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Letters to the Editor Issue 69

by Letters(more info)

listed in letters to the editor, originally published in issue 69 - October 2001

Orthodox Medicine should be Complementary

I am responding to the letters in Issue 67 (August '01) regarding the conflict between the medical establishment and alternative medicine.

I think the term 'complementary' medicine could well be a very unhelpful misnomer, suggesting that orthodox medicine should be your main port of call. Given the well documented and scandalous ignorance of mainstream doctors and the damage they routinely cause and their inability to cure people, I think orthodox medicine should be the complementary one, resorted to when all else has failed!

In particular, I am convinced that nutrition should become the main medical discipline as it has a bearing in all conditions and can, alone, cure many, many apparently intractable problems. I speak from personal experience here.

That doctors know nothing about nutrition and care even less, is nothing short of criminal and is unacceptable.

If the EU has its way, we will no longer have the means to offset the situation. I, for one, am very afraid of this. I think a vigorous campaign must be mounted by all of us, now.

Please write to your MP, MEP, the Food Standards Agency – You can also download the complete text of the proposed directive from

Another interesting site in this regard is where you can sign a petition at

On the site there is a very interesting article by Ron Law, detailing statistics of iatrogenic deaths from medical drugs and adverse medical events, and a well-argued case for the safety of dietary supplements.

Yours faithfully
Mrs J Fortin

Reflexology for Eyesight? Issue 67, page 28

"One lady …travelled back to her home town to see her optician who had seen her since childhood and was amazed to be told that she had gained the sight of her left eye in which she had previously been blind… The potential for her eye to work was there, but it had never been 'switched on'."

I was surprised that the lady needed an optician to tell her that she had gained her sight. Could she not have covered the other eye?

I thought that opticians referred cases of disease or malfunction, especially in such a serious matter as blindness since childhood, to the GP. Surely the GP must have been aware of the situation and referred her to an ophthalmologist to ascertain what problem there was. Was she pronounced incurable and for what reason?

Did the disease undergo a spontaneous cure or, as is suggested, was the blind eye simply lying dormant, perhaps because of a traumatic experience? (My guess)

Is it not a gross failure of the medical system not to treat a perfectly good eye which was not 'switched on'. Incidentally where are the switches?

What was the lady's subsequent vision? 20/20?

I would think that regaining sight even with one eye would be so traumatic that the lady would need immediate counselling by someone experienced in such matters. I would have thought opticians were more into measuring refractive errors.

Do the authorities at Moorfields know about this? Should eye hospitals employ reflexologists? Or is this a 'one off'? If so why give unrealistic hope to blind people?

Should one assume that case studies are fact or fiction or a mixture of both? This needs to be answered.

PGK Davies

Sue Ricks Replies

Thank you for your letter referring to my article Gentle Touch Of Reflexology.

I can well understand your puzzlement about an unexpected change of health on the part of a person afflicted with a serious long standing condition. Because, at the moment we lack the knowledge we say that event is 'triggered'. We have long accepted that at a certain stage, the body of a child is triggered into changes at puberty. We know that those changes are chemical/electric changes. I am not sure if we know the cause of the 'Trigger'. There are innumerable instances of people recovering their sight. During the last fortnight both a mother and daughter suddenly found that their sight was partially restored. There are numerous examples of people falling or receiving a blow again with the outcome of enhanced sight. All these changes are 'triggered' in some way. The ways can be physiological, internal chemical electrical changes and even emotional events.

As you will know a search is on-going to find the trigger that brings on the onset of Alzheimer's disease a solution of which will be of inestimable value in understanding the beginning point of many other serious conditions.

You can imagine the joy that I and my fellow practitioners of Gentle Touch Reflexology™ had, to know that our treatments can contribute to mitigating, in this case, a deficient eyesight. I think, at this stage we do not know which part of our treatment contributed to the 'trigger'. But the fact that it has done so, means that we can now start our own research.

Thank you for your interest in my article.

Sue Ricks Cert Ed, MAR, BRCP, GCP
Principal, Sue Ricks School of Reflexology

ALL Cholesterol Lowering Drugs are Dangerous

SCHAUMBURG, ILLINOIS – While the media has been abuzz lately with news of the recall of the cholesterol-lowering medication Baycol (cerivastatin), they are really missing the bigger picture, says a group of leading physicians and health experts.

It is a very narrow view to simply focus on just one of these drugs, when they all have the potential to do the same thing, they maintain.

"All of the popular cholesterol-lowering drugs commonly known as 'statins', can cause the same adverse effects as Baycol," says Dr. Joseph Mercola, Medical Director of the Optimal Wellness Center in Schaumburg, Illinois, "since they all act through the same biochemical process."

Baycol was voluntarily recalled earlier this month by its manufacturer, Bayer AG, after it was discovered that many people were being stricken with a condition known as rhabdomyolysis. It has since been ascertained that at least 52 people have died as a result, according to the Associated Press.

The European Medicines Evaluation Agency has announced that it is currently conducting a safety review of other 'Statins', in light of the findings on Baycol. The head of the agency's drug evaluation unit, Noel Wathion, states "There is a need to look at the whole class of these products to see if there is a need for further action,'' according to a report from Reuters.

"The potential adverse effects of the entire class of these widely used drugs are particularly worrying considering that the new guidelines for treating high cholesterol, recently published by the US National Cholesterol Education Program, recommend treatment with cholesterol lowering drugs for a considerable portion of mankind," states Uffe Ravnskov, MD, author of The Cholesterol Myths (New Trends, 2000).

However, there is currently no indication that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will be following Europe's lead and look into the safety of the entire Statin class, despite the fact that they have been petitioned to do so by the consumer advocacy organization Public Citizen, among others.

"It may be that these drugs are causing muscle damage by interfering with the body's production and metabolism of Coenzyme Q10 (ubiquinone)," says Stephen Byrnes, PhD, author of Diet & Heart Disease: It's NOT What You Think (Whitman, 2001). "This substance is crucial for the proper functioning of muscle tissue, which includes the heart."

Other than Baycol, the statins that are currently available in the US are Lipitor (atorvastatin), Zocor (simvastatin), Pravachol (pravastatin), Mevacor (lovastatin), and Lescol (fluvastatin).

"This Baycol recall is likely just the tip of the iceberg, as a vast majority of cases will go undiagnosed. In many cases, the symptoms may be mild or may resemble another condition," states Mercola. "Even in cases where the condition is properly diagnosed, the association with the drugs may not have been made previously."

For more information on this topic see or contact:

Joseph Mercola, DO
Optimal Wellness Center
Schaumburg, Illinois
Tel: 847-985-1777

Uffe Ravnskov, MD
Lund, Sweden
Tel: +46 46 145022

Stephen Byrnes, PhD
Honolulu, Hawaii
(808) 739-1415

Professor Ernst Comments re Book Review

I read your review with some interest and am (almost) speechless vis à vis the amount of misunderstanding you (yet again) manage to create in only two pages. When we submitted the book to the publisher, we tried to persuade them to produce a bookmark for it, so that the reader would see on every page the following sentence: 'Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence'. This is an important principle of evidence-based medicine and thus our approach.* However, the publisher vetoed this idea, saying that the readers would surely be intelligent enough to know this simple fact. I fear that, in your case, they might have been wrong.

Best Regards
Prof Ernst

PS. Yes, the 'Professor is a back pain sufferer himself' after two vertebral fractures several years ago.
* On page 4 of our book, for instance, you find the following sentence: 'It should be noted that stating there is a lack of compelling evidence for a treatment does not imply that the treatment is ineffective.'

The Editor Replies

There are two substantive and fundamental criticisms I have regarding this book as a whole.

The first criticism concerns the highly restrictive nature of the evidence selected for review, generally only from randomized control trials (RCTs), despite the fact, from Prof Ernst's own admission, there is often very little of this type of evidence. Many of the disciplines reviewed, from acupuncture, Ayurvedic, herbal medicine, aromatherapy to yoga have clinical evidence bases apart from RCTs which go back in time hundreds of years. This type of evidence is discarded in this book, or only offered within an 'historical' context.

The second criticism questions the competence of Prof Ernst, in his capacity as a medical doctor and research scientist to review the entire fields of complementary medicine, without any specialist knowledge or training in the majority of these fields. My copy of The Merck Manual (Home Edition) lists, in addition to the Editor-in-Chief, Associate Editor and two Senior Assistant Editors, an Editorial Board of 14 MDs/PhDs, spanning the breadth of medicine, from obstetrics, internal medicine, psychiatry, infectious diseases, neurology, cardiology, etc, 9 Consultants, again covering topics such as ear, nose and throat, skin disorders, bone, joint and muscle disorders and immune disorders, and 187 distinguished contributors, again spanning a huge spectrum of health topics! Reviewing the entire world of medicine – complementary medicine – should, in my opinion, require more than one Editor, 3 Associate Editors and one Contributing Editor.

Professionals from within the many disciplines will no doubt have specific complaints regarding the content of numerous sections covered. We look forward to your comments.

More re Prof Ernst Book review

A brief note of congratulation on your book review re: Ernst et al. I have had growing concern about that which is written by the good Professor for some time. No doubt he forgot the mention the CISCOM database as well!

As you point out the BMJ figure for unproven orthodox practice is 60% whilst the European Medical Journal puts it at circa 80%. I usually split the difference and refer to a figure of 70% when I am talking.

J Noel Hulmston
Lymphoedema Practitioner

PS. Positive Health just arrived – brought my work to a halt as I had to read the book review.

More: Comment from a Senior Aromatherapist

There is always a problem with a desktop guide to any discipline because it is virtually impossible to debate a rationale that will prove anything in about two pages. The limitations in this instance are obvious from the beginning and increase to a grand finale of negativism.

The whole precis of aromatherapy has a tendency to be sceptical and insulting in attitude, while failing to offer positive information or views. Under the heading 'Indirect risks' the comment impugns the integrity of the therapist, which is disgraceful.

The lack of consultation with those who have been working in this field for decades is sadly obvious. The resultant publication is no more than a biased dictionary that will be of little use to those seeking information and help in understanding CAM therapies.

Teddy Fearnhamm
Consultant Aromatherapist


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