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Letters to the Editor Issue 128

by Letters(more info)

listed in letters to the editor, originally published in issue 128 - October 2006

Biodynamic Psychotherapy and Massage

I enjoyed very much reading your article by Ellena Fries on Biodynamic Psychology.

Being a Biodynamic Psychotherapist myself, I have trained with Gerda Boyesen in Munich and London 25 years ago.

We then were using an acoustic stethoscope. Giving massage to clients with a stethoscope can be a very helpful experience. The body sends its feedback with a variety of elemental sounds – windy and stormy sounds – dripping water sounds, sounds of falling stones or a running brook.

These sounds can help the therapist to apply the right touch and pressure.

Some people have no peristaltic sounds. That usually means that their peristaltic system can be opened by different ways of massage or bioenergetic exercises.

Sometimes the sounds only appear after the massage.

Gerda also taught us how to work on the human aura. As a repair healer I like combining massage and aura work.

Five years ago I acquired a digital stethoscope which allows the client to hear their own peristaltic sounds.

When it broke, some clients said they were really missing it to hear their peristaltic sounds.

In my work I usually combine Biodynamic Psychotherapy with the use of Flower and Gem Essences.
With friendly regards,
Gabriele Gad Tel: 020 7735 4513
therapy@gabrielegad.co.uk

Food, Cooking and Nutrition in Schools

In 1988 I was working in a large comprehensive school as a teacher in the Home Economics Department. Three of us had been together on the team for 15 years and ran a good area of the school it was very popular with the pupils, both boys and girls.

The teachers that year knew the curriculum was about to change and pupils would be encouraged to take, ‘Food Technology’ because it was thought more important that they knew why an egg cooked, than how to cook an egg. The local doctor was our staunch supporter as we argued to anyone who would listen that teaching children to cook in school would enable them in the future to feed themselves and their families too. All to no avail!

I now read that Education Secretary Alan Johnson told BBC radio that he wanted school children to acquire basic cooking skills from 2008. It has come full circle after 20 years.

If only the Government had listened, realized and accepted advice from professionals that the change in the curriculum was short sighted and a knowledge of food, nutrition and being able to acquire cooking skills was of utmost importance, the number of obese adults and children that we are witnessing now would probably be much lower.
Dr Katie Nelson Katie.Nelson@hct.ac.ae

The Editor Replies

In the next Issue (November Issue 129) we will be publishing an in-depth feature The Link Between 21st Century Food, Obesity and Chronic Disease by Jane Lorimer, which will explore the many faceted issues linking our environment, the soil, nutrition, additives and optimum health, all of which are of critical importance to us all.

Attacks on Homeopathy

Just got round to opening the July issue of PH, and first turned to Martin Walker’s letter, he being a bit of a hero of mine, then to your Editorial.

I’m so sorry to read of your father’s death and the manner in which he died. My father was also badly served by the medics and after he died it took me two years to fully connect with my grief, two years in which I spent most of the time thinking, “What just happened? That just shouldn’t have happened like that.”

Secondly, I enclose a letter which was printed in the Medical Science Monitor which, is written by 2 established medics. It was reprinted in the Alliance of Registered Homeopaths Journal Spring 2006, although it was written in 2005 in response to the Lancet Aug 2005 attack on Homeopathy.

Would that the Times published this kind of letter as well as the Neanderthal ravings of the old dinosaurs. So glad Martin Walker has pointed out that Prof Edzard Ernst is possibly sitting in the wrong chair, (heard him on Radio 4 not that long ago saying that Arnica was a load of rubbish).
Sue Lanzon, Homeopath
suelanzminnie@btinternet.com

The Growth of a Lie and the End of ‘Conventional’ Medicine

by Domenico Mastrangelo, Cosimo Loré
Summary
Throughout its over 200-year history, homeopathy has been proven effective in treating diseases for which conventional medicine has little to offer. However, given its low cost, homeopathy has always represented a serious challenge and a constant threat to the profits of drug companies.

Moreover, since drug companies represent the most relevant source of funding for biomedical research worldwide, they are in a privileged position to finance detractive campaigns against homeopathy by manipulating the media as well as academic institutions and the medical establishment.

The basic argument against homeopathy is that in some controlled clinical trials (CCTs), comparison with conventional treatments shows that its effects are not superior to those of placebo. Against this thesis we argue that a) CCT methodology cannot be applied to homeopathy; b) misconduct and fraud are common in CCTs; c) adverse drug reactions and side effects show that CCT methodology is deeply flawed; d) an accurate testing of homeopathic remedies requires more sophisticated techniques; e) the placebo effect is no more ‘plausible’ than homeopathy, and its real nature is still unexplained; and f) the placebo effect is nevertheless a ‘cure’ and, as such, worthy of further investigation and analysis. It is concluded that no arguments presently exist against homeopathy and that the recurrent campaigns against it represent the specific interests of the pharmaceutical industry which, in this way, strives to protect its profits from the ‘threat’ of a safer, more effective, and much less expensive treatment modality.

Reference

Domenico Mastrangelo, Cosimo Loré. The Growth of a Lie and the End of ‘Conventional’ Medicine.© Med Sci Monit. 11(12): SR27-31. www.medscimonit PMID: 16319808. 2005.


Seeking Information re Virus Treatment

As a regular tourist to Mauritius since the year 2001, I have become increasingly concerned to learn of the increasing cases of Chikungunya virus that has spread across the Indian Ocean island from the Reunion. Though I have looked into this ‘malaria’ like condition I would be keen to find out from any experts or complementary therapists as to whether this virus can be treated, as there is no known cure or remedy.

I have learned that the virus is sensitive to 70% ethanol, 1% sodium hypochlorite, 2% lutaraldehyde and sensitive to lipid solvents. But no antiviral drugs are available yet.

It originated in Africa in 1952, and at least 206 cases have been recorded, since February 2005. Finding an alternative remedy to combat Chikungunya would be a welcome breakthrough to in the medical profession in Mauritius that is already under pressure and limited finances. I would be happy to hear from any knowledgeable reader with insight to shed light on this virus that would bring relief and possible cure to sufferers.
Yours sincerely
Teresa Lloyd, London SE1 1JH Tel: 020-7403 4541


Patrick Holford Response to Recent Omega 3 Review

The headlines in the newspapers read “Experts cast doubts on Omega 3” BBC… “The benefits of fish and linseed oils as elixir of life are another health myth” The Times… “The Benefits of Omega 3 Seem Fishy” CBS News.

This is due to a ‘systematic review’ of studies on omega 3 and its effects on cardiovascular disease, cancer and mortality, published in the British Medical Journal. This is not a new study, but a study of studies. The authors conclude that “omega 3 fats don’t have a clear effect on total mortality, combined cardiovascular events or cancer.”

It soon became clear there is something very fishy going on. The main analysis is on 15 Randomized Controlled Studies (RCTs). Of these studies nine show benefit of omega 3, five show no big difference, and one is shown as negative. So nine for omega 3, one against. The author of the ‘negative’ study, Dr Bemelmans from the University of Groningen in the Netherlands questions how his study could be used to turn this review paper from positive to negative. For good reason. If you read the abstract of this paper (which you’ll find on-line by typing in Bemelmans + margarine) the first thing you’ll find is that this isn’t a study on fish or fish oils; it’s a study on margarine! The authors gave their subjects a margarine containing alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) – that’s the omega 3 found in flax – or linoleic acid (omega 6) and found ‘no significant difference existed in the 10 year estimated heart disease risk.’

The first thing you realize is this first analysis isn’t about the benefits of concentrated omega fish oils, which contain EPA and DHA. The numerous studies that show benefit, not only for those who have heart disease, but also in preventing those that don’t, have given substantial amounts of EPA, which seems to be the more powerful kind of omega 3 for the heart. A mere 5% of ALA is converted to EPA so there’s a world of difference between taking a fish oil supplement and eating an ALA enriched margarine!
Later in the paper, the authors do analyse all the studies using fish-derived sources of omega-3. They include twelve studies, nine of which show a benefit, one of which shows no effect and two show a very small negative effect. However, combined, in the way that this review analyses the data, this seemingly obvious beneficial effect doesn’t come up as significant.

What I find particularly deceptive is that this obvious skew is not even discussed in the research paper. It really makes me question the integrity of the authors and the journal. Let’s explore that for a minute with a ‘conspiracy theory’ hat on. Last week pharmaceutical drug sales topped $600 billion. The number one best seller was Lipitor, a statin drug for lowering cholesterol. It brought in $12.9 billion. Next is Plavix, for thinning the blood ($5.9 million), closely followed by Zocor, the world’s first over the counter statin ($5.3 billion). Next is Norvasc, for high blood pressure ($5 billion). So that’s almost $24 billion dollars for the top four cardiovascular drugs.

The natural alternatives for this pharmaceutical goldmine are omega 3s, B vitamins for lowering homocysteine, niacin specifically for lowering cholesterol, magnesium for lowering blood pressure and all the vital lifestyle changes such as exercise. If you wanted to maximize profits it would be worth investing in belittling your competitors. It’s worth bearing this in mind when you read newspaper headlines. That, and the fact that good news sells.

This review doesn’t change my recommendations one iota. Tom Sanders, Professor of Nutrition, King’s College, London who is often quoted as being dismissive of supplementation says “ It is disappointing that when the vast majority of the evidence points to the positive benefits of Omega-3 Fish Oils for heart, that one review paper can cause so much concern amongst consumers.” Dr Mike Knapton, director of prevention and care at the British Heart Foundation “People should not stop consuming omega-3 fats or eating oily fish as a result of this study.” I couldn’t agree more. There is nothing in this study that makes me cautious about recommending eating oily fish three times a week and/or taking an omega 3 rich fish oil supplement every day, not just for your heart, but also your brain, joints, skin and immune system.

Further Information

Please contact Patrick Holford on pat@patrickholford.com

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