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Editorial Issue 42

by Sandra Goodman PhD(more info)

listed in editorial, originally published in issue 42 - July 1999

Where do you go to sort out your health problems? With such an incredible array of hugely diverse therapeutic approaches – from Healing, Reiki, Homoeopathy, Herbs, Nutrition, to Bodywork techniques such as Alexander, Shiatsu and Craniosacral therapy, not to mention the legion of complementary therapists for each discipline, this seemingly simple question becomes much more of a quagmire than would appear at first glance.

Another vexing matter for me is that, according to what you may read from various sources, every therapy seems to work for everyone else's problems except your own. No matter what therapy you can name, there are people standing up and attesting to how wonderful a particular approach has been for them. Aloe vera, wizard mattress toppers, co-enzyme Q10, grapeseed extract, the Hay Diet, Alexander, Bowen or Swedish massage – according to testimonials, published articles and advertisements, certain techniques, practices or approaches seem to have solved many people's individual suffering.

I am not in any way suggesting that the above is not true, because I have had great success sometimes with homoeopathy, and no luck at other times; bitter herbs has sometimes done wonders for digestive problems, massage has sometimes sorted out backache and meditation has sometimes sorted out my headache. However, there are some things which nothing helps, (like toothache, or ovulation pain) and I have to resort to paracetamol or an ice pack.

Yes, these seemingly simple matters raise profoundly fundamental and important issues which we all have to confront in our own lives with regard to healthcare: How do we select the best therapeutic approach for a particular problem? How do we find the best practitioner, who can work with us and in whom we have confidence? How long do we continue along a certain therapeutic path before we call it a day and decide to change approaches?

This is ultimately about sorting out reality from fantasy. What happens when we start to doubt the competence, skill or training of a practitioner. Do we listen to our own needs and experience, or do we indulge in gossip, which usually tends to bad mouth every therapy and therapist in existence.

What may be an excellent remedy or approach for your best friend or partner may be totally unsuited for you, due to a whole host of reasons, not at all related to the product or therapy, but to you, your body, your attitudes, beliefs, or biochemical make-up.

When I was more naïve (less experienced), I projected perfection onto therapists. I assumed that meditation teachers were perfectly calm and without ego, that healers were sensitive and averse to the usual vices of everyone else, that nutritionists ate perfect diets and were perfectly healthy, that bodyworkers never got backache.

That is not true. In fact, the opposite is frequently the case. Many of the founders of the major therapies developed their techniques to try to sort out a particular problem of their own. As they couldn't find any other answer, out of desperation they developed their own methodologies. Alexander originally used to lose his voice and developed his technique while discovering the importance of body use and posture. Ask any physiotherapist, massage practitioner, or homoeopath about how they became attracted to their field, and you will frequently discover a health problem of their own in the background somewhere.

So, the answer is never easy or self-evident, except for other people, and except in hindsight, when you have sorted it out. Cool comfort, but true.

This is why Positive Health is not a slave to any single practice, methodology or product. You cannot envisage a greater divergence in approaches to health than the topics covered in the current issue – ranging from the Chi practices of Mantak Chia, healing of Reiki and Golden Rè, Nutritional approaches to intestinal disturbances and parasites, self-actualisation by Illumination Therapy, Bodywork therapies, or wonderful support from the Wandsworth Cancer Resource Centre.

As they say, different strokes for different folks. It isn't any different for complementary medicine, just more natural.


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About Sandra Goodman PhD

Sandra Goodman PhD, Co-founder and Editor of Positive Health, trained as a Molecular Biology scientist in Agricultural Biotechnology in Canada and the US, focusing upon health issues since the 1980s in the UK. Author of 4 books, including Nutrition and Cancer: State-of-the-Art, Vitamin C – The Master Nutrient, Germanium: The Health and Life Enhancer and numerous articles, Dr Goodman was the lead author of the Consensus Document Nutritional and LifeStyle Guidelines for People with Cancer and compiled the Cancer and Nutrition Database for the Bristol Cancer Help Centre in 1993. Dr Goodman is passionate about making available to all people, particularly those with cancer, clinical expertise in Nutrition and Complementary Therapies. Dr Goodman was recently featured as Doctor of the Fortnight in ThinkWellness360.

Dr Goodman and long-term partner Mike Howell seek individuals with vision, resources, and organization to continue and expand the Positive Health PH Online legacy beyond the first 30 years, with facilities for training, to fund alternative cancer research, and promote holistic organizations internationally. Read about Dr Goodman and purchase Nutrition and Cancer: State-of-the-Art.  She may be contacted privately for Research, Lectures and Editorial services via:   and

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