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The Renaissance of Homeopathy

I would think that any art so young would have its ups and downs as it matured and developed. Some of the principles of homeopathy have been around for a very long time however and now that science has started to glimpse an understanding of the immaterial universe, so too can the mystery of homeopathy start to gain acceptance.

This article written by Judyann McNamara, posted on June 19, 2014, explores the current resurgence of homeopathy.

“Today, homeopathy is the most widely used form of alternative medicine in the world, supported by the World Health Organization (1), which claims that approximately 500 million people worldwide receive homeopathic treatment. In 2004, the WHO submitted “Homoeopathy: Review and Analysis of Reports on Controlled Clinical Trials”, maintaining that the majority of peer-reviewed scientific papers published over the past 40 years have demonstrated that homeopathy is equivalent to conventional medicines in the treatment of illnesses, in both humans and animals. …”

Homeopathy is poised for new growth from a strong foundation

Homeopathy is poised for new growth from a strong foundation

Ever feel like you are alone, on a desert island to fend for yourself. It is never actually true if you count all lifeforms and not just human companionship. Your body is made up of around ten trillion cells, but you harbour a hundred trillion bacteria. For every gene in your genome, there are 100 bacterial ones. Therefore the total number of genes associated with these other creatures exceeds the total number of human genes by a factor of 100 to one.  We are mini ecosystems teaming with other organisms. “We are in essence only ten percent human – the rest is pure microbe,” claims Dr Sleator, a Cork Institute of Technology lecturer who has studied human microbial populations. 

Graph of human and microbiome

 

The human microbiome is the official name for the population of more than 100 trillion bacteria, viruses, fungi and other microbes that live in our gut, mouth, skin and elsewhere in our bodies. These microbial communities have numerous beneficial functions relevant to supporting life. They are needed to digest food, to prevent disease-causing bacteria from invading the body, and to synthesize essential nutrients and vitamins. What we do, in turn, affects them. Everything from the food we eat to the way we’re born influences the species of bacteria that take up residence in our bodies. With the advancement of genomic technologies, the capacity of this “second genome” to influence health can now be harnessed as a function of the whole community rather than as isolated bacterial species. Some scientists are even referring to a human and their inner community as one human-bacteria-super-organism.

Dr. Martin Blaser is the director of NYU’s Human Microbiome Program and their former chairman of medicine. He is an expert on the human microbiome and has written Missing Microbes: How the Overuse of Antibiotics Is Fueling Our Modern PlaguesThere are many theories why food allergies, asthma, celiac disease and intestinal disorders like Crohn’s disease have been on the rise in the past couple of decades. Blaser speculates that it may be connected to the overuse of antibiotics as well as modern day birth practices that are killing the healthy strains of bacteria that typically live in the gut.

Martin_Blaser_working_in_his_lab_at_the_NYU_Langone_Medical_Center

Martin J. Blaser, MD, in his lab at NYU Langone Medical Center with Xuesong Zhang, PhD. Photo by Carl Glenn

“Since World War II, we’ve seen big rises in a number of diseases: asthma, allergies, food allergies, wheat allergy, juvenile diabetes, obesity. … These are all diseases that have gone up dramatically in the last 50 or 70 years. One of the questions is: Why are they going up? Are they going up for 10 different reasons, or perhaps there is one reason that is fueling all of them.

My theory is that the one reason is the changing microbiome; that we evolved a certain stable situation with our microbiome and with the modern advances of modern life, including modern medical practices, we have been disrupting the microbiome. And there’s evidence for that, especially early in life, and it’s changing how our children develop.”

He suggests there is a choreography going on inside us during the first few years of life that is important for the rest of one’s lifespan. Nature’s great purpose is to evolve to maximize health and create new generations and it is pretty good at it. Modern medical and scientific practices have started to disrupt that great work. One of the main changes is the very process of birth. Inside the body a baby is sterile, protected from the world beyond it’s mother’s womb and what is transferred through the umbilical cord. When the membranes rupture and the water breaks, the baby has to journey from inside the mother’s body to the outside world. And that is the first exposure to the bacteria of the world, the microbes lining the mother’s vagina, the bacteria in the birth canal. As a baby is born those microbes are ingested and and absorbed.

Mammals have been able to transfer the microbiome to their offspring that way for 150 million years. Blaser believes that when children are born by cesarian section, this natural transfer does not happen. “You could project that if they didn’t acquire these organisms or they didn’t acquire them normally or at the normal time, then the foundations might be a little shaky.” More and more epidemiologic studies are trying to determine if there are long-term health consequences of C-section births. As well there is the increased use of antibiotics. It has long been known in the alternative health fields that taking probiotics after antibiotics can help restore the microbes that are lost during the course of medical intervention. According to Blaser there are many types of probiotics available and that although they are currently unregulated and untested, they are generally safe to take and that it is better to take them than not to. “Right now, it’s the Wild West. I’m actually a big believer in probiotics; I think that’s going to be part of the future of medicine, that we’re going to understand the science of the microbiome well enough so that we can look at a sample from a child and say this child is lacking such-and-such an organism and now we’re going to take it off the shelf and we’re going to give it back to that child. … Just as today the kids are lining up for the vaccines, in the future, maybe the kids are going to be drinking certain organisms so that we can replace the ones that they’ve lost.”

If we don’t develop this theory and integrate it into our medical practices, we could lose the microbes we need to function as healthy humans forever.

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Based on the article by Fresh Air‘s Terry Gross.

Flexibility is power

I had this imagination a couple years ago, maybe three or four. It is obvious wind travels down streets lined with skyscrapers faster than it does elsewhere, so the best place to harness wind in an urban environment? On the side of buildings of course. And how to do it? By attaching millions of flexible rods along the sides of the skyscrapers that would bend in the wind the way cilia bend along our respiratory epithelium in the lungs. They could be about two feet long and collect their kinetic energy throughout the day to generate a building’s power needs. Being so far off the ground they would not interfere with traffic or pedestrians.

Belatchew Arkitekter did just this with their Strawscraper, an extenstion of the building Söder Torn on Södermalm in Stockholm, Sweden. “With its new energy producing shell covered in straws the building can now recover wind energy and thus works as an urban powerplant.”

belatchew_arkitekter_strawscraper-1The straws of the facade consist of a composite material using piezoelectric technology that can turn motion into electrical energy. Piezoelectricity is created when the deformation of certain crystals is transformed into electricity. The large number of thin straws produce electricity through only small movements caused by the wind. Or on some days, a light breeze since they are so sensitive. Because it is a facade, it can be applied to new as well as old buildings. It is advantageous to other power generation methods since it is quiet, unlike current wind turbine technologies, and does not disturb or cause harm to birds and other wildlife. Check out their video and you can see how the building comes to life with the movement of the straws.

belatchew_arkitekter_strawscraper-4The energy revolution is in full swing and as consumers, we need to start demanding it. Green, renewable, sustainable and affordable, nothing can stop our dreams.

 

 

What matters in attachments

I just finished reading Hold on to Your Kids by Gordon Neufeld and Gabor Maté. An excellent book for anyone, not just parents, since we are all children on the path to maturity that depends on relationships to others and ourselves.

The premise of the book is based on the theory of attachment and how children are no longer orienting to parents and adults but are becoming peer orientated, looking for a sense of right and wrong, values, identity and codes of behaviour in each other. Children emulating children when they need to learn how to mature, develop and individuate from adults that have, or may not have fully succeeded yet, in this lofty task. This terribly misunderstood phenomenon has the disturbing effect of undermining family cohesion and developing an aggressively hostile and sexualized youth culture that is sailing forth without a compass that knows the way.

Basically, to orientate to a peer is to live in a permanent anxiety of needs essential to individuate and mature not being met. “Can I depend on this person? Can this relationship offer me unconditional, loving acceptance? Can I trust in this person’s direction and guidance? Am I invited to exist as I am and to express myself authentically?” With parents, most of the time anyways, these questions are irrelevant, they love their kids unconditionally and only want what is best for them.

“The love, attention, and security only adults can offer liberates children from the need to make themselves invulnerable and restores to them that potential for life and adventure that can never come from risky activities, extreme sports, or drugs. Without that safety our children are forced to sacrifice their capacity to grow and mature psychologically, to enter into meaningful relationships, and to pursue their deepest and most powerful urges for self-expression. In the final analysis, the flight from vulnerability is a flight from the self. If we do not hold our children close to us, the ultimate cost is the loss of their ability to hold on to their own truest selves.”

 Website: www.todoratanasov.blogspot.com

Image: Protection by nocameraz~Todor Atanasov

That is a mission to embrace for any parent! Children need to experience emotions of sadness, fear, loss, and rejection and yet when they become peer oriented they will hide these feelings in order to avoid exposing themselves to ridicule and attack. When this becomes their only experience they can develop emotional hardening, an invulnerability, and it is not an armour that one can remove and replace at will, it becomes a permanent condition. Their self-assurance and confidence is mistaken for what is genuine self-confidence, it is really their inability to be vulnerable and to develop an intimate attachment with another human being. The reason for this is that the wounds are too hurtful to feel, too overwhelming to bear, so they shut parts away, turn off what their undeveloped minds cannot fathom.

Peer relationships are inherently insecure and are not based on unconditional acceptance and they can have devastating long-term effects on a child’s development. The child protects itself from the stark reality of peers offering an insecure attachment. What if I don’t connect with my peers? What if I cannot make my relationship work? These children become obsessed with who likes whom, who prefers whom, who wants to be with whom. There are no possibilities allowed for missteps, for perceived disloyalty, disagreement, differences, or noncompliance. “True individuality is crushed by the need to maintain the relationship at all costs.”

Attachment to one’s parents and to other adults allows a child to experience their vulnerability to express their emotions honestly. The two authors point to the work of Julius Segal, a pioneer of research into what makes children resilient. He concludes that the most important factor to keeping children from being overwhelmed by stress was a charismatic adult in their lives who they could identify with and from whom they could gather strength. “Nothing will work in the absence of an indestructible link of caring between parent and child.”It is in the dependence of the attachment that the true independence of a child can develop.

~

Fast forward now to an adult seeking a committed, romantic relationship. Would it really be so different? Lion Goodman believes not. In his article he points out that human adults are still seeking what children need, with some added levels of intimacy, namely the ‘human super glue’ as Neufeld and Maté refer to it, sex. And great sex only comes with vulnerability and trust.

I wonder what is the real percentage of people who, thinking they have found their ‘soul mate,’ the one who can offer unconditional support and love, find instead an invulnerable stranger laying next to them. One sure sign of this is if you find yourself crying next to them, but into your pillow, secretly muffling your sobs. And in the process you have to put up some more armour, to keep living, but behind some thicker walls.

As children, when we were sad, we hopefully ran to our parents and not our friends and, according to Goodman, ideally this happened. “You cry. Your mother picks you up, and holds you close to her body. She looks down into your eyes with love and care, saying in a sweet voice, ‘It’s okay, honey. I’ve got you. I’ll keep you safe. You can relax now. Someday, you’ll learn how to take care of yourself. For now, you can count on me to make you a priority whenever you need me.’ This gentle touch, soft voice, and reassuring eye contact, gives a sense of safety and security. It allows the child to relax. It gives a feeling of security with a primal bond that the child can trust.”

He continues to say that when it comes to becoming adults, we never outgrow this primal need to depend on someone to hold and care for us. It is the neuroscience of real love so to speak. The same need for deep trust and secure attachment in order to keep the anxiety of insecurity at bay operates within adults just as it does within children, so it is really a human function essential to our survival, or at least, to our being able to accomplish our innate potential, becoming our true selves. And without it, passion also withers miserably on the vine. We can’t open ourselves, our heartfelt body, when we don’t feel safe. Vulnerability and trust is necessary to know what sex can truly be, a love making reunion between two people who care for each other.

After researching the neuroscience of attachment and how our current intimacy dynamics reflect our early bonding style with our parents, Goodman came to the following conclusion.

“It finally dawned on me what my partner wants: safety and security. She wants to feel held when she’s upset. She wants to be nurtured and cared for—not like an infant, but as a grown woman. It’s remarkably similar to my own needs and to those of a child’s—needs we never outgrow.

I began to practice reaching out for her when she got upset (instead of pulling away). I practiced caring more deeply (rather than giving up in frustration). I practiced holding her body and heart with care (instead of running in the other direction). And a miracle occurred . . . “

When someone cries in front of us, the instant reaction is either to fix what is wrong, or go numb because of the fear of not being able to fix it, or to assume it is a form of emotional manipulation. I think the hardest thing to understand is that when your loved one is feeling something and starts to cry, there is nothing to be done other than to witness and support the experience. There is nothing more powerful in the individuation process than to be able to go into our emotions in a safe, supported place and just let them ride themselves out. To go to the other side and to be able to let them go. We can’t do this when we sense judgement, discomfort or distance in our partner. Instead we shut our emotions down, to deal with them some other day, not knowing or admitting that they are slowly wriggling out of us but now likely in destructive ways. And when this happens our emotions often become the very source of unraveling of the relationship bonds. It is a well researched medical fact, repressed emotions and stress have to come out somehow or we get sick, and denial is not an effective override of our emotions any more than repression is.

We can’t let go when we are having sex with our partner either if we sense judgement, discomfort or distance in our partner. As least not the sex Goodman is referring to, the really Great Sex. So if your partner can’t hold you and support you without needing to do anything else when you start to cry, you need to ask yourself some very honest questions. Is this a safe attachment? Does this person offer me care and support? Are they capable of having an intimate, mature relationship with another adult? Will I be able to individuate, be independent and grow stronger while being dependent on this person? And if not, you either have some education to do or you need to seek your adult relationships elsewhere.

We seek freedom sometimes in the wrong places, in the being free of obligations, commitments, responsibilities, as if flowing without obstacles is what is meant by the actually possible human experience of freedom. Yet we are grossly overlooking the beauty in the freedom of letting go and in knowing our true selves. In becoming mature, independent adults, we can offer mentorship and guidance to future adults, and our most loving relationships can help us get there, both as children and as adults — but for adults it can be a lot more fun. :)

Fireworks by Clayton Kennedy

Image: Clayton Kennedy

 

 

 

The Clay pot cooler. I have loved this idea since my early twenties when I was first introduced to the concept of cooling food using a material I love, ceramic. I was excited by the idea of refrigeration without having to use electricity after I had lived for a year without any power or running water. We used to have to buy ice and put it in a Coleman cooler to keep any perishables fresh. It was smelly, messy and needed a constant source of ice which was heavy to carry. The concept of the clay cooler is simple, a porous outer earthenware pot, a smaller inner pot and wet sand filling the gap between the two layers. The evaporation of the water from the outside surface draws heat from inside.

Clay_pot_cooler_-_Canari_Frigo_-_Tonkrugkühler.PNG

These clay coolers have been used since ancient times. Egyptian frescos from around 2500 B.C. depict people fanning clay water jars which would have increased the air flow to cool the contents of the jars. I always knew there would be a way to mass produce this low tech idea to give people who did not want to or could not pay for electricity a means to store food, medicines, and other perishables.

The best version yet in my mind is by Prajapati Mansukhbhai Raghavjibhai, an entrepreneur who developed the Mitticool, a ‘fridge’ based on the same technology as the clay pot coolers.

“Water from the upper chambers drips down the side, and gets evaporated taking away heat from the inside , leaving the chambers cool. The top upper chamber is used to store water. A small lid made from clay is provided on top. A small faucet tap is also provided at the front lower end of chamber to tap out the water for drinking use. In the lower chamber, two shelves are provided to store the food material. The first shelf can be used for storing vegetables, fruits etc. and the second shelf can be used for storing milk etc.  Cool and affordable, this clay refrigerator is a very good option to keep food, vegetables and even milk naturally fresh for days.”

Mitticool fridge by Prajapati

The Gujarat Earthquake of 2001 inspired his innovation. ”Journalists came and photographed our broken matkas (water storage coolers). They referred to them as the poor man’s fridge. I thought why can’t we make a real fridge with the same cooling principle?” After four years of research he discovered an unusual combination of sawdust and sand added to the clay which made it porous and the interior cooler. The Mitticool also preserves the original taste of fruits and vegetables, is affordable, and does not require any maintenance costs.

Mitticool by Prajapati

Prajapati has also created a low cost ceramic water filter, a non stick clay Tawa (low tech teflon pan) and will likely continue to innovate new ways for low income people to have modern conveniences that help them to stay healthy. Take a moment to meet the man behind the dream in the INKtalk video.

 

How many of use consider the modern toilet as hazardous to our health, and no it has nothing to do with germs. It has to do with the body position during elimination. It is only a modern convenience to have a toilet that functions like a comfortable chair. Early toilets required us to squat and this completely changes the way we do it. Studies are proving that the natural squat position improves our ability to eliminate our body wastes and may improve health problems such as bloating, straining, hemorrhoids, constipation, colitis, appendicitis and colon cancer. If your doctor told you to eat more fibre, you may want to consider trying squatting.

When we sit, the proper mechanics to let feces move from the rectum to the anus are partially blocked and this makes elimination difficult and often incomplete. Funny thought that straining in the bathroom is not necessary, no? It is sort of like trying to water the grass with a kink in the garden hose. When we squat, the puborectalis muscle can relax entirely and allow the feces to pass easily into the anus and out of the body. The video has a great animation on how this all works.


Squatty Potty® toilet stool: How toilet posture affects your health

I have been doing this for a couple of years and I notice a big difference. Usually I can prop up on a little garbage bin, but whatever works. A mini stool, a Squatty Potty® bought online, a small box. Doesn’t matter as long as you get the legs up. If you are really adventurous, or rich, you can purchase a squatting toilet. They are quickly disappearing around the world in some circles and reappearing in health conscious ones. It is also funny  how that works. I found this lovely example at Long Happiness.

 

http://younghee.com/2006/08/06/the-most-posh-squatting-toilet/

And unless you are extremely agile, I would not recommend squatting directly on top of the modern toilet with your feet on the toilet seat. The chance of an embarrassing accident is high. Safety first!

 

Future earth logo

What is Future Earth and why is this exciting for Montreal?

Future Earth is the global research platform providing the knowledge and support to accelerate our transformations to a sustainable world.

Bringing together existing programmes on global environmental change*, Future Earth will be an international hub to coordinate new, interdisciplinary approaches to research on three themes: Dynamic Planet, Global Development and Transformations towards Sustainability. It will also be a platform for international engagement to ensure that knowledge is generated in partnership with society and users of science. It is open to scientists of all disciplines, natural and social, as well as engineering, the humanities and law. It is the global research platform providing the knowledge and support to accelerate our transformations to a sustainable world.

(* DIVERSITAS, the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP), theInternational Human Dimensions Programme (IHDP) and the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP).)

Future Earth’s globally distributed secretariat will have five hubs in Paris, Tokyo, Stockholm Boulder, Colorado and Montreal. The project created by the United Nations is a 10 year initiative to link and share international research on the environment and sustainable development and to accelerate the impact of that research in order to address the urgency of the current environmental crisis. Karen Seidman has an article about Montreal’s role as a hub in the Gazette published July 7th, 2014.

This  gives Montreal a chance to be on the cutting edges of environmental and sustainable development in many areas including use of electric vehicles, advances in medical care and health, energy use and pilot projects already taking place such a roof-top organic gardening year round and using geo-thermal heating in new residential development. Having so much hydro-electric power is an advantage for research and development but so is having a society already interested in investing a clean and green future. And now Montreal will be able to share this enthusiasm with the rest of the world.

 

 

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