Homeopathy — Ever Controversial

Homeopathy has aroused controversy ever since the time of Hahnemann — mostly because it posed a threat to the medical status quo. Yes, it has always been mocked as “ridiculous” by the powers-that-be within medical orthodoxy. But I believe that the outcry against homeopathy has been mostly motivated by the bottom line — that homeopathy has always achieved successes that conventional methods did not; that the underlying tenets of homeopathy point a finger at the dangers of (usually suppressive) conventional medical practices; that conventional doctors have been known to become homeopaths (at times in large numbers) when they realize its truth and efficacy; and especially, that the remedies, being essentially cost-free, pose a threat to those who manufacture medicines. 200 years ago it was the apothecaries that chased Hahnemann out of town because he was making his own remedies. Today it is the drug companies and the medical-industrial-complex that do all they can to undermine homeopathy. If homeopathy was a treatment of little or no consequence, this pattern would not have been constantly repeated for over 200 years, let alone still exist.

Several recent developments underscore the fact that this pattern is alive and well. The fact that things have been escalating may also indicate that homeopathy is gaining ground despite all efforts against it. Indeed, since modern science is getting closer to explaining the mysterious power of ultra dilutions, the threat of homeopathy grows ever larger.

A couple of weeks ago, I saw Just One Drop, Laurel Chiten’s new movie about homeopathy, at the Mill Valley Film Festival. I recommend that you visit the web site and check it out for yourself. Another filmmaker friend pointed out to me recently that the Mill Valley Film Festival is considered to be extremely prestigious. So the fact that they embraced Laurel’s film wholeheartedly (indeed, a film festival official spoke of his enthusiastic support to me personally) says a lot about both the movie and, perhaps, the future of homeopathy itself.

As I mentioned in my previous newsletter, I have been supporting Laurel’s valiant efforts to make this movie since the beginning, and I was thrilled to sit next to her at the film festival showing and have dinner with her afterward. Although Laurel interviewed and filmed many prominent homeopaths all over the world during the past eight years while she was developing Just One Drop, what eventually gelled the film for her was zeroing in on the ongoing controversy surrounding homeopathy — in particular, she ended up placing a special focus on the gross misconduct that apparently occurred during the development of a recent Australian study that dismissed homeopathy.

Of course, this kind of thing has happened before. For example, a third European meta-analysis of homeopathic studies that was negative, which was conducted after two previous positive meta-analyses, turned out to be plagued by fudging and subterfuge. In the case of the recent Australia study, a special effort seems to have been made to eliminate all positive studies of homeopathic efficacy from any consideration (even if they were extremely well-executed and highly regarded). Unfortunately, the world-wide media picked up and promulgated only the negative studies, while ignoring the positive ones. Personally, I believe this is due to the big money and influence that Big Pharma wields over almost all media.

While I might have enjoyed a greater focus on miracle cures in Laurel’s movie (though there were some), I was not the target audience of this film. Laurel’s goal wasn’t to play to homeopathy’s supporters, but rather, to provide a balanced expose’ to the general public. I think she largely succeeded. For example, my son Izaak, who lives in Australia and has many friends who dismiss homeopathy, felt that the film really has the potential to enable open-minded skeptics to open their minds just a little bit more.

Interestingly, another movie about homeopathy is also currently making the rounds — “Magic Pills”. This film focuses more on convincing case studies of homeopathic efficacy.

Support for homeopathy and alternative therapies in general has also recently emerged from some wealthy donors. In September, the University of California at Irvine (UCI) announced a huge contribution of $200 million from the Samueli family to create a new facility and program to study “integrative” medicine. Nary a moment had passed after the announcement of this gift when the most prominent quackbuster skeptics (among them Steven Novella, who also appeared in “Just One Drop”) pounced upon UCI with denouncements, with the mainstream press (e.g., the LA Times) quickly echoing them. In this case, it wasn’t homeopathy in particular that was decried but the fact that UCI would dare give quarter to any form of alternative treatment. You can read Dana Ullman’s insightful article about this event here.

It remains to be seen what happens after this backlash from the media. Although Susan Samueli is a big supporter of homeopathy and studied it herself, it’s possible that examination of homeopathy in particular will be excluded from UCI’s program. But it is quite interesting that at a time when many medical schools are making some effort at opening their doors to complementary and alternative modalities, even just a crack, the Samueli’s gift was met with such intense opposition. Once again, I sniff Big Pharma at work — a sign that they are more threatened than ever!

Yes, these are interesting times. But I have no doubt that homeopathy will continue to survive as it always has. The question is whether homeopathy will grow (with its power potentially becoming usurped by the medical complex), or it continues along its merry way as a small, persecuted therapy for those who know about and appreciate true healing.

 

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How to Make Happiness a Habit

Most of us spend the majority of our time in an emotional state of mind that my teacher, Gary Sherman, calls our “baseline state.” Usually, this habitual way of being is established in childhood, often as a reaction to the underlying tone of our family home or, perhaps, various childhood traumas.

The trouble is, our baseline state is so habitual, so “normal” for us, that we don’t even realize or feel what it is. But you might be able to identify it by getting quiet and tuning in — perhaps to physical tensions in your body. Your baseline state may also reveal itself in habitual thought patterns. Another way to discover your baseline state is to first tune in and then draw a little face caricature of your emotions. Or, imagine that you’re looking into the window of your childhood home and see yourself — what was your state?

For me, I tend to be in a constant, subtle state of free-floating anxiety. There is always a sense that I have to be on alert in case something bad happens suddenly. I believe this state arose from my father’s tendency to have quick and unpredictable bursts of anger, as well as several sudden deaths in my extended family that occurred during my childhood.

Certainly, recognizing one’s baseline state can be eye-opening in and of itself. But what I’d like to talk about today is our innate ability to establish new emotional habits. Lately, I’ve been reading a book called Life On Earth. The author, Mike Dooley, asserts that the underlying goal of our life here on Earth is to be happy. Yes, we might want wealth, love, or success — but it’s because we believe that these things will make us happy.

The truth is, however, that you can be happy at any moment, no matter what is happening. We all have the innate ability to shift our emotional state intentionally, if only for a few seconds. So why not try to create a new habit of shifting your state into happiness, at least for a few brief moments? It’s easier than you think.

How to establish a new habit? One way I’ve discovered is to link the desired habit to an existing routine. For example, over the course of each day, I have to do a series of six exercises for my weak ankle, each taking from 1-4 minutes to perform. I remember to do them by linking each exercise to one of my daily routines — making my hot cereal in the morning, boiling water for coffee, etc. I’ve done this for over a year now, and now whenever I boil the water for my coffee, I automatically do the associated exercise. It’s a habit.

Last week, while meditating, I received an inspiration to try and make happiness a habit. I then engaged in a happiness experiment. I decided to link “happiness” to a routine I do every 2-4 hours — going to the toilet. Each time I do so, I now take approximately 30 seconds to be happy. First I settle using the technique described in Active Consciousness — “Feet. Seat. Back.” That is, I get into the Now by sensing my feet, seat, and back. When I feel settled, I close my eyes and put a smile on my face. Almost immediately I feel a sense of peace and joy within me — indeed, a connection to my inner self. Another thing that can help is imagining something that brings joy — for example, a child or pet. Gratitude also can appear. That’s it!

I’m happy to report that my experiment was a success. I noticed that after “forcing” myself to do this for two or three days, my little happiness shift had become a habit. Now, every time I sit on the toilet, I sense that it’s time to get happy. I don’t need to remind myself. I haven’t yet determined what the net effect will be on my life, but it certainly can’t hurt to be happy for a few moments several times a day!

Do you think you could devote 30 seconds a few times a day to happiness? Try it out. It will only take a total of less than five minutes out of your busy day. Make happiness a habit!

 

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Coincidence, Con, or Kismet?

I thought my general audience would enjoy this recent article from the Ask Amy blog about the synchronicities that can occur when we make an important love connection.

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“Just One Drop” Is Here!

For many years, the Impossible Cure Newsletter has talked about a movie-in-the-making about homeopathy — “Just One Drop.” Laurel Chiten, the award-winning filmmaker of “Just One Drop”, has poured her heart and soul into this project for over 10 years.

Well, the time is now! The film has been premiering world-wide for months now, to rave reviews, and showings are now being scheduled in the USA too. My son Izaak attended the sold-out premiere in Sydney, Australia in July and said it really was great! He felt that it could change people’s minds about homeopathy and convince them to give it a fair go. I myself will be attending a showing at the Marin Film Festival in October.

Please support this excellent movie and make your plans today to attend a showing — or sponsor one in your city. Get your tickets today!

 

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Synchronicity of the Month!

I just can’t resist telling you about an amazing synchronicity I recently experienced. For the past several years, I have utilized an excellent journal called The Sacred Journey. Among other things, it involves “pulling cards” from a divination deck of your choice to reveal a message for each month. I utilize the Medicine Card deck, based on the symbolism associated with various animals. Over time, because of the process of “conditioning” that I describe in Active Consciousness, the accuracy of these cards has grown to be increasingly apt, significant, and helpful to me.

Recently, I entered a period of time for which I drew the Opossum card in the “upside-down” position (the meaning of the cards differs, depending on if you pull them in a rightside-up versus an upside-own orientation). A couple of days later, I began to notice a peculiar smell in my bedroom. As it grew stronger, I realized that it was the odor of a dead animal. I live in the country, so an occasional dead rat in the crawl space beneath my house is a fact of life. “Oh great!” I thought. “Now I have to find that dead rat under my bedroom.” Before I got around to it, however, I was doing some qi-gong exercises next to the sliding-glass door of my bedroom, with the air from my outside deck blowing in through the screen. “Odd! That smell is now definitely wafting in from outside!”

When I was done with my exercises, I suddenly got the notion that I should look beneath the boards of the deck. And right there, just outside the door and beneath the deck boards, was a dead opossum! Talk about synchronicity! There was my upside-down opossum right outside my bedroom door!

Now, I have lived in my house for 33 years, and never have I found any dead animal under the deck, let alone a dead opossum. In fact, that part of the deck is very low to the ground and accessing underneath it is very difficult. Luckily, there was an access door within a foot of the opossum and I was able to pull it out and dispose of it in a place where I wouldn’t have to smell it.

You can be sure that I read and and re-read the Medicine Card message for Opossum after that synchronicity! The ways of the world are ever mysterious.

 

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Face Your Feelings

Just a few weeks ago, my friend Lise told me about the Sedona Method. I vaguely remembered hearing of it before. Originated by Lester Levenson in the 1950s and now taught by his protege Hale Dwoskin, I eventually realized that I had read an ad about the method in an airline magazine. With this new recommendation from Lise, I decided to explore it further — and I’m glad I did!

Just like the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), the Sedona Method enables one to truly face and release life’s difficult emotions and experiences. The Sedona Method, however, is particularly simple and rapid in effectiveness. In fact, you can easily watch a few videos on YouTube and read free content on the Sedona Method website and start to use it right away. I’ve been finding it extremely useful for releasing a few of the anxieties I tend to experience.

It wasn’t long after I started reading Hale Dwoskin’s book about the Sedona Method before I realized that it is actually a perfect illustration of homeopathic principles and philosophy. Just as most allopathic treatments focus on suppressing troublesome symptoms, most of us tend to suppress our uncomfortable emotions, often by distracting ourselves with entertainment, alcohol, or even with suppressive drugs.

Homeopathic philosophy, in contrast, teaches us that suppression is never truly curative. Instead, suppression of physical symptoms usually only works for a short time, and if a symptom is completely suppressed, it often leads to deeper and more serious physical problems. Similarly, suppression of emotions never works in the long run. We might evade our feelings for a while but they return. And even if we completely suppress our emotions and don’t experience them consciously anymore, they are still buried in the subconscious, often deepening into physical symptoms (which we then suppress too). For example, we might effectively suppress our anger at our spouse, only to develop recurrent heartburn and bloating, which, after repeated suppression with over-the-counter medicines, eventually develops into chronic colitis.

The homeopathic approach, of course, is to meet like with like — to meet our suffering head on. To treat a symptom, a homeopath will prescribe an energetic dose of a substance that normally could cause the symptom in question. The resulting healing can sometimes be quick and nearly miraculous — a spontaneous release of even chronic symptoms. (To learn more about homeopathy, consider reading my first book, Impossible Cure.)

With the Sedona Method, we likewise meet like with like — indeed we welcome and actively experience our feelings. And miraculously, using a simple three or four step inquiry process, these feelings can be released — often quite quickly. With repetition (just as repeating a remedy is sometimes needed), chronic psychological complexes can also be released, sometimes revealing underlying feelings that formed a foundation for the problem in the first place.

This uncovering of underlying layers is also analogous to the homeopathic healing process. In particular, the successful healing of a physical problem often uncovers the suppressed physical problem that preceded it. For example, homeopathic treatment of colitis might revert into the less intractable gastrointestinal problems, which can then be treated homeopathically too. Eventually, the buried anger at our spouse is revealed, which might be addressed with a remedy — or with a technique like the Sedona Method. Of course, it would have been simpler to use the Sedona Method in the first place!

If you think about it, we all could sure use a daily dose of the Sedona Method. Our daily lives can often be a veritable roller coaster of anxiety, anger, guilt, and fear. We tend suppress it all with drugs, entertainment, coffee, booze, sex, and more. The net effect, of course, is deeper psychological and physical problems — which we then suppress again. No wonder health care costs are eating us alive! Even using alternative healthcare modalities can be expensive.

Why not nip it all in the bud in the first place? That’s why I’ve become so fascinated lately with learning and writing about self-care techniques that don’t cost a dime — techniques like EFT, the Sedona Method, teachings based on Hawaiian shamanism (like Huna), and more. After all, the answer is almost always within. And it doesn’t have to be hard and complicated. Release and happiness can be only a hair’s breadth away, if we only let ourselves see and feel it!

 

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Some New Articles Relevant to the Legality of Homeopathic Practice and Remedies

As I’ve stressed in Impossible Cure, homeopathy can only thrive and grow if its practice is legal (enabling more homeopaths to be trained and become available to patients) and if homeopathic remedies are freely available too. These recent articles by health freedom lawyer Diane Miller (who I worked with when I got involved in passing California’s health freedom bill back in 2002) are relevant to these issues.

Homeopathy and the National Health Freedom Coalition

Homeopathy and the Federal Trade Commission: Policies for the 21st Century

 

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The Meaning of Life …. According to Amy!

Check out this short article I wrote about my views about the meaning of life.  It was solicited by a site that collected this material from various writers. The content of the site has now been published as  a book.

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Homeopath — Heal Thyself!

Check out this recent article I wrote about how homeopaths need to start taking better care of themselves. This article appeared last year in The American Homeopath journal, and now appears online on the excellent site, Hpathy.

p.s. When I say, “heal thyself” I don’t mean treat thyself!

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Our Addiction to Suffering

The Buddha said that suffering arises from craving — for instance, craving for more love, more possessions, more physical prowess or beauty. But sometimes I wonder if the truth is more akin to the reverse — that we crave our suffering. In other words, are we actually addicted to suffering?

In the past, I have occasionally mentioned my brother in my writing. He has suffered from mental illness all of his life and lives in an assisted living facility for the disabled in my hometown. I call him every Sunday. Some weeks are good, others are bad.

Yes, my brother has physiological reasons for his suffering, but he also tends to become unnecessarily mired in it. Because of his sensitivity, things that would seem minor to most of us can send him into a tail spin. Recently, relatively minor problems with his car freaked him out so badly that he ended up in the hospital for a day. Other days, an offhand comment or look from someone (who was probably just having a bad day, or perhaps meant nothing at all) can land him in bed for days. He often engages in negative self-talk and regrets. Simple day-to-day tasks for most of us, like bathing and teeth-brushing, are actually goals to be achieved for my brother. Some weeks he succeeds, some weeks it’s all too much.

I’ll admit that I can get frustrated with my brother’s suffering. But lately I’ve begun to wonder if it’s all just a matter of scale. After all, what may seem major to each of us might seem like a minor problem to other people. Haven’t you obsessed and suffered over a problem that weeks later is forgotten in the mists of time? How often do relationship woes that plagued you for weeks or months blow over when you realize it was all a misunderstanding or, if not, all for the best? And doesn’t it often seem as if the moment one cause for suffering clears up, we manage to find another? As a person who tends to be a worrier, I’ve really tried to catch myself when I find a new worry to substitute for another that has passed.

Why do we cling so much to our suffering?

Recently, I’ve been doing a lot of reading and research in the area of self-healing methodologies. I have written in the past about the ideas and techniques utilized in Huna, a system of thought and practice based on Hawaiian shamanism. As it turns out, Huna is also fundamentally related to other systems such as hypnotherapy (check out this recent book by my hypnotherapist Alba Alamillo) and recent writings of people like Joe Dispenza (“You Are the Placebo”) and John Sarno (“The Divided Mind”) — though they all use different terminology and come from different world-views.

Many of these authors point out that our brains and bodies actually become addicted to habitual thoughts and emotions. In other words, our suffering thoughts and emotions may literally be ingrained as deep pathways in our brains. Moving out of these patterns feels uncomfortable, and given the chance, we’ll fall right back into these habitual ruts of thought, emotion, and behavior. In fact, we’ll tend to notice things that support our habits of thought and ignore things that don’t. For example, if we tend to worry about our health, we’ll fixate on comments or articles that support these worries, but completely ignore evidence that contradicts these fears.

Humans also tend to have a negativity bias. For example, if we hear a negative comment about ourselves (or hear negative news in general), we will fixate much more on it than if someone praised us or something good happens in the world. In the past, this bias helped to keep us alive. We had to pay attention if lions were seen in the neighborhood; the cheerful comment of our mate necessarily carried less weight. But today, our tendency to notice and obsess over negativity has gone overboard.

The media know this well. All you need to do is pick up the morning newspaper to see that. Our entertainment has also become more and more frightening and negative. Even so-called “comedies” are more akin to chagrin-fests, with nary a chuckle evinced. My husband Steve and I need to look further and further into the past to find movies and TV shows that allow us to sleep at night. Even action shows of 20 years ago seem like comedies compared to today’s fare. All of us have become more and more addicted to horror, and the creators of our media and entertainment keep upping the ante to keep us that way. All of this is operating like a true addiction — with stronger and stronger fixes needed to keep us stimulated — whether it be sex, coffee, drugs, fear, or our own personal miseries.

How to break our addiction to suffering? The first step is to start noticing it. Notice those negative thoughts — putting yourself down, starting up new worries and fears. And as quickly as you can, replace them with positive thoughts — even if you can’t quite believe them at first. In fact, write them down. Say them out loud. Our “basic self” (once again, see this article I wrote about Huna) or our subconscious is more impressed by action than just thought.

It may feel weird and even uncomfortable at first to establish new pathways in your thoughts. Keep at it. Many researchers say it takes 3 weeks of effort to start getting better at this. Joe Dispenza also recommends combining your new positive thoughts with extremely heightened positive emotions like gratitude and joy. It’s like creating a huge wave of positivity that wipes out the deeply grooved negative thoughts in the sands of your mind. Much as I recommend in my book Active Consciousness, getting into Now+ — a meditative state of joy and gratitude in the Now — increases your ability to create a new future.

It is possible to break the pattern of habitual suffering. Even a positive thought or suggestion here and there can make a difference. I even see this with my brother. Rather than just commiserating with his suffering each week, it actually makes more of a difference if I say to him — “Try to get out and take a walk today”, or “Try to brush your teeth this week — you can do it!”. More often than not, he will tell me the following Sunday that he forced himself to do it because I said so, and felt better for it. My positivity and words of faith in him helped bounce him out of his suffering, at least for a while.

It is your own mind that keeps you addicted to your suffering. We all tend to do it. But you also have the ability to create new patterns and thoughts and emotions. Begin today!

 

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