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Letters to the Editor Issue 44

by Letters(more info)

listed in letters to the editor, originally published in issue 44 - September 1999

Against 'Against Mind-Body Medicine'

Andrew Vickers' article Against Mind-Body Medicine in issue No. 37 illustrates the difficulty of integrating the philosophy of conventional and non-conventional healthcare, the former looking at local dysfunction and local treatment while the other employs a more holistic approach.

We would agree that to say that all 'disease comes from a state of unforgiveness' is a highly questionable statement. However, it is probably acceptable to suggest that some disease comes from a state of unforgiveness This is certainly acceptable by the practitioner who realises that unforgiveness leads to tension which, in turn, leads to restrictions in the subtle energy flow, which leads to dysfunction in the physical. This could be considered too simplistic, for while a certain level of unforgive- ness, were it possible to measure such a state, is likely to affect an individual's health, any specific adverse effect would also depend on their genetic inheritance, the state of harmony in their work, play and home life, their nutrition, mental attitude, posture, exercise, breathing patterns, exposure to environmental pollution of many kinds and many other factors which influence our individual health profile.

It is our opinion there is no such thing as a simple clinical case of disease or a simple, straightforward cure. Even someone suffering from a broken leg obtained by being run over by a bus is not necessarily suffering from only a physical cause – why were they not looking where they were going?

Vickers criticised Edward Bach who might have claimed that 'nearly all disease is due to state of mind', but at least it is reasonable to accept that the state of mind does have an effect on every case of disease. The amount of the effect does, of course, vary from case to case.

In the apparently chaotic field of cause and effect a general guide may be obtained by reference to the concept of the flow of subtle energies which support the physical. It is posited that when the flow of subtle energies is blocked, checked or distorted, some aberration in the physical will normally result. This does have empirical support as the tone and function of the physical appears to depend on the constant smooth flow subtle energies. In our experience, freeing blockages in the flow of subtle energy frequently leads to a quick improvement in the state of the health physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.

In non-conventional medicine it is generally accepted that an adverse emotional state can have an adverse effect on the physical state. We think that it is also reasonable to assume that the emotional states can be controlled by mental activity, and there is evidence to suggest that spiritual aspirations can affect the mental, emotional and physical functions.

Many anomalies arise from departing from the golden principle that every case is different and what will help in one case will not necessarily help in another. In one hundred cases of back pain, even if ten of them had a displacement of the same vertebrae, each individual would have a different set of causes and need slightly different treatment.

To summarise our understanding, some internal or external happening causes a dysfunction in one or more of the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual aspects. This causes an imbalance in the energy flow in the whole person and a departure from optimum health. To correct this an illness occurs in the physical, emotional – mental or spiritual. The illness creates a state of chaos out of which a new state of order can arise. The actual type of illness depends on what caused the departure from health, the characteristics inherited or acquired by the individual, the state of harmony at home and work, the pollution of our civilisation, etc.

To help the individual through the state of chaos to a new state of order the practitioner offers his understanding of disease, his techniques and experience at various levels of intervention. If the practitioner does not realise that the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual are all connected and affect each other he is not a very good practitioner.

Most treatments can help someone forward to optimum health. This great diversity of 'causes and cures' is why the Trust has concentrated on the production of multi-disciplinary systems to help individuals through chaos to order.

Of course, if you do not accept the diversity of our position and insist on one cause and one cure, we can only suggest that the cause is being born and the cure is death!

Gordon Smith,
Chairman of Trustees,
The Maperton Trust.

The Editor Replies

Andrew Vickers' article Against Mind-Body Medicine, originally published as the Editorial in Complementary Therapies in Medicine [(6): 111-4, 1998], was reproduced for Positive Health's readership because I considered it to be an outstanding rebuttal against some of the excesses of woolly "New Age" thinking.

I cannot accept that tragedies such as children being killed by bombs or radiation links from Chernobyl are karmic in nature. In my opinion, much of what is happening in the world today, politically, environmentally and militaristically, is about evil, greedy and rich groups overpowering, robbing and murdering innocent and defenceless countrymen and women. Human nature rather than karmic or other esoteric causes, in my view.

Far be it for me to dispute Gordon Smith's longer-standing and august experience of the complex energetic interactions of chaos and health. However, for my part, if someone is run over by a bus and suffers a broken leg, I would spend the majority of my efforts in alleviating the pain caused by the accident, and would not indulge the patient's potential of blaming themselves for not looking where they were going.

Sandra Goodman, Ph.D., Editor

Coincidence or a Tale of the Unknown?

The following experience will remain with me forever: As a 27 year old bachelor, in the late 1950s, I was lodging with my sister and brother-in-law and their four young children in a large bungalow in Nairobi, Kenya.

On one stormy, depressing Sunday evening which I shall never forget, I invited my brother-in-law, Eric, an ex RAF war veteran (a big strong man of few words) to accompany me to my Sports Club for a social evening.

As it happened there was a full house at the club and we had to join a six feet deep queue at the only bar opened on Sunday. As we slowly progressed forward, to the accompaniment of much noise, hilarity and blaring music, I felt a tap on my shoulder and Eric was suddenly yelling in my ear, "Roy, I can't stand this, lets go home please". Naturally I remonstrated but all to no avail, as he remained adamant, so home we drove in silence

Needless to say, my sister was surprised to see us back so soon, but nothing much was said and I eventually retired to bed in a bit of a huff. In hindsight Eric was not a club type, probably because he had been shot down three times during the desert war and the siege of Malta as a reconnaissance pilot. I must also say that whilst I had great respect for him and held him in high esteem, we were not particular friends. Being several years older, he was inclined to treat me a little condescendingly!

Well, the scene changes. My sister, (we still remain very close) her husband and all the children sailed for Australia in 1961. I got married in 1962 and eventually retired back to England in 1983 with my family.

On the fourth of October 1993, at a quarter past five on a very dark morning, the blast of our bedside telephone awakened me from a deep sleep and a vivid dream. Usually I forget a dream minutes after awakening, but not this one! The tale in this one was identical to my club experience, only with a shorter and different ending. On feeling the tap on my shoulder, I turned round and said "Yes, Eric, are you all right"? He replied with a smile "I'm fine Roy, absolutely fine and contented, bless you". Scrambling for the telephone receiver in the dark, I immediately admonished the caller for ringing us at such an unearthly hour. To my surprise, my sister spoke from Sydney. She apologised and simply said "sorry to have to tell you that Eric has just died, with his family all round him and a smile on his face"!

R.A.Batcup
Highcliffe, Dorset.

Prostate Cancer – The Future Treatment, Another Chance? A Patient's View Of Cryo-Ablation

In June, I was privileged to be a guest at the Royal Surrey County Hospital Guildford, to witness the first ever live operation in the UK, on prostate cancer, using Cryo-Ablation. The operation was carried out in the hospital's Minimal Access Therapy Teaching Unit (MATTU), by a team of eminent consultants, from the USA, assisted by Dr. John Davies of MATTU.

The purpose of this procedure, which has been carried out nearly 800 times in the USA, is to create a "Total Kill" of all cancerous tissue, by rapid freezing. This technique was primarily used on patients, who had previously undergone Radical Prostatectomy or Radical Radiotherapy, where the cancer had returned. The 80 years old patient was robust and healthy, other than his prostate cancer, which had spread to adjacent seminal vessels.

Amongst some of the UK's leading consultants, we had full visibility of the operation & theatre, via several cameras, to a large wall size screen. Smaller inset pictures showed gauges & monitors. Our moderator, part of the team, had full communication with the theatre and was able to focus on important aspects and at times direct the surgeons on procedures.

Under general anaesthetic, using minimal invasive procedures, slender needles were placed in and around the periphery of the prostate. This procedure involved the use of real time digital biplane ultrasound, to achieve the essential high accuracy. The needles were replaced by canular probes, to deliver Argon gas, used in the freezing process. Sensitive temperature monitors were used to control the freezing process and to protect the bladder, urethra and rectum, which are in very close proximity to the prostate. The number of needles/probes used in this operation was 6, however the American designed equipment, by 'Endocare' supports up to 8.

Watching via the ultrasound scan, it was possible to see the formation of ice-balls within the prostate, until the whole area was frozen. A thaw was followed, by a repeat freeze. The operation took just over 3 hours. Previous operations show that the patient can be up and about the next day and home. Subsequent PSA blood test readings and biopsies are encouraging, with low PSAs and negative biopsies.

Questioning the team, as to what a patient could do to help themselves, the answer was so different from the replies we hear from our consultants. "There's plenty! Drink green tea, take selenium ACE, lycopene as found in tomatoes, pizzas, tom sauce and purees, vit E and soya based products. Don't forget to exercise.

MATTU hope to have a facility, later this year, to become the UK's centre of excellence & training. Training is an essential criteria to develop the high accuracy and skills. As a patient, I would not hesitate to have the operation, if at some time in the future it was needed.

David G Rowlands

* If any reader would like more detailed information on the operation, patient suitability and the other questions and answers, please contact: PSA Prostate Cancer Support Association. Tel: 01243 431 589 or write to 9 Hollybank Lane. Emsworth. Hants. POlO 7UD

European Herbal Directive

Although I have commented specifically elsewhere (see Research Updates: Klepser and Klepser, page 39) on the the list of "potentially unsafe herbal remedies" published in the American J Health System Pharmacy, this list surely calls for a more general comment.

The UK 1968 Medicines Act (Statutory Instrument 2130 attached to Section 12 and 56 of the Act) made special provision for herbs which were therapeutically active but too powerful for the general sales list. Instead these herbs, which included Ma Huang (Ephedra sinica) which appears on the "unsafe" list, were designated herbal practitioner use only.

Current proposals for a new European Herbal Directive proposed by the European Herbal Practitioner Association (see its website http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~ehpa/) calls for the continuation of this category of herbal practitioner use only. UK herbal practitioners are now engaged in the process of exploring statutory-self regulation with the Department of Health and there is a good chance that soon herbal practitioners like osteopaths and chiropractors will be state registered.

This would mean that more powerful plant medicines could be restricted to those with adequate training to make use of them. This after all is the arrangement for orthodox drugs, many of which are prescription only medicines, while many others remain freely available over-the-counter without prescription.

Michael McIntyre
Chairman: European Herbal Practitioner Association

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