Here's a really interesting article, if I do say so myself, I wrote this week on the topic of alternative health:
An Introduction to the Integrative Health Movement and the Body's Extraordinary Healing Powers
"The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, nor to worry about the future, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly."-Buddha
The body's healing powers are indeed extraordinary when we view our situations with new eyes. We need our inner child's eyes again and be able to see beauty in just one leaf of a tree. We can also work towards healing ourselves by listening in a new way. Now we hear a Bach piece as though for the very first time and it touches us at our core. We need to find new meaning in small things, to appreciate the ordinary, and to delight in our lives again if we are to use the body's miraculous innate powers to heal itself. The body, mind and soul are one and cannot work together towards healing unless they are united. As Buddha says in the above quote: We must learn to live wisely and earnestly. Then our quality of life will improve and so will follow our health.
Norman Cousins' healing experience in the Seventies is a good example of the mind's power over the body. The former editor of The Saturday Review revitalized the belief of the mind on the body in his book Anatomy Of An Illness (Norton, 1979). Cousins had been given a diagnosis of ankylosing spondylitis, a degenerative disease of the connective tissue. He experienced stiffness in his limbs and in nodules on his neck and hands. He suffered adverse reactions to most of the medications he was given.
Cousins finally decided enough was enough and decided to take his health into his own hands. Amazingly, he also won the cooperation of his doctor. He read a lot on the power of positive emotions and the value of vitamin C. He checked out of the hospital and into a hotel. He stopped all medications except for intravenous injections of vitamin C. Then he set out to literally laugh away his illness.
He read funny books. He watched hysterical movies. His visitors worked to tell him the best jokes going around. His symptoms gradually eased and finally he regained most of his freedom of movement. The biblical statement that "a merry heart doeth good like a medicine" proved the answer to his health problems.
Interestingly, he received some 3,000 letters from physicians praising his decision to pursue his own treatment and use his mind over matter healing ideas. More about this reaction that seems to discount Western medicine in a few moments.
The big news in medicine now is similar in that it is alternative to traditional methods and is based on the patient taking charge of his health. The patient is no longer expected to be the passive recipient of services from a doctor in the methods of this new medicine. Physicians in the new field of integrative medicine are assisting people in healing themselves by giving them the tools.
The philosophy behind this new approach to medicine is that people heal best when doctors address the ways biology, psychology, spirituality and lifestyle work together to affect their disease. Practitioners of integrative medicine, who take this new curriculum in some medical schools, work to combine the best proven conventional treatment with well-researched alternative treatments such as meditation, yoga, acupuncture, healing touch and herbal therapy. The results are not only less stress, depression, fatigue and pain for those battling major killers like cancer and heart disease, but significant remission rates.
Integrative-medicine physicians work with the patient not "on" him. A patient might be asked in a one-to-one session to tell the "story" of his years of pain. The physician works to understand the patient's life story. The doctor wants to know about his relationships, how the illness has affected his life, what dreams he has lost due to it and what can be done to regain those dreams.
The idea is that by improving the quality of life, the body takes heart and begins to heal itself. Patients who have been in severe chronic pain for years are finding themselves first lessening their pain medication doses and then discontinuing them entirely.
A new patient entering Texas's M.D. Anderson Cancer Center Place of Wellness would be quite surprised by his non-hospital-like surroundings. He might see a mauve and beige meditation room with mats on the floor for yoga classes. Across the hall he would see a full kitchen set up for instruction in preparing macrobiotic, vegetarian or other healthy ways of eating meals. He might find patients working out in the gym who previously could barely move due to cancer's invasion. Now they want to work off the weight they gained when they could barely move. In a room down the hall an acupuncturist is busy treating someone who is now off of pain medication and believes he owes it to acupuncture. A classroom is set up with samples of fresh herbs to teach herbal therapy. And so on.
None of this is considered weird by anyone here, nor do patient families who have seen e progress find it odd. The physicians themselves are a humble breed. They have come to accept that Western medicine doesn't have all the answers and there is no reason to expect that it would or should. They know that patients need to take an active role in their own healing and let the body's wisdom show them the way to oneness.
Perhaps surprising to some, this movement is being activated by the National Institutes of Health National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. This agency has funded more than 1,800 research studies at 260 institutions. And last October the journal Academic Medicine published the first list of guiding principles to help doctors and medical students navigate the new world of integrated care. Also, the newly formed Society for Integrative Oncology, an organization of cancer-related health professionals, recently released new scientific guidelines for research in the cancer field.
Andrew Weil, M.D., one of the nation's leading proponents of integrated care and the founder of one of the country's first integrative-medicine training programs, at the University of Arizona in Tucson, calls it, "The revolution in medicine called for years ago."
To find out about the full range of alternative therapies, search the database at the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine at the National Institutes of Health at www.nccam.nih.gov or call 888-644-6226.
My writing peers ranked that one first out of eleven entries. That felt good. I worked hard on that one. Here's another they liked (first out of twelve) about the mind/body connection and healing:
"The power to heal is in us. However we have to decide whether or not we want to use it. As we free ourselves from our limiting beliefs we can change our story and decide to take better care of ourselves." Nutritional Wellness website
A homeopathic physician in the 1850s stated a very simple law that explains the process of how the body heals itself. This law known as Herring's Law states that (1) the body heals itself from the head down, (2) from the inside out and (3) in reverse order of symptoms that has been suppressed for any reason.
Being healthy is a choice not a matter of genetics or luck. This article is geared to give help you choose health. First of all, are you presently experiencing a sense of well-being. Well-being is meant to be our natural state when we get out of the way, avoid toxins, and don't put junk in our lives. Here is how to tell if you have it. You:
* Feel energetic and vital * Feel cheerful, optimistic, enthusiastic and eager * Follow or live your dreams and passion * Feel kind and loving * Feel fulfilled and have peace of mind * Have good mental functioning * Maintain good personal boundaries * Feel cheerful, optimistic, enthusiastic and eager * Follow or live your dreams and passion * Feel kind and loving * Feel fulfilled and have peace of mind * Feel connected to people * Feel at peace with others * Feel your life is balanced *Healthy body weight
This isn't unrealistic. It's your birthright. There are no quick fixes to health, no pill you can take. The "whole person" approach to well-being requires you to look at every aspect of your life and how those aspects interact or affect each other.
If you want to let the mind and spirit do their work of balancing the body and making it and keeping it well, you need to assess:
1.Your thinkingIs is predominately negative or positive? 2.Laughter How often do you really laugh? 3.Feelings Do you drag around emotions like depression, loneliness, stress or grief? 4.Spiritual health Do you suffer from despair, hopelessness, lack of fulfillment or purpose? Do you have a strong spiritual life?
Negatives like the above-mentioned toxins are toxins you are keeping in your life which are preventing the body from healing itself. Health can be defined as a state of optimal physical, mental, spiritual and social well-being.
Your beautiful complex body was created by God with amazing abilities to heal itself on all levels. Of course, you do have to help it some. You can't sit back and light up another Marlboro and sip on another whiskey and wish for perfect health.
There are some basic good sense steps to healing:
The first step is to gather some knowledge. You need a foundation to gain some understanding of how the body heals itself. A lot of things about how the body heals and what it needs to do so you know intuitively. Pay attention to this knowledge. Make changes based on it. Read and learn more.
Relaxation is crucial to health for several reasons. Without it, our brains cannot communicate healing to our cells. When we rest, our bodies automatically start to clean and rebuild new tissue. It is only then that our brain and DNA go to work pulling all the nutrients from all over our body to help us heal and mend the cells that need help. We need rest and relaxation to recuperate from the stress and damage we have caused our bodies. The first sign of illness is restlessness, nervousness and the inability to research a deep level of sleep. Massage is a wonderful relaxer.
We need the basic step of exercising in the fresh air to get and stay well.
We need to develop and stay focused on having a positive attitude. Believe you will be healthy and you will be.
Start eating a more alkaline diet. An alkaline diet is a diet that emphasizes, to a varying degree, fresh fruit, vegetables, roots and tubers, nuts, and legumes.
Our hunter-gatherer ancestors consumed a diet very different from what's typical today. The diet was based on minimally processed plant and animal foods. When animals became domesticated and food began getting processed we started eating a very unhealthful diet.
And I saved one of the most important steps for last. It's detoxification. The body can better repair itself and build new tissue after it rids itself of stored toxins. Toxins can be thought of as any substances in our bodies that are causing harmful effects or putting stress on our biochemical or organ functions. Some we ingest unknowingly, while others we choose to put in our systems. Others come from pollution in the environment or from medications. People with high levels of toxicity may experience headaches, fatigue, insomnia, rashes, and unexplained body aches and pains.
Our bodies naturally eliminate toxins from the system. The liver cleanses debris from the blood. The kidneys also filter the system of toxins. Both must be functioning properly to do their jobs.
Here are a few ways you can start the detox process:
1.Squeeze a whole lemon in 16 ounces of water each morning to help detoxify your liver. 2.Take 1-2 teaspoons of organic apple cider vinegar in 16 ounces of water to help the kidneys detoxify. 3.Exercise until you sweat. This assists the lymphatic system rid itself of toxins and build up the immune system. 4. Take 25-35 grams of fiber daily to help the colon rid itself of toxins. Use both soluble fiber such as psyllium, legumes, oatmeal, skinless fruits and vegetables and insoluble fiber such as whole grains, seeds, and fruits and vegetables.
Healing doesn't start with a trip to the doctor's office. It begins with a thought. Think it now.
You know, dears, Ms. Refusenik worked in doctors' offices and hospitals for years. The stories I could tell. It's no wonder I don't have much use for Western Medicine. Going to the doctor strikes me as the beginning of the end. If you're so sick you have to go see a Western practitioner of medicine, you need a serious alternative healer. Now this brings me to sharing my third pretty good article on Traditional Chinese Medicine and how it is now used here in the U.S. (Also ranked as first by writing peers.)
Traditional Chinese Medicine and its Uses by MsRefusenik
Here's a traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) principle we sure could use in the West: Historically, Chinese doctors were paid for their services when their patients were healthy. This gave preventative medicine precedence over any other practice. Rather than gauging success on eliminating symptoms as they occurred, successful treatment was measured by the patient's continued lack of disease. When the physician had proved his expertise by keeping his patient harmonious with nature, then and only then was he viewed as competent.
TCM originated approximately 4,000 years ago in far east Asia. This area included what are now China, Korea, Japan, Tibet and Vietnam. TCM is, therefore, sometimes also referred to as Oriental Medicine.
TCM takes a deep understanding of the laws of nature and applies them to the human body. It is believed that the root cause of the illness, not the symptoms, must be treated. It is holistic in its approach. It views every aspect of the person-body, mind, spirit and emotions-as part of one complete circle.
In the present time, TCM Medicine serves almost two billion people in far east Asia, the former Soviet Union and Europe. In the U.S. 38 states have scope of practice for National Commission for the Certification of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) or equivalent level practitioners. There are approximately 10,000 NCCA national board certified acupuncturists in this country. There are 14,000 board certified practitioners of TCM in the U.S. alone.
The roots of TCM are considered by most to be in Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism. Buddhism, of course, is a religion. Confucianism is a social and political philosophy. Taoism is both a religion and a philosophy.
There are five fundamental principles and applications regarding health and healing. Here are the primary engines of Traditional Chinese Medicine:
*THERE ARE NATURAL LAWS THAT GOVERN THE UNIVERSE You are part of the universe and therefore exist according to and subject to those laws.
*THE NATURAL ORDER OF THE UNIVERSE IS HARMONIOUS AND ORGANIZED. If you live according to its laws you will be harmonious.
*THE UNIVERSE IS DYNAMIC; CHANGE IS A CONSTANT. Lack of change is contrary to the universe and therefore causes illness.
*ALL LIFE IS INTERCONNECTED. Always use a systems approach.
*HUMANS ARE A PART OF THE UNIVERSE, NOT OUTSIDE OF IT. WE ARE INTIMATELY CONNECTED TO THE ENVIRONMENT AND THUS THE UNIVERSE. Your health is affected by your environment.
TCM, unlike medicine in the West, is not a way of dealing with illness and disease. Instead it focuses on achieving health and well-being through the cultivation of harmony within our lives.
TCM is based on the Chinese concept of "Qi" (pronounced "chee"), usually translated as "vital energy". It is also based on the theory of yin and yang, the harmony of opposite elements and forces that make up existence.
Here are some of the TCM treatment modalities most commonly used in the U.S. by practitioners of TCM:
*Acupuncture *Moxibustion *Dermal Friction (called "gua sha") *Cupping *Therapeutic Massage (called "tui na) *Dietary Therapies *Herbal Therapies *Meditation and Quiet Mind Cultivation (Qi Gong)
Acupuncture, we all know, is the insertion of fine needles through the skin at specific points in the body with the idea of manipulating Qi. Qi can thus better flow through the body.
Acupuncture is used to treat: *pain *injury *trauma *repetitive strain conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome *headache *rheumatoid and osteoarthritis *back pain and sciatica *fibromyalgia *dysmenorrhea and other gynecological conditions *asthma *post-operative and chemotherapy nausea *stroke rehabilitation *patients undergoing recovery from addiction and substance abuse
Acupuncture made news last week at the Olympics. When Canadian gymnastics coach Tony Smith arrived in the Olympic village for the festivities, his primary concern was the medal potential for his students.
Coach Smith was a long time sufferer of low back pain and had learned to just try to accept the pain after so many various treatments failed to make a difference. He was treated at the clinic in the Olympic village. He was absolutely amazed that after just one acupuncture treatment his lower back pain simply vanished.
Moxibustion is a form of heat therapy in which dried plant materials called "moxa" are burned on or very near the surface of the skin. The intention is to warm and invigorate the flow of Qi in the body and dispel certain pathogenic influences.
Dermal friction (called "gua sha") is a method of practice that involves increasing circulation at the surface of the skin by means of "scraping" the skin vigorously with a blunt -edged object.
Cupping applies suction to the surface of the body to draw out pathogenic factors or to invigorate the flow of Qi at the surface of the body.
Therapeutic massage ("tui na") refers to a wide range of TCM therapeutic massage and body work. It is meant to address patterns of disharmony. It is often used for the same reasons and according to the same principles as acupuncture.
Dietary therapies - Dietary considerations have always been of great importance in TCM. Sun Si Miao, the great Tang dynasty physician, advised doctors to first tend to their patients' diet and lifestyle before intervening in other manners.
Herbal therapies - Next to dietary therapy, herbal therapy is the most widely used TCM treatment modality. TCM uses herbal therapies in the treatment of illness as well as the optimization of health and prevention of disease.
Perhaps you think as you read this that you will never know the benefits of treatment with TCM. You might be surprised to find yourself offered treatment with it when you are next in the hospital. More and more U.S. hospitals are now using integrative or complementary medicine which includes TCM. Some of the world class hospitals using it are Stanford, UCLA, Duke, Sloan-Kettering and the Mayo Clinic. Physicians are taking integrative medicine curricula in medical school now, acknowledging, finally, that Western medicine does not have all the answers.
I enjoyed sharing some of my writing with you. I hope you learned a couple of things you found engaging. Why not look into writing for Helium.com, why don't you? Please use my invitation form so I get a little commission, you know what I'm saying
Time to get back to work. It's great being the boss. I want to write 2,650 words about the history of coffee. Okay, I really don't want to all that much. It's a little boring. I never did care much for history. But it pays $216. The publisher wants it to read like a documentary, no kidding. If you're interested in posted in Helium's Marketplace at:The History of Coffee