The purpose of this blog is purely educational. It does not advise any reader to forgo medical treatment for any condition. It describes methods that have not yet been proven effective through widespread scientific testing. Readers who are concerned about their health are advised to contact their physician.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Some thoughts on healing for the New Year

Here is a thought to ponder for the New Year from Michael Talbot's Holographic Universe (p. 30):
Just as every portion of a hologram contains the image of the whole, every portion of the universe enfolds the whole. This means that if we knew how to access it we could find the Andromeda galaxy in the thumbnail of our left hand. We could also find Cleopatra meeting Caesar for the first time, for in principle the whole past and implications for the whole future are also enfolded in each small region of space and time. Every cell in our body enfolds the entire cosmos. So does every leaf, every raindrop, and every dust mote ...
This has profound implications for healing. If we can theoretically find the Andromeda galaxy in a thumbnail, or Cleopatra meeting Caesar, we can also find the seed moment when that first cell mutated and became cancerous, and affect it to make it reverse its course.

I invite you to read an article by William Braund, Phd, entitled "Wellness Implications of Retroactive Influence: Exploring an Outrageous Hypothesis". Here is a quote:
Consider another simple system — a small group of cancerous or precancerous cells at a certain location within the body and a natural killer (NK) cell that is roaming near those cells in a random or freely variable course. It is conceivable that there exists a point at which a random "choice" or "decision" occurs, and the NK cells could move, with 50-50 probability, either toward or away from those cancerous cells (seed moments of disease). In principle, PK or intentional influences could bias the probabilities of action of the NK cell sufficiently to promote movement toward and subsequent destruction of the small group of cancerous or precancerous cells, thereby terminating a seed moment that otherwise might have eventuated in illness or even death (several "linkages" down the line — through probability-pyramiding or snowballing effects).

When a patient appears in our office with a particular malady, we tend to think that the curing or beating of this condition involves using our armamentarium of conventional and unconventional treatments and interventions to slowly and progressively correct that malady in the present. We believe we should use our tools to chop away and gradually destroy an undesired condition that is already well established — working on what now exists, a system with great momentum and inertia. In addition to such real-time therapeutic influences, the findings reviewed in this article suggest an alternative healing pathway. Along with such real-time effects that are often taken for granted, it is possible that our healing intentions may be acting "backward in time" to influence the initial seed moments of the development of the malady that confronts us today. Such an alternative healing pathway or process might be a more effective and efficient one — an "easier" one, because it would be influencing a system at a more labile, flexible, sensitive, and susceptible stage in its development and progression. If such a process could act early and thoroughly enough, it might actually prevent the development of harmful physical or psychological processes. This would constitute an instance of true preventive medicine. Time-displaced healing modalities might actually have important advantages over real-time healing modalities.
These things might be impossible in Newton's universe, but not in Neils Bohr's. Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Dr. Oz "gets it" from a colleague for promoting reiki

Dr. Oz gets it from a colleague in a blog chronicling "the miscellaneous ramblings of a surgeon/scientist on medicine, quackery, science, pseudoscience, history, and pseudohistory (and anything else that interests him)". I am including this for comic relief. The title is "Dr. Mehmet Oz: Gone completely over to the Dark Side". Here is a quote:
Dr. Oz's number one favorite "alternative medicine" treatment is reiki. That's right, reiki, which is at its core nothing more than faith healing without Christianity. It's the laying on of hands, nothing more, the only difference between reiki masters and Hinn or Popoff being that reiki is based on Eastern mysticism rather than Christian beliefs. Indeed, the founder of reiki, Dr. Usui, even "discovered" reiki after fasting and meditating on a mountain for 21 days in a story a lot like that of Jesus going into the wilderness for 40 days to pray and face temptation before coming back to start his ministry. Reiki is every bit as much quackery as the faith healing of Benny Hinn and Peter Popoff.

And Dr. Oz names it as his favorite alt-med modality. He even uses reiki masters in the operating room for his patients. Of course, I can't help but wonder where Dr. Oz gets the time to keep his operative skills up doing an hour long show five days a week or where he finds time even to see patients and operate any more. I also can't help but think he must have the most understanding surgical partners in the world, given that they must have to cover for him almost constantly while he's away doing shows, public appearances, and such.

Whatever the case, this sealed it for me. Dr. Oz is completely over on the Dark Side. I realize that he went over to the Dark Side a long time ago; I simply hadn't noticed that his journey to the Dark Side was complete. I thought there was still hope. Another thing that sealed it for me was a little discovery I made while researching this post. That discovery? Dr. Oz is married to a reiki master.

Sleeping with the enemy indeed.

I'm finding it highly amusing that while the Vatican disapproves of reiki because it's "superstition" and could expose people to "malevolent" forces (as if being afraid of exposure to malevolent forces were not superstition par excellence), medicine from the other end disapproves of it because it defines it as Christian faith healing (= "quackery") without Christ. Kudos to Dr. Oz for being willing to stick his neck out and basing his opinion on reiki on what he sees with his own two eyes instead of ignorant, baseless prejudice.

Happy holidays, everyone.

Postscript: This one is funny too: "Oprah and Dr. Oz and spreading superstition at the speed of night".

Monday, December 13, 2010

Walking Through Walls

A reader of this blog alerted me to a book entitled Walking Through Walls by Philip Smith, a memoir of the author's childhood growing up with his psychic/healer father, Lew Smith. What caught this reader's attention and prompted her to write to me was the multitude of similarities between Lew Smith, and Bill Bengston's teacher, Bennett Mayrick.

Lew Smith was an interior decorator in Miami who in the 1960s became interested in esoteric subjects such as macrobiotic food, meditation, and yoga. As he delved more and more deeply into this arcane world, he suddenly discovered a talent for healing (among other things). The memoir mostly focuses on young Philip's reaction to the changes in his life caused by his father's newfound obsessions, but it also provides considerable detail about Lew Smith's healing work.

Bennett Mayrick in turn was a man of many trades who lived in New York state, who one day also came to realize he had unusual psychic talents, which included healing. What is fascinating to me is that the two men, living half a continent apart, discovered, within a couple of years of each other, the same psychic abilities. They could both dissolve clouds, diagnose the sick with 100% accuracy, read minds, do token object reading, and heal serious disease. Both men had wives and families, but their inability to reconcile their newfound talents with any kind of "normalcy" broke up both their marriages.

Here is a very brief excerpt from Bill Bengston's The Energy Cure:
Without the slightest embarrassment, he made the most absurd claim I’d ever heard. "I can dissolve clouds. If I stare through them for a few seconds they dissipate. Here, I'll show you ... Pick a cloud."

I pointed directly overhead. "That one."

As I watched him, his eyes took on that same unfocused look I’d noticed before. After 15 or 20 seconds, he announced with satisfaction, "There it goes."

I looked up. The cloud was gone...

Now here is Philip Smith in Walking Through Walls:
I scanned the horizon and found the biggest, puffiest cumulus hanging low on the horizon. "That one," I said, pointing. "Do something to that one." ...

"The one with the gray spots at the end?"

"Yeah, that one."

"Okay. I'm going to punch a big hole right in the middle of the cloud and make it look just like a donut." ...

Minutes passed .... My father just stood there staring at the cloud. His eyes squinted, his jaw tight... I turned to walk back in the house, but when I took a second glance at the sky, I noticed a small indentation -- a soft, shadowy area -- in the middle of the cloud. It definitely had not been there before. Wispy strands of cloud started to emerge from the center like a trail of smoke. After these first few strands floated away, the center of the cloud began to open wide as if it were yawning. Slowly the entire central core of the cloud disappeared, revealing a round window onto pure blue sky.

Here is Bill Bengston on how Bennett Mayrick perfomed healings:
Ben would place his hands on a client’s shoulders or, occasionally, the solar plexus. After a few minutes, he would search for hot spots. Most often, but not always, they coincided with the area of complaint. Wherever they were, Ben concentrated on them.

Now Philip Smith on Lew Smith:
Generally, Pop would have the patient sit in one of our white wicker chairs. Without saying a word, he would begin running his hands over the top of the person's head and then slowly over the front and back of his or her body as he intuitively searched for hot spots of disease that needed his healing energy. He looked like one of today's airport screeners "wanding" a passenger for metal items. Like a Geiger counter, his hands would suddenly react to a weak spot or a diseased area. It was at this particular spot that he would let his hands pause to pour forth the healing energy.

Bennett Mayrick could provide 100% accurate diagnoses of people's ailments given nothing more than their signature in an envelope, while Lew Smith favoured using a pendulum for the same purpose:
[He] liked to say that he had a complete hospital in the pendulum. With the pendulum, he didn't need a stethoscope, a pathology lab, or an X-ray machine; he could diagnose quicker and more accurately than all the MDs and their fancy machines combined. He would astonish patients and doctors by describing to them in accurate detail the exact nature of their illness.

Neither of these two men knew that the other existed. They both believed that they were unique, and that they had to save the world. They both turned their living rooms into clinics. They both could cure cancer. Both had "guides". In Bill Bengston's book they are referred to only as "the Fellows", but Lew Smith's guides had names, like Arthur Ford and Chander Sen.

Now here comes what for me is the best part. Both Lew Smith and Bennett Mayrick began by doing straight "energy" healing. But Lew Smith over time branched out and the book describes a rich array of methods he developed with the help of his guides. We have no way of knowing whether Bennett Mayrick did the same, because his association with Bill Bengston only covered the early years of his healing work.

These two books, the one by the disciple of one healer and the other by the son of another, are best read side by side for full effect. The Energy Cure brings Walking Through Walls down to earth by taking a skeptical view and moving the healing into the laboratory. But Walking Through Walls complements The Energy Cure by giving the reader a son's detailed, rich, and loving close-up of his psychic/healer father at work.

Click here for an interesting interview with Philip Smith.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

In tribute to my father

In tribute to my father, who recently passed away.

He wouldn't have understood the words, but what the words express applies in every language.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Bill Bengston on "What is Energy Medicine?"

... and other related topics: KMVR interview with Michael Stone, Nov. 30, 2010. This one is fun, and quite comprehensive. It contains a good description of "image cycling".

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The mind is a powerful thing - part 4

This posting may be the one you have been waiting for through parts 1 to 3, although it could be more appropriately be entitled "The brain is a powerful thing", and it is also quite esoteric. Simply put (or not so simply put), it turns out that the brain engages in some very specific brainwave activity during healing, and that that brainwave activity is somehow connected to "electromagnetic micropulsations" in the earth's atmosphere, the so-called "Schumann resonance", which one could more poetically refer to as the heartbeat of the planet.

James Oschman, author of Energy Medicine: The Scientific Basis, cites experiments in which a certain Robert C. Beck "used EEG recordings to study brain wave activity in ‘healers’ from all over the world: psychics, shamans, faith healers, a Hawaiian kahuna, practitioners of wicca, etc." and found that "all these healers produced similar brain wave patterns when they were … performing a healing… register[ing] brain wave activity averaging about 7.8-8.0 cycles/second… Beck performed additional studies on some of the subjects and found that during healing moments their brain waves became phase and frequency synchronized with the earth’s geoelectric micropulsations – the Schumann resonance.”

More recent experiments by Bill Bengston and Luke Hendricks showed "high amplitudes at about 8 hertz" in the healer's brain, also echoing the Schumann resonance. Healer and healee then came to share the same brainwave frequency during sustained periods of high amplitudes at this level, meaning that entrainment had been produced. Entrainment occurs when two separate objects share the same rate of activity, as when two hearts beat together, or two pendulums swing in synchrony.

The way it seems to work is that the healer produces this brainwave activity first, and then entrains the healee, and the two of them might rest there together briefly. According to Bill Bengston, healing happens in such bursts.

In his recent book, Spontaneous Evolution, Bruce Lipton tells us that trained healers are not the only ones able to produce entrainment. Experiments have shown that the same kind of entrainment occurs with people who simply love one another. The mechanism is in place for each and every one of us to become a healer; we just have to access the right frequency.

What is the Schumann resonance?
The Schumann resonance is an electromagnetic "standing wave" caused by electrical activity in the atmosphere that "readily penetrates the body" and has "considerable overlap with the biomagnetic fields such as those produced by the heart and brain" (Oschmann). Experiments have shown that subjects experience the best reaction times when the Schumann resonance is at 7-10 hertz, and that physiological disorientation can occur when subjects are magnetically shielded from it. The optimum resonance of ca 7.8 hertz is in the alpha state of brainwave activity associated with "body/mind integration, present during meditation and states of relaxation."

No one entirely knows why this happens, but we do know that non-waking states in which brainwaves are slowed down and become synchronous are necessary for the body to repair itself (as Shakespeare said, sleep does "knit up the ravelled sleeve of care"). Oschman theorizes that when when the mind is calmed, the Schumann resonance "can take over as the pacemaker" and "regulate the overall tone of the nervous system".

Oschmann also mentions that studies have shown pulsations emanating from the hands of healers sweeping through the range of 0.3 to 30 hertz, with most of the activity centering around 7.8 hertz -- again the Schumann resonance. Why that would produce healing is anyone's guess, but being entrained to the "heartbeat" of Gaia might have something do with it.

Finally, to add another piece to the mystery, the EEG study cited in the video excerpt above also showed occasional peaks during which a doubling or a tripling of the Schumann resonance occurred in the healer's brain during healing. This took brainwaves into the high beta range, speeding up rather than slowing down activity.

As best as I can figure, what we call energy healing is based on the reality of us being electromagnetic creatures, while medicine as it is practiced today is mostly based on our chemistry and biology. Energy healing is just a different way of approaching the complex creature that is a human being, but may turn out to be more-user friendly and less complex in the long run than the orthodox biochemical approaches have been.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The mind is a powerful thing - part 3

And the evidence for the connection of the psychological to the physical and its effect on cancer sufferers just keeps mounting ... The latest is a study that shows that stress undermines the effects of chemotherapy and radiation. Patients are advised to avoid stress for two days prior their cancer treatment:
[C]ancer cell survival can be traced to the presence of heat shock factor-1, which previous research has linked to stress. Ohio State University researchers first noticed that this common protein can help heart tissue survive in a toxic environment, leading the scientists to suspect that in cancer, this phenomenon could have serious consequences.

A series of experiments using breast cancer cells showed that a protein activated by the presence of heat shock factor-1 could block the process that kills cancer cells even after the cells’ DNA was damaged by radiation. The same was true when the cells were subjected to a common chemotherapy drug.

The researchers hope to develop a drug that could suppress heat shock factor-1 as a supplement to cancer therapy, but in the meantime, they recommend that patients avoid both psychological and physical stress in the days leading up to a cancer treatment.
I will have to hazard a guess here, not having had any personal experience in the matter, but I would think that one of the greatest stresses one could possibly have is living with a cancer diagnosis, and that the days leading up to one's treatment, in which one expects to be injected with deadly poisons or bombarded by deadly X-rays, are not likely to be stress-free either. It is very difficult to be equanimous when one is living in fear of losing one's life or in fear of significant and impending discomfort or pain.

And leaving conventional cancer treatments aside, I would also wonder what kind of effect this same stress would have on alternative cancer treatments, whatever they may be, and what kind of effect removing stress from one's life would have on one's survival from cancer, with or without treatment.