Bob Bartholomew’s Protocol
I was able to put my Erythromelalgia in remission! You’ll find below a description of how I did it, but in the interest of being thorough, allow me to disclose that I’m 39 and in perfect health otherwise. For most of my adult life I have eaten a natural, whole foods diet and have exercised multiple days per week. My body fat is under 10% and my resting heart rate is in the 40s. My blood work is so good that it makes my doctor’s toes curl. I don’t say this to discourage those with other conditions from trying what I describe below, but only to temper feelings of despair if the treatment described here doesn’t work for you in the presence of multiple health problems causing or otherwise attending your EM. I’m probably the ideal subject for such a treatment, but I have definitely heard of cases of similar plans working for those with EM secondary to some other condition. That said, I sincerely think everyone should try this as it seems to me to be safe, without any likely long term negative consequences. Of course, I’m not a physician, and so you might run this by your own healthcare team before attempting it, especially if you have myriad conditions attending your EM.
What I did:
- On 3/18/17, I stopped putting my feet under fans and/or in cool water to stop flares. Instead, every night before taking a hot shower, I put my feet in two buckets of warm water for thirty minutes, after which I took a hot shower. For the first month of treatment, I used water around 97-100 degrees; after the first month, I gradually raised the temperature weekly until the water in the buckets was 109-110.
- After the hot shower, making sure my apartment was at around 76-80 degrees, I forced my body to recover on its own without any aid whatsoever. I lied down on the bed until the flare was gone and then applied copious amounts of lotion. At first, the flares took hours to subside; now, I don’t flare any more than a “normal” person.
- At about the 7 week mark, I added 30-40 minute walks midday with socks and tennis shoes on. After the walks, I kept my socks on and forced my feet to recover.
Don’t get discouraged if you don’t see results after the first few treatments–give it a week before quitting. Slowly, day after day, if you’re like me, you’ll see improvement.
There are likely many “right” ways to do this sort of heat desensitization, so feel free to "make it your own."
As of 1/19/18, I no longer flare, and I can wear normal footwear in all conditions. The greatest improvement came within the first 4-5 months of performing the steps outlined above. This treatment seems to reset the body’s interpretation of heat so that when you are engaged in “normal” living, your body doesn’t overreact to normal heat/friction/use. The key is to do this treatment every day—make it a part of your daily routine.