Introduction to Holistic Treatment and Diet

Stephen Kippax (c) 2002

Holistic treatment is based upon the theory of the Four Pillars which help the individual to restore their own innate vitality and sense of well-being. For patients to receive maximum benefit from their chosen method of treatment, be it herbal medicine, homoeopathic remedies, naturopathy,acupuncture, etc. then adherence to this approach will ensure the best results possible. Regularity of life style generally, eating, sleeping,exercising are sure ways of improving your sense of well being.

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.

When one is not well, we are deemed to be diseased. This process comes about either due to us attracting the displeasure of an irate deity, or it is our inner being bringing to our conscious attention things that we are, or have been, doing that are not conducive to health. If healing comes from within, then what, you may ask, is the point of consulting a health care professional if we heal ourselves? The point is that knowing a thing and doing it are all too often mutually exclusive!

The Whole Being

Every whole incarnate human being has three aspects of relevance as far as health and disease is concerned:

1. Mental 2. Physical 3. Emotional.

When one is unwell one is dis-eased, i.e. not at ease. This dis-ease affects all parts of the afflicted being, 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.

A. Treatment

This may take the form of Herbal Medicine, Homoeopathic Remedies, Acupuncture, Qi Gong, Massage, Manipulative Therapy (such as Osteopathy or Chiropractic). As I use Herbal and Homoeopathic medicines and Acupuncture these are the areas that will be concentrated upon.

Herbal Medicines. These come in different forms the most common being:

1. Tinctures

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 extracts are either used individually or are combined to meet the requirements of the individual patient. They are probably the most user friendly form of medicine (apart from an unusual taste). The usual adult dose is 5mls. in water 3 times a day.

2. Freeze Dried Chinese Herbal Powder

These are concentrated powders which are re-constituted by mixing with tepid water then boiling water is added. They are usually taken 2 or 3 times a day.

3. Crude Herbs

This is probably the best way to take Chinese Herbs. However, it is the least ‘user friendly’ as it is necessary to boil up a bag a day for between 1 and 2 hours. It is easy to boil them dry, or not add crucial ingredients at the correct time; then the resulting ”tea’ tastes even more ‘unusual’ than tinctures. The brew will stain saucepans (special herb pots are available) and permeate your kitchen with an unmistakable aroma.

4. 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.

Homoeopathic Remedies

1. Pills or Powders

These medicines are made by a process of dilution and succussion; 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.

2. Drops

These are usually taken in water and are the basic homoeopathic remedies.This form of medication is less convenient, but relevant for some patients, especially diabetics.


This is part of Traditional Chinese Medicine which is a theoretical subject explaining how we are born, live, get unwell and subsequently get better. Acupuncture consists of very fine needles being inserted into the body at specific sites for specific problems. “Does it hurt?”. Piercing the skin is bound to be noticeable, but only a little. Most people think
that the slight discomfort 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, stimulates the body into endorphin release (substances within the brain). They produce a state of well being 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, 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.

a. Relaxation and Positive Thinking

Sit on the edge of a fairly hard chair (a dining chair for example).

Have your feet on the floor, 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 where your top teeth and roof of mouth meet, and relax your eyes like a curtain being draped so they are naturally shut.

Then breathe in, hold your breath for a short time, then breathe out. Try to keep the breath flowing evenly, do not strain or over tax yourself.

There are 14 main channels that flow around your body. As you breathe in, imagine a warm, tingly sensation flowing up your spine, over your head; as you breathe out, the warm tingly feeling flows down your front, down your chest, abdomen and then on to another inhalation which continues the flow back up your spine etc. You can experiment with different breath control techniques as and when the desire takes you. If at any time you experience any pain or feel faint, then open your eyes, change position, and do one or all of –

The “Closing Down” exercises

For Women:

Place your right hand about two inches (4cm.) 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.

For Men:

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.

b. 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 your ears. This is an acupuncture point that helps to protect the body from negative external factors.

c. Patting the Kidneys

Pat and hold the lumbar area where the kidneys are situated.

D. Diet

There are two main reasons why you are being asked to be aware of your diet.

1.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. A Chinese Doctor said that 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!

2. 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.

When we are dis-eased, then the diet has to be different to when we are well and at ease.

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 (2-3 weeks) to not eat foods that 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. So, 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. So, from a Western viewpoint (Dr. Bircher Benner and others) say that 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. This is therefore what is likely to be required of you:

Organic Food

Fruit and vegetables that have not been grown with chemicals or insecticides are slowly becoming available through the major supermarkets and meat that has not been intensively reared. The Real Meat Company supplies such meat. Telephone number 01985-840436. If there is not a local outlet then ask in the supermarket. Supply will surely follow demand!

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 8 essential amino acids that are not manufacturable from other sources. It is necessary to combine these forms of protein (i.e .mixing different types of pulse\legume at the same meal) as they are usually deficient in one or other of the essential 9 amino acids.

Chinese Classifications

The Chinese classify food and herbs into hot / warm / cool / and cold categories 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, classified as ‘Warming’ tends to be fed upon high growth food substances (i.e. steroids / antibiotics). It aggravates 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, to date, it has not been categorically shown to have no link with Creuzfeld-Jacobs Syndrome (better known as Mad Cow Disease in humans).

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, blood pressure and reduces peripheral circulation thus contributing to cold hands and feet and aggravating palpitations. It also directly 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. 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 diabetes may be linked to exhaustion of the cells that produce insulin from over use. Sweeteners must also be abstained from as they are carcinogenous..

Tea contains caffeine and tannins, but 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 arthritic and digestive problems.

Refined carbohydrates such as white flour products should always be avoided.

Junk food and drinks and fast food, including chocolate, should always 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.

Breakfast recipes

1 Overnight soak 1 tablespoonful of organically grown medium oatmeal, [not porridge oats, they have already been heat treated, in other words, partly cooked.] in 2 tablespoonfuls of cold water in a cereal bowl. In the morning add:-

a. 1 dessertspoonful of ground or chopped almonds. (Ground almonds are best for those with digestive ` problems.)

b. 1 teaspoonful of ‘runny’ honey, according to taste: the runny honey mixes better.

c. Fresh fruit; either banana, pear, apple or grapes. Dried fruit, prunes, figs, dates, apricots, raisins or sultanas. These should be washed in hand hot water, soaked for several 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.

2. Porridge.
This is a cooked meal, but suits some people better, especially in winter. It should be made from organically grown oatmeal. Soak 2 tablespoon-fuls of oatmeal in 3 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 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, then a tip of 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.

In Conclusion

Eat the right food, take your medicine, 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.