It will be Christmas day, but listen for new interviews on Healthy by Nature Saturday. (They were pre-recorded so I could be with family.) Allen Sprinkle, DDS, enlightens me about the unsuspected cause of headaches, tremors, walking or movement disorders, facial pain, and speech problems up to and including Tourette syndrome. We also discuss his innovative treatment for sleep apnea, a disease that can cause not only snoring and daytime fatigue, but is also linked to heart disease. Contractor and radio host, Chris Miles, gives pointers on making your home more energy efficient and better for your health. If you can’t listen then, remember that, thanks to the tireless efforts of my talented brother the webmaster, the shows are available online in the archives.
THE POWER OF YOUR BRAIN
We’ve talked here and on the show about reducing destructive energies such as radiation and electronic smog. Homeopathy, grounding, zero point energy and acupuncture are examples of energy used to build health, but our thoughts might be the most powerful medicine of all.
Standardized western medicine has long viewed humans as though we are machines—complex, but still not much more than the sum of the various parts. When a part fails, there’s always the option of retooling it with surgery or transplanting a new one. If a system gets squeaky and causes a symptom, we squirt it with a chemical to silence the warning. Our thoughts have seemed almost a nuisance in an otherwise orderly “science”. The placebo effect that confounds studies is a case in point. Obviously moods and behaviors can become problematic, so psychiatrists were assigned to talk the machines’ “software” into conformance. (It seems that the efficient prescription pad has become their primary tool.)
Holistic healers, those who believe that all parts, including the mind and spirit, were an interconnected energetic whole were labeled “quacks”. In 1986 when surgeon Bernie Siegel first published Love, Medicine and Miracles (which discussed the power of thoughts to heal) the public warmly embraced him. I’m sure the bulk of “science-based” medicine thought he was from another planet. Nurses have always seemed to know the importance of loving support and positive bedside manner. In fact, many of the mind/body studies today are being conducted due to support of nursing organizations such as The American Holistic Nurses Association (AHNA). (My hat is off to nurses for many, many reasons.)
Mind/body medicine has become a respected field of study, because although researchers can’t see our thoughts (lucky for us), they certainly can measure their effects. If a fake drug can, for example, make a research subject’s blood pressure go down, why shouldn’t we harness that effect? (Conversely, they now know there is a “nocebo” effect where the belief that a fake pill will cause side effects can actually cause them.) www.PubMed.org gives online access to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, a part of the National Institutes of Health. Type “Tai Chi” into their search engine and you get a list of 675 articles and studies from medical journals. Enter “yoga” and 1,523 references pop up. (Yoga and Tai Chi are physical activities, but the calming of the mind and regulation of breathing is thought to be a key benefit.) Search for “prayer” in that PubMed database and the result is 44,588 hits! Prayer is the most frequently used form of alternative medicine even in the pharmaceutical-dependent US of A. Here is the real shocker—many of the studies on the power of prayer are supported with government funding. We know that the act of praying, or even clearing the mind and meditating, reduces stress, improves oxygen uptake, normalizes heart rate, boosts immune function and has other measurable health benefits. One controversial area of research is the effort to determine if and to what extent health outcomes change when a patient is prayed for by others (intercessory prayer). Prayers can be at some great distance and without the patient’s knowledge. Studies have come to both positive and negative conclusions. Of course, there are many problems with the studies even from a purely scientific standpoint. For example, how can you assure that other people were not praying for the control group? A New York Times article reviewed some of this debate. Flash back to 1907 when Dr. Duncan MacDougall concluded from his experiments with dying patients that their souls weighed about 21 grams—there are decidedly more establishment detractors than supporters.
Scientists can’t agree on a proper dose of vitamin D or even if we should go in the sun like our ancestors, so it’s unlikely they’ll ever “prove” the effectiveness of praying for others. That may more appropriately remain a matter of faith. But, it is hard for me to understand how anyone who has studied the infinite intricacy and elegance of the human body cannot believe in God. My main mission is to teach that nutrition and lifestyle changes can prevent and heal disease. Since every life is important and we are all interconnected, I try to spread my health “gospel” to all people regardless of their faith. That means I must avoid telling listeners and readers what specific spiritual beliefs they should have—why give them an excuse to tune out? But I do believe everyone benefits from having a sustaining faith. I trust you don’t mind if I pray that you have one and for your wellbeing. If you are Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist or even Raëlian* but open to being merry during Christmas with me, I promise to be happy with you on your joyous holidays.
* Raëlians believe that humanity has at various points in history been visited by extraterrestrials. I wonder if the interplanetary visitors brought intolerance with them…
My first book : Natural Alternatives to Nexium, Maalox, Tagamet, Prilosec & Other Acid Blockers. Subtitle: What to Use to Relieve Acid Reflux, Heartburn, and Gastric Ailments.
My latest book : Aloe Vera-Modern Science Sheds Light on an Ancient Herbal Remedy
Copyright 2010 Martie Whittekin, CCN