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ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: FENGSHUI

The Eastern philosophies, but particularly the Chinese and Japanese, believe strongly that the universe is connected through immeasurable energy. This Qi emanates from all living organisms and permeates all matter. The forces of the universe, the movement of water, light, wind and everything else in the natural world – all these things have an energy…

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ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: ENZYME-POTENTIATED DESENSITIZATION

Those doctors who practise enzyme-potentiated desensitization would probably be surprised at my putting this treatment into a section on alternative therapies. I do so simply because at the time of writing this is not a well-established therapy, even though the first treatments were carried out at St Mary’s Hospital Allergy Clinic in Oxford, UK, in…

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ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: DANCE THERAPY

We are all aware of how body movements can relate concepts and express feelings. When trying to communicate with a speaker of another language, for example, sign language and gestures are invaluable. Eastern cultures, especially the Indian and Balinese cultures, integrate movement and dance very much more than the West into their lifestyle. Most tribal…

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ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: CRYSTAL AND GEM THERAPY

The ancient belief that certain stones and crystals have healing properties has been held by many cultures. For example, the American Indians were given special stones at birth which were thought to have particular powers. We now know that all objects have a vibrational action: the electrons in the most ‘dead’ of substances are vibrating…

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ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: COLONIC IRRIGATION AND ENEMAS

Colonic irrigation, also known as colonic hydrotherapy, is becoming an increasingly popular technique for clearing out the bowel. Water is passed through a tube into the bowel via the rectum, and used to flush out the bowel contents. Most people report feeling distinctly refreshed and more energetic after having the procedure. The principle is that…

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ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: CLINICAL ECOLOGY

Clinical ecology, also called environmental medicine, developed from research into allergies in the early 20th century. I believe that it was Hippocrates in the 5th century BC who suggested ‘let food be your medicine and medicine be your food’. Most practitioners of holistic medicine would agree that the bulk of our ill-health stems from that…

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ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: CHINESE AND ORIENTAL MEDICINE

The ancient traditions of Eastern medicine have developed over many centuries. While there are differences between them in terms of methods of diagnosis and treatment, they all have the same basic philosophy. This has its foundation in a belief that the body is controlled by energy, and not by anatomy or physiology as it is…

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ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: CHELATION THERAPY

Chelation is the bonding together of a toxin, usually a metal, into another molecule. Nature has many compounds that chelate, but chelation therapy uses a chemical called ethylene-diamine-tetra-acetic acid . This is used to remove heavy metals and toxins from the bloodstream. This compound, given by intravenous drip, is used in the orthodox world to…

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ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: BIOFEEDBACK

Biofeedback is a method of monitoring minute changes in bodily functioning by means of various small electronic machines. The machines are attached to an individual via electrodes and may be used to measure heart rate, brain-wave patterns, body temperature or respiratory rate. This information – about the autonomic nervous system -shows the level of relaxation…

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ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: BEHAVIOURAL THERAPY

This is one of the four main branches of psychotherapy . Sometimes known as stimulus/response psychology, the behavioural approach is based on ‘learning theory’ which grew out of research with animals. Basing his work on Pavlov’s earlier studies of conditioned reflexes in dogs, the American psychologist B F Skinner made further studies of animal behaviour…

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ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: BATES METHOD FOR EYES

The Bates method of eyesight training, named after Dr W H Bates, an eye specialist of New York, is a natural way of improving and maintaining eyesight using particular exercises to relearn proper habits of vision. Dr Bates published his bestseller, Better Eyesight without Glasses, detailing these exercises, in 1919. He argued that perfect vision…

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ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: BACH FLOWER REMEDIES

These are herbal remedies derived from flowers. They promote healing by reducing negative states of mind, seen as the cause of disease, and increasing positive emotions. Physical problems are thought to derive from a mind/body energy imbalance that nature can correct through its effects on plants when they are taken in the right combination. The…

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ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: AYURVEDA

Ayurveda is a word derived from one of the oldest known languages, Sanskrit, and means the ‘knowledge of daily living’. There is mention of Ayurveda in the Vedas, the world’s oldest literature, which suggests that this healing system has been practised for over 5,000 years. Ayurveda considers human beings to be part of the ‘whole’,…

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ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: AUTOGENIC TRAINING

The word ‘autogenic’ is derived from the Greek for ‘coming from within’ and is principally a self-relaxation/hypnosis technique. Devised in Berlin by Dr J Schultz in the 1920s, the training consists of learning a set of six simple exercises designed to induce deep relaxation and thereby promote self-healing. The exercises include the repetition of certain…

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ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: ANTHROPOSOPHICAL MEDICINE

Anthroposophy, derived from the Greek words meaning man and wisdom, is the spiritual and mystical teachings of the Austrian philosopher and scientist Dr Rudolf Steiner . His ideas have been particularly influential in education, but they also inspired a new approach to healing. Anthroposophical medicine is practised mainly in continental Europe, although there are doctors…

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ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: ACUPUNCTURE

Acupuncture is one aspect of Chinese and Tibetan medicine. Using acupuncture outside of the full discipline of these medical philosophies can be likened to using physiotherapy and no other treatment when dealing with orthodox medicine. Acupuncture is thought to have originated from the observations by Chinese physicians of their warriors who had been stabbed, speared…

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ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: PANCREATIC EXOCRINE TESTS

See Gastrograms and pancreaticograms It is of immense benefit for a complementary medical practitioner to know the individual patient’s ability to digest foods. Many conditions may be associated with deficiencies that may be due to a lack of digestive capability rather than insufficient ingestion of a particular compound that is deficient. The orthodox world pays…

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HAIR ANALYSIS

A tablespoon amount of hair may be used for two investigations. Mineral and toxic metal analysis Hair analysis for mineral deficiency or excess has a well-established scientific background but it is poorly used in orthodox medicine because of the marked underestimation of mineral deficiency, or toxic excess, as a cause of illness or disease. Samples…

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GUT PERMEABILITY TEST

This investigation is being pioneered at a laboratory in London. Brilliant in its simplicity, it is a test to assess the permeability of the intestine and is particularly important in establishing leaky gut syndrome , which may be responsible for food allergy that can lead to so many disorders. A patient passes the first morning…

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GLUCOSE TOLERANCE TEST

This test is generally used to show a tendency towards diabetes. The holistic practitioner can also use the GTT to confirm a hypoglycaemic state . An individual is given a 75-ml loading dose of a glucose solution after having fasted for at least 6 hours. Blood samples are taken every 30 minutes for 2.5-5 hours…

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GASTROGRAMS AND PANCREATICOGRAMS

A gastrogram is a measurement of the amount of hydrochloric acid produced by the stomach and a pancreaticogram measures pancreatic enzyme release. At the moment the assessment of this is an invasive procedure requiring samplings from the stomach. However, a non-invasive method is being developed that involves nothing more than drinking a particular solution which…

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ALLERGY TESTING

Orthodox medicine uses the skin to reflect the possibility of allergies more so than it does the use of blood tests. These prick or scratch tests seem to be sensitive to allergens found in the air but are generally less sensitive than blood tests for food allergy. It is important to distinguish between an intolerance…

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ALTERNATIVE

DIAGNOSTIC INVESTIGATIONS If Madame Curie had listened to the derision piled upon her we would not have X-rays. Her experimentation carried the price of her life because she died from the effects of radiation. She is the most well-known example of scientists who have come up with ideas in medicine that have been doubted, ridiculed…

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ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: ORTHODOX MEDICAL TECHNOLOGY Blood pressure measurement

Blood pressure is measured using a sphygmomanometer. An inflatable ‘cuff’ is placed around the upper arm and air pumped into it until a level of 250mm/Hg is reached, as seen on the dial. This pressure occludes the underlying arteries. The practitioner places the end of the stethoscope over the front of the elbow and listens….

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ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: SPECIMENS AND SAMPLES Urine samples

Urine is the filtration product of the blood, which, in turn, picks up toxins from around the system. Measurement of the toxicity and contents of urine gives a clear indication of the state of the body. In days gone by, simple examination by visual assessment, microscopy, measurement of density and even taste were of great…

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ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: Chinese and Ayurvedic Pulses

In Ayurvedic medicine, the balance of our doshas determines our constitutions. Vata relates to the nervous system and the body’s energy, pitta to digestion, acid and bile, and kapha to mucous, moisture, fat and lymph. A close parallel between the Chinese and Ayurvedic systems is clear. Ayurvedic, Tibetan and Chinese philosophy believes that different systems…

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HEALTH ASPECTS OF WATER

The importance of water is discussed in the section on dehydration . The quality of the water that we take in is of extreme importance to our health. It is very rare that natural sources of water are available and most Western societies are now drinking water that may have been recycled up to seven…

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HEALTH ASPECTS OF VITAMINS

VITAMINS – Dosage and Toxicity Vitamin Maximum permissible dosage Toxic signs and symptoms Vitamin A Infants 10,000iu Appetite loss, headache, Adults 50,000iu blurred vision, unusual bleeding, dry cracked skin, loss of hair, muscular stiffness and pain Vitamin B group See individual compounds below Niacin 100mg Flushing, headaches, cramps, nausea, vomiting and burning or itching skin…

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HEALTH ASPECTS OF SPICY FOODS

Like all food groups, spicy foods have their place. They are generally eaten in hot climates where they raise the body temperature, making the external heat comparatively less intense. Those in cooler climates who enjoy spicy foods should eat them only in moderation and preferably with a cooling food to compensate. Excess heat in the…

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HEALTH ASPECTS OF SUGAR

Sugar is a carbohydrate . In its natural form it is enjoyable to taste and a swift and excellent source of energy. Sugar, whether in the form of glucose or fructose , or a variety of combinations, is usually found in nature in association with a variety of other nutrients and is bound up with…

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HEALTH ASPECTS OF SOYA

There is a lot written and discussed concerning soya, the bean originally grown in the East. Commonly found in its natural form, soya sauce, torn and soya milk, it contains protease inhibitors and isoflavins and other chemicals, all or any of which may act as an anticancer and anti-atheroma compound. Soya has been the main…

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HEALTH ASPECTS OF SALT

Salt is made up of two elements: sodium and chlorine. It is the sodium component that is particularly relevant because this small molecule controls a multitude of biochemical processes but principally maintains the bloodstream and tissue-fluid integrity. Dehydration of the body, blood pressure and permeability of nearly every cell in the body is dependent on…