What would life be without Naturopathy?
by Dilys Gannon-Bone
Dilys Gannon-Bone trained in America and in the UK. She is a member of the Board of the Colonic Association and a member of the Board of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP). She is a Master Practitioner of NLP, and an NLP Health Practitioner. With the SkaSys system which she studied in America under Dr. Hans Lechner she is able to help people look at areas where they need to heal and prepare themselves against future illness. She is also a trained Kinesiologist and uses this in her work both on the physical and the psychological/spiritual aspects of healing and wholeness.
She has spoken at many international conferences (eg IFDO, ENCoDe, ANLP, IATEFL, TESOL) in countries throughout the world. Before returning to private practice, Dilys was conducting workshops in Russia, Poland, Germany, France and Hungary. Following on from her passion for health education, Dilys sits on the Naturopathic Council and is the chair of the Colonic Association. She practices in London, and is also starting to practice in Exeter. Dilys has been named by Tatler Magazine as one of the 150 best private doctors to see in London.
What would life be without Naturopathy?
Health and the pursuit of health is big business and it is in an upward spiral as more and more people seek to improve their fitness, eat healthily, study longevity and seek to find the answer to many chronic illnesses that we are now facing. There are nutritionists, food gurus, food doctors, naturopaths, wellness clinics and fitness instructors in every direction, giving out a wealth of information and instruction. Some of this is good advice, some average and some very ill-informed, however, well meant it may be.
It is for this reason it is no wonder clients, patients and personnel become confused as to which direction they should take. Sometimes they are put off within a short space of time because the suggested new regimen does not fit in with their lifestyle. Therefore the constraints and restraints of their working life may need to be taken into consideration.
However, we need also to recognise that in cases of preventative illness and chronic illness, it is often these work constraints that are a contributory factor to their present state and a better way of informing the public needs to be found.
Millions, even billions of pounds are lost each year by industry because of illness including stress-related illness. Thousands of executives often die in situ and in spite of exercising their way through life in what they term to be a healthy existence, never live to experience the benefits of the money they have accrued. Why? In spite of their expensive BUPA or other health schemes they are not internally healthy. Vast numbers die in their fifties from heart attacks, cancer, or are crippled by strokes or arthritis. Heart attack and stroke kill more than one and a half million people every year. Frequently this happens at the age of 45-60, five years before retirement; or at the age of 65-75, some five to ten years after retirement. Cancer is on the increase, so is arthritis, obesity, asthma and many other so-called modern dis-eases.
Hippocrates said, “Let food be your medicine. Let medicine be your food.”
In today’s high-speed world of modern technology, instant food, easy travel, quick-fix cures for illnesses and across the counter medicine, everyone is seeking the fast answer to their problems relating to health and happiness. Each new advertisement heralds a new remedy or technique and is eagerly grasped as the answer to all our modern problems. Illness often takes many years to develop, so quick-fix cures are definitely not the answer.
Good health is not easy to regain once it is lost
There is an answer to the problem, but the road is not necessarily an easy one. The requirement is CHANGE. Change of lifestyle, change of diet, change of mental attitude. Research has shown that the majority of people only visit a health practitioner when symptoms become evident. When a malady reaches the level where pain, disfigurement or recurring symptom is apparent, or having experienced years on ineffective drug therapy, they decide to seek an alternative lifestyle and remedy.
So was Hippocrates correct? If we include within this statement the many herbs and plants growing within and upon our planet Earth, then the answer may be a resounding yes! It is interesting to note at this point the recent television programmes that have been made about alternative therapies. One such programme on herbal medicine informed us that much research is now being done by mainstream medicine into such herbs as Gingko and there could be a ‘scientific’ break through fairly soon into the benefits of this and several other herbs.
(Maybe this “breakthrough” is a bit like Columbus (re)discovering America after people of mixed Asian and European origin had been living there since the last ice age – Editor.)
This, I am sure is great news to all of us who have been using this magnificent and powerful tree for some years now. Let me say at this point, research by mainstream medicine into Gingko is NOT NEW! Experiments into its value for cardiovascular and cerebrovascular problems were carried out at least ten years ago, to my knowledge, by a well-known European pharmaceutical company. The results of their research were most successful until the formula was altered into an artificially prepared, more profitable combination. Perhaps one should learn from this that most often nature knows best.
Whilst this research may be encouraging to most naturopaths, perhaps we should also note that in order for this herb and others to be ‘scientifically proven’ as to their efficacy we should be aware that the finance behind these trials is not coming from the world of ‘natural’ medicine. We live in a world where, to date, we have relied on historical information and enlightenment to provide our proof. Most drug companies and universities are able to pour vast sums of money into their research programmes which, after patenting and aggressive marketing, enables them, to recoup their investment and make a profit. Unfortunately, this system does not work for natural products where the research company cannot legally protect its results. We must find a way to fund more research into natural remedies where the results are not patentable and, therefore, difficult to charge a premium price to recover ones research costs.
Through this ‘new’ research we might relearn that infection could be helped by Garlic, Echinacea and that system-specific anti-microbials such as Bearberry along with Buchu and Corn Silk could help the urinary system. With stress helping to create the major cardiovascular and cerebrovascular problems we could see Gingko, together with Hawthorn, Garlic and possibly the bioflavonoid containing herbs, Buckwheat and Lime Blossom being introduced into mainstream medicine. Who knows, they may even learn the significance of the liver and study the virtues of Silymarin (Milk Thistle).
Although nearly half the British schools of medicine offer some courses in complementary medicine and some post-graduate medical centres offer a basic introduction to complementary disciplines, the majority of doctors still continue to work within the theories of Pasteur instead of Bechamp*, and use chemically-based drugs for most diseases. Unfortunately their knowledge of how to help change the path of illness onset with diet, nutritional supplements, herbal and homoeopathic remedies is almost nil.
It is understandable that many modern conventional medical practitioners hold a negative bias against nutritional, herbal and homoeopathic medicines as most of them have not been taught about the potential benefits and often regard their use as ‘old-hat’, ‘antiquated’, ‘non-effective’ or ‘completely useless’, to give a few of the quotations I hear from my clients and those of other practitioners. Their scepticism, the pressures put upon them by pharmaceutical sales representatives and the restraints of the British Medical Association (BMA), prevent them from ever thinking outside the box.
*Modern medicine progressed to its present level through a scientific and philosophical debate that came to a head in the 19th Century. This debate was between two eminent Frenchmen, Antoine Bechamp and Louis Pasteur, both famous microbiologists. Louis Pasteur being the stronger, more flamboyant and vocal of the two, won the day by convincing the scientific community that his view alone was correct and went to great lengths to disprove the theory of Bechamp. Pasteur came from a family that had both the right connections and wealth to support him in his research.
Pasteur’s theory of disease described non-changeable microbes as being the primary cause of disease. The Theory of Monomorphis (commonly known as the germ theory) holds that only microbes or bacteria invading the body from the outside cause disease.
Bechamp on the other hand held the view that micro-organisms go through different stages of development and evolve into various growth forms within their life cycle. This is a theory known as Pleomorphism. Bechamp found microbes in the blood, which he named microzymas. The microbes changed shape as individuals became diseased. Bechamp felt that this was the cause of disease and produced the theory that disease comes from inside the body itself.
A third scientist of the same period, Claude Bernard, who also entered the argument, said it was actually the “milieu” or environment that was important to the disease process. The ‘environment’ in which they were exposed affected the change of the microbes. Therefore, if the environment of the body was correct disease should not develop.
At the time of his death, Pasteur finally gave an acknowledgment of Bechamp’s work by saying “Bernard was correct, the microbe is nothing, the terrain is everything.” He finally admitted on his deathbed that his own germ theory had flaws. This admission, unfortunately, fell on deaf ears and to save the faces of those who had promoted Pasteur’s theory this change of history never took place. The mainstream of science at that time had already accepted the allopathic (drug based) route.
The result of the road paved by Pasteur is what we see today. When a body is out of balance an attempt is made to suppress the symptom, first of all with drug therapy, then through surgery to cut away the parts that are ‘diseased’. The general effect is to remove the symptom, but not to improve the terrain, or environment (the balance of the body).
It is interesting to note at this point that ‘modern medicine’ really only started in Britain with the onset of the National Health Service (NHS) in 1948. Before that date, doctors used much of the now termed ‘complementary medication’. If considering an iron deficiency for example, a doctor would recommend a raw liver sandwich. For bronchitis a steam-kettle with Friars Balsam, or Eucalyptus would be considered. Since the inception of the NHS pharmaceuticals have become very profitable.
Chronic illness is on the increase
Whilst recognising and appreciating that modern medicine has alleviated or completely eliminated many of the dreaded diseases of the past (although some of these, e.g. TB, have again entered the chain), it must be recognised that chronic illness is on the increase. One notable factor being that of cancer where no real proven cure has yet been found. The same methods being used of cut, burn and poison. In the case of heart problems the main answer is to remove the offending tube or even the whole organ. I am not in any way decrying these methods as many people’s lives have been extended by these methods. How better though to look at and examine the underlying cause as to why the person arrived at this present state in the first place. How better to educate the public with better nutrition and dietary information which helps to prevent this type of condition.
So often the after care for cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease consists of drug-based medication including statins which leaches CoQ10 (a critical enzyme component) from the body, , and Warfarin an anti-coagulant, which is also a rat poison. Warfarin affects the blood coagulation mechanisms by inhibiting the Vitamin K functions. This is why it has to be monitored so carefully, whereas a diet rich in quantities of fish oil, such as marine lipids, garlic, vitamin E, Selenium, and other natural anti-oxidants could solve the problem.
The Future of Healthcare
Perhaps to be successful into the future it is necessary for so-called ‘conventional’ and naturopathic medicine to walk hand-in-hand. Why?
- Because both fields, by virtue of their knowledge, have much to offer.
- Because the present unhealthy climate of ‘slagging’ one another off will continue and a compromise could and should be reached.
- Because conventional medicine is covered by medical insurance plans and people prefer to benefit from these, because they are ‘free’, or so they perceive! The basic ethos should be to cure the patient, not promote one section of medicine against the other. People should be offered the benefits of both.
Medicine, be it conventional or naturopathic, should be consumer driven.
The Influence of Business
There is no doubt that both the Pharmaceutical and Food Industries would protest at many of the changes that would have to be made were we to see a healthier and dis-ease free population.
In an article in the Sunday Express (a British newspaper) 20th May 2001, page 7, by Lucy Johnston, Health
Editor we find one interesting report entitled “Action At Last Over Additive Aspartame As Fears Grow Of Health Risk In Food And Drink”. In it she reports that the Government had ordered a top-level investigation into the safety of Britain’s best-selling sweetener amid fears that the low calorie chemical is a health risk. Aspartame is used by thousands of people and thousands of food producers in diet foods and drinks and according to the report has been linked to more than 90 adverse reactions including brain tumours and blindness. The Sunday Express reported it had seen a leaked letter which revealed that the Government’s food watchdog – the Food Standards Agency – had sent more than 500 research papers on the chemical to the Brussels-based Scientific Committee on Food.
It was reported that Liberal Democrat MP Norman Baker was campaigning for NutraSweet to be taken off the shelves. This same newspaper reported that someone who regularly drank diet drinks with Aspartame and who had pain in her limbs, headaches, lack of concentration and insomnia, had even contemplated suicide because the pain was so bad. Yet, on visiting her doctor she had been treated for arthritis even though the tests for this condition were negative. Needless to say, when she eliminated Aspartame from her diet all her symptoms disappeared.
In all naturopathic symptom profiles, whether they be solely influenced by nutrition, herbal medicine, kinesiology, homoeopathy, iridology or any other discipline, Aspartame would have been implicated right at the onset and dealt with accordingly.
Articles of this nature are very encouraging. Unfortunately if one is to read the media on a regular basis, one is likely to find more anti-natural medicine and anti-homoeopathic articles than there are positive ones, although over a period of time the balance seems to be changing.
On the criticisms I have read to date on homoeopathy, no one seems to mention the word ‘energy’ and yet our whole system is based upon energy, or the lack of it. As all homoeopaths will recognise, the innovative philosophy of the first edition of the Organon of Medicine in 1810 by Samuel Hahnemann brought immediate criticism and rejection by orthodox medicine and so the situation remains today.
The main criticism is that with each increased potency there is less indication of the original substance, thereby, in their minds, making the product inefficient and worthless. Modern allopathic medicine works on the principle of giving continued dosages. In many cases the repeated dosages lead to a repetition of the disease when stopped. Whereas Samuel Hahnemann stated “Even one dose of the same medicine which has up to now proved beneficial, if repeated before the improvement has begun to stand still in every direction, will, like an untimely interference, only aggravate the state ” This introduced the “wait and watch philosophy”,
which unfortunately, mainstream medicine does not now adhere to and to be fair to them, is not encouraged by the attitude of their patients’ demands.
I am always greatly encouraged in my work when I have the opportunity of meeting with or working side-by-side with either a doctor or a surgeon who says to me, ‘I am delighted to see what you can do to help this particular patient.’ The constraints laid upon conventional doctors make it very hard for them to devote the amount of time most naturopaths are able to devote in taking a person’s profile. As a result of this many more mistakes are made in obtaining a true diagnosis of what is happening within the body as a whole. It is only by treating a person wholistically (or holistically) that we can reach a programme that will help them towards better health and understanding of why they have reached their current dilemma.
As a qualified Kinesiologist using many other disciplines such as Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP), Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), Nutrition, as well as Herbal and Homoeopathic Remedies, I am able to test not only the location of an imbalance of energy within the body, but also to see what is an appropriate solution for the client. Were the mainstream medics given half the opportunity to fulfil their role in healing there would not be the number of chronic cases we as naturopaths see. Many of these cases are brought about by faulty nutrition and lifestyle.
Nutrition For Greater Health
What is nutrition? Basically it is taking nutrients into the body and absorbing them. The maxim being, eat to live, rather than live to eat. Good food, live food should give us the energy to support our bodies and the fuel needed to build and help perform the millions of tasks required by it throughout each day.
Essential requirements for a good healthful diet are proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals. Creating optimal health is a two-fold approach, stop unhealthy behaviour by eating processed, microwaved
junk food which contains hundreds of artificial flavours, colours, sweeteners and other additives and change to healthy organically grown whole foods.
More education and understanding of how the body really functions is required. We need to eliminate the cause of early death and chronic illness by finding a solution within the nutritional and supplemental spheres together with the herbal and homoeopathic disciplines to treat the illness or dis-ease when it manifests itself. Also we need to look at the emotional, psychological and spiritual influences surrounding it. The public’s fear of the word ‘mental’ is almost as great as its fear of ‘cancer’ – but that’s another story!
Most people understand the simple functioning of the car. If it is petrol operated you pour clean petrol into the tank and it works. However, if there is silt or rust in the tank this can be sucked up into the mechanism and the car breaks down. One should also not forget that a car needs good quality oil and fresh water and what is wrong with the MOT (Ministry of Transport test)? Perhaps if humans were to have a naturopathic MOT many of us would live to enjoy the pensions and wealth we have amassed during our working years.
The above analogy may be simple, but basically that is how the body works. If you pour the right kind of food (fuel) into the system, add the oil and water it should work. If you don’t it rusts, becomes acidic and starts fermenting, or putrefying and ‘things’ break down or don’t function correctly. So where does the problem start? Well, of course, the body is more complicated than the simple analogy I have painted and, unfortunately, most of the food we consume is either full of artificial chemicals (toxins), or does not contain sufficient minerals, or vitamins to supply our daily needs.
So what do we do?
We continue to give advice, educate, campaign in the hope that one of these days the public will understand how to look after themselves, will recognise that not all drug therapies work, that ‘natural’ means something close to nature, of which we are all a part.
We will continue to read reports of the brave people who are willing to be outspoken in criticising both the pharmaceutical and food industries. We will join the marches to state that since modern medicine began more and more people are being sick. We will look at more ways in which we can help each other. We will remember that an investment in real and natural health is an investment for life. We will read the words of W.H. Auden the famous writer and poet who once said ‘Health is the state about which medicine has nothing to say.’