IBT stands for Inclined Bed Therapy. It was discovered by medical researcher and engineer, Andrew K Fletcher and back in the 1990s. However, his idea was dismissed simply because it appears to fly in the face of the previous beliefs on the part of the medical text books about how the circulatory system works. Andrew discovered that, instead of the heart being solely responsible for pumping our blood around the system, gravity also played a vital part, and especially in removing toxins and solutes from the blood, and removing these from the body via the kidneys and urine.
For a long time, I have had problems with varicose veins and oedema, and periodic bouts of phlebitis, so when, a few months ago, I discovered a study was being done on The Naked Scientists forum - see this link: Varicose Veins & IBT Study - I followed some of the links shown there, and realised that this could also help a long term back problem that I have, and other conditions, too.
Andrew agreed that I could join in the study group, and I spoke with my doctor about it too. My doctor said he couldn't see any reason why I shouldn't join in, but to expect my oedema and varicose veins to get worse! This because instead of raising the legs, one sleeps at a 5 degree angle and with the legs lower than the head. Well, he was astonished to see the difference himself, because my oedema disappeared within days! My calves were measured prior to commencing IBT and after, and they reduced in size by as much as 5cms - about 2.5"!
I also started to get decent quality, restorative sleep almost immediately, which is something I've not experienced for years! Indeed, due to my back problem, and a natural chemical reaction that it seems to cause when flaring, very often I would go for days or even weeks at a time without any sleep at all, or just brief periods of dozing, and when in a sitting position, because often the back would not even allow me to assume a prone position.
Other benefits include a lowering of blood pressure - and a friend (aged 58 and in Wales) who was recently told by his doctor that his BP was so dangerously high that he could die at any moment, commenced IBT and with almost immediate benefits! His BP, and without medication, has now reduced consistently to a range between 130/75 and 120/70, and sometimes as low as 110/65! His doctor was stunned by this result!
Now that I have been doing IBT for a couple of months, I am beginning to notice improvements in my back problem. This I was told likely wouldn't be noticeable for four to eight months, and mainly because there are two conditions that affect my spine. In the lumbar region, I have osteoarthritis, and there I have noticed a lessening of the pain in that region. In fact, sometimes I realise I don't even have that dull ache that never seemed to go away at all! Higher up, and in the thoracic region, I've been affected by periods of severe inflammation and pain, including severe muscle spasms (like electric shocks) that can sometimes have a paralysing effect and make breathing difficult and also affects the use of my hands and arms. After many years, that has finally been diagnosed as arachnoiditis, and after those medically qualified people following the IBT trial recognised the symptoms and alerted me to mention it to my doctor, when all the pointers over the years suddenly fell into place! Whatever, there has definitely been a lessening of the incidents of inflammation and therefore muscle spasms and their strength since commencing IBT. (Also my need to take medication to address these!) I have also started to lose some weight at last, and had been really struggling to do that for years, and largely because I wasn't able to exercise much at all - and now I can (to some degree) and without aggravating the back!
There are lots of conditions that IBT can help to improve, and quality of life is not the least amongst them! The best of it is, it is virtually free! Raising the head end of the bed just 6" can be achieved with a couple of breeze blocks - even recycled ones! In my case, and because of the type of legs on my bed-settee, I chose to have wooden blocks made with a hollowed out section in them that would hold the bed's legs securely in place, and those cost me just £30! A price well worth paying for the improvement in my sleep quality alone, and because now I have energy again, and feel really quite well! (This even despite undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer during much of the time I've been doing the IBT trial!)
If you think it could help you, why not just try it? Beg a couple of old breeze blocks from a builder, wrap them in old towels to protect you carpet or flooring, and raise the HEAD end of your bed by 6". Do make sure that you drink plenty of fluids too, and so that you don't become dehydrated as the solutes and toxins are removed from your body. IBT provides quite a powerful detox to the system and you may well find yourself popping to the bathroom on a more regular basis. If you find yourself slipping down the bed a bit, wrap an extra duvet around the mattress and under the sheet to provide some extra comfort and friction, also don't sleep in pants that could cut into the groin a bit, and do remove any footboard from the bed to avoid pressure on the feet. You can always add a throw over the end of the bed to keep your feet warm if the poke out a bit, but one thing I have really noticed, is that my previously cold feet (due to poor circulation) are now like toast!
There are a huge number of medical conditions that can benefit from IBT, including heart conditions, sleep apnoea, breathing problems, spinal problems, arthritis, MS, circulatory problems, skin conditions, and so on.
So far the only person amongst those friends whom I've recommended it to to complain about its benefits, is a chap who has suddenly started getting early morning erections on a regular basis, and after years of having a problem in that department! Others that have discovered this same thing don't see to consider it a problem at all - at least, not one they cannot deal with! In fact, it's been quite a handy thing when it comes to couples where the wife may have had leg problems and the husband being reluctant to raise their bed just for his wife's benefit! Fit people trying it, have noticed that they wake feeling more refreshed and energetic, and young, fit couples, tell me that yes, it does seem to improve their love lives too! (Well, haven't the Welsh always been a passionate race?
This discussion is related to Arachnoiditis.