Sunday, May 22, 2005

Review: Healing from the Heart

Healing from the Heart: A Leading Surgeon Combines Eastern and Western Traditions to Create the Medicine of the FutureThis book is by a leading heart surgeon at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center. It discusses his life in embracing alternative medicine while coming from a hardnosed scientist background. Along the way he has developed some interesting and beneficial treatment modalities, brought in healers from many alternate healing paths, and judging from this book he has a wonderful and life filling story to tell.

He starts us with The Biology of an MI, that is, the MI is Myocardial Infarction, otherwise known as a Heart Attack. This event happens to a lot of us, and it is something which runs in my family. My father has had heart problems for a long time, including at least one heart attack. His father died from a heart attack, and all of his brothers had heart problems, including at least one who died from heart attacks. So let me say that I read this book with more than a little direct interest.

What got this hard-nosed scientist to work with alternative therapies? In part it was his patients, for there was a period where he had an unusual amount of interaction with them. See, many of his patients receive what's known as the Left Ventricular Assist Device or LVAD.

The LVAD takes over the blood pumping job from the left ventricle of the heart. The LVAD is inserted through open heart surgery, and involves stopping the heart, installing this bypass unit, and turning it on, and hoping the patients heart restarts. The LVAD is a mechanical way to extend life until a suitable heart for transplantation is available. Once a heart transplant is available, the patient comes back into surgery, undergoes another open heart surgery, this time to cut out their old heart and replace it with a new one. In-between those two surgeries, the LVAD patients are hooked to this machine which keeps them alive.

For a long time LVAD patients remained in the hospital in a special wing where they await their turn for a heart transplant. The wait is several months long, and so over time the patients get to know one another in great detail. Hence, the doctors and staff also have long term exposure to their patients and families. One thing this community showed him is the value of human connection in bringing about healing.

You can bring all the technology to bear, and still not heal. That is what Dr. Oz seems to have learned, and expresses through the many heart-filled stories in his book. The healing for Dr. Oz seems to be true connection with his patients, in a way that's very different from the typical modern doctor who's madly rushing to see as many patients as s/he can to maximize billable hours. In the book is also story after story showing how the patients received a lot more than just the technical assist with surgery and gadgets like the LVAD.

For example, unbeknownst to him, one of his patients was a well known Jazz (?Blues?) player, who was under his care but dying of his heart condition. During the treatment of this musician, he went home and while driving heard on the radio a marathon of so-and-so's (his patient) music, with the DJ explaining to the audience so-and-so's condition and treatment. Dr. Oz had been stumped about how to help his patient, he knew that often patients need some help to find their will to live. In a flash of insight he knew, this patient needed to be hearing his own music. So, during the surgery, he brought in a walkman tape player, strapped headphones to the fellows ears, and proceeded with the surgery. That did the trick and turned a borderline patient who was likely to die, into a success, who within 6 months was back in the clubs playing his music.

The stories go on and on, and not just of beautiful healing. For example, consider the plight of a hard-driving business man, suddenly finding himself in the hospital with a heart condition, and his wife won't even come to visit him. He had given his life to his business dealings, and had forsaken all human connection for those business dealings, and in the end had no will to live because everybody, including his wife, had abandoned him.

A highly recommended book if you wish to understand some of the wholesomeness of true healing.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Review: Conversations with Nostradamus

The prophecies of Nostradamus have puzzled people for centuries. He was a visionary living in medieval France, and due to the heavy handed ways of the Church of that day, he had to hide his activities lest he be executed for heresy, and his writings were done in code.

For example:

Soleil levant un frand feu l'on verra,
Bruit & clarte vers Aquilon tendants:
Dedans le rond mort & cris l'on orra
Par glaive, feu, faim, mort las attendants.

At sunrise a great fire will be seen,
noise and light; extending towards the North.
Within the globe death and cries are heard,
death awaiting them through weapons, fire
and famine.

So what's he referring to? Who knows. And he's got several hundred prophecies that go along in the same vein, of tantalizingly detail but vaguely worded.

Conversations With Nostradamus: His Prophecies Explaned, Vol. 1 (Revised Edition & Addendum 2001)Conversations with Nostradamus: His Prophecies Explained, Vol. 2Conversations with Nostradamus: His Prophecies Explained, Vol. 3

These three books were written by Dolores Cannon, using a unique way of approaching the Nostradamus material.

See, Dolores Cannon is a hypnotherapist, and one of her clients was repeatedly regressed to a past life where there was contact with Nostradamus. By hypnotizing her client, she could talk to her clients past life, and have that past personality talk with Nostradamus. In this way they were able to have Nostradamus explain his prophecies.

For example, the above quatrain is described this way:

B: He says that this one has a double meaning, a double date. One of them has already come to pass and the other one has yet to come to pass. He says that the first event this one refers to is the Tunguska disaster in the early part of our century.

The Tunguska disaster was a terrible explosion in Siberia in the early 1900s that leveled a forest over a 30 mile radius. It also left the land radioactive and useless, which makes the common theory (a meteorite) pretty strange, for how would that cause radioactivity?

Monday, May 9, 2005

Psychiatric drugs

Your Drug May Be Your Problem: How and Why to Stop Taking Psychiatric MedicationsPsychiatric drugs are powerful things.

Bad chemistry? After a lifetime of dealing with depression, I finally started taking medication -- a few weeks before I got pregnant. The drugs changed my life. But did they change my baby's, too? (By Ayelet Waldman, May 9, 2005 SALON.COM)

The article is from a woman who had a lifetime of swings between depression and rage and euphoria, and who finally got labeled (diagnosed) "bipolar", and associated with receiving that label came home with a medicine bottle full of pills. But two weeks later when she found she was pregnant, she stopped the medicine. Wise woman that she is.

Several of the psychiatric drugs have known effects on fetus's.

You might wonder "how"?

Having Faith: An Ecologist's Journey to MotherhoodIn the womb there are several barriers which protect the fetus and prevent the intrusion of substances from the outside world. These barriers filter out nasty stuff, preventing the fetus from getting it. But that barrier doesn't work for every known kind of nasty stuff, only for the nasty stuff our evolutionary process prepared our bodies to recognize.

The wonders of modern science include the development of many new substances. These new chemicals aren't what our human bodies evolved with, instead they sprang out of the laboratories of modern science most of them appearing within the past 50 years. This is much too fast for evolution to catch up.

Fortunately you don't have to take my word for it. My work is in computer science and spiritual healing, so what do I know about the environmental dangers that can be inflicted on fetus's? Fortunately an ecologist who became pregnant studied this issue on her own, and wrote a fascinating book: Having Faith, an ecologists journey to motherhood

While she didn't cover psychiatric drugs, she went into all the modern chemicals of modern technological prowess that goes into building the products we use every day. She also went into the mechanisms by which these newfangled chemicals bypass all the protections built into the womb, affecting fetal health.

Sunday, May 8, 2005

Review: The Astral Projection Workbook

The Astral Projection Workbook: How To Achieve Out-Of-Body ExperiencesAstral projection is the act of separating ones consciousness (perhaps their spirit) from their body, and traveling through a different realm. This realm is said to be the "astral plane", and in the astral you can find many interesting creatures and things to interact with.

Astral projection is perhaps similar to or the same as the journeying techniques used by Shamanic pracitioners throughout the ages.

This book offers a good introduction to Astral Projection. Included are step-by-step instructions for a method of achieving this state.