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Letters to the Editor Issue 126

by Letters(more info)

listed in letters to the editor, originally published in issue 126 - August 2006

Gerda Boyesen:

18 May 1922 – 29 December 2005

Gerda Boyesen, 83, a pioneering Norwegian Clinical Psychologist and one of this century's last female neo-Reichian psychotherapists, died peacefully in London on 29th December 2005 surrounded by her near family.

She is the founder of Biodynamic Psychology, a body and mind-oriented method of depth psychology combining dynamic neuro-muscular massage with modern aspects of analytical psychotherapy. Gerda Boyesen's developments within this field have contributed greatly in bridging psychology with science and medicine.

In the late 1950s she discovered that the influence of the peristaltic action upon the smooth muscles of the connective tissue of the intestines was the organic and energetic missing link between psyche and the soma. She named this function psychoperistalsis, and thus advocated her theory of the body's own neuro-digestion; with its rehabilitative mechanism, and its innate capacity to self- regulate and digest surplus nervous stress and its symptoms.

This psychoperistaltic activity can be heard through a stethoscope and can be monitored into relaxation by the application of energy input and touch as well as when the person (client) is expressing a feeling, or a poignant thought, or engaging in a range of visual imagery.

Gerda Boyesen's theories and methods are revolutionary in their profundity, yet simplicity, and their effectiveness merits more theoretical attention and elaborate scientific research. Her theories parallel and in fact complete, the theory of Dr Michael Gershon, Neuro-Gastroenterologist, and others, concerning the enteric nervous system as the second brain of the body. In this aspect, one could postulate that Gerda Boyesen's theory arrived at the discovery of the body's instinctual, and thereby emotional, brain.

She leaves a great professional gap and will be missed by many. Her subsequent methods of Biodynamic Psychology and Psychotherapy, as well as her charismatic personality, have made a tremendous reparative impact upon thousands of people's emotional and somatic quality of life.

Gerda Boyesen established training schools within Europe and world-wide. She is survived by her daughters/colleagues Ebba and Mona Lisa, and son, Paul Boyesen, each of whom have developed training schools of their own in accordance with and in furtherance of her methods.

She is irreplaceable and will be missed by her children, her husband, her grandchildren and great grandchildren as well as by her many colleagues, students, clients and close friends and the many still unknown who have known her and hopefully profited from her message through her several books.

More than anything else, Gerda was love. She loved everyone. Love was so strong in her. She radiated love. Almost everyone who met her, even in a most casual way, felt it. Beyond all, Gerda leaves love. In the many hearts Gerda touched, love will live on.

Ebba Boyeson and Mary Malloy
Gerda Boyeson Institute

Student Nutritionist Seeks Work Experience

I am planning to study a natural nutrition course in September and would like to do some volunteering work in a practice. I live in the south east of London Bromley area. I have had an interest in natural/alternative practices for years and now feel it is time to manifest this. Any help would be appreciated.

Also I am seeking help for my son who has acne. Natural, cost effective measures please, as funds are limited.

Ann-Marie Smith
Tel: 020 8141 1946

PH and the Tremendous Amount of Work Ahead of Us

I have been a subscriber to Positive Health for some years now and so often I have intended writing to you. This time I have finally got to my computer to write to say thank you – a very big thank you for the fantastic work you do as editor of such a quality publication. I am now retired from teaching and from being a complementary health therapist latterly. At 64, I am often inspired to take further training and to return to the active field again on reading inspiring articles in Positive Health. Of the many health and other publications I take on regular basis, it is the only one which I usually read from cover, and follow up on various adverts, books etc.

I too, wish that we could launch the right kind of effective attack on those who constantly endeavour to discredit so called unproven therapies. For me in particular, it is a very delicate area indeed, since I have a son and daughter in law who are both Registrars in this terrible NHS. They offer a great deal to the patients whom they treat, but they recognize that they do not have all the answers and often defer to me if their child is sick! and my daughter in law took the supplements suggested by me during her pregnancy. Their lives in this awful system is so tough that my role is to support them whilst thinking about illness and its treatment from a totally different perspective. Hopefully my influence will eventually affect them sufficiently and things will change. For certain, they cannot go on like this present situation dictates – it is heartbreaking to see such gifted, altruistic young people being albeit destroyed by the system. We have a tremendous amount of work ahead of us, so thank you again for your huge contribution.

Looking forward to the next issue as always,

Yours sincerely, Anne Varcoe

Modern Medicine? What a great idea!

Published in one of the daily tabloids recently was a long letter signed by no less than 14 doctors and scientists demanding that the NHS should cease the funding of treatments with alternative therapies. The demand was for scientific data proving the efficacy of such treatments. The problem with this demand for 'solid clinical evidence' is that even where a treatment has obviously worked, there is still a tendency, in the absence of a 'satisfactory scientific explanation' to attribute the alleviation or disappearance of the original symptoms to the 'placebo' effect.

It is obvious to anyone who has used the services of our GPs, hospitals and other associated health services, that doctors, nurses and ancillary care staff work under considerable pressure. Pressures to reduce waiting lists, clear beds, balance budgets etc, leave actually very little time to 'care' for the patients. Visit your overworked GP and you will be lucky if you spend more than a few minutes with him. Stay in hospital and the nurses have very little time in between their other duties to spend time getting to know you. With the best will in the world, the set up of existing health care services ensures that the most important ingredient in attaining good health is excluded from the service, this being the 'therapeutic relationship' between patient and therapist.

The field of medicine and consequentially healthcare in general is and always should be a huge area of service to humanity, constantly engaged in devising new ways to improve our well-being. Within the present healthcare system however, patients frequently lose their identity to the illness they are suffering from, they all too quickly become; a cancer patient, a diabetic, a manic depressive, a schizophrenic. The set up of the system causes many to lose sight of the fact that they are individuals with many different characteristics, dimensions, dreams, hopes and achievements. If we suffer from a particular disease or an illness at any time in our lives, it should never be incorporated into whom we really are as people. Sadly, within the modern healthcare system we are indirectly helped to form and retain the attitude that in fact we have absolutely no control over our health and that we simply have to accept illness as an inevitability, that can be treated in one or two ways, chemically, surgically or worse still, both.

In the Middle East where I grew up, doctors are endowed with an almost godlike status; they are hugely respected within the community and are referred to in all matters concerning one's health and wellbeing. Indeed, as the 'healers' within a community their position is unassailable. In the past and in ancient communities, those practising medicine in the tradition of the great Greek physician Asclepius would treat the patient as an complete and indivisible entity; they would treat the whole person, seeking to raise their entire base line of health, rather than to treat the illness as a totally separate a set of symptoms. Modern medicine however has chosen to and for reasons of so called efficiency, to regard man as a group of separate systems joined together by a network of blood vessels, nerves and connective tissues that can be analysed, catalogued, separated and repaired as necessary in complete isolation from the whole human organism. This approach works remarkably well in the situation where there is a need for surgical repair. For instance, if you broke your arm or you were involved in some kind of accident that caused structural damage to your body, then a qualified surgeon is what you need. The surgeon puts together the broken parts and with any luck, you can eventually continue with your life; however, it is when faced with any one of the many illnesses prevalent today such as cancer, heart disease or the most common condition of our time, depression, that this approach falls down.

Treating a patient as a set of symptoms has the potential of creating more problems than it resolves. For arguments sake, let us suppose that you or I went to see our GP and he diagnosed let us say arterial sclerosis, a hardening of the arteries caused by the build up of 'bad' fats, a common condition given the state of the average persons diet of processed and fatty foods. One of the symptoms of this disease would be high blood pressure. The doctor then decides to prescribe a medication which brings down the blood pressure. However, this does not deal with your clogged arteries. There are a number of medications which would have the effect of reducing your blood pressure, but let us say in this instance your doctor chose to prescribe a diuretic. This diuretic would lower your blood pressure by making you pee for England, removing water from your system and thereby reducing the volume of your blood and consequently your blood pressure. Unfortunately, the side effects of this wonder drug can include dizziness, general weakness, and an increased risk of strokes and impotence but, do not be alarmed, there are other medications to deal with these side effects, and you still have clogged arteries! As time goes by your arteries worsen and you inevitably start to experience shortness of breath and chest pains. You return to your doctor and he begins to chase the next set of symptoms, he recommends a coronary bypass or an angioplasty; however the surgery only treats the symptoms, clearing or bypassing the clogged parts of the arteries supplying your heart; the rest of your arteries are still clogged and your blood is flowing like mud. The arteries supplying blood to your brain are probably clogged, so the risk of a stroke just gets higher and higher. Your doctor then decides to prescribe Warfarin (Rat poison) to thin your blood and keep it flowing through your veins and arteries. This medication brings its own problems; you will need frequent blood tests to make sure your blood is not too thin or your Warfarin levels are not too high, and of course you are still taking all the other medications that were prescribed in the first place, as well as those that were added to counteract the side effects. Is the picture becoming clear?

I fully appreciate that in the aforementioned example that any doctor worth his salt would advise major changes to diet and lifestyle; however in my experience this is mentioned almost as an aside and with no real conviction that this would really make any difference. All of the trust is placed in 'tried and tested' medication.

The saddest fact in this scenario is that disease can for the most part be averted, treated and frequently reversed through natural means; however, little emphasis is placed upon these alternatives within a culture that is brainwashed into accepting only medication or surgery as 'proven and approved' treatments.

Rather than shun so called alternative or complementary therapies that seek to reintegrate the person, purely because so far it has not behaved as it should under the microscope, it would be more prudent for medicine to become truly modern by adopting an approach that encompasses the Mind, Body and Soul of those whom it seeks to help and to work alongside these other disciplines.

The therapeutic relationship that is essential for the recovery of a patient is almost impossible to create under laboratory conditions, and as a consequence of this, improvements in presenting conditions are at least hampered if not rendered impossible, and this element should be taken into account when subjecting alternative therapies to scientific analysis. Modern scientific research in its approach has created its own blind spot, in that it only examines data which falls into its own predetermined narrow field of enquiry and conveniently discards or ignores any data which falls outside these parameters. Unfortunately, in the field of standard, western scientific enquiry when it comes to examining the healing phenomena reported when using alternative therapies, the set up of the research almost always ensures that the baby is thrown out with the bathwater.

M. Al-Hilali RNMH Dip. Mental Health DHYP EFT-ADV

Fundamental Changes in Farming: Farming must be Linked to Health

We, the farmers hold the key to the better health of the nation. It is time to realize the biggest single thing we do to our bodies is put in food; this should be the right food. Much food is now so adulterated with man-made products it should carry government health warnings, like cigarettes. The main culprit is hydrogenated vegetable oil; our bodies do not have the blueprint to be able to use it. Illness is the inevitable result. A poor diet is responsible for health problems, just as rickets and scurvy were prevented and cured by fruit with vitamin C. Some new deficiency diseases are arthritis, cancer, obesity, diabetes, allergies of all kinds and mental health problems. We are wasting an estimated 25% of food and eating 25% too much; this cycle needs to be broken.

The vast sums of money spent on research are not necessarily curing us; there are many side effects and contra indications. People are dying and being made ill by conventional drugs, drugs have been withdrawn from sale because of side effects. It matters not how many trials are undertaken unless you can control the diet of all involved in them; any results are clearly open to question. This seems self-evident to me but totally ignored by researchers.

Auto-immune diseases like arthritis and lupus, raised blood pressure, high cholesterol, all kinds of allergies, cancer, many stomach problems, hormone balance and many other ills are alleviated when Omega-3 essential fatty acids are in the diet. This indicates that poor diet could be the main contributing factor in all these diseases and it's about time to look in a new direction. Farmers need to be in the vanguard of a total rethink on food and what we eat.

Omega-3 from linseed oil (a sustainable and renewable resource) is the essential fatty acid ALA (alpha linolenic acid) the diet must provide, and it is sadly lacking in today's food. The EPA and DHA in fish oils are not essential fatty acids, but are necessary. The body makes them from the ALA, which is a natural and parent oil, the same type found in breast milk. It is the balance of the omega 3 and omega six essential fatty acids combined with some saturated fat that make up all your cell membranes. It is this delicate balance that is upset by modern food. It happens in two main ways; how we feed animals, and the food manufacturing processes that use many man made ingredients.

What can farmers do? Well, a small lesson on what the body needs will help focus the mind. We were mainly hunter gatherers, we caught and ate animals who grazed over pasture containing many herbs and plants; this kind of meat gave us the right balance of oils and fats. We also ate many different plants, fruit and honey. This, coupled with the exercise needed for hunting kept us fit and clearly enabled survival.

It was some time before we domesticated cattle for milk and meat and even then these cattle would have been grazing on good pasture and giving us meat and milk akin to wild animals. Today we grow many cereals to feed livestock; these changes alter meat and milk making it less healthy.

Food production needs to be closer to the farmer with many small units producing fresh food for us of a kind we were designed to eat.

Let's stop giving money to big food production companies and supermarkets whose only interest is having us buy more and more food and certainly the pharma-medical industry (my words) whose products have side effects and can kill us. We need to transfer this money to a new set of people who will keep us healthy. Who are these people? Why farmers of course, but I would say that wouldn't I!

Durwin Banks

Durwin Banks is a farmer given a Rural Development grant to diversify into pressing his home grown linseed, the only farmer in the country growing, pressing and selling this valuable and necessary food.

Further Information

Please contact Durwin at Muntham Home Farm, Barns Green, Horsham Sussex RH13 0NH on Tel: 01403 730326;


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