Ron’s had enough of his embarrassing body

PUBLISHED: 14:11 01 March 2011

Ron Farnham.

Ron Farnham.

Archant

Honiton town councillor travels to London for alternative treatment.

Dystonia - The facts

Dystonia is a neurological movement disorder.

It is characterised by sustained and involuntary muscle contractions or spasms.

Spasms can causes twisting, repetitive movements or abnormal postures.

The disorder is not degenerative.

At least 70,000 people in the UK suffer from the disorder.

There is no known cure.

A HONITON councillor, who suffers from an embarrassing disorder which causes his body to constantly shake, hopes an alternative therapy will improve his quality of life - and allow him to stand for re-election in May.

Ron Farnham, 66, of Dowell Street, last Friday travelled to London for his first consultation with a hypnotherapist recently featured on Channel 4’s Embarrassing Bodies programme.

He hopes hypnotherapy will relieve up to 99 per cent of his symptoms, but faces an uphill battle to win funding for the treatment on the NHS - even though conventional therapies have failed to work

“A lot of people think I suffer from Parkinson’s,” Mr Farnham told The Midweek Herald. “In fact, I have got Dystonia.

“In my case, it is hereditary and causes tremors and spasms.

“I can’t hold things in my hands or ride my motorbike. I am constantly shaking.”

Stress can aggravate the condition and Mr Farnham recently took three months off as a councillor to rest.

“The stress of meetings can make the symptoms appear worse and I worry how people perceive me,” he said.

“I was amazed when I saw my condition featured on Embarrassing Bodies. A sufferer had been helped to feel 99 per cent better through hypnotherapy, which relieved stress.

“The sufferer had tried Botox and medication treatments, but they hadn’t worked - exactly what happened to me.”

After watching the programme twice, Ron fired up his computer and managed to locate and contact the hypnotherapist featured by email.

Less than a week later, he was on his way to London.

He is determined to undergo a course of hypnotherapy, but is concerned about the cost.

“Because hypnotherapy is considered an alternative therapy, funding is not readily available on the NHS,” he said.

“I am going to pay myself, but investigate if there is anything the NHS can do to help.

“I would go anywhere and do anything to improve my quality of life.

“I enjoy being a town councillor and working for the people of Honiton, but whether I can continue is something I will have to consider.”

Nobody from NHS Devon was available to comment before The Midweek Herald went to press yesterday (Tuesday).

Further information about dystonia is available from the Dystonia Society.

The charity runs a helpline for sufferers on 0845 4586322.

Detailed information is available at the click of a mouse - from the society’s website, www.dystonia.org.uk


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