Homeopathy Hits a Homer

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If you haven’t heard by now, here’s an incredible article on the efficacy of homeopathy, via Dana Ullman, writing for Huffington Post.

Recently, the Swiss government (not any pressure group, think tank or pharmaceutical company–the actual government of the country of Switzerland) released a report on homeopathy and related CAM treatments.  Their findings are astounding, in that they give evidence, once and for all, of the efficacy of homeopathic treatments.  Further, the report notes that half the population of Switzerland uses or has used CAM treatments, specifically homeopathic medicines, and that a full eighty-five percent of the population of that nation believes that CAM treatments should be covered by the national health care plan.

Such a difference from the folks in the UK, who have allowed themselves to be deceived by a small group of very vocal “skeptics,” whose role it is to drive homeopaths and homeopathic medicine into the icy waters of the North Atlantic.  Perhaps if the British government could see it way clear to conduct its own exhaustive research into the matter they, like the Swiss, would conclude that homeopathic medicine and other CAM treatments not only should be part of the national health care, but also are actually more effective, cheaper and safer than their allopathic alternatives.

I live for the day when allopathy is considered the “alternative” to mainstream homeopathy.  And I won’t shut my big mouth until that happens.

Read Dana’s article about the Swiss government’s findings here.  And help spread the word by cut and pasting this link all over the internet.

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Starting Over from Scratch

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For me, it all started with numbers. I disliked all the numbers associated with me. My age. My blood pressure. My blood sugar. The waist size on my pants. My shoe size. All of them described someone older than I, sicker than I, more restricted by life than I. Over time, it came to seem as if gravity were pushing me down more than others.

So I decided to make a change.

I have been doing juice fasts every year for years now. Always in the high heat of August, when it feels so good to drink down the cool juice and then to sit outdoors, catching what breezes I can.

Sometimes the fasts are as brief as three days, just enough for a little detox and a little rest. Other times they can last a full thirty days, a period of time in which I can reassess, decide what aspects of life are working for me and which ones are not. It is a time to reassess work, relationships, and, most important, lifestyle choices—food, locale, etc.

Last August, I had set out to do a full thirty days. And I was nearly there. On day twenty-eight, Hurricane Irene swept up the East coast and walloped the state of Connecticut. We were without power for days. And, with no power, I had no juicer. Our excellent health food store, New Morning, was closed. Everything was closed. Trees were down everywhere, roads were flooded. Radio stations disappeared. The batteries on our old radio failed and stores were closed. So we went without.

In short, that fast ended abruptly.

One day I was juicing carrots, zucchini and cucumber. The next I was baling out the basement.

And after that we ate what food we had. Canned things. Bottled things. Crackers with peanut butter. Not the usual ending of the fast. I had intended to move onto raw foods for a time to continue losing weight and cleansing my body. But Irene changed my mind. Within two weeks it was as if the fast had never happened.

So, I’m on to the next fast now. To change those numbers. And I pray this time for a soft landing.

It was a funny thing that motivated me this time. It was a picture that I saw on Facebook. It has been all over the Internet by now, I’m sure, but I’ll post it here:

This bloated possum serves as the "Before" image for my juice fast

It’s a possum you broke into a bakery in Australia. You can see from the hole in the back of the box that he was a good bit smaller when he chewed his way into the box then he was when he finished eating. Image what the little guy must have thought when he got into that box. I’m sure he smelled the pastry, and so he had a clue as to what was ahead. But to find so many! And so many flavors! He apparently ate all night until he not only was too swollen to get back out of the box, but even to move.

Take a close look at the picture. His expression tells the whole story.

So I saw this picture and, at first, laughed. It is funny. (I just hope that the people who had the sense of humor to take the picture also had the sense of humor to let the poor thing go.) But then I began to identify with the animal. I realized that I look like that too many nights after too many dinners. That could be me on the couch instead of the possum in the box. And, like the possum, my own discomfort, my own bad numbers (aside from age) were those that I earned from my own bad choices.

So I have decided to make a good choice for a change and to decide to go on a juice fast as a means of starting from scratch. If you’ve never experienced a juice fast, it is an amazing thing. A time of detox, which can be quite difficult, followed by a time of rest and reflection that can yield powerful results if you let it. And then, at the end, there is a time of joy, as your being feels charged with energy and healed from within. It it, as I say both a difficult thing that requires determination and a wonderful, powerful tool for healing.

Last summer, I mentioned my juice fast in passing here at Psora Psora Psora, as a bit of an amuse bouche. This time, as the stakes are higher, I intend to write in more detail, giving notes on how to do a juice fast safely and effectively. Even with a nod to giving some recipes for specific juices. (Hint: lots of carrots are involved.)

There’s nothing that I can think of in life, short of joining the witness protection program, that can give you a fresh start like a juice fast. I hope that, as you read these entries, you come to agree.

Homeopathy, Allopathy, Skeptics & That Amazing Old Randi–All’s Fair in Love & War & ‘Homeophobia’?

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So just a couple of days ago, I was reading a post in the blog of a British homeopath and discovered that the Amazing Randi is a gay man.  And that he had the courage to announce himself as such at age 81.  Now Randi and I have never seen anything eye to eye in the past.  I have found his attacks on homeopathy to be rather vile at times, as he does not always satisfy himself with a debate over ideas, and does, from time to time, get a little irritable, and, in his irritability, tends to deride those of us who uphold the principles of homeopathy, both in philosophy and action.

But upon reading the screed against Randi and his, to use the blogger’s vernacular, “lifestyle,” I couldn’t help but wonder what that has to do with homeopathy, allopathy or the ongoing debate between the two for the hearts and minds of patients everywhere?

Let me go on record again as stating that Randi and his minions have attacked me here in the past, I’ve received death threats from some and just some rather juicy rude comments from others (I guess that Randi’s recent disclosure will remove some of the juiciest rude remarks from the vocabulary of his Flying Monkeys–time will tell.), and that I in no way support anything that the Skeptics do other than simply talk, as I believe in the right of free speech for all.  They are free to disagree with me as often and as loudly as they might.  They may not, however, attempt to in any way stop me from using homeopathy, from making the decisions that I am free to make in terms of medical treatment or to try and shout down, Tea Party style, any homeopathic lectures, meetings or study groups.  You get the idea:  debate when appropriate, but respect the fact that those who disagree with you have an equal right to believe as they will and to state their opinions freely.

Randi, Amazing, The

Before continuing, I want to post a link to a site on which you can hear Randi speak about his sexuality and his process of coming out.  I think that it is important to share this link, as I find his words to be thoughtful and well-presented.  (Here’s the link.)  I want to congratulate Randi for having the courage to come out, even at age 81.  It takes guts for any public person of any stripe to announce himself or herself to be openly homosexual, and so I want to state on the record that I am in full support of the man personally and that I hope he finds much caring support when it comes to his honesty about his sexuality.

But now I need to switch gears.  Again, Randi has been a vocal opponent of homeopathy many years.  In that time, he has made fun of, called names concerning and offered money to vex anyone and everyone in the homeopathic community.  I have never understood his hatred of homeopathy.  I have read again and again that he consider it quackery.  I get that, but that does not usually lead to such an emotionally explosive response.  I’ve always rather suspected that Randi saw homeopathy as an odd enough and a politically weak enough branch of medicine that he rather cynically latched onto it as a means of making a name for himself, as he thought that we would be able to drive homeopathy and all homeopaths into the sea rather easily.  This has not proven the case, however, no matter how many Flying Monkeys Randi launched.

But now, for a homeopath of some note, John Benneth, to sink to Randi and the Monkeys’ level and lower, to issue a rant of pure homophobic bigotry, well, this is the sort of thing that I have never been willing or able to keep silent about.  Most of the time, I read the posts in internet homeopathic groups, nod or shake my head, and just read on.  But, upon reading this screed, I knew I had to say something.  And that something is:  a man’s life and his sexuality is his own business, no matter his political goals, no matter his fame or lack of same.  To take the fact that the man is an acknowledge gay man and to try and warp that into anything other than a simple fact of life is not only inappropriate, it is despicable as well.

If you haven’t read the post, dated October 22, on Benneth’s blog, creatively named “The John Benneth Journal,”  well, here’s that link.  It’s important that you visit his blog and that you read and understand what he is trying to do with his post and with his comments that follow.  In a post entitled “Homeopathy Hater’s Lover Exposed,’ Benneth uses NY Post and Fox News techniques in order to prey upon the lack of understanding that many feel concerning homosexuality in order to paint Randi as “other,” as a lesser thing than a human being.  Further he alludes to the possibility that Randi may or may not have had charges of sexual abuse of a minor thrown at him in the past.  I hope not.  There are few things that I abhor more than any adult who would destroy the life of a child through the use of rape.  But Benneth has no proof to offer, only the whiff of guilt, which he mixes with his own bigoted notion that all gay men are rapist of children to try and get his readers to agree.  This sort of use of fear and anger combined with ignorance has given rise to political action in the past, but I hope it will fall on deaf ears now.  Indeed, I hope that Benneth will hear loud and clear from his readership that his methods and the content of his attack are both outrageous.  He needs to remove the offending posts and to stay far away from crossing this line again in the future.
What makes Benneth’s personal and base attack all the more outrageous is that Benneth is himself a homeopath, a healer.  And yet, in this case, with this argument, he has taken the low road.  I posted a comment on his blog which lead him to immediately attack me in very much the same way.

It saddens me a great deal to see such a bitter and vile underside of the global homeopathic community.  I have heard from another practitioner that not only is homosexuality a form of mental illness, but that the sad and desperate little homosexuals (to use that practitioners jargon) can be saved through the use of homeopathic remedies.  In that the homosexuals I know are neither sad, nor to be pitied, I can only say that this practitioner and others who would, like Benneth agree with him, are apparently not content to merely study Hahnemann’s homeopathy, but have apparently found a way of traveling back in time to live with Hahnemann back in the 1850s, so woefully antiquated are their arguments.

My experience of homeopathy and homeopaths has always been that they have taken the high road, seen themselves as healers and lived that role, by elevating the thoughts of those with whom they come in contact, even those who disagree with them.  To learn of their new idea that debate itself should be a “like for like’ thing and that the homeopaths, therefore, should stoop to the same shabby comments at their opponents truly upsets me and makes me question the health of the homeopathic community itself.

P.S.  I must admit that I almost, in opening this piece, commented that at least now we know why Randi spells his name with an “i,”  but that would be wrong, wouldn’t it?  Totally wrong.

More Juice

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As a write this, the weather here in Connecticut has changed.  When I went into my juice fast, all was humid, hot and hazy.  Now, as is common for the end of August, the sun is hot but the breeze has cooled.  The nights are cool as well, and so the tops of the trees are beginning to color.  The little weeping cherry in our front garden is always on the forefront of the move from summer to autumn, and many of the leaves that trail down its ropey branches are already tinged with gold.

This leaves me, as it has other years, chilled to the bone.  Nothing in the body of anyone on a juice fast can withstand anything like the cold that is to come.  That is the reason why these fasts are done during high heat.  That and the abundance of fruits and vegetables of all sorts.

And so my fast winds down as does the summer.  The sun has shifted on the horizon, making the shadows already a big longer and the light already a bit deeper, not yet the pure gold of October, but not the July’s hot spotlight in the sky.

And so what has happened to me in this fast?  Well, certainly I have lost weight.  Certainly my skin is clearer, my eyes brighter, my cheekbones a bit more pronounced. The chin, that was more or less disappearing into my neck now protrudes into the world as it should.  And I certainly have detoxed.  My fingernails are perfectly pink, without mark or mar, as are my gums.  Most important, in the days since the exhaustion that is, for me, the second phase of the fast (detox being the first), the usual sense of peace has entered in.  While fasting, I feel that I am more connected with the earth beneath my feet, with the light, the heat (or lack thereof), the seasons.  I feel that I am also more connected with myself and with the body that I all too often take for granted.  And so there is at the end of the experience a sense of purpose, as sense of calm and a sense of accomplishment.

I had intended to give information, to tell what juices I use and how I blend them.  And how juices can become an important part of your diet, even if you don’t fast.  Even if you just add them in with what you are eating already.

But that will wait for another day.  There’s time enough for that when I get to it…

In the meantime, here’s a Wikipedia article that gives some basic information on juice fasts.

Juicy

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Because it has been a habit of mine for a long time now, I no longer think that it is strange.  But when I stop and think about it, or when I put it this particular way, I can’t help but find just how odd my habit is.  You see, I have a habit of not eating for one month out of every year.

Or to put it better, I have a habit of not chewing for one month out of every year.  I eat plenty, in fact I pack my system with nutrients, but I do not chew them.

 

Every August, I go on a juice fast.  I started it some years back when I was feeling what I can only say was “extremely middle-aged.”  I felt fat, tired, rather listless and, worst of all, trapped.  Trapped in my own body and trapped in a cycle of thoughts and actions that I knew were not the healthiest, the best they could be.

So I sought out a reset button.  I went to my naturopath before beginning my juice fast, and she mentored me through it.  Not only did she stand by and add rice protein powder when it was needed, but she encouraged me through it and educated me as to what I could expect from the juice fast.

And, if you are ever to undertake one, you need to know what to expect.

You need to know that the first stage of the fast, the detox stage, is a doozy.  Your tongue is coated white, your breath smells.  You feel achy and tired and irritated.  You may break out in rashes, and some of the stuff that will come out of your body will appall you.  Still you have to go through it.  It is an important part of the fast.

You see, the whole reason to go on a juice fast it to allow your body to heal.  And detoxing the system of all the junk that you regularly carry around inside, packed down in your bowels is an essential part of that healing process.

When you go on a juice fast, you are literally flooding your body with nutrients that are given to it in liquid form.  These nutrients are absorbed directly into your body.  They do not need to be digested.  And because the body does not have to use the amount of energy that it usually dedicates to digestion (especially of things like fried foods and red meats), it is able instead to dedicate that energy to healing, to rebuilding tissue that needs attention.  Kind of like when a community dedicates itself to rebuilding infrastructure.

And more, the juice helps cleans the bowels, sweeping away built up waste.  Therefore, the first few days of the fast can be remarkable in terms of what is lost.  Bloat goes away.  Toxins are flushed.  By the end of the first ten days or so of the fast, your system is beautifully cleansed, your eyes are brighter and your skin looks better.

For one thing, the juice fully hydrates.  For another, is fully nurtures the system.

I learned long ago that, for me, the best time of year for the fast is the high heat of summer.  Others swear by the first days of Spring as the best time.  But whenever the fast takes place, it renews, reinvigorates and it heals.

Most years, I only fast for three days.  To get to those days, I do three days of prep, in which I eliminate foods each day until, on the fourth day, I begin my fast.  While fasting, I take at least four large juices a day—two vegetable and two fruit.  In addition, I drink plenty of water.  At the end of the three days, I take three more to slowly add foods back into my diet, always breaking my fast simply with vegetable broth.  Then I add cooked vegetables.  Then I add brown rice as well.  Then I begin the fourth day with yogurt and begin to build back up to eating as usual.

Sometimes, however, I go for a full four weeks.  These are special fasts, and special times when I can take the time to rest and pay attention to myself and my needs, when I can meditate and be still.  In years when I am working hard in August, I can only do the short fast.

But this year, I will do the full twenty-eight days.  I am eighteen days in already.  My detox has passed and been replaced, as it has been in the past, with a sense of energy and concentration. In the first part of the fast, I was too tired to write about it.  Now, with time on my hands (it would amaze you how much time you have when you don’t have to cook, eat or clean the kitchen every night), I will finish up the fast here, with you, letting you know more about juicing (something I have become passionate about over the years) and the occasional juice fast.

 

Just Visiting: The Joys of Teaching, Brutally Honest, Ruthlessly Frank

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I am always honored when I am asked to be interviewed by a fellow blogger, especially one like Dr. Amit Nagpal, whose passion of healing is obvious to all his readers.  He recently sent me a list of very interesting questions for me to look over and answer.  So I wanted to let you know about the interview and to give you the link to find it.  Just go here.

Dr. Amit

Dr. Amit calls his blog “The Joys of Teaching.”  As he writes, “The blog was initially inspired by my passion for teaching.  Though I have personally moved to consulting and coaching the title remains my first love, ‘The Joy of Teaching.’  In any case, teaching (sharing knowledge) and co-learning are the basic principled behind consulting, coaching and training.”

Amit’s blog also features “Life Mantras for Your Sustainable Success.”  Among his tools for success are prayer and meditation, making his a most unusual spirit-based practice.  I strongly recommend that you spend some time with Amit at his blog.  It is filled with useful information.  I added the link to my recently started Blogroll, that you can find at the bottom of the right column.  (I intend to develop this list of links as time goes on, to bring you direct connection to some of the most exciting holistic sites on the internet.)

Due to space restrictions, Dr. Amit was unable to present the entire interview on his blog, so I present it here.  One question, on the topic of the Bach Flower Remedies, was omitted.  And since the Bach Remedies are among my favorite healing tools, I decided to present the material here:

Dr. Amit:  Tell us what are Bach Flower remedies and what do you mean by homeopathy in thought and action.

Vinton McCabe:  Bach Flower Remedies are a very special little pharmacy of healing tools.  Edward Bach was an allopathic physician who, at the time of the First World War, was transferred to Hahnemann Hospital in London to continue his work as a microbiologist.  That hospital was, of course, named for Samuel Hahnemann, the Father of Homeopathy.

During his time there, Bach became well versed in Hahnemann’s methods and in homeopathic philosophy.  So much so that he himself developed a group of homeopathic remedies that were based in part on the work he was already doing.  These remedies, known as bowel nosodes, are still in use today in the treatment of patients with myriad diseases.

After the war, Bach built a private practice in London and became one of the most successful physicians of his day.  And yet, due in large part to his new-found understanding of Hahnemann’s work, Bach became more and more disenchanted with allopathic methods and medicines.  At this point, one might think that Bach would become a homeopath, and yet he did not.  While he used some homeopathic methods in his practice, he felt that homeopathy, powerful as it is, was simply too difficult a practice for even medical professionals to get right.

And so, in the final years of his life, he closed up shop in London, moved to a small town on the English coast and dedicated his time and energy to attempting to find a new way of working—a method of healing that would be similar in action to homeopathy, but that would be simple enough for even lay people to use to treat themselves and their loved ones.

The result of his work are the Bach Flower Remedies, a group of thirty-eight remedies that are taken from the plants that were native to the countryside in which he lived.  It is said that Bach gathered the plants around him and potentized them, just as homeopathic remedies are potentized, to a zero potency, or what, in homeopathic medicine, is called a Mother Tincture.  Where homeopathic remedies continue to be diluted from the zero potency to many, many different potencies, Bach chose to leave his there, at the point at which the Bach remedies are the perfect balance between homeopathic and herbal remedies.

They are wonderfully safe, simple to use and can be tremendous tools for healing.  I have time and again seen cases in which these simple remedies act when nothing else will.  Because of my love of these remedies, I wrote a book on them—the book that is actually my favorite of all that I have written.  It’s called The Healing Bouquet:  Exploring Bach Flower Remedies and it has all the information that anyone needs to safely and effectively use the remedies.

For those who are interested in learning more about the Bach Flower Remedies, the link to my book is here.

To answer the rest of you question, the concept of Homeopathy in Thought and Action is based upon something that James Tyler Kent said that I read long, long ago, but stayed with me ever since.  Kent—who was perhaps the United States’ finest homeopath, an eclectic physician who practiced roughly in the second half of the 19th century—said that homeopathic remedies are homeopathic in two ways:  by how they are made and by how they are used.

This is very important, because it means that a remedy can be potentized perfectly, by the two-step process set forth by Hahnemann himself, but, if that remedy is used like an allopathic medicine, it will act like an allopathic medicine.  In other words, there is  philosophy behind how homeopathic remedies are chosen and how they are used that must remain in place if the treatment is to be properly homeopathic.  And when we take our remedies and use them in allopathic ways, we bastardize our own treatments, making them semi-homeopathic and semi-allopathic.

An example of this might be blended remedies.  The mixtures that you see all the time in health food stores.  Because people are too afraid or too lazy to use single remedies, instead they buy a combination of ten or twelve different remedies for the treatment of a cold or a backache or some other specific condition.  Now homeopathic students all know that just using the remedies in treatment of a specific condition is wrong—as if the condition itself tells you what medicine to us—but on top of this, they are also using a mixture of many different remedies, all of which produce multiple symptoms.  How can they possibly expect a good result from such and action?

Homeopathy in Thought and Action is a guiding principle for both my classes and my books.  It means that, to be an effective consumer of homeopathics, or, even more important, to be an appropriate and skillful homeopathy, one must have and understanding of the philosophy and history of homeopathy first and then build and understanding of the materia medica and its uses.  You need to think right to use the remedies right—there is no way around it.

I think that the concept of Homeopathy in Thought and Action is so important that I named my entire series of Kindle exclusive books after the principle.  Each of these books looks specifically at an aspect of homeopathic philosophy or at a part of the materia medica, or even an individualized treatment, like the treatment of high blood pressure, so that, putting all the individual books together, one can get a very good overview of the philosophy and practice of homeopathic medicine.

Those interested in knowing more about this series of books can visit my Amazon Authors Page and look for the “Homeopathy in Thought and Action” series of books by clicking here.  Or on my website by clicking here.

My Knee & Me: An Update

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I am happy to report that my knee, the achy, swollen joint that I wrote about a couple of days ago, continues to look and act very much like it’s old self.  In fact, just before sitting down at my desk (with my knee bent, thank you very much) to write this, I took the stairs down to the lower level office and then came back up them again, all without pain or incident.  So it seems as if the healing has taken place and the job is done.

I’ve been asked several times since my first post what remedy I used to achieve success. And I have responded to those who asked that my point in writing the post was not to discuss individual remedies (indeed, sometimes I worry that when we mention individual remedies by name that newcomers to homeopathy then associate that remedy with that particular condition, a mindset that is allopathic and not homeopathic–so forgive me if I can be a wet blanket at times), but to stress the way in which homeopathic healing takes place when it takes place.
But since my friends on my Facebook writer’s wall wormed it out of me, I thought I would update you and tell you the remedy.

Most of those who guessed guessed that I took Apis.  Which is a very smart, on-target guess, as Apis is very often used to help people who suffer with arthritis and because it also has an affinity for the knees.  But it was not the remedy.  Very close to it, but not it.

The remedy was Formic Acid, which is an acid contained in (I think) all insect venom.  It certainly is in ant venom (and there is a remedy called Formica that is to the ant what Apis is to the bee), as well as in bee venom.  So Formic Acid and Apis and Formica are all very closely allied remedies.  As to the potency, it was indeed a 200 C, single dose.
Thanks to all who sent good wished and encouragement to me at the time of the post.  Isn’t  it great that something like arthritis–which, let’s face it, is no fun at all–doesn’t have to hold us back if we know our materia medica?

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