Thursday, 16 April 2015

Why is nutrition considered 'alternative medicine'?

Watched the first of this BBC series last night on I-player.

It looks at the range of private medicine on offer in Harley Street. It was interesting watching the doctors justifying working privately (some of them worked in the NHS and all of them were trained there). I have no problem with private medicine per se - it's that the standards are so much higher but it's not available for all. The same problem with private education of course.

My main issue though was with the fact that despite mentioning the large numbers of alternative practitioners who work in Harley street the programme failed to highlight any of them and instead focussed on the same narrow 'conventional' medical treatment plans including a lot of high tech chemotherapy and surgical interventions. And all were male interestingly.

It's the same old same old as far as I'm concerned.. no mention of what any of these people could do to help their treatment with lifestyle and diet changes, no mention of stress or inflammation as contributors to the conditions shown.  All seemed to believe in the magic bullet approach. One woman, who had underdone chemo and a lumpectomy was told 'that's all the cancer out of your body - you are now cancer-free!' Which of course was very emotional for her as she'd gone through months of hell with losing her hair and all the worry and fear of cancer. It seems churlish to point out that there is always cancer in your body, but a healthy immune system keeps it in check. There was no attempt to give her any advice on nutritional changes she could make to make sure it stayed that way. And her family's response was quite dysfunctional - as a student psychologist  I looked on in incredulity as they seemed to depend on her to stay well, clinging on to the notion of her survival like it was their life that was at stake. There's a story in that family of previous trauma for sure..

One lad came from Kuwait to be told he had a pituitary tumour that was threatening to take away his sight. No comment on the fact he was obese and needed to look at the role of excess weight in causing cancer. Surgery was the only thing on offer.

It was all so depressing.. I DO have a lot of respect for the skill of the surgeons and the wonderful technology that we now have at our disposal (if we have the money it seems). Also,  I understand people want to have their pain taken away. But our approach now in the west is so disempowering of the individual. It takes away everything that we can do to help ourselves. And it makes vast profits for the biomedical industry it supports.

Why oh why is something as basic as nutrition considered alternative? It makes no sense to me.
Just yesterday I was advising a client on dietary changes she can make to help her acid reflux. Very common in women, particularly over the age of 50 as the hydrochloric acid in your stomach decreases which opens up the valve to the oesophagus causing reflux, amongst other things. The problem usually isn't too much acid as you will be told by the doctor. It's the opposite. I recommend this article to read on the subject by the reliably good and evidence-based Doctor Mercola. So, you end up being prescribed drugs that reduce your HCl further and... hey presto.. it get's worse.. It beggars belief really. Anyhow if any of you out there in bloggerville are interested then please see my links and my website (and social media links). I try to keep it positive, but sometimes.. Grrrrr...
There I've finished now.

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Perpetual student of wellbeing

Well I said 2014 would be the year of consolidation in my life: i.e.I would do no more courses for a while and concentrate on building my business. This has happened but  I must be honest and say I haven't given up studying completely. I have been doing a trauma treatment course by Dr Janina Fisher which looks at various models of trauma and how to overcome it. It's monthly by webinar and has been very instructive as the other students seem to be mostly psychologists and have a particular language and terminology that I don't always follow (not having studied psychology formally at university). But I have begun to pick up some useful tips about operating within the 'window of tolerance' with neither hyper or hypoarousal and thus being able to function well in the world which is the goal of every person but sometimes goes awry in children subject to relational (and other) trauma
I am also looking at Shame and Vulnerability by doing a self-study course with my favourite shame researcher (are there others??) Brene Brown. She runs a video based course here I am, as you see, a perpetual student.
But finally 2015 has come around and I wish to increase my credibility with my clients by obtaining a PhD. This isn't an easy task as you might guess as the area I am working in is not that common and my approach is not strictly psychological or medical. I am instead in the 'no-man's land' of being in a holistic field which rigidly defends its position as being research-based and yet if the research does no fit the current paradigm it is not accepted. So, I am having to go a bit 'off-piste' and do my research privately via a PhD registered in India. my study is going to be looking a the common trauma of everyday childhood experiences which, in some sensitive children, causes them to develop symptoms akin to PTSD. We don't have a name for this yet although common PTSD has been mooted by psychiatrists. I believe I am a someone who has this in my history, and it would explain a lot about my reactions to events in my life and my physical symptoms of Chronic Fatigue and depression. I would like to investigate this link by creating a questionnaire to be given to volunteers who suffer from  any of the CFS style conditions including any sort of Chronic Pain (which has lasted for more than 3 months). I am developing the questionnaire at the moment. I am hoping to be ready to send this out to groups and individual by the end of May. I have set up a page on my website devoted to it to give potential respondents more information, If you know anyone who might be interested in taking part in the study please direct them to this page for more information.

So, at the end of the study I should have more information on what the common factors in the personal history of sufferers is. I will keep you updated as I develop this further.