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Letters to the Editor Issue 74

by Letters(more info)

listed in letters to the editor, originally published in issue 74 - March 2002

Yoga Not a Threat to Christianity

I am writing to introduce myself as an Integral Yoga teacher from the ashram of Satchidananda, in Virginia, USA.

I was recently denied access to a church hall to teach Yoga based on the Vicar's decision that yoga is contrary to the teachings of Christ, and his concern that yoga is a gateway to meditation and eastern mysticism.

It is my opinion, that today Christianity is at a crossroads where the Church can no longer confidently rely on its role at the heart of society.

While for some there is a vibrant truth to be found within Christianity, for many others its teachings seem either rigidly limited or alienating. Our society is a secular society, where religion is often seen as irrelevant. The clergy seem woefully inadequate to answer spiritual and moral questions; the Church has lost its authority, and a study of its history further undermines any remaining trust in it as a viable spiritual institution

We are at the very beginning of time for the human race. It is not unreasonable that we grapple with the problems, but there are tens of thousands of years in the future. Our responsibility is to do what we can, learn what we can, improve the solutions and pass them on. It is our responsibility to leave the people of the future a free hand and a choice to let the light in.

I am not trying to retort to this Christian view, but to bring awareness to the benefits of yoga to health and well being to the mind and body. My concern for our multi-religious and cultural society, with its ever-increasing threat from destruction, not only of race, but also of our planet, is for humanity and survival. We do not need to renounce these places of worship, but should not to get stuck in their metaphor.

"The truths contained in religious doctrines are after all so distorted and systematically disguised," writes Sigmund Freud, "that the mass of humanity cannot recognise them as truth. The case is similar to what happens when we tell a child that the stork brings new-born babies. Here, too, we are telling the truth in symbolic clothing, for we know what the large bird signifies. But the child does not know it. He hears only the distorted part of what we say and feels that he has been deceived: and we know how often his distrust of the grown-ups and his refractoriness actually take their start from this impression. We have become convinced that it is better to avoid such symbolic disguising of the truth in what we tell children and not to withhold them from the knowledge of the true state of affairs commensurate with their intellectual level."[1]

Yoga is an immortal art, science and philosophy. It is the best subjective psycho-anatomy of mankind ever conceived for the experience of physical, mental, intellectual and spiritual well being. It has stood the test of time from the beginning of civilisation and it will remain supreme as a precise psycho-physical science for centuries to come.

So, for our future we should perhaps be open to a holistic approach and embrace all thinking and philosophy. We require an inclusive approach to the teachings of Christ, of Buddhism, Hinduism, and other nature religions.

We should investigate the true meaning of the myth to get nearer to the truth. Buddha means the one who wakes up. Through meditation one can centre your spiritual being and access higher thinking. The mind is a secondary organ and must not take control of the humanity of the body.

There are approximately 83,000 Asanas (movements) in Yoga. The benefits to health and well being are immense, for example one such Asanas: The shoulder stand brings rich blood supply to the thyroid. The thyroid regulates the body's metabolism and heat production. The thyroid hormones regulate the growth and development of the body. It controls the heart rate, heart contractability and blood pressure. Weight problems are often a result of thyroid problem. The mental benefits being relieves mental sluggishness, helps cure insomnia and depression.

So as a brief and incomplete introduction to Yoga, I would urge any person who has not taken direct responsibility for their health, well being and happiness, to try a class and then make their own mind up. I have addressed many serious addictions and problems in my life and found a new and healthy person within. Remember that our true nature is peace. Relax and enjoy.

Tom Newstead (Dhira)
Tel: 07900 654227

1. Sigmund Freud. The Future of Illusions. 1927. Translated by James Strachey. London: Hogarth Press, 1968.

To Kaisa – Life, Love and Complementary Health Care

I must thank you for your wonderful review of my book and the great tribute you have paid to my beloved wife Kaisa.

The continued and growing response to my book – largely from people with cancer or with loved ones who have had cancer or sadly died from the disease – is bringing great comfort to me. I do, however, share your despair and dismay at cancer statistics and the continued refusal by the medical profession et al to acknowledge the true – and known – reasons for the growth of this terrible disease.

I can only hope that my little book will contribute to the great debate currently underway to redress the balance and to open peoples' eyes to the fact that so much can be done to keep us in a state of good health and cancer free.

Once again my sincere thanks.

With my love and good wishes to you in the year to come.

Sincere regards
Michael Vincent

Placebo Effect

I read with interest the article on Integrative Massage Therapy (IMT) in Issue No. 72. Both informative and well written, I felt it raised several key points that ought to be emphasized without the bounds of any specific therapies, in particular the notion of the healing therapeutic relationship.

Currently I am fortunate to be working with Dr Reilly at the Glasgow Homeopathic Hospital where a large part of his current research is focused around the creation of therapeutic relationships rather than the use of specific therapies or 'tools'. Rather than looking out with orthodox medicine for yet another 'complete' system of diagnosis and treatment, we as complementary therapists have a unique opportunity to preserve the in-depth caring consultation that so often lies at the heart of any success we may be privileged to observe. Frequently dismissed as the so-called 'placebo-effect', one of Dr Reilly's suggestions is that the phenomenon could be better described as the body's innate healing ability, and that we ought to be studying the best way to maximize this rather than eliminate it!

An article which looks at this area, including the importance of CAM therapists avoiding becoming as narrow in outlook as orthodox specialists, would be very welcome.

Thanks again for your wonderful magazine,

Kind regards
Morag K Heirs MA (Psych),
Massage Therapist and Researcher.

The Editor Replies
Positive Health will be publishing an authoritative feature Influence of the
Placebo Effect Upon the Healing Process by Carol Squire in Issue 75.
Sandra Goodman PhD

Seeking Parkinson's Volunteers

I am a 59-year old woman who three years ago was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease. After the initial shock and a lot of research, I decided that I would avoid the drugs supplied by mainstream medicine for as long as possible. I changed my lifestyle, started taking various supplements, having regular Reiki and keeping up to date by subscribing to various magazines such as Positive Health.

About a year ago I volunteered to take part in a medical research clinic in London. Apparently I was just the sort of person they were looking for, diagnosed with Parkinson's but not taking specific medication.

Drs Sylvia and John Dobbs of Kings College London regard Parkinsonism as a whole body disease and think that the gut could be implicated in the driving force behind the disease. They are looking for more volunteers like me, who are willing to attend an initial screening in London where their suitability for the research will be assessed.

My experience with the clinic has been a very positive one. After my screening I progressed to various tests followed by a one week course of active treatment directed at the potential driving force, or placebo. I am now undergoing tests every 6 weeks for a period of one year. If the luck of the draw was that I have received the placebo, I will then be offered the active treatment. None of this is particularly onerous and I feel very privileged to be taking part in what could turn out to be a very valuable turning point in the treatment of this disease.

I'm hoping that more people like me read your magazine and will be prepared to become volunteers. If anyone is interested in taking part please contact Drs Sylvia and John Dobbs Tel: 01442 873571 (ansaphone), Fax:020 8868 3530,

Barbara Scannell
Tel: 01263 823731

Nick Carter DO, MBRA, FSMTO 15.10.37 – 9.11.01

The field of complementary medicine has lost a great ambassador; the osteopathic and bodywork professions have lost an innovative figure, inspirer of many, wonderful teacher and dedicated osteopath.

Nick Carter worked with Maggie Brooks forming the Brooks-Carter Clinic. In 1992, they formed the Grampian School of Massage evolving later into the present Scottish Massage Schools which offers a full career progression from Swedish Massage right through to Manipulative Therapy including Remedial and Sports Massage, Advanced Remedial Massage, Clinical Aromatherapy, On-Site Massage and Reflexology. Courses are offered in Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Inverness and Glasgow. Nick was the innovation behind forming Scotland's organisation for Massage Therapists, which continues to flourish and is now one of the founder organisations of the General Council for Massage Therapy. The Committee decided to award Nick a Fellowship of the Scottish Massage Therapists' Organisation for his services to the Massage Therapy profession.

Interest in energies and meditation and the fascination he had for manipulative work as well as a keen interest in all complementary medicine made him a stalwart in our profession. The therapists he trained are witnesses to his professionalism, skill and great knowledge. He believed in complementary medicine and worked hard to promote it, inspiring others to try these less invasive approaches to health restoration.

His success in treating clients was well known across Scotland and further afield. Nick saw all people with chronic conditions as a challenge and was programmed to care.

Nick lived and loved life to the full. He is remembered by family, friends, clients, students, graduates, therapists as well as fellow students from years ago. Messages have come in from around the world. His soul mate Maggie will continue his legacy through the Clinic, Schools and the Scottish Massage Therapists' Organisation.

Maggie Brooks DO, RGN, SMTO.

Silica for Nails

We read with interest in this month's issue (72) about the research on colloidal silica and the reported benefits (article on p.7) such as strengthened hair and nails. Fascinating – but the impression given was that this is something new; whereas this mineral has played a vital part in Wilhelm Schuessler's system of biochemic tissue salts since 1873 and is also well-known to have exactly the same beneficial effect on nails, hair, etc., plus a great deal more. This has been consistently documented throughout the last 130 years, although perhaps the tissue salts are not deemed 'exciting' enough to catch the public's eye and money!

We have had astounding first-hand experience of the benefits of silica tissue salt with ourselves, the clients in our practice and a great many animals. As a matter of fact, the response in animals is faster and more marked than in humans.

We like your magazine very much, but we think it is a shame when 'new' developments spring up to cloud the similar and possibly greater achievements that have been around a long time and largely forgotten.

Martin J. Scott and Gael Mariani
Tutors, Animal Care College, Ascot, Berkshire
Faculty Members, Hahnemann Center for Heilkunst, Ottawa, Canada
Authors, Tissue Salts: Super-Nutrition for Dogs (Society for Animal Flower Essence Research, UK / USA)

Homeopathy for Food Allergies

I wonder if Rachael Hyllor (Food Sensitivities Issue 72) has been treated for her onion intolerance? As an allergy practitioner I use kinesiology to reveal all types of allergies and then treat these by prescribing the allergen, whether environmental or dietary, in homeopathic form. I am finding clients can eat / inhale the problem food / substance with no ill effect once treated in this way.

Alex Christie,
Allergy Practitioner.
Tel: 020 8876 0216

Treatment Choices for Cancer Patients

With reference to your many features highlighting cancer prevention and treatment, I would like to introduce myself, and my service which I hope you may find of interest.

I am nurse with many years of experience treating cancer patient with orthodox treatments. Last year I set up my service (leaflet enclosed), to help people find their way through the mass of information, and misinformation surrounding orthodox and alternative treatments.

I aim to provide them with the full context surrounding their treatments which are available, which are not and why not. Also, why the medical profession chooses to ignore alternative treatments. I provide the information so the patient can find the treatment, either orthodox or alternative, which is going to do them the most good, with the least harm.

Unsurprisingly I have been completely stonewalled by the doctors and nurses in the NHS; patients receiving unbiased, truthful information are not something they have so far welcomed.

Many of my clients have successfully chosen treatments that have helped them deal with the rigours of chemotherapy, and many have, upon receiving the facts, chosen to seek help from professional, competent alternative practitioners.

I wondered if my story and my service would be something that would be of interest to your readers.

Patricia Peat,
Cancer Nurse Specialist
Tel/Fax: 01623 438733; Mob: 0794 180 6503;

Dietician vs Nutritional Therapist

As many training colleges for nutritional therapy, including my own, are regularly publicized in your journal I thought it pertinent to bring to your attention the recent damning picture of nutritional therapists portrayed by Luci Hoe in her article entitled 'Deadly Dieting' in Sunday Times Style on 27th January 2002. By inference, the very fact that Positive Health publicize such training colleges implies support.

I believe this article to be biased and in some instances seriously misleading. Quoting sensationalist individual examples as evidence of overall poor practice, is in my view inexcusable. I and other nutritional therapists have horror stories to communicate about poor practice of the orthodox kind, but choose I hope to avoid unnecessarily hyping the public. Being a State Registered Dietician does not preclude poor practice. This is a major reason why professional bodies and ethics committees exist.

Luci Hoe describes in her article an individual case in America that resulted in the death of a 37 year old woman who died after taking food supplements prescribed by her personal trainer. She had been advised to take a stimulant called ephedrine, which is potentially lethal for people with high blood pressure. It is claimed that the personal trainer overlooked the fact that this woman had taken blood pressure lowering medication for five years.

Firstly, personal trainers in Britain are not usually nutritional therapists. Secondly, ephedrine is not classified as a food supplement. It may be a component of herbal medicines and Chinese herbs. Again, personal trainers in Britain are not generally practitioners of herbal medicine.

This article was disappointing considering that at the end of 2001 a representative from our professional body British Association of Nutritional Therapists (BANT) gave a presentation at the House of Commons describing Nutritional Therapy. The Chair of the British Dietetics Association and the Chair of the Nutrition Society each gave a presentation about their associations at the same meeting.

I was present at this meeting and those of us that attended felt the outcome to be positive, opening doors for future discussion and co-operation. This article failed to refer to BANT representation at the House of Commons meeting last year and the considerable development in standards of training courses in nutritional therapy.

Our educational standards at the Centre for Nutrition Education are set at degree level and we are actively pursuing a degree validation with a London university. A degree in Health Sciences: Nutritional Therapy exists at the University of Westminster.

It is my view that nutritional therapy has emerged out of a lack of provision from orthodox healthcare and as such has been practised by individuals that have received varying lengths and types of training. I understand that BANT is committed to only registering appropriately trained practitioners.

More medical doctors are training in nutritional medicine and several that I am studying with are interested in graduates of our training courses working with them in the future.

Power struggles usually coincide with paradigm shifts. However, there is room for dieticians and nutritional therapists trained to accepted standards. There are too few nutrition practitioners of any kind to serve the needs of the public at this time.

Kate Neil RN
Centre for Nutrition Education


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