Stress and Anxiety

stress and anxiety
image courtesy of londoncounsellingdirectory.com

A culture motivated by speed and greed has brought more stress and anxiety to life. A dictionary definition of stress is:

A constraining or impelling force, effort or demand upon physical or mental energy”.

According to the Confederation of British Industries (C.B.I.) illness caused by stress has increased by 500% since the mid 1950’s. Current cultural conditions increase our stress, resulting in effects such as:

·    lack of predictability in life
·    lack of control over external events
·    lack of outlets for frustration

But stress is also an essential part of life. If there were no stress there would be no reaching for growth. There is a functional element to stress that helps us to grow and develop as individuals and a society. If we become overwhelmed by stress, without any outlet for the negative energy it can produce, for prolonged periods of time, then illness and disease will result.

Much of our stress in the modern world comes from ‘cognitive dissonance’ – a feeling that something is wrong but we can’t quite put a finger on what it is. It is defined in psychological terms as: the state of having inconsistent thoughts, beliefs, or attitudes, especially as relating to behavioural decisions and attitude change. We know something has to change, that our culture has taken a turn that will result in its own demise, but are in denial or seem unable to do anything about it. This state of being creates a basis of anxiety.

It is how we cope with stressors such as this that determine how much they affect us physically. There is no doubt that for many of us the world is becoming a more complex place and this produces stress and its associated toxins which are part of eventual cell insult and disease if we cannot deal with them.

Our daily diet consists of more than what we eat, drink and breathe. We consume many thousands of messages every day from our culture. Images, conversation, music, TV, radio, newspapers, books and so on. Just once in a while it is a good idea to stand back and consider just what messages we are getting. Certainly mainstream media seems to provide a diet of violence and sensationalism and Western ‘news values’ prefer negative stories of drama, crisis and criminality to more positive or healthy views. Just what impact does the media you consume have on your own perception of the world?

For any consumers of ‘fed culture’ – TV, radio, news, magazines etc. the diet is mostly one of negativity, violence, fear, greed, speed and ‘celebrity’ – the state of personal fulfillment to which we are all supposed to aspire. The media exist for only one reason, to deliver us into the hands of advertisers who seek to manipulate our needs.

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…

Medicine Gone Bad

bad medicineIn pre-industrial societies disease was not seen as a ‘random assault from outside’ but as a deeply significant life event integral to the sufferer’s whole being – spiritual, moral, physical and life course – past, present and future.

In modern culture this whole aspect of treating disease is lost. Disease was interpreted as packed with moral, spiritual and religious messages as one of the many ways through which ‘God revealed his will to mankind’. Other philosophies of medicine such as Ayurvedic or Tibetan think similarly, in these, disease even has a karmic aspect.

Around the tenth century in Europe – after the so called ‘Dark Ages’ – women, the original stewards of the land (men did ‘animal husbandry’), were dispossessed of it by the new patriarchies of the Church and State. This male hierarchy hid the things they were most afraid of, namely the fact that it is women who hold the key to the processes and powers of life. They took them as their own, decreeing laws about how we should behave to impose control and inventing ‘original sin’ allied to the curse of Eve and the demonisation of women..

From the early Middle Ages there came a prolonged persecution of women involved in healing. Some sources estimate 5 – 9 million women were destroyed across Europe during this persecution although others claim this a gross exaggeration. Essentially the role of women as healers was discouraged as part of a shift to a patriarchy. This resulted in the destruction of indigenous folk medicine in Europe.

The roles of women in mothering and ‘home-making’ and its many associated skills are still regarded as worthless according to our primarily fiscal values based on GDP. One of the most important things for our future, bringing children into the world, is totally financially unsupported.

When a patriarchy took over, one of the things that happened was that ‘healing’ and ‘spirituality’ were separated out. This shift left our culture bereft of many means of self-healing as a personal journey. The world of spirit and physic were separated and became even more so during the great ‘Age of Reason’ that began with Descartes and continued with Newton and Darwin, the tail-end of which many are presently clinging to in desperation and a degree of applied self-interest. Rene Descartes (1596 – 1650) was a central influence on the 17th century revolution that began modern science and philosophy. His ‘Method of Doubt’ was published in 1637:

“I resolved to reject as false everything in which I could imagine the least doubt, in order to see if there afterwards remained anything that was entirely indubitable”.

The philosophy of ‘Cartesian dualism’ became part of our science, where the mind and the body are seen as essentially separate. Misguidedly (it was not Descartes’s intention) this philosophy contributed to the mechanistic and rational philosophy of the universe adopted by our culture. Descartes was one of the first people to suggest that ‘phenomena could be understood by breaking them down into constituent parts and examining each minutely’. His view of the human body as a machine functioning within a mechanistic universe took prevalence within the Age of Reason.

“Consider the human body as a machine. My thought compares a sick man and an ill-made clock with my idea of a healthy man and a well made clock”.

This attention to analytical detail is still at the heart of our scientific research methodologies. Even during the time of Sir Isaac Newton the human body was viewed as an intricate biological machine. The Universe was an orderly, predictable but divine mechanism, a ‘grand clockwork’. Although hundreds of years have passed, Western scientific medicine still holds the same basic philosophy, but is more sophisticated in studying biological mechanisms at a molecular level. Our cultural values are more biased towards examining constituent parts as unrelated than ‘seeing a whole picture’.

The first Newtonian approaches were essentially surgical. The body was seen as if it were a complex plumbing system. If it went wrong the offending piece was removed or bypassed. These days instead of using knives, drugs are often used to do more or less the same things.

Humans though are far more than walking sacks of chemicals. The animating life-force central to other medical systems is an energy that is not addressed by modern scientific methodology and there are no medical models that explain what it is and what it does. It is misguided by the concept that all illnesses are cured by physically repairing or eliminating abnormal cells. This reveals a deep conflict between ‘Western’ and Eastern’ medical philosophies that has its roots in the division of science and religion.

Degenerative disease cannot be treated effectively under a philosophy of reductionism. Research has failed to find effective cures for modern diseases because it is looking in the wrong places with the wrong tools.

Modern disease needs to be understood as a ‘whole’ disease in relation to each individual’s experience and the culture of which they are part. It has multiple causes that vary with each patient. General ‘same cure for everybody’ pills are only produced in the interests of drug manufacturers and they occlude self-healing as an option.

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…

Alternative Choices

alternative and complementaryIf you go to a Chinese Herbalist for treatment, you are likely to be prescribed – Chinese Herbs. Likewise if you go to a Western ‘allopathic’ doctor, you are likely to be prescribed drugs or surgery, the main tools of the typical Western doctor.

There are many ‘alternative treatments’ available but each practitioner has a vested interest in treating you with their preferred method of intervention. There are very few practitioners in any domain with enough experience and knowledge to direct you, the patient, to a form of intervention that is ideally suited to you and your dis-ease.

Off the top of my head, here are some ‘alternative’ forms of diagnosis and treatment:

Acupuncture
Affirmation and visualisation
Alexander technique
Amino acid supplements
Aromatherapy
Astrology
Autogenic training
Ayurvedic medicine
Biofeedback
Biogenics
Castor oil lymph cleansing
Chakra therapy
Chi Kung
Chinese nutrition and herbalism
Chiropractic
Cold therapy
Colonic irrigation
Colour therapy
Cranial electrical stimulation
Cranial osteopathy
Crystal therapy
Diet and nutrition
Dietary supplements
Dorsal column stimulation
Dr Bach’s flower remedies
Dream therapy / questing
Education and learning
Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)
Enneagram
Fasting
Feldenkrais therapy
Feng Shui
Folk remedies
Hair analysis
Herbalism
Inversion therapy
Seitai
Shamanic questing
Spiritual healing
Tai Chi
Tibetan medicine

Some ‘alternative medicine’ treatments are gaining credibility without the blessing of doctors. One example of conventional doctor’s treatment being superseded by a popular treatment is in osteoarthritis. Conventional medicine often prescribes a palliative drug to ease the pain which may actually worsen the condition.

Osteoarthritis has been viewed, according to many doctors, as something that we have to put up with as a ‘normal part of ageing’. Now, ingredients that have been used for years in Europe and Asia are combined in a natural remedy that physicians are increasingly prescribing. But such information takes a lot of time to filter through. Even though this particular remedy has been reviewed in the Lancet (McAlindon T. ‘Glucosamine for Osteoarthritis: dawn of a new era?’ Vol.357 No. 9252 p.247 2001) my own doctor was asked for it by a patient and replied “You’d be better off with a gin and tonic.”

Patients are still too infrequently told about complementary or alternative treatments or research. Doctors are supposed to offer patients alternatives as part of ‘informed consent’. Due to the workload of doctors they don’t have time to keep up with the research into every field except their speciality. Important research in other countries is often not translated or even made available to doctors.

Little research exists on simultaneous multiple treatments at levels tuned to the patient because it is impossible to test the validity and reliability of these using current scientific, medical research methodology. Double-blind placebo testing simply does not work in this context.

If your doctor is not familiar with or open to alternatives you are unlikely to even be told what they are. According to a report in the British Medical Journal, half of the UK population uses complementary medicine but doctors are rarely able to advise on such therapies because the research is contradictory or not rigorous enough.

Even when asked directly doctors are unable to offer advice on alternative or complementary options because they often lack any experience, knowledge or training in non-allopathic medicine. Medical history (which reveals a basis for some alternative treatments at least) is rarely taught in medical schools.

Many complementary therapies and alternative healing sources are available. It is rare that you will be prescribed any of these by a doctor, who is usually the first point of contact for a diagnosis, because their interest is focused on providing drugs or surgery as a response to illness.

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…