CPH Newsletter - Volume 08 - July - August 2007


Alex Christie practising homeopath and allergy consultant

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Welcome to the August newsletter written by Alex Christie. For those of you who are new to this newsletter, Alex writes one every month for Cph on a different subject or subjects. You are welcome to write to her and suggest a topic, as she has several that she is gradually working through already!

Those of you who have been following the last newsletters will know that I covered how to avoid dementia and Alzheimer’s following the rapid decline in mental health of my mother-in-law.  Sadly, Eva passed away over one week ago.  She was taken to hospital twice recently for suspected heart problems, then she had a massive “bleed”, which is a huge haemorrhage in the brain, during the night and went into a coma, dying about 12 hours later without regaining consciousness.

One of the characteristics of Eva is that she could neither laugh nor cry.  She was unable to cry when her husband died, instead she went to the doctor and asked for anti-depressants and sleeping pills, on which she became utterly dependent and from which she suffered significant side-effects.  As Kahlil Gibran’s Prophet said of joy and sorrow:

Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.
And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.
And how else can it be?
The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.…
When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.
When you are sorrowful, look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.

Grief is a process.  If you do not allow yourself to go through the process then you are closing down a part of yourself and opting not to be fully alive.  If your loss is great you need to grieve.  It is good to weep.  Weeping is allowing the grief out.  Men should weep during a grief process. Men are no different, yet many believe that it is unmanly to weep.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Homeopathy is wonderful for helping those who choose to do so, to open up to themselves.  It helps unblock what is blocked.  Homeopathy can help you through the grief process.  Life is hugely rich when you are unblocked and open to experiencing your emotions to the full.  Many times depression is simply the inability to go through the process of grieving, and so you push your emotions down.  This results in part of you dying and to you suppressing your emotional world.  If you cannot face one grief then every time grief emotions are stirred you have to suppress these too.  You cut yourself off from what is most valuable to you, namely your emotional aliveness and awareness.

I thought I would speak about Elisabeth Kübler-Ross who helped us understand the various stages people need to go through when grieving in her book “On Death and Dying”.

Her ideas, notably “the five stages of grief” model (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance), can also be applied to personal change and emotional upset resulting from factors other than death and dying.  Grief isn’t just about losing someone.  It can be about losing a job, your standing in a group of people, your health, your home, your financial security, or your hopes.

This makes the model worthy of study far outside of death and bereavement. The 'grief cycle' is actually a 'change model' for helping to understand and deal with (and counsel) personal reaction to trauma. It's not just for death and dying.

This is because trauma and emotional shock are relative in terms of effect on people. While death and dying are for many people the ultimate trauma, people can experience similar emotional upsets when dealing with many of life's challenges, especially if confronting something difficult for the first time, and/or if the challenge happens to threaten an area of psychological weakness, which we all possess in different ways. One person's despair (a job-change, or exposure to risk or phobia, etc) is to another person not threatening at all. Some people love snakes and climbing mountains, whereas to others these are intensely scary things. Emotional response, and trauma, must be seen in relative not absolute terms. The model helps remind us that the other person's perspective is different to our own, whether we are the one in shock, or the one helping another to deal with their upset.

Kübler-Ross was a catalyst. She opened up and challenged previously conservative (sweep it under the carpet, don't discuss it, etc) theories and practices relating to death and bereavement, and received an enormously favourable response among carers, the dying and the bereaved, which perhaps indicates the level of denial and suppression that had earlier characterised conventional views about the subject - particularly in the western world, where death is more of a taboo than in certain other cultures.

As stated, and important to emphasise, Kübler-Ross's five stages of grief model was developed initially as a model for helping dying patients to cope with death and bereavement, however the concept also provides insight and guidance for coming to terms with personal trauma and change, and for helping others with emotional adjustment and coping, whatever the cause. This has probably helped her ideas to spread and to enter 'mainstream' thinking.

As with much other brilliant pioneering work, the Kübler-Ross model is elegantly simple. The five stages of grief model is summarised and interpreted below.

 

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross - five stages of grief


Also known as the 'grief cycle', it is important to bear in mind that Kübler-Ross did not intend this to be a rigid series of sequential or uniformly timed steps. It's not a process as such, it's a model or a framework. There is a subtle difference: a process implies something quite fixed and consistent; a model is less specific - more of a shape or guide. By way of example, people do not always experience all of the five 'grief cycle' stages. Some stages might be revisited. Some stages might not be experienced at all. Transition between stages can be more of an ebb and flow, rather than a progression. The five stages are not linear; neither are they equal in their experience. People's grief, and other reactions to emotional trauma, are as individual as a fingerprint.

Denial
Denial is a conscious or unconscious refusal to accept facts, information, reality, etc., relating to the situation concerned. It's a defence mechanism and perfectly natural. Some people can become locked in this stage when dealing with a traumatic change that can be ignored. Death of course is not particularly easy to avoid or evade indefinitely.

Anger
Anger can manifest in different ways. People dealing with emotional upset can be angry with themselves, and/or with others, especially those close to them. Knowing this helps keep detached and non-judgemental when experiencing the anger of someone who is very upset.


Bargaining
Traditionally the bargaining stage for people facing death can involve attempting to bargain with whatever God the person believes in. People facing less serious trauma can bargain or seek to negotiate a compromise. For example "Can we still be friends?.." when facing a break-up. Bargaining rarely provides a sustainable solution, especially if it's a matter of life or death.

Depression
Also referred to as preparatory grieving. In a way it's the dress rehearsal or the practice run for the 'aftermath' although this stage means different things depending on whom it involves. It's a sort of acceptance with emotional attachment. It's natural to feel sadness and regret, fear, uncertainty, etc. It shows that the person has at least begun to accept the reality.

Acceptance
Again this stage definitely varies according to the person's situation, although broadly it is an indication that there is some emotional detachment and objectivity. People dying can enter this stage a long time before the people they leave behind, who must necessarily pass through their own individual stages of dealing with the grief.

Homeopathic Remedies for Grief and Loss

  1. Ignatia is the no. 1 remedy for someone who is grieving and able to cry.
  2. Nat Mur is for grief where the person is not able to cry (i.e. suppressing the grief and not allowing it out.)
  3. Phosphorus is a big grief remedy.  You will have other pointers to this such as craving cold (wanting ice cream after a loss), exhaustion, anxiety.
  4. Arnica deals with the shock, if the change or loss was sudden.  Death always involves shock.
  5. A great shock trio is Arnica + Buddleija + Syphilinum all in 10M potency (Order from Vital Homeopathics).  Buddleija is referred to as the emotional arnica, so where the heart is wounded this is very appropriate.

Mitochondrial function and cancer


The mitochondria is the “powerhouse” of the cell; within it energy is generated as the end product of the electron transport chain.

The mitochondria have an additional role; they activate apoptosis (cell death). This function has generated interest in the role of the mitochondria in the development of cancer. The sequence of events is thought to be as follows:

· Normal cells in the middle of a benign growth become starved of oxygen so begin to generate energy outside of the mitochondria through the alternative pathway, glycolysis.
· The mitochondria cease to operate; the cell becomes “immortal”, carries on replicating and the tumour grows.
· Glycolysis generates lactic acid, allowing cancer cells to eat through tissue, escape and form secondary cancers.

A revolutionary new approach to cancer treatment, therefore, involves switching the mitochondria of these cells back on.

DCA:

Dichloroacetate (DCA) is a drug that has been used for several years to treat mitochondrial disease; it boosts the ability of mitochondria to produce energy. When given to human cancer cells the drug effectively “woke-up” the mitochondria, apoptosis then resumed normally; the drug killed lung, breast and brain cancer cells without effect on healthy cells.

DCA is an old drug, it is unpatentable therefore can be produced very cheaply. However, tragically, pharmaceutical companies are unlikely to fund the necessary research as they cannot make money from unpatented medicines; it is therefore to be hoped that governments, charities and universities will recognise the potential of DCA. 

Nutrition and the mitochondria

Healthy mitochondrial function then may be key to help fight cancer and protect against it’s development. The mitochondria rely on a number of nutrients to function normally; they also require antioxidants to protect them. The key nutrients are:

· Acetyl-L-Carnitine- transports long-chain fatty acids to the mitochondria where they are oxidised for energy, clears toxic accumulation in the mitochondria.
· N-Acetyl-Cysteine- precursor of glutathionine, which protects the mitochondria from oxidative damage.
· Co-enzyme Q10- essential as a carrier of electrons in the electron transport chain, this vitamin-like substance also acts as a powerful antioxidant.
· B-vitamins and magnesium- these are essential co-factors in the cycle of reactions, culminating in the mitochondrial electron transport chain, that produce energy.

· Antioxidants such as vitamins A,C,E and selenium

Top Tips to Stop Smoking (the nutritional way!)

England has officially gone ‘smoke-free’, so now’s the time to start thinking about nutritional ways to help people who are committed to giving up smoking.  Giving up smoking is a very difficult experience, so, whilst a few nutritional tips is certainly not a comprehensive guide to giving up smoking, they might just be that little bit of extra help that someone is looking for.

Before you can tackle giving up smoking, you have to understand why someone is smoking in the first place.  There are lots of different reasons why people smoke, isolating these is the first step to giving up.  A good way of understanding why someone smokes is to ask them to keep a smoking diary.  Writing down the time and motivation for each cigarette over the course of a few weeks can give you some good clues as to the reasons behind the habit.

Smoking causes unbalanced blood sugar level,s which can then become a vicious cycle as a blood sugar dip leads to a desire for another cigarette.  Consume protein, such as meat, fish, eggs and beans with complex carbohydrates, reduce intake of sugar and simple carbohydrates such as white bread and eat regularly to balance blood sugar.

Reducing nicotine load is best done gradually.  Week by week, switching to brands of cigarettes that contain less and less nicotine is likely to be more successful than going cold turkey.  Patches and gum can help in this process.

Vitamin C, chromium and niacin can help to reduce nicotine cravings. Increasing the alkaline balance of the body may also help to reduce cravings – eating a diet that is high in fruit, vegetables and seeds will help to achieve this. Consider supplementing calcium and magnesium as these are alkaline minerals which will help to neutralise excess acidity.

The health benefits of giving up smoking are immense due to the amazing ability of the body to heal itself over time:

 

Reminders-the health benefits just keep growing the longer you abstain

Homeoapthic Remedies to Help You Stop Smoking

  1. I usually give Caladium (“craving for tobacco” Murphy) in high potency for one to two weeks.
  2. Alongside this I give plantago 30C to take whenever you crave a cigarette.  (“Causes disgust for tobacco” Murphy)
  3. Alternatively look to the Narayani remedies for smoking combinations.

New Research Shows Benefits of DHA in Pregnancy

The importance of omega 3 fatty acids for the developing child has been well researched.  It is now widely accepted that a diet rich in the DHA omega-3 fatty acid (docosahexaenoic acid) during pregnancy and breastfeeding is associated with healthy pregnancies and optimal mental and visual development of infants.

It is also suggested that mothers are less at risk of developing postnatal depression or mood change, and experience a quicker recovery, if they consume sufficient levels of omega 3 fatty acids.

This new study by researchers at the Universities of Connecticut and Louisiana looks specifically at how DHA in pregnancy has an impact on the problem solving ability of the infant during the first year of life.

The researchers recruited 29 women, all 24 weeks pregnant, and assigned them to receive either DHA-containing cereal bars or cereal placebo bars. The women consumed an average of five bars per week.

Their children' cognitive development was then tested at nine months using The Infant Planning Test and Fagan Test of Infant Intelligence.  The test showed that the children of mothers supplemented with the DHA-containing functional food had significantly better performance for problem-solving ability. "These data point to a benefit for problem solving but not for recognition memory at age nine months in infants of mothers who consumed a DHA-containing functional food during pregnancy," concluded the researchers. Click here to view the study abstract.

A lot of women are confused about the omega 3 message because of the problems associated with the pollutants in the fatty tissues of the fish.  Pollutants such as methyl mercury, dioxins, and polychlorinated biphenols (PCBs) are reported to damage the development of babies, therefore it is of the utmost importance if choosing to supplement to pick an omega 3 product which is free from these contaminants. Eating two portions of oily fish weekly during pregnancy is likely to be of benefit rather than harm to a developing baby.

Recommended reading


Recommended reading (available from Amazon.co.uk)

References


  1. www.businessballs.com/elisabeth_kubler_ross_five_stages_of_grief.htm
  2. Nutri Newsletter www.nutri.co.uk  

 

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Support Your Supplements!


The EU is now working to set maximum permitted levels for nutrients in food supplements.  This is your chance to help make a difference.  Please take a little of your time to help us keep our vitamins and minerals at safe and beneficial dose levels.

The EU Commission will set these levels towards the end of 2007, and the early signs suggest they will be set very much lower than those already available in the UK and some other member states.  Could you find time to write to the commissioner today asking him to ensure levels are set as high as possible and in accordance with the levels that good science confirms are safe?

By taking steps now we can avoid the EU, or rather the Pharmaceutical Companies, depriving us of the right to take the supplements that will improve our health (and enable us to avoid having to take drugs).

On the following website there is a petition you can sign and a prepared letter you can send to the Commissioner on the left hand link.  

www.consumersforhealthchoice.com/

Once again may I take this opportunity to thank you for your continued interest, and I look forward to staying in touch with you regularly. Remember, if you would like me to cover any specific topic, please e-mail me and I will try and do so in one of our future newsletters.

Yours in health,

on behalf of
the College of Practical Homeopathy
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