Glenn Beck revealed on TheBlaze TV Monday more details into the illness he has been battling for years: just how bad it had gotten, his concerns for the future and the experimental treatment that he says set him on the path to recovery. And that treatment involves a very odd-looking chair and group of doctors he calls "medical cowboys."
The majority of Beck's health issues go back about five years ago. There were those that his followers knew about — vocal cord paralysis and eyesight problems — and then those that he kept more secret from his fan base and even much of his staff.
"We didn't know at the time what was causing me to feel as thought out of nowhere my hands and feet and arms and legs would just feel like someone had crushed them, set them on fire or pushed broken glass into my feet," Beck told his audience on The Glenn Beck Program, adding that work was "literally killing me."
You can read more about what Beck revealed Monday night here.
Eventually, Beck had an assessment for a traumatic brain injury that revealed he was functioning in the bottom 10 percent. Still, doctors didn't know what caused it — stress, a rare disorder, something else?
Then he found the Carrick Brain Centers, a brain rehabilitation center headquartered in Texas, which "combines evidence-based diagnostics with leading-edge technologies and treatments to quickly help improve the quality of life of patients suffering from brain injuries due to physical or emotional trauma or degenerative conditions that affect the brain and central nervous system."
"Honestly, it is a place you go if you are desperate. Some of the stuff they do sounds crazy," Beck said, referring to the doctors there as needing to be "medical cowboys." He said insurance companies and some more traditional physicians are skeptical. But, he said, they gave him "hope...for the first time."
Dr. Cagan Randall, lead clinician and co-founder of Carrick Brain Centers, told TheBlaze the designation of "medical cowboy" refers to the novel combination of therapies the center uses to treat TBI (traumatic brain injuries) and also because he literally wears cowboy boots as a proud Texan.
Some of the treatments at the center include low-dose electrical stimulation, balance training and, perhaps the most unusual, its "patented off vertical axis rotational device."
This device is a rotational chair that stimulates the vestibular system of the brain, the system that deals with spacial orientation and balance. Beck described the chair as similar to those on which astronauts train.
"The vestibular system of our brain is one of most important systems that we have because gravity never stops," Randall said, adding the chair is designed to stimulate that system over and over again, tailored to a specific patient's needs.
Check out this video from ABC News that shows the chair in action (jump to 2:36):
All of these treatments together are what makes Carrick Brain Centers novel, Randall said.
"We see a very exciting time in our business because we’re getting the attention of all the right people," he explained.
While it would seem as if these treatments focus on physical effects of a TBI, Randall said that patients with such injuries also suffer from memory deficits.
"Going through [this] rehabilitation, we see big improvements in memory restoration," Randall said.
He added the speed with which the brain center has been able to assess, treat and have TBI patients moving forward with their lives has attracted interest from Veterans Affairs and other governing bodies.
In fact, Carrick Brain Centers launched a campaign this month to raise awareness and funds to treat veterans suffering from TBIs and post-traumatic stress disorder. Watch the center's campaign video:
"After months of treatment and completely changing the way I eat, sleep, work and live with ongoing hormone treatment and intensive physical therapy, I have reversed the process," Beck said of his own health status. Still, he added, "some of the physical scars will be with me for the rest of my life," like those sitting next to him on a plane may notice his hands shaking. "But the brain is back online in a big way."
This story has been updated to correct a typo.