Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Alternative Medicine for Mesothelioma Patients

Although surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy are the most common treatments for mesothelioma, many patients turn to alternative therapies in place of (or in addition to) their traditional therapies.

Since traditional treatments are associated with high rates of complications (including chemotherapy toxicity and operative mortality risks), alternative therapies are often selected for their milder impact on the body. Elderly or advanced-stage patients may especially benefit from alternative treatments, when traditional treatments offer a greater likelihood of detrimental side effects than a total cure. 
Alternative therapies for mesothelioma can include (but are not limited to):
  • Nutritional supplements, juicing and/or basic dietary changes
  • Yoga  
  • Meditation
  • Acupuncture
  • Massage
Homeopathy, which is based on a principal of “like curing like,” can also be used in mesothelioma treatment. 

In this approach to therapy, an agent that causes symptoms similar to the symptoms of a disease is given to a patient to treat their disease.  This is used to treat the person instead of their tumor. Homeopathic approaches to mesothelioma treatment may combine a number of natural remedies, including teas, minerals and plant extracts. 

Combining Alternative Medicine and Traditional Medicine 
Patients who do elect a traditional treatment method may also choose to supplement their therapies with alternative approaches. When alternative medicine and traditional medicine are combined into a single treatment plan, the result is called integrative medicine. 

Many alternative treatments can help support a patient’s body through a course of traditional treatment and potentially improve their body’s response to the therapy. 

Alternative mesothelioma treatments can also be used to combat some of the side effects of traditional medicine. Take for example:
  • Patients who feel fatigued from chemotherapy may benefit from the invigorating benefits of a gentle yoga class.
  • Patients who are experiencing cellular damage from radiation therapy may be able to counteract some of this damage through herbal celandine products.
  • Patients needing a boost of immune function to ward off post-surgical infection may turn to astragalus root – a traditional Chinese medicine plant – to boost their immune system.
Dietary changes are also one of the simplest ways to integrate alternative medicine into traditional mesothelioma treatment. Proper nutrition can help the body fight off cancer or help manage side effects of radiation therapy or chemotherapy. These benefits can be explained by a licensed nutritionist or dietitian, such as one employed by your hospital or cancer center.  Centers like the Hippocrates Health Institute are home to oncologists who promote the effects of a raw, vegan diet on cancer patients. 

Precautions to Take With Alternative Medicine
Although most types of homeopathic and alternative medicine have few – if any – detectable side effects, some herbal supplements can actually interfere with the body’s ability to properly respond to traditional treatment. Many chemotherapy drugs come with warnings to avoid certain supplements or foods during use, while other therapies may also have similar warnings against alternative medicines that may compromise their effectiveness.

To avoid any such negative interactions, patients should still thoroughly discuss their interest in complimentary therapies with their oncologist before beginning their regimen. 

Bio: Faith Franz is a writer for the Mesothelioma Center. She combines her interests in whole-body health and medical research to educate the mesothelioma community about the newest developments in cancer care.

Monday, 5 March 2012

Coping with PMS using Homeopathy

It is believed that a third of menstruating women report symptoms which significantly affect the quality of their lives. Each month, around 85% of women of child-bearing age experience a number of symptoms which give advance warning of an approaching period.

There are more than hundred recognisable symptoms for Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS), with the most common including emotional instability, irritability, depression, fatigue, poor concentration, abdominal pain, headache, breast tenderness and weight gain. These symptoms arise during the late luteal phase of the menstrual cycle (7 to10 days before the onset of menses), peaking the day before and usually abating a few days after the commencement of menses.

The aim of conventional medicine is to ameliorate PMS symptoms, often by prescribing tranquillizers, diuretics or the oral contraceptive. There are a number of treatments available which generally have only short-term benefit and with few provid- ing relief for longer than a few months. The effec- tiveness is often coupled with unwanted side effects and adverse reactions to the medication. A number of homeopathic remedies which could
eliminate or alleviate symptoms in a safe and effective way are listed below:-

Calc carb – useful if sufferer is nervous, anxious or depressed; has headache; abdominal or pelvic pain or breast swelling. Symptoms are worse in cold air; during bathing; exertion; from pressure of clothes; from milk

Lachesis – use with symptoms of extreme rage, jealousy, irritability; hot flushes; headaches; insomnia; congestion of the lower abdomen or breasts. Suffering is often worse in the morning; from heat; slight touch or pressure; in sunshine; through alcohol consumption. Better from cold drinks; open air; and hard pressure.

Lycopodium – use if sufferer is depressed, irritable and emotionally unstable; if there is a history of liver disorders, ovarian pain and cysts. Symptoms are worse from the pressure of clothing; warmth; eating; but better from motion; urination; warm drinks and open air.

Nat mur – use if sufferer has a feeling of abandonment; a rapid alternation between sadness and anger; emotional instability; depression; a deep sense of hurt whilst maintaining an appearance of being cool and aloof and soldiering on rather than confronting the emotional pain. Physical symptoms include thirst; worse for warmth with craving for cool fresh air; dry skin; pain in lower abdomen and lower back; fainting; weight gain.

Pulsatilla – use if sufferer has self-destructive tendencies; mood swings; sense of shame; depression with weeping; guilt; lack of self esteem; irritability; migraine headaches; nightmares; restlessness; weakness; mastalgia [breast pain]. Symptoms are worse from clothing; warm air; sun; evening; rich and fatty foods; and rest. Symptoms better for cold, fresh open air; after crying or consolation; and an erect posture.

Sepia – use if sufferer has apathy; indifference to others; chilliness, dislike of fuss and consolation; and has feelings of being over- whelmed. Physical symptoms in- clude nervousness; restlessness; headaches; nausea; constipation; eczema; acne. Symptoms are worse from cold air; in the morn- ing or evening; touch; sitting and standing. Symptoms are better from warmth; pressure; vigorous exercise.


Particularly if this problem has been medium to long-term, you made need an individualised prescription. If so, please consult your local practitioner. In order to find your nearest homeopath, please visit our website at http://www.a-r-h.org/FindMembers/find.php

This article was first published in 'Homeopathy Healthy Medicine', issue 16.

These newsletters are published by the ARH each month, and provide information about homeopathy that is not usually available to the public through our mainstream media. ARH makes them available to everyone as free downloads, and they can be used for information, marketing and publicity purposes.

Swiss Report shows homeopathy to be effective

A report into the effectiveness,safety and cost efficiency of homeopathy has recently been published in
the UK. Unlike any previous reports, the research specifically looked at empirical evidence and homeopathy’s effectiveness in every day clinical practice. The investigation focused on patient outcomes and aimed to compare the quality of homeopathy trials against the quality of trials in conventional medicine

The report, which was conducted by the Swiss Health Technology Assessment and reviewed 22 stud- ies on homeopathy, concluded that 20 of these studies had been favourable to homeopathy. They showed that as a system of medicine, homeopathy is efficient, and that in the majority of the cases investigated, homeopathic substances could stimulate a specific reaction. This was particularly notable for the treatment of allergies, e.g., hayfever, and upper-respiratory tract infections, where there was strong supporting evidence for the use of homeopathy. The report also highlighted the principle of individualisation within homeopathy and the importance that this holds.

The paper also discussed the safety and cost-effectiveness of the homeopathy. It concluded that when appropriately applied, homeopathic medicines produced few adverse reactions and because high potency remedies had been diluted so many times, they were free from toxic effects.

The remedies themselves were also cost efficient to deliver and when they were successful in the treatment of illnesses, this could indirectly reduce dependency on (costly) conventional interventions. In turn, by increasing the general well-being of patients, the number of days taken of work as a result of sick leave could be minimised.

Following on from this report, the Swiss researchers have called for further systematic clinical studies of homeopathy, preferably using larger cohorts of participants than in earlier trials and over an extended period of time. Wherever possible, they have recommended that homeopathic trials should be compared against conventional medical interventions used to treat the same conditions.

Confirmation by the report that homeopathy is now increasingly being acknowledged to provide a safe, effective and cost efficient system of medicine has consequently resulted in the need to explore issues such as how homeopathy works and what conditions it treats most effectively.

Homeopathy in Healthcare: Effectiveness, Appropriateness, Safety, Costs. Bornhöft & Matthiessen (2012).

This article was first published in issue 16 of 'Homeopathy Healthy Medicine'

These newsletters are published by the ARH each month, and provide information about homeopathy that is not usually available to the public through our mainstream media. ARH makes them available to everyone as free downloads, and they can be used for information, marketing and publicity purposes.

Friday, 2 March 2012

Patient Choice: no decision about me without me?

Government policy is clear. It is in favour of Patient Choice. As their white paper states, clearly and concisely, "No decision about me without me". So for those of us who would want to have homeopathic treatment for our illnesses, this should mean that we just go to our GP, tell him/her we want homeopathy with this (named) homeopath, and we will get it. But matters are not quite so straightforward!

This may be the policy of the central government at Westminster; but what about decision-making within the NHS at PCT (commissioning) level? Everywhere, requests for homeopathy are meeting with a bureaucratic veto, whether this is in Bournemouth (with a 94 year old pensioner), in Birmingham (my son), in Swindon, where a group is currently fighting a battle with the local PCT adamantly opposed to patient choice - if that choice is homeopathy!

The situation is the same in the South-West of England, where the Bristol Homeopathic Hospital is now under threat because local PCTs are refusing to refer patients there. This was, of course, why the homeopathic hospital in Tunbridge closed recently. And the homeopathy hospital in London is under pressure for the same reason. This report, sent to me by Oliver Dowding, is about a meeting held recently regarding the situation in the Bristol area.

In attendance we had the chairman of the British Homoeopathic Association, John Cook, the chief executive, Crystal Sumner. They succinctly outlined the difficulties they've been having on the Wirral in getting referral to the Liverpool Homoeopathic Hospital unit. John then ran through why everything that the BANES (Bath and North East Somerset) NHS trust has done recently is 'challengeable'. The trust didn't tell anyone they were not going to allow referrals by the PCT's. This only came to light when the Bristol homeopathic hospital highlighted that they were getting no referrals. John asked whether this could be, if one were cynical (and the way they act tempts us to be that), an attempt to reduce referrals and therefore say there was no demand for homeopathy! As he told us, this goes completely against the NHS Constitution.

As has happened in Liverpool/Wirral, there is still hope that the referrals will be reinstated, and if this happens, then this becomes the new 'status quo', which could be an even better situation.

John also handed out a piece from the British Medical Journal, dated 13th January 1996. I found a copy online, and have saved it and attached it. This contained this excellent quote, that "evidence-based medicine" is not "cookbook" medicine because it requires a 'bottom up' approach that integrates the best external evidence with individual clinical expertise and the choice of the patient. Evidence based medicine, it says, cannot result in slavish, cookbook approach to individual patient care. External clinical evidence can inform, but can never replace, individual clinical expertise; and it is this expertise that decides whether the 'external evidence' applies to an individual patient, and, if so, how it should be integrated into a clinical decision." It goes on further to say that "evidence-based medicine is not restricted to randomised trials and meta-analyses. It involves tracking down the best external evidence with which to answer our clinical questions."

John also highlighted the anomaly which allows local GPs to refer if they think it is clinically relevant. Naturally, with so many GPs being opposed to homoeopathy, some quite violently, this is just not going to happen. Therefore, the NHS is likely to conclude 'there is no demand' for homeopathy, and the vicious circle continues. He noted that Wiltshire has currently reached the position of disinvesting from homeopathy, and that there was therefore the risk of contagion. So BANES are now trying to follow suit, and whilst there is now with significant likelihood of this decision being overturned, this leaves Somerset (which is treated as one PCT) being the most favourably disposed towards homoeopathy. Therefore, he suggested that it was best not cause a ruckus at this stage, and risk this situation turning against us.

Those at the meeting were told that what patients need to do is to ensure that when they visit their GP surgery, and ask to see a homoeopath, or they are referred to somewhere such as the Bristol homoeopathic hospital, they need to quote the 1948 NHS act, which has enshrined their right to homeopathic treatment.

Several people at the meeting highlighted the excellent Swiss Government report on homoeopathy, which needs to be widely publicised. (For an assessment of this report, and its importance for homeopathy, click here). It seems a mystery that the report was completed in 2005 but only published in English in 2010! Nevertheless, we now need to read it, and use it.  The report has found homoeopathy to be a very successfully medical therapy, and that there is lots of important evidence to support this claim. Homeopathy has demonstrated that it is now truly an 'evidence-based medicine'.

We then had presentation by Dr Lee Burton, from the Bristol Homoeopathic Hospital. He highlighted that many PCT's and doctors, when asked about referring to homoeopathy, seemed to rank its level of importance with that of a referral for tattoo removal!

Yet about 40% of their referrals come from conventional medicine, which has failed to resolve the health problem. The worst case came to the hospital after seeing 15 different consultants! After a period with the Bristol homoeopathic hospital the patient was 80% improved. Success indeed! 

Dr Burton also highlighted that for the NHS one big problem is "MUPS", which stands for "Medically Unexplained Persistent Symptoms. He noted that in general these conditions get a 60 - 70% positive response to homoeopathy, which appears to be remarkably constant. He also remarked that around 58% of the patients are in the working age category, with only 12% being above 65 years old. In noting the 60-70% successful resolution figure he agreed that this was a skewed statistic, given that a large number of these patients are considered the "basket cases" - the one's that the NHS (and conventional medicine) has failed to resolve.

Finally, he exhorted us all to join the friends of Bristol Homoeopathic Hospital. This does not mean that one is committing to either financial or time support, but one is giving them more power to their elbow by being a supporter. Given that the homoeopathy has always been patient-driven he said that having the largest possible support base is now more important than ever, as it helps to justify the patient's voice being heard within the NHS. Becoming a friend is easy, by going to their website (http://www.uhbristol.nhs.uk/patients-and-visitors/your-hospitals/bristol-homeopathic-hospital/), or alternatively sending an e-mail to either friendsofBHHgroup@hotmail.co.uk or bris.co.ordinator@gmail.com.   

I also suggest that as many people using Facebook as possible enrol with this group,  H:MC21 ... Homeopathy Worked For Me  https://www.facebook.com/groups/329854830896/  

We all need to remember that we are entitled to free homeopathic treatment on the NHS when we are ill. What Oliver's report does is to highlight that if we want to be treated safely and effectively with Homeopathy, or want to avoid the dangers and ineffectiveness of conventional medical treatment, we are all going to have to demand it, and fight for it.

The conventional medical establishment is in control of the NHS, and they are vehemently opposed to opening it up to homeopathy - quite regardless of what Government policy say, or their patients want.

How Homeopathy can help with substance dependency

Substance abuse can be defined as “the continual misuse of any mind altering substance which severely interferes with an individual’s physical and mental health, social situation and respon- sibilities”. The World Health Organisation (WHO) describes substance misuse as a “significant threat to the social and economic fabric of families, communities and nations”. The number, according to WHO, of worldwide alcohol users is estimated at 2 billion and drug users at 185 million; the use of tobacco, alcohol and illicit drugs contributed to 12.4% of deaths in 2000 with this percentage set to increase over time.

A number of studies have, consequently, been undertaken to understand whether homeopathy can be effective in the treatment of drug and alcohol dependency. The Indian government conducted a study on 60 heroin addicts, 30 of whom were given individualised homeopathic medicines whilst the other 30 were given placebo. The government’s study concluded the number and intensity of the symptoms during withdrawal were significantly less in those given homeopathic remedies. 

In addition 35% of patients, who were prescribed placebo, left the study prior to completion due to the lack of therapeutic benefit, compared with only 5% of those taking homeopathic remedies.

The Hahnemann College of Homeopathy in California, having ascertained that homeopathy can be used to improve the withdrawal symptoms, set out to discover the relapse rate of recovering alcoholics and drug addicts undertoing homeopathic treatment. It concluded, through a number of investigations, there was a decreased relapse rate when using homeopathy over and above the use of placebo.

It became apparent, through these studies, that Rhus Toxicoendron was the most effective remedy in patients with drug abuse, although Avena Sativa, Nux Vomica and Arsenicum album also proved successful with some patients. For more information see:


This article was first published in issue 16 of 'Homeopathy Healthy Medicine'

These newsletters are published by the ARH each month, and provide information about homeopathy that is usually not available to the public in our mainstream media. ARH makes them available to everyone as free downloads, and they can be used for information, marketing and publicity purposes.