ORIGINALLY WRITTEN CYNTHIA MARTENS
by Cynthia Martens
Jeannie Wildin can now run up and down the stairs of her Marion home-decorating business. To some, this would not seem unusual, but to Jeannie, who suffers from the painful affliction fibromyalgia, it is nothing short of a miracle.
“I hurt for so long,” Jeannie said. “I had accepted it as normal that I’m just going to hurt the rest of my life.”
Jeannie and her mother-in-law, Joy, both suffer from fibromyalgia and have recently found relief from their pain in the form of moor mud from a bog in Canada.
Their discovery not only relieved much of their suffering, but they also joined forces to sell the product through their new company aptly named Mud Slingers.
Their story begins with aches and pains that have plagued both for years.
“Fibromyalgia is generalized muscle pain, usually affecting a good deal of your body,” Jeannie said. “It is characterized by aching muscles and inability to sleep. And when you have restless sleep, your body doesn’t rejuvenate your muscles the way deep sleep usually does.”
The symptoms develop into a continual cycle of increased pain and less sleep all accompanied by headaches and lack of energy.
After visiting a rheumatologist, who confirmed the diagnosis given by a local physician, Jeannie said she was told that on a diagnostic test of 18 possible trigger points on the body, she had all 18.
“I’ve had fibromyalgia for 14 years,” she said. “Basically, I got on a list of medications that would stay on top of the symptoms, and I could function somewhat normally.”
But the turning point came when exchange student, Gabriel Bonventi, whom she calls her Brazilian son, was searching sites on the Internet accessed by medical personnel.
“He came and lived with us last summer, and now he’s a medical student in Canada,” Jeannie said. “He kept saying, ‘I’m going to find something that’s going to make you feel better, I know I can find it.'”
By the end of October, Jeannie got a call from Bonventi about a product he discovered.
“He said, ‘It’s a mud bath,’ and I said, ‘OK, and this is going to make me feel better?'”
Bonventi used the product after a mishap on a climbing wall dislocated his shoulder, Jeannie said.
A fellow climber gave him a sample bottle of the mud-bath product, and after applying it to his shoulder over night, the pain was gone the next morning.
“So he hooked me up with the people that sell the product, and I asked lots of questions about it,” she said.
Jeannie said she and Joy decided to try the product after she had an opportunity to talk to a lady in Canada who also suffered from fibromyalgia and was relieved of her pain through the mud-bath treatment.
“We decided we’re going to try it, and if it’s going to do anything good, were going to be able to tell,” Jeannie said. “Because both of us hurt so bad that if it does nothing, we’ll just chalk it up to experience and go on about our business.”
The product arrived on Nov. 14. The two tried their mud baths, calling each other the next day to compare results.
“Both of us, we still hurt in the morning, but we didn’t have that incredible-stiffness symptom of fibromyalgia,” Jeannie said. “After three days, Joy called me and said she felt better.”
Jeannie said it took her about six days to see results.
She and her husband, Brad, were getting ready to go to Connecticut for Thanksgiving and had to catch an early-morning flight, she said.
“It was three in the morning, and when I got up, I popped out of bed, and I said, ‘Brad, I feel good. I don’t hurt anywhere, and I’m not stiff anywhere.’
“What’s incredible about that flight-if I had ever done anything that would have disrupted my sleep like that, I would have been absolutely flat on my back.”
Jeannie said because she and Joy were getting results, they decided to contact the company to set up a distributorship.
The company, Global Vision, is based in Canada and owned by physician and orthotherapist Marc St.-Onge. St.-Onge is credited with testing 23 moor bogs in North America and finding the richest one in Canada.
“Moor in German means healing earth,” Jeannie said. “During the ice age, these bogs sealed over with ice, and so the plant and animal matter that was trapped under the ice went through decomposition and created this really rich peat.”
The peat is formulated into the mud-bath product.
Global Vision has been distributing the product to exclusive spas for about 13 years. One year ago, they developed “Spa Immersion Bath,” a moor-mud product for home use and sold by distributors through a multi-level marketing plan. This was the product Jeannie and Joy discovered.
“I’ve never been receptive when anyone talks about multi-level marketing, but this was different,” Jeannie said. “It’s unique, and only one product to sell.”
Plus it works, Joy said.
The two formed a partnership, and Jeannie came up with the name of their company-Mud Slingers. The company became official when they opened up their bank account Dec. 1.
Joy also has a massage business called Touch of Joy in Marion.
“I had gotten bad enough that I was wondering how long I could keep doing massages because it hurt so bad to work,” she said. “Using the mud, I can get up in the morning and feel good and walk like I used to. I’m not all bent over and walking around. It feels great to be able to have a body that’s working again.”
The massage business is a perfect fit with the mud-bath treatment plan, Joy said.
The over-all program includes mud baths, massages, proper diet and exercise. The regime includes keeping red meat consumption down and eating an abundance of fruits and vegetables while avoiding processed sugar, alcohol, coffee, tea and all caffeine drinks, including all colas.
Jeannie said for best results, an intensive program following the suggested regime should last five weeks, but she has personally extended it to 100 days because of the severity of her fibromyalgia.
After the initial program, the baths are recommended twice a week or more often as needed.
The product comes in two sizes, a 32-ounce bottle for $45 and a 3.2-ounce sample for $5.
“Fill up the tub about half full of hot water, and sprinkle it in,” Joy said.
The bath water turns black and has a lavender perfume.
And it’s recommended to continue adding hot water to keep the temperature hot, Jeannie said.
“That’s because the heat works with the product for the absorption through your skin to pull toxins out. Just sit in that black water for about 20 minutes.”
Jeannie recommends an initial five-day program combining the daily mud baths with massages and drinking a lot of water. But, each program will vary with the individual’s needs, she said.
Joy said she is now at the point where she has a mud bath about three times a week, and she and Jeannie also get massages in conjunction with the bath treatments.
Jeannie said she doesn’t want people to think she’s been free of pain since starting treatments.
“Because I’ve had some days that were kind of up and down,” she said. “But usually I could pin it to: I skipped my mud bath last night, or I drank some Coke.”
The moor-mud product can also be used for such problems as back pain, sports injuries, osteoarthritis, and PMS, according to company literature.
“But the people who have had more muscular kinds of things are the ones who have seen the greatest results,” Jeannie said.
The healing properties are purported to promote circulation, enhance the immune system, offer total-muscle relaxation, offer pain and stress relief, reduce inflammation, improve range of motion and detoxify the body.
In addition to using it as a mud bath, it can also be used full strength as a mud pack, Jeannie said.
Mud Slingers is a side business for Jeannie, who co-owns the County Seat in Marion with her husband. It’s also a side business for Joy, who promotes the product at her massage business.
“Most people who are successful distributors spend about 10 hours a week doing this,” Jeannie said. “We’re working toward getting more customers but not replacing our businesses,” she said.
They have seen their customer base grow to about 30 people since they started in December, and it’s so popular they’re having trouble keeping the product in stock, Jeannie said.
“By the time we get a case of nine bottles, we’d have it all sold,” she said.
They have a captive audience so far because the only other distributors in the United States are in New York, New Jersey and California.
“Anyone who is interested in an alternative to make money with the layoffs and economic concerns, this would be a super way to supplement their income,” Jeannie said.
Jeannie has set up a Web site www.jeanniewildin.com for questions and information.
“Click on Mud Slingers and you can get to our down-link Web site,” she said.
And why call the company Mud Slingers?
“We wanted to have fun with it, and it just sounds fun,” Jeannie said.