For years society has struggled with the debate over the safety of low level exposures to pesticides in and around the home. While skeptics may still say that the definitive evidence is not available yet, the evidence is mounting that these types of exposures are not safe. The latest study comes from Georgetown University (Ther Drug Monit. 2009 Aug;31(4):495-50), where researchers have compared children with and without newly diagnosed childhood leukemia (ALL) and their mothers.
The findings are that the urine analyses of the children with leukemia showed higher levels of the biochemical by-products of pesticides than did those of healthy children. More mothers of the children with ALL reported having used pesticides in the home than did mothers of the healthy children (33% versus 14%).
As with other studies suggesting toxic effects of low level pesticide and herbicide exposures in and around the home for children, pets, and adults, the research points to the wisdom of using non-toxic ways to control pests. We all have to weigh and balance the risks of the pests versus the health risks of the chemicals — it seems reasonable to come down on the side of caution against using man-made chemical pesticides when better hygiene, physical barriers to pest entry into the home, and natural means of controlling insect and rodent populations are available.
Overnight cures are wonderful miracles. They do happen. Rarely. Gradual cures are far more common, especially with whole systems of CAM (Complimentary and Alternative Medicine). So, expect a possible miracle – or at least a solid improvement, but be prepared for a longer haul and perhaps less than a complete miracle. Many people are healed but not cured. Aim for both cure and healing. Do not settle for just coping better with your chronic disease unless you have given a systemic approach to treatment a good try for a reasonable period of time without success.
In the end, it may be that you do not get all the way to a cure, but you can still improve a great deal and experience much healing as a person.
How long to give your treatment options?
Any therapy could begin helping as quickly as within a few hours or days in a chronic condition. However, on average, you should be able to look back after six months and again after one year from when you set your intention and start your treatment program — especially the constitutional treatment — and realize that you have come a very long way. Nutritional supplements are not drugs and may require 4-6 months to begin hitting their maximum benefit, even if they start working sooner.
Five and ten years from now, you may look back and see that you have transformed or at least that you are in a wholly different place as a human being than you were at the worst of your chronic condition. In most cases, your healing process will have progressed noticeably.
Expect the Improvements to Last
Also, expect that the improvements are lasting, not that you are better one month and then back to where you started the next. If you get better and then relapse, the treatment is not acting at a sufficiently deep level of the system to hold. Discuss the situation with your providers and make adjustments in the overall plan. This may mean changing to another treatment option level or adding another type of care within a given level. It may also mean changing to another provider.
One approach that I like to use is applying major concepts from one field to another. Somehow deeper truths reveal themselves when you find the information pointing in the same direction. Thus, expand your reading beyond books on health and healing.
For instance, a short little book like The Dip (see Resources), one that many business entrepreneurs might read, can help you frame your own progress with your health care choices in terms of when it makes sense for you to stay with a treatment or a provider and when to quit and move on to a different treatment or a different provider of a treatment for which you still hold hope of benefit. Another simple but profound book, The Tipping Point, might help you see how many factors converged to set you off onto a path of illness and how many other factors and changes might converge to re-direct you onto a good healing path.
Your disease and your healing will have their own pace. You will find it necessary to honor that pace. Trying to rush it is counterproductive and will be another lesson to learn along the way. The pace of systemic healing usually reflects the intrinsic way you are in life – perhaps fast and intense or slow and methodical. You heal in your own way just as you develop disease in your own way.
When organizing and coordinating your treatment, it is important to address your chronic disease through multiple coordinated levels of intervention that together keep your whole system changing toward better health at multiple levels.
Trying combinations of treatments that mostly fall into the same level of options is less likely to produce optimal results. For example, adding more and more nutritional or botanical supplements (Biochemical level of options) but no other type of treatment from the other levels of options is only likely to become expensive without getting you unstuck and moving along toward systemic health.
An exception might be if your disease is due to nutritional deficiencies, and supplements are all you need to correct the deficiencies.
However, for the typically complex chronic diseases of modern life such as inflammatory conditions, autoimmunity, heart and blood vessel problems, cancer, arthritis, and multi-system conditions such as chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia, a multi-system treatment program package is usually preferable to an overly narrow one that speaks to only one level of your overall system.
Coordinating Your Systems-Oriented Treatment Planning
Start with the spiritual level of prayer and/or intention, which is singular and focused. Your intention to heal sets in motion the new pattern of change that you will undertake. It provides the umbrella for the package of care. Then you select from the different levels of options below the spiritual to fill in the ways in which you will work to get yourself unstuck and moving in a healing direction as a whole system.
Constitutional Systemic and Subtle Energy Treatment Options
Select whichever one form of constitutional treatment (Chinese medicine/acupuncture or classical homeopathy or Ayurveda) appeals most to you, is accessible to you in terms of provider availability and costs, and has the best evidence of helping in your specific condition (see the Resources section at the end for brief definitions and links to additional books and information for disease-specific guidance).
Constitutional systems of care tend to have long historical roots for hundreds to thousands of years. Chinese medicine, which includes acupuncture, is from China, classical homeopathy from Germany (Europe), and Ayurveda from India.
All of these systems describe the person as an intact whole, an interconnected network, in which the goal of treatment is to restore balance of function between the body parts throughout the whole system and harmony with the larger environment around the person (the natural, social, and transcendent worlds). Using a constitutional treatment that addresses the core illness process within you as a whole is the most powerful way to stimulate deep healing throughout your being.
It is best not to start more than one constitutional option of treatment at a time, as these are the most powerful forms of systemic treatment for chronic disease. Each constitutional program has its own transitional processes in stimulating healing that proceed best without disruption by another such process, especially in the beginning.
Can you combine two or more types of constitutional care? The answer is a cautious yes, though the combination requires collaboration between your providers and added skills and awareness of how you respond to each treatment. As time passes, the beneficial changes from systemic treatment become ingrained in your dynamics and patterns, making it easier to put you back on course if something happens to set you back or off track again.
When considering alternative medicine, be aware that providers differ widely not only in their skill and experience, but also in how they use these treatment options. Ask if the way in which the treatment option is given is constitutional, that is, treating you as a whole indivisible system, rather than controlling local symptoms (the more Western conventional medical mindset way of treating disease).
A clue in that area is whether or not the practitioner can give you a unified diagnosis and a coordinated treatment plan within their system of care for your entire pattern of problems rather than just one of them. You want to avoid practitioners who mainly use acupuncture or homeopathy or Ayurvedic methods to treat disease locally at a body part. You may need local treatment during acute health crises or flare-ups of your chronic illness, but your greatest progress stems from gradual constitutional treatment over time rather than treating one crisis after the next.
Similarly, subtle energy healing as an option is a complex topic. Many persons are capable of affecting a person’s subtle energy body in major ways and can further develop their capabilities with relatively brief training programs. However, many such individuals are less well trained in understanding the systemic implications of their abilities, and many have no background in any form of health care (a common exception is nurses who do therapeutic touch or healing touch).
Healing the Whole Person vs. the Body Part
Some energy healers send well-intentioned general positive energy to you overall that can help you superficially for a while, but likely cannot heal a deep-seated chronic disease. Some are very powerful in their ability and can force the physical manifestations of a specific disease to go away by blocking the energetic patterns that underlie the expression in the physical body — But they are not aware of the risks of suppressing the disease manifestations into the rest of the person as an indivisible network.
For example, I once heard an energy healer describe a client whose long-standing pain and disability from a leg injury had stopped in a matter of days, under subtle energy healing focused on recovery of the leg. At first I congratulated the healer and asked how the client was doing now, a year later. What she said distressed me – she acknowledged that the client’s leg was still pain-free with much better functionality, but now the client was suffering from horrible panic attacks, unable to leave home.
So, the treatment was powerful and seemingly “effective” – but it was directed to healing a body part (the leg), not the person as a whole. As a result, the deepest disturbance was simply blocked from expressing itself in the leg – encouraging it to move deeper into the person, up to the level of the brain. Then the disturbance in the person as a whole system had taken on the form of panic disorder and agoraphobia.
This was not really a desirable outcome – but neither the healer nor the client realized the possible connection. A different healer who incorporated an understanding of the need to heal the leg in the context of the person as a whole might have produced a very different result — healing both the underlying disturbance and the leg as a manifestation.
Distant parts of the network (the rest of the body) may experience adverse outcomes as a result of the suppression of local symptoms in one part.
At the same time, some energy healers have a true gift for helping people at a profoundly spiritual and integrated level. The treatment they provide is potentially as valuable in your overall package of care as any of the constitutional systems of treatment.