The Future Of Alternative Medicine

LONDON - It's no secret why "complementary health" has become so popular. With orthodox medicine, you are lucky to get five minutes with an understandably frazzled doctor. With complementary medicine, a good practitioner (for a fee) will take an entire history, adopt a positive approach to your treatment plan and look past the symptoms of your illness to the cause.
This explains why hardly a week goes by on this page without some mention of the immune system, and yet, just as we have got to grips with bolstering the body's natural defense system, I detect another huge shift in the way complementary practitioners are going to be treating disease.
Instead of concentrating on the body's natural defenses, many are looking deeper still for the fundamental cause of illness. A growing number of therapists and healers are talking about deeper energy "blockages" and something else called Bioresonance.
Hailed as the new medicine for the 21st century, the theory, which has its roots in quantum physics, is that you can both diagnose and treat disease using energy wavelength or resonance. One of the pioneers in this country is Agnes Kernan, a former nurse and qualified homeopath who is also the founder of the London Bio-Dynamics Center. It has developed a new computerized Bioresonance system that, by sending a small electrical charge through your body, can measure your response to 4,000 different items.
Kernan explains that the computer has been programmed to "store" the wavelengths (or resonance) of these items and will compare the wavelengths from the body with its memory bank. When a match is made, the therapist selects appropriate treatment. In less than an hour, you can be tested for allergies, food intolerances, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, viral infections, enzyme deficiencies, muscular, skeletal and emotional problems.
So, having delved as deep as possible physically, what about our emotional health? Sales of self-development books have rocketed by 75 percent in the past decade, and what will really inspire people at the beginning of the next millennium is the idea of spiritual health.
Such is the enthusiasm for anything to do with the spirit that Diana Cooper, who has popularized again the idea in this country of the existence of angels, is staging an Angel Day in London on April 18 where, she says, she will show hundreds of people how to connect with their own "helping angels".
Complementary Breakthroughs
When it comes to looking after your own health, there are only three routes that most people rely on: nutrition, homeopathy and herbalism. I asked three experts about the most exciting developments in their field.
Stephen Terrass, a nutritionist and technical director of Solgar Vitamins, says the growing acceptance of the fact that a compound called homocysteine, and not cholesterol, is the real risk factor in heart disease will change the nation's health.
When there are high levels of homocysteine in the blood (homocysteine is a normal by-product of protein metabolism), it rapidly damages the arteries and causes build-up of artherosclerotic plaque " the main trigger for heart attacks and strokes.
Tests have proved that measuring the level of homocysteine in the blood is 40 times more accurate as a tool for predicting heart disease than measuring blood cholesterol.
Practitioners have suspected all along that the human body is naturally a homeopathic machine and research by the homeopathic pharmacy Ainsworths confirms this, making the discipline the most natural and effective remedy when things do go wrong. Homeopathy relies on the principle of treating like with like, but until now scientists could not explain fully how it worked. Thanks to current research, it is now believed to work on the deeper principle of " guess what? " resonance.
This is a natural phenomenon, says Tony Pinkus, a homeopathic pharmacist and director of Ainsworths, and is what happens when, for example, you hit a tuning fork. "The fork has been tuned to resonate at a particular frequency, so it doesn't matter how hard you hit it. You will also notice that anything else in the room that resonates naturally at the same frequency as the fork will also start vibrating, which you will hear as a humming noise."
The new theory about homeopathy is that it works in the same way. When, for example, you have a sore throat, you not only have the physical pain and symptoms, you are also conscious that you have a sore throat and are, therefore, aware that you are ill. So both the mind and body are affected and more than one resonance is out of kilter.
If you think of normal resonance as being like a melody, illness shifts the tune to a different key. It follows that if you are ill you need a treatment that, by resonating with your sick state, will restore that original harmony.
Homeopathy mimics what happens in the body, where vital organs, such as the beating heart, act as the tuning forks to impart that natural vibration or frequency to the body fluids. "What we believe is that the signal, or what we call the memory effect of resonance, is recorded or held in the fluid of the body. The implication is that the body is a natural homeopathic machine, which is the long-awaited explanation of how homeopathy actually works."
The biggest change of all in herbalism is the widespread integration of disciplines that, for too long, were at loggerheads. The industry is launching a new core curriculum to bring the training of all herbalists up to an accredited standard.
The scheme is the culmination of four years of dialogue between all the main disciplines that rely on herbal remedies, including Chinese, Ayurvedic, Tibetan and western herbalists.
Michael McIntyre, a medical herbalist and chairman of the European Herbal Practitioners Association, says the new training and accreditation scheme will provide a template throughout Europe and pave the way for a fully integrated approach to health, with medical herbalists one day practicing alongside qualified doctors.
McIntyre says one of the more exciting developments in herbalism is the concept of polypharmacy: "The old idea that one herb with one active ingredient is the best cure has been replaced by the realization that using combinations of herbs can produce quite astonishing effects."
New research is also conferring extraordinary properties on everyday herbs. Rosemary, for example, is not only delicious in food, but has a definite effect on the circulation. It is a powerful antioxidant and is known to strengthen the heartbeat. Similarly, sage is now known to restore impaired vascular supply to the brain and is believed to play a role in the treatment of Alzheimer's-like diseases and in enhancing memory.