Features & profiles

Fejetons

Fiction reviews

Health, psychology & science stories

HOMEPAGE

Investigative stories

Non-fiction reviews

Obituaries

Poetry

PR, copy, corporate

Prime Minister interviews

Southeast Asia

 

( 360 visitor comments )

 

Health, psychology & science stories

 

Resurgence of the natural healing arts

26 November 2002

Published in The Age


In a story which stretches from the Stone Age to the Information Age, natural medicine has changed vastly over the centuries: yet elements remain which are as old as humanity. Herbalism, for instance, was used by early Homo sapiens, including the Neanderthals. Reflexology (Egypt, 2330 BC) and acupuncture (China, 2500 BC) were among the first subjects of written history.

In the fifth century BC formal western medicine began. Its father was the Greek physician Hippocrates of Cos, who famously said, “Let your food be your medicine and your medicine be your food” - a sentiment that would put him squarely in the mainstream of today’s natural healers. Dr Rebecca Flemming, an expert on ancient medicine at King’s College, London, told The Age: “The pursuit of health by living well - balancing the famous five of exercise, food, drink, sleep and sexual activity - was very much part and parcel of Hippocratic medicine.”

But by the 19th Century, western medicine had strayed somewhat from its roots, with “heroic” treatments like emetics, purgatives and drugging with mercury taking the place of  “lifestyle” approaches. Mid-century, Catherine Beecher (sister of the author Harriet Beecher Stowe) surveyed 1,000 women in 79 American communities: the sick outnumbered the well three to one.

Naturally counter-movements arose. In 1826 the Austrian Vincent Priessnitz opened his first “water cure” establishment. Whilst almost magical powers were attributed to the waters Priessnitz had his patients drink and bathe in, simply being removed from the influence of mainstream medicine probably saved many.

The “nature cure” - as it became known - was made famous in the US by Benedict_Lust (pronounced loost), who spoke out against processed foods and artificial drugs. The word “naturopath” came into use when Lust and his colleagues - under attack from government and the American Medical Association - were prohibited from using the words “cure”, “healing”, “therapy”, “physician” or “doctor”.

Most of the new healers were persecuted by the medical establishment. Despite this, by the 1920s there were 20,000 naturopaths in the US, and thousands of herbalists, homeopaths, osteopaths, chiropractors and others.

After a mid-century decline because of antibiotics, and advances in surgery and medical technology, the natural healing arts sprang back into favour in the early 1970s. A new epidemic had arisen - of lifestyle diseases such as arthritis and cancer - which Medicine seemed powerless to halt.

The revolution in health care which ensued went beyond the wildest dreams of the nineteenth century water cure doctors. Today in the US, alternative practitioners attract more patient visits than primary care physicians. In Australia, we spend more out-of-pocket on medicines we term “complementary” than on the pharmaceuticals they supposedly complement.

The revolution has brought several things. First among them has been a significant number of quacks. For example the popular American huckster Joel Wallach claims that the “colloidal minerals” he promotes were discovered by the West in the 1920s, when ailing rancher Thomas Jefferson Clark was told about a healing stream by Chief Soaring Eagle, a Paiute medicine man. Curiously, the present-day Paiute have never heard of either Clark or their famous Chief.

James Pontolillo, the world’s leading scientific researcher on colloidal minerals, told The Age that claims about their health benefits are “pseudoscientific gibberish”.

In a 1979 trial, three leading American iridologists were shown photographs of the eyes of 143 people, and asked to look for kidney problems. They demonstrated no statistical ability to diagnose such problems - although one diagnosed 88 percent of the healthy patients with kidney disease.

The premature deaths of various holistic heroes - such as Paavo Airola (64) and Herbalife’s founder Mark Hughes (44) - prove there’s more to longevity than making claims that other people find convincing. Indeed it’s increasingly perceived that only a full embrace of scientific method will save alternative medicine from its many dubious practices.

Fortunately, this is starting to happen. For example studies have shown that certain antioxidants can reduce the incidence of neural tube defects in newborns, retard atherosclerosis in men, and reduce bone loss in older people.

And these days many ancient healing techniques are being given a new, scientific rationale. For instance the soundness of letting some fevers run unimpeded - which natural healers have been prescribing for centuries - has recently been “discovered” by science.

More broadly, the birth of Psycho-neuro-immunology is revealing the feedback mechanisms between behavioural, immunologic and nervous functions - between emotional states and physical health: thus bringing the “mind-body continuum” of all hunter-gatherer, classical and medieval healing systems into the mainstream of modern science.

The influence runs both ways: natural healing is becoming more scientific, and scientific medicine is becoming more natural. Associate Professor Susan Elliott, who oversees the development of Melbourne University’s Medicine curriculum, says:

“The study of nutrition is now integrated throughout the entire course - from year one to year six - and students study it in relation to the causes of a disease, and also its management.”

On the other hand, holistic medicine is rushing headlong into the technological age, with new high-tech tests like the American full-body CT scan - which enables examination of the internal organs and skeleton, and the detection of anything from cancer to osteoporosis.

Dr Michael Parkinson, of the American Board of Preventive Medicine, has reservations about the cost-effectiveness of these pre-emptive scans: “Technology typically outpaces the ability to understand its appropriate use,” he told The Age.

Flavour of the month in Australia is Live Blood Microscopy (LBM) - where a magnified image from a blood sample is projected onto a TV monitor, so both patient and practitioner can view the action. Seeing the blood “live” allegedly offers many advantages for diagnosis.

“With older samples the cells don’t move,” says Patti Dyne of SAFE, a Gold Coast LBM laboratory. “To give one example, looking at a live red blood cell wall may lead you to prescribe some essential fatty acids for the person’s diet.”

Ray Lowenthal, Clinical Professor at the University of Tasmania, isn’t buying that: “There is no scientific validity for the claims made by ‘holistic’ practitioners that they can detect illness or determine treatments by observing the motion of blood cells,” he says.

Hopefully good double-blind trialing of these techniques will,  in due course, sort the wheat from the chaff.

Today, holistic medicine is an international discipline which is branching out in some intriguing new directions. In Germany the herb St John’s Wort outsells Prozac for depression by 20 to 1. In Britain, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist is studying energy medicine in the light of quantum theory. And in the US, Professor Arthur De Vany - a Chaos theoretician and mathematician from the University of California at Irvine - has developed a new discipline he calls “Evolutionary Fitness”. De Vany sees the human body as “non-linear and dynamic”. Exercise, he says, should mix chaos and order - structure and novelty - as it did in Palaeolithic times.

Holistic patients are still often counselled to drink eight glasses of water a day; and spas and colonic irrigations remain popular. Notwithstanding, in a century or two we’ve come a long way from the water cure.


Visitor's : Add Comment


Patricia Shiels   8 November 2017

HERPES SIMPLEX VIRUS TYPE 2 CURE
I am from Usa i was diagnosed with HSV TPYE 2 while I was pregnant .I cried for days. I was devasted and looking up info on it just made it worse. I don't know how long I have had it for. I don't know if my partner has it or if he was the one who transferred it to me. I had one outbreak while pregnant. That's how I found out I had the virus. I started taking and antiviral and took it everyday twice a day to make sure I wasn't able to get an outbreak. I debated whether I wanted to have my daughter natural or c- section. I was terrified. Stress wasn't helping my situation. I ended up having her natural and she is a beautiful healthy 2 month old baby girl. I try not to think about me having the virus because of my depression i couldn't. so I have to focus more on how to get rid of HSV TPYE 2 because i don't want anything to happen to my daughter and thank God she was born fine. i visited different hospital but they gave me list of drugs like acyclovir, Zovirax, and (valacyclovir)Valtrex without without get rid of my virus. one day i decide to surf the internet for cure so i saw a testimony total cure of HERPES by Dr. EHIAGWINA with NATURAL HERBS so i pick up the email Address: ehiagwinaherbalhome@gmail.com and contact he an hour latar he reply explain to me how am going to get the herbs and how am going to use it to cure my viruse i give a try believe me it work perfectly i used it within seven days now am tested negative i'm free from the viruse thanks Doc. for so many passing through this contact Dr. EHIAGWINA to help you get rid of the virus. here is his email address: ehiagwinaherbalhome@gmail.com or visit: https://ehiagwinaherbalhom.wixsite.com/home He can as well cure so many diseases like...........
1. ALS
2. HPV
3. SHINGLES
4. CANCER
5. BREAST AND PENIS ENLARGEMENT and others diseases i can't remember now.Thanks Doc am so happy today


Ashley Balton   12 November 2017

IT IS REAL!!! HOW I COMPLETELY GOT RID OF 4 YEARS GENITAL HERPES WITHIN 7 DAYS... GOD IS AWESOME,I AM A LIVING TESTIMONY!!!!....

HIS WEBSITE: http://draramideherbalcure.wordpress.com/contact/

I have been dating for almost 7 years until i contracted GENITAL HERPES VIRUS from my Ex-boyfriend who never told me he was having it.Ever since then i have been searching for cure everywhere because i was feeling so uncomfortable having so many outbreaks, Most people have herpes in one form or another, i was first taking Antiviral medicines such as acyclovir (Zovirax), famciclovir (Famvir), and valacyclovir (Valtrex), which are recommended for treating primary genital herpes outbreaks..But i needed to get rid of it completely, I came across so many testimonies online speaking about cure to herpes. i was so eager to be completely cured, I became a victim of fraud after contacting several so-called herbal doctors i was referred to. I lost a lot of money but i didn't stop searching for a cure.
Then one faithful day,i came across a testimony of a lady saying that she got her Genital herpes cured by a GREAT HERBAL DOCTOR she called Dr. Aramide by contacting him through his email address. And she advised anyone with GENITAL HERPES or SIMPLEX HERPES to contact him for HERBAL CURE. I contemplated for about 4 hours whether or not to contact him. Then something inside of me told me to give a try. I then contacted him through his email and told my problems to him. He told me all the things I needed to do and also gave me instructions to follow, Which i did properly. Just within the 7 days of drinking and applying the herbal medication he sent to me through DHL delivery service, I started feeling changes in my body i went to my medical doctor for check-up, I was so happy when he told me i was no more having GENITAL HERPES VIRUS and that i was free, It was all tears of Joy from that moment, I never thought ROOTS & HERBS could cure HERPES and if i could ever meet a GENUINELY GREAT HERBAL DOCTOR. I'm so grateful to him. i am completely free from GENITAL HERPES VIRUS,i recommended him to a family friend having Simplex Herpes virus, He called me and told me he is also cured completely. I promised to share my own testimony like that of the lady on the internet. If you are also having
*GENITAL & SIMPLEX HERPES... or need cure to diseases/viruses like..
*EPSTEIN-BARR VIRUS
*PREDIABETES/DIABETES/DIABETES MELLITUS...
*MENINGITIS...
*MERS-CoV...
*HIV...
*LEISHMANIASIS...
*LOW SPERM COUNT...
*SHIGELLA INFECTION...
*SYPHILLIS
*CANCER...
*LOWER RESPIRATORY INFECTION...
*STAPHYLOCOCCUS AUREUS...
*HEPATITIS...
*SHINGLES...
*YELLOW FEVER...
*POLIO...
*LUPUS...
*STROKE...
*FIBROID...
*EPILEPSY...
*TUBERCULOSIS...
*LEUKAEMIA...
*SICKLE CELL...
*ASTHMA.. Etc..
Without Hesitation Contact him Today for a testimony through his Email _ dr.aramideherbalcure@gmail.com & Website: http://draramideherbalcure.wordpress.com/contact/


For more info;
Phone No: +1(786)581-7266


*GOD IS TRULY FAITHFUL*

TOP