Introduction to Holistic Treatment and Diet
Stephen Kippax (c) 2017
Holistic treatment is based upon the theory of the Four Pillars –
When we are diseased we are not at ease.
While treatments such as Acupuncture, Herbal medicine, Diet therapy, Tui na massage, and Qi gong all work, they will work more effectively, and more rapidly, if the life style choices you make are supportive to the process of restoring health; not antagonistic… Nobody fills the bath with the plug out as this is a complete lose lose situation… you waste natural resources, you don’t achieve your aim of having a nice bath, and it needlessly pours your money down the drain.
While we are all individuals there are certain universal truths that I am sure we can all agree on – such as when I feel ill I want to be better as soon as is possible – ideally yesterday, but certainly today and at the worst-case scenario no later than tomorrow!
It is flippantly said that the impossible we can do at once, miracles take slightly longer.
On a more serious note as an approximate rule of thumb you can expect it to take one month of treatment for every year that you have been experiencing disease.
Therefore, to receive maximum benefit in the shortest possible time
- Have treatment
- Eat the right food
- Do some exercise
- Breath and relax
Healing comes from Within
With the best will in the world, very few human beings are capable of waving magic wands. This holds true for practitioners of complementary medicine as surely as for practitioners of orthodox medicine.
Disease occurs either due to us attracting the displeasure of an irate deity, or it is a purely cellular histological process which is totally divorced from our consciousness, or it is our inner beings way of bringing to our conscious attention things that need to be addressed. Performing the alchemy of turning the lead of disease into the gold of health is the ultimate affirmation of personal development.
The Whole Being
Every whole incarnate adult human being has three aspects of relevance as far as health and disease is concerned:
As humans we are sentient, conscious, energetic beings. Over the millennia and the planet this life force has been called by different names – Qi, Prana, Spirit – science cannot measure it or create it. It is the part that makes you you, and leaves your physical body when you die.
As already mentioned when we are diseased we are not at ease.
This dis-ease affects all parts of us, manifesting itself physically, mentally and emotionally. Thus psycho-somatic (mind over body) disease or soma-psychotic (body over mind) conditions are essentially irrelevant as every dis-ease manifests throughout the whole being.
The Four Pillars
The following are the areas of importance that you have to concentrate on if you want to obtain maximum benefit from the treatment in the shortest possible time.
This may take the form of material ingested things – herbs and diet; energetic approaches – acupuncture, homeopathy and qi gong, and body work – massage and manipulation. These categories are fluid, so it could easily be argued that herbs are energetic and that acupuncture is body work etc.
These come in different forms the most common being:
These are alcoholic extracts of whole plants. They are not suitable if you have a problem with alcohol, or if you have signs of “extreme heat”. The tinctures are either used separately, or more usually are combined, to meet the requirements of the individual patient. They are probably the most user-friendly form of medicine (apart from a unique taste). The usual adult dose is drinking a 5mls spoonful 3 times a day in a little water.
- Freeze Dried Chinese Herbal Powder
These are concentrated powders which are re-constituted by mixing with warm water and drinking. They are usually taken 2 or 3 times a day.
- Crude Herbs
This is probably the most traditional way to take (Chinese) Herbs. Herbal prescriptions can contain up to 10- 15 different herbs weighing around 100 grams combined specifically for you the individual. However, it is the least user-friendly form as it is often necessary to boil up a “bag” a day for up to 1 hour. It is not hard to boil them dry, or not add important ingredients at the correct time.
The resulting “tea” can taste even more unusual than tinctures. The brew may stain saucepans (special herb pots are available) and can permeate your kitchen with an unmistakable aroma.
- Pills / Capsules
There are many well-known herbal companies, such as Potters and Gerard House, producing over the counter preparations retailed through health food stores or supermarkets. These medicines, although carefully controlled and usually reasonably priced, are treating the disease not the person.
Some practitioners have capsules filled with herbs for the specific need of their individual patients.
- Pills or Powders
These medicines are made from an original mother tincture and then via a process of dilution and succession the specific potency is arrived at; the liquid medicine is then used to medicate sugar or lactose pills or powders. The only complaint heard, (if any) is that the medicines are too sweet! A far cry from Herbal Medicines. This obviously makes them very suitable for children. They are taken in the dose stated by the individual practitioner.
These are usually taken in water and are the basic homoeopathic remedies. This form of medication is less convenient, but relevant for some patients.
This is part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). TCM is a theoretical subject dating back to at least 100 BCE.
This theory is based on the concept of Yin and Yang, explains how we are born, live, get unwell, get better, and die. This form of medicine and understanding is different to western bio medicine – it is not right or wrong it is just different.
Acupuncture consists of very fine needles being inserted into the body at specific sites for specific problems. A common question is “does it hurt?” As we all have different pain thresholds how you will experience it is unique to you. Piercing the skin is bound to be noticeable, but only a little. Most people think
that the slight discomfort sometimes experienced is more than made up for by the benefit that they receive.
B. Sensible Exercise
The most important word being sensible not exercise. It is not sensible to attempt the London Marathon if the most energetic thing you have done in the last decade is to pick up the remote control for the television.
Exercise can be fun. Yes, I did say fun! Walking, dancing, swimming, gardening are all valid forms of shaking a leg, just as much as aerobics or tennis. To start off, about 3 half hour sessions a week are recommended, don’t try to do too much too soon.
Exercise has been shown to be essential for a healthy, harmonious life style. It helps to reduce stress, aids digestion, strengthens the immune system, and stimulates the body to secrete endorphins within the brain and nervous system. Endorphins produce a state of wellbeing and benefit just about every main organ in the body.
C. Positive Thinking and Relaxation
By definition, when we are not feeling well, we are not thinking positively. This does not mean that it is all in your mind, but that when we are not well it affects the whole person. Deep breathing, praying, meditation, qi gong, yoga, tai ji quan; whatever term used the basic principle remains. You breathe in “good” things, and breathe out “bad” things. What you think of as good or bad is entirely down to you.
Sit on the edge of a fairly hard chair (a dining chair for example).
Have your feet flat on the floor, pointing forwards, and your knees at 90 degrees.
Imagine that a piece of hair, from the top of your head is pulling directly upwards; this means that your spine is straight.
Relax your shoulders, tuck in your chin, place your tongue inside your top teeth and, half close your eyes.
There are 14 main channels where Qi flows around your body, one of these channels flows up your spine, and one flows down your front mid line.
Breathe in; then breathe out.
Try to keep the breath flowing evenly, do not strain or over tax yourself.
As you breathe in, imagine a warm, tingly sensation flowing up your spine to the top of your head, then as you breathe out the sensation flows down from the top of your head down your front midline to your perineum.
As you breathe in again the sensation flows up, as you breathe out it flows down.
Your breath should be long, slow, deep, round, smooth, even, and calm…breathe naturally do not over breathe.
Once you are familiar and comfortable with this breathing pattern then there are different breathing patterns to use and enjoy.
When you have done your breathing, it is essential to do the closing down exercises.
If at any time you experience any pain or feel faint, then open your eyes, change position, and do the closing down exercises.
The “Closing Down” exercises
- Storing Qi in the lower Dan tian.
(A Dan tian in TCM is very similar to a Chakra in Yoga. It is an area where Qi is stored and accumulated.)
Place your right hand about two inches (4 cm) directly below the navel, with the left hand on top of the right and rub the abdomen in an anti-clockwise direction for 36 times going from a small circle to a big circle (the top of the big circle being just under the rib cage and the bottom edge of the circle being the pubic bone).
Then circle clockwise for 24 times going from big to small.
Place your left hand about two inches (4 cm) directly below the navel, with the right hand on top of the left and rub the abdomen in a clockwise direction for 36 times going from a small circle to a big circle (the top of the big circle being just under the rib cage and the bottom edge of the circle being the pubic bone).
Then circle 24 times anti-clockwise going from big to small.
- Dry washing the face
Rub your face as if washing with water, run your hands over your hair / scalp, and press or tap just below and behind your ear lobes. This is an acupuncture point that helps to protect the body from negative external factors.
- Patting the Kidneys
Pat and hold the lumbar area where the kidneys are situated.
There are two main reasons why you are being asked to be aware of your diet.
- A healthy digestive system is necessary to obtain the correct nutrients
Then the body will function as well as it can. To make your digestion work well and so get as much benefit as possible from your food it is essential to eat regularly.
Your digestive system is like a conveyor belt; if you want things to come out right at one end, then they must go in regularly at the other.
- 80 / 20
Eating sensibly for 80% of the time when well is usually adequate, in combination with breathing and exercising, to maintain health. When disease occurs then it is wise to focus all of your attention on getting better and thus choose the optimum diet 100% of the time.
- A suitable diet ensures that the medications work more effectively
If you had the misfortune to go home and find the house on fire it is sensible to not only call the fire brigade, but to switch off the gas.
Seeing a practitioner is like calling the fire brigade. Being aware of your diet is like switching off the gas.
In dis-ease, the diet you will need to have is different to the diet when you are well.
Toxins in the food that we eat can build up over a period of time thus causing health problems.
Even though it is important to treat the person and not the disease, foods have been shown to aggravate health problems. As everybody is a unique individual it is not 100% possible to say which foods precisely may be aggravating your condition. Therefore you will be asked for a short time (1-2 weeks) to not eat certain foods that in the past have aggravated people with a similar condition to yours.
Certain substances found in the food that we eat can remain in the body for up to 2 weeks. If you have had a cup of coffee today then it may take up to two weeks to completely clear your system. There is no point in stopping, say cheese, for three days and saying it did no good.
There are as many different opinions about diet as there are people advising us on it. From a Western viewpoint (Dr. Bircher Benner and others) to remain healthy it is necessary to eat 75% raw food; and if in a state of dis-ease then 100% raw food is advised until health is restored.
On the other hand, the Chinese say that the Spleen loathes damp, and the Stomach loathes cold. Raw food is classed predominately as cold and damp, thus impairing the production of Qi (energy) for which the Spleen and Stomach are the central organs.
Some Western Diets advise fasting as a useful de-toxification process. The Chinese say that if food is not eaten regularly then after 24 hours Qi (energy) starts to become deficient.
Through this maze of apparently conflicting and contradictory advice we have to make our way. So, a pragmatic, sensible approach is necessary, and general principles can be adhered to.
Choose organic food. Organic fruit, vegetables, meat etc is readily available – from farmers markets to supermarkets. Remember that there are lies, damn lies, and statistics. In this world of fake news it is possible to find arguments for and against any given position – thus there are reports from time to time that organic food is no better than food grown with pesticides. When you can, preferably grow your own, but if you can’t eat organic.
Vegetarian and Vegan diets
If due to personal convictions animal (and dairy) products are not eaten then I apologise that this diet sheet does recommend poultry, fish and eggs. Tofu, tempi, pulses and legumes will provide you with the 9 essential amino acids that you need to get from the food you eat. To obtain the correct balance of amino acids from non-animal sources it is necessary to combine 2 or more of these non-animal protein sources (i.e. mixing different types of pulse / legume / nut at the same meal) as they are usually deficient in one or more of the essential 9 amino acids.
The Chinese classify food and herbs into different temperatures – hot / warm / cool / and cold as well as being either dry or damp. The means of preparation also affects the nature of the food, for instance deep frying any food makes it hot.
Pork is traditionally classified as neutral but in the 21st century developed world tends to be fed upon high growth food substances (i.e. steroids / antibiotics). It can aggravate arthritic and rheumatic problems due to uric acid (a waste product of digestion) lodging in the joints and muscles. It increases the blood cholesterol, increasing the possibility of arteriosclerosis and heart disease. It stays in the stomach for the longest time of any meat aggravating digestive problems.
Beef is also classified as Warm, and, unless organic again is prone to being fed upon high growth foodstuffs and drugs.
Lamb is classified as Hot. This can aggravate certain types of digestive, skin, urinary or respiratory diseases. If there are signs of Cold then Lamb may be suitable.
Foods to be avoided
Coffee is a stimulant. It raises the pulse rate, raises the blood pressure and reduces peripheral circulation thus contributing to cold hands and feet. It also aggravates palpitations. It irritates the stomach lining, impairs liver function, irritates the kidneys, is associated with cancer in the pancreas, and appears to predispose people who drink two (or more) cups a day to a 34% increased risk of heart failure. It also reduces female and male fertility. Cocoa, Horlicks, Drinking Chocolate etc. also should be avoided.
Shell-fish are potentially toxic due to their polluted environment, and will create damp in the body, thus impairing the stomach and spleen function of absorbing and distributing nutrients.
Dyed fish are dyed with E numbers; these have been shown to cause hyper-activity in children, and aggravate skin conditions. Genuinely smoked fish is not suitable in certain diseases, for example, cancer.
Sugar, particularly refined white or soft brown sugar will rob the body of B vitamins, thus reducing the capacity of the nervous system to cope with stress. Refined sugar is released in to the blood stream very rapidly, thus needing a rapid release of insulin which in turn takes sugar out of the blood into the tissues where it is used. It seems that type 2 diabetes may be linked to exhaustion of the cells that produce insulin in the pancreas due to this strong and sudden demand. Sweeteners must also be abstained from as they are potentially carcinogenic.
Tea contains caffeine and tannins, but ideally loose tea, drunk weak, is permissible. There is no point in making life so unbearable that the diet creates more stress than the benefit that you are receiving.
Dairy products, butter, milk, cheese, cream, and yoghurt, will all produce mucus thus making them unsuitable for any respiratory condition, and they do aggravate certain digestive problems. They are classed as damp and will aggravate skin conditions.
Wheat – In recent years the percentage of gluten in wheat has increased. This is helpful to the farming community as the value of the crop is dependent on the weight, and gluten increases weight. But gluten can aggravate a host of conditions especially arthritic and digestive problems.
Refined carbohydrates such as white flour products should always be avoided.
Junk food and drinks and fast food, should be avoided.
Concentrated fruit juices especially orange and tomato juice creates damp and should be avoided, crushed or pressed apple juice is fine.
…. Hopefully you are still with me…That’s the worst out of the way. Now for some positive things;
Oatmeal (not rolled oats) regulates the digestive tract and works as a non-irritant bulk laxative. It reduces blood cholesterol and acts as a “food” for the nervous system, strengthening and improving it’s functioning.
1 Overnight soak 3 tablespoonful of organically grown medium oatmeal, [not porridge oats, they have already been heat treated, in other words, partly cooked.] in 5 tablespoonful’s of cold water in a cereal bowl. In the morning add:-
- 1 dessertspoonful of ground or chopped almonds. (Ground almonds are best for those with digestive problems.)
- 1 teaspoonful of maple syrup or honey.
- Fresh fruit; either banana, pear, apple or grapes. Dried fruit, prunes, figs, dates, apricots, raisins or sultanas. These should be washed in warm water, soaked for a few hours until soft, but not cooked. Do not eat citrus fruit, oranges, grapefruit, (or their juices) with breakfast. This raw food breakfast has no milk. If too dry add more water, not milk.
This is a cooked meal, but suits some people better, especially in winter. It should be made from organically grown oatmeal. Soak 3 tablespoonsfuls of oatmeal in 5 tablespoonfuls of cold water overnight, preferably in an enamel double saucepan. In the morning add a pinch of natural salt, and about half a pint of boiling water. Stir well and cook for about 30 minutes. If you are short of time, cook the porridge over-night and re-heat. Eat with maple syrup or honey and goat’s milk. Dried or fresh fruit can be added.
Poultry – Chicken, Turkey, Duck, Rabbit, etc. are fine (remembering to buy free range organic produce.)
Fish – Cod, Plaice, Haddock, Whiting, Tuna, Sardines, Snapper, Monkfish etc. are fine sources of protein.
Nuts are another good source of protein, but beware of peanut allergies and if there are small children about.
Fruit and vegetables provide necessary bulk and, if cooked lightly or steamed, retain many essential nutrients. Apples, pears, grapes, melon, kiwi fruit, are beneficial to most people. Citrus fruits should be treated cautiously and concentrated fruit juices avoided.
A Salad Dressing
Put two tablespoons of virgin olive oil into a screw top jar, add a tablespoon of cider or balsamic vinegar to taste, a teaspoon of mustard powder or a teaspoon of grain mustard, salt and ground pepper, herbs and spices that may be available, also a clove of garlic (crushed) and a teaspoon of honey to taste. Shake well.
Pasta and Rice
Brown rice is preferable to white. Pasta is a wheat product, and as such, if wheat is being limited, then that also applies to pasta.
Everyone has good and bad days on their road to recovery, as long as the good days outnumber the bad ones then things are moving in the right direction – persevere.
Eat the right food, take your medicine, have treatment, do the deep breathing / positive thinking, exercise a little, and, all being well, soon you should be feeling a lot better, please remember that no one is perfect, and you can only do your best.
The treatment / medicines will work, they just work faster and more effectively taken in this context.