Continuing our discussion about what REALLY works to get rid of parasites and intestinal worms, we're up to Number 5:
5) Work on boosting your immune system - check out the following articles for some easy pointers on how to do this:
The Naturopathic View
In her book called the Natural Recovery Plan, Naturopath Alison Adams sets out a list of things that seriously affect the immune system. Top of the list is emotional and physical trauma, together with ongoing exposure to toxic metals including the mercury that's commonly used in mercury amalgam fillings. Adams' list then continues on to viruses and bacteria, before ending with candida, and then parasites.
What Adams is effectively saying is that our immune system gets compromised by stress, trauma, difficult relationships and mercury poisoning from those horrible grey fillings (which is a whole different post for another time) - and then over time, our immune system becomes so weakened that it's a matter of time before candida and parasites move in and take over.
Adams' claims are certainly well-researched, and backed up with some significant scientific evidence. But even so, there are still a couple of additional factors that could be hugely affecting the functioning of our immune system.
The Scientific Researcher's View
In his book 'The Body Electric', medical researcher Robert O. Becker tells us the following:
"Evidence to date suggests that our electropollution is presenting us…with a double challenge: weaker immune systems and stronger diseases.
"We shouldn't be surprised at an onslaught of 'new' ailments, beginning about 1950 and accelerating toward the future. In several cases, new maladies have recently been described as coming from pathogens that previously weren't capable of inducing disease. Among the newcomers are:
You can learn more about the body's electromagnetism in these articles:
But the stratospheric rise in wifi, internet, mobile phones, FM radio stations, TV broadcasting and microwaves, amongst other things, are definitely impacting the body's immune system and overall strength and health.
The good news is that by working across all three levels of mind, body and soul, you CAN boost your immune system, you CAN start to get your energy back, and you CAN make candida and parasites a thing of the past.
Connecting to God boosts your immune system
The last, but most important, area affecting your immune system, and your ability to deal with things like parasites effectively, is your connection to God. Remember, God makes all this stuff happen in the first place, so priority Number One has to be to take it all back to God, and get Him involved in solving the problem.
Modern medicine likes to pretend it's got 'basic' issues like worm infestation sorted out, but the truth is that many people have been using drugs, unsuccessfully, for years to try to overcome a parasite infestation (as this article, and the comments that follow it, clearly shows).
One of the reasons that perhaps they've had limited success is because all health problems, even things like nits and pinworms, have spiritual and emotional roots. The more you take a holistic, God-based approach to boosting your immune system and eliminating parasites, including taking a frank look at, and dealing with any stressful 'parasitic' relationships you may have, and any 'parasitic' beliefs, or habits you may unwittingly be accommodating, the more progress you'll make with permanently resolving the problem at its root.
One of the biggest problems with alternative, or holistic medicine is that it often takes the concept of 'taking responsibility for your health' a step too far.
Now, taking responsibility for your health is generally a great idea.
It's a no-brainer that the less junk food you eat, the less negative emotions you wallow in, the more you try to live the life that God designed you to have, the healthier and happier you'll generally feel.
This general philosophy of health underpins the whole 'New Age' movement, that's been behind much of the revival of holistic health practices, and at a very superficial level, it 'fits' the authentic Jewish idea found in the Gemara that 'there is no suffering without prior sin' very nicely.
BUT there is a huge caveat that changes the whole healthcare picture, namely that God can choose to send illness to any one of us, at any time.
God's still running the show
Nine times out of ten, the illness just comes as a wake-up call, to eat healthier, or to stop bottling-up our repressed negative emotions, or to work on improving ourselves, or our outlook, or our behaviour in some way.
But the tenth time?
The tenth time is pure Divine providence, or to put it another way, just because God said so.
Breslev Rabbi Ofer Erez explains that sometimes, a person has to go through excrutiating tests of faith that are just part of that soul's particular spiritual destiny, and there is nothing a person can do to avoid them.
'New Agers' often like to make out that if you eat all the right foods, exercise regularly and keep a positive mindset, ill-health can't touch you with a barge-pool. And nine times out of ten, I think that's probably right.
But the tenth time? The tenth time is just because God said so.
It doesn't help to start blaming people for getting sick
When you don't have God in the picture, it becomes all too easy to start blaming people for their troubles, which is the infamous 'New Age Guilt'.
"You got sick because you ate McDonalds every day! You got sick because you smoke! You got sick because you've been secretly fuming at your mother for decades!"
And often, that's true. But here's the thing: outsiders never have the full picture of what's really going on with someone else. God gives us permission to work out the messages He's hiding in everything, including our illnesses, FOR OURSELVES, not for other people.
When it's myself, I have to assume that 'there is no suffering without prior sin', and try to work out which bad habit, negative emotion, or unhelpful (and often subconscious) belief God wants me to work on, in order to get well again.
When it's someone else, I have to assume that the only reason they're sick is just because God said so, and to make every effort to not get all arrogant about all the green juices I'm drinking, and all the sprouted spelt I'm eating, and all the big mitzvahs I'm keeping.
Getting the balance right
It's a very difficult balance, like everything else in 2015. On the one hand, we have the Western Medical approach that likes to pretend that ill-health is purely biological or chemical - ie, germs, genes and environment - which takes God completely out of the picture and gives people carte blanche to act however they want, without thinking of the consequences.
On the other hand, the holistic health scene rightly makes a lot of the connections between illness and emotional issues and bad, self-damaging behaviour - which as we've mentioned, is much closer to the Gemara's idea of 'there is no suffering without prior sin' - but neglects to connect all that good stuff back to God.
The result: New Age Guilt, aka blaming people for being, well, less than 100% perfect people.
There's always so much more to say about this subject, and God willing, I'll come back to it again.
But for now, let's sum it up like this: if the reason you're sick is because you're eating bad food, or doing stuff to yourself or others that isn't good for you, or you're pretending to be someone you aren't - then as soon as you recognise the underlying problem and start to work on it, the illness will probably ameliorate all by itself.
If the reason you're sick is that rare instance of 'just because God said so' - then you can take all the drugs in the world, undergo all the surgery, eat all the organic vegetables you want, and religiously act by the book - and the sickness or illness will remain, until God decides otherwise.
Recently, I read some new research that made a direct correlation between the amount of sugar you eat, and some really nasty diseases.
Now, I'm not saying that stuff is wrong, exactly, because on one level, what you eat for sure affects your health and Jews are big proponents of the idea that you are what you eat.
But important as food is, it's not the whole picture when it comes to health, or even scary diseases. Your emotional health and spiritual connection probably count for far more, as even studies in the secular world are starting to show.
Emotions and spiritual connection are even more important than diet
For example, a few decades' ago Dr Caroline Thomas did a whole big study following 1300 undergraduates at the John Hopkins Medical School over the course of many years, to see if their personalities, family relationships and emotional dispositions could somehow predict their health, in later years.
To quote Vibrational Medicine, by Dr Richard Gerber: "There were, indeed, common psychological factors among those students who had succumbed to cancer. Interestingly, the traits of the group that later developed cancer were similar to those who eventually committed suicide. They typically described themselves as emotionally detached from their parents.
"More students who eventually developed cancer had described negative early family relations than any other group in her study."
God is running the world, so don't panic
This shouldn't scare anybody, because remember, God is in the world, and everything is Divinely orchestrated for every single one of us, including our health challenges.
The point of quoting this passage is simply to underline a couple of hugely important ideas, that often get buried under the issue of diet and food, even in the holistic health world:
1) Your physical health is hugely dependent on, and entertwined with, your emotional state. In other work by psychologist Lawrence LeShan, links were also made between people regularly bottling up their negative emotions instead of dealing with them, and catastrophic disease like cancer.
2) You need a strong relationship with God to enable you to deal with your negative emotions (and related sugar cravings…) in an appropriate, healthy way.
This last point is crucial, because as soon as you forget about God, or leave Him out of the health equation, you're leaving the door wide open for a whole bunch of problems.
We all know people who religiously followed healthy eating regimens of every stripe and variety, who still got really ill. What's more, many people who got obsessed with food, and who devoted themselves to battling against all the many thousands of toxins currently found in our world and our food chain, got very stressed, miserable, negative and judgemental of themselves and others, as a result.
I've met more miserable 'healthy eaters' than I care to mention, who religiously avoid chocolate and sugar like the plague, while filling themselves up with far more dangerous substances like guilt, arrogance, anxiety and worry.
FACT: The world we live in is a very poisonous place, by all measures.
FACT: A whole bunch of the stuff that you eat, like sugar, and ingest by other means, like chemicals and environmental pollution, could for sure kill you in a heartbeat, if there weren't other considerations going on.
FACT: Repressed negative emotions do far more harm to your health and wellbeing in every single way, than sugar.
FACT: If God's not in the picture, all these other FACTS are enough to give you a heartattack.
Luckily, God is in the picture. The more you try to connect back to Him, the more energy you'll have to deal with your negative emotions in a healthy way; the more optimism you'll have about resolving all the issues facing you and the planet; and the less likely it'll be that you'll be tempted to munch away on the Ben and Jerry's, to try to ease the pain.
Western medicine believes that germs, genes and environment are the three things that are going to make you sick (as well as things like getting run over by bus.)
The natural consequence of this belief system is that many conventional doctors like to throw some very strong medicine in their patient's direction, regardless of how severe or serious the underlying condition actually is.
The prevailing view is: 'Why suffer, when you can take a few pills to make all the nasty symptoms disappear?' - and it does have a certain logic to it.
The problem is, that logic is based on some very faulty assumptions about human health.
In the holistic model of health, people usually develop physical symptoms of illness (like rashes, headaches, vomiting, snot and fevers, to name but a few) because these symptoms are the mechanism the body is using to try to flush the underlying infection or illness out of the system.
Fevers happen when the body heats up in an attempt to burn-off bad bacteria, and it's usually a pretty effective operation. But if you step in with the Accumol to bring the fever down - then the process didn't accomplish what it needed to, and the underlying infection didn't get properly dealt with.
What does that mean? In a nutshell: it's going to come back, and it may well come back bigger and meaner the second time around.
What does that mean?
Usually, that the Accamol won't work so well next time, which means you're going to shlep off to the doctor for a dose of something stronger, like antibiotics.
There's nothing wrong with taking antibiotics if you're dealing with a serious, potentially life-threatening illness. But if you're not? Then taking antibiotics takes out ALL of your body's bacteria, including the good stuff in your gut that's actually a vital component of a healthy immune response.
What does that mean?
It means that long-term, taking medications to deal with the symptoms of your illnesses actually weakens your immune system, and makes it that much harder for you to fight-off infections, viruses and nasty bacteria.
When you get a cold, for example, that's your body's way of streaming a build-up of toxins out of your body. When you try to shut the snot production process down with medications, all that happens is that those toxins stay in your body and fester.
I know all this runs counter to what so many of us were raised to believe about good health, but you can sum it up like this: the more medications you take, the sicker you'll get, long-term.
Illness is part and parcel of life. Rashes, headaches and snot aren't pleasant, but when all is said and done, they are actually pretty minor inconveniences that are a) serving a very important function, health-wise, and b) are just coming to teach us that something needs to change or be re-examined in our lives. Every illness that doesn't kill us is just fixing something, or sending us a message that something needs to be looked at.
That said, there are still a number of things you can do to reduce your chances of getting physically ill, and we'll take a look at what they are in the next post.
Vaccinations seems to be big news at the moment, with more and more countries adopting a 'vaccinate or else' approach to forcing parents to vaccinate their children.
So is vaccination the no-brainer proven approach to maintaining good health that the medical community claims it to be, or is there more to the picture? And are there any religious guidelines to help you decide what approach God might want you to take, when it comes to vaccinations?
The below is my personal take on vaccination:
Vaccination that is PROVEN TO BE EFFECTIVE against serious diseases is broadly speaking a good thing, and should be done. For example, Rebbe Nachman encouraged his followers to vaccinate against smallpox, which had just been invented a little while before he died in 1810. Smallpox was a very serious disease, and many thousands of people were dying from it before the smallpox vaccination was introduced.
The trouble today is that a number of the vaccinations being offered either haven't been proven to work, or are not for serious diseases. To take a couple of common examples: Each year's flu vaccine is based on last year's flu virus, which has already mutated into a different strain by the time people are getting their flu shots. Many people have developed influenza directly as a result of receiving a flu shot, while the vaccine's effect in preventing the flu is questionable.
Another recent addition is the chicken pox vaccine. Chicken pox is unpleasant, but as infectious diseases go its only real serious health risks are associated with pregnant women developing the disease, which could negatively impact the developing foetus.
If there were no health risks associated with vaccinations, then vaccinating against chicken pox would still be a great idea. But there ARE health risks associated with vaccinations, as you're about to learn.
The risks associated with vaccination are as follows:
1) Mercury, which is one of the most potent neurotoxins known to man, is used to 'stabilise' the vaccinations. Injecting poisonous mercury into people is not usually the best idea, and can seriously affect and compromise the immune system over time. Given this, the health benefit of the vaccine (ie, that it's proven to work and could potentially save life or prevent crippling disease) has to outweigh that healthcost (ie, mercury poisoning).
In naturopathic circles, it's believed that if a person has a strong immune system, they are much less likely to develop these sorts of serious illnesses in the first place. Even Western medicine acknowledges that the human colon is home to 500 killer germs at any given time. So there's a lot to be said for the idea that germs are always lurking in the background within our own bodies, and that our innate health and robust immune system is what enables us to resist them.
2) Vaccines can and do compromise the immune system, both because of the mercury used, and also because they are injecting more potentially dangerous bacteria and viruses into our internal ecological system. Once again, a decision has to be made as to whether the benefit of vaccinating outweighs the cost.
If the disease is life-threatening, and difficult to treat by any other route, than vaccination would appear to be the most sensible option.
If you have a rabbi or a spiritual guide who you trust and who's willing to give you an opinion on the subject, then ask them. But usually, you'll have to decide whether to vaccinate or not for yourself, without any outside guidance to fall back on. If that happens, make an effort to educate yourself properly, ask God to help you to make the right decision, then go with your gut instincts.
If you get God involved in making the decision, it can only lead to a better outcome for everyone involved, whatever choice you actually end up making.
So, I was speed-reading my way through the Torah last week, trying to find some interesting quotes on health and healing for the talk I was giving, when it suddenly struck me that:
There are no doctors mentioned in the Torah!
Which is kind of strange, because all sorts of illnesses are mentioned in the Torah - from Tzaarat (which is usually incorrectly translated as 'leprosy', even though it really wasn't that at all); to plagues; to chronic illnesses, to infertility, and a few other things, besides.
Every few pages, I was coming up with some serious health stuff, like:
Clearly, illness has been around for thousands of years, but doctors, apparently, have not.
Now, did you ever wonder why that is? I mean, we all know that the Torah is not just a nice story, or a historical treatise; it's a Divinely-authored guide to live, and its message is as relevant to us today, as it was 3,500 years ago.
(Don't worry, I'm not going to tell you to stop going to doctors…breathe out.)
But the point I'm trying to make is that if something isn't coded into the blueprint for the world, ie, the Torah, that means it's not a real phenomenon, and we need to give it a bit more scrutiny, and not just accept it at face-value.
If SICKNESS is all over the Torah, and HEALING is also all over the Torah (but surprisingly, never in connection with the medical profession) - then that should be enough to make a believing person pause for thought, at least a little.
As I was pondering this, I went over to my new favourite website, dictionary.com, to look up the definitions for 'Naturopath' and 'Doctor'. This is what is said:
NATUROPATH: A system or method of treating disease that employs no surgery or synthetic drugs, but uses special diets, herbs, vitamin and massage, etc to assist the natural healing process.
DOCTOR: A person licensed to practice medicine as a physician, surgeon, dentist or vet.
Again, to state the obvious, the first description is talking about actually healing illnesses, and the second description is something you'd write on your CV, or mortgage application.
So now, dear reader, let me turn it over to you: What do you think it all means? How do you think it's relevant to us, in 2015, and our healthcare issues? And why are there no doctors mentioned anywhere in the Torah?