Sunday, 19th August 2018
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With Breda Gardner Homeopath, lcph, mcos, rgn

Health Therapies Clinic

13 Gladstone Street, Waterford.

Tel: 087 2025753.

Insight Natural Health Clinic

15 Upper Patrick St, Kilkenny

Tel: 056 7724429

West is best - or is it?

Human beings can build houses, engineer bridges and are good at inventing complicated pieces of technology and understanding detailed scientific theories. But there is one area where our understanding is weak. This is in relation to ourselves and in particular to our bodies.

In the West, we believe that the body is a thing, a machine that needs to be fuelled (with food and water) and exercised in the hope that this will keep us fit and we can lubricate our joints to move better. If something goes wrong in this body machine of ours, then it can usually be mechanically repaired. We use surgery, chemotherapy, radiation or drugs, and life can then go on as before.

Modern science has saved the lives of countless millions of people, though the use of antibiotics, prescription drugs, vaccinations, laser surgery, organ transplants and so on. But wonderful as all these forms of medicine are, we need to stand back and re-examine these approaches. Why? Because some people experience terrible side effects from their medication. And because modern medicine often focuses on treating only the symptoms and not maintaining causes, meaning people may be on drugs for the whole of their lifetime. In the rush for quick and easy fixes, we forget that many drugs are primarily intended to be used as a temporary, short-term measure.

Let's look at the treatment of stress. The number of people suffering from this condition is vast and rising. In the West, if you suffer from stress, there is a good chance that your GP may recommend medication to help you cope in the short term. But Eastern medicine takes a wholly different approach. Our oriental cousins use a form of medicine that is based on energy lines – meridians that flow throughout the body. Each patient is diagnosed according to the elements of wood, fire, earth, metal and water. Each of these elements relates to a specific function in the body. These five elements reflect a deep understanding of natural law, the universal order and relationship between the internal organs. Illness is recognised as an imbalance or blockage in the flow of energy, caused by bad habits, stress or negative emotions. Balance is therefore sought to get the energy moving again by adjusting the energy flow. Whilst we in the West very much see the body as a machine, in the East it is seen as an energy system that is alive and constantly changing.

A western physician may say "X is causing Y." An Eastern acupuncturist would say "what is the relationship between X and Y?" There is no doubt that the mind and emotions play an important and even vital role in relation to our state of health. There is an intimate and dynamic relationship between what is going on in lives, our feeling and thoughts, and what happens health-wise in our bodies. I share the view that happiness, hopefulness, optimism and contentment help to reduce the risk of severity of cardiac disease, hypertension, pulmonary disease, diabetes and so on – and also that depression and negative thoughts can increase the possibility of heart disease and a host of other illnesses. If we ignore the rattles, smoky engine and squealing brakes of our cars, eventually it leads to a break down. Our bodies are not different: if we ignore our feelings, emotions and symptoms, there will be trouble ahead!

I'll write more on this topic next week.

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    Rush to CriticismThere are not many people who at this stage have not heard about the Cash family and what happened to them. The mother and six of her children had to seek accommodation in the Tallaght Garda Station last week as they had absolutely nowhere to turn to. It led to an outcry as pictures of the young children sleeping on seats were posted to social media by the mother.Understandably there were a lot of people who were saddened to see that in this day and age that a family had to resor …

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