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DISEASE OF THE MONTH

JULY 1997.

MIGRAINE.

This time I take a look at the condition of headaches in general and migraine headaches in particular. The symptom of the headache can range from very mild to as severe as the ones experienced by people who suffer from migraines. The macrobiotic approach to headaches is obviously to change one's dietary intake to one based on eating cooked whole grains and vegetables etc. Personally, before I started eating macrobiotically twenty two years ago I used to suffer headaches often, but since then I have not experienced any at all.

In the United States, there are an estimated 65 millions people who experience severe to debilitating headaches every year, which explains the ubiquitous presence of commercials on television every night extolling the virtues of all manner of pain killers. The problem with these pain killers is that is all they do, if they do so at all. They do not attempt to get at the cause/s of headaches. And because they are chemicals which are toxic to the body, they cause more problems in the long term for the kidneys, intestines and liver, especially.

The following material is garnered from the web and gives the mundane, conventional medical view of migraine.

 

A migraine is not just a headache. Although severe head pain usually accompanies migraine, and is generally an unpleasant symptom, there must be other specific symptoms present in order to classify the occurrence as a migraine.

You must have at least two of the following symptoms:

Pain that is more severe on one side of your head.

Throbbing or pounding pain.

Pain that disrupts normal activity.

Pain aggravated by activity.

And at least one of these symptoms:

You feel sick to your stomach, or feel like vomiting.

You are unusually bothered by light or sound.

It is this specific combination of at least two symptoms from the first list and at least one from the second that defines migraine. You could, of course, have more or even all of the symptoms. However, if fewer, or different, symptoms are consistently present, you may not have migraine. That's why it is so important for you to see your doctor or health care professional if you have severe head pain.

What causes migraine pain? One theory is that certain events or substances (triggers) can set off an imbalance of naturally occurring chemicals in the brain, causing the blood vessels of the head to expand. The area around these blood vessels becomes inflamed and irritates nerve endings. This dilation and irritation may account for the throbbing pain you experience in your temple or behind your eye.

Because the symptom complex is so severe, migraine often causes people to lose time from work or with family and friends, or cut back on regular daily activities and business and social events. Migraine is believed to be a hereditary condition. About 70% of sufferers have other family members with the condition. Migraine is also more prevalent among women than among men. Approximately 75% of sufferers are female.

Although migraine can occur at any age, it often begins in adolescence. During advancing years, migraine generally occurs with diminishing frequency. The duration of migraine attacks varies. Some last several hours; others last up to 3 days. Some people have several attacks a week, while others experience it far less frequently. The average is one to three attacks per month.

Only a doctor or other qualified health care professional can make a true diagnosis of migraine and recommend treatment programs. Treatment plans may vary, depending on the frequency of the attacks, their causes, and whether the benefits of certain treatments outweigh the risks. Treatment plans may include lifestyle changes and medications, as well as non-drug therapy.

What characterizes a migraine, and differentiates it from other types of headache, is its specific symptom complex. Of course, not all migraine sufferers experience the same symptom complex. And different symptoms can occur at different times. These are some of the common symptoms often associated with migraine. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, be sure to contact your physician. There are treatment programs available that may help you.

Throbbing or pounding pain - Unlike some other types of head pain, migraine pain in the head is characterized by a relentless throbbing or pounding - as though one's pulse is beating severely in the head. The pain usually begins on one side of the head, at the temple, and can spread downward to the eye, face, and even neck.

Nausea and vomiting accompanied by severe headache - While nausea vomiting can be caused by a number of factors, including certain diseases, pregnancy, drugs, alcohol, or eating spoiled food, it may also accompany migraines in some sufferers.

Pain located on one side of the head - Migraine sufferers invariably complain of throbbing pain on only one side of the head, usually around the temple. Occasionally, a migraine causes pain all over the head.

Pain aggravated by activity - The simple act of moving may be difficult if you have a migraine.

Sensitivity to light, sounds, and smells - During (and sometimes prior to) a migraine attack, many sufferers experience strong, painful reactions to light, loud noises, and certain odors.

The above tells us the main organ toxicity lying behind the symptoms of migraine is the liver, and there is also kidney and spleen involvement. Also it is a more yin disease symptomology. In order for those organs to be able to detoxify themselves and recover their proper function it is necessary to go on a macrobiotic dietary program.

If we need a symptomatic remedy for a yin headache, one characterized by pain at the top and front of the head the the ume-sho-kuzu drink is recommended. To make it, place one cup of water in a saucepan and dissolve one heaping teaspoon of kuzu in the water, add the flesh of half an umeboshi plum and a quarter of a teaspoon of shoyu or tamari. Bring to a boil over medium heat while stirring the mixture constantly, then simmer for five minutes while continuing to stir. Drink while hot. Take one cup a day for up to ten days, at any time of day on an empty stomach.

If the headache is more yang, characterized by pain in the back of the head around the occipital bone and neck region, and the sides of the head behind the ears, then do the same as above, but instead of adding the umeboshi plum add a tablespoon of either apple juice of freshly squeezed lemon juice and make in the same way.

 


Disease of The Month.

 

May 1997.

MODERN MEDICINE.

 

It may sound strange but as the result of reading an article recently in the newspaper it is time to diagnose modern medicine as a particular form of terminally mental illness and that the letters MD no longer mean what people think they mean; what they stand for is Mentally Deficient. Now, I must state at the outset that this diagnosis is not directed at any individual doctor; I do not know any doctors and I haven't had a doctor since I started practicing macrobiotics nearly 25 years ago and I do not have health insurance. This is a diagnosis of what might be termed the gestalt or "oversoul" of modern medicine as a force in modern culture which is in large part responsible for the present state of human affairs.

The article which occasions my unequivocal certainty modern medicine is a mental illness, a psychological neurosis, is a report of a study done to determine whether women with perfectly healthy breasts who have them removed in order to prevent them from getting breast cancer is 100% effective. Well, it is not; in 9% of the cases the women developed breast cancer after both breasts had been removed. And, note well, it wasn't because all these women had breast cancer, it was because they had a history of breast cancer on the female side of the family, and as one woman put it, who had both her healthy breasts removed because her grandmother, mother and sister had developed breast cancer, "it was clear that something is rotten in the Kingdom of Denmark". Of course, if this kind of non-thinking is taken to its logical conclusion, in the not too distant future it will be perfectly reasonable to advise people to have their entire bodies surgically removed and we won't have to worry about disease at all! (It is clearly obvious this is the goal biotechnology is working toward).

The reason these women have both healthy breasts removed is because they have been identified as carrying a "mutant gene" which they have apparently inherited. Also an inherited gene for ovarian cancer has been identified and women carrying this gene are advised to have their healthy ovaries removed as a way of preventing ovarian cancer.

Now, people are quite willing to accept the fact that once they have been identified as a carrier of a gene, they are victims of circumstances beyond their control. Recently medical research has identified genes responsible for everything from alcoholism to homosexuality and the implication is that the resulting behavioral patterns are not the persons responsibility. Of course, no one knows what causes this "mutant gene" to appear and it is basically a random event. George Ohsawa once wrote that whenever you see the words "genetic causes" it means 'we do not know the causes'!

However, there is nothing random in the world and all events and processes behave in a manner which is entirely reasonable and coherent. The problem is not that all events are understandable and logical, and no less mysterious for being understandable and logical, it is that modern scientific thinking is illogical and incoherent and therefore unscientific. To identify oneself as a scientist in the modern sense means one is confessing to being an illogical thinker!The tragedy of modern scientific thinking is it is intractable materialistic logic and such logic, applied as it is to the phenomenon of the material world, simply draws a veil over them such that any understanding of the material world remains occluded and therefore illusory. It is a fact that modern scientific medicine has been flying blind for over 400 years, is "up the creek without a paddle", essentially a science floundering in a Sargasso Sea of morbid and dolorous abstractions. "Wisdom, wisdom everywhere, and not a wit of it" in modern scientific medicine. And this cannot but be so, there is no possibility whatsoever that modern scientific thinking will ever have the capacity to understand the human being, disease or health, for it was lamed from the very beginnings of the Scientific Revolution in the 15th century.

Well, it would not be surprising to me if I am now considered a lunatic but the evidence of the past forty years leaves no doubt to the observer that modern scientific thinking has no understanding of human beings, no understanding of disease, no understanding of health. I have before me a Time Special Issue "The Frontiers of Medicine" published in Fall 1996. This is a document which provides all the evidence necessary to demonstrate unequivocally modern scientific medicine is a mental illness, an insanity, a feebleness of the soul. Let us take a look at parts of it:

The first paragraph of the opening article, 'An Epidemic of Discovery' states, "If the history of science has a recurring theme, it is surely the relationship between chance happenings and the vigilant minds of those prepared to take advantage of them. Since Louis Pasteur first remarked on the affinity of the two in 1854, many instances of coincidences or happenstance have led alert observers to unexpected discoveries - often while they were searching for something else altogether. Just such an event, in fact, launched 20th century medicine on the extraordinary march of progress that has brought it to the high and continuously promising state it enjoys today."

Well, we now look to find evidence of this "extraordinary march of progress' elsewhere in the same document. This is furnished in an article on the state of cancer today, entitled "The Enemy Within". In it is a sidebar which gives the evidence for this alleged progress called "America's Most Deadly Cancers". I reproduce it in its entirety here:

 MALE   FEMALE

LUNG

1992 : 91,405 deaths.

30 yr trend +85%

1996 death estimate: 94,400

 1992

Reported Deaths

LUNG

54,538 deaths

+438%

64,300

 PROSTATE

1992: 34,240

30 yr trend +29%

1996 death estimate: 41,400

 30 year trend:

% change in death rates between 1960-62 and 1990-92

BREAST

43,068

+4%

44,300

COLON & RECTUM

1992: 28,434

30 yr trend -9%

1996 death estimate: 27,940

 In some cases, significant decreases in death rates are due to better detection methods

COLON & RECTUM

28,942

-31%

28,100

PANCREAS

1992: 12,672

30 yr trend -5%

1996 death estimate: 13,600

 

PANCREAS

13,399

+12%

14,200

LEUKEMIA

1992: 10,609

30 yr trend -9%

1996 death estimate: 11,600

 

OVARY

1992: 13,393

30 yr trend -8%

1996 death estimate: 14,800

In addition to the above evidence, in 1960 the rate of cancer in the population, defined as the ratio of the population which could expect to get cancer if a person lived to be 60 years old, was 1:16. In 1985 it was 1:3. So, all this has occurred since President Richard Nixon declared "war" on cancer in 1960, and in the intervening 37 years, not despite, but because of, the billions of dollars, hundreds of millions of hours and the devoted search for a cure for cancer, the rate of cancer has more than quintupled. In 1996, in the same article, it is estimated 554,740 people will die of cancer; this means one person dies of cancer in the United States every 56 seconds.

If this is making progress then there is no doubt that pigs fly.

The evidence points to the glaring reality that the war on cancer is a total disaster of epic proportions, a war declared on the wrong enemy, for what is "rotten in the Kingdom of Denmark" is modern medicine itself.

The whole tone of this special report by Time is one of conflict. Modern scientific medicine considers disease the enemy of humanity and must be defeated by mustering all the resources available to bring to bear on this or that condition. In an article called "The Human Condition" the following is stated: "The war against disease is made of many battles, as medical science takes on a host of mankind's afflictions, ranging from merely annoying to the truly life-threatening. Overall the prognosis is good. Here are some dispatches from the front."

However, the fact is, disease, far from being the enemy of humanity, is fundamentally and truly the great benefactor of humanity. Elsewhere in The Alchemycal Pages I show why the symptoms of disease indicate the body is healing itself and modern medicine's obsession with wiping out disease has merely resulted in suppressing or damaging the body's healing processes. Disease is our teacher, a gentle, albeit firm, teacher, showing us in no uncertain terms that we are living in error and if we correct our errors, the healing process manifests as vitality, joy, calm, clarity of mind, etc., etc. Thus this war against disease amounts to a war on humanity and if the prognosis is good, as stated above, this 'good' prognosis means the end of human life. There is no doubt the sum total of harm and damage done to the human body by modern scientific medicine surpasses by far that of all the wars of all history.

If we enquire as to why disease exists at all, what is the meaning and purpose of disease, our enquiry leads us to remote ages of human and earth evolution. Now, since I haven't prepared you for this revelation, I cannot actually give you the concrete details; if I did, you would not understand them. However, from what I have written in The Alchemycal Pages we can understand the reason disease exists is to show us when we are living a life which is out-of-balance with the earth and the cosmos and each other. There is actually only one disease, accurately and properly speaking and this is it; we are living in discord with our environment and the evidence we are living in discord with our environment (heavenly, earthly and human environment) is the symptoms the body manifests.

The sore throats, fevers, flu-like symptoms etc., etc. indicate at one and the same time both the body is out of balance and it is healing itself, that is, restoring its balance!

It is therefore completely erroneous to think of the symptoms of disease as the enemy of humankind. Now, let us assume when modern medicine began disease was considered the scourge of humankind and it was justified to mount an all-out attack on disease to do away with it once and for all.This was the position medical science took at the time; that the great discoveries being made would lead to the end of disease once and for all. Now, if scientists over the last 400 years were actually being scientific and taking down the evidence presented by the facts then it would have been noticed that all the efforts to 'cure' disease had not only not cured any disease, but disease symptoms have actually proliferated. To be sure, there have been some so-called successes, especially with the discovery of vaccines in some instances being touted as the reason why some diseases have been eradicated, i.e., smallpox. The discovery of antibiotics also gave people the notion that all infectious diseases would be a thing of the past, but that is being shown to be a false hope, with infectious diseases now returning with a vengeance. The great picture is one of humanity experiencing more and more disease syndromes in even greater numbers, with the acceleration of disease symptoms occurring in the last 50 years, as the cancer picture shows.

So, why has not medical science realized there is something seriously wrong with its whole approach to disease? Why hasn't this been noticed? And what is equally baffling, why is there the insistence that not only is there nothing wrong with medical science, but that tremendous progress has been made and it enjoys a "high and continuously promising state today" in the face of evidence showing the exact opposite, and in the very same document! I mean, what is going on here?

These questions have been with me for ten years and it has occurred to me the main reason why modern medical science is so unaware of the actual situation was it found it convenient to ignore it, mainly from an economic standpoint. Obviously many hundreds of billions of dollars are at stake if we take into account the whole community involved in modern medicine from the pharmaceutical corporations, the biotechnology corporations, the medical research industry, the HMO's, the insurance corporations, the hospitals, nurses, doctors etc. And all these people earn a living off of disease, and disease is a trillion dollar industry. Well, I cannot believe all these people know or understand that what they are doing is actually making disease more intractable than ever, and in fact believe they are being totally humanitarian in their endeavors.

Furthermore, it is not as if anyone is being coerced to go to see the doctor when they perceive themselves to be sick. Quite the contrary. The vast majority of the population totally believe in their doctors and their medicines. And I cannot believe people willingly subject themselves to being cut open(surgery), poisoned(pharmaceuticals) and burned(radiation) if they did not believe these were beneficial procedures.

Why, then, is there the almost universal belief modern medicine is the apogee of medicine, when the evidence clearly shows it has no understanding of disease, and the lack of understanding shows itself as diseases continuing to multiply at a rapid rate (in 1985 I found there are 2,500 known human disease syndromes; in 1996 this had increased to 2,700) and that greater numbers of people are developing diseases, at a much faster rate than the rate of population growth? As I showed above, to take one disease syndrome, the rate of cancer cases quintupled from 1960 -1992. The population has not quintupled in that same time frame. And this is only one disease syndrome - I haven't mentioned heart disease, asthma, kidney diseases, AIDS, skin diseases, diabetes, obesity, insomnia, headaches, allergies, etc., etc.

It appears to me to be a rather obvious observation that if modern medicine actually understood disease and health then, with all the hundreds of thousands of people involved in the disease treatment industry devoting themselves to understanding diseases the evidence of progress would show a decline in the number of cases of these disease syndromes. The opposite is happening with modern medical science continuing to draw blinders over itself by saying that the new science of biotechnology promises to solve the problem of disease with genetic therapy, and there is no doubt it will do the job only if it succeeds in its goal of replacing human bodies with synthetic bio-technologically manufactured bodies. But then the human being will no longer exist.

Thus, having diagnosed modern medical science is a mental illness consisting of the inability to recognize the fallacy lying at the foundation of its methodology, with the evidence for this fallacy being the fact that modern medicine has not only not solved the problem of disease, it has no hope of so doing, what is this mental illness, this psychic impairment?

The psychic impairment is the unwillingness to look at the facts and recognize there is something wrong. I said at the beginning that modern scientific medicine was lamed from the very beginning. However, this lameness was intended. Rudolf Steiner describes how human consciousness prior to the the Renaissance was such that people did not feel separate from their surroundings the way we do today. This 'separating' out of humanity was necessary in order that our thinking may become independent and out of our own resources so that we could observe and investigate the phenomenon of the world as independent of and objective to us. Our investigations into understanding the phenomena of natural and human life would not be colored by our desires, feelings and self-interest. Thus the era of modern science was born.

The price we paid for this separating out was the gradual withdrawal from human consciousness of the instinctive knowledge which we once enjoyed of knowing we are living not only in the world of matter, but also in spiritual worlds. This feeling has been lost, but it was intended that if we are to be truthful, honest investigators of the world of matter, our investigations would take us deeper and deeper into matter until we would be forced, out of truthful objectivity, to recognize there is no possibility of understanding the material world by material means. We would be forced, if we are truthful and honest with ourselves, by the very facts presenting themselves out of our investigations, that there is activity lying behind the veil of matter which is what causes the material world to behave the way it does- the growth of plants, the movement of the earth spinning on its axis, the beating of the human heart and so forth. In other words, through gaining our objective, independent thinking ability we lost contact with the gods and spirits. But, by truthfully following our investigations of the material world up to the veil that separates us in our consciousness from the spiritual worlds we would be enabled to recognize there is spirit lying behind and within material substance and then develop the spiritual tools to pierce this veil and begin objectively making contact with the gods and spirits again. This is what is intended by the gods and spirits.

However, we can say that the tenet of scientific materialism is only justified up until about 100 years ago. Then was the height of scientific materialism and humanity has not progressed since then spiritually. Materially we have but there is no reason to believe we could not have created a far greater technological civilization than we have if we had progressed spiritually to the same degree we have materially. We have become so extremely out of balance with regard to the scale between the world of matter and the world of spirit that for the most part humanity has sunk beneath matter. This is why disease has run rampant, especially degenerative diseases, through humanity in the 20th century. The cause of disease is materialism. As Rudolf Steiner stated it, "there is a scale between materialism and disease which is always precisely kept in balance; as much materialism as there is in the world, then there is as much disease in the world."

Here the word materialism means that mode of consciousness and thought which erroneously insists the world is only made up of what can be weighed, counted and measured; that the world consists of atoms and molecules, that the origin of life began with the so-called 'Big Bang", that we have evolved from apes, that "I think, therefore I am", that "I am what I eat", that thoughts occur in the brain etc., etc., ad nauseam.

Thus, the mental illness of modern medicine is one of the symptoms of the human cultural organism which is deeply embedded in matter. Since it is a mental illness it can only be healed by changing our diet to a macrobiotic approach as a first step. This may seem wrong headed but we need to keep in mind the relationship between the soul and the body(intermediated by the etheric body). The mental disease of which modern medicine is an example (by no means the only one) is a soul affliction and as such leads to symptoms of physical disease. Thus by approaching the mind through the body, we may set up the conditions suitable and supportive for healing our minds. As Steiner brilliantly summarized the situation:"all disturbances of the physical body have their origin in the psyche; all psychological disturbances have their origin in the physical body."


Disease of The Month.

March 1997

OBESITY AND WEIGHT LOSS.

 

Despite all the efforts of the US Government and various related concerns involved in persuading the people of the US to lose weight, their efforts have come to nothing. The general trend among the population is for an average increase in weight over the last ten years and the situation is unlikely to improve because none of the august agencies, be they medical, governmental or commercial has the slightest idea of how to deal with this problem and therefore cannot give the accurate information the public needs, which if acted upon, (and I grant you, that is a HUGE if), would easily deal with this problem.

And recently (August 2000) a lady who has never had a personal macrobiotic consultation since she lives in an area where there are no counselors who has been on the live chats taking place every Sunday on Cybermacro let us know that she had lost over 100 lbs since starting on her macrobiotic life. Well, one thing lead to another and here is her story with photographs of what she look liked before she started her macrobiotic life and what she looks like today - Kathy's Story

I remember reading an interview in the San Francisco Chronicle over a decade ago with a physician who specialized in obesity. He gave an interesting analogy; every twenty pounds a person is overweight forces an increase on the workload of the heart which is equivalent to a person shoveling five tons of coal by hand a day! He went on to say that if people brought their weight down to within the ranges established by the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company (http://www.metlife.com) then people would increase their average lifespan by seven years, and in the population at large success in getting obesity under control would mean a drastic reduction in the rates of cancer, heart disease and other degenerative diseases.

Now, macrobiotically speaking the ideal weight for a person's height, age and body frame as established by the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company are 10-20 pounds too high. I checked them out and my range is 145-155 and I weigh 135. They say that a person's body mass index is okay at 26 and mine is 19.

When I started eating macrobiotically I weighed 195 and I lost 60 pounds in the first four months and this was 21 years ago. I have maintained that same weight for twenty one years, and I now do not have any restrictions on what I eat. The fact is, no matter what I eat, or how much, I cannot gain weight. In other words I have eaten nothing but pizza, chocolate cake, turkey sandwiches, chicken, milk, butter, cream, eggs etc., etc for ten days at a time and I did not experience anything untoward. Of course, everybody reading this is now saying to themselves, "I thought this was supposed to be a website on macrobiotics and the macrobiotic diet is only whole grains and vegetables and what is this about eating chocolate cake and pizza?"

This website is about macrobiotics, among other things, you are correct in assuming that, but it is entirely incorrect to say a macrobiotic diet is always and forever eating nothing but whole grains and vegetables. That is a misunderstanding of macrobiotic principles largely perpetrated by people who do not understand them. This is unfortunate. In actual fact, this has been a fundamental teaching in macrobiotic thinking for at least 35 years, because George Ohsawa, who is widely regarded as the prime initiate of macrobiotic practice in the modern era wrote in a book entitled 'Guidebook for Living', (1967,George Ohsawa Macrobiotic Foundation, Oroville, CA):

" Whereas long ago I could not smoke or drink, I can now do either as I like. I enjoy any cuisine...Western, Chinese, Japanese or Indian. I like fruit, candy, chocolate, and whiskey very much. If I choose to use these things now, I am able to avoid harm because I can balance yin and yang.

I have told you this because many people think that macrobiotics is a twentieth century variety of stoicism. BUT HE WHO CANNOT DRINK, SMOKE, EAT FRUIT OR MEAT IS A CRIPPLE. (His emphasis) Macrobiotics is a way to build health that enables us to eat and drink anything we like whenever we like without being obsessed or driven to do so. Macrobiotics is not a negative way of living...it is positive, creative, artistic, religious, philosophical."

To return to the question of obesity and weight loss, I received an e-mail from a man who had managed to find my website and informed he had not started eating macrobiotically because he was sick but for reasons of creative personal growth (which is highly unusual) and that he had lost 40 pounds in the nine months since he had started; I saw a lady for a follow up consultation a few days ago and she informed me she had lost 27 pounds in the first four months. Let me put it this way- it is more unusual for people NOT to lose weight on a macrobiotic diet and this is usually because they are eating too much grains and salty foods for their constitution.

However, I must emphasize that it is not the diet that is so much responsible for the weight loss as much as it is the digestive system's response to going on the strict macrobiotic diet(which everyone, no matter how healthy they think they are, will benefit from doing for three years minimum), along with doing the Ginger Compress regimen.

Briefly, the human digestive system responds to the adoption of the strict macrobiotic diet alone by going through three distinct processes simultaneously - purging of all the poisons, stagnated fecal matter and chronic mucus build up which have accumulated in the digestive canal over the years and decades of eating hamburgers, cheeseburgers, meat, eggs and soft drinks, alcohol etc.(it is estimated the average person has 7-25 pounds of this gunk in their intestines, which includes up to four pounds by weight of pathogenic bacteria, spirochetes, worms, viruses et al.); the rehabilitation of the destroyed mucus epithelial lining, and the revitalization of the stagnated dynamics of the activities of the digestive system.

The fourth, and most significant, necessary, process to help bring about the completion of the healing process is only accomplished by doing the Ginger Compress regimen. This is the dissolution of the chronic intestinal stagnation, which is the accumulation of stagnated toxic mucus in the cells of the intestinal walls. If this substance is not removed by doing the ginger compresses (and it can only be removed by doing the ginger compresses) then it is NOT possible for the body heal itself thoroughly.

In the context of the topic under discussion, obesity and weight loss, then. If a macrobiotic dietary program suitable for the individual in question is adopted and they also do the ginger compress regimen, this means when the time comes for expanding dietary choices to include foods that are not considered appropriate when on a macrobiotic dietary program appropriate for the purpose of supporting the body in healing itself, when one does in fact begin to add chicken and meats and dairy food, sugar and chocolate etc., then we do not put back on the weight we lost. This is not the case with the weight loss programs you see advertised everywhere. Nor do we get sick again if it is the fact that in the individual in question their sickness is the result of years of poor eating.

It is actually unlikely that a poor diet alone can be considered as the sole cause of any disease. There are many possible factors involved in the development of diseases in addition to poor dietary habits which are mainly spiritual in nature. These include but are not limited to emotional state, attitude, world-view, habits of thinking, morals and ethics, religiosity, karma, etc.

In conclusion, if we wish to lose weight and keep it off permanently then it is clear to me the best approach is to adopt a macrobiotic dietary program and do the Ginger Compress regimen. Again, and this bears repeating every time the subject comes up, it is not recommended anyone do these without having access to someone with personal experience.

It does absolutely no good to talk to someone who has not personally experienced doing the Ginger Compress regimen and who is not themselves eating macrobiotically, and has done so for at least three years. The advice and opinions of such people is worthless at best, and positively harmful at worst, at least with respect to health and healing.



Disease of The Month.

January 1997.

CHRONIC FATIGUE SYNDROME.

The following is taken from the website of the Chronic Fatigue and Immune Dysfunction Syndrome Association of America. I include this material to let you know the current "official" understanding of this condition.

Understanding CFIDS

C o n t e n t s

What is CFIDS?
How is CFIDS diagnosed?
What are other common symptoms?
How is CFIDS treated?
Who gets CFIDS?
How many people have CFIDS?
Do persons with CFIDS(PWCs)get better over time?
What causes CFIDS?
Are viruses involved in CFIDS?
Is it contagious?
What precautions should PWCs take?
Should PWCs receive flu shots or other immunizations?
Is exercise helpful or harmful?
Is weight gain common?
Is depression common?
What role does stress play in this illness?
How does pregnancy affect CFIDS?
Is CFIDS related to other illnesses?
Why is this disease called CFS or CFIDS?
What is being done to conquer CFIDS?

What is CFIDS?

Chronic fatigue and immune dysfunction syndrome (CFIDS) is a serious and complex illness that affects many different body systems. It is characterized by incapacitating fatigue (experienced as profound exhaustion and extremely poor stamina), neurological problems and numerous other symptoms. CFIDS can be severely debilitating and can last for many years. CFIDS is often misdiagnosed because it is frequently unrecognized and can resemble other disorders including mononucleosis, multiple sclerosis (M.S.),fibromyalgia (FM), Lyme disease, post-polio syndrome and autoimmune diseases such as lupus. CFIDS is also known as chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and myalgic encephalomyelitis (M.E.).

How is CFIDS diagnosed?

Despite a decade of research, there is still no definitive diagnostic test for CFIDS.
A research and clinical definition for CFIDS was developed by an international group of researchers led by scientists at the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC). This case definition was published in the December 15, 1994 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Diagnosing CFIDS requires a thorough medical history, physical and mental status examinations and laboratory tests to identify underlying or contributing conditions that require treatment. Clinically evaluated, unexplained chronic fatigue cases can be classified as chronic fatigue syndrome if the patient meets both the following criteria:

1. Clinically evaluated, unexplained persistent or relapsing chronic fatigue that is of new or definite onset (i.e., not lifelong), is not the result of ongoing exertion, is not substantially alleviated by rest and results in substantial reduction in previous levels of occupational, educational, social or personal activities.

2. The concurrent occurrence of four or more of the following symptoms: substantial impairment in short-term memory or concentration; sore throat; tender lymph nodes; muscle pain; multi-joint pain without joint swelling or redness; headaches of a new type, pattern or severity; unrefreshing sleep; and post-exertional malaise lasting more than 24 hours. These symptoms must have persisted or recurred during six or more consecutive months of illness and must not have pre-dated the fatigue.

The case definition describes several medical conditions which, when present, exclude a patient from a diagnosis of CFS. Among these conditions is a past or current diagnosis of a major depressive disorder with psychotic or melancholic features. This type of primary depressive disorder is not to be confused
with the secondary depression that often accompanies CFIDS. (See below for additional information on CFIDS and depression.)

What are other common symptoms?

Persons with CFIDS (PWCs) have symptoms which vary from person to person and fluctuate in severity. Specific symptoms may come and go, complicating treatment and the PWC's ability to cope with the illness. Most symptoms are invisible, which makes it difficult for others to understand the vast array of debilitating symptoms that PWCs have.

The eight primary symptoms described in the CDC's case definition are listed above. Other symptoms common to CFIDS are listed below (please note that most PWCs do not have all these symptoms and that they are not required for diagnosis). PWCs have cognitive problems in addition to difficulties with concentration and short-term memory (such as word-finding difficulties, inability to comprehend/retain what is read, inability to calculate numbers and impairment of speech and/or reasoning). They also have visual disturbances (blurring, sensitivity to light, eye pain, need for frequent prescription changes); psychological problems (depression, irritability, anxiety, panic attacks, personality changes, mood swings); chills and night sweats; shortness of breath; dizziness and balance problems; sensitivity to heat and/or cold; alcohol intolerance; irregular heartbeat; irritable bowel (abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation, intestinal gas); low-grade fever or low body temperature; numbness, tingling and/or burning sensations in the face or extremities; dryness of the mouth and eyes (sicca syndrome); menstrual problems including PMS and endometriosis; chest pains; rashes; ringing in the ears (tinnitus); allergies and sensitivities to noise/sound, odors, chemicals and medications; weight changes without changes in diet; light-headedness; feeling in a fog; fainting; muscle twitching; and seizures.

How is CFIDS treated?

Treatment for CFIDS is intended primarily to relieve specific symptoms. Treatment must be carefully tailored to meet the needs of each patient. Sleep disorders, pain, gastrointestinal difficulties, allergies and depression are some of the symptoms which physicians commonly attempt to relieve through the use of prescription and over-the-counter medications. Persons with this illness may have unusual responses to medications, so extremely low dosages should be tried first and gradually increased as appropriate.
Lifestyle changes, including increased rest, reduced stress, dietary restrictions, nutritional supplementation and minimal exercise also are frequently recommended. Supportive therapy, such as counseling, can also help to identify and develop effective coping strategies.
Researchers and clinicians specializing in CFIDS use therapies which attempt to alter the mechanism or nature of the disease. For additional information on treatment, see The CFIDS Chronicle.

Who gets CFIDS?

CFIDS strikes people of all age, ethnic and socioeconomic groups. Most diagnosed cases in the United States are women between the ages of 25 and 45, but CFIDS afflicts men, women and children of all ages.

How many people have CFIDS?

Carefully designed studies conducted by independent researchers using restrictive criteria have yielded estimates that at least 200,000 to 500,000 adults in the U.S. have CFIDS. CDC data confirm these estimates. Prevalence studies of the illness among children and teenagers have not been done. Many cases of CFIDS among youth and adults remain undiagnosed or misdiagnosed.
These conservative minimum estimates support the fact that CFIDS is one of the most prevalent chronic illnesses of our time. For example, it is at least twice as common as multiple sclerosis.

Do PWCs get better over time?

The course of this illness varies greatly. Some people recover, some cycle between periods of relatively good health and illness and some gradually worsen over time. Others neither get worse nor better while some improve gradually but never fully recover. The CDC is conducting a long-term study of PWCs to learn more about the course of illness. CDC investigators have reported that the greatest chance of recovery appears to be within the first five years of illness, although individuals may recover at any stage of illness. Investigators also have found an apparent difference in recovery rates based upon the type of onset. PWCs with sudden onset reported recovery nearly twice as often as those with gradual onset. This study is ongoing and observations about the course of illness are likely to change as more data are collected.

What causes CFIDS?

The cause of CFIDS is not yet known, but a growing number of researchers is dedicated to uncovering the cause (etiology), mechanism of disease (pathophysiology) and effect on the body (pathogenesis). Current research shows evidence of immune system dysfunction in CFIDS. The exact nature of this dysfunction is not yet well-defined, but is generally viewed as an up-regulated, or overactive, state. Considerable evidence indicates that CFIDS patients have a dysfunction of the central nervous system. Researchers are trying to identify the agent(s) responsible for causing CFIDS. Scientist are also studying immunologic, neurologic, endocrinologic and metabolic abnormalities and risk factors (such as genetic predisposition, age, sex, prior illness, environment and stress) which may affect the development and course of the illness.

Are viruses involved in CFIDS?

Many scientists are convinced that viruses are associated with CFIDS and may cause the disease. It was once thought that Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), a herpesvirus that causes mononucleosis, caused this syndrome. Elevated antibodies to a number of viruses, including EBV, cytomegalovirus (CMV) and
human herpesvirus-6 (HHV-6), indicate a viral component to CFIDS, although not necessarily a cause.
Enteroviruses, newly discovered retroviruses, herpesviruses and other viruses are being studied to see if they cause or contribute to the disease process.

Is CFIDS contagious?

No one knows what causes CFIDS or if it can be transmitted. Most people in close contact with CFIDS patients have not developed the illness; however, clusters of cases have occurred in families, workplaces, schools and communities. Several of these clusters have been investigated and no infectious agent has been found. While there is no documented evidence that CFIDS is infectious, it is studied by the infectious disease divisions of the National Institutes of Health and Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention.
Preliminary research indicates that genetics may help determine who gets the illness. When members of the same family become ill, they are more often blood relatives than spouses.

What precautions should PWCs take?

PWCs should consult their physicians about what precautions may be advisable since questions remain about the possibility of contagion.
In general, persons with serious illnesses are advised against donating blood, blood products or organs. Additionally, some physicians encourage PWCs to take universal precautions recommended to persons with infectious illnesses until more is known about CFIDS. These measures also would help protect PWCs from common viruses and bacteria that could contribute to an increased number and/or severity of symptoms. Other physicians believe that there is no risk to non-ill contacts and that no special precautions are necessary.

Should PWCs receive flu shots or other immunizations?

Persons with CFIDS often have up-regulated immune systems and frequently don't make antibodies after receiving immunizations. Persons with up-regulated immune systems are at higher risk for adverse
reactions to vaccines. Allergy shots, however, seem to be better tolerated. PWCs are urged to consult
their physicians and to analyze the potential benefits and risks before taking or refusing any
immunization.

Is exercise helpful or harmful?

One hallmark of CFIDS is an intolerance of previously well tolerated levels of physical activity. Most PWCs' symptoms worsen severely, sometimes for days, following even minor exertion. Physicians
generally recommend that PWCs perform limited (and preferably anaerobic, e.g., light weight training)
physical activity to guard against the negative consequences of deconditioning, but that they listen to their
bodies and not push beyond their limits.

Is weight gain common?

Some patients lose weight, but many PWCs gain it without a significant change in eating habits. This
gain may be due to CFIDS-related disturbances in metabolism as well as decreased activity.

Is depression common?

Many PWCs become depressed as a result of--rather than a cause of--CFIDS. Depression is common in all chronic illnesses; it results from numerous losses, life changes and altered brain chemistry. In some cases depression becomes very severe. CFIDS-related depression can be managed with medication and/or supportive counseling.

What role does stress play in this illness?

Stress is very harmful to PWCs. Physical and/or emotional stress usually worsen symptoms and contribute to relapse. PWCs are advised to decrease the stress in their lives as much as possible.
In more global terms, stress has been found to weaken the immune system and increase susceptibility to illness in most animals, including humans. Some researchers believe that stress (especially major life changes) may contribute to the onset of CFIDS, as it does in many other diseases.

How does pregnancy affect CFIDS?

This issue has been explored only informally. According to limited clinical observations, some pregnant women with CFIDS experience no change in their symptoms. Others report symptom remission from early in the pregnancy and lasting until about six weeks after the delivery.
Pregnant women with CFIDS should seek care from an obstetrician early and often during pregnancy.
Many medications that treat CFIDS symptoms must be stopped or decreased during pregnancy and
resumed after giving birth and discontinuing breast feeding. The question of whether CFIDS can be transmitted from parent to child remains unanswered. There is currently no evidence that babies born to parents with CFIDS are different from other babies. When deciding whether or not to have a child, PWCs and their partners should consider the enormous expenditure of energy required to care for a baby and, later, an active child.

Is CFIDS related to other illnesses?

There are a host of illnesses that share many of the symptoms of CFIDS. Fibromyalgia, neurally
mediated hypotension (NMH), chronic Lyme disease and interstitial cystitis are just a few of many
overlapping syndromes. Research is underway to determine the relationship among these illnesses.
Specifically, fibromyalgia means pain in the muscles, ligaments and tendons. The requisite for diagnosis of fibromyalgia is widespread pain lasting a minimum of three months and at least 11 of 18 specified tender points clustering around the neck, shoulders, chest, hips, knees and elbows. Other symptoms commonly experienced by persons with fibromyalgia include sleep disturbance, cognitive difficulties, irritable bowel, fatigue and headache.
Researchers at Johns Hopkins University have reported preliminary evidence supporting a link between CFIDS and a known blood pressure disorder called neurally mediated hypotension (NMH) or
vasodepressor syncope. In NMH, the brain and the heart do not communicate properly, even though
both are structurally normal. An inappropriate response to adrenaline (a hormone produced when the
body is under stress) causes blood pressure to fall when it should rise. Individuals with NMH feel
lightheaded and may feel faint when this condition is triggered by various physical and emotional
stressors. Cognitive problems, muscle aches and severe fatigue often follow and can become chronic.
Further studies, including clinical trials of treatments used to manage this condition, are underway at
Johns Hopkins University, the National Institutes of Health and other medical centers.

Why is this disease called CFS or CFIDS?

The term chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) was adopted in 1988 in the original case definition published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. The authors selected this name based on limited knowledge about the illness and a belief that the most common complaint among patients was debilitating, prolonged fatigue.
The term "chronic fatigue and immune dysfunction syndrome" (CFIDS) was proposed by a researcher to
illuminate the multi-systemic impact of the illness. CFIDS and CFS are now used interchangeably by
PWCs, clinicians and researchers.
Unfortunately, the name chronic fatigue syndrome trivializes the disease. CFS is often confused with
chronic fatigue, a symptom of most illnesses. The name also places too great an emphasis on the single
symptom of fatigue.
In the late 1980s, the media coined the term "yuppie flu" to describe CF(ID)S. This demeaning label
reflected differences in access to health care among those with the disease and showed a lack of
understanding about its complexity. However, many people went undiagnosed or were misdiagnosed
because of the perception that CFIDS only affected white professionals. Today we know that there is
nothing "yuppie" about CFIDS. It is a serious illness that knows no demographic or socioeconomic
boundaries.
CFIDS advocates and physicians who understand the scope of the illness have great interest in adopting a
more appropriate name for CFIDS. This is likely to occur only after the cause or a marker is found or the
pathogenesis (effect on the body) is better understood.

What is being done to conquer CFIDS?

The suffering inflicted by CFIDS can be alleviated only through education, enlightened public policy and research--the three areas in which The CFIDS Association of America leads the nation. These
Association-sponsored programs have brought early and impressive progress and are essential to the
battle against CFIDS.

A MACROBIOTIC UNDERSTANDING OF CFIDS.

Observing the general symptomology of this condition as given above indicates the syndrome is the result of pathological toxicity in any or all of the following organs: the large intestines, kidneys and liver as the primary organs being affected as well as lungs, small intestine, and heart. From the macrobiotic perspective the immune system consists of the liver, kidneys, spleen, white blood cells/lymphatic circulation, and the large intestine. The conclusion is that immune dysfunction is the result of toxic damage to these organs.
The macrobiotic approach is to adopt a macrobiotic dietary program that is tailored to the particular profile of an individual with this condition as well as doing the Ginger Compress regimen. Of course, in those cases where people with syndrome are severely debilitated by the fatigue they will need help with the cooking etc., until they have sufficiently recovered enough to do it for themselves.

Disease of The Month.


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