Cultural Paradigms

cultural paradigms
Nicholas Copernicus (1473 – 1543), mathematician and astronomer, established a model of the universe with the sun, rather than earth, at its center. His most notable book, On the Revolutions of Heavenly Bodies, was highly controversial when it was published in 1543 but nevertheless became a fundamental turning point in the history of science.

A paradigm is a sort of cultural, consensual pattern of thought or model of something, for example the ‘current consensus in scientific medicine’. Paradigms change, like the impact of Galileo’s work on disproving the flat-earth theory or Copernicus’s heresy that the Earth moves round the Sun. These new ideas met a great deal of resistance from orthodox philosophy but eventually gave rise to a changed perception of the world we live in.

We live now in a time of ‘paradigm shift’, which creates fundamental changes in our assumptions about the world, and even this contributes to modern stress! Although our physical sciences have discovered new fields of quantum reality, medical science is still lagging behind.

Philosophy has traditionally been an important part of medical practice since the medieval days of Paracelsus, even Hippocrates, the originator of the Hippocratic Oath. How we perceive the world and our part in it is central to how we perceive the role of disease and our reaction to it.

One of the present problems of finding effective treatments within Western scientific medicine is a ‘paradigm gap’. There are different perceptions of the world at work speaking incompatible languages. These have deep roots in our philosophy. This gap is presently condemning millions of people world-wide to suffer treatments that can be as destructive, or sometimes more destructive, than the diseases.

Paradigm 1: The Mechanistic View

This can be traced back to Descartes and other scientists such as Sir Isaac Newton. The universe is a vast machine and we are all cogs, all with our part to play in its function. The healthy body is a well-made clock and if it goes wrong we simply take it apart and tinker with the insides until it goes again. If it breaks it doesn’t really matter because there are plenty more where that came from. Nothing exists unless it has been proven through logical methods.

cancer: something had gone wrong with this body, it has a lump. Cut it out and throw the lump away.

Paradigm 2: The Anthropocentric View

This paradigm is central to the philosophy of Darwinism and others who helped set humans as ‘apart and above’, or at the head of other life forms. Humanity is the supposed crown of creation, we are created to lord it over every other creature as ‘head of the food chain’. The planet is ours to dominate and exploit to our own demands. We must conquer every mountain and battle against disease.

We are the most evolved and dominant species in a process of natural selection. We exist for no purpose and have just evolved through sheer luck. In this world our media fantasy industries create pigs and fish that can talk human. Animals are anthropomorphised through culture to have the same needs, desires and dreams as humans.

The animals, forests, oceans and environment around us exist purely for our convenience. This paradigm is human self-centred and exploitative to everything including ourselves.

cancer: something has gone wrong with this body, it has grown an enemy inside it. I will root it out and battle with it.

Paradigm 3: The Gaian View (an emerging paradigm)

This paradigm started with Einstein and the science of energy. Its inception combines an age when we saw the first images of the Earth as a whole entity from space. James Lovelock and his search for life on Mars is a central figure in its development through his identification of the Gaia Hypothesis regarding Earth.

This planet we inhabit is a self-balancing, homeostatic system similar to our own as single biological entities. It still (just) maintains the optimum conditions for life despite our best efforts to pollute it. Our bodies are a miracle of biology, constantly flexible and adaptive but easy to harm. Anything we do to it or each other, we do to ourselves as we are part of the same ‘web’ or ‘circle’ of life. We exist for a purpose but do not yet know what it is. We are part of an evolving cycle of life, a happening miracle.

cancer: something has gone wrong with this body, it is trying to tell me something. I will listen to it and get help to understand why it has happened and what I need to learn and do to get better.

wizcov800optIn a world going toxic, you owe it to yourself, your friends and your family to protect your very being, increase your immunity to modern disease and limit harm to our planet. With WildFood Wizard you enter a place of nutrition, of living lightly on the earth and enjoying radiant health. By bringing more of nature’s healing gifts into your life you will find a quiet joy, feelings of belonging, links with natural seasons and cycles – and nature wants you back.

We all know time is running out for our culture on planet earth. You can help by taking a step into a healthy relationship with the natural world around you. Start the journey back to nature with WildFood Wizard, available in hardback, paperback and for the Kindle. Just click the cover image to find out more…

Medical Philosophy

medical philiosophyWith self-healing it is always worth exploring the options. Often there is a therapy, or a combination of therapies, that is perfectly suited to you and your situation.

The problem is finding it. There are very few people whose understanding embraces all forms of healing. For example if you go to a Chinese herbalist for treatment, you will get Chinese herbs! As with medical doctors who promote drugs and surgery, each practitioner has a vested interest in prescribing their preferred form of treatment. A basic understanding of the philosophy behind alternative treatments will help you find options that are best suited to your unique situation of ‘dis-ease’ or genetic inheritance if you are searching for your own healing.

Chinese medicine

Western medicine will treat a ‘disease’ whereas Chinese is based on a subtle and detailed diagnosis of a particular patient. Western medicine sees in terms of the pathology of isolated organs whereas Chinese sees the dysfunction of a normally harmonious, complete, living entity. Western medicine will prescribe drugs to modify a system whereas Chinese medicine will nurture a system back to a balance where self-healing becomes possible.

Ayurvedic medicine

Ayurveda means ‘science of life’ in Sanskrit. It is India’s oldest holistic healing system. It treats the mind, body and spirit with herbal medicines, oil therapy, massage, yoga and meditation. It works to create harmony in the patient through balancing the three bodily humours. It focuses on cleansing, purification and rejuvenation.

Homeopathy

Homeopathy works by stimulating the body’s own defences to deal with disease. The word ‘homeopathy’ is Greek in origin and is based on ‘homoios’ meaning ‘like’ and ‘pathos’ meaning ‘disease’. In essence ‘let like be treated by like’. It uses substances that mimic the illness in some way to stimulate the body’s recuperative powers. It is a patient centred treatment that seeks to tune remedies to the patient’s emotional and mental state. The forms the treatment takes can be tablets, granules, powder or liquid, cream or drops.

Naturopathy

The practice of Naturopathy asserts that the body is a self-healing mechanism. Given the right set of circumstances it will heal itself. Disease happens in the body due to an unbalance of some kind and the role of the Naturopath is to bring it to a state where self healing can take place.

This is done through a ‘whole person’ approach to health and disease (often called holistic) that may include activities and experiences that don’t even seem medical in intent.

Mind-body interventions

This philosophy of medicine looks at the role of the mind in creating health and illness and is sometimes called ‘psychoneuroimmunology’. Environmental and nutritional factors are recognised as important root causes of cancer. Also psychological and physical states often work together in bringing about the conditions for disease to develop. Early trauma or prolonged emotional stress create all sorts of physical changes, altering hormone balances, changing body acidity, provoking malignant cells and suppressing the immune system.

Massage

There is always room for the unexplained cure and anecdote records many brought about by a ‘spiritual intervention’. In tribal cultures this has been a mainstay of the medicine man for many thousands of years.

Reiki, for example, is a form of healing which channels a flow of energy through the body in order to activate the body to detoxify, rebalance and heal itself. A premise of Eastern medicine is that all living things have an energy system and that it is blockages in the energy that can lead to disease. The practice of Reiki has roots in Tibetan Buddhism and practitioners are shown how to be a conduit for life force energy.

Chiropractic

The word Chiropractic comes from a Greek root, ‘cheir’ meaning ‘hands’ and ‘practikos’ meaning ‘done by’. Chiropractic concentrates mainly on the spine, muscles, joints, ligaments, muscles bones and tendon to improve function, relieve pain and increase mobility. For example a minor displacement of the spine can create nerve irritation, which disturbs the nervous system and can lead to disease. Therapists believe that joint and muscle problems can be bought about by stress, postural problems and accidents and that the physical manipulation and correction of the joints has a positive effect on the nervous system. Examples of physical dysfunction not relating to joints that are successfully treated this way include asthma, constipation and Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

Vibrational

Studies of electrical effects of implanted tumours in mice have suggested that electrical currents may enhance cancer-killing effects of chemotherapy. Albert Szent-Gyorgi, the discoverer of vitamin C, has been exploring the bio-electronic model in cancer.

Vibrational medicine attempts to treat people with various forms of pure energy. This can be light or sound or even a vibrational value transferred to water. We readily accept imaging heat, even though we can’t see it, because heat is something we can sense through touch.

With the ‘energy body’ it is not so straightforward. Very few of us have experienced this for ourselves and there is apparently no sensory backup to tell us it is there. Although modern physical science tells us we are made of energy, modern medical science so far refuses to consider this.

Nutrition

The body has natural defences against free radicals, antioxidant enzymes and nutrients can ‘mop up’ free radicals and render them harmless. These include iron, zinc, copper, manganese and selenium as well as vitamins A, C and E. Beta Carotene and bioflavonoids are other plant substances that help protect against free radical damage. If your diet is low in these particular substances, or you have a lifestyle that uses them up very quickly, you are often without defence. The body is a self-healing mechanism, but only if it is functioning properly.

Nutraceuticals and botanicals

Pharmaceutical companies are screening plants from all over the world and even plundering folk medicine in the search for chemicals. After 200 years of being ridiculed by orthodox medicine, herbal medicine is stronger than ever and the clinical effects of natural medicines are being clearly demonstrated in research. This is because companies such as Monsanto have found out that they can ‘copyright’ the formulas found in such plants (bio-piracy) and hence render them illegal for use by other people.

wizcov800optIn a world going toxic, you owe it to yourself, your friends and your family to protect your very being, increase your immunity to modern disease and limit harm to our planet. With WildFood Wizard you enter a place of nutrition, of living lightly on the earth and enjoying radiant health. By bringing more of nature’s healing gifts into your life you will find a quiet joy, feelings of belonging, links with natural seasons and cycles – and nature wants you back.

We all know time is running out for our culture on planet earth. You can help by taking a step into a healthy relationship with the natural world around you. Start the journey back to nature with WildFood Wizard, available in hardback, paperback and for the Kindle. Just click the cover image to find out more…

Chemical Consumerism

chemical consumerismAn expanding medical establishment is faced with a generally healthy population in the West so medical consumerism is on the increase. Medicine is an increasing part of our economy, with many normal processes such as childhood excitability, puberty, ageing or menopause are becoming medicalised and subject to treatment by pharmaceutical drugs being a normal ‘over the counter’ purchase in our shopping.

Medical consumerism, like ordinary consumerism, is designed to be unsatisfying. Doctors and many consumers are locked within a fantasy that everyone has something wrong with them that can be ‘cured’ by medical means, treating trivial complaints with fancy procedures. This is partly based on the medical successes of the 1930’s and 40’s and has led to inflated expectations that are basically unfulfillable. The ‘silver bullet’ approach to modern disease is an anachronism (see ‘the-power-of-immunity‘).

However pharmaceutical companies are quick on the uptake and always on the lookout for profit. They have already bought in to the consumer led craze for pill popping and convenience chemicals and surgery. They have a vested interest in developing expensive synthetic products or processes for us to buy, over easily found and more natural treatments, especially if they are ‘free’.

Any supermarket now stocks a whole range of medical treatments for a variety of minor afflictions. It is an interesting experience to view how many products on sale in a supermarket are of chemical origin. Think back even only ten years and there were far fewer products of synthetic origin. Every synthetic drug or chemical has side effects and these are contributing to the development of toxic overload in our bodies that stress our immune systems and prepare us for serious illness. And the ‘cures’ for these dis-eases? They come from the same pharmaceutical industries. It’s just like the glazier who sent his young son out smashing windows.

For example most non-organically farmed animals are routinely treated with antibiotics. A high-yielding cow might be killed off after three lactations, whereas in a less intensive farming practice she might still be in her prime. The quality of life these ‘cow units on a production line’ can actually be tasted in the foodstuffs they supply. Try it yourself – get some fresh organic milk and some farmed milk and just taste the difference!

The drive to cut corners and costs in food mass production means antibiotics are used routinely on animals and crops are often covered in pesticides. Research presented by the Soil Association shows a 60% increase in Tylosin given to pigs in their feed, creating resistance to front-line antibiotics given to humans. Similarly with Enroflaxin routinely put in the drinking water of farmed chickens.

Nicarbazin is another chemical shown to cause birth defects and hormonal imbalance in animals. It is used in chicken feed and levels up to 20 times the legally permitted level have been found in about 10% of chicken livers.

Total farm antibiotic use has increased by 11% in 3 years when it was supposed to fall. Most farm animals in UK are still given antibiotics in feed on a daily basis. In Britain over 3 times the weight of antibiotics is fed to each pig compared with Denmark.

Unheard of chemical exist in our foodstuffs: Acrylamide is a toxin linked to cancer and nerve damage that is present in many foods in Britain – cakes, chips, crisps, biscuits and bread, in amounts that may cause long-term damage.

Iprodione is a suspected carcinogen and suspected groundwater contaminant and hormone disrupter that is in food including carrots.

Aldicarb is used on potatoes and described by the World Health Organisation as ‘highly toxic’. Around 25,000 tons of pesticide is applied to UK
crops every year. Almost half of UK fruit and vegetables contain pesticide residues.

The most dangerous, such as organophosphates, have been linked with cancer, foetal abnormalities, chronic fatigue syndrome in some children and Parkinson’s disease.

Many of these manufactured, synthetic chemicals fail to break down and actually accumulate in organic life forms. For example organochlorines such as those found in solvents, propellants, coolants and many forms of packaging (including food) are concentrating in the food chain. These chemicals accumulate in life forms such as plankton.

As a result fish have been found with 159,000 times greater concentration of some organochlorines than are found in the water they inhabit. Accumulation of these poisons have been found at 3 billion times the background rate in polar bears.

Inuit Indians living far from traditional industry have been found with phenomenal amounts of chlorine derivatives in their body tissues. These organochlorines are passed to their children during pregnancy and in mother’s milk.

When the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in US carried out a random survey of the average diet of American children.They found 66 known carcinogens (cancer causing substances) in an average child’s diet. In amongst all those toxins we consume are some really dangerous ones. Lots of chemicals are used in our homes, in food production and agriculture. Current testing procedures can only detect about 40% of known chemicals and only a hundredth of the foods you will find on a supermarket shelf in the UK have been tested for chemicals.

Our manufacturing industries produce much de-natured food, grown on increasingly de-mineralised soils. Important minerals in the soil of many farms are depleted and are replaced by chemically engineered growth aids. This leads to low mineral levels in non-organic foods.

wizcov800optIn a world going toxic, you owe it to yourself, your friends and your family to protect your very being, increase your immunity to modern disease and limit harm to our planet. With WildFood Wizard you enter a place of nutrition, of living lightly on the earth and enjoying radiant health. By bringing more of nature’s healing gifts into your life you will find a quiet joy, feelings of belonging, links with natural seasons and cycles – and nature wants you back.

We all know time is running out for our culture on planet earth. You can help by taking a step into a healthy relationship with the natural world around you. Start the journey back to nature with WildFood Wizard, available in hardback, paperback and for the Kindle. Just click the cover image to find out more…

Medical Methodology

alternative v complementary medicineAlthough orthodox medicine is slowly letting in complementary therapies, there are still important, but alternative ways, of looking at modern disease that are  incompatible with existing scientific medical models in medicine.

Right now we are stuck between two worlds. In one, the world of medical science tells us that such and such is not proven and therefore not a valid treatment. In the other world of alternative medical models, many things are possible and although they are not proven by medical science – they often work. Mixing medical science with alternative philosophies,  for example Chinese medicine or acupuncture, makes any research difficult. Due to the complexity of Chinese herbal mixtures and the different philosophy of Chinese medicine, tests for the compatibility of orthodox Western treatments with Chinese medicine are only just beginning.

For example, researching the effects of chemical drugs in a ‘Western way’ on the Chinese population involves double-blind testing, with a test group receiving a placebo. This method of testing doesn’t work because Chinese people will naturally search out all possible treatments for a cure, including their local herbalist and this invalidates the research.

Practitioners claim that double-blind testing is not easily conducted on many aspects of Chinese medicine. Giving one group of patients a placebo is morally questionable because the Chinese medical philosophy values treatment of the sick over scientific detachment.

They ask if any medical practitioner can be justified in giving a sick patient a bogus treatment. China is behind the West in state-of-the-art chemical drug therapy but their philosophy of medicine is one that has stood the test of time more than any other, and one that values natural sources of medicine over synthetic. It is also a philosophy that treats the person rather than the illness. Eastern medical systems such as Ayurvedic or Tibetan medicine hold similar difficulties for the methodologies of western reductionism.

Little medical research exists on simultaneous, multiple treatments at levels tuned to the individual patient because it is impossible to test the validity and reliability of these using current medical scientific research methodology.

Despite the extremely rigorous testing of controlled drugs, once they are approved, doctors can prescribe them for any purpose they deem fit. This unapproved use of the drug is known as ‘off label’ use, and it happens frequently. Estimates show that as much as 60% of drugs prescribed by doctors in the US, a staggering billion prescriptions a year are for off label uses. This means that highly potent drugs are being dispensed with no more proof for their efficacy than exists for an alternative remedy.

wizcov800optIn a world going toxic, you owe it to yourself, your friends and your family to protect your very being, increase your immunity to modern disease and limit harm to our planet. With WildFood Wizard you enter a place of nutrition, of living lightly on the earth and enjoying radiant health. By bringing more of nature’s healing gifts into your life you will find a quiet joy, feelings of belonging, links with natural seasons and cycles – and nature wants you back.

We all know time is running out for our culture on planet earth. You can help by taking a step into a healthy relationship with the natural world around you. Start the journey back to nature with WildFood Wizard, available in hardback, paperback and for the Kindle. Just click the cover image to find out more…