Rhythms of Wellness

Our lives here on earth can be measured by the ticking of clocks or the beating of our hearts. The heart beats a steady rhythm when healthy and varies in response to our immediate, changing needs. Everyone1s heart, like everyone1s life, is different; we all march to the beat of our own drum. Although our perception of time can vary according to how rushed - or relaxed - we feel, astronomers assure us that time itself never deviates from the precise and unwavering dance of measured steps evidenced by the progression of the sun and planets. Linear time is constant and predictable, but our attitudes can powerfully affect our experience of it and our ability to receive its lessons and gifts. People do not usually set out with the deliberate intent of becoming sick, yet many blindly accept the concept that debility is an inevitable fact of old age. With...

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I Read the News Today

Recently, I have read several articles in the newspapers that have stirred me up. Like any good Canadian citizen, who feels outraged to the point of taking action, I wrote a letter to the editor. Time has passed, my letters were not printed and fortunately, I can take the next step and write a letter from the editor. The first was this obsequious article listing the top CEOs of Canada, ranking them by total income and highest single paycheck. The feckless author breathlessly praised these corporate leaders for their “daring downsizing” (sheer number of people they could fire and claim savings) and their expert “handling of takeovers” (how much they got for selling off the company they were supposed to be running.) The sycophantic author continued his toady praise of how these few people could manage other peoples money and sequester so much for themselves in the doing of their...

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PNI & Herbalism

Over the years we have discussed in the pages of the Journal numerous ways of viewing living organisms. Most of us are comfortable with some form of systematic description with processes and patterns that appeal to our common sense and can be verified by either science and technology or traditional training. The sciences that are subdivided out of physiology can be learned at a fundamental level by beginners in medical health education. Digestion, endocrinology, neurology and immunology can all be grasped by our understanding if we want an overview. Specializing scientists look for increasing detail and complexity in each of these branches of study. Fortunately for us, an occasional “visionary” comes along and sees patterns that specialists have missed. The relatively new science of phsychoneuroimmunology is the progeny of the synthesis of these once “unrelated” physiological systems. Hormones are produced in endocrine glands and have specific targets (organs/tissues/cells) in the...

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No Matter, Never Mind

The Taoists have a parable about our original nature. In the Golden Age there was no history recorded; there were no great deeds and there were no great people. Birds flew in the skies and nested in the trees. Deer ran in the woods. Cobblers made shoes and farmers grew crops. Children respected their elders. Since everything was as it should be, no one thing was “great” and so there was no history to remember. Chuang Tzu advocated wei wu wei, “doing by not doing”. He meant leaving things as they are and not interfering in the natural way of life. Some might say “going with the flow." Somehow simplicity is no longer considered a virtue. We have involved ourselves in such complexity that it is hard to perceive or believe in a natural order existing and persisting behind this chaotic world of the 21st century. Walk down the streets...

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Maimonides’ Medical Writings- A review of 10 books in 7 volumes

Moses Maimonides is one of the greatest authors in the history of Western medicine. At the end of the 12th Century, he had gathered the most important medical writings of the time and re-presented them through his unique character. Western science or "natural philosophy" as it was called, began in ancient Egypt with the writings of Thoth (or “Hermes”.) Later, during the golden age of Greece, development of scientific concepts continued in the works of Thales and Anaximander, and Pythagoras, Plato and Aristotle. Science was speculative for the most part rather, than empirical or experimental. The medical descriptions of the constitution of man was based upon a framework of concepts relating health and disease to four humors; blood, bile, phlegm and melanche; four elements; air, earth, fire and water; and four qualities; hot, cold, wet and dry. Hippocrates of Cos used this framework as his template and wrote extensively on...

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How Do You Know That?

What all herbal medical traditions have in common is some kind of inherent world- view. In order to understand the view, we need to see not just static images but a motion picture. The intrinsic qualities of the paradigm are revealed when we observe the pattern of the changes as they occur. All the components of a static system can be arranged to relate to each other but, when the forces of transformation are included, deeper truths are revealed. The process always starts with observation and perception. We have begun to see and know when we experience some kind of pattern recognition. How do we reach this state of cognition? Most modern medicine is based on Cartesian logic i.e. analytic reductionism. If we break something down into small enough parts we can isolate a conclusive fact , which may or may not be useful in the context of the moving...

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How Do You Explain Yourself?

We live in a country that prides itself for its multi-cultural population. One of the first differences noted by Canadians on observing Americans is that one is pressured to relinquish all ties to one’s cultural heritage and “become” an American. Unless you are running a restaurant that serves ethnic foods, you are free to be a participant in the dream of your new country. When an ethnologist is studying another culture, their success in reporting is proportional to their ability to understand the nuances of the metaphors of the language of the people being studied. Imagine your favourite book of poetry being translated by a scientist instead of by another poet. How would it sound? We believe we are our own selves but how much of whom we are and what we do is predicated upon our culture? How many children in Perth, Ontario want to become shepherds compared to...

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“How” Do You Do?

Politicians and advertisers act on the premise that perception is stronger than truth. For example, look at the methods and resources used to sway public opinion on a daily basis. Why do we have heated debates and constant inundation through the various media outlets on matters of style? Can we not link cause to effects and delineate facts, plain and simple? How does this apply to medical choices? Traditional medicine with deep roots in ancient cultures has evolved with small variations but meets the test of time and the scrutiny of modern science. While modern science cannot always explain HOW traditional medicine works, it can state unequivocally that it does indeed have efficacy within certain parameters. The Eclectic physicians of the 19th and early 20th centuries promoted many theories, attempting to employ scientific terminology to explain the "how" of their medicine. When their reasoning fell short they were not overly...

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Findhorn Lessons

Have you ever watched a flock of birds flying overhead suddenly change direction and all the birds instantly move in unison? They do not move in succession but all at once without bumping into each other. How do they know to turn so precisely? Once they land and move about, they seem independent and random in their movements. What principles are at work that we are observing? Previously, we discussed the evolution of consciousness from nescience to sentience and beyond. When the birds are a “flock”, they are of one accord and are of one mind. When the birds mill about, they have the beginning of sentience. Ultimately their genetic programming will dictate the majority of their actions. Some birds, when building a nest, will not stop until it is completed. Rascal scientists have removed branches that had been set to observe birds work unto exhaustion. The scientists learned something...

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Evidently, My Dear Doctor

We are hearing a lot about evidence-based medicine as the new standard for clinical practice and information reporting. In the field of orthodox medicine, which is using pharmaceutical products, this has shown, in some cases, the shortcomings of the drugs. By collecting large amounts of data, the adverse events become evident. Many of the scandalous behaviours of the drug manufacturers and their relations with corrupt government overseers eventually get revealed. But do they really? Perhaps if we compare the statistics about acetaminophen (Tylenol) with those of piper methysticum (Kava) logic would have us ban the former and reverse the ban on the latter. The list goes on and on leaving us bewildered. Who is looking and at what evidence? In the middle of the 19th century, a naturalist, John Muir, was hiking in what is now named Yosemite National Park and he came upon a vista. Standing upon a promontory,...

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