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Archive for September 22, 2012

Myths and Misapprehensions About Homeopathy

Myths and Misapprehensions About Homeopathy


Many homeopaths, believing that the explanation of how homeopathy works is  secondary to its success with literally millions of patients, have traditionally  refused to reveal the names of the medicines they give. This and the lack of  information they have provided about their practice has led to an aura of  secrecy in which myths abound. It is worth looking at a few of these  misapprehensions.

Myth: ‘Homeopathy is a form of herbalism’

In my experience, this is the commonest myth of all. While it is certainly  true that a proportion of the remedies a homeopath uses are based on plants, and  though, as in homeopathy, the herbalist prescribes on the individual, the  principles that govern the two therapies are quite different.

Many plants have known healing properties; herbalism is concerned with the  known sphere of action of a plant based on its chemical constituents as well as  its known healing qualities. Herbalism has existed for thousands of years—for as  long as we have records—in some form or another and has its roots in mother  earth. It is the only form of medicine used by wild animals.

Homeopathy, on the other hand, is based on a very different set of  principles. Homeopathic remedies are not used in the material dose; nor are they  based solely on plants, using as they do poisons, metals, and disease products.  Homeopaths generally prescribe one remedy at a time rather than the mixtures of  plant tinctures that herbalists employ. And, of course, homeopathy in its modern  form is a mere 200 years old.

Myth: ‘Homeopathy is safe

In the same way that homeopathy can cure—dramatically and permanently in many  cases—it can also cause harm. Kent said that he would rather share a room with a  nest of vipers than be subjected to the administrations of an inexperienced  homeopath! Potential dangers are:

Unintentional provings

If you take too many homeopathic pills over a period of time it is possible  to ‘prove’ the remedy—that is, to suffer from the symptoms that the remedy was  supposed to cure. This can mean that although your own symptoms may improve  initially, they may worsen again if you continue to take the pills. Worse still,  if the remedy did not fit your picture—was not right for you—you may experience  symptoms you never had before.

This is a danger with self-prescribing or over-the-counter prescribing, where  there is no professional homeopath to monitor the symptoms. In my first year in  practice a woman rang me one day in a frantic state, desperate for help. She  told me the following story:

I asked for help at a homeopathic chemist for thrush, which I had  suffered from for several months, and was prescribed Nux vomica 30 over the  counter and told to take it three times daily. After a few days I experienced a  marked improvement in my condition, so I carried on taking it. After a week of  no further changes my symptoms started to get worse so I carried on taking it. I  finished the bottle of pills and went back to the pharmacy and told them my  thrush was now as bad as when I had started taking the remedy. They gave me  another bottle of Nux vomica 30 and told me to continue with the treatment. It  is now two months since I started on this remedy and my thrush is unbearable. It  is so bad I can’t sleep at night and I am irritable all the time. Please help  me.

I advised this woman to stop taking the pills and to antidote the remedy with  strong coffee and camphorated ointment (to counteract its effects) and within  twenty-four hours she was back to her old self, having slept well for the first  time in over a month. The thrush was back to where it had been before she took  the Nux vomica—annoying but manageable.

A colleague of mine tells of a six-month-old baby who was treated at a local  hospital as an emergency out-patient in a state of collapse. The nurse on duty  was a student of my colleague’s and discovered that the mother had been giving  her baby Chamomilla 6 several times a day for colic since soon after birth. As  soon as the homeopathic remedy was discontinued for a period of time the muscle  tone returned.

It is important to be on your guard against this over-use of homeopathic  medicines.

Confusion of the symptom picture

If a remedy has not been prescribed on the whole person it will work in a  limited way, curing a restricted number of symptoms. In these cases some  complaints remain and it is possible to end up giving one remedy after another  in order to try to ‘get rid’ of the remaining symptoms. In the end the whole  picture becomes so changed that it is difficult to find the similimum (that  single remedy that was needed at the very beginning).

The professional homeopath has different ways of dealing with this phenomenon  in order to get back to the original symptom picture. If you find that you are  prescribing one remedy after another with only limited effect, then do get  professional help.


A homeopathic remedy can cure a superficial symptom such as skin eruption in  the same way that, for example, the application of a Cortisone cream can. This  will only be the case if the remedy has been prescribed on the skin complaint  (single symptom) without taking into account the whole person and/or the cause.  The effect is to push the disease further into the body. Constitutional  treatment will often commence with the original symptom resurfacing. Suppression  is not common in homeopathy but is possible. In self-prescribing, if your  complaint disappears but you feel much worse in

yourself (i.e. your moods and your energy) then it is likely that you have  made a poor choice of remedy—antidote it and get some professional advice.

Myth: ‘Homeopathy is form of vaccination’

People often say that they understand homeopathy to be like a vaccination in  that the patient is given a small quantity of the disease he already has in  order to make him immune to it.

This is not true. Homeopathy and vaccination have similar, not the same,  concepts and very different practices. Vaccines work on the physical body in a  very specific way, in that they stimulate the immune system directly to produce  specific antibodies as if that person has contracted that particular disease; in  so doing they are, of course, stressing the immune system. Many vaccines have  been known to produce permanent side effects. They must be tested on animals and  then on humans to verify their safety, and even then children and adults are  often damaged on a physical, emotional or mental level.

A homeopathic remedy works in a totally different way. Homeopathic remedies  affect the energy patterns or vital force of a person and by so doing stimulate  the body to heal itself. They are administered orally in a diluted (and safe)  dose as opposed to being introduced directly into the bloodstream, as is the  case with vaccination thereby bypassing the body’s natural defense system and  stressing it in a way that is not fully understood. Homeopathic medicines are  not tested on innocent animals and do not have side effects.

Myth: ‘Homeopathic remedies are placebos’

This myth can be rephrased to read ‘You need to believe in it for it to  work.’ This is patently ridiculous to anyone who has experienced or prescribed a  successful homeopathic cure for, say, a head injury or a middle-ear  infection.

A placebo is an unmedicated pill which the patient believes contains  something that will cure him or her. Double-blind trials always involve the  inclusion of a control group taking a placebo instead of the medicine being  tested in order to rule out the individual’s ‘suggestibility’.

It is because homeopathic remedies do not always work that they are sometimes  believed to be ineffective and, because routine prescriptions such as Rhus  toxicodendron for rheumatism and Chamomilla for teething babies are freely  available from high-street chemists, people are wrongly persuaded into thinking  that they need not consult a homeopath (or an adequate first-aid book). If the  remedies do not work it is assumed that homeopathy does not work; if they do  work it is attributed to a placebo effect—some double blind!

Homeopathic medicines work effectively on babies and animals, neither of whom  are open to being affected by placebos.

It is always essential to individualize the remedy to fit the patient and not  the disease, to ensure that the underlying principles are observed so that the  element of chance is decreased and homeopathy can be seen to work.

Of course, there are many people who will recognize the experience of  consulting a practitioner who inspires belief and hope, who left them feeling  buoyant and encouraged. But if this initial rapport is not backed up with good  solid prescribing, then no amount of that positive ‘transference’ will cure the  patient.

Myth: ‘Homeopathy is mysterious and unscientific’

The fact that homeopathic medicines are prepared in a pharmacy or a  laboratory and that their preparation involves a particular technique subject to  precise and clearly stated controls (it does not involve mysterious and secret  processes which put it into the realm of white magic or alchemy) is enough to  convince many people of its validity.

Homeopaths have traditionally justified their practice by their results,  without feeling a need to explain how their methods work. The homeopathic  philosophy or doctrine is a set of rules for practice—one that hasn’t changed  since it was formulated 200 years ago. These rules and principles constitute a  unified hypothesis whose validity is tested out empirically—with cured patients  confirming the hypothesis.

Harris Coulter, in his book Homeopathic Science and Modern Medicine (The  Physics of healing with Microdoses), discusses this issue at great length and  also describes many of the trials that have been conducted over the past fifty  years or so using plants, animals and humans as controls to prove the  effectiveness of homeopathic medicines.

(In Atlanta, GA, Leesa recommends Dr. Seneca Anderson at  Be sure to tell them Leesa Wheeler referred you!)


Reprinted from The Complete Homeopathy Handbook by Miranda  Castro

by Miranda  Castro FSHom, RSHom (NA), CCH, Contributor to Homeopathy  on

Editor´s Note from Judith  Hanna Doshi: Miranda’s article lays out some of the common misunderstandings  about Homeopathy. Although it is usually promoted as a “safe, gentle and  effective” mode of treatment, it must be recognized that Homeopathy is a complex  treatment modality that requires considerable skill to administer and manage effectively,  preferably by a professional homeopath. If poorly done, it can cause  aggravations and even complicate the existing disease picture. Fortunately,  these effects are usually short lived and in no way resemble the toxic effects  of conventional treatments  that leave their imprint permanently.

Dr. Neala Peake, selected  from

All Things Healing ( is an online  portal and community dedicated to informing and educating people across the  globe about alternative healing of mind, body, spirit and the planet at large.  We are committed to bringing together a worldwide community of individuals and  organizations who are working to heal themselves, each other, and the world. We  offer 39 healing categories, 80 plus editors who are experts in their fields, a  forum for each category, and an extensive “Find Practitioners” listing. Our  Costa Rica Learning Center and Spiritual Retreat is coming soon. Join  us!


10 Food Swaps to Lower Blood Pressure

10 Food Swaps to Lower Blood Pressure


While blood pressure raises and lowers naturally, sustained elevation —  otherwise known as high  blood pressure, or hypertension — can damage your heart, kidneys,  and even brain.

More than 65 million Americans have the condition — caused by  stress, aging, a poor diet, not enough exercise, obesity,  smoking, or  just plain genetics — and which can be managed in part by cutting  back  on sodium, according to the American  Heart Association.

The recommended daily allowance of sodium is no more than 2,300 mg —  about 1  teaspoon of table salt — which adds up fast. These switches —  also good for  those who want to maintain low blood pressure — can help  you cut your salt  intake without sacrificing flavor.

1. Say No to Pre-Packaged Frozen Dinners They’re quick  and easy to prepare, but many frozen meals also pack a   huge sodium punch — as  much as 1,800 mg in one dish, according to — and many of  them don’t have enough vegetables  to help you meet your  daily  requirements. For fast meals on busy nights,  freeze leftovers or  try make-ahead  casseroles that go from freezer to oven to  table with a  minimum of  effort (like Emeril’s Mexican  Chicken Tortilla version) to make sure  you’re  getting the right  nutrients.

Worst case: Look for low-sodium, organic frozen meals.

2. Trade Salt for Spices, Vinegar, or Fruit Juice Start  by adding fresh or dried herbs and spices — like rosemary, basil,  dill, oregano, hot peppers, thyme — lemon  or lime juice, flavored  vinegars, and garlic in place of salt in your favorite  recipes.



3. Try Oil and Vinegar For Salads Salads,  sandwiches,  and stir-frys are often healthier than other dinner  options,  but you can  inadvertently add too much sodium by pouring on ketchup,  mustard, soy sauce, and salad  dressings. Try simple olive oil and balsamic  vinegar  on your greens, use fresh  tomatoes on your burger, and look  for low-sodium  versions of other  condiments — or just make sure to  watch your portions (one  tablespoon  of regular ketchup has a whopping  160-190 mg of sodium). Some  companies  do the work for you, though: This  spring, according to the Huffington  Post, Heinz announced that it tweaked  its  classic ketchup recipe to  cut the sodium by 15 percent in response  to new FDA  salt limits.

4. Trade Canned Soup, Broth, and Vegetables For   Homemade Canned goods are notoriously high in sodium — one serving   can have as much as half your daily allowance — so you might be paying  for the  convenience. Soups and broths are easy enough to make yourself once you realize that they  pretty much  require two things — water and time — and you can flavor  them with vegetables,  herbs, and spices for low-cost meals that feed a  crowd. Many companies also  offer low-sodium or no-salt-added versions of  popular soups, broths, and  vegetables (but check the sodium levels on  your frozen  vegetables, too, especially if they come with  seasonings or sauces:  sodium often sneaks into those).

Try canning or freezing your own vegetables during the summer to eat  all  winter.



5. Avoid the Brine Pickles,  olives, sauerkraut, and just about any  other  vegetables that come in a  brine may not feel unhealthy,  but those  brines were designed to  preserve the food — which means  there’s plenty of sodium floating around. Limit your indulgence in  these  foods, and try your hand at canning  your own pickles from fresh cucumbers to  be sure  you know exactly  how much salt you’re eating.

6. Cut Down on Cured Meats Bacon,  ham, salami, and other cured meats are another  sodium obstacle:  According to the NIH  DASH eating plan, 3 ounces of lean meat, fish, or  poultry contains  between 30 and 90 mg of sodium, while the same amount of  roasted ham contains 1,020 mg. Eat cured meats sparingly and replace  them with fresh chicken, pork,  fish, or even no-salt-added canned tuna. Watch  out for smoked and  processed versions, too — they’ll also increase your sodium  levels.

7. Reach for Unsalted Popcorn Over Salty Snacks It  doesn’t take a dietitian to realize that salty snacks are higher in  sodium than  sweet ones — that’s something your tastebuds can probably  tell you all by  themselves. In a perfect world, you’d replace all those cravings for crackers,   chips, and pretzels with fresh  fruit slices and carrot sticks — but when you just  can’t resist a  snack attack, look for healthier versions, like no-salt popcorn,  low-sodium crackers, or unsalted chips.

8. Substitute Whole Wheat Flour For White Flour Choosing whole  wheat pasta, rice, bread, cereal, and snacks can help  lower blood  pressure in several ways: You’ll be skipping a lot of processed and  salted foods by default (since many of them are made with white flour),  and  they can help you lose weight, which lowers your risk of developing  many  health conditions (including high blood pressure). Make oatmeal, rice, and pasta  without adding salt to the cooking  water, and you could end up with as little  as 5 mg of sodium per  serving. (Leesa recommends The Pure Wraps made from Coconut and Quinoa for those who need to eat Gluten-Free!)



9. Say No to Buttermilk Buttermilk has more than twice as much sodium as a cup of  its less-flavorful  cousin, low-fat milk, which means you could be adding a lot  more than  just taste to those pancakes. Stick with regular milk and natural  (not  processed) cheese as part of a low-sodium diet, since they also contain   blood-pressure-lowering potassium.

10. Stock Up on Dark Chocolate Okay, here’s  one piece of  good news: Dark  chocolate doesn’t need to go on your list of foods to  avoid, since  some studies have shown that the flavanols it contains can help  lower  blood pressure by helping dilate blood vessels. As with any treat,  you don’t want to eat too much of it — but in small  amounts, it can  have health benefits that go beyond a sugar  rush. (Leesa recommends Vivani 85% Org Dark Chocolate!)

By Blythe Copeland, TreeHugger




The 3 Best Types of Weekend Getaways

The 3 Best Types of Weekend Getaways


For 11 months of the year, we daydream about where we’ll go on  vacation — beaches, safaris, canyons — until we finally arrive at the  week or two when  we get to fulfill the dream. We return to work  temporarily refreshed, only to  spend another year anticipating.

The thing is, all that waiting to wind down isn’t necessary. Sure,  long  trips are great, but they’re not the only way to experience adventure or luxuriate in relaxation. Many experts believe  that even a long  weekend can deliver an impressive bang for your vacation buck. “If you  have 12 vacation days, you’re better off planning a number of three- or  four-day vacations per year than one long trip,” says Dan Buettner,  author of Thrive:  Finding Happiness the Blue Zones Way (National Geographic, 2010).

By studying populations worldwide, Buettner discovered that the  healthiest,  happiest people “downshift” routinely, not just annually.  “Scheduling a string  of downshifting vacations every other month helps  you get into the routine of  de-stressing your life.”

Science confirms that regular time off from work can reduce your  chances of  becoming ill or dying prematurely. But there’s another factor  in the work-play  equation: how long the good feelings last after you  return from climbing in  Yosemite or surfing in Hawaii.

The postholiday glow can fade with shocking speed, says vacation  researcher  Jessica de Bloom, MSc, of Radboud University Nijmegen in the  Netherlands. In  the people she studied, vacations’ aftereffects — less  stress, fewer physical  complaints — usually disappeared within the first  week of their returning home.  But more regular trips offer a greater  number of relaxed, postvacation  days.

Besides shortening the length of time between post-vacation highs  (and  lows), frequent three-day vacations give you more opportunities to  visit a  variety of locations with diversified experiences — a short  winter ski  adventure followed by summer cycling and fall mountaineering,  for instance.

There’s also an enhanced happiness factor. “Much of our satisfaction  from  vacationing comes from planning a trip and remembering its  highlights,” says  Buettner. “If your life is punctuated with short  vacations, then you’re getting  more of those opportunities.”

Here are three examples of quick, no-fuss getaways: one restful and romantic,  one high adventure, and one memorable trip of my own that combined them  both.  A key tip: Go somewhere that’s three hours or less from home.  Shorter travel  time helps make the most of a brief escape.


The Long-Weekend  Retreat

When to go: Your nerves are frayed and you can’t  switch out  of work mode. You need R&R, ASAP, because you’re  beginning to speak in  acronyms.

As Troy and Linea Gagliano sipped wine and gazed through their hotel  window,  the Pacific tide crashed against the rocky coast of Yachats,  Ore. “Watching the  waves was a Zen moment that felt better than a  Xanax,” says Linea, 40, a PR  manager who was exhausted from juggling  work and a baby. “I could feel the  stress rolling off.”

For their three-day weekend, the Portland couple unplugged from their  jobs  and left the baby in his grandmother’s care. “We celebrated our  independence by  sleeping late and soaking in the Overleaf Lodge’s hot  tub,” says Troy, 42, a  renewable-energy developer. “We emphasized  hedonism over exercise because our  goal was to rest, reconnect and watch  the mesmerizing waves.”

The couple did stretch their legs, exploring tidal pools filled with   starfish and sea anemones. They kept their mini-vacation simple and  unhurried  by skipping an itinerary, ignoring the hotel-room TV and  turning off cell  phones.  (Grandma had the lodge’s phone number in case of emergency.) They  even  packed picnic foods for the trip and ordered takeout so they could dine   quietly in their room.

The getaway rejuvenated the Gaglianos’ relationship. “We had time to  walk on  the beach and laugh together,” says Linea. “After the trip, I  was excited to  see our boy, and I knew I could tackle work with a  clearer vision. And I felt  grateful for everything I have: a wonderful  husband, a beautiful son and a  great job.”

Planning tips:

  • To save money, take restorative weekends in the off-season when the best  hotel rooms are generally less expensive.
  • If possible, choose a vacation spot that involves a scenic drive to  get  there. Then it feels like the holiday starts the moment you leave town.


The Active  Adventure

When to go: You’ve been cooped up in the office and want to  cut loose and challenge yourself with an invigorating physical escapade.

Russ Carroll and his son Nicholas, 12, of Weston, Mass., wanted to  pump up  their summer vacation. Traditionally, the family takes extended  sightseeing  trips in the car, but last year, Russ, 45, organized a  guys-only three-day  hiking trek in New Hampshire’s White Mountains. Not  wanting to waste time with  planning and logistics, Russ hired  Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) naturalist  guides and invited some other  family members to join them.

At the site, guides prepped the group on what to expect during three  days of  moderate-to-strenuous backpacking. That first day, as they  summited Mt.  Washington (New England’s highest peak and the site of  numerous hiker  fatalities), the wind blew 50 miles an hour and  visibility was poor. “We felt  safer with guides, knowing how easily we  could have gotten lost or hurt in  those conditions,” says Russ.

Wind-battered but triumphant, the group arrived at Lake of the   Clouds Hut, where an AMC crew cooked a hearty dinner and showed them to   one of several bunk rooms, which they shared with other hikers. There  were no  flush toilets or showers, but the hut was well equipped with  food, water,  pillows and blankets.

After breakfast, the group packed their lunches and headed out for  another  full day — this time in bright sunshine — to reach Mizpah Hut  for their second  night. They climbed more mountains, and the guides  helped Nicholas use the GPS  to locate a geocache treasure.

Physically reinvigorated, Russ felt like he’d been gone a month, not  just  four days. “I watched Nicholas’s confidence build as he made it  over rough  terrain carrying a 40-pound pack,” he says. “I saw him become  responsible when  he took a turn as our trail leader, even though he was  the youngest. The change  from hiking in nature was profound for all of  us, from age 12 to 54.”

Another advantage of their short but rugged adventure: The brief time  window  allowed the Carrolls to go for broke on the trail, then return  home rejuvenated — not exhausted.

Planning tips:

  • No matter how brief your vacation, plan to spend some time in  nature. It  will get your head out of work mode and help stress evaporate  more  quickly.
  • Hiring a guide for rugged trips helps keep you safe and saves you time on  planning and logistics.


Yin and Yang  Weekend

When to go: You and your travel companion have  different  fitness levels or enjoy different activities — or you simply  yearn for some  variety.

My first three-day vacation was inspired by the fact that I was  recovering  from knee surgery and wanted to join my husband on his annual  ski trip. I don’t  typically ski even when my knees are in top shape,  but I was in desperate need  of some restorative time away. So we opted  for a trip to suit both our agendas:  He skis, she spas.

We searched for a hotel that could accommodate our dual needs and  found one  just two hours from our Boulder home — at Devil’s Thumb Ranch  Resort & Spa,  in Tabernash, Colo. On 6,000 acres in the Rocky  Mountains, the resort has a  relaxing spa and yoga classes (for me), 65  adrenaline-packed miles of groomed  Nordic ski and snowshoe trails (for  him), and a fireplace in the room (for  us).

On our first full day, Ken drove with his telemark skis to nearby  Berthoud  Pass, which straddles the Continental Divide, where the  backcountry powder is  deep. I threw a parka over my yoga attire and  walked to the spa, where the yoga  room has a view of snowy peaks. After  class, it was time for my Altitude  Adjustment, a treatment involving massage and hot towels soaked in relaxing  lavender oil. Thoughts of writing deadlines evaporated.

Just before dusk, Ken returned, grinning like a skier who had been  gliding  through clouds. We celebrated our individual vacation  experiences together in  the hot tub under the stars before sharing a  candlelight dinner.

Having multiple options ultimately benefited us both. On our last  day, Ken  indulged in some tension-loosening yoga with me before renting  Nordic skis and  blazing off on the Lazy Sunday Loop. We met for lunch,  and then he decided to  attempt a few laps of skate skiing. In the spirit  of adventure, I strapped on  snowshoes and tested my knee on an easy  trail. I watched Ken skate the loop; he  spotted me tramping through  snow. We waved to each other and laughed. The  future, I think, holds  many more three-day vacations tailored for two.

Planning tips:

  • When your trip involves a seasonal sport like skiing or golf, travel midweek  to avoid weekend crowds.
  • Find a hotel or resort that offers a smorgasbord of activities in one  location.

By , Experience Life

Experience Life magazine is an award-winning health and fitness  publication that aims to empower people to live their best, most authentic  lives, and challenges the conventions of hype, gimmicks and superficiality in  favor of a discerning, whole-person perspective. Visit   to learn more and to sign  up for the Experience Life newsletter, or to subscribe  to the print or digital version.


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