefits me it makes me e trembly fatigued …

my use & views …

Whenever I use the iMRS I follow the advice of start off on sensitive and for 8 minutes, 3 times a day.

As mentioned above when I first used the iMRS I benefitted massively. But, in later years using the mat just made me incredibly fatigued, or exhausted, to the point of being unable to lift my arms up, which on top of severe ME and pain is too much for me to tolerate.

I do recommend the iMRS if you are relatively well in your autonomic nervous system (AND). But if you have any ANS impairments my advice is to stay well away. It will make you feel worse by the day.

the good * the bad * the ugly …

The Good — if you don’t have ME or any other dysautonomia or any other dysregulation disorders then there is a very good chance that the iMRS will improve your health. However, if you have ME at the moderate or severe end or with any level of autonomic dysregulation then it is wise to tread cautiously and gently or better still stay away …

The Bad — costs are going to be prohibitive for many, I just have a high income earning husband and at the time of purchase I too was earning part time and so it was manageable for us.

The Ugly — very expensive and definitely does not work when you have severe ME.

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arc4health … (£299)

my health gadgets : arc4health …

The Arc4Health has regulatory approval as a Class IIa medical device in the areas of pain management and tissue repair in 33 countries. It’s remarkably small, is wearable, drug free and non-invasive and works by automatically generating a complex series of microcurrents with a simple, one-finger operation. In fact, it delivers over 4.6 million permutations within a single treatment programme.
When an injury occurs, the body’s natural electrical frequencies can be disrupted, reducing the production of Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) within the damaged cells. ATP is the energy-providing molecule required for all metabolic cellular processes – and is essential for pain management and tissue repair. When tissue is repaired, inflammation is reduced. And inflammation is how the body perceives pain. The application of Microcurrent Therapy aims to support the body’s natural repair process and to help it trigger the production of ATP. Simply put, the sooner the body can start a repair, the sooner it can finish. When an injury is repaired faster, there is less chance of recurrence as, due to working with softer tissue, the repair can be stronger.

I would say by my physical reaction that this device acts on the body and the ANS in a similar way to the iMRS. It is just milder so takes longer. In my case within 2 weeks if use I was flat out, super exhausted and unable to stimulate enough every, or adrenaline, to raise my arms. 

Be careful if you have ME …

my use & views …

I used the arc4health as prescribed. It’s easy to use you simply put the band on your arm (I used alternate arms each day) follow the programme and wait for the ending beep. You cannot feel anything. But I think whatever it does is cumulative and by the end of two weeks I was flat out. So I gave my body a six week rest and tried again without doing any additional activity for two weeks. Still the same before the end of two weeks I was again flat out, unable to muster the strength to lift my arms.

This is obvious not for me. Because if the symptoms I’m guessing it is having the same effect on my body as the iMRS and some how impact the ANS.

So, my advice again is if you have moderate to severe ME go gently and carefully or maybe not even bother. That said, this definitely does something and I’m guessing it would work for somebody relatively well or somebody without dysregulation of their ANS.

the good * the bad * the ugly …

The Good — Again I think that this works it just doesn’t work for those with ME or dysregulation of their ANS. Plus, this is a lot more affordable than the iMRS.

The Bad — for some this may not be affordable, but compared to the iMRS it is much more manageable and you can get great offers on this device from CurrentBody and / or Amazon.

The Ugly — just feeling sad because I had high hopes again for this device.

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cefaly … (£336 + ongoing costs)

my health gadgets : cefaly …

CEFALY is a breakthrough migraine treatment that can help improve your quality of life and free you from migraine pain. This simple-to-use medical device works to treat acute migraine attacks quickly, prevent future migraine attacks.

The Cefaly® Dual device is a neurostimulator that is applied to the forehead using a self-adhesive electrode positioned bilaterally over the upper branches of the trigeminal nerve. The Cefaly® Dual device uses electric impulses that are delivered to the main branch of the trigeminal nerve to prevent and treat pain in the head area. This method can replace or considerably reduce the consumption of painkilling medication and helps to find a better quality of life.

I bought this from the original version, which was pretty much like a Wonder Woman band, but was definitely more solid and less flimsy. I then upgraded to the cefaly (original) but I found it too difficult to handle and I kept dropping it onto our tiles hard floors, which are throughout he house, and so within a few months of owning the cefaly it was broken.

I haven’t bought the cefaly dual (latest version as of today July 2021).

my use & views …

On first purchasing this device, the original one with the headband, I used it daily as a preventative and in crisis mode too when I had a migraine. I don’t think I noticed any difference but still upgraded when I got the opportunity. That said, I haven’t bothered upgrading to the cefaly dual because it’s a very expensive piece of equipment that, in my opinion, is not very robust or easy to handle if you have painful hands.

the good * the bad * the ugly …

The Good — could work if it didn’t break so easily.

The Bad — tricky to hold and keep hold of when applying; the snap is tricky when you have painful stiff hands.

The Ugly — very expensive and older versions keep being fazed out, which is disappointing.

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gammacore … (NHS prescription)

my health gadgets : gammacore …

gammaCore (non-invasive vagus nerve stimulator) is a non-drug treatment for adults who suffer from primary headache conditions such as cluster headache and migraine.

I tried for years to get access to this device through the NHS, but I was repeatedly refused it.

Then in early 2021 it became an available treatment for cluster headache in the NICE guidelines and so my neurologist was free to prescribe it.

I have never been more hopeful about anything. At the time, I’d read that triggering the vagus nerve was good for fibromyalgia too and I was very hopeful it would help the ME as well.

Sadly, I was to be disappointed …

my use & views …

I used according to the training I was given and, just like with the arc4health, within two weeks of using the device I was totally wiped out and unable to lift my arms.

I’m guessing, again, that this is doing something, just like the iMRS and the arc4health, something that exhausts my body too quickly and so isn’t suitable for me.

That said, the sensate is meant to trigger the vagus nerve too but as yet I have no ill effects from the sensate, and although my experience with the gamma core is not positive it may be the device for you and I would definitely give it another go in the future.

the good * the bad * the ugly …

The Good — I got to try it and I believe that it works for 50% of people who use it. So it’s definitely worth a trial if you get offered it.

The Bad — it took me too long to access this treatment via the NHS considering the amount of suffering, pain, and symptoms I was having.

The Ugly — it made me more poorly …

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 … the ugly … 

The ones I personally found ugly …

stress releaZer … (£150 can now be bought for £99)

my health gadgets : stress releaZer …

  • Relieve stress and anxiety naturally with breathing technique training
  • Warmth and low-frequency vibrations encourage relaxation and lower blood pressure
  • Compatible with the free CalmDown app for continued support with stress management

We all need a time-out every now and then and the Beurer StressReleazer can give you just that. Placed on your chest, the rhythmic vibrations relax the primary nerve pathways, providing relief much like the therapy of stroking a purring cat. Partner this with the breathing training provided by the CalmDown app and you’ll feel yourself unwind.
There are 3 breathing cycles to choose from as you begin to align your breathing with the gentle pulses of the Stress Releazer. Most importantly, these relaxation sessions will give you a stress management technique you can call upon whenever you need to.

I bought this gadget years ago, when it first came out. I had it imported from USA and so paid import taxes and duties. However, I only started to use it in May 2021 and by end of June 2021, just over 1 month later, it had stopped working.

That said, I did like the feel of using it. But after buying the sensate I realise just how unrefined this device actually is and also how temperamental he on / off button had been from day one. 

my use & views …

I used it daily for 10 minutes at a time, sometimes twice or even three times a day.

I did like the feel when using the ReleaZer but after using the sensate the ReleaZer is very unrefined and boisterous and because it broke so quickly I really cannot express my views, except stay away because it isn’t a solid device.

the good * the bad * the ugly …

The Good — feels nice and relaxing and if you use it straight away, unlike me, it does have a guarantee.

The Bad — unrefined when compared to its main competitor.

The Ugly — poor value considering it didn’t last.

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… what you measure …
… will improve …

in summary & in conclusion …

We know there are plenty of health gadgets out there tempting us to spend our money in exchange for healing. Hence, one of my reasons for attempting to discuss some of those that I have been tempted to purchase.

I have to also admit that for me it has always been a minefield and I am afraid I have wasted so much money on trying these so called healing gadgets and hoping so much to heal. Yet, sadly some have even made me worse.

Nevertheless, some of the gadgets that I found especially useful and therefore good are, but not limited to, the health monitoring watches as well as the Ōura ring. But my two favourite are the acupressure mat / pillow and the sensate.

The acupressure mat and pillow has had a huge impact on the pain levels I suffer in my upper back. While the sensate brings about almost instant ease and relaxation from the moment it starts.

On the other hand, I feel that anything that costs a ridiculous amount of money, or doesn’t last a long time, or even breaks fairly quickly, has to be a no no because of cost and poor value.

In my personal case, it also seems like almost all the health devices that had a negative health effect on my health or energy levels, except the cefaly, were those that maybe interfered with, or worked on, my autonomic nervous system. These consistently resulted in making me feel weaker, sicker, and having less available energy. However, I have always managed to return to my previous health states after using these devices unlike when I deteriorate due to physically overdoing it or due to viral or bacterial illnesses.

a personal concluding note …

Be careful what you spend your money on. There are plenty of cowboy type devices out there. Do your research … always look for any kind of money back guarantee and read how other users have managed to tap into the money back guarantee because if sellers don’t honour it then it’s useless. Use your credit card to pay for anything proclaiming health benefits, it gives you more come back.

Remember none of these gadgets, those mentioned above as well as those not covered, are a replacement for seeing your GP when you are sick or have new symptoms that concern you.

And remember more than anything …

be easy … be kind … and let it all go …

Please feel free to contact me to share your outcomes or with any questions you may have.

 fragmented.ME xXx

Last Updated on 27/07/2021 by fragmented_ME

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My birth name is Denise, but I’m know as Bella to those who love me. I have a first class honours degree in education & psychology and a strong passion to keep learning and educating others ... I have severe ME/CFS and lots of other chronic illnesses and I started this blog as an expansion to my instagram page, where I advocate for chronic illness. I am married and have two grown up boys, or should I say young men. I have three gorgeous grandchildren, one boy and two girls. And despite being chronically sick and housebound I am mostly happy. 🥰

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10 steps to practicing Radical Acceptance
according to DBT’s founder, Marsha Linehan:


1.  Observe that you are questioning or fighting reality (“it shouldn’t be this way”)

2.  Remind yourself that the unpleasant reality is just as it is and cannot be changed (“this is what happened”)

3.  Remind yourself that there are causes for the reality (“this is how things happened”)

4.  Practice accepting with your whole self (mind, body, spirit) - Use accepting self-talk, relaxation techniques, mindfulness and/or imagery

5.  List all of the behaviors you would engage in if you did accept the facts and then engage in those behaviors as if you have already accepted the facts

6.  Imagine, in your mind’s eye, believing what you do not want to accept and rehearse in your mind what you would do if you accepted what seems unacceptable

7.  Attend to body sensations as you think about what you need to accept

8.  Allow disappointment, sadness or grief to arise within you

9.  Acknowledge that life can be worth living even when there is pain

10.  Do pros and cons if you find yourself resisting practicing acceptance

Logo of ijpsych

2009 Oct-Dec; 51(4): 239–241.
doi: 10.4103/0019-5545.58285: 10.4103/0019-5545.58285
PMCID: PMC2802367
PMID: 20048445

The biochemistry of belief

Address for correspondence: Dr. TS Sathyanarayana Rao, Department of Psychiatry, JSS University, JSS Medical College Hospital, M.G. Road, Mysore - 570 004, India. E-mail: moc.oohay@91oarsst
This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

“Man is what he believes”

Anton Chekhov

Beliefs are basically the guiding principles in life that provide direction and meaning in life. Beliefs are the preset, organized filters to our perceptions of the world (external and internal). Beliefs are like ‘Internal commands’ to the brain as to how to represent what is happening, when we congruently believe something to be true. In the absence of beliefs or inability to tap into them, people feel disempowered.

Beliefs originate from what we hear - and keep on hearing from others, ever since we were children (and even before that!). The sources of beliefs include environment, events, knowledge, past experiences, visualization etc. One of the biggest misconceptions people often harbor is that belief is a static, intellectual concept. Nothing can be farther from truth! Beliefs are a choice. We have the power to choose our beliefs. Our beliefs become our reality.

Beliefs are not just cold mental premises, but are ‘hot stuff’ intertwined with emotions (conscious or unconscious). Perhaps, that is why we feel threatened or react with sometimes uncalled for aggression, when we believe our beliefs are being challenged! Research findings have repeatedly pointed out that the emotional brain is no longer confined to the classical locales of the hippocampus, amygdala and hypothalamus.[1] The sensory inputs we receive from the environment undergo a filtering process as they travel across one or more synapses, ultimately reaching the area of higher processing, like the frontal lobes. There, the sensory information enters our conscious awareness. What portion of this sensory information enters is determined by our beliefs. Fortunately for us, receptors on the cell membranes are flexible, which can alter in sensitivity and conformation. In other words, even when we feel stuck ‘emotionally’, there is always a biochemical potential for change and possible growth. When we choose to change our thoughts (bursts of neurochemicals!), we become open and receptive to other pieces of sensory information hitherto blocked by our beliefs! When we change our thinking, we change our beliefs. When we change our beliefs, we change our behavior.

A mention of the ‘Placebo’ is most appropriate at this juncture. Medical history is replete with numerous reported cases where placebos were found to have a profound effect on a variety of disorders. One such astounding case was that of a woman suffering from severe nausea and vomiting. Objective measurements of her gastric contractions indicated a disrupted pattern matching the condition she complained of. Then a ‘new, magical, extremely potent’ drug was offered to her, which would, the doctors proclaimed, undoubtedly cure her nausea. Within a few minutes, her nausea vanished! The very same gastric tests now revealed normal pattern, when, in actuality, she had been given syrup of ipecac, a substance usually used to induce nausea! When the syrup was presented to her, paired with the strong suggestion of relief of nausea, by an authority figure, it acted as a (command) message to the brain that triggered a cascade of self-regulatory biochemical responses within the body.[2] This instance dramatically demonstrates that the influence of placebo could be more potent than expected drug effect.

An important observation was that, part of the placebo response seemed to involve the meaning of the disorder or the illness to the individual. In other words, the person's belief or how she/he interprets (inter-presents or internally represents) directly governs the biological response or behavior. Another remarkable study involved a schizophrenic. This woman was observed to have split personality. Under normal conditions, her blood glucose levels were normal. However, the moment she believed she was diabetic, her entire physiology changed to become that of a diabetic, including elevated blood glucose levels.[3]

Suggestions or symbolic messages shape beliefs that in turn affect our physical well being. Several cases of ‘Disappearance of warts’ have been reported by Ornstein and Sobel wherein they ponder on how the brain translates the suggestions (sometimes using hypnosis) into systematic biochemical battle strategies such as chemical messengers sent to enlist the aid of immune cells in an assault on the microbe-induced miniature tumor or probably small arteries are selectively constricted, cutting off the vital nutrient supply to warts but not touching the neighboring healthy cells.[2]

Findings of carefully designed research indicate that our interpretation of what we are seeing (experiencing) can literally alter our physiology. In fact, all symptoms of medicine work through our beliefs. By subtly transforming the unknown (disease/disorder) into something known, named, tamed and explained, alarm reactions in the brain can be calmed down. All therapies have a hidden, symbolic value and influence on the psyche, besides the direct specific effect they may have on the body.

Just as amazingly life-affirming placebos are, the reverse, “Nocebo' has been observed to be playing its part too. It is associated with negative, life-threatening or disempowering beliefs. Arthur Barsky, a psychiatrist states that it is the patient's expectations – beliefs whether a drug or procedure works or will have side effects – that plays a crucial role in the outcome.[4]

The biochemistry of our body stems from our awareness.[5] Belief-reinforced awareness becomes our biochemistry. Each and every tiny cell in our body is perfectly and absolutely aware of our thoughts, feelings and of course, our beliefs. There is a beautiful saying ‘Nobody grows old. When people stop growing, they become old’. If you believe you are fragile, the biochemistry of your body unquestionably obeys and manifests it. If you believe you are tough (irrespective of your weight and bone density!), your body undeniably mirrors it. When you believe you are depressed (more precisely, when you become consciously aware of your ‘Being depressed’), you stamp the raw data received through your sense organs, with a judgment – that is your personal view – and physically become the ‘interpretation’ as you internalize it. A classic example is ‘Psychosocial dwarfism’, wherein children who feel and believethat they are unloved, translate the perceived lack of love into depleted levels of growth hormone, in contrast to the strongly held view that growth hormone is released according to a preprogrammed schedule coded into the individual's genes!

Providing scientific evidence to support a holistic approach to well being and healthcare, Bruce Lipton sheds light on mechanism underlying healing at cellular level. He emphasizes that ‘love’ is the most healing emotion and ‘placebo’ effect accounts for a substantial percentage of any drug's action, underscoring the significance of beliefs in health and sickness. According to him, as adults, we still believe in and act our lives out based on information we absorbed as children (pathetic indeed!). And the good news is, we can do something about the ‘tape’ our subconscious mind is playing (ol' silly beliefs) and change them NOW.[6] Further recent literature evidences provided knowledge based on scientific principles of biology of belief. There are limited studies on clinics of traditional beliefs and if we get more scientific data, we can use these traditional systems in clinical mental health management. Human belief system is formed by all the experiences learned and experimented filtered through personality.[7] The senses to capture inner and outer perceptions have higher brain potentials. Some questions that arise in this context are, does the integration and acceptance of these perceptions result in the establishment of beliefs? Does the establishment of these beliefs depend on proof demonstrations? The proofs might be the perceptions, which we can directly see or having scientific proof or custom or faith.[8,9] Beliefs are developed as stimuli received as trusted information and stored in the memory. These perceptions are generalized and established into belief. These beliefs are involved in the moral judgment of the person. Beliefs help in decision-making. Bogousslavsky and Inglin explained that, how some physicians were more successful by taking an account of patient beliefs. Beliefs influence factors involved in the development of psychopathology. They also influence the cognitive and emotional assessment, addictiveness, responses to false positives and persistent normal defensive reactions. Total brain function is required in stabilizing the belief and in responding to environmental system. Some of the brain regions and the neural circuits are very important in establishing beliefs and executing emotions. Frontal lobes play a major role in beliefs. Mental representations of the world are integrated with sub-cortical information by prefrontal cortex. Amygdala and Hippocampus are involved in the process of thinking and thus help in execution of beliefs. NMDA receptor is involved in thinking and in the development of beliefs. These beliefs are subjected to challenge. A belief that is subjected to more challenges becomes stronger. When a new stimulus comes, it creates distress in the brain with already existing patterns. The distress results in the release of dopamine (neurotransmitter) to transmit the signal.[10,11] Research findings of Young and Saxe (2008) revealed that medial prefrontal cortex is involved in processing the belief valence.[12] Right temporoparietal junction and precuneus are involved in the processing of beliefs to moral judgment. True beliefs are processed through right temporoparietal junction.[13,14] Saxe (2006) explained that beliefs judging starts at the age of five years citing example of judging of belief questions on short stories by the children.[15] Belief attribution involved activating regions of medial prefrontal cortex, superior temporal gyri and hippocampal regions. Studies by Krummenacher et al, have shown that dopamine levels are associated with paranormal thoughts suggesting the role of dopamine in belief development in the brain.[16] Flannelly et al, illustrated on how primitive brain mechanisms that evolved to assess environmental threats in related psychiatric disorders.[17] Also were highlighted the issues such as the way beliefs can affect psychiatric symptoms through these brain systems. The theories discussed widely are related to (a) link psychiatric disorders to threat assessment and (b) explain how the normal functioning of threat assessment systems can become pathological. It is proposed that three brain structures are implicated in brain disorders in response to threat assessment and self-defense: the regions are the prefrontal cortex, the basal ganglia and parts of limbic system. The functionality of these regions has great potential to understand mechanism of belief formation and its relevance in neurological functions/dysfunctions. Now it is clear that biology and physiology of belief is an open area for research both at basic and clinical level. The future directions are to develop validated experimental or sound theoretical interpretation to make ‘BELIEF’ as a potential clinical management tool.

Perceptual shifts are the prerequisites for changing the belief and hence changing the biochemistry of our body favorably. Our innate desire and willingness to learn and grow lead to newer perceptions. When we consciously allow newer perceptions to enter the brain by seeking new experiences, learning new skills and changed perspectives, our body can respond in newer ways –this is the true secret of youth. Beliefs (internal representations/interpretations) thus hold the magic wand of remarkable transformations in our biochemical profile. If you are chasing joy and peace all the time everywhere but exclaim exhausted, ‘Oh, it's to be found nowhere!’, why not change your interpretation of NOWHERE to ‘NOW HERE’; just by introducing a gap, you change your awareness – that changes your belief and that changes your biochemistry in an instant!

Everything exists as a ‘Matrix of pure possibilities’ akin to ‘formless’ molten wax or moldable soft clay. We shape them into anything we desire by choosing to do so, prompted, dictated (consciously or unconsciously) by our beliefs. The awareness that we are part of these ever-changing fields of energy that constantly interact with one another is what gives us the key hitherto elusive, to unlock the immense power within us. And it is our awareness of this awesome truth that changes everything. Then we transform ourselves from passive onlookers to powerful creators. Our beliefs provide the script to write or re-write the code of our reality.

Thoughts and beliefs are an integral part of the brain's operations. Neurotransmitters could be termed the ‘words’ brain uses to communicate with exchange of information occurring constantly, mediated by these molecular messengers. Unraveling the mystery of this molecular music induced by the magic of beliefs, dramatically influencing the biochemistry of brain could be an exciting adventure and a worth pursuing cerebral challenge.


1. Candace Pert. Molecules of emotion: Why you feel the way you feel. New York, USA: Scribner Publications; 2003. ISBN-10: 0684846349.
2. Ornstein R, Sobel D. The healing brain: Breakthrough discoveries about how the brain keeps us healthy. USA: Malor Books; 1999. ISBN-10: 1883536170.
3. Robbins A. Unlimited power: The new science of personal excellence. UK: Simon and Schuster; 1986. ISBN 0-7434-0939-6.
4. Braden G. The spontaneous healing of belief. Hay House Publishers (India) Pvt. Ltd; 2008. ISBN 978-81-89988-39-5.
5. Chopra D. Ageless body, timeless mind: The quantum alternative to growing old. Hormony Publishers; 1994. ISBN -10: 0517882124.
6. Lipton B. The biology of belief: Unleashing the power of consciousness, matter and miracles. Mountain of Love Publishers; 2005. ISBN 978-0975991473.
7. Bogousslavsky J, Inglin M. Beliefs and the brain. Eur Neurol. 2007;58:129–32. [PubMed: 17622716]
8. Gundersen L. Faith and healing. Ann Intern Med. 2000;132:169–72. [PubMed: 10644287]
9. Mueller PS, Plevak DJ, Rummans TA. Religious involvement, spirituality, and medicine: Implications for clinical practice. Mayo Clin Proc. 2001;76:1225–35. [PubMed: 11761504]
10. Patel AD, Peretz I, Tramo M, Labreque R. Processing prosodic and musical patterns: A neuropsychological investigation. Brain Lang. 1998;61:123–44. [PubMed: 9448936]
11. Tramo MJ. Biology and music. Music of the hemispheres. Science. 2001;291:54–6. [PubMed: 11192009]
12. Young L, Saxe R. The neural basis of belief encoding and integration in moral judgment. Neuroimage. 2008;40:1912–20. [PubMed: 18342544]
13. Aichhorn M, Perner J, Weiss B, Kronbichler M, Staffen W, Ladurner G. Temporo-parietal junction activity in theory-of-mind tasks: Falseness, beliefs, or attention. J Cogn Neurosci. 2009;21:1179–92. [PubMed: 18702587]
14. Abraham A, Rakoczy H, Werning M, von Cramon DY, Schubotz RI. Matching mind to world and vice versa: Functional dissociations between belief and desire mental state processing. Soc Neurosci. 2009;1:18. [PubMed: 19670085]
15. Saxe R. Why and how to study Theory of Mind with fMRI. Brain Res. 2006;1079:57–65. [PubMed: 16480695]
16. Krummenacher P, Mohr C, Haker H, Brugger P. Dopamine, paranormal belief, and the detection of meaningful stimuli. J Cogn Neurosci. 2009 Jun 30; [Epub ahead of print] [PubMed: 19642883]
17. Flannelly KJ, Koenig HG, Galek K, Ellison CG. Beliefs, mental health, and evolutionary threat assessment systems in the brain. J Nerv Ment Dis. 2007;195:996–1003. [PubMed: 18091193]

Articles from Indian Journal of Psychiatry are provided here courtesy of Wolters Kluwer -- Medknow Publications

HRPacing ...


Heart Rate Pacing is a technique used to stay within ones energy reserves. The anaerobic threshold (AT) is the heart rate at which aerobic energy surges. The threshold is often around about 60% of a ones maximum heart rate, though each person is different and an individual's threshold may vary from day to day or within a day.

(Note: Maximum heart rate is 220 minus ones age. For a 50 year old, 60% of maximum heart rate is (220 - 50) x 0.6 = 102 bpm.)


* Changes colour to indicate:

- Resting - (REST) Lavender

- Recovery (RECOVER) - Green (RHR + 10%)

- Exertion (EXERT) - Orange (RHR + 20%)

- Anaerobic Threshold (AT) - Red ((220-50)x0.6)

* Set an alert based on:

- reaching Anaerobic Threshold Zone, or

- custom set Maximum Heart Rate.

* Set the Anaerobic Threshold Tolerance from 0.6 (default) to 0.5 if desired.

* Set a custom interval between alerts (15 secs default).

* Displays 12/24 hour clock based on user settings in Fitbit profile.

ME Awareness Fundraising : Ten Books In Ten Months


I am fundraising for The ME Trust UK as part of ME Awareness 2021

I will be fundraising for ten months starting in May 2021 through to end of February 2022.

Please take the time to read what it is about and donate if you can.

I am going to read 10 books in 10 months and document them on my ‘ten books in ten months ...’ page.

Please click the link above or below to donate and help me raise as much money as we can
for The ME Trust UK

I have been sick since 1984. It took till 2001 for doctors to diagnose me with ME.
Initially, I was mildly sick then moderately but in recent years I’ve progressed to being severely affected.
I am housebound and often bedbound for months on end.

I really want to raise awareness and to raise money to help research #endME.

I am planning on reading ten books in ten months starting 12th May, which is international ME Awareness Day.
At one time in my life I could have read ten books in ten days. But this challenge will be hard for me to do.

So please please if you can support me and help raise money for the ME Trust UK


ME Awareness Fundraising : Ten Books In Ten Months

[give_form id="3285"]

help me fund my ME treatment ...

... help me fund my ME treatment ...

you can choose to donate as much or as little by sliding the slider along

you can pay for the introductory workshop by donating £65

you can pay for an individual care plan by donating £71

you can pay for a monthly session by donating £71

you can pay for an individual progression plan by donating £71

you can pay for a medical review by donating £121

you can pay for a medical follow up by donating £121

you can pay for the individual assessment by donating £141

you can pay for a medical assessment by donating £187

Thank you very much !

help me fund my assessment treatments ...

... help me fund my ME treatment ...

you can choose to donate as much or as little by sliding the slider along

you can pay for a medical assessment by donating £187

you can pay for an initial assessment by donating £141

you can pay for a medical review by donating £121

Thank you very much !

help me fund my preparation for rehabilitation treatments ...

... help me fund my ME treatment ...

you can choose to donate as much or as little by sliding the slider along

you can pay for the introductory workshop by donating £65

you can pay for an individual care plan by donating £71

Thank you very much !

help me fund my rehabilitation treatments ...

... help me fund my ME treatment ...

you can choose to donate as much or as little by sliding the slider along

you can pay for a monthly session by donating £71

Thank you very much !

help me fund my follow up treatments ...

... help me fund my ME treatment ...

you can choose to donate as much or as little by sliding the slider along

you can pay for an individual progression plan by donating £71

you can pay for a medical follow up by donating £121

Thank you very much !

ME Awareness Fundraising : Ten Books In Ten Months


I am fundraising for The ME Trust UK as part of ME Awareness 2021

I will be fundraising for ten months starting in May 2021 through to end of February 2022.

You will see this pop once in each week that you visit my site during this ten month period.

Please take the time to read what it is about and donate if you can.

I am going to read 10 books in 10 months and document them on my ‘ten books in ten months ...’ page.

Please click the link above or below to donate and help me raise as much money as we can
for The ME Trust UK

I have been sick since 1984. It took till 2001 for doctors to diagnose me with ME.
Initially, I was mildly sick then moderately but in recent years I’ve progressed to being severely affected.
I am housebound and often bedbound for months on end.

I really want to raise awareness and to raise money to help research #endME.

I am planning on reading ten books in ten months starting 12th May, which is international ME Awareness Day.
At one time in my life I could have read ten books in ten days. But this challenge will be hard for me to do.

So please please if you can support me and help raise money for the ME Trust UK.


ME Awareness Fundraising : Ten Books In Ten Months

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