Helping people with Fibromyalgia

Welcome to the online home of Fibromyalgia In Thanet

Fibromyalgia In Thanet Support Group

Fibromyalgia In Thanet Support Group

Hello! Welcome to the online home of Fibromyalgia In Thanet, Support Group Working with Fibromyalgia Association UK, Reg Charity No: 1042582.

Please note, this website is best viewed in 1152 x 864, But will work on any display, you can even view it on the iPhone.

We are a charity supporting people suffering from all forms of Fibromyalgia in the area of Thanet, Kent.



Do you have it?

Do you think you have it?

Do you think nobody understands?

Do you suffer alone?



We understand.

We are here to help.

Please get in touch.

We meet every month.

About us

Fibromyalgia In Thanet was founded at the end of 2008 through the Chronic Pain Team and a few sufferers of fibromyalgia who became the first Committee Members consisting of Nikki Bamford as Co-Ordinator with Dian Conway the Treasurer plus Lawrence Mitchell and Bob Long. Bob and his employers, Gardner Croft, Solicitors of 2 Castle Street, Canterbury, CT1 2QH have been invaluable in their support of this group by printing and sending out our bi-monthly newsletters to our members. We are extremely fortunate to have their support.

Since then Pam Clewley took over as Co-Ordinator in 2009 when Nikki moved on and more members have joined the Committee.

The aim of the group is to offer support to all sufferers of fibromyalgia living in the local area. We know and understand what it is like to live with a debilitating, chronic condition. We cannot offer a cure but we can offer empathy and understanding plus we can inform our members of what is available as treatments both traditional and complimentary. In order to join our group all we ask is for a subscription of £5 each calendar year and this will ensure you receive 6 newsletters a year plus of course we offer monthly meetings. We are a very friendly group and all our meetings are informal. Every other month we have a speaker talking on a relevant topic with a drop-in session the following month giving members the opportunity to chat together.

Refreshments are available at all meetings together with our information leaflets, library, shop and second-hand book stall.

We look forward to welcoming you.

Tips & Hints

Many thanks to the Fibromyalgia Support Group Medway for allowing us to use their information and material on this website.



A few people have asked me if others with FMS get itchy skin. The answer is, yes. Although not common, it is known that a number of people do suffer with itchy skin. Dr Devin Starlanyl, in her book ‘Fibromyalgia & Chronic Myofascial Pain’, gives a good explanation of this and why it happens. She says that ‘Fibromyalgia skin biopsies reveal significantly higher values of Immunoglobin G (IgG) deposits in the skin and vessel walls and a higher reactivity for one type of collagen. She suggests that ice may help temporarily, and to keep the skin moist. Also speak to a Pharmacist who may be able to recommend a good cream. However, as with anything else that is a new symptom, speak to your Doctor first.



Magnesium Malate has been reported as being beneficial to some Fibromyalgia sufferers. It is important for energy production in the body and seems to have a particular role in muscle health.



Activated Charcoal Capsules assist with gastrointestinal discomfort. Holland & Barrett sell them for £3.99 for 100 capsules. They are a natural remedy, but it is a good idea to mention it to your Dr If you decide to take them



Linseeds are a very good solution to the problems of constipation. It can be used with yoghurt, cereals, fruit juice, soup, etc. It is important that you take it with at least ¼ pint liquid to each tablespoon of seed. You should try less than the recommended amount then increase as required.



  • Many types of laxative can produce a lazy bowel
  • Fibre requires liquid to work
  • Cooked vegetables give just as much fibre as raw vegetables
  • Dark rye bread gives just as much fibre as wholemeal bread
  • Milk, meat, fish, and poultry do not contain fibre
  • Rough plain bread gives less fibre than rye bread
  • You should eat 600g fruit and vegetables every day
  • If you would cover your daily fibre requirements exclusively with soft rolls, it would be necessary to eat 22.



Sent in by a member, this is a ‘very gentle but effective Russian remedy’ for constipation. Make a small salad of cooked beetroot with one or two shredded carrots. If you do try it with good results please let me know.



Add barley to your soups and casseroles. It is a highly nutritious grain that is reputed to help fight stress and fatigue and improve brain function and mental alertness.



A juice containing bananas and figs, both rich in tryptophan which is necessary for production of serotonin, which can induce a feeling of well-being.

Ingredients: 250g (8oz) carrot

100g (3½oz) figs

1 orange

2.5cm (1 inch) cube fresh root

Ginger, roughly chopped

100g (3½oz) banana

Juice the carrot, figs, orange and ginger. Put the juice into a blender with the banana and 2 ice cubes and whiz for 20 seconds for a delicious smoothie. Add more ice cubes and decorate with sliced figs if liked.



1. Apply camomile or calendula ointment

2. Add two tablespoons of cider vinegar to warm bathwater

3. Use a mild non-soap cleanser or wash with water only

4. Make a cold compress with marigold or tea and apply to the skin



Bananas encourage the production of the sleep hormone.



Milk contains Tryptophan, which is converted into a substance that causes the brain to release sleep hormones. So it’s bananas and milk at bedtime for us all!!



Lemon Balm added to a bath is said to reduce pain. No, don’t all rush out to buy some; I’ll have bought it all up by now!! Seriously, though, if anyone does give it a try, please let us all know the result. By the way, Lemon Balm also soothes coughs and sore throats and helps digestion when made into a tea.



Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a major cause of bloating. It affects people in different ways, but the condition is often triggered by stress. Symptoms include abdominal pain, bloating, and changes in bowel habits. Aloe Vera juice is said to help heal the digestive system and cleanse the bowel, easing the problems.



Epsom Salts, available from chemists, are rich in Magnesium and help muscles to relax. Add 250g of Epsom salts to a hot bath and 10 drops of eucalyptus essential oil. This is relaxing and, as a bonus, will also ease a blocked nose!



Pears are one of the most high fibre foods available – far higher than many so-called high fibre cereals, according to the Digestive Fitness Information Bureau (fact sheets available from 020 7761 1796 or



Emu Oil has pain relieving properties and anti-inflammatory properties that make this ideal for cuts, bruises, sprains, and muscle aches etc. It eases complaints of tender joints, and is excellent for open cuts or itchy rashes.

Distributor: Australian Emu Oil Direct, 49 Portland Road, Ashford, Middlesex TW15 3BU. Telephone: 01784 255400.

Price: £6.50 for 60ml; £12 for 120ml, + 50p p&p, Guaranteed. Refund if not delighted. Unique roll-on action.

Avoca Body care. Telephone: 01323 646777.

Top Grade, Gold Standard: £7.95 for 50ml; £11.95 for 100ml.




Glycerine suppositories are a laxative for the relief of occasional constipation. Glycerine helps stimulate bowel movement.



BioXtra – sugar free chewing gum is very good for dry mouth condition. It is specially formulated to boost and stimulate natural saliva. It does not stick to dentures, and has a mild, long-lasting flavour. It is naturally sweetened with Xylitol. £2 for 20 pieces.

Distributed in the UK by: Molar Ltd, Mayfield, East Sussex, TN20 6PY.



Singing works as pain relief. It stimulates a little organ in the inner ear known as the sacculus and this is connected to the part of the brain that registers pleasure. It doesn’t matter what your singing sounds like to anyone else, your sacculus responds to the low-frequency, high intensity sounds you produce as you sing and boosts your endorphins that are pain relievers and mood lifters. So, singing has the additional advantage of being a natural and pretty instant antidepressant, with no nasty side effects.



1. Boost magnesium intake with supplements or eat nuts and oily fish.

2. Avoid taking painkillers regularly – this can cause headaches.

3. Try to relax with meditation or yoga.

4. Massage peppermint oil on to your temples.

5. Use a cooling gel patch on your forehead.



1. Improves transit times and assists the movement of waste through the gut.

2. Balances your levels of blood glucose – foods high in fibre are digested more slowly and this puts the breaks on sugar absorption.

3. Stabilises cholesterol and so reduces your risk of heart disease.

4. Helps protect against haemorrhoids, varicose veins, diverticula disease, gallstones, kidney disease, and constipation.

5. Reduces the build up of toxins, yeast, and pathogenic bacteria.

6. Binds and deactivates carcinogens, helping reduce your risk of colon cancer.



Try changing your work patterns for a few days, and take ginger capsules or drink ginger tea 20 minutes before bedtime. This will clear the mind and promote deep, untroubled sleep.



Chew dried apricots as they are high in beta-carotene which relaxes the central nervous system.



Try a glass of Prune Juice for constipation. The taste leaves a lot to be desired but it works!



Can be relieved quickly by drinking fennel tea or taking a teaspoon of manuka honey every 30 minutes.



Migraines have a strong connection with food allergies and simple dietary changes can sometimes affect a cure. Sufferers are advised to avoid the four C’s – caffeine, claret (and all other red wines), cheese, and chocolate. In order to establish whether these foods are a problem, they should be avoided completely for a minimum period of one month and then introduced one at a time at weekly intervals, to see if they provoke an attack.



Apple juice is excellent for relieving constipation. Drink one litre in one sitting if it’s severe. In minor cases, green tea will also help as the tannins and antioxidants stimulate bowel and excretory systems.



Cinnamon is an excellent remedy. A heaped teaspoon of ground cinnamon in boiling water and drunk as a tea every hour may stop the condition.



A quick stress buster to soothe and restore: take a stick of liquorice root, gently scrape off the bark, cut the root into small pieces and place in a mug. Pour some hot water over this and leave it to infuse for a few minutes, discarding the pieces before drinking. Try three cups a day if your stress levels are high. Equally, effective is to put a few broken sticks of root in a hot bath and soak away the day.



When a stress headache comes on, drink nettle tea. It works quickly and one cup every two hours helps keep the pain at bay.



Try tea made from barley. Boil the barley as normal, strain off the liquid and drink.



A dose of sunlight could be just as good at keeping pain at bay as conventional painkillers, according to recent research from the US. In the study, patients who stayed in their rooms with windows that let in lots of sunlight appeared to need less pain relief than those in darker areas. They also felt less stressed and generally happier.

This result backs up an earlier study on the positive health benefits of nature which showed that patients recover faster if they can see trees from their hospital room windows.



Eat raw, unsalted cashew nuts to help keep energy strong. Barley and quinoa increase and maintain high energy levels. Use as alternatives to rice and potatoes.



Take a dried date, put it in a cup, pour boiling water over it, and brew for five minutes. Drink two cups twice a day, morning and evening. Tibetan practitioners believe this helps balance your central nervous system, rejuvenating the body and mind.



When your mind’s not as sharp as it should be, eating dried figs may restore concentration. How? They help balance blood sugars and supply large doses of antioxidants and B vitamins – essential for supporting brain function.



A member has written in to suggest that to overcome the problems of being accidentally ‘kicked’ during the night, why not invest in two single duvets. You are still sleeping in a double bed but that arm or leg cannot disturb you as the duvets are in between. I must agree. Also, another idea is to get a bed with two single mattresses on the one base. This means you are not disturbed by the other restless sleeper.



If you are concerned about your glucose levels, you can buy a testing kit from boots for just under £18. However, unless you are able to get them by prescription, you also have to buy Lancets (100 for approx. £25) and Test Strips (50 for approx. £28). I was concerned about my glucose levels and we invested in a kit plus extras. Although the first test rose well above the level it should be, since then it has been at a reasonable level. It has certainly set my mind at rest and is one less thing to worry about.



I had been told that, if you concentrate on your breathing, you will be able to go to sleep more easily. I wasn’t very hopeful, but decided to try it in desperation – and it worked! I think it must work by the fact that whilst you are concentrating on breathing, your mind is not free to think of anything else. This stops all those other thoughts that run round your head whilst you are trying to drop off. Well, I can’t think of any other explanation, but I’m glad I tried it. I hope it works for you too.



Grapes are not a bedside regular for nothing; grapes appear to stimulate the body’s regenerative powers and are very effective at combating stress and fatigue – real immunity zappers. If you like grapes – and they like you – you now have permission to eat them all to yourself!!



Helps Concentration

The slow releasing complex carbohydrates in oats sustain energy levels, allowing full concentration to be maintained. Complex carbohydrates also stabilise and raise blood sugar levels.



Porridge oats are high in complex carbohydrates and soluble fibre, which means they release energy slowly. A bowl of porridge should provide all the energy you need until lunchtime.



High-fibre foods such as porridge increase the movement of food through the digestive tract. This increased bowel action provides a good environment for beneficial bacteria in the gut to ferment while decreasing levels of destructive bacteria.



Porridge is a good source of Manganese, which is essential in allowing the body to produce energy as well as helping to build bones and connective tissue. It also contains Zinc, which is needed for normal growth, sexual development and reproduction, and a healthy immune system.



Beetroot is known for its positive effects on the digestive system and the liver, its antioxidant properties include anthocyanidins and when juiced can be used as a tonic as well as an immune-system supporter.



It’s most useful benefit is in reducing flatulence. Use sparingly – a little goes a long way.



A study in West Virginia, US, found rooms infused with Jasmine essential oil not only encouraged peaceful sleep, but left people more alert the next day, too.



Paprika is thought to increase saliva production, which helps to normalise stomach acid and therefore aid digestion. In some countries it is used as an antibiotic because it is supposed to improve circulation by providing a blood thinning agent.



Ginger is known for its anti-nausea properties, and can also help with travel sickness. It also contains chemical compounds that are commonly used in India for the treatment of inflammatory joint diseases, such as Arthritis.



The leaf of the bay tree can aid digestion. Most commonly used in long cooking, where they bind flavours, bay leaves are pungent and have a sharp, bitter taste.



Recent research in the US and Pakistan has shown that cinnamon – in particular a compound called MHCP – may help control blood sugar levels and lower levels of fats and ‘bad’ cholesterol in the blood.



Sloe juice provides a natural tonic, helping the body rejuvenate and cope with stress.



Dancing helps prevent Osteoporosis and lubricates the joints. It is aerobic, so helps the heart.



Doctors now agree with the maxim that laughter can be the best medicine. Research from the University of Maryland found that those who laugh a few times each day enjoy better heart health. Laughter provides a safety valve that shuts off the flow of stress hormones that can weaken the immune system and raise blood pressure.



A natural pain reliever in a roll-on form, which you apply directly to your forehead, is 4head. This can be obtained from supermarkets and chemists. It contains levomenthol, which causes a tingling analgesic effect.



Furniture Polish

For polish that doesn’t pollute your home with chemicals, mix one cup of olive oil with half a cup of lemon juice, shake well and apply a small amount to a cleaning cloth. Spread it evenly over the furniture surface, and then polish it dry with a clean cloth. Lemon juice dissolves dirt and smudges, while olive oil shines and protects wood.



Baking soda has a mild abrasive action that makes it a powerful, environmentally friendly replacement for harsh scouring powders. Sprinkle baking soda on to a damp sponge to make kitchen sinks and grimy baths sparkle again.



Mix one teaspoonful of cider vinegar with half a glass of water and drink twice a day with food.



Mix three teaspoonful’s of cider vinegar with one cup of honey. Take two teaspoonful’s before going to bed.



Emmy had to remove ceiling tiles in her house and she didn’t want to climb up to do this in case she fell. Her solution – she went to get her garden hoe, cleaned it and sharpened it and used it to take the tiles off. It worked and the tiles came off successfully with little effort on her part. Where there’s a will there’s a way!



What is it?

You only need about 2mg of it daily, but this little-considered mineral is essential for optimum vigour. It helps transport oxygen through your body, maintain hair colour, and is used to make hormones, as well as critical proteins and enzymes.

Where can I get it?

Rye bread, potatoes, peaches, raisins, peas and peanuts.



Research at Reading University has shown food supplements of the pineapple enzyme bromelain may relieve pain, reduce swelling, and repair damaged tissues and increase movement in arthritis sufferers.



When Professor Altman at the University Of Miami, US, compared ginger extracts with conventional NSAIDs for treating arthritic knees, he found that in 70 per cent of the patients ginger gave the same, if not better, pain relief. Grate fresh ginger into a mug and pour over hot water (sweeten with honey to taste) or try ginger supplements.



Research headed by Professor Bruce Caterson at Cardiff University, reveals cod liver oil not only relieves pain, but can reverse damage occurring in inflamed cartilage tissue. Those with arthritis or other joint damage should take a daily supplement and eat oily fish (such as mackerel, sardines and salmon) regularly.



UK researchers have found that an extract of plantain can help ease symptoms of IBS. This banana-like fruit contains a unique form of fibre that prevents the intestinal lining from attracting the bacteria that contribute to inflammatory episodes. While clinical trials continue, choose regular bananas and dried fruit such as apricots and figs – a survey carried out by the IBS Research Appeal found these foods be ‘helpful’ in relieving the symptoms of IBS.



Eating a tiny snack of a combination of protein and carbohydrate stops hunger pangs overnight, helps you to wake in a sweeter calmer mood, and raises serotonin levels which means you will sleep better.



Lucy recommends Arnica Gel helpful on Trigger Points. £8 at health food shops, but you only need a very small amount.



We have all been told at some time or other that fresh air is good for us, but it really is. Try to get out into the fresh air as much as possible even if it is just ten minutes a day standing or sitting in the garden. Even such a short time can give us all the nutrients we need to help us feel better about life and ourselves.



Cherries, apparently, can relieve the pain of Arthritis and gout. The ingredients that can do this, called anthocyanins, also act as antioxidants with an effect that is ten times more potent than vitamins E and C. I don’t know about you, but I’m happy to give it a try – I love cherries, so what a good excuse!



This is a good one! Experts have shown that the smell of vanilla in drinks, food and atomizers, helps people deal with stress. So have an extra spoonful of vanilla ice cream – and don’t feel guilty. It’s for health reasons, after all!!



Juice together 3 apples, 2 oranges, 1 lemon and 2 handfuls of iceberg lettuce leaves (which contains lactones, calming substances that act as a natural sedative). Drink a glass before bed to help you sleep like a baby.



Some foods – including sweet corn, oats, rice, tomatoes and bananas – contain traces of melatonin, that helps regulate sleep.



How about this for getting to sleep? Close your eyes and hold your tongue so it’s not touching your cheeks or the roof of your mouth, as if you’re yawning with your mouth closed. You’ll be sleeping like a log in no time, or so I’m told.



If you feel negative thoughts beginning to overwhelm you, stop and take a deep breath. The idea is that negative thinking is linked to the stress response, which can be halted by a series of long, slow, deep breaths.



Brazil nuts boost energy and just three a day can also help cut the risk of heart disease by one third.



Why not try dried banana chips? They are rich in carbohydrate, iron and magnesium, and, in addition, they have natural sugars to give your body an energy boost when you’re on the move.



Find the spot between the tendons of the inside of the wrist, three finger widths from the palm. Breathe in, press as you breathe out slowly and repeat several times to reduce stress and strain.



Stimulating the acupressure point that is located in the soft V-shaped area of flesh found between the thumb and forefinger can help reduce stress. Press the pad of your thumb into this area for at least 30 seconds and then repeat the same action on the other hand.



Garlic is thought to boost immunity, which could help regulate the body’s allergic reaction to pollen grains.



Cecile Kiener, the Osteopath who spoke at our meeting a while ago, has said that in order to care for our backs, we must be careful how we choose our shoes. Always check the sole for flexibility (i.e. make sure when you hold the heel and the toe, it will bend easily). If it doesn’t bend when you do this, it will not bend as you walk, and this will put a strain on the muscles of your legs and back as you walk.



If you have a problem lifting saucepans to drain the water from cooked vegetable or pasta, Betterware sell a mesh “Scoop & Drain” tool (it looks like a large draining spoon) with a long handle for safe and easy serving. The catalogue number is 19097 and it costs £3.99. It looks a good buy! Betterware UK Ltd, telephone number 0845 121 1010.

Internet ordering on



Seen in the “You” supplement to the “Mail on Sunday”: – Taking magnesium at bedtime can banish Restless Leg Syndrome that affects about one in four people. Alexander Campbell, novelist, said, “It’s cured both me and my Aunt who couldn’t sleep at all.”




You may find the following websites helpful:


‘Alpha Stim’ Machine


Arthritis Care


Arthritis Research Campaign


Action for ME


Brian Barr, Solicitor




Carers Direct


Christian Fibromyalgia Site (US)


Coventry Pain Clinic – information on muscle pain & treatments


Devin Starlanyl


Department for Work & Pensions


Department of Health


Department of Health Primary Care Trusts



Disability Now Newspaper


Disability Rights Commission


Dr. Rob Bennett – leading authority on FMS (US)


Dr Jacob Teitelbaum’s site (US)


Drug Information – All the information you need on drugs


Dept. of Work & Pensions (UK)


DLA Information


Family Magazine


Fibromyalgia Association UK


Fibro action



Fibromyalgia Northern Ireland


Links for Men with FMS – useful resources


Fibromyalgia Network Magazine (US)


Fibromyalgia Research


Fibromyalgia Support site


Fibromyalgia Association of Greater Washington


Gardner Croft, Solicitors


Guides to claiming primary sickness benefits (UK)


Leon Chaitow’s Information on FMS (US)


ME Association


Men & Fibromyalgia


Neurological Alliance


Net doctor


NHS Direct


Nutritionist Resources


Osteoporosis Society (NOS)


Pain Management Society


Pain Information site


Remedy find


The National Endometriosis Society


Therapy Directory


Thyroid Help


Thyroid UK


Tribunal Information (UK)


UK Wellness


Useful FMS Resources and info from Web health




  • Access to Work
  • Benefits Books
  • Blue Badge
  • Bus Permits
  • Council Telephone No’s for Thanet
  • Dial a Ride
  • Disability Information Service
  • Equipment Loan
  • Exemption from Vehicle Excise Duty
  • Help Lines
  • Help with Health Costs
  • Holiday Info – Travel Insurance
  • Kent Social Services
  • Medical Records
  • Mobility Scooter Insurance
  • NHS Copying of Letters
  • NHS Dentists
  • Patient Advice & Liaison Service (PALS)
  • Prescription Season Ticket
  • Priority Service Register
  • Private Dentist
  • Radar Keys
  • Royal British Legion
  • Thyroid Disease & Free Prescriptions
  • Useful Organisations
  • Useful Websites
  • Warm Front A Government Funded Initiative
  • Wheelchair Access for Holidays

Contact us

To get in touch, please Choose one of the following options:

Gillian Venables

Tel.: 0844 887 2471




Meetings held at:

St Marks Church Hall,
Pysons Road,
CT12 6TU

Phone: 01843 599 311