Monday, 19 July 2010

A false claim to cure cancer

Just recently I was asked, by a very dear friend, to research the relationship between certain health products on the market and their benefits in healing or helping with the healing process of cancer.

The company in question, which shall remain nameless, is falsely making miraculous claims that it can heal cancer through the use of natural products. That doesn’t worry so much as the fact that it’s giving people false hope and emptying their wallet at the same time. Worse still, it could discourage people from following appropriate conventional treatments.

I’m a believer in integrated methods of medical intervention; a little of both - Conventional and Natural Methods of Healing.

Anyway, I looked up the products in question and decided to research the ingredients. There is nothing out of the ordinary and nothing that can’t be had from a more balanced every day diet. If our daily intake consisted of more pulses, grains, fibres, water, fresh fruit and vegetables, we wouldn’t need to resort to supplements such as these.

Here’s why. Here are just a few of the ingredients:

IP-6 (Inositol hexaphosphate) - Just as easily found in high fiber foods such as beans, pulses, grains etc.

ß-Sitosterol - Just as easily found in advocados, cumin, black pepper seeds, soya etc.

The one thing you should know about the above is that they are not easily synthesized. It’s also dubious how much is assimilated in the human body due to our digestive system process.

phytosterols Cordyceps sinensis mycelia extract Baker’s yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) extract Agaricus blazeii fruiting body extract Aloe (Aloe barbadensis) leaf gel extract Oat (Avena sativa) seed extract Olive (Olea europaea) - Courtesy of the “Product specific website” - who shall remain unnamed.

Everything seems to be natural.

One word of warning against yeast intake though. It is a well known fact that reducing the amount of yeast in one’s diet can: a) increase life expectancy by up to 50% and b) reduce infections in the body like candida.

Another ingredient that is contained in another product is Colostrum. Colostrum is a cow milk produced in very late pregnancy or even one day after giving birth.

When it’s fed to new born calves, it is known to have a mild laxative effect. It contains many beneficial antibodies that help to eliminate dead red blood cells and it contains a large amount of proteins that are all beneficial to the development of organs and body tissue.

Yet, its beneficial properties and its effects in human consumption are little known and very dubious because of the human digestive process; not to mention the fact that many people nowadays are lactose intolerant.

Colostrum had once been used as an alternative to the modern day antibiotic. In fact, it was one of the original ingredients in an early polio vaccine. Nowadays, there is talk of it being used once again as

Since Colostrum contains IGF-1, the lack of which is associated with malnutrition, dementia, obesity and lean body mass, it is reputed that a supplementation can help with these conditions. However, it seems to be that there is little scientific research and few clinical trials to back these claims.

However, one interesting fact is that within colostrum, scientists discovered Proline-rich Polypeptides (PRP) - These are molecules that transmit signals to the immune system. It was originally believed that these peptides had the capacity to transfer immunity from one immune system to another. However, this is not the case. What is more likely to happen is that the molecules send signals to the immune system to boost it in times of attack from foreign bodies, which means we can better deal with disease.

I did find some research regarding the use of PRP supplements and HIV, herpes, Hodgkins, prostrate cancer and Alzheimer’s. Now, while the research findings seem to stabilise 40% of the patients’ symptoms and condition in the short term, i.e. over a 15 week trial; there are no long term studies. So, we are far from knowing what the long terms effects.

So, please be warned this is not a long term solution for any of the above conditions nor can it claim to be a cure for cancer as this company is falsely promising.

Another warning for any of this company’s products containing Chicken egg yolks - Anyone who is dairy intolerant should avoid taking this ingredient.

In conclusion, this company cannot lay claim to finding a cure for cancer. They cannot lay claim to having a product for transferring one immune system to another. All they have is another marketable natural supplement.

Will it may you feel good? Well, if you’re not dairy intolerant, yes it might. Will it work? That depends on your own immune system and how your body responds to the products.

Please, however, before you part with your hard earned cash, do not think you are buying into a miracle cure.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Cancer and Massage or Aroma-Massage

Just recently there has been some controversy surrounding cancer and the pros and cons of massage and aromatherapy for oncology patients. Since this is an area I will, hopefully, be shortly moving into as a volunteer, I have been doing some research with the intent of designing new oncological therapy techniques; based on an original concept by a Holistic therapist in Australia. My new primary aroma-massage; designed especially for cancer patients is called “Compassionate Healing.” It’s not about healing the disease itself but about bringing peace in mind, body and soul to those who are going through this terrible suffering.

We all know someone who has had cancer and if we don’t, chances are we will before our own time is up. Yet, what do we really know about this disease apart from the fact that it’s a silent killer for which there is still no known cure; although nowadays there are a lot of treatments that are proving to be effective in many cases.

Please let me add here that although alternative therapies such as Aromatherapy Massage, Reiki, Ayurveda, Reflexology, Indian Head Massage etc. may bring relief to patients who have cancer, they are by no means a cure. They are complimentary. They can and should only be used, in my opinion, as an integrative part of conventional medicine.

I could go on and on about the benefits of Holistic Therapies but I’m sure you’ve all heard them a million times before. What I will say is that “touch” is extremely important for any human being, but it’s probably more important to cancer patients, or any patient for that matter, who gets poked and prodded around all day by needles and is subjected to chemotherapy or radiotherapy.

An oncology patient’s body is subjected to such harsh procedures and conditions that it becomes almost abused by medical standards. Of course, it’s a necessary part of the medical healing process, yet it’s surprising how many times even relatives find it difficult to touch a body that changes beyond their own recognition of it; unless it’s to feed it, wash it or give it a kiss on the forehead. Sometimes, even the cancer patients themselves feel detached from their own ever-changing body.

A simple yet loving touch from another human being is sufficient to reconnect an oncology patient to his or her own body. A gentle caress, a soft massage, a kind stroke of the hand is enough to bring peace of mind, relaxation, appease fear and depression, create an atmosphere of positivity, create distraction, alleviate tiredness and, of course make them feel safe, secure and loved.

If a Holistic treatment is administered under the proper conditions, with maximum care and abiding by certain cautious guidelines, it can also help to alleviate the feelings of weakness, dizziness and/or sickness after medical treatments like chemotherapy.

Up until recently, in the United Kingdom, Australia and the United States, Oncology wards in mainstream hospitals used Holistic Health Therapies and Aromatherapy Massage as a means of bringing relief to cancer patients. Not to mention that Eastern cultures have been using Holistic concepts of Healing since time began.

Yet, the big question that has sparked controversy and that everyone is trying to answer is:

”Can massage and aroma-massage spread cancer?”

Well, my research leads me to the conclusion that scientifically, there is no evidence to prove that it can; not any more so than exercising anyway. By the same token, there is also no real evidence to prove that it can’t if it misused.
However, if massage or aroma-massage is conducted under appropriate circumstances, abiding by certain conditions and using specific techniques, then it is perfectly safe, but the therapist would have to have medical knowledge, specific oncological knowledge and a great deal of compassion and intuitive knowing.

Why? - Simple -

As we all know our bodies are made up of millions of different cells. Over time, these cells become damaged or old, due to the physical conditions they are subjected to, and they die. They are replaced with new cells. Only, sometimes, the new cells can be damaged to due their DNA content. This means they can mutate and develop abnormally. When this happens, we call the cells cancer cells. This abnormal development of cells may form a mass; a whole bunch of cells clustered together in what is known as a tumour.

When we think or hear the word tumour we automatically panic. However, not all tumours are necessarily harmful, nor are they necessarily cancerous in nature. Hence, we use the terms benign and malignant to determine the two different types of tumours.

If a tumour is benign it basically means the cells do not spread to another part of the body. According to medical research in current standing, benign tumours can be removed safely and upon removal, probably won’t come back. Personally, I think there is a lack of sufficient scientific evidence, in this area, for the latter part of this statement to be true. Reason being, I had a gentleman client who was prone to benign tumours. It seems that the more consultants surgically removed the benign tumours from his body, the more they appeared.

Without his complete medical history, I could not determine the exact locations nor prove or disprove any personal theories. However, this one individual case was enough to raise concern and doubt in my mind, and considering that there are always exceptions to all general theories in science, I think it is a noteworthy fact not to be dismissed.

On the contrary to its counterpart, when a tumour is malignant, something called metastasis occurs. This basically means the cells that have clustered together: start to break off. When these cells break away from the cluster, they travel through the blood system and/or the lymph system into other areas of the body; attacking it or invading it.

The one thing we need to understand about cancer is that there are over 100 different types. They do not all behave the same way. They do not all form tumours. They do not all start in the same areas or necessarily for the same reasons. Moreover, no two individuals will respond to cancer and subsequent cancer treatments in the same way either. Cancer may start in a singular cell in a major organ just as easily as it may start on the skin or in the in the bone marrow or the blood itself.

Some cancer patients may have lumps, others may have red swollen areas. Some may have very subtle signs of the disease. Some cancer patients may have cancer in one area of the body and suffer pain in a completely opposite area. This is where training in Kinesiology comes in very useful.

Anyone who wants to massage or touch a cancer patient should be very aware of any areas that are “off limits.” Any areas that are being treated, any areas that are bruised, swollen, red, or have broken skin are all off limits!

Also, common sense might dictate that directly and harshly massaging a tumour could potentially cause the cells to break away from the cluster and travel into the body. So, in this respect, one has to question whether there is potential danger of causing metastasis through massage. I can see, from this point of view, where the controversy might arise, but, directly massaging a tumour if off limits, so there is no reason for concern. You never massage a tumour!!!

The most important things are that there should be a) thorough communication between the therapist and the cancer patient in a prior interview; b) the therapist should be flexible and have the ability to design new techniques and methods of treatment around the patient’s needs and c) any touch should be loving and compassionate not of technique learnt in a school nor of the ego. The cancer patient and their body should be listened to and paid attention to at all times.

Sunday, 4 July 2010

My cage has been rattled!

Ok, my cage has been rattled and, as those of you who know me know, when my cage is rattled, I don’t get angry but I do start to kind of choke on sparkles of fire drops, and then I find it very difficult to be quiet. So, here I am with another article.

Everyday, everywhere we’re willing to look, if we open our eyes, we can see poverty and conditions that can be considered less than human by today’s living standards. Whether we choose to ignore them or not, the fact remains that there are starving human beings in the world; children, men and women. The fact also remains that there are people without a roof over their heads and without clean water to drink.

We may not know their faces and we may think the problem isn’t ours. We may even think the problem is so remote from where we live that it’s none of our concern, but that’s not the case.

There is no country in this world that doesn’t have poverty or sub-human conditions. There is no country in this world that doesn’t have someone living on a park bench or under a bridge or out in the desert or in a cardboard box. Most of the time, we don’t see it or we choose not to see it because we look the other way, and we all have our reasons for doing so.

Some of us think that by looking the other way, the problem will go away. Some of us think the person on the street should get a job like the rest of us. Some of us think that by giving a euro to someone, we’re only going to be feeding their drug habit. Some of us can’t even look at a person on the street because it brings feelings of guilt about the way we live and what we have in our lives. Instead of feeling grateful for what we have, in the face of the misfortune of another, we subconsciously feel guilty.

Some of us may even feel apathetic and so saturated by all the poverty and harsh conditions out there, that we turn our backs for that very reason. I find that even sadder than poverty itself.

Yet, what disturbs me and rattles my cage the most is when people just sit around talking about tragic conditions and poverty by saying: “how tragic, how sad, makes me cry,” yet they do little or nothing to lift a finger to help relieve some of the suffering out there in the world. Of course, I am not talking about everyone, and of course there are many many people who help. I am fortunate and blessed to know plenty of them.

It would either seem that people just don’t realise how much of a difference they can actually make if they were truly willing to. Or, in the face of it all, they still do nothing. It is sad, I’m not saying it isn’t, but a starving human being doesn’t put food in his stomach with words or people sitting around feeling sympathetic. A freezing human being, living on the street, doesn’t warm up with people sitting around feeling sorry for him or turning away.

I can understand people’s apprehensions nowadays, but I’m sure if people had the choice, nobody would willing, freely or whole-heartedly opt to live in a cold, hostile or starving environment.

Yet, what we forget is that there are so many ways to help and it doesn’t always have to be with grand gestures. It doesn’t always have to be with money and it doesn’t always have to take up hours and hours of your time.

For example, if you don’t want to give the guy on the street a euro because you’re afraid he’ll go and buy drugs, go and buy him a sandwich. Think about whether it’s really about the euro and the drugs or whether it’s an excuse not to part with a possession that’s yours. Let me remind everyone that when we die, we can’t take any of it with us. Or, worse still, is it because we can’t bare the thought of being close to someone who is smelly and dirty -someone who reminds us of everything that we don’t ever want to become; our worst nightmare and the darkest side of life we couldn’t bare to face.

I can guarantee you this: when you give the guy that sandwich, if he’s hungry, he’ll be truly grateful and if you throw in a coffee, the look of gratitude he’ll give you will be priceless. It will warm your heart for years to come. In fact, you may never forget that look for as long as you live, and when he dies, you’ll remember him and know that you played your part in trying to keep him alive.

Yet, not everything is about money. The men and women sleeping on park benches and in cardboard boxes, they get cold too in winter. For those of you who like to have spring cleans and throw out old blankets, have you ever thought about asking any one of those human beings if they need a blanket, a jacket or a coat? The problem is, half the time, we’re afraid to talk to these people because most of the time we see them as less than human or even as simpletons.

Yet, less than human George may have a sad story. He may have lost his job and his wife. His children may have abandoned him. So, he feels he has nothing left to live for. He simply lives on the grass because he feels he’s at God’s mercy until death comes for him, and most of the time he wishes death would come for him. He’s grateful for any kind word anyone has to say to him in passing by the local bus stop.

The young girl, Helen, who everyone makes fun of, and who has been pushed from pillar to post between institutions, may have lost her mother and her husband prematurely to cancer and has nowhere to go. Her home may be possessed by someone who doesn’t really want her there. Her only child may have been taken away from her and she may not be allowed to see him. She too may feel like she has nothing much in life. She has food from a local shelter but what she really needs is someone to give her a kind word and put their arm around her and let her know that tomorrow will be ok.

Until we know why someone is where they are, we cannot second guess someone’s life or what they’ve been through, and trust me everyone has a story. Yet, the problem, I think, with our world is that not everyone has ears they’re willing to use. Sure, we all listen, but do we really listen?

There are so many ways to help others; distributing food to shelters; sponsoring (or adopting) children in their own countries, helping the elderly, visiting people in hospital through organisations, and the list could go on and on.

We can all donate some of our time, our love, our talent, our prayers and maybe some of our money - there are 24 hours in a day and 365 days in a year. The important thing is to realise that everyone can make a difference if they really want to. A tiny gesture to you may mean the world to another human being.

Friday, 2 July 2010

Love ...

Just lately I have read and heard so many negative and positive things about love, it reminded me of an article I wrote many years ago.

In the article, I described love as an abstract concept; something intangible - an emotion or a feeling we experience deep within our inner being. Yet, something we cannot physically touch; an idealistic state we all wish for - someone to love us.

We may experience emotional, chemical, psychological and physical symptoms as a consequence of the feeling of love like a racing heart, sweaty palms, desire, lust, a lack of hunger or sleepless nights. Yet, we cannot see or touch our emotions with our physical senses.

In that article, I said that most people everywhere aspired to it. Men, (and women), killed in its name. I said that we all daydreamed about it at some point; that children give it freely, whilst adults are cautious who they give it to.

I also said that some may delude themselves that they are feeling it or experiencing it, and that sadly some may never experience it at all in their life.

I mentioned that uttering this very simple four letter word “love” has the ability to make one person ecstatically happy, while making another person completely despair.

By saying “I love you” to someone, it’s possible to mend a broken relationship, it’s possible to heal wounds and break barriers between people. Love can also quite simply make right a whole load of wrongs.

In my article though I questioned whether love per se was enough nowadays, or whether our society has become so materialistic that many marriages are based more on interest than love. Or, whether there is so little love in the world, as we grow further and further apart as human beings, that many marry because they don’t want to be alone.

I questioned whether there would be fewer divorces in the world if there were more love.

I asked if the word “love” nowadays has just become a convenience; if the romanticised concept of love has become just another misconstrued reality based on false literary and media reality, or just another expression too quickly and falsely used for gaining physical pleasure with the opposite sex.

Whichever the case, I do not see that as love. It’s the illusion of love.

I’m no expert in love but I do know that unconditional love is when you never walk away; despite the odds. It’s never losing that faith and respect. It’s the strength to walk away from someone when they tell you to leave them alone and get on with their life. It’s knowing you would give your life to save the life of someone you love. It’s knowing you would give up your entire world if you had to. Even though, in love nobody makes demands and nothing is ever asked. Everything is freely given as a gift between people.

It’s knowing that if you ever deliberately harmed another it would hurt you more. It’s getting on a plane and travelling half way around the world just to hold someone or be there for someone just because you know they need you.

I feel there are many ways to love the different people in our lives, our families, our friends, our colleagues, but there is only one kind of love: the unconditional and eternal kind.

There is no I or ego in love. There is only love itself. It is what drives people to help others; showing kindness, love and compassion to perfect strangers.

No one person ever loves the same as another and no one individual ever experiences love the same as another, but sharing love brings people closer together.

Where love begins nobody knows. It’s a question philosophers and romanticists have been debating since the beginning of time. Where it will end nobody knows.

If you believe that death is only the end of the physical, and that love touches the very essence of who we are, then you must believe that love does not die. If we plant the seeds of love well during our life, they will continue to grow fruits until the hereafter and beyond... perhaps that is what makes love eternal.