Category — 01 - Basic Principles
Many people often ask me whether natural healing approaches including diet, supplements, etc. can help with their symptoms. Sometimes it’s just one symptom, and other times it’s a laundry list, but it may include acid reflux, irritable bowel, eczema, migraines, arthritis, fatigue, frequent colds, PMS, high blood pressure, sinusitis, anxiety, depression, hair loss, etc., etc…
So in order to begin with a rational approach, rather than to just throw whatever tools we have at the symptom, hit-or-miss, we need to understand what a symptom is and what’s required in each case.
A symptom or condition is simply the outer effect of some deeper cause, not the cause itself. And that causative level needs to be understood in terms of our life force. The life force actually has two aspects, rather like the relationship between yin and yang.
One aspect of the life force is quantitative and involves processes that need to be balanced, in certain amounts. This is where you need to fill a deficiency or remove an excess of something, and this is the realm of what we call Therapeutic Regimen, or dynamic regimen. It includes diet, nutrition, detoxification, water intake, sleep, and other lifestyle issues that impact health.
For some people, this first category—regimen—is all they need. They may simply have some imbalances that need to be corrected, and the appropriate, individualized regimen accomplishes that.
If a person has no problematic symptoms, they still need proper regimen to maintain their health. And when the body is stressed with with symptoms, we obviously need proper diet, nutrition, water, sleep, etc. So, individualized regimen is always the first step for everyone.
Dynamic regimen provides the foundation that you need for maintaining or restoring your health.
The other aspect of the life force is qualitative. This is the realm of true disease (and we use the term in a very specific way, not as conventional medicine does). When there is a disturbance in this area, it could involve emotional disturbances, shocks and traumas, infectious diseases, drug effects, and inherited predispositions to disease.
So, symptoms could be stemming from imbalances, or diseases, or both. Now it becomes clearer that to simply target the symptom and try to suppress it is not going to resolve the real problem.
Once the appropriate regimen is underway, some people need to go on for further treatment to remove deeper disease disturbances. Then I refer people for treatment with the Heilkunst system of medicine (which includes homeopathy but is much more comprehensive).
The causes may be very different for each person with the same type of symptom. For example, for one person with fatigue symptoms, regimen may be all they need to come back to balance. For another person, regimen is the foundation but they also need treatment to remove various deeper disturbances that are contributing to it.
Let’s take an example of a skin rash. For one person, the rash could be related to a food allergy; for another person it’s emotional issues; and for another person it could have been triggered by a vaccination or other trauma. Each case could have several causative factors, and each would need to be treated differently.
But the nutrition/regimen has to be there, in any case, to correct imbalances and support the healing process, fill deficiencies, balance the metabolism, help with detoxification and rebuilding new tissue, etc.
I can’t guarantee that nutrition and regimen will be the whole solution for a chronic health problem. But there can’t be a whole solution without it.
January 14, 2010 No Comments
If you had acne and treated it with drugs to suppress it, and now your acne is “cured” but you have allergies that you didn’t have before - did you really cure the acne?
Most people think yes, you’ve solved the skin problem and now you have a different problem to take to the allergy specialist. This is the fallacy of conventional specialization, and the false belief perpetuated by the medical/pharma system that symptoms are always “bad” and need to be suppressed.
In reality, the acne is an inflammatory process that the body produces to try to get rid of some kind of toxin, whether from outside or a toxin produced by the body itself. For some reason, it couldn’t be eliminated at the level of normal excretion (sweating, urination, mucus, etc.). So it had to bring in the heating quality of inflammation to do the job by “burning it up.”
Here’s a very important concept:
When you suppress that natural detoxification process by suppressing symptoms, you’re pushing toxins more deeply into the system. Now the body is forced to find a different avenue to express the toxins, so different symptoms now crop up. And now more vital organs may be involved, and the disease is more difficult to treat. This is the direction that ends in tissue degeneration.
We need to know how to recognize the direction a symptom or condition is going in, and recognize that a symptom even if very uncomfortable, might represent a healing process that should be supported, not suppressed.
The Table of Homotoxicology, conceived by a homeopathic medical doctor named Dr. Reckeweg, is a wonderful visual aid and model for understanding the difference between a disease process and a healing process, so that when you have symptoms you can see the larger context of what they really mean.
This is a chart that shows the various phases the body uses to try to get rid of these toxins, and the various conditions that can appear at each phase. The idea is that we want to get the condition to move in the healing direction, to push the toxins out of the system.
But commonly, drugs such as antibiotics and anti-inflammatories, even some herbal medicines, are used to make symptoms go away. And they’re pretty good at that, but we’ll see how they actually can suppress the healing process and lead to a progression of the disease process.
In this article I’ll give you a little introduction to how to use the table of Homotoxicology to understand the direction of symptoms - whether they’re moving toward deeper disease or are going in a healing direction.
Let’s take the example of allergies and acne one step further. You have chronic allergies, which means that your body isn’t easily throwing off toxins, and they’re on their way to beginning to cause cellular damage. But you’re treating that properly without suppressing it, and your allergy symptoms are improving, although now you have a bad case of acne.
What does the acne really mean, besides just being a new symptom that you’re tempted to suppress or make it go away however you can?
Now that you have the acne, that’s a very important indication! Acne is an inflammatory process, indicating that your body is trying to repair the damage of the chronic allergies. This inflammation, although it’s uncomfortable is actuallly a favorable response!
You see, we’re looking at the direction in which the process is proceeding. To go from acne to chronic allergies is an unfavorable direction - the disease process. But now with the acne inflammation, you’re proceeding in a healing direction toward proper elimination of toxins. The body is trying to move toxins outward so that they don’t progress to do damage on the cellular level.
What we need to do now is to support this healing process, and we can use nutrition, tissue salts, and various other regimenal methods.
If you were to use antibiotics for the acne, you might get some symptom relief, but you’d actually be suppressing this healing process, which would be like sabotage. It would be like anything else that gives you short-term gain but hurts you more in the longer run.
You would be driving the disturbance deeper into the system, and then it would be expressed later, most likely in a more serious condition. So we want to avoid that. You can be helped to feel better with remedies that don’t sabotage your long-term gain, while focusing the effort on what is going to maximize your healing.
Now let’s look at the example, on Dr Reckeweg’s Table of Homotoxicology. Don’t let the name intimidate you - it’s a wonderful model and very clear visual aid for understanding the difference between a disease process and a healing process.
To illustrate how it works, in the table look under the column titled Inflammation Phase, and you’ll see acne listed there. Now look over to the right, under the column for Impregnation Phase, you’ll see allergies.
What this means is that if someone has chronic allergies, it’s usually because they have gone through the phases on the left side of the chart, over to the right side of the chart which represents disease processes that are beginning to affect the cellular level.
The left-hand half of the chart shows functional disturbances that haven’t produced actual tissue damage. In the functional phases, the body is still fairly well able to throw off the toxins, as they haven’t penetrated very deeply yet. Some of the symptoms in the functional phases can be quite intense, as with pneumonia or meningitis. But as you move to the right of the chart, the conditions are becoming more degenerative, more embedded in the tissues.
So if a person had acne, and then later they’re developing chronic allergies, you can see that they are in a disease process, going from left to right on the table.
But if someone has allergies, and they’re being treated properly to remove the disease blockages, and now they’re developing acne, now they are going from right to left, reversing the disease process, moving in the direction of healing!
In this context, the appearance of acne is a good thing and should not be suppressed with antibiotics but treated properly and supported so that the person can move through the inflammation phase and back to the excretory phase to the left.
The healing process goes from right to left on the chart, although not all the in-between phases will manifest, and this is really just a rule of thumb to understand what direction the person is going in, when they had one problem and then another problem crops up.
The key to all this is that the symptom itself does not give you an understanding of what is happening and how to treat it. Depending on whether you’re going from right to left or left to right on the table, meningitis or pneumonia or acne (or other inflammatory condition) may be a healing process, and usually is!
Some inflammatory conditions can be serious and do need to be treated. Sometimes a bit of judicious symptom suppression is called for in the meantime, and professional judgment of a skilled naturopath or homeopath is called for.
I would not recommend that people self-treat for very intense or chronic conditions. But we need to understand the meaning of our own symptoms in order to participate consciously in our own healing.
The problem is getting stuck in the inflammatory phase, and then the person will often anxiously believe they need to suppress the inflammation in every case. What they really may need is to support it and treat it properly to get it moving so it resolves to the left on the chart, not to suppress it and drive it toward the right.
December 9, 2008 No Comments
The mantra “Studies show…” reveals a lot, although often not the conculsion being drawn! Here’s yet another example of irrationality that passes for science…
A study in Diabetes Care found that sleeping five hours or less, OR nine hours or more each night may increase your risk of developing diabetes. Sounds like if I just sleep the exact right amount, that I could lower my risk of diabetes, right?
Nope. Looking at the study, here’s what I found:
The study was done only on men, age 40-70. It claims to have controlled for confounding factors, but it also says that the effects of sleep on diabetes risk may be mediated by changes in testosterone. The men who slept 7 hours (which they conclude is ideal) were the younger ones with higher testosterone! What they’re seeing is a relationship between low testosterone and factors associated with diabetes such as insulin resistance and obesity. And there’s no evidence of any causal relationship, just a relationship.
Sometimes insulin resistance is a risk factor for diabetes, but there are actually times when we’re supposed to be in insulin resistance - in the summertime, to store fat for the winter. Insulin resistance itself, like blood pressure, doesn’t mean much outside of the whole living context of the person. But of course test result numbers are easier to work with!
This kind of analysis is interesting to me not only from the point of view of sorting out the medical issue at hand, but also for seeing the pattern in the way that these types of studies paint deceptive pictures. And that so much of what we accept as “common knowledge” about medicine and health is based on these deceptions.
November 19, 2008 2 Comments
The Gokhale Method (pronounced go-clay)
Often the most powerful changes we can make are the most simple. Esther Gokhale, a biochemist, acupuncturist and yoga teacher, studied the habits and posture of native and ancient people to discover how we can move with the same strength and pain-free ease.
Manual labor in traditional cultures, past and present, doesn’t result in the kinds of back problems that we have with our western, modern lifestyle. To me, this is a fascinating thought, and it makes so much sense to learn about what traditional people naturally do that’s actually very different from what we’re taught about posture.
Esther’s method focuses on the position of the pelvis, which she says should not be tucked under as we’re told. She observed ancient Greek statues, ancient Indian figures, native people, and modern young kids before they’ve started school – they all have less spinal curve than we see in modern adults, and the rear end really in the rear! Also, the cervical curve is relatively flat.
Alexander technique is another excellent method for improving posture, but that focuses on the upper body. Esther’s method focuses more on the position of the pelvis, as this is where we ground ourselves, and then it’s easier to adjust the upper body from there. She says that we can learn to adjust our posture in ways that elongate the spine and take pressure off the discs, bringing great relief for many kinds of back problems.
And her method doesn’t take years of training, but can be learned in her workshops or even from her book. I began feeling better already just from watching her 1-hour presentation on youtube.
Again – most of what we’re taught about posture is wrong, and what a refreshing experience to discover some very simple adjustments we can do ourselves that can make a difference!
Watch a wonderful 1-hr presentation given by Esther to Google employees.
October 31, 2008 1 Comment