Puzzling Out Fibromyalgia and The Epstein-Barr Virus

January 5, 2016

Two years ago I finally sat down and wrote a lengthy article about my healing journey from fibromyalgia. It had been over a decade since that morning when I woke up with “pain all over” and about four years since the pain had subsided. I guess I needed time to ruminate about it. It seems that puzzling out fibromyalgia is something millions of people are doing these days and I hope that I can help put some of the pieces together.

If you or someone you love is suffering from this painful condition, please take a moment  to read my former article.  I’m not going to repeat what’s in it here – I just wanted to add a few important thoughts.

The main reason I wanted to check in again on this subject is an article that was passed along to me recently.

This article is perhaps the single most enlightening article I’ve read concerning fibromyalgia.

The Medical Medium—and What’s Potentially at the Root of Medical Mysteries, is on the website Goop and is about the Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) and the role it plays in not only fibromyalgia but a host of other conditions.

The article contains a chapter from the book Medical Medium: Secrets Behind Chronic and Mystery Illness and How to Finally Heal (Hay House; November 10, 2015) by Anthony William.

“It’s the mystery illness of mystery illnesses.” – Anthony William

As I mentioned in my previous article, the way fibromyalgia appeared in my own life was waking up one morning with pain throughout my body. I thought I had the flu, but all flu-like symptoms (except for the pain) had subsided after 24 hours.

When I finally visited my doctor, his only guess was that perhaps a virus had settled in my muscles and I would just have to wait it out.

After multiple appointments with Western MDs, I finally, in frustration, typed in the words “pain all over” on the computer, where hundreds of articles about fibromyalgia appeared. Back then, some of the doctors I visited had never heard the word fibromyalgia. I remember one doctor looking it up in a book as I sat in her office.

There were no Lyrica commercials to bombard us with this strange term.

When you have debilitating pain, chronic insomnia, extreme sensitivity to stimuli, overwhelming fatigue, etc. etc., it comes as a blow when all doctors offer are anti-depressants, sleep drugs and anti-seizure medication (Lyrica).

When I visited an infectious disease specialist and tested positive for EBV, I distinctly remember thinking that it was a huge piece of the puzzle.

But the doctor immediately burst my bubble by saying it was meaningless – that many people test positive for EBV. No kidding.

“The Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) has created a secret epidemic. Out of the roughly 320 million people in the U.S., over 225 million Americans have some form of EBV.” – Anthony William

Fortunately for me, this is when I made the decision to seek more natural, holistic methods.

It took me almost eight years before the pain completely left my body. All during this period, the thought of EBV would come to mind.

My intuition kept telling me that it was a part of the mystery.

I admit to feeling somewhat vindicated reading Anthony William’s article. Of course, some people will say, “He’s not an MD or a scientist.” But very little has been figured out by Western medicine about fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, etc. and I have learned time and time again over the years how powerful mind/body/spirit medicine is.

My body recovered with help from some gifted healers, by following an Ayurvedic lifestyle, eating clean whole foods, and nurturing myself as much as possible. My immune system slowly repaired itself.

After reading the EBV article, I can look back and puzzle some more things out. I don’t remember having mono but I constantly had sore throats and ear infections as a young child.

I remember crying for want of sleep. Raising young children was very depleting for me but I just chalked it up to motherhood.

Fibromyalgia struck at age 48 when I was perimenopausal and on the heels of the end of my 30-year marriage, in a state of extreme anxiety and stress.

Years later when I finally found my way to an Ayurvedic practitioner and he took my pulse, he said, “Your Vata is off-the-chart deranged” (an Ayurvedic way of saying “seriously unbalanced”).

In my own experience and in consultation with clients who have fibromyalgia, I see a propensity for Vata-type people (especially women) to be afflicted with this condition.

Because Vata is the dosha of depletion, any kind of physical, mental or emotional trauma can easily do harm to the immune system and lay open the door for a virus like EB to do harm.

Even if Vata is not the predominant dosha in your constitution, it is the dosha which becomes unbalanced the easiest, and we live in a very Vata-deranged world. Therefore, anyone who wears down their immune system and becomes depleted can unleash the EBV to wreak havoc.

“For example, if you physically exhaust yourself for weeks and give yourself no chance to fully recover, or allow your body to become deprived of essential nutrients such as zinc or vitamin B12, or undergo a traumatic emotional experience such as a breakup or the death of a loved one, the virus will detect your stress-related hormones and choose that time to take advantage.” – Anthony William

I feel no need to run and have a blood test to find out if the EBV is still present in my body. I’m guessing it might still be lurking somewhere like many viruses do. My personal approach is to try my best to follow a healthy daily routine that will keep my immune system thriving.

Ayurveda was a big part of my healing journey. And one of its principles is maintaining a healthy gut, where 80%+ of our immunity lies.

I’m healthier now than I was a great deal of my life. I haven’t taken a prescription or over-the-counter drug in years – and I used to eat Motrin like candy.

I’m not perfect, and I fall off the healthy lifestyle wagon just as much as anyone else. But when you experience a debilitating condition like I did and live to see the body repair itself holistically, well, you never forget it.

I’m actually grateful that it happened because it changed my life in so many wonderful ways.

I hope that by sharing Anthony William’s article, it will shed some light for you. I receive many letters from people who are trying to puzzle out fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, etc. that has plagued them for sometimes decades.

Never give up hope. It often takes years for these conditions to manifest in the body and sometimes years for it to come back into balance.

Be patient. Stay positive. Watch funny movies. Eat healthy whole foods. Sleep. Receive.

“Now things are different for you. If you have EBV, you now have a mind-body understanding of what’s causing your health problems. From this alone, your immune system will strengthen and the virus will naturally weaken. So when it comes to fighting EBV, in a very real sense, knowledge is power.” – Anthony William

Much love,

P.S. Feel free to contact me if I can help support you on your healing journey.



  1. Hi Barbara, This is interesting and I love how you never gave up on researching healthier options to treat your pain. I remember when you were in the throes of trying to figure it all out and that process lead you to a whole new world of thinking. (It is too bad that medication is always the first recommendation, that leads to a whole new world of pain). xoxo Mary

    • Hi, Mary – You were there witnessing and always supporting me. There’s probably not a soul on this planet who helped me through those years more than you. Love you, my friend. xoxox

  2. Thanks for sharing. I love reading your blog!!

  3. Hello Barbara!

    I have been diagnosed with FM since around 2004 and have tried endless remedies. I just came upon on FB Anthony Williams article. Wow! EBV and FM…possible connection??? I’m willing to give anything a try. The only way I’ve been able to continue to work is taking prescription pain pills. I’m tired of feeling tired. Thanks for sharing! Glad to know you are better…gives me HOPE! My daughter (43) was diagnosed with Lupus 5 years ago. It is so hard seeing how sick she gets taking shots. Her quality of life is at 50%. Breaks my heart. I’m passing this on to her.

  4. Thank you for sharing your journey. I was diagnosed with fibro several years ago, but only after suffering for many years before. This summer after I finally gave up on all the doctors who have only given me prescription drugs with no results, I went to a holistic doctor, I started taking bioidentical hormones (BHRT) since I was also experiencing hot flashes and night sweats. Apparently, my hormones were imbalanced and I have severe adrenal fatigue. Upon learning this, I started doing more research since my symptoms started in my 30’s!! I just read Medical Medium by Anthony William and highly recommend it to anyone who has this or any other issue. I have always suspected I had a viral infection but that theory was simply discounted. I have been on a long road to recovery for some time, but now that I have this new information, I wonder if it isn’t the BHRT helping me but all the supplements, just like the book suggests. It’s been a frustrating road, but I am still learning and improving. Please read this book.

    • Thanks for sharing your story, Rachele! Glad you’re feeling better. It can be a long and arduous journey, but it’s possible to heal. Yes, Anthony’s book is full of great information. Take care! Barbara

  5. Hi Barbara, Can you offer any advise on finding the right treatment resources for EBV/fibro in the Detroit, Michigan area? Or how to begin looking?

  6. I’ve been suspected of Fibromyalgia. Lots of unexplainable fatigue, body pain , muscle aches and depression. I just found out I have the EBV virus that lives in me. They say it’s inactive. I am wondering what the connection is between the two. I’ve cganged my diet last two week but feel no better. Can you give me some health advice?

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