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I went to an anthroposophic medical treatment facility (not knowing what that entailed) for chronic fatigue in summer 2012. They claimed it was the most revolutionary inpatient cure available. I lasted only two days, and should have left after the first hour.
They followed a starvation diet of approximately 200 calories per day. Water could only be consumed in two-ounce increments, once per meal. This “healing diet” was necessary for producing “cosmic connectedness.”
Water itself had special properties. Patients were instructed to fill a large bucket with water, and stir it with a stick until it created a vortex. As one patient stirred the water, another had to wave her hands over the bucket and envision projecting “chaos” into the water. Next we sprinkled an “activation powder” into the bucket. This is a mixture of cow manure which was packed into a cow horn, buried when the moon was in a particular phase, and dug up two weeks later. (Seriously. Look up “horn manure.” People actually believe in this.) After stirring, we had to walk around the yard of the treatment center, dip a paintbrush into the bucket, and fling water across the yard with the brush while chanting “Blessings on this house and its people.” The whole process took about three hours.
Why didn’t I leave? I wanted to stick around for color therapy, of course.
Here, the patients were blindfolded and led into a dark basement where a physician (yes, the leader really is an MD), projected an orange light onto a screen. After 30 seconds he turned off the light and said, “This has to do with Jupiter.” LOL! We were supposed to see a blue after-image, which is of course based on eye physiology– orange and blue being opposite colors. Patients were told that anything we saw was a healing vision from the soul, and if we didn’t see anything, we were blocking our life force, which was the real source of all illness.
I had not realized at all what I was getting myself into when I signed up. Despite being a biochemistry professor who knew this was nonsense from the minute I entered, I stayed on for two days hoping to glean some useful knowledge. I now realize my problem was undereating and overtraining, and I continue to improve slowly but surely, without the use of magical water. :-)
Haha! Can’t believe I didn’t see this until today.
My favorite part: “Can I keep an iPhone 5 that I found in a coconut tree?”
Your health situation sounds more extreme than mine ever was, so “your mileage may vary,” but I’d encourage you to trust yourself rather than adhere to strict, externally-imposed rules. The ultimate goal of recovery is to be able to live functionally like a “normal” person without obsessing over health. I think the best way to get there is to start living that way– to stop following rules and to do what feels good. If friends are going to go for a bike ride, that might be fun, and you’d be missing out on it by following a firm no-exercise rule.
I used to exercise 6 to 8 hours a day. Fortunately, my health did not decline as extremely as your situation sounds, so I hope I don’t give any advice that would make things worse for you! I still exercise a bit much, but I sincerely enjoy it. It’s a constant struggle to find the right balance of enjoyment, but I know I’d be listless and depressed if I wasn’t allowed to do my favorite activities. I have to be vigilant because it’s easy to slip back in to excessive exercise. But I don’t think the solution is to follow rules (this itself becomes an obsession); the solution is to listen to yourself and your physiologic cues. Allow yourself to rest when you need it; push yourself harder if you have the energy to do so. Eat more when you’re hungry.
On the other hand, exercising with bradycardia could be dangerous. I admit I don’t know the medical reasons for and against exercise in that regard.
But if it’s a psychological rather than a cardiac medical worry, I’d encourage you to give it a try and trust yourself to know when to put on the brakes again.