How Smart Is Your Body?
We all know that ah-ha! moment when a new insight or experience changes everything. But ah-ha's are the province of the mind, aren't they? Like a backward beast, the body merely drags around our higher mental functions and our opposable thumbs. Despite its amazing capacity to self-heal, it's regarded as a mere mechanical marvel, like the Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz -- to be oiled, excised, and/or flooded with exogenous chemicals, an ingenious contraption incapable of learning, progressing, or manifesting.
But what if the body is smarter than we think? Or understands things we don't? Perhaps it's time for a dialogue.
For two centuries, homeopaths have engaged in an intimate conversation with the body -- regarding it as not just alive, but also capable of learning, acting upon subtle information, and taking hints from nature about how to expel infections, self-regulate, and restore balance.
Homeopathic remedies begin with a given natural substance, progressively diluted (and shaken in a process known as "succussion") until no measurable amount of the material remains. The chosen remedy induces the entire range of symptoms the person suffers and paradoxically prompts the body's capacity to heal them. According to Dana Ullman, a homeopathic educator and author of The Homeopathic Revolution, homeopaths see symptoms as expressions of the body's innate healing response. A homeopathic remedy, like aikido, "goes with" the symptoms, subtly amplifying the healing message so that the body "gets it." Once the body goes "ah-ha," the symptoms express, lessen, and then pass.
Obviously, this method and view sharply contrast with approaches that suppress symptoms, or "fight" disease, the typical "us against them" stance of mainstream western medicine.
In his book, Ullman (recently on radio on Oprah and friends) recounts homeopathy's long history of successful use by a host of monarchs, (the British royal family), world leaders, (including Gandhi, and eleven U.S. Presidents ranging from Lincoln to Clinton), artists (Beethoven, Renoir, and Pollock), and celebrities, (Marlene Dietrich, Tina Turner, and David Beckham). Countless powerful and smart people -- with ample health care options -- have found homeopathy valuable.
One was Charles Darwin, whose persistent health problems (untreatable by the medicine of his day) debilitated him, making work impossible, Ullman learned. Skeptically, Darwin went to a homeopath, received treatment, and recovered, going on to do his most important research and writing (while living for three more decades.) He never publicly mentioning his homeopathic treatment for fear of his scientific colleagues' derision.
Conventional biological scientists (then and now) resist healing mechanisms outside their paradigm. Like the man who lost his contact lens down a dark alley, but searched for it under a bright street lamp because that's where he could see, they deny even the possibility that homeopathy could convey healing information via mechanisms they can't measure. Since only material substances (rather than information) have agency, surely homeopathy must be either a fraud or a placebo.
Late last year, in a debate on homeopathy at the University of Connecticut, naturopath Andre Saine revealed his investigated outcomes for homeopathic treatments of typhus, meningitis, tetanus, anthrax, septicemia, malaria, and other infectious diseases -- including a dozen cases of fully developed rabies with recoveries solely via homeopathic treatment.
"Despite well-documented and official reports," Saine argued, "the results obtained by homeopathy have been almost completely ignored... as if they had occurred in a void of time and space."
"When scientists ignore or reject healing successes outside of their paradigm, the spirit of scientific inquiry is undermined," claims a leader in the Connecticut debate, Professor Rustum Roy, who among his credentials is Professor of the Solid State Emeritus at the Pennsylvania State University as well as Visiting Professor of Medicine at the University of Arizona.
Professor Roy's current research could lead to a sea change. While homeopaths assert that a plant "signature," imprinted in water, carries information to the body, conventional scientists consider that impossible since homeopathic dilutions are biochemically identical to "pure water."
Roy, however, points out that due to water's unique properties, even weak forces can cause powerful structural changes. His lab is currently investigating a recent discovery that common radio waves can cause water to burst into flame and burn, which has immense implications for energy production. In Roy's view, it's not water's biochemical content but its structure that's ripe for exploration. Water's structure can readily be changed by the very actions commonly used in homeopathic preparations, he says. In their research, Roy and his colleagues have found that even when remedies are biochemically indistinguishable from pure water, changes in structure differentiate them. This altered structure persists over time. Since the human body is composed of over 60% water, Roy's research supports the working hypothesis that the water structure in homeopathic remedies can potentially carry healing information to the body. As more scientists follow the thread initiated by Roy, perhaps we'll discover the secrets of the healing power of information.
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