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Doped Up! How We Sabotage Our Resilience Even Without Alcohol, Nicotine, Narcotics or Pharmaceuticals

Authentic Ancient Traditions are fairly consistent in teaching that there is nothing wrong with taking pleasure in the everyday things of life, that such pleasure is good and healthy and natural.  Some would go so far as to say that the pleasures of life were created for our enjoyment.  Heck, C.S. Lewis’ character Screwtape goes so far as to accuse God of being a secret hedonist.

All this is true.  So what about the other side of the coin, the discipline, the self-denial that finds an equal place in those traditions?  There are many important aspects to this question (none of which have anything to do with self-mortification or penance as taught in Western Christianity of the last thousand years), but one that is particularly important for this culture to understand, is that many of our so-called pleasures are actually manifestations of pain.

Specifically, they are manifestations of the anxiety trap (also known as the adrenaline addiction cycle), and situations of personal constriction and dissatisfaction.  Through chronic pleasure-seeking (more accurately, stimulation-seeking), we are seeking validation from something outside of ourselves to make up for something that should be coming from within, but is not.  Unfortunately, the neural and biochemical results of these activities in turn reduce our ability to find what we are truly looking for.

 

 

Drugs of Choice

We can all recite the litany of addictive drugs, from alcohol through nicotine to cocaine and heroin.  And it is true that drug addiction often begins with unaddressed pain.

But the real drugs of choice for our society are things we don’t usually consider in that light.

 

Food

Food, particularly fast food and junk food, the high-sugar, high-sodium food substitutes that are so easy to come by, is one of the first drugs of choice.  Between sports drinks, soft drinks, chocolate bars and corner store candy, we have almost limitless opportunities for a sugar high.  High carb, high transfat diets, in fact the obesity epidemic itself, is symptomatic of an underlying dysfunction in society.  People who are happy with themselves and their lives simply do not make those choices – their bodies know better, and they listen.

 

Adrenaline and Other Stimulation Highs

We’ve written previously (http://globalresiliencesolutions.com/escaping-survival-mode) about the cycle of adrenaline addiction in our society.  Constant, low-level, unresolved stress sustains the fight-or-flight response, making us biochemically dependent on adrenaline, and above all, persuading us to see the universe in antagonistic and hostile terms.  This biochemical process is the cornerstone of the modern Newtonian Worldview.

As this kind of constant, low-level anxiety has taken hold, we’ve seen a distinct change in how we entertain ourselves.  While society experienced rebellion against established forms of music, for instance, as liberating, another, largely unnoticed theme went along with the change.  It is the same theme that has gone along with changes to film and television for at least the past twenty years.

You see, traditional forms of entertainment, whether musical, literary, theatrical or anything else, had a common element.  They were designed to relax us while engaging our intellectual and creative capacities.  Recreational reading in itself, as John Taylor Gatto among others has persuasively argued, required a high level of intellectual participation from the reader, and required both attention and relaxation, in a way that an increasing segment of the population is simply unfamiliar with today.  Classical music was mathematically complex and relaxing.  Folk music was relaxing and participatory.

Ever since this sensibility has changed – and it was quite a jarring change if you think about it- we have had a different expectation from entertainment.  We expect stimulation- laughter certainly, but also provocation, controversy, anger, noise, violence, titillation, and above all, adrenaline.  Where it was once customary to reduce anxiety by relaxing with, well, relaxing things, we now feed the adrenaline addiction directly.  The problem with violence on television isn’t (primarily) desensitization, but rather that most of the audience will never have the same opportunities to discharge the adrenaline they have built up as the fictional characters do.

Of course, every other kind of stimulation complements that adrenaline high, and so we have the ever-expanding world of designer energy drinks to keep us juiced twenty-four hours a day.  Titillation also goes well with adrenaline, as the advertising industry knows.

 

Social Media and Video Gaming

Social media addiction is about the feeling we get from belonging, acknowledgement by others, fitting in within a group.  Social media caters to our instincts as social animals on a scale that would once have been considered ludicrous.  The addiction component, however, is tied to the need to be heard, to feel something other than helplessness at the circumstances of your life.  In this sense, it is a band-aid at best.

Video game addiction, by contrast, is a release rather than a band-aid.  It is a surrogate for the natural consummation of the fight-or-flight response.  Unfortunately, there are very few video games with only one troll to kill, so the adrenaline addiction is heightened, not reduced.

 

Coming Down

The adrenaline addiction cycle is one reason that we surround ourselves with stimulus.  The other is constriction or dissatisfaction.  In the post about the emotional roots of chronic disease (http://globalresiliencesolutions.com/emotional-roots-of-chronic-disease), we mentioned the ways in which life patterns of either constriction of anger or enslavement to it can start.  Similar patterns appear in many different areas of our lives.  An unconscious belief or experience leads us to replicate the same dissatisfying relationships, career situations, family dynamics or personal habits again and again.  In the face of apparent helplessness, we turn to any of a dozen ways of distracting ourselves.

The catch is that by doping ourselves, we exaggerate whatever biochemical problems we already have.  We lead ourselves further and further away from a positive attitude and a healthy lifestyle.  That above all is why a new attitude needs to come with a change to your external lifestyle choices. 

The flip side of that coin is that by making those external changes, you can begin to move yourself toward a better mindset. The question we should all be asking ourselves is, “How am I doping myself and why?”  An uncomfortable question, to say the least, but absolutely essential if we want to become truly RESILIENT and, therefore, HAPPY.

~ Dr. Symeon Rodger


The Power of “Story”: Understanding Society’s Grip on Your Mind

We’ve talked a great deal about belief and the Law of Attraction.  Stories are the medium that the human race uses to transmit beliefs.  Stories are everywhere, not just in books and newspapers, but in laws, popular wisdom, customs and etiquette, music, advertisements, what teachers and mentors and parents told you in childhood- in short, any medium that tells us something about The Way Things Are.  These stories about the world shape our beliefs, which in turn shape our lives.

In a macroscopic sense, stories are society’s reproductive mechanism- they allow us to create our children in our own image, just as our parents’ generation did with us.  Stories are society’s genetic material.  Nations, conflicts, wars, socioeconomic structures, all are sustained on the power of stories to inculcate beliefs.

 

A Look at Our Stories

 

Many of these stories encapsulate the lessons society has learned over the years.  Unfortunately, not all of the stories have positive effects on us and our belief structures.

Sometimes, there’s a specific agenda behind that belief.  John Taylor Gatto, award-winning former New York State public school teacher, has spent years researching and documenting the beliefs that public education was designed to foster in children.  As we’ve previously written, the avowed goal behind many innovations that are now part and parcel of public education worldwide was to create students who think in similar ways, believe similar things and would generally make tractable additions to the workforce.

 

Let’s have a look at the stories that we gravitate towards for entertainment.  On television and in literature, the current wave in storytelling is quite interesting.  We’ve been acclimatised to think of darker, grittier, more depressing material as “realistic.”  Cop shows, Dramas, Sci-Fi, Fantasy- genre after genre has begun to tell us that “real” means a world where all heroes fall, where people serve their own interests above any higher good, where no one’s hands are clean, where all successful people are unscrupulous, where everyone is bitter and unable to maintain stable human relationships of any kind.  In short, the stories that permeate our culture at the moment show us exactly the opposite of what most of us want to manifest in our lives- and sell it to us as reality.  Now there’s a healthy belief for you!

I’m not saying that fiction shouldn’t encompass the struggles of human life- it absolutely should.  But to be both honest and useful to us, the way to overcome those struggles should be included (by both positive and negative example).  The trouble is, that’s exactly the kind of narrative we seem intent on discarding.

 

Weak Stories

 

In Power vs. Force, Dr. David Hawkins describes the effect of trying to fight or use force against something.  He uses the “War on Drugs” as a prime example.  Trying to fight a phenomenon rather than build up its opposite is the surest way to strengthen it.  A similar effect can be observed in every situation where we’ve been told a conflict-based story.


The world of work and employment is a prime example.  We are told that we are in conflict and competition with other job-seekers, with other candidates for promotion.  We are at the mercy of our employers.  Our success is based on how hard we work and how much crap we will accept- so says the prevalent narrative of our society.  We pull ourselves up by the bootstraps, toiling in jobs we don’t care about until we retire (or, more likely with the financial crisis, until we die).

The problem is, none of this has anything to do with how success really works.  Successful people follow their talent and their passion, knowing that they have something to offer- and they succeed, even if only after much trial and error- that is, after eliminating whatever was blocking them from achieving their goal.  (Search “Famous Failures” on Youtube to see some great examples- two of them became American presidents and one invented the light bulb.)

You don’t have to subscribe to all of Hawkins’ theories (and I for one think there are some problems with his methodology) to understand that the low-vibrational energy of conflict-based narratives and beliefs will always be less successful than the higher-vibrational energy of emphasizing the positive.  The same thing applies to the fear narratives that are so prevalent today- whether it’s killer diseases or terrorism, something, it seems, is always out to get you (of course, the fact that you’re still here reading this might be an indication that the threat is just a little overrated!).

 

Vetting These Stories

 

One of the most powerful tools for personal resilience you can master is simply to notice these stories and the beliefs they generate.  I once had a teacher who taught her class to do this with advertising- I have never once to my recollection purchased anything in all the years since simply because it was advertised.  You can start to look at your reality in more objective terms by standing outside the flow of the stories and examining them.  Observe the mentality of the time, the flow of fashion, the changes in thinking, the surge of popular enthusiasm, rather than being caught up in them, and understand that they will pass.  It is much more difficult than you might think.

Once you’ve started to notice, there are a number of tools you can use to vet the stories that underlie your own mental programming.  They should be fairly familiar to you:

 

  1. The Ws: Who told the story?  Why did they tell the story?  What beliefs did the story generate?  Where have these beliefs led those who hold them?  When did this story start?
  2. What is the emotional level of the belief?  How does it make you feel?  Is it confrontational and conflict-based?  Does it ask you to fear something in a way that is disproportionate to the danger?  How does it cause you to act toward others or when approaching a particular task?
  3. How does the belief square with your core principles?  Does it help you of hinder you in manifesting these principles in your life?
  4. What other stories have been told on this subject in other times and places?  What were their effects?

 

The most important and indispensable tool, of course, is a genuinely open mind.

 

What do we mean by an open mind?

 

An open thinks, “I know, at most, parts of the truth.  The totality of truth and knowledge is too big for my mind to grasp.  Therefore I will accept what seems to work and seems to be good for me, regardless of theoretical and ideological infighting, until I find something better, and I will also assume that I may be partly wrong.”  This approach does not deny the existence of bedrock principles and beliefs- it merely acknowledges that they are greater than the mind that is thinking about them.  Ideology, like relativism, is the enemy of truth.

 

Application

 

By noticing the connections between the stories you absorb throughout your life, the beliefs they encourage (or discourage) and the effects of those beliefs in your own life, you gain not only a tool for changing your own belief structure in order to improve your own life, but an inner barometer for all stories.  By their fruits you will know them, as the Gospel of St. Matthew says.  If the fruit of the story, the beliefs that it feeds, have a positive impact upon you and your life, keep it around.  If not, you need to start asking questions of that story.

 

 ~ Dr. Symeon Rodger


Master the Devastatingly Effective “Water Strategy”

“Resist not evil” is perhaps the most difficult saying in all of Christian scripture.  Even “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” is easier.  After all, we can love and still resist, can’t we?  On the face of it, “Resist not evil” seems ludicrous, a call to surrender to the forces of darkness.  But it contains a secret that is a key principle of self-transformation.

 

Last week we talked about water.  “Nothing in the world is softer or weaker than water, yet nothing is better at overcoming the hard and strong.”  Lao Tzu was quite right.  Water not only wears down stone- the preferred method of cutting hardened steel for use in high-precision applications employs high-pressure water jets.  In the Art of War, Sun Tzu writes about the “Water Strategy”- strategists, he says, should be like water, following the path of least resistance.

 

 

All of the most effective martial arts use this principle to achieve stunning results.  The secret is to confront any incoming force, not with force in return, but with its opposite, and to do so naturally, automatically.  In Taijiquan (i.e., Tai Chi), this balance is represented by the Eight Energies.  Faced with incoming force, Taiji will roll out of the way or yield and suck it in.  In Baguazhang, combat is visualised as a circle on the ground containing eight trigrams of the I Ching- fire, water, earth, sky etc. (hence the name “eight trigram boxing”).  Faced with one energy, it moves to another.

It’s worth taking a moment to unpack these principles, because they are actually operating on many different levels, and the martial arts are only one area of life where you can apply them.  In the world of physical force, it is always better to avoid strength than to confront it directly, which depletes both sides.  But the same logic applies to many other kinds of decisions in combat, from posture to techniques to attitudes.  The last one is particularly key for us, because this is where the water strategy comes back to everyday life.  The classic martial arts application is confront ferocity with serenity, tension with relaxation, anger with peace and so on.  Aikido is particularly attentive to the application of these principles in real life, and many Aikido stories talk about this (the most famous example can be found here). http://dontmindnomind.wordpress.com/2010/06/29/soul-series-a-short-story-by-terry-dobson/

 

Time for a visual.  Draw a circle, with two concentric rings, an inner ring and an outer ring.  On the inner ring, put the various attitudes and emotions of which human beings are capable, with their opposites across from them.  Affection, anger, fear, confidence, appreciation, sorrow, joy- all of these have a legitimate place and expression in human life.  It’s only when they are out of balance that they become a problem.  In the outer track, you can write the distorted versions of the emotion that you encounter.  Next to fear, you could write insecurity, jealousy and so on.  Next to anger- rage, resentment, hatred.

When confronted with an unbalanced attitude or emotion on one side of the circle, you can try confronting it with its balanced counterpart from the other side.  To learn to do this naturally, consistently and effectively often requires years of attention.  It is the most difficult spiritual discipline, to learn to return kindness for rudeness, appreciation for ingratitude, even love for hatred.  You can create peace from conflict this way.  It is never guaranteed.  But most importantly, you preserve your inner freedom.

It requires practice, resilience and sensitivity to make sure that you are adequately addressing the energy that comes at you and to find the strength to stand firm on your side of the circle, but the result is often that the emotions you are confronting can be defused.  If they cannot, then you lose nothing, but you gain the knowledge that the other person is acting out of a more deeply-set pathology rather than momentary impulse.  In that situation, it is even more important to stand your ground and not to get sucked into their emotional state.

 

On a grand scale, how does this strategy stack up?  The cynical impulse in today’s society tells us that only force can deal with force, that ultimately, goodness is no defense against power.  But is that true?  Gandhi and the Civil Rights Movement are the two counterexamples that people usually point out first, but they are far from the only ones.  The Czech dissident movement led by Vaclav Havel used some of the same methods and achieved similar results.  There are many smaller-scale movements out there today that are using the same methods successfully on behalf of disadvantaged groups.

It is sometimes a very costly strategy.  Some of the most dramatic cases were the Christians martyred for their faith by the Roman Empire.  In most cases, they did not have to die- there was a way out.  But they stuck to their principles, and went to their deaths without bitterness.  They often went out of their way to be kind even to their executioners.  In so doing, they showed a society in which gravitas and fortitude were the ultimate virtues the completeness of their inner freedom.  The result transformed an empire.

But if the cost can be so high, if the water strategy doesn’t guarantee results, then why use it?

 

We mentioned the importance of inner freedom.  Inner freedom in this sense means that you are the master of your own inner state.  You no longer react to whatever energy other people give you- you respond to it.  Our attitudes and emotions can be like a thick fog when we are faced with stressful situations.  We react instinctively, we activate neural circuits that carry the baggage of previous similar situations, our body floods with hormones and neurotransmitters and before we know it, we’re blinded by our own reaction.  We don’t see other options.  The water strategy returns control to us.  Our inner state becomes our toolkit rather than everyone else’s garbage dump.

But this is only the first level of inner freedom.  What do we use that toolkit for?  Without right intention, there is no inner freedom.  The preferred objective is an honorable peace.  “Honorable” means that we intend to openly and honestly lay out the truth as we see it, minus the emotional baggage we may have attached to it.  It also means that we intend to engage with the other person and gain an understanding of their perspective and deal with it fully and honestly.  The water strategy avoids only the damaging effects of unbalanced inner states, never the conflict itself- on the contrary, it is tenacious and goes to the heart of the matter along the path of least resistance.  Small matters can easily be dropped, but it is better to understand why the other person is in such a state and deal with it if the matter is serious, rather than risk a false resolution and recurrence.

“Peace” means that compassion underlies our whole approach.  You seek to restore right relationship.  The centre of the circle of the emotions is serenity- which is not the absence of emotion but the sublimation of emotion.  But on a deeper level, compassion, or rather, love, is the ultimate centre.  Only with compassion does it become possible to get inside another person’s mind and heart without it being a hostile intrusion, and only if you can do that can you truly create peace.  It is also a good yardstick to check your intentions.  If you are dealing with the other person as an obstacle to be cleared, if you have an ulterior motive of your own, then you can begin to see how you are contributing to the situation.

This is also where the biggest paradox comes into play.  Sometimes, there is simply no way to resolve a conflict.  Sometimes a person is harming others and cannot be dissuaded in a reasonable time.  If you can find serenity and compassion in that situation, you can do what needs to be done.  Even if you’re angry, and we’ve talked about the legitimate uses of anger, you can act without binding your inner freedom to that or any other emotion.

We said in the title that the Water Strategy is “devastatingly effective”.  Hopefully now you see that its effectiveness is across the board – it not only allows you to prevail in any conflict, physical or emotional; it also allows you to prevail OVER YOURSELF.  And what greater victory is there than that?

~ Dr. Symeon Rodger

 


Leveraging the “Water Paradox” in Your Life

We’ve written a lot over the past year about bioenergetics and the importance of energy and intention in human life.  One of the great pioneers in this field has been Masaru Emoto, author of The Secret Life of Water.  His work is startling and simple.

 

Water, he discovered, can be imprinted with and remember human intentions that it has come into contact with.  Most famously, he has recorded the crystals formed by frozen water exposed to various intentions.  Each type of crystal has its own unique character and structure according to the intention it came into contact with.  Hado, which is his name for the energy fields that exist in all things, can imprint, transmit, connect through water.  The imprint can be a word, a piece of music, a prayer- anything that carries intention.  As Emoto writes, his work is about the power of prayer.

Water has always held a special place in spiritual traditions.

“Every one who drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst; the water that I shall give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

-John 4:7-14

“The highest goodness resembles water

Water greatly benefits myriad things without contention

It stays in places that people dislike

Therefore it is similar to the Tao”

 

“Nothing in the world is softer or weaker than water

Yet nothing is better at overcoming the hard and strong

This is because nothing can replace it”

-Tao Teh Ching, Ch.8 & 78 http://www.taoism.net/ttc/complete.htm

 

And this is the “water paradox” – that nothing in the world is softer or weaker than water, yet it has the ultimate RESILIENCE.  Now water has become a mirror for us to demonstrate how thought and intention influence material reality profoundly, in ways we could scarcely have imagined.  I personally believe that if you TRULY understand the staggering implications of what Dr. Emoto’s research has shown,  you’ll be too excited to sleep tonight.  This is nothing less than the destruction of the Newtonian worldview – that same worldview that has kept you anxious, imprisoned and disempowered all your life.

From an image of the Spirit to an image of the Tao, from baptism to holy water, from humility to nourishment, water is as ubiquitous spiritually as it is biologically.  We are mostly water.  As Emoto points out, when something troubles us or we want to relax, we go to places where we can look at water.  Water, he says, is the pathway and the witness of life.  It also has healing power.  To transmit healing intention, sending gratitude and balance into the water will bring those qualities to wherever that water goes.

Emoto’s hypothesis may also explain the mechanism behind an old and counter-intuitive form of medicine.

Homeopathy has always been one of those things that make scientists crazy.  Why should water that was once exposed to a certain kind of substance take on that substance’s medicinal properties?  Whereas the “scientific” objections to herbalism are nearly laughable, homeopathy is strange enough all on its own to evoke skepticism in even the most open minded people.  And yet, it works time after time.  Placebo effect?  Well, if so, then by definition, it should never have converted any skeptics, or been any more successful than standard medicine for a given condition, and most people would approach something like homeopathy with a degree of skepticism.

But let us consider that, as we have said in previous posts (http://globalresiliencesolutions.com/your-energy-body-the-science-is-in ), all living things emit energy, most notably coherent light.  This energy forms a field around us which our body uses measurably to communicate with itself and which measurably receives information from other living things.  Are the chemical properties of a herb, then, paralleled by energetic properties that can be stored and transmitted without the herb actually being present?

You’ve probably heard the gardener’s hypothesis that plants grow better when spoken to with appreciation, or when exposed to certain kinds of music- Emoto has done many similar experiments.  This was the subject of an episode of the television series Mythbusters.  Unfortunately, when it comes to questions like this, the Mythbusters are masters of missing the point.  They came up with a perfectly controlled experiment- by removing the human from the equation and recording soundtracks of compliments and abuse for the plants.  Naturally, the experiment didn’t work.  They removed the human element- the intention, the relationship was removed.  Intention can be stored in water and transmitted over time and distance, but to plants that hadn’t germinated or been sorted yet?  Neither the compliments nor the abuse had an object to be transmitted to.

Emoto’s research has also led him into many interesting experiments to do with intention and connectedness.  Intention, he discovered, can influence whether food ferments or rots.  But his real interest is in the uses of hado in healing, in connecting people with appreciation and love, and the subtle ways in which this can be used to transform the world.  By making use of the humble strategy of water, of letting go of resistance and instead opening up to life, love and appreciation, society itself will feel the effects and transform naturally.

 

~Dr. Symeon Rodger


A Global Resilience Attack on Asthma and Diabetes

Over the next few months, we will bring you a few quick breakdowns of alternative approaches for building your personal RESILIENCE in the face of  common health problems that millions of people are suffering from.  In this first edition, we emphasize the role of herbal medicine, showing where it fits in with other treatment approaches.  First, let’s review some of the fundamentals of building health and immunity.

 

Immunity and its Components

Herbal medicine is a subset of a subset of a total immune boosting regimen, and while it can affect and support each of the other levels by changing the chemical environment in your body, it cannot do the job alone, and is not supposed to.  The three levels of health and immunity are as follows:

 

Physical

This level includes “healthy living” as the Western world thinks of it, especially exercise and diet.  By exercising three to four times a week, you can promote cell and tissue repair mechanisms in your body, as well as increasing production of compounds that protect the nervous system as well as other critical compounds that support your immune system.   Improving your cardiovascular function, of course, is crucial.

 

Nutrition is the other aspect, and this means adjusting the building blocks and fuel your body takes in to support optimal health and the immune system.  This is where herbal medicine properly begins, as a subset of healthy diet, supporting your immune system prophylactically.

 

Psychological

As we wrote last week, psychoneural causes are at the root of a great deal of chronic disease.  If your emotional life is not in order, your immune system will begin to break down in the face of that unhealthy stress.

 

Energetic

We’ve written extensively on this one – human beings generate and maintain electromagnetic fields and transmit coherent, low-level light.  We can prove the energy system’s role in communicating between parts of the body – many actions that we can perform are done faster than nerve impulses can travel.  We also know that the energy system can be exercised and strengthened through Qigong, Haragei and other traditional methods.  It may also need to be cleared out – the energy system tends to accumulate blockages from trauma and emotional disorders.

 

 

Dietary and Herbal Immune Boosters

Hippocrates said, “Let your food be your medicine and let your medicine be your food.”  One of the best ways to prevent disease is to adjust the fuel your body lives on, and the best herbs for routine immune-boosting are ones that you can easily add as a component of a healthy diet.  Remember, the molecules you take in are the molecules that your body has to work with in maintaining optimal health, and that is where alternative medicine begins – in your kitchen.

 

We’ve written before (http://globalresiliencesolutions.com/vanquish-colds-and-flus-by-making-your-body-stronger, http://globalresiliencesolutions.com/category/alzheimers ) about diets that support the immune system, but to recap briefly:

–          Reduce animal products, especially the non-organic, non-hormone/antibiotic free kind

–          Eliminate crap – fructose, refined sugar, corn syrup (added to many foods), trans fats, high-sodium foods, processed and packaged foods

–          Balance Omega 3 and Omega 6 fat intakes – Omega 3 is the one you need more of

–          Eat high-quality fats from sources like avocados, butter, coconut oil, olives, olive oil, nuts and eggs

–          Reduce grain intake and eat only whole grains

–          Eat more raw fruits and vegetables to increase your vitamin and antioxidant intake

 

Herbs and spices used for centuries by herbal traditions which can be easily added to your diet or taken as supplements include:

 

Cinnamon– Used as an immune booster by many herbal traditions, and by Traditional Chinese Medicine to warm the body and improve blood and energy circulation

Turmeric–  Studies have shown that turmeric supports the body in fighting many diseases, including cancer, heart and lung diseases, neurological and autoimmune disorders.  It has beneficial effects on the signalling molecules your body uses for communication.  It is a good antifungal and antiparasitic and is used as a blood cleanser in Ayurvedic medicine.

Green Tea– Contains powerful antioxidants called polyphenols and regulates blood sugar.

Garlic– Garlic is an antibacterial (as Louis Pasteur discovered) and antifungal, and the compounds it carries are effective in lowering blood pressure, blood sugar and serum cholesterol.  Together with onion and ginger, it is the basis for all Ayurvedic healing recipes.  Garlic is also a tonic for the endocrine system, which helps to regulate immune responses.

Licorice root– In Traditional Chinese Medicine, licorice is used to support other herbal remedies.  It also increases energy, helps to detoxify the liver, supports the adrenal glands and is good for the lungs and throat- hence its traditional use in fighting colds.  Like many of these herbs, it comprises many active compounds with different effects.

Ginger– Ginger is the king of digestion-supporting herbs, an immunostimulant, anti-inflammatory, and improves circulation in the joints.

Chilies– Chili peppers, and particularly cayenne, contain capsaicin, an anti-viral, as well as other useful compounds and Vitamin C.

Reishi and Shiitake Mushrooms– Key antivirals and immune boosters from the Asian pharmacopoeia.  Lentinin in Shiitake mushrooms stimulates T-cell production and effectiveness.

Astragalus– A powerful antiviral and immune booster used in Chinese medicine, can be bought in capsule form.

 

If you recognize many of these from the post on colds and flus, there’s a reason.  The beauty of herbal medicine is that immune-boosting herbs are good for many different applications.

 

Herbal and Alternative Approaches used for Specific Conditions

Here are two examples of common chronic conditions that have dramatically increased in incidence over the past few decades, the approaches taken to them in alternative medicine, and the herbs that can be used to support natural healing.

 

 

Asthma

There are a couple of alternative takes on asthma.  One is that it stems from primarily emotional causes.  It’s long been known that stress can trigger asthma attacks, but many alternative practitioners have begun to suspect that the cause may be emotional as well in many cases, particularly relating to feelings of emotional constriction.  The Emotional Freedom Technique, which draws on acupuncture knowledge to clear emotional blockages, has been reported to provide relief within moments to about 80% of asthma patients treated.

Vitamin D deficiency has also been strongly linked to asthma, and raising your vitamin D levels is an important part of treatment.

Equally important is relief from the chemical environment that may be causing allergic reactions- whether that’s the things in your house, ambient pollution or other factors.

Asthma has been treated successfully with acupuncture for centuries, and can be relieved by acupressure- tapping or holding pressure on the points.  The Benefit Asthma Point, a half-inch on either side of the prominent vertebra at the base of your neck, is particularly helpful.

Herbal approaches vary.  Ephedra, from whence ephedrine was derived, remains effective, and ginkgo biloba has been used by TCM to treat asthma for thousands of years.  Licorice supports the action of ephedra, regulates the adrenal glands, reduces inflammation and lubricates lung tissue.  Mullein has been used in Europe for centuries to support the lungs and respiratory system.  Lobelia is a Native North American treatment for asthma, taken in tea at the beginning of an attack to prevent the attack from escalating.

All of these herbs are used mainly to manage asthma; to alleviate the condition long-term, Traditional Chinese medicine claims that its “patent remedies”, notably Ping Chuan pills, can reduce or remove the symptoms of asthma over a course of treatment.

Vitamin C in whatever form is a natural antihistamine, and Vitamin E, Vitamin B, Selenium and Magnesium have all been used as dietary supplements for asthma.

 

 

 

Type 2 Diabetes

One in four Americans are either diabetic or pre-diabetic, and this disease massively exacerbates other health problems.  While the rarer Type 1 diabetes occurs when the body’s ability to produce insulin is destroyed, Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body becomes resistant to insulin and leptin, a signalling hormone which helps to regulate insulin production and other aspects of your energy intake and processing.

What you may not know is that dietary fructose is a major culprit.  Unlike glucose, which our bodies are designed to use for energy, fructose, which enters our diet through refined sugar and corn syrup added to many foods, breaks down into a number of toxins and does not stimulate the hormones that tell you that you’ve eaten enough or inhibit the hormones that tell you you’re still hungry.  It raises your insulin levels to the point where the body no longer responds to insulin, and chemically tricks the brain into starvation mode.

Unfortunately, most conventional treatments focus on reducing blood sugar, by boosting insulin or restoring insulin sensitivity, without addressing the root problems.  Exercise, a grain-free and fructose free, high-fibre diet, and restoring your intestinal flora with fermented foods are recommended by alternative practitioners to get your system back to its normal chemical state.  Counter-intuitively, a major key to this approach is including enough high-quality (especially Omega 3) fats in your diet.  If you’re burning fat for energy, your hunger will actually decrease, as will sugar cravings.

Herbal supports include green and black tea, which have been shown to reduce blood sugar and stimulate insulin production.  Guar gum and other fibre supplements soak up glucose molecules, causing sugar to be released more slowly into the bloodstream.  Goat’s rue and devil’s club are key herbs for managing blood sugar levels.  Ginko helps to address the circulatory problems of diabetes, while dandelion root supports digestion as well as the liver and pancreas.  Chinese patent remedies are also available to support the system and deal with secondary symptoms of diabetes.

Diabetics are often Vitamin C deficient, so this is another important supplement.  Everything we’ve said about immune boosting goes double for diabetics, who have a much lower resistance to other diseases.

You’ll also notice here that the same measures that you can use to treat a particular condition will also prevent you from getting it in the first place – not surprising!  Taking back control of your health is not rocket science; merely a combination of correct information and decisive action.

~ Dr. Symeon Rodger


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