Change #1: Homeopathy

Remember a few weeks ago I told you I had made a few changes in my health and as a result had been experiencing a lot of beneficial physical (as well as psychological changes?). I had been hesitant to tell you about it for a variety of reasons, which you can read here:

https://unleashyouroptimalhealth.wordpress.com/2015/11/24/can-you-guess-what-change-i-made-recently/

Today I want to tell you about something I have been trying out for years. As always, I want you to take my information with a grain of salt, not as your intended medical advice, and make your own decision based on what I present for you.

When I introduce the topic, some of you will close the browser and not listen to what I have to say because of your preconceived perceptions. I hope that for those of you who stay to listen understand a very powerful concept I like to practice and preach. With enough determination and desire you will find the answers out there for that which you are seeking to create more Optimal Health in your life. I can fully vouch and advocate for the fact that by listening to your body and by trying different approaches, in the end you will find what your body needs to heal itself.

 

Homeopathy has been one path I have pursued to finding Optimal Health for myself.  Before we get in to talking about Homeopathy itself, let’s talk about research and science in general.

When we start to analyze information we need to first look at how scientific is this analysis. For example, I am about to tell you a whole whack of changes that have happened in my body such as:

  • I have had more energy lately (I used to nap 1-3 hours a day, now I nap once a week).
  • I feel ‘lighter’, happier, more connected and more engaged in conversation
  • I feel more sensitive, emotional, empathetic, and concerned about many issues in our society.
  • I suddenly found an intense interest in politics, elections, reading the newspaper, and social justice in our society.
  • I feel kinder, more relaxed, and easier going.
  • My Cholesterol has cut itself in half (from a very dangerous level), my LDL Cholesterol is significantly lower, my triglycerides have dropped. (I had been told they were very high due to my kidney problem).
  • My protein in my blood has increased significantly (for the first time in the history of my kidney disease).
  • My Ferritin doubled itself.
  • Among many other changes that aren’t so much ‘health’ related, or I am not quite ready to share them yet:)
  • And as I mentioned in my previous blog I no longer feel sore from exercise, and have the craziest capacity to recover from exercise now (that I haven’t had since a teenager).

As you can see a lot of these changes are arguably extremely hard to measure, and besides the blood results could be considered figments of my imagination.

How accurately can I pinpoint to something that I had done to create all these changes. I CAN’T, it’s impossible, and that’s why it’s hard to conceptualize and believe.

If I look back at two things I did in the past few months that could have possibly made some changes, one would be seeing my Homeopath. Homeopathy is a system of alternative medicine that uses the concept of ‘like becomes like’, thereby treating their patients with a remedy that based on the Homeopath’s questioning and rubric systems should bring you back to center (the essence within you). Homeopathy is one of the most controversial alternative medicine practices on the market in my eyes, perhaps right up there with no touch chiropractic, energy healing, Reiki, or the power of positive thinking.   Any time something positively affects people without a whole scientific method behind it people get up in arms about it. But then I wonder- how do people form careers in these fields? How do they stay busy with clients if it doesn’t work? How does 2/3 or the Swiss population vote on having the government cover Homeopathic costs, and succeed?

Let me tell you a bit about why homeopathy gets a bad rep:

  • The homeopathic remedy is a diluted version of the original substance. That means that what the treatment is (animal, plant, mineral, or synthetic substance) has been diluted down to very little actual substance left (it is argued whether there is any measurable substance left in the treatment). So how on Earth does a diluted remedy that you hold under your tongue until it absorbs affect your physiology? This topic is so incredibly controversial from what I have read online that it makes my head spin. On one end we have the National Health Institute saying that Homeopathy doesn’t align with standard physics and chemistry concepts. Yet on the other end we have a Nobel prize winner who has roughly correlated his work on electromagnetic properties of water, viruses, and DNA of highly diluted substances to being similar to the theory behind Homeopathy. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dana-ullman/luc-montagnier-homeopathy-taken-seriously_b_814619.html.  This study has been scrutinized because it wasn’t peer reviewed and submitted to a proper journal (therefore considered not gold standard, not good evidence). As well as it has been scrutinized for a variety of other reasons I won’t get into here.  So again, more controversy. From the way I understand the simple basis of the argument for dilution, is that even when the properties are diluted out, the water/remedy pill maintains the properties of the original substance. You know that study in the 1990’s done by Emoto where petri dishes of water that were treated negatively reacted differently than the positively treated ones? The ones given positive affirmations, prayers, cleanliness etc. crystallized whereas the others didn’t? I think back to this study when I think of that experiment in order to understand how water can continue to hold a physical property. How on Earth did that happen? http://highexistence.com/water-experiment/
  • In a consultation a homeopath asks sometimes hundred’s of questions about all aspects of you. Some people argue that this questioning, attention, and devoted time to a human has been the cause of some of the changes homeopathic patients claim to have had (and if it is, then who cares how Homeopathy is working, it’s improving people’s lives and not harming them). Talk therapy anyone?
  • Are there double blind, placebo controlled research studies to show positive Homeopathic results? Now, this is tricky on so many levels. First of all, many homeopathic studies are done placebo controlled (in which the participant receives a sugar pill or the actual remedy) and participants claim the diminishing of their initial symptom. This is common in alternative medicine, and regular medicine. The stats I found said about 30 % of the time the placebo works just as well, or better to treat the symptom. So clearly, the human mind has a VERY powerful capacity to support itself in both standard and alternative medicine. Second, there are an incredible amount of good studies done on Homeopathy, and yet they just get torn apart for their validity. I don’t really feel qualified to dig in to this topic, other than letting you know you can research online studies in which Homeopathy is proven effective in good, placebo controlled, double blind studies.
  • Other people claim that the body naturally heals itself of most things over time, and that often a person has a homeopathic remedy, then gets better the remedy is given the benefit of the doubt. Ok, I understand this. And this is very challenging to study. Technically, if we wanted to study this phenomenon we would need a large sample of people to all control every variable of their lifestyle (which is impossible), except for taking a homeopathic remedy. Then if some of the people got better over time with the remedy and some didn’t then we would could start to correlate it with homeopathy (given NOTHING else in their life changed). Let’s just look at this idea for a second. In order to accurately give a cause and effect relationship between a treatment and a result we would have to take away any and all variables. Let’s say groups of people are having migraines and are all given a remedy, placebo, or standard medicine. They are all told to keep their lifestyle the same. Say one participant has a coworker who happens to go on maternity leave during the scope of the study, and it was in fact the tension with this coworker that was leading to migraines. Well now, with her gone it appears the migraines have gone away, and the treatment given gets the credit. It would be very unlikely she would report to the scientists that the cause of her headache was gone! It’s extremely hard to control any kind of human study that isn’t strictly controlled in a laboratory. I can’t even imagine the ethics involved in even trying to do this.
  • Most diseases are cyclical in nature, meaning that their symptoms can come and go over time. It has been stated that perhaps the Homeopathy treatments are frequently timed with a less symptomatic period of the disease. I think that’s a pretty bold statement to make in general.
  • Studies done to research Homeopathy are often severely discredited due to poor study design and reporting, sample size, and selection bias. Can you even imagine a non-government funded small group of alternative practitioners trying to study this topic with so many variables in the research? Of course the study design is going to be poor (as discussed above), of course selection bias would occur (anyone who is going to participate in a study on homeopathy is probably already sick, and already a believer in alternative medicine). There are so many potential issues it is mind blowing. Read the research yourself, look for potential issues and biases. Think about what might be going on behind these scenes, or what might make it challenging to study this topic.  Ask a variety of doctors about it.

There are clearly a ton of controversies surrounding this medicine.  And for each controversy there are just as many stories and experiences published online for people who have a positive experience with this medicine.  Here is one example here, and I am sure you can find many more through good ol Google:

http://extraordinarymedicine.org/homeopathy-worked-for-me/

 

I attempted to look up deaths caused by Homeopathy, and here’s what I found:

  • People dying because they were ONLY seeing their homeopath and natural medicine doctors. (The alternative medical doctors strongly advocated against this), and I think we should all be wise enough to know that both medicines should play their role in our lives.
  • People dying because the treatment didn’t cure their disease (cancer, aids, etc.). Do they include those stats when someone dies of cancer in treatment via chemotherapy? No! It would be ridiculous to try and claim that Homeopathy killed a patient because it didn’t cure them.
  • There was one case where an over the counter pharmacy remedy for nasal congestion messed up 300 people’s sense of smell. This is a serious issue with this manufacturer and should be looked at.  Just as there are recalls for all types of products, foods, medicines etc.
  • The United states FDA suggests that Homeopathy does contain enough compounds to interact with medicines and can cause side effects, so it is important to talk to your doctor if you are going to do it.  There would be the potential for the remedy to interact with something else you are taking and cause a side effect.  They also don’t study and regulate the use of Homeopathic remedies.

I couldn’t find any legitimately reported deaths that it was stated that a patient took a remedy and it killed them. Sure I read about a few rashes that pop up etc. (just as injesting absolutely anything in our body might do to us).

What types of Homeopathy are there?

There are variations to how a homeopath practices. From the way I understand it certain homeopaths treat a specific symptom or disease, whereas others treat your constitution. You know in health stores you can find readily accessible remedies for things like muscle pain, stress, headaches etc. this would be considered a variation of a homeopathic treatment treating a symptom. A classical homeopath is the type of homeopath where you visit their office and go through the questioning in order for them to find the remedy for your body using their systems and rubrics etc.  I’ve visited my homeopathy about 4-5 times i believe over the past 3 years.  Each time the consultation lasts between 30 minutes and 90 minutes and I am asked questions that cover ever aspect of my life (everything from dreams, to food desires, to fears, to aches/pains etc.).  After the consultation the homeopath uses the information to reference their rubrics and come up with a constitutional remedy to support me.  Sometimes things I noticed initially after my remedies were that I stopped binging on food, stopped craving certain foods.  I noticed an actual feeling of joy I never noticed in my body before.  I’ve had blood tests results that show my kidney disease reversed itself (yet the numbers crawled back up to the bad range again eventually).  I had one remedy where as soon as I put it in my mouth I started laughing my head off.  This one is a really great story, if you want to hear it you can ask me 🙂  I’ve experienced greater fear, less fear, extreme sadness, and other emotions after remedies.  It’s very hard to pinpoint what happens after a remedy because I’ve noticed it can have an affect on me immediately, and last many many months.  Again, so many variables make the effects hard to explain.  All I know is that I’ve seen improvements in my overall health long term, and one of the things I’ve been doing is Homeopathy.

From what I’ve read Homeopathy seems to be very popular for people with rashes, allergies, digestive issues, and anxiety.  You can read more on the website below, or if you want a good Homeopath’s name I can also refer you.

I know, I know, it sounds a bit like witchcraft. I get it. But you know what? At the age of 18, my first two months in University my ankles started swelling, one thing led to another and I was diagnosed with a kidney disease. I was told it was ‘genetic’ (no one in my family that we know of has kidney disease). I was told there was no reversing it. I was told that I would take many pills daily until I may potentially need a kidney transplant. Hold it. What? How does that make any sense?  Nothing you can do? No lifestyle changes? No diets? No science to show a way to reverse it? You’ve got to be kidding me. I was pissed off, and I am still pissed off. But at the same time I am so grateful. Getting this disease changed my life, my perspective, the way I take care of my body, the way I live every day, and the way I view my health care. Heck if my doctor’s had an answer perhaps I never would have been led to homeopathy and other alternative medicines in the first place. But they don’t have answer, and it’s not their fault. I believe that my condition will be reversible one day, science simply needs to catch up, I believe I just have it too soon for that to happen. In the meantime I will try any complimentary and alternative medicines that feel right for me to try, and don’t cause harm to my body.  Heck if they can 3-D print me a new kidney how come they can’t fix up the one inside me already?

You can read more about Homepathy here:

http://www.homeopathycenter.org/

Now, please don’t think I am conventional medicine vs. alternative medicine. I am not. I am an advocate for getting people healthier, happier, and living great lives. Whatever form of medicine this comes in I think is great. I think it’s even better when this form of medicine has no negative side effects on your body. I think all people need a team of medical practitioners that WORK TOGETHER. That are open to each other’s modalities, thoughts, opinions, and treatment plans. I truly believe working together is the only way many diseases and issues on Earth are ever going to be solved. Do I think medical doctors are supposed to throw in the towel to the fact that Homeopathy isn’t researched and backed by science? Well no- I think they should support the research in finding out what’s going on with these studies and how to put together one that is considered ‘good science’. Do I think alternative medicine should condemn conventional medicine and advise their clients to stick with only alternative means? Definitely not, as long as both are on the same page, same beliefs, same morals, and same ultimate goal for the client.

“Skepticism is at it’s best when its advocates do not try to cut off research or close down conversation of a subject, but instead explore possible new (or old) ways to understand and verify strange but compelling phenomena”. How many examples in your mind can you think of right now where traditional medicine, or any other field for that matter, utilizes a treatment before fully understanding the mechanism, before fully proving it is 100 % safe, or before fully proving in gold standard studies that it works. How often is the easier, more ‘scientific’, money making tool used?

Some questions to ponder:

  • How long did people chug aspartame and artificial sweeteners before finding out their negative effects on the body.  Were there studies reported all along that showed the negative sides?
  • How often do doctors prescribe drugs rather than strict diet and exercise and lifestyle protocols for their patients?
  • How long is Canada doing to let us drink heavy metals and toxins in our water before teaching us all how to filter it when we know it’s unsafe?
  • How long were houses built with asbestos before we were told it was unsafe?
  • Think about other things that are controversial, vaccines and GMO’s, do we fully understand these mechanisms, can be prove 100 % safety and efficiency?
  • Have you ever looked up the side effects of advil?
  • If I took a room full of people and we discussed the topic of eating meat, saturated fat, drinking milk, breastfeeding, co-sleeping with your children, we would have just as many people with opinions, beliefs, research and statistics to believe one thing more than the other.
  • And let’s finish with a dousy: recently claims have been made that healthy diets are worse for the environment than meet eating diets. They claim that to eat 468 calories of bacon vs. lettuce is a lot easier on the environment. 468 calories of lettuce would be 93 CUPS OF LETTUCE!! Of course it would be harder on the environment because that’s weeks worth of lettuce and not just one meal. Don’t read headlines people, don’t believe every study published.

Some of these examples show scientific research to have missed the mark, to still be unclear, to still be very controversial and clouded in opinions and political/financial backings.

What I am saying is be curious, explore options, be open, do your research, make informed decisions, look at where your information is coming from, who is funding it, are there political ties behind the scenes?  Who is writing the article you are reading?

Now that I’ve somehow gone ranting and raving about alternative medicine, homeopathy, research, and being open minded, let’s finish with a few final thoughts.  

 

In the end:

There is no way in knowing whether it was Homeopathy remedy that caused a major shift in my blood results, my recovery from exercise, and my psychological changes. All I can do is look at the fact that both happened in the same time period, be curious about that, and continue on my journey to Optimal Health. I am really not interested in heated debates about whether or not Homeopathy works. That’s not my thing. I like to ask questions, explore concepts, read research, and share what I learn. If you’ve used homeopathy, if you’ve asked questions yourself about homeopathy, or you have an unbiased opinion or piece of research you’d like to share I’d be happy to take a look.

Oh and remember, I am writing this article as a blog I spent maybe 5 hours researching, and am in no way an expert on this topic.  I probably got a lot of facts wrong and missed a ton of information.  My blog is not an all encompassing resource, but rather a tip of the iceberg experience for you to explore a new topic.  I like to write, and I like to share.

One more interesting read for you:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dana-ullman/homeopathic-medicine-_b_1258607.html

 

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