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There is often the misconception of what we are meant for, of what our relationships are meant to do for one another. We hope to feel secure, to feel safe, to feel loved and we will make huge efforts for these thoughts and feelings to happen. The modern world is a reflection of this unavoidable intention, where we have all but distorted it and transferred it to our surroundings and other people.

The drive is so strong we can justifiably destroy our world and everything on it due to our insatiable desire to get what can simply be described as inner peace.

As long as we continue to look outside of our selves and every other person’s selves for what might bring this about, we err and we get further and further from its actual sensation. We err because it is only ever truly possible when we find it in the inner world, the world of thought and feeling, not the world of stuff and accomplishment. Peace is after all a concept, a thought, a feeling, so how can we possible create it or experience it using any other means. We know this intrinsically and we suffer from our futile efforts to make it into a thing we can sell, or store, or give away, which sadly only makes us more covetous for it.

It also does not occur by finding it in another or projecting it onto others: that amazing movie star or precious idol, or our mother who should have it and give it to us, or our lovers who are there to complete our own wholeness, or our friends who are never there when we need them, or those politicians who are messing it all up on our behalf. It is far easier to avoid the inner work when we blame another for our inner lack.

The only way to do this is to find those thoughts and feelings inside of ourselves by how we relate to the world and the living things around us. Peace comes from knowing that our own thoughts and feelings can bring security, safety and love to those around us and so to the world we live in. It does not require a large house, or a big bank account, or lots of things to fill our surroundings with, it never will because it never did. Where it starts is within and then it is that very peace that we share with, talk with, build with, create with, love with, that makes the world what it can be. Otherwise it is like we are building castles on thin air hoping they will support us and others. They will not, as soon as we take away our focus from them, they will crumble and provide security, safety and love to no one leaving a large heap of rubble to block the way of life. Externalized and materialized, this is what is clogging our oceans, replacing our forests and streams, invading our food supplies, heaping up in the corners of our houses, distorting our own bodies even with inflammation and disease.

When the inner world reflects out the peace that we are seeking externally, then we can provide, not just a solitary castle, but a whole world that provides the things we need to be able to be. ‘I am,’ quite simply. We start by giving that to ourselves and that is what we then can give to others. It begins in our own minds, these thoughts and feelings of peace we so desperately want. Then it is quite simply just an easy overflow to the people around us, and they too can feel and think what they also wish to feel deep down at their core. It starts in childhood, with how our parents think and feel, and too often children don’t get an acceptable education in inner security, safety and love. We can grow up in a home with security guards, a seven digit income and the traditional of familial love passed down from generations and yet completely miss the mark having a society of narcissistic sociopaths that wave their magic wands at the material world, sincerely hoping that out there they can form into marvellous and spectacular matter the thoughts and feelings so bereft on the inside.

On the other side of this same coin, for it is the same as much as we argue it is not, are those living in squalor using guns to ward off anyone too scary to let into the house, taking what they need from others by the hard work of deception and seduction, and feeling loved by the cold fingers of drugs and escapism. They are the same because they do not seek to find that inner solution towards peace and instead they blame the other as the problem and reason for their own sorry states. Essentially mortal enemies in combat who have already agreed that the point is not to evolve into a true state of inner peace, but to war against the horror of possibly becoming the other. The poor hate the rich and the rich hate the poor, and both are empty of what the human being is capable of.

There are few ways to find that alternate world of inner peace although we tend to multiply them by infinity as we as a human population also multiply and so move further away from these minimal roots in order to find ways to differentiate and essentially monetize everything. We also tend to lump the methods into one right way of living through religion, political preference, dress code or moral justness among countless other ways just to say I am better than that person over there. One root way is to have the blessed fortune of being raised by someone who already has inner peace, or by later in life finding people who were raised in this way. The more difficult path is to be surrounded by this rich/poor hate war and with the simply wanting of it day by day, hour by hour, slowly moving towards whatever inner peace is, even if it seems impossible or unreal, and finding how inner peace is the actual source of security, safety and love. Childhood, children and the state of being a child are certainly one true path to it. I like to consider that seeing and treating the weak and vulnerable as you would have liked to be seen and treated as a child is a valuable thought. If you can do that without contorting and contesting what that was originally.

Inner peace is real and when we can meet others who are also there, it is the true hope for humanity, the world we live on and the future. Everything else is a distracted air castle that loses us time as we vainly chase our own tails.

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Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and right doing
there is a field. I will meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase each other
doesn’t make any sense.
Rumi

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Most of us can get all the vitamins and minerals we need by eating a balanced diet however, due to aggressive farming methods and use of synthetic fertilizers, the food produced in many countries today is deficient in nutrients, especially in minerals. We have known for decades that depleted soils equal diet deficiencies and that most important are the lacking minerals needed to make proper use of vitamins. This is why taking daily vitamins/mineral pills became so popular, it was seen as a way to supplement this lack in our foods.

Luckily since the 80’s we have started to understand the importance of organic foods and whole foods again. There is a better opportunity now to have nourishing food when we make smarter food choices. Organically grown foods and wild or grass fed meats are more closely balanced with the exact combinations of required nutrients. Foraging natural, fresh, wild foods has the optimal balance. The body is complex and needs a wide variety of vitamins and nutrients to ensure proper growth and to maintain proper system functions. Every function of each cell in all of the organs, muscles and tissues requires the exact combination of vitamins and mineral nutrients in order to function in healthy form.

Our bodies cannot truly process refined and altered foods. If a food is processed so that elements are removed or added in, then the body has a harder time to digest, assimilate and use it. A whole food is already perfectly designed with a balanced combination of nutrients to nourish some part of the body in a specific way. (A whole food would be an egg, a blueberry or bone broth, as opposed to an egg white, extracted anthocyanins or collagen removed from the bone broth.) Just as each whole food is naturally designed with the perfect combination of vitamins, nutrients, micro nutrients, when you take a vitamin or mineral supplement this balance is altered. An example is taking a Calcium pill. The body cannot make use of this mineral unless it can also find Magnesium and Vitamin K stored in excess the body. These beneficial combinations are found naturally in foods, but not always in vitamin pills. It is also important to understand that the majority of supplements made today are synthetic and are made to mimic the way natural nutrients act in our bodies, so the body can have difficulty recognizing and assimilating them in order to put them to good use.

Homeopaths understand that whole, organic foods are the best way to get all the vitamins and minerals you need and rarely suggest taking pills or synthetic supplements. When whole foods are not enough, you can supplement with whole ‘Super’ foods such as organic powdered greens, wheat grass, barley grass and sprouts, and basic green foods such as kale, spinach etc. Start the powdered greens 1/4 tsp per day for 3/4 days and then 1/2 tsp. The maintenance amount is 1 tsp/10 grams per day. Other super foods/whole foods that are great immune builders include Royal Jelly from bees, and Stinging nettle tea. Broths such as miso and bone broth are good as well. Miso stimulates digestion so it is good to have a 1/2 hour before a meal. Kelp, Alfalfa, Beet root, and other whole food dried herbs can be helpful as well. If you are vegetarian or vegan, there are choices that are alternatives to meat and dairy whole foods.

If feel you need to supplement with a pill, make sure you know why you need it and how to balance it correctly, and always choose a well designed, balanced product made from natural whole food sources that are organic preferably. Avoid synthetic choices, they may be cheaper on the shelf but they may cause more problems than the ones you are hoping to solve.

When there may be problems in the uptake or assimilation of certain minerals or vitamins and the body cannot use what is being provided by whole foods or natural supplements, homeopathy can be an effective solution. In this case it doesn’t matter how much you try to supplement with a pill, the body is not going to be able to use that material and will need to either eliminate it or accumulate it in the body somewhere. If we use an example again, Calcium is taken to keep bones strong and reduce the risk of osteoporosis, however it is also notorious for creating other problems. It increases the risk for heart attack and stroke since it is believed that without enough vitamin D to help absorb it, the extra Calcium can settle in the arteries instead of the bones and form plaques that threaten the heart and brain. Excess Calcium can also cause muscle pain, mood disorders, abdominal pain and kidney stones as well as other abnormal Calcium deposits.

By looking at the reason for poor assimilation and use of Calcium and providing a natural solution for that imbalance, the body can again start to use the Calcium provide in whole foods in a proper combination and avoid the risks of using Calcium supplements. This is the same for all the various vitamins, minerals and trace minerals needed for the body to perform optimally. Ask your homeopath for more information on how remedies or cell salts may be the better choice to a daily multi or specific vitamin.

 

 

 

We consume oils all the time and yet we pay the very little attention to what oils we are eating, and how they may impact our long term health. Removing unhealthy, rancid and heavily processed oils is one of the most important healthy habits you can make in your diet to avoid diseases such as cancers, heart disease and intestinal disorders and to reduce fatigue, inflammation and free radicals! Understanding what oils are unhealthy and what oils are safe to eat will help to reduce those risks. Adjusting your habits at home, at the grocery store and when eating out will go a long way to making the change you may be longing for in your overall health!

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Avoid eating rancid oils!

Unsaturated oils such as canola, olive, peanut, or vegetable oil don’t last on the shelf as long as you think since they are incredibly sensitive to heat, light and oxygen and actually go rancid in a very short time. You may not notice the off taste and it may not make you feel sick, however the increasing levels of free radicals can elevate the risk of developing diseases such as cancer and heart disease in the long term. Flavoured oils containing low-acid vegetables such as garlic or herbs and spices can cause botulism due to the rotting vegetables when they turn. Throw these old oils out!

The length of time an oil lasts depends whether it is unopened and sealed off from oxygen, how it is stored and what kind of oil it is. You can see this list for specific times www.eatbydate.com/other/condiments/how-long-does-oil-last. Most oils do not last longer than two years, even unopened. An open oil not kept in the fridge may only last 3 months. You can tell it has gone off since the oil may taste bitter, stale or “off” and there is often that noticeable rancid smell. Check the expiry dates, store oils properly either in the fridge or a cool pantry, and do the smell test. Good oils can be expensive so avoid buying large amounts if you know you won’t eat it before it expires. It will be too tempting to use it even if it is old and as I mentioned, bad oil can lead to health complications later on.

 

Unhealthy oils are a health risk, but marketers want you to think otherwise

1. The danger with soybean oil, grapeseed oil, cottonseed oil, corn oil, safflower oil, and the very ubiquitous “vegetable oil” is they are all mainly composed of polyunsaturated fats, and that means they are the most prone to oxidation and increased free radical when exposed to heat, light and oxygen. Often these oils are made from waste seeds and in the case of canola, from a non-edible rapeseed plant that was bred to contain less of its naturally forming erucic acid. The current amount is considered to pose no health risks, although studies have found that high erucic acid levels may cause heart damage. It is interesting to note that before processed oils such as Crisco and vegetable oil became more popular on the market in the 1920’s, heart attacks were very rare. Canola is my least favourite oil and I avoid it as much as possible.

2. Grapeseed oil is very popular due to its smoke point for high temperature cooking and purported health benefits. However, it is usually heavily processed and has a very high omega-6 content. An imbalance of low omega-3 and high omega-6 in the diet means an extremely unhealthy fatty acid ratio and this has a big impact on heart health. Why does this matter? One reason is that mega-6 oils have a pro-inflammatory impact on the body while Omega-3 oils are anti-inflammatory. When our intake of omega-6 and omega-3 is imbalanced, as it most definitely is in the modern, processed diet, the more we have to worry about long term chronic disease. Read up on your favourite oil and make a more informed decision when you purchase your next oil.

3. So what about the processing of cheap cooking oils like vegetable, canola and grapeseed? Most of the non-hydrogenated or expeller pressed vegetable oils are actually heavily refined and contain trans fats due to the extremely high heat, solvents, and pressure they are exposed to during the refining process. The high heat and high pressure processing along with the use of hexane solvents and bleaches to improve the colour can also mutate the oil and create what are known as MegaTrans fats. These particular fats can actually damage cell membranes and chromosomes, and create massive inflammation in the body. Nowadays, MegaTrans fats from vegetable oils are found in most of the processed packaged foods we buy as well as most restaurant fryers. No wonder fat has developed such a bad reputation.

Why do they market canola, grapeseed and vegetable oil as healthy? Look at the marketing genius behind margarine. Margarine became incredibly popular in the 1980’s due to aggressive marketing tactics and misinformation. We now know that margarine is not as healthy as its natural counterpart butter, and that ‘fat’ was never the bad guy that scientists and marketers tried to convince us it was. In fact healthy monounsaturated fatty acids in foods like butter and coconut oil are seen as necessary for proper blood cholesterol levels that actually decrease your risk of heart disease. They also benefit insulin levels and blood sugar control, and provide energy for the brain and help your body absorb some nutrients and produce important hormones.

If you are going to use oil, choose a healthy oil

Here’s the order of the type of fat from least stable to most stable under heat and light:

  1. polyunsaturated
  2. monounsaturated
  3. saturated

Tropical oils such as coconut oil and animal fats such as lard and butter are best for cooking since they have very little polyunsaturates and contain mainly saturated fats which are the least reactive to heat and light and the least inflammatory. Olive oil, preferably extra virgin, is good for lower cooking temperatures as it’s mostly monounsaturated and so moderately stable. Avocado oil and macadamia nut oil are also mostly monounsaturated and relatively stable for cooking. A guide to use is:

  • Virgin Coconut Oil for med-high temperatures
  • Real Butter for low-mid temperatures
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil for low temperatures

Even though it costs more, choose your oils carefully. Always try to get the organic, cold pressed, solvent free brands. Stick to the organic, unsalted and yellow butters, North Americans add way too much salt to their butter. Grass fed butter that is fresh also has a high amount of Omega-3 fatty acids as an added bonus. This is what we used to eat before massive food manufacturing and processing, grass fed butters, lard and meats and much fresher foods and this is the reason our Omega-3 and 6 are so out of balance now. It is important to also stop buying foods from the grocery store that contain canola, vegetable and other unhealthy oils. Read the product labels and follow your instincts. You will quickly discover that most processed food is undermining your health due to the use of cheap oils. Thankfully, as more people demand better oils, there are more and more products that you can choose from. Understand that most restaurants are probably using unhealthy oils so ask the server questions, avoid the deep fried choices and skip the salad dressings. Start eating at restaurants that take healthy oils into consideration.

Why do we use bad oils when they are so bad for us?

If you have not already noticed, the oils I recommend to use are not cheap. Canola, vegetable oil and margarine though are very cheap. That is the reason they are in everything, food manufacturers love the low cost to purchase them. The food industry has been shifting slowly since the 1920’s to producing and manufacturing food that is cheap to produce and tasty for consumers. We all know the dangers of added sugars and salt, and we hear how unhealthy fats make food more palatable. Well oils are part of that paradigm.

It is up to us to change our habits to improve our health and longevity. Looking more closely at oil is one of the ways to do this. As I shifted my choices and purchases to exclude the oils I know are causing damage to my cells and creating inflammation I have noticed I feel better, I have more energy and am sure to reduce my risks of cancer, heart disease, inflammation and other chronic diseases. When I eat a ‘crappy’ fat now I feel it right away. It might take time, big changes in our lifestyle always do, but it will be worth the effort!

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Do you have a hard time going number 2? 

According to the National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Diseases, constipation is one of the most common digestive problems and affects up to 13% of people in the US. It is defined as having hard, dry bowel movements or only going fewer than three times a week. I know I am typically constipated according to this definition as I don’t go every day. However, when I do go it is a easy and all is fairly normal, but that was not always the case. This is in part due to my constitution and partly because of some of the factors listed below.

Common factors that contribute to increased constipation:

  • A diet low in fibres and/or reduced liquid intake
  • Having a sedentary lifestyle, sitting most of the day with not much physical activity
  • Women, and especially pregnant women, are more prone
  • Being elderly and/or a decreasing vitality
  • Taking calcium/iron supplements and general overuse of medications
  • Medical conditions such as diabetes mellitus, spinal cord lesions, hypothyroidism and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Improper position of bowel sphincters when seated on the toilet

 

For general constipation that is not linked to specific health problems, lifestyle, diet and excess medication use, improper position on the toilet is the easiest and fastest way to improve constipation. Changing how you sit on the toilet can make going number 2 easier in all ways!

The natural position to fully and properly eliminate the bowels is in fact the squatting position. We are not physically designed to sit at a 90 degree angle on a chair while we go to the bathroom! In the image below you can compare the 90 degree angle and the ideal 35 degree angle of the legs to the torso that allows for the sphincters of the rectum to become fully open and the angle of the rectum to be best aligned for complete elimination.

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Image from the Squatty Potty website. http://squattypotty.ph

Using a modern toilet compresses our colon, and fecal matter can get stuck in the ridges of the colon due to this unnatural compression. However squatting prevents straining and reduces prolapse, hemorrhoids and risk of heart attack and stroke. It also allows the bowels to fully empty, which prevents constipation, bloating, and gas. This all can help keep your intestines clear and healthy and in turn, keep your tummy flatter.

“In the squatting posture, the bend [the anorectal angle] straightens out and defecation becomes easier. Squatting is the natural way to achieve easier and more complete elimination. Research shows that squatting relieves the kinked effect. Also, the pressure of the thigh muscles against the lower abdomen helps with exertion and elimination.” Squatty Potty

How to start squatting for relief of constipation?

Use a safe stool for squatting. Never squat directly on the seat of the toilet as this can lead to injury or an accident. There are several official squatting stools online, however I find anything can do the trick as long as it is the right height and is stable enough that you can be comfortable and well balanced while you go.

 

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Finally I found the ideal squatting stool!

Some of the benefits of squatting?

  • A squatting position allows fecal matter to come out much easier.
  • Colon cancer is much less likely to occur in people who squat during elimination.
  • Hemorrhoids can be eliminated since we have fully eliminated the fecal matter in the colon. Any postponed bowel movement can end up being painful and unpleasant and will cause some tension of the rectum.
  • Improved urination for women since squatting tends to ease the tension on a woman’s bladder.
  • It is also good for going #1. Squatting will result in more urine being eliminated from the body.

 

Squatting is a must for anyone who wants to improve their health! It is easy and free to do.

In the case that squatting does not ameliorate problems with constipation, homeopathy can be helpful. For a chronic or constitutional condition, it is best to consult a professional homeopath. If it is an acute case, as in it came on suddenly due to an external factor, you may find some relief with squatting and one of the following remedies.

Nux Vomica
If there is insufficient stool with ineffectual urging and stool is unsatisfactory and seems incomplete. There may be abdomen pain and a sedentary lifestyle. This remedy can also effectively treats piles from constipation.

Bryonia
Constipation with dry, hard, stools in lump form. The stool is actually very dry, as if burnt, and is passed with much difficulty. There may be headaches associated with the constipation.

Alumina
When there is no urge to pass stool for days at a time. The intestines feel extremely sluggish and there is excessive straining to pass stool even when the stool is soft. The stool only passes when there is a large accumulation of fecal matter in the intestine. This is an important remedy for children, infants, bottle-fed babies and elderly persons that suffer from constipation.

Lycopodium
With the constipation there is also flatulence and a bloated abdomen. This remedy is common for constipation in elderly people and for those with irritable bowel syndrome.

Silicea
Here there can be an odd situation where the stool is soft and there is straining, but it recedes back into the rectum after being partially expelled. The anus feels constricted and it can seem exhausting to pass the stool. It may also be associate with a burning, smarting pain. Also for constipation that arises before and during menses.

Antimonium Crudum
Constipation along with a soreness of rectum, anal itching and mucus piles. When there is alternating constipation and diarrhea in the elderly.

Podophyllum
There is alternating constipation and diarrhea, gurgling in bowels, prolapse of rectum. The stool is clay coloured or greenish and has a highly offensive smell.

Natrum Mur
When the stool is passed on alternative days, and there is constriction in the rectum with a smarting, burning or tearing pain at the anus.

 

dialogue and non-violent communication

How many lives have been re-routed by a simple insect bite while enjoying a trip to the countryside? So many Canadians don’t even know why they feel so terrible, and this can go on for years. Doctors in most countries have yet to provide reliable testing to give a certain diagnosis, if they believe that Lyme exists at all. Many don’t and they will actually tell patients it is all in their head and they can’t offer them any treatment. One Concordia alumna reveals her story of going from a young, passionate writer to a confused woman suffering from Lyme and an undiagnosed stroke. Her life was almost taken away, but she found treatment with Homeopathy and Reiki!

“I was bitten by the creative bug at an early age. I always knew that I would use my love of writing not only to make a living but also try and make the world a better place. I figured I could combine my passions to try and right/write the wrongs of the world and help create a more just place.

Unknown to me, however, was that I was bitten by another kind of bug as well — a tick — when I was around 10 years old, at my grandfather’s cottage in the Montpellier, Que., region.”

Lyme is similar to Syphilis, which develops through the bacterium Treponema pallidum while Lyme through the bacterium borrelia burgdorferi, both being spirochetes. Like syphilis, Lyme symptoms will vary depending on which of four possible stages it currently expresses, either primary, secondary, latent, or tertiary. The latent stage can be a long period of dormancy with few symptoms, developing later into tertiary as symptoms progressively worsen over one’s lifetime. Another reason for so few accurate diagnoses is that people often forget or never noticed the original tick bite, and the symptoms during the primary and secondary stages can be misdiagnosed for so many other diseases or infections.

 

“I consider myself extremely lucky to have found a doctor who took the time to get to know me and my case, and who had me take the necessary immunology tests.

Thanks to that doctor I not only found out that I have Lyme but also discovered that I had experienced a stroke, which explained why I was having such a tough time remembering things and, most importantly, writing.”

[…]

There are no doctors in Quebec considered “Lyme literate” by the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society. I’ve therefore had to rely on myself since getting my diagnosis. So far homeopathy and Reiki treatments have helped me the most, as well as trying to eliminate as much stress as possible from my life. Becoming a freelance writer allows me to pursue my passion without being bound by the daily grind of a regular job.

I still want to change the world, though, as well as make it a better place. I envision a book about my personal struggle with the disease in my future and, if I’m lucky enough to make it happen, I’ll have writing and everything I learned at Concordia to thank.

Homeopathy offers many resources and tools to support Lyme disease, and Syphilis as well although not as many people are catching that as they once did.

Read Ursula Leonowicz’s full article at: http://www.concordia.ca/cunews/offices/vpaer/aar/2018/01/31/bitten.html?c=alumni-friends | January 31, 2018|By: Ursula Leonowicz, BA 97 Source: Concordia University Magazine

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This past year has seen many devastating fire regions that have created added challenges to health and welfare. I still remember the shocking news in June of the fires in Portugal. They were so fast and converged together that 65 people lost their lives, many in their cars on the roadways trying to escape! So rarely do forest fires take so many people’s lives. In Greenland, a huge landmass mostly covered with ice and permafrost, they had unusual and unprecedented fires of melted peat bogs. In the United States it was considered to be the most expensive firefighting year to date.  Some of the largest fires were the Lodgepole Complex Fire in Montana during July as well as the La Tuna Fire in Los Angeles in September although the damage to homes was relatively low. Overall California’s fires were disastrous and the most recent December fires forced many to evacuate and destroyed over 1,300 structures.  The state will have an economic toll of over $180 billion dollars.

In my home province of British Columbia the fires this year set records with the largest area burnt in a single fire season, the most number of evacuees, and the single largest fire ever recorded in the province. Over 39,000 people were evacuated from their homes and 30,000 cattle were at risk. Not to mention many household pets that were left at home and could not be rescued due to roadblocks. Over 300 buildings including homes, barns and commercial structures were destroyed. So many people have to start all over and rebuild their lives.

I was home in Vancouver in August and the sky appeared like a vision of an apocalypse. There was an orange dusky tinge to the night sky and the moon was blood red. I was standing waiting for my taxi looking up and thinking, “Whoa, that is not normal, what in the world is going on?” For the next week I could not see the blue sky although there was not a single cloud up there, daylight was like it was dusk or dawn but all day and the sun was bright orange while the moon was bright red. The air of course was filled with particulates and smoke and although I did have difficulty breathing, I did not try to exert myself and yet I noticed I was more tired than normal. What I really noticed during this month long visit was how this normally Temperate Rainforest Region is much hotter and dryer than it was 20 years ago. All of August there was no rain, it was extremely hot and the sun was intense. I had several sunburns, something I hardly get where I live in sunny, hot Montreal!

These intense natural disasters have many ways of impacting human health and homeopathy can help whether it is for the physical symptoms from smoke inhalation or the emotional issues related to shock and loss of home and livelihood.

1.  Reduced air quality and smoke related issues
When the smoke from burning wood is heavy in the air, symptoms can include watery eyes, burning eyes, sore or scratchy throats, inflamed sinuses, headaches, coughs and difficulty breathing. The very young, the elderly, pregant women, and anyone with allergies or an already compromised respiratory system are at greater risk. Urban areas often feel worse effects of forest fires although the smoke has come from hundreds of miles away. The air in cities is already often polluted during hot, dry times. There less oportunity to improve air quality by large areas of plants and trees, breezes and winds, and fresh air from rural areas.

Natural things you can do to help relieve symptoms

Use a bulb syringe or netipot to irrigate your sinuses. This clears out excess mucus and particulates like smoke or dust, and adds moisture to the nasal cavities to keep them from drying up, bleeding or feeling irritated. A warm saline solution is used and is safe and easy to do, just be sure the temperature is never hotter than body temperature. You can follow this up with a Sesame Oil Nasal Spray.

The eyes can be rinsed as well. You can buy a herbal eyewash or make one with Calendula (marigold), Hydrastis (goldenseal), Chamomile, and or Euphrasia (eyebright). Simply make an infusion by adding a handful of one or more of these herbs, fresh or dried, to a half litre of freshly boiled distilled water. Cover and let steep. When it is still warm, strain and use the water on the eyes.

Reduce the amount of contaminants you bring in the house. Keep the windows and doors closed and as soon as you come indoors change your clothes and take a quick shower to wash the exposed areas such as the face and hair. The same can be done after walking the dog, hose them down or brush them with a damp cloth. Vacuuming can stir up particles so wait until the air quality improves and you can open the doors and windows for fresh air again. Air fresheners are extremely toxic as they emit over 350 different chemicals and allergens including benzene, formaldehyde, styrene, and phthalates. Try using a water/vinegar spray with a few drops of an essential oil instead.

Homeopathic remedies to support forest fire symptoms

Ignatia: When there is smoke exposure with depression, grief or disappointments. Has a headache that feels as if a nail was being driven into the side of the head. The pain feels better by lying on the painful side. Any strong smells make things worse. May crave cigarettes to make things better.

Arsenicum: Smoke exposure with extreme anxiety and restlessness. The eyes are burning and tearing. Nose has a burning discharge. Cough is dry. The symptoms are worse at night and when lying down. There is a lot of worry, restlessness and anxiety about the future. Concerns about financial losses or theft.

Euphrasia: Smoke exposure with only physical symptoms. Simply notes that the eyes run and burn and the nose runs but there is no burning or pain. Eyelids can be red, swollen and sensitive. There can be a slight cough with tearing eyes.

Kali bichromicum: When there is a more serious smoke exposure with irritated sinus, lungs. The nose is blocked and any discharge is ropy or stringy and tends to be sticky. Sinuses are sore, raw and painful. Painful coughs with a sore chest. 

Natrum arsenicosum: For very sensitive persons. Can be useful if other indicated remedies have not helped. Eyes are dry and painful. Sinuses are blocked and painful.
Racking cough, lungs feel full of smoke. Headaches.

Bryonia: Worse with any motion with dryness of respiratory system. Headache is worse with motion, better with pressure. Dry and painful coughs. Symptoms are worse at night or with motion. Cranky, wants to be quiet, still and left alone.

Silica: Useful for detoxing and expelling foreign particles. Nose is dry and blocked, no smell or taste. Sinuses are blocked and painful. Dry cough with irritation. Sensation of something stuck at the back of the throat.

Carbo Vegetabilis: Shortness of breath, oxygen starved. Wants to be fanned, or craves fresh air. Feels very weak and may collapse. Severe wheezing. Loss of consciousness or fainting.

2.  Shock, grief and loss related to forest fires
Natural disasters like wildfires are difficult to prepare for emotionally. We can set up a system or list of things to do to be prepared, but when a life is lost, animals are left behind, or a home is destroyed the feelings can be overwhelming and hard to recover from. Often roads and highways are shut down and people are forced to evacuate when forest fires get close to residential communities.

Shock is usually the initial acute response to loss
Whether the loss was sudden and unpredicted or we knew it is coming, we can experience a state of shock when it happens. The person feels stunned, numb as well as an increased sensitivity. There can be fear, agitation and even panic, and this can lead the person to do things that are not usual or even possibly dangerous. This is an acute, intense and sudden state and usually subsides quickly after the event. When it doesn’t, or the person is in an extreme state of shock that poses a danger to themselves or others, giving a remedy can be helpful.

Aconite:  Here we have a limbic, non-rational state where the person feels shaky, fearful and stunned after a sudden fright or strong emotions.  There is great fear, anxiety and worry and they can be very restless and moving around, even shouting, screaming or wailing. There can be panic attacks, or they may be inclined to run away and escape, everything is done irrationally and in great fear.

Gelsemium: This is the opposite of aconite and there is instead of a flailing panic a stoic response. They try to control themselves and avoid the feelings they have, and there is also a weakness and numbness as if they are paralyzed. They will not cry and feel drained of energy, and their mind may go blank. Here the danger is more that they try to avoid anything that reminds them of the situation or their fear.

A period of instability and adjustment
During this time there can be extreme emotions and moods shift dramatically and quickly. This is an intense and unstable period and can seem to as inappropriate behaviours, such as laughing in a moment that is somber and serious, or not replying when spoken to. The most common first aid remedy given for grief or loss is Ignatia and it fits this state very well.

Ignatia: The person is experiencing rapidly changing and intensely emotional states. There can be a bout of tears and distress and then suddenly they are silent and withdrawn. They may sigh a lot and also have a sensation of a lump in their throat. It is a good remedy when grief is “stuck” and lasts excessively or it produces symptoms such as weeping that is silent and controlled or that is brief, irregular and dramatic. There is a sense of being shattered from the loss of something or someone that they had invested a great deal of their emotions.

The feeling of Loss
This can be profound for some and was once described in medical terms as a “forsaken feeling.” There are several remedies that can be a good fit depending on how the person experiences loss and how they react to it.

Ignatia: Same as above. Give this remedy if the grief is “stuck” and lasts longer than what the person considers to be normal or necessary.

Pulsatilla: Here the loss includes feelings of abandonment. It is not just about feeling alone, they feel as if they have been left alone by the loss, that they have lost an anchor of support. They wish to seek comfort and sympathy and are emotional, weepy and distressed. They can seem needy because of the intense feeling of abandonment and want to be hugged or held. There is also a sense of instability as their moods can shift radically.

Natrum Muriaticum: This person does not seek out help but prefers to be left alone to deal with their experience. They don’t want to be fussed over and consolation makes them feel worse. They may have irritable outbursts over small matters and will not cry unless alone and even then the tears may not come. Sleep may be affected as they start to think about past events, old wounds and hurts and dwell on them. There can be depression and tremendous grief after losing a significant person in their life.

Phosphoric Acid: There is a great exhaustion and debility since the traumatic event. They can feel isolated from loved ones due to discord, or being physically distant and not being able to have communication with them as much as they would like so homesickness can be involved. They can have insomnia from worry and anxiety about their loved ones and can have difficulty in their thoughts or finding the right word, as if the pathways in their brain are not connecting properly. There is a sense of being emotionally crushed that shows up as lethargy, despair, apathy and they can seem almost lifeless.

If the angry phase develops
Anger is a complex emotion and can vary in intensity, reaction and causation. The remedies below may help the anger to express itself in more healthy ways and allow the purpose of that anger to become clearer.

Magnesium Carbonicum or Magnesium Muriaticum: There can be rapid flare-ups of anger that disappear quickly. The person feels intensely sensitive and lonely. The sensation is similar to being an orphan or a child whose parents were separated or divorced. Magnesium Carbonicum is when the symbol of anger is masculine and Magnesium Muriaticum when that symbol is feminine in nature. 

Staphysagria: Here there are strong feelings of injustice and poor treatment, perhaps of how the deceased was treated in their final days. There is anger and indignation and lots of very intense emotions. They might say it is not fair what happened to them. There is often a lot of pride, and so feeling easily offended or that others are being rude. Or it is the opposite state and the anger is suppressed and controlled, and they refuse to show it due to their strong sense of dignity and pride.

Colocynthis: Also angry and indignant, the person has a very strong opinion of what is right and wrong. They do not like to be contradicted and are sensitive to slights or humiliation. They will try to retain their emotions, will feel unfortunate and discontented, often complaining quite often. They are restless and have a lot of physical pains and maybe even cramps.

Taking remedies

  1. Use a potency from 6c to a 30c for first aid situations. In severe conditions then a 200k can be used. So an intense shock due to losing one’s home, a 200k Aconite may be indicated. Or if someone passes out due to extreme smoke inhalation, a 200k Carbo Veg might be a good remedy. But generally 30c is quite useful.
  2. Take up to three times a day generally.
  3. Stop taking a remedy as soon as the symptoms improve and repeat as needed only if and when the same symptoms return.
  4. If you’ve taken a remedy two to three times and had no response, select a different remedy.
  5. The remedies listed are safe for anyone to use including babies and the elderly.
  6. If you are seeing a homeopath, consult with them to be sure the remedy you take will be compatible with any other remedies you may be taking.
  7. Please share with your friends and loved ones, homeopathy is affordable, safe and sustainable and spreading the word can help so many people benefit from this wonderful healing art.

The young family with premature twins did return the next day for a follow up so we could see how the babies responded to the remedies and to get further support. The mother was doing noticeably better and was much calmer and more confident. The babies looked very peaceful and were breathing better. We were all relieved and the family was very encouraged by our treatments. They will continue the lung treatment for the next week and Carla added another treatment to help the babies to better absorb and use the nutrients they so desperately need.

I was able to hold the smaller of the two little girls and feel just how tiny she was. She was not able to fully grasp my finger with her hand, just a couple of gentle squeezes here and there. And at only 2 months old she had these long fingernails with dirt under them, already a rural local! We will all pray for them and hope that they continue to come and see Marixa at the dispensary for further treatments and remedy refills when they need them. We are also hoping that someone in the community can support them with food until the father is able to find work. They were given some groceries and the pump to take home with them.

Screen Shot 2017-10-24 at 19.44.32(Carla and Norbita happy to see the premature twins looking much better after only one day of homeopathic treatment.)

Screen Shot 2017-10-24 at 19.45.50(Carla holding one of the twins and explaining to the mother how to continue the homeopathic treatment.)

(Holding one of the premature twins and marveling at how tiny she is. It was remarkable to see the difference that only one day of acute homeopathic treatment can make and a relief to know that she will have a stronger start in life.)

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