Quick Links

Find Authors

Books

Non-fiction
Diabetes type 2? Weight problems? Find your answers!
Fiction
Nonfiction
Water is the stuff of life - warm inside, cold outside. Did you know?
Nonfiction
Best and cheapest little book about how to live a healthy and long life!

Blog: On Health. On Writing. On Life. On Everything.

World Water Day 2018 – and a fitting announcement

March 22, 2018

Tags: water, herbs, adrenals, alternative medicine, axis, Ayurvedic Medicine, balance, Catholic priest, cold shower, conventional medicine, exercise, footbath, handbook, herbal bath, hormones, hydrotherapy, imbalance, Integrative Medicine Library, integrative medicine, Integrative Sexual Health, Kneipp - Sebastian (1821-1897), natural medicine, neural-hormonal-intestinal axis, nutrition, ovaries, Oxford University Press, pain, pelvic pain, pelvic problems, pineal gland, pituitary gland, prescription pill, psycho-neural-hormonal-intestinal axis, sex life, sexual glands, sexuality, sexual problems, sitzbath, sleep, talking therapy, thyroid, toxins, vitamins, testicles, Traditional Chinese Medicine, water therapy, weight loss, Weil – Andrew (1941-), World Water Day 2018

Our water is getting worse. A reminder that celebrating water today comes with the burden of working toward the goal of clean water. Clean water for those people who still don’t have it, and clean water for those who take it for granted, and don’t realize the water quality is deteriorating.

Apropos the World Water Day today, I want to announce that finally a new book by me comes out. Or, put more modestly – and more accurately, a chapter in a handbook. The handbook is Integrative Sexual Health, and it is part of Andrew Weil’s Integrative Medicine Library series, published by Oxford University Press.

My chapter 22 is called The Benefits of Water Therapy for Sexual and Pelvic Problems. If you have read my water book Health20 -Tap into the Healing Power of Water, you know already some of the usual suspects: cold shower, herbal bath, hot footbath, tepid sitzbath, and so on – just not with so precisely the lamplight turned on the area between your thighs and your navel (sorry for that metaphor …). You will find remedies for a whole host of ailments “down there” as my medicine hero Sebastian Kneipp (1821-1897) always put it. As a Catholic priest he might have felt uncomfortable talking about “down there”. Be assured that the authors of this handbook do not feel uncomfortable naming names and stating problems.

How excited I was when writing that chapter! I had asked this question: How it could be that all the diverse healing approaches lined up in this book seem to help –cold water, herbs, exercise, better nutrition, talking therapy, improved sleep, hormones, vitamins, removal of toxins, weight loss, Ayurvedic Medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine.

What is the reason they all work? The answer I finally arrived: Disease is an imbalance in your body, and all these different medical modalities can nudge your body back into balance. And I don’t mean balance in a flaky way. I mean this in a strictly scientific way. Because, it turns out, that all these different modes of healing affect the neural-hormonal-intestinal axis from your pineal gland to your sexual glands (ovaries in women, testicles in men), to your gut. In between we have the pituitary gland, the thyroid, the adrenals – and they all work together in health, along that axis that also comes by the name of psycho-neural-hormonal-intestinal axis. And that axis is out of balance in sickness.

This is how integrative (or alternative, or natural) medicine defines disease: Imbalance. Compare it to the predominant model in conventional medicine: You have a disease, you get a label (a diagnosis) – and only this kind of pill can make you right again. A prescription pill that only the physician can give you. Sometimes, actually, that model works – and in my chapter I list a whole slew of problems for which you better see a conventional doctor. But it is safe to say that many sexual problems are approachable by natural means.

A bounty of advice and hints – that’s what you will encounter in this book. If you are not pleased with your sex life, or experience pain and discomfort in the area down-under, you might find a solution to your problem in this fat handbook.

It will come out April 8th, and can already be pre-ordered.

Happy World Water Day 2018! (more…)

My Hospital Manifesto

October 30, 2011

Tags: water, movement, food, herbs, order, acupuncture, antibiotics, art, blood test, caring, chemicals, cleaning, cleanliness, complementary medicine, conventional medicine, dairy, dialogue, die with dignity, disease, DNR, doctors, Do Not Resuscitate orders, Europe, family, financial resources, foodstuff, friendliness, Germany, herbal medicine, Hippocrates, hospital, hospital cafeteria, hospital double doors, hospital infection, hospital organization, hospital routine, housekeeping, hydrotherapy, journaling, last days of life, massage, medical school, medicine, moneymaking, movement, music, My Hospital Manifesto, national health insurance, nerd, nuns, nurses, nursing - scientific, nutrition, out-sourcing, paperwork, patient advocate, patient recovery, patients, pediatric, primary care physician, quiet, rounds, saving of money, students - brilliant, sugars, trans-fats, TV, under-served populations, very old, very sick, washing

If I would decide how hospitals are governed (and I don’t), these would be important points for me:

1. Food: Thy food be thy medicine – and vice versa – Hippocrates said. What is served as “food” in hospitals these times, is mostly abysmal and just goes to show that conventional medicine is not interested in really finding out the root cause of disease. In many cases, it is nutrition, stupid!
2. Cafeteria: Same for the place where all the visitors come and eat. It could be an educational experience, instead just another gorging with inferior foodstuff, filled with chemicals, trans-fats, sugars and dairy.
3. Quiet: When I was a child in Germany, and my father was a doctor, he used to take me on his rounds. Hospitals then were very quiet places. The nurses (often nuns) would walk on their rubber soles like on cushions, and they spoke with low voices. The doors to patient rooms were double doors – the patient had privacy and quiet.
4. What hasn’t changed much: That the hospital routine is not geared toward patient recovery but to a ward schedule convenient for doctors and nurses: Then as now patients are pulled out of sleep to measure their temperature or draw blood tests at four am. I would like to see more concern for the patient’s wellbeing than for the organization’s.
5. No TV in patient rooms: My guess is that at least seventy percent of all illness is self-inflicted. It used to be that being in the hospital was a time for contemplation about what brought one there. Not any longer – as TV is squeaking and squealing day and night.
6. Conventional and complementary medicines are BOTH used. There should be no bias toward the one or the other – what has been proven to work should be applied: Hydrotherapy, movement therapy, food, herbal medicine and art, music, journaling, acupuncture, massage, and so on – they all should be used to make patients better. As they are in most European hospital. And paid for by national health insurance. And, no, they are NOT going to be broke …
7. More cleanliness in the facilities. More cleanliness of the patients. Used to be that hospital were spic-and-span places where you could eat from the floor; not any longer. Instead of on cleanliness we trust in antibiotics – to our detriment. Same with patients’ cleanliness: Used to be that nurses washed the patients daily; not any longer. Nurses have gone scientific (necessarily so – but who is now responsible for caring?); the paperwork has become overwhelming. Housekeeping has been out-sourced. And simple ideas like a washing and cleaning have become obsolete. But hospital infections are skyrocketing.
8. More friendliness and caring toward the patient. The patient has become a moneymaking device.
9. Less care and resources to be spent on very old, very sick people in their last days of life – more on pediatric and under-served populations. DNR (Do Not Resuscitate orders discussed with every patient and/or every family). It will lead to savings of money and will allow people to die with dignity.
10. In medical schools, only half of the students should be A+ nerds; the other half should be people who really want to become doctors and patient advocates from all walks of life. We need very brilliant students because they push medicine’s frontiers ahead. But we also need caring primary care physicians. And putting them together in medical school will hopefully lead to a dialogue between them.

As I am thinking more about this, I might come up with more ideas. What would you wish to implement in the hospitals of the future?

Alternative Goes Mainstream - Or Does it?

June 11, 2011

Tags: order, movement, food, herbs, water, acupuncture, alternative-complementary medicine program, Alternative Goes Mainstream, Arzt für Naturheilkunde, Ayurvedic Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, BIDMC, biophysical medicine, board-certified, Boston, Cheng - Jill and Hung, Chinese food, chiropractic, conferences – medical, Continuing Education, diseases, Family Practice, Germany, healing foods, healing modalities, hydrotherapy, Internal Medicine, massage, medications, medicine – alternative, medicine – conventional, Natural Medicine, overweight, Primary Care, quackery, relaxation, research, subspecialty, subspecialty degree in Complementary Medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine, under-exercised, yoga

Have you ever not told your doctor you are using an herb or a massage for your problems? Have you ever had a physician yelling at you because you dared mention such modalities at all? I am looking for gentle healing forms for twenty five years now – and I am astonished that I am still hearing about such fossil physicians and incidents.

This week I attended a gathering to celebrate a generous gift Jill and Hung Cheng have given to the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) in Boston toward an alternative-complementary medicine program.

We celebrated with speeches (of course!) and healthy Chinese fare, and had a ball, generally – celebrating that a farsighted couple tries to overcome the big divide between alternative and conventional medicine.

BUT: Why are we still talking about alternative?

There is nothing alternative in using healing foods and movement to help patients. Not astonishing, a new study showed that overweight, under-exercised physicians are utilizing less food and physical modalities to help their patients. Which means: Overweight, under-exercised physicians prescribe more medications. Scary?

In Germany, many modalities like herbal therapy, Natural Medicine, massage, acupuncture, yoga, relaxation, hydrotherapy, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Ayurvedic Medicine, chiropractic, biophysical medicine, and so on are mainstream. Which means that a physician can pass an examination in a subspecialty, in front of a board of peers to show his/her knowledge. I have done it (Arzt für Naturheilkunde).

Are there quacks in alternative medicine? Sure, there are. But so are in conventional medicine. Not talking to each other only perpetuates the shortcomings on both sides of the aisle.

This is what is needed:

• A subspecialty degree in Complementary Medicine that can be acquired by any physician who has passed the Internal Medicine, Family Practice or Primary Care Boards.
• Conferences and Continuing Education that automatically comprise ALL healing modalities that have been proven useful in certain diseases and conditions.
• More research in complementary modalities – of course!!
Aspen eyes, by Peggy Peters

Iguazu Falls, by Xin Liu

Alexa Fleckenstein M.D. 2012, by Lolita Parker jr.

Tags - see also the non-captalized entries below!