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Matt Marine

Matt Marine is an Arizona resident who loves exploring Arizona's wonderful outdoor adventures. To find out more about Matt, click the link below.

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Cat-Dog is my faithful trail companion. Her real name is Cammie. Why do I call her Cat-Dog?

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Sara Harelson

I’m Sara! I’m 21, a senior in college, and a journalism major.  I love to read, write, travel, and listen to music.  I’m always on to my next adventure.


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Jeep people are awesome, but we do have our idiosyncrasies. Join me as we look at the humorous side of owning and loving Jeeps.

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Read the Experience Arizona Disclaimer before attempting any of our adventures. Check with local authorities (FS, BLM, etc.) before heading out on any adventures for updates road conditions, closures, etc.

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Trails and roads listed within this site may be closed at any time by the Forest Service, private property owners or other governmental agencies. It is your responsibility to verify state of trail prior to attempting to run it.

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On this page
What is MCS?
Symptoms of MCS
Things that may help
MCS News

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MCS (Multiple Chemical Sensitivity)

One of the reasons this site was started was out of necessity. In 2010 I was diagnosed with MCS, or Multiple Chemical Sensitivity. What the heck is that? Some of you may know this by its old names of Sick Building Syndrome of Sick Building Disease. Essentially, it's when someone becomes highly sensitive (similar to severe allergies) to many common chemicals or products.

Important Updates

Update: February, 2012: I am still working on my recovering. The DNR System (described below) is really helping me out. My estimate is that I am 50% better (though there still can be significant variation from day to day depending on many things including how challenging the environment is). I am extremely happy with my improvements to date. To sum it up: I no longer wake up in the morning trying to think of how I am going to survive the day. I wake up thinking of what opportunities the day will hold. I am confident I will continue to improve.

November 17, 2011: I recently attended a Dynamic Neural Retraining System workshop in Santa Fe, New Mexico with Annie Hopper. THIS is the "cure" for MCS, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, electrical sensitivity and other limbic system impairments. These people have their limbic systems cross wired and through her workshop she teaches you how to "re-wire" your brain. It is amazing. I have seen first-hand some of the amazing results for some very sick people. I am now on day 7 of the six month program and I am already seeing significant improvements. If you know of someone who suffers from these disorders, you need to go to one of these seminars. This really works!

Here is a link to her website: DNR System

Also, you can read the following book regarding how you can change your brain: The Brain that Changes Itself, by Norman Doidge

It doesn't appear that the video is available on-line anymore :-(

UPDATE: July 1, 2011. Our house was tested for mold contaimination. Although the house came back very clean, a sample taken in the air return vent under our furnace showed high levels of Stachybotrys mold. This is supposidly the badest of the badest of the molds. Lucky us. We are currently getting quotes from qualified mold remediation contractors to tear out the furnace room, water heater room, furnace, duct work, portions of the hallway and swamp cooler. The full extent of the contaimination won't be known until the rooms are taken apart. Currently, no mold can be see visually. It is unclear, but probable, that this has had significant effects on my health. Updates to follow as soon as it becomes available.

In February 2010, I got really sick (having most of the symptoms listed below). I went to my doctor, who was no help. I ended up self-diagnosing my own ailment. Long story, short: traditional medicine has no cure for MCS and I'm living with it the best I can.

Below is some information I've gathered on MCS. Be aware that MCS is not a well-known (or studied) affliction. There's not a ton of information on it and some of it can be conflicting and misleading. I am still learning about it.

My desire is to provide useful information and guidance that makes sense. If you believe you have MCS, please contact your doctor (hopefully they will be able to help point you in the right direction) or see a toxicologist.

The information provided here is just a quick view on MCS and is by no means comprehensive. Do you own research on the subject and talk to other people with MCS.

What is MCS?

Multiple chemical sensitivity unlike true allergies - where the underlying mechanisms of the problem are relatively well understood widely accepted, is generally regarded as "idiopathic" - meaning that it has no known mechanism of causation & it's processes are not fully understood.

The problem here is made more difficult still, due to the variable nature of Multiple Chemical Sensitivity from one patient to the next and this often makes treatment with conventional medicine and practices ineffective or inappropriate; for most sufferers with Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, the avoidance of pollutants/toxicants is key.

What can be said about defining Multiple Chemical Sensitivity - and in order to help the patient decide whether they truly have MCS or another allergy-related illness - is that the following deciding criteria apply to Multiple Chemical Sensitivity:

• the patient exhibits problems - often an allergy-like reaction - to both large - often extremely low levels of irritants/toxicants/triggers: other individuals present at the same time may be unable to detect anything at all or anything unusual or out of the ordinary.
• the patient exhibits problems - often an allergy-like reaction - to both large - often extremely low levels of irritants/toxicants/triggers: other individuals present at the same time may be unable to detect anything at all or anything unusual or out of the ordinary.
• the problem is ongoing, ie. chronic, and not a "one-off" event
• the same symptoms are reproducible with repeated exposure to the same triggers
• the patient is affected by many different triggers
• the patient improves when triggers are absent

People can have varying degrees of MCS, from minor (annoying) to major (life changing).

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Symptoms of MCS

The possible list of symptoms of Multiple Chemical Sensitivity is almost endless - varies from one patient to the next. Also worthy of mention here is the fact that there is no sharp demarcation between the symptoms of MCS and those of ME/CFS/CFIDS/PVFS (myalgic encephalomyelitis - chronic fatigue), but that most sufferers of MCS complain of at least several of the following:

• burning, stinging eyes
• wheezing, breathlessness nausea
• extreme fatigue/lethargy
• headache/migraine/vertigo/dizziness
• poor memory & concentration
• runny nose (rhinitis)
• sore throat, cough
• sinus problems
• skin rashes and/or itching skin
• sensitivity to light & noise
• sleeping problems
• digestive upset
• muscle & joint pain.

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Things that may help

As far as I know, there is no "cure" for MCS, but there are things you can do that may help live with the affliction

• get away from chemicals, perfumes, carpet, lotions, shampoos, etc with fragrances and other chemicals that can trigger MCS. I have found many of the Vanicream and Free and Clear products: shampoo, soap, lotion, etc. can help (I buy these from Amazon.com since I haven't been able to find them locally yet)
• buy an air purifier with activated charcoal (I have six of these in my house). They are expensive, but I've found the Austin HealthMate Plus is the most economical.
• increase your sleep
• decrease your stress
• eat better (currently I am seeing a dietitian. I am on a glutton free, dairy free (mostly) diet that I eat more veggies, less crap - no more Pappa John's Pizza for me :-(
• some people have said they have success taking nutritional supplements (which I do take some with the diet stated above), learning biofeedback (which I may try soon) and by doing comprehensive charcoal therapy (which I may also try)
• You may find that everyone has a "cure" from taking huge amounts of medication to having your blood filtered for heavy metals. I do not know of any personal successes in any of these area (obviously, I am not cured), but I have done a great deal of research on this either (I find it too depressing because the best "success" stories are the ones who are about in my same condition and the other stories are horribly depressing)

You will find that MCS is often viewed with scientism. People won't believe you can be triggered by such small amounts of chemicals (and the wide range of triggers). "But I can't smell anything?" will be a typical response. Wow, do they say the same thing with people with nut allergies? "But I can eat one little nut and I'm okay?" Some people will think you're faking it. There isn't one "test" that can prove you've got MCS and by western medical standards, that means it doesn't exist. Even if the people who care about you understand, if you've got MCS, you are in for the fight of your life.

I will keep you informed as I learn more and please let me know if you have anything to add that may be useful for people with MCS.

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