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To Purchase "The End of Medicine",



DISEASE OF THE MONTH.

In these pages I will look at a specific disease symptomology every month or so.

Before proceeding I must point out that everything written here and elsewhere in The Alchemycal Pages is strictly for informational purposes only. Nothing written here constitutes medical advice or has anything remotely to do with it, and any macrobiotic advice is only general statements. You are a unique individual with a unique constitution, condition, body type, and biography, living in place of habitation with climate, topography and weather patterns which have to be taken into account in making any dietary recommendations. Therefore if you are thinking about adopting a macrobiotic way of eating I strongly recommend you seek out people in your area who are familiar with and are experienced in macrobiotic principles and practices. In the course of the coming months I will be building up a resource page of macrobiotic teachers, counselors, centers and so forth here in The Alchemycal Pages. Meanwhile you can contact me either by e-mail or letter if you want information on who, if anyone, is in your area who may be able to help you. Also I will be happy to answer any questions you send by e-mail Kaare Bursell (preferably) or letter.


TABLE OF CONTENTS.

 JUNE 1996 PROSTATE CANCER APRIL 1999 SPORTS INJURIES
 JULY 1996 BREAST CANCER AUGUST 1999 ALLERGIES
 SEPTEMBER 1996 PSORIASIS NOVEMBER 1999 VISION
 JANUARY 1997 CHRONIC FATIGUE MARCH 2000 INSOMNIA
 MARCH 1997 OBESITY JUNE 2000 SINUSITIS
 MAY 1997 MODERN MEDICINE JULY 2000 AIDS
 JULY 1997 MIGRAINE OCTOBER 2000 DEPRESSION
 JANUARY 1998 HEPATITIS C VIRUS MARCH 2001 SKIN PROBLEMS
 MARCH 1998 'SUGAR BLUES' AUGUST 2001 DRUG USE AND ABUSE
 AUGUST 1998 FIBROMYALGIA SEPTEMBER 2002 INFECTIOUS ILLNESS
 FEBRUARY 1999 ASTHMA JUNE 2003

ARTHRITIS

 


AUGUST 1998.

FIBROMYALGIA

I am writing about this disease symptomology at the request of a visitor to The Alchemycal Pages. I obtained the following information from a website which no longer exists. You can get more information from this website Fibromyalgia.Com:

Fibromyalgia syndrome (also called "FMS" or "FM" ) is a complex, chronic condition which causes widespread pain and profound fatigue, as well as a variety of other symptoms. Its effects are felt primarily in muscles, tendons, and ligaments throughout the body. Unlike arthritis, however, no inflammation accompanies fibromyalgia, and the joints of the body are not directly affected.

The pain of fibromyalgia syndrome is usually described as aching or burning and is unpredictable in nature. Its severity varies from day to day, and different parts of the body tend to be affected at different times. In some people, FMS pain can be very severe and disabling, while in others it may cause only mild discomfort.

Likewise, the fatigue which often accompanies fibromyalgia syndrome ranges from a mild, tired feeling to all-consuming exhaustion.

Fibromyalgia Tender Points:

NOTE - There are illustrations of these points at the website linked above and I have checked these points against the pathways of acupuncture meridians on a meridian chart and (as near as I can determine, anyway!), I have noted on which organ meridians these points lie, in italics.

Identified by the American College of Rheumatology in 1990, at digital palpation with an approximate force of 4kg.

1 & 2,Occiput: bilateral, at the suboccipital muscle insertions. Gall Bladder

3 & 4, Low cervical:bilateral, at the anterior aspects of the intertransverse spaces at C5-C7. Large Intestine

5 & 6, Trapezius: bilateral, at the midpoint of the upper border. Gall Bladder

7 & 8, Supraspinatus: bilateral, at origins, above the scapula spine near the medial border. Bladder

9 & 10, Second Rib: bilateral, at the second costochondral junctions, just lateral to the junctions on upper surfaces. Kidney

11 & 12, Lateral epicondyle: bilateral, 2cm distal to the epicondyles. Large Intestine

13 & 14, Gluteal: bilateral, in upper outer quadrant of buttocks in anteriorfold of muscle.

15 & 16, Greater trochanter: bilateral, posterior to the trochanteric prominence. Bladder

17 & 18, Knee: bilateral, at the medial fat pad proximal to the joint line. Spleen

Symptoms: In addition to pain and fatigue, individuals with FMS usually experience some of the following:

Sleep Disturbance: Despite getting adequate amounts of sleep, FMS patients may awaken feeling unrefreshed, as if they've barely slept at all. They may also have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep.

Stiffness: Body stiffness is a significant problem experienced by most patients. It can occur upon awakening or remaining in one position for prolonged periods. It can also accompany weather changes.

Increased Headaches or Facial Pain: Headaches are a common complaint for many with FMS. They may be caused by referred pain from tender neck and shoulder areas, or they may be associated with pain in the muscles and other soft tissues around the temporomandibular joint, or TMJ, which is located where the jaw meets the ear. In the latter case, jaw or facial pain is usually present, too.

Abdominal Discomfort: FMS-related symptoms include digestive disturbances, abdominal pain and bloating, constipation, and diarrhea. As a whole, such symptoms are known as irritable bowel syndrome.

Irritable Bladder: Fibromyalgia patients may notice an increase in urinary frequency or experience a greater urgency to urinate. Often, no accompanying bladder infection is present.

Numbness or Tingling: Also known as "paresthesia", symptoms usually involve a prickling or burning sensation, particularly in the extremities.

Chest Pain: Persons with FMS sometimes experience a condition called "costochondralgia" which involves muscular pain at the spot where the ribs meet the chest bone. Since costochondralgia mimics cardiac symptoms, it is always a good idea to check with a physician if chest pain occurs.

Cognitive Disorders: Frequent complaints, which vary from day to day, include difficulty concentrating, "spaciness", memory lapses, word mix-ups when speaking or writing, and clumsiness or dropping things.

Dysequilibrium: FMS patients may also experience dizziness and balance problems. Typically, there is no classical, spinning vertigo. Rather difficulties in orientation occur when standing, driving, or reading.

Environmental Sensitivity: Allergic-like reactions to a variety of substances are common, as are sensitivities to light, noise, odors, and weather patterns. Dryness of the skin, eyes, and mouth is also common.

Other Symptoms: Increasingly, additional symptoms and syndromes are being associated with FMS. These are discussed in more detail in publications and audiotapes produced or sold by the Fibromyalgia Association of Greater Washington, Inc. (FMAGW).

Diagnosis

Currently, no diagnostic, laboratory test exists for FMS. For fibromyalgia to be diagnosed, other conditions that mimic its symptoms must first be excluded (i.e., thyroid disease, lupus, lyme disease, rheumatoid arthritis, etc.). Furthermore, according to official, diagnostic criteria established by the American College of Rheumatology, a patient must suffer from widespread pain in all four body quadrants for at least three months. Finally, 11 of 18 possible tender points should be present when specific locations in the neck, shoulders, chest, hip, knee, and elbow regions of the body are examined by a physician (see diagram at right), although patients may not be aware that these tender points exist. Some physicians take the position that less than 11 tender points can be present at any given time for a fibromyalgia diagnosis to be made.

Rheumatologists and physiatrists (specialists in physical medicine and rehabilitation) are often the most knowledgeable when it comes to diagnosing FMS.

Treatment

To date, there is no cure for FMS. Treatment consists of managing symptoms to the greatest extent possible. Because patients vary widely in their responses to available modalities, several approaches may need to be tried before a satisfactory regimen can be established. For this reason, a multi-disciplinary, medical team approach is beneficial. The following treatments, used alone or in combination, generally help patients feel better and improve their quality of life:

Medication: For pain relief and improved sleep, medicines which increase the body's level of serotonin (a chemical in the brain that regulates pain and sleep) are often prescribed in low doses. In addition, non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs (i.e., ibuprofen, aspirin) can also be helpful. Specific medicines which treat other symptoms (like abdominal or allergic complaints) may also be required.

Physical Therapy: Among the many types of available approaches are: massage, myofascial release, cranio-sacral therapy, mild electrical stimulation, the application of heat (i.e., moist heat packs, hot baths or showers), the application of cold/ice packs, ultrasound, posture and movement training, and chiropractic.

Exercise: Gentle exercise can often be helpful in easing sore muscles by increasing blood circulation and range of motion. Medical practitioners usually prescribe stretching and low-impact exercise (i.e., water exercise in an 85 degree heated pool, walking, treadmills or cross-country ski machines).

Alternative Approaches: Increasingly, fibromyalgia patients are finding some relief from such treatment modalities as biofeedback, yoga, tai chi, stress management, nutritional counseling, and acupuncture. Emotional support is also crucial to help individuals manage their perplexing array of symptoms and undertake necessary lifestyle changes. Support can be obtained informally from fibromyalgia self-help and support groups, clergy, family members, or friends. Professional assistance is also encouraged for those having a difficult time adjusting to life with fibromyalgia syndrome.

Cause

While researchers continue to seek the cause of fibromyalgia syndrome, there is evidence that FMS is triggered in pre-disposed individuals by such precipitants as illness, physical trauma to the body, or acute emotional stress. FMS also seems to run in some families, although no genetic component has yet been identified. Encouraging research is now occurring in the fields of neuroendocrinology, immunology, cardiology, and exercise physiology, among others.

So, what do you do if you have any or all of these symptoms? You go on a macrobiotic dietary program tailored to your physiognomy and constitution and do the regimen of ginger compresses on your abdomen.

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MARCH 1998.

"Sugar Blues"-

DIABETES & HYPOGLYCEMIA.

More on Diabetes

This disease symptomology is one which was requested by a visitor to The Alchemycal Pages. The term 'sugar blues' comes from a book of the same title written by William Dufty a couple of decades ago and refers to the modern addiction for refined sugar and the consequences this has on our physical body as well as our emotional and mental condition.

Sugar, in the form of glucose, is absolutely necessary for us to live and our blood stream needs to have between 60-95 mgs/100 ccs of glucose at all times. If the blood carries more than 95 mgs/100ccs we have what is called hyperglycemia (too much glucose) and if we have less than 60mgs/100ccs we have hypoglycemia (too little glucose).

Simple sugars are found as monosaccharide(glucose, a single molecule found only in refined sugar)) or a disaccharide, (a double molecule like fructose which is present in fruits and lactose, which is present in milk and dairy products). There are also polysaccharides(multiple chain sugars which are found mainly in whole grains).

Sugar metabolism is a complex arrangement whereby sugar is absorbed in the blood stream in the digestive tract and the level of sugar is regulated to maintain the range of 60-95 mg/100ccs at all times. The main organs responsible for regulating the glucose levels in the blood are the pancreas and the liver. When the blood sugar level rises above the normal range it stimulates the secretion of insulin by cells present in the pancreas which produce more insulin as the blood sugar level rises too high. This hormone sends a message to the liver to convert the excess sugar into glycogen which is stored in the liver, thus lowering the blood sugar levels to normal. If the blood sugar level falls too low, then different cells in the pancreas secrete a hormone called glucagon which sends a message to the liver to convert the stored glycogen into glucose which is released into the blood stream, thus raising the blood sugar level to normal.

This is the homeostatic process whereby the blood sugar levels are maintained constantly within the normal range at all times. However, what we need to know is what can upset this balance and lead to disturbances in the process which either leads to there being too little or too much insulin leading to hyperglycemia(in the former case) or hypoglycemia (in the latter case).

Insulin is a more yang hormone and glucagon a more yin hormone, relative to one another. Therefore the stimulation of secretion of insulin is a more yin condition, created by the excess glucose, which is more yin than minerals, protein or fats. The problem with excess glucose in the blood is that what happens is the liver cannot store more than 2 kilograms of glycogen. Once this amount is reached we have the body storing the excess sugar as fat and the blood itself becomes fatty, which also means the cholesterol level rises.

The fat deposition initially takes place in the hips, waist, buttocks, legs, shoulders and neck and then it begins to be stored in the organs and tissues themselves. Furthermore, once the capacity of glycogen storage in the liver is exceeded the blood sugar level tends to constantly exceed the upper levels of the normal range. This means the cells in the pancreas are constantly being asked to produce more insulin and they eventually become exhausted in their capacity to do so and we become insulin deficient and the body begins to become diabetic.

The symptoms of diabetes are excessive urination which contains sugar (once the blood sugar level gets over 110 mg/100ccs blood), there is chronic fatigue and tiredness, and there is increased thirstiness. There is also loss of minerals because the overly yin condition of the blood caused by the increased blood sugar levels leads to minerals(more yang) being leached out(yin attracting yang) of the bones(osteoporosis) and tissues (brittle tendons, ligaments and joints making them more easily injured by exercise etc., which explains why modern athletes are so injury prone- I call sports injuries "sports drink disease") and the minerals are lost during the excessive urination which along with the loss of sugar makes us become more hungry and thirsty. This in turns leads to increased fluid intake and overeating.

Other symptoms include weakened and rough skin which is easily bruised and if we get a cut it does not heal easily. There is poor circulation of the blood especially in the periphery of the body and we thus experience constant cold in our hands and feet. Also our eyes become weaker and we have glaucoma.

Emotionally we become depressed, whiny and irritable and mentally we tend to be unable to focus our thinking which becomes cloudy and our memory becomes poor.

In the case of their being an over secretion of insulin before the cells in the pancreas become exhausted and their insulin secretion is too little, the condition which develops is hypoglycemia which manifests as weakness and tiredness, the muscles become weak, thirst increases, there is mental irritability and neurosis and in extreme cases convulsion and coma.

Here we can correct the problem temporarily by eating more sugar but of course we then cause secretion of more insulin and eventually we get diabetes.

Obviously modern medical has no answer for either of these conditions other than the simplistic approach of prescribing insulin to people who are diabetic and their condition continues to deteriorate because the underlying cause is not addressed, leading to blindness, heart disease, gangrene, especially in the lower limbs requiring amputation, and death (diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S.) And I know people who have gone on a macrobiotic dietary program who had diabetes and have thrown away the insulin, no longer needing it. In one case, the person had been taking insulin for 50 years and got off it with the macrobiotic approach.

The question is how do we become addicted to simple sugar, the table sugar we buy in the grocery store and use to make cookies and cakes, put in our tea and coffee, in our sports drinks, in our beer and wine and liquor, and in the candy we consume constantly. The addiction to sugar of the population of the United States is illustrated by the fact that in 1900 the average per annum per person consumption was 4 lbs; in 1985 it had reached 130 lbs.

When we eat of animal fats and proteins as our main daily food two processes are set in motion:

1.) These foods are very yang relative to the human organism's dynamic of yin and yang and makes us seek extreme yin foods in an attempt to make balance with them. Thus, if we eat animal foods daily, we are constantly attracted to eating extreme yin foods which are sugar, alcohol (which is fermented or processed sugar), fruits and dairy food, as well as drugs.

2.) The digestive system of the human organism is not designed for the digestion of animal proteins and fats and this lead to the build up of stagnated mucus both in the lumen of the intestines and eventually also in the tissues of the walls of the intestines. The build up of this mucus leads to the small intestine having more difficulty in absorbing sugar, so we tend to crave it more. And we satisfy this craving by eating the simple sugars which are absorbed directly into the blood stream in our mouth; since they are simple sugars they do not need to be digested the way complex carbohydrates are before they can be absorbed as simple sugars.

This need to eat sugar as simple sugars also means a weakening of the digestive processes occurs.

Thus, if we want to have neither diabetes nor hypoglycemia we need to change to a macrobiotic diet. Now, there are slight but significant variations in the macrobiotic dietary approach if we wish to correct diabetes or hypoglycemia since the former is more yin condition and the latter a more yang condition. The chief difference is that in the case of hypoglycemia no salt is used in cooking the main foods to begin with, and the cooking style is more yin and in the case of diabetes it is important to use millet as well as brown rice on a daily basis as well as winter squashes like acorn, butternut and hokkaido pumpkin. I will have more to say on helping the pancreas heal itself in the Healing With The Seasons page when I do the Soil State of Transformation.

One of the problems people have when they start a macrobiotic diet is that the main source of glucose is cooked whole grains. These are complex carbohydrates which after cooking and chewing thoroughly are gradually broken down so that by the time they enter the small intestine they are reduced to glucose, which is then absorbed by the small intestine. Since people starting a macrobiotic dietary program have a digestive system abused by a diet of animal foods it is in a weakened state and has problems in digesting and assimilating the complex carbohydrates. This accounts for the fact that many times people starting on a macrobiotic dietary program are always hungry and eat large quantities of food and lose a lot of weight at the same time, if they are overweight to begin with, which is the case with the vast majority of people. We also tend to crave sweets.

In this case, it is a good idea to transition off sugar when starting a macrobiotic dietary approach to our daily eating by using honey in small amounts, like no more than a tablespoonful a day, for a couple of weeks when we need to have some sweet taste and then start using either brown rice syrup or barley malt(again no more than a tablespoonful a day).

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JANUARY 1998.

CHRONIC HEPATITIS C VIRUS.

 

I have recently been informed this condition is on an epidemic scale world wide, with 500,000,000 people expected to have the symptomology of this disease by the year 2000. I have personally counseled one person who had this disease and is now in great health and I recently met another who after less than a year on a macrobiotic diet is doing well.

To begin with our study of the symptomology of Hepatitis C Virus it as well to remind you if you have looked at the page Introduction you will find an account of the macrobiotic theory of disease where Stage 5 of the Process of Disease is the Stage of Chronic Blood Toxemia where all the various chronic infectious diseases show up and it is stated there macrobiotic theory does not recognize the Germ Theory as being a valid hypothesis for accounting for these disease symptomologies. On the contrary, viruses and bacteria are understood to be merely one of the presenting symptoms of persons who have these conditions, they are not the cause(s) of these conditions. For more discussion on this subject click on this link

It therefore does not help in any way to develop treatments for eliminating these organisms from the body.

The macrobiotic approach is to understand that through improper diet and lifestyle habits the physical body becomes intoxicated and the gradual build-up over the years of these toxins in the body lead to the internal environment becoming a suitable habitat for the germination and flourishing of various pathogenic organisms like viruses, which can come from sources external to the body and from within the body itself. For further discussion click on this link.

The following symptoms of Chronic Hepatitis C Virus Disease I obtained from a website called Emallis (http://soli.inav.net/~webbsite/symps.htm)which is dedicated to providing information for people with HCV.

Symptoms :

1. 'Flu-like illness; alternate chills and fever (low grade) - L, Lu, LI

2. Stabbing pains in the liver region - L

3. Indigestion - LI

4. Irritable bowel syndrome- LI

5. Joint pains- LI

6. Fybromyalgia (severe muscle pain) - L

7. Vivid dreams, night sweats - L

8. Depression, mood swings, Seasonal Affective Disorder - L, LI, K

9. Chronic fatigue or sudden attacks of exhaustion - L, LI, K, Sp

10. Adverse reactions to alcohol - L

11. Abdominal bloating - LI

12. Frequent urination, often during the night - K

13. Loss of appetite - L

14. Aversion to fatty foods - L

15. Diarrhoea - LI, L

16. Mental fatigue, frequent or continuous headache - L, LI

17. Cognitive disfunction - LI

18. Poor sleep quality, not feeling rested after sleep - L

19. Chest pains, palpitations - H, Lu

20. Pronounced fluid retention - K, H

21. Puffy face, itchy skin - LI, Lu, K

22. Blood sugar irregularity - L, LI, P

23. Dizziness & peripheral vision problems, such as 'floaters' - L

24. Sleep dust in the eyes - L, K

25. Small red patterns of inflamed blood vessels known as 'Spider Naevi' - L

26. Symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or Myalgic Encephalomyelitis - L, K, LI, Sp

Looking at these constellation of symptoms from a macrobiotic perspective it is evident that there is more than one organ involved. The letters after each symptom refer to the following organ(s) involvement with the symptoms: L-Liver, LI-Large Intestine; K-Kidneys; H-Heart; SP-Spleen; Lu-Lungs; P - Pancreas. Thus, all these organs are stagnated with build-up of toxins and these symptoms show the body is attempting to rid these organs of their toxicity.

The macrobiotic approach is therefore to change the dietary intake of the person with these symptoms to a macrobiotic dietary program for that person. As the dietary changes are made the body responds by detoxifying itself, revitalizing itself and regenerating dead tissue, thus making the internal body environment inhospitable to pathogenic organisms. Thus, the symptoms disappear as the body heals itself. For more information on the specific organs go to Water which is the first in a series of studies based on The Five Transformation Theory. From that page you will find the page on Wood and Fire. The Water organs are Kidney and Bladder, Wood organs are Liver and Gall Bladder and the Fire organs are the Heart and Small Intestine.


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