Wednesday, 21 November 2012

The Memory of Water

Water is pretty interesting stuff.  It’s made up of two gas molecules that, when combined, become a liquid. When “condensed” into a crystalline solid, it takes up more space than it does as a liquid. Our bodies are made up of something like 70% water. And some folks reckon water is able to encode a sort of “memory”.

I’m currently reading Lynne McTaggert’s book The Field—a landmark book, by the way—and have just finished Chapter 4 in which she talks about how water seems to have the unexpected and remarkable property of “remembering.”  She tells the extraordinary story of Frenchman Jacques Benveniste and his team and their discovery that even when allergy antibodies were diluted down in water to solutions ranging from 1 x 102 up to 1 x 1036, so dilute that no molecules of the antibodies were likely to be in the water at all, the subsequent product still produced positive reactions.  The conclusion that Benveniste and his team came to is that the water must somehow retain a sort of “memory” of the active substance.

His research was published in the science journal Nature in 1988[i] and—no surprises here, given it wildly defies conventional belief—was rubbished within days, putting the good name of the journal under question. Nature sent in a team to their laboratory to—in Benveniste’s words—prove the work fraudulent. On the 3-man team: fraud-buster Walter Stuart, magician and paranormal skeptic James Randi, and the then-editor of Nature John Maddox.  Not, it is interesting to note, any other researchers. It’s an extraordinary story, worthy of Hollywood.

Here’s a 10-minute clip of Benveniste talking about his experiments and the subsesquent Nature investigation.

Although they continue to be debunked by orthodox science and medicine, homeopathic treatments—which use curing agents diluted down to these sorts of nothing-left-of-the-active-agent doses—have been used for about two centuries as an alternative to orthodox medicine and continue to be popular with many people. 

A few years after the Nature debacle, inspired by magician James Randi’s offer of a million dollars to anyone who could prove that homeopathy works, the BBC program Horizon took on the challenge of replicating Benveniste’s results and establishing scientific credibility for the concept of memory in water.  Here’s the excellent documentary they made, which explains pretty clearly what homeopathy is and how it works, documents their experiment, and reveals their results.

SPOILER AHEAD:  Although their scientific team was unable to score the million dollars, the puzzle of why water titrated down to the point it likely has no molecules of the active substance left  yet still seems to have an active effect on the recipient remains. Some scientists put it down to the placebo effect, but that doesn’t account for its popularity and apparent success with veterinarians, farmers, and pet owners. Cows, after all, can’t logically be affected by placebos.

In spite of two trial “failures”, I think the jury is still out on homeopathy. Perhaps the double blind trials where the technicians’ lack of awareness of which water samples had come from the homeopathic origins and which were of just distilled water made a difference. If consciousness affects results—the idea that the observer cannot help but affect the results is a well-accepted principle of quantum physics—then perhaps simply “knowing” that an active substance has been in contact with the water does the trick. Or perhaps, as McTaggart hints at in her book and based on Benveniste’s later studies, there was someone associated with the research that “scrambled” the memory signals through personal electromagnetic radiation. Randi, for example, was associated with both of the double blind studies that failed to produce significant results.

Leaving that story aside, you may have heard of Masaru Emoto, the Japanese researcher who photographed water crystals and observed that water from different places crystallized into different forms.  Further experiments showed that crystals formed in the presence of music varied with the music, and that even words could alter the form the crystals would take: words of peace and affirmation produced “beautiful” crystals, while words of anger and hatred produced deformed crystals. He believes that “damaged” water can be “healed” with prayer and meditation. For a quick summary of Emoto’s work and a selection of his water crystal photos, click here. It follows on from his work that if music, words, thoughts, and intentions can influence water’s coherence, then the implications for us as humans—with our random mishmash of uncontrolled emotions—is that we have not only may have the power to heal, but are capable of inadvertent harm. Remember, something like 70% of each of us is water.

I’d like to end this blog entry with another youtube find regarding water and memory. This one is just a couple of minutes long, and provides more food for thought on water, whether water has “memory”, and how our quantum universe might be working.

And a last thought, on a purely biological level:  If water is so sensitive to substances, and if the stuff that goes into water “imprints” itself, what sort of messy water are we creating with our effluent?


Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Are We at the Tipping Point with Health Care?

Not so very long ago, it was simply assumed that your doctor knew even better than you did what is best for your health, that pills and surgery were the best option to fix your medical problems, and that anything approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was government approved and therefore obviously safe for people to consume. Now these old assumptions are coming under closer scrutiny, and more often than not, they come up wanting. What’s going on?

For a really good summary of many facets of this issue, take a look at the excellent documentary film Doctored, written and directed by Bobby Sheehan and released this year. The trailer:

At the moment, Dr Mercola is offering a free link to the entire film here. Although ostensibly about the conflict between chiropractic and orthodox (i.e., go see your properly-trained medical doctor, not some quack) health care, the film really profiles the battle between the medical behemoth that has become the leading industry in the world (if you include as part of that package pharmaceuticals, primary care, medical insurance, etc.) and “alternative” health care practitioners in general. It’s a modern David and Goliath story.

Our modern world is driven by economics, and most orthodox medicine today is underlined by monetary motives. Basic marketing means identifying/finding/creating your markets and customers, creating products, and selling as much of your product as you possibly can to as many people as possible for the highest possible price and for as long as possible. It’s easy to see how this model is used, for example, in the pharmaceutical industry. Drug companies create a condition and a market, offer a potion to “treat” that condition, charge as much as they can for the drugs (and by running that through a third party, your insurer, they know you won’t be counting your pennies to see if you can afford it or looking elsewhere for a better deal). Then they encourage doctors to have their patients stay on the treatment for as long as possible, ideally indefinitely (think hypertension drugs, statins, anti-depressants). In short, there’s little in the way of “cure” offered by drug companies for chronic conditions, just ongoing maintenance at an ongoing cost, which is really good for business. Sweet as.

One of the hottest cash cows at the moment is the vaccine industry. In spite of numerous studies suggesting that flu vaccines, for example, are of little real value and come with some [small] risk of complications[i], if manufacturers can convince large segments of the population (and their governments and insurance companies) that they really need to get a yearly jab, it keeps the money flowing in. The HPV vaccine (Gardisil) is another one, being pushed hard onto the rapidly-expanding youth market—mostly aimed at girls, but now boys as well—in spite of growing concerns about its safety[ii].

Crossing my desk this morning is an article that typifies the pharmaceutical company money-gouging case in point: When physicians at the Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York stood up and said “no” to paying over US$11,000/month for the new cancer drug Zaltrap, pharmaceutical company Sanofi offered to cut the price by half. See the story here.

It’s easy to become cynical.  It’s not that orthodox medicine doesn’t have a place. For emergency treatment and acute conditions, it usually offers the most effective treatment option by far. But for long-term, chronic conditions where the best orthodox medicine can offer is “I don’t know, try this” or “let’s increase your meds and see if that helps,” then alternative medicine offers other avenues of treatment that are often not only significantly more effective and less harmful than vague druggery, but sometimes offer surprisingly outright cures.

Most alternative health modalities are “natural” approaches to health that don’t involve the ingestion of unnatural chemicals or invasive cutting of tissues, so they are less likely to have a downside than orthodox medical care. They are based on the concept that good health is natural, provided we take proper care of our bodies, and that illness is a sign that something (physically, energetically, emotionally, sometimes spiritually) is out of balance. Approaches to achieving that balance vary, of course, with the practitioner. A chiropractor, for example, is likely to focus on spinal alignment, alleviating everything from chronic back pain to frozen shoulder, and sometimes conditions such as chronic fatigue and MS, without the use of drugs (see the aforementioned film Doctored). Other alternative health practitioners may specialise in body energy work, or assist with lifestyle changes, or facilitate the resolution of troubling emotional or spiritual issues. All things are connected. See my reviews of The Living Matrix and The Cure Is..., two other recent documentary films that examine a variety of alternative approaches to health and the new science that backs them up. (Doctored also looks at a great deal more than just chiropractic, including an excellent segment on the extraordinary alternative cancer treatment offered by Stanislaw Burzynski[iii].)

Ultimately, it falls on each of us individually to take responsibility for our own healthcare. If you seek treatment for a chronic condition from anyone, orthodox or not, I believe it is worthwhile to keep an open mind and do your own research so you can make intelligent decisions about your own health rather than delegating that responsibility to others and letting them make those decisions for you.

Times, they are a’changin. More and more people are beginning to recognize that much of orthodox health care is based more on an underlying fiscal foundation than it is on a genuine desire to improve our health and well-being; that the FDA  don’t always have our best interests at heart (not only re: pharmaceuticals but also GMOs); and that throwing more money at the problem or taking more pills isn’t the ideal route to better health care. At one point in Doctored, the observation is made that starting with a non-invasive natural therapy to relieve dis-ease rather than relegating it to a "last resort" option when all else has failed seems reasonable. 

Whether we have reached a tipping point yet remains to be seen, but I think we are on the edge—to use another cliché—of a healthcare watershed.

[ii] I haven’t done a bog entry on Gardisil, but here’s a starter if you’re interested in that theme: medical professionals in Spain are calling for a moratorium on the vaccine, and several deaths have been linked to the drug, caused by fatal auto-immune responses.  Read more here.
[iii] And if you are interested in the extraordinary Burzynski story, see the documentary film on him and the battle to have his antineoplastin treatment "officially" accepted here.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

The Cure Is... Documentary (A Review)

Last month I posted a review of the film The Living Matrix. This month a similar documentary film, The Cure Is..., created by first-time filmmaker David Scharps, is being released. Here’s the trailer: 

In this post I summarize some of the key concepts presented in the film and share my thoughts.

Much of modern medical treatment is based on “majority use.” That is, what works for the majority of people becomes the standard, accepted treatment for the dis-ease[i]. People who experience seemingly miraculous recoveries are often overlooked as models for what could be because their recoveries defy rational, medical explanation. In this film, several individuals who experienced miraculous recoveries far beyond anything modern medicine could even posit as a possibility share what worked for them.

Interspersed with these personal stories, several prominent authors, doctors, and scientists—most notably Bruce Lipton, Gregg Braden, Bernie Siegel, Maryanne Williamson, and Joel Fuhrman--explore a variety of ways dis-ease can manifest and how health can be restored. The role of the subconscious (think “habit mind, belief mind, auto-response mind”) is important because a person’s thoughts, beliefs and habits affect the neuro-chemicals that flood the body’s cells and impact upon the health of that individual. The power of love and forgiveness and their roles in creating health (and how anger and resentment damage health) are also explored. And last—but certainly not least—we are reminded that a healthy diet (emphasis on chemical-free vegetables and fruit), regular exercise, and meditation are important for your body’s health.

Waiting to get seriously ill before implementing these helpful changes in your life is like waiting for the horses to bolt before shutting the gate. It’s not that serious illness cannot be helped by changing the things in your life that are hurting you, but if those changes are made before disease sets in, you may not need to battle with disease at all.

Thomas A. Edison once said, “The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet and in the cause and prevention of disease.” It has taken a long time for Edison’s prediction to come true, and that time is not yet here, but slowly, slowly, we are coming to realise that we are personally responsible for the care of our minds and bodies, and that there is much we can do ourselves to enhance and even restore our health and well-being.

Dis-ease rarely comes totally out of the blue. It’s usually a product created by one’s life choices, beliefs, habits, awareness, and environment. Sometimes genetics has a role. Many are yet to accept that one’s thoughts and perceptions can cause illness but the idea is catching on, and that idea is explored convincingly here. This documentary is less profound than the trailer might lead one to believe, but it seems to me the advice is very sound, and the film presents a coherent explanation of an emerging—and I think empoweringly important—paradigm in health.

If you'd like to watch The Cure Is.., here's the website

If you found this article of interest, check out

Also, at my mindwork website you’ll find several articles on how emotional blocks that may have hampered you for years, impacting your health, can be resolved.

[i]  I’ve taken to writing the word “disease” broken down into its two components because I think this better explains what dis-ease is—a lack of ease. I think it’s too easy to get caught in the trap of thinking that a “disease” is a thing, rather than a state of being.