Thoughts on the world, homeopathy, mindfulness and food...
A collection of blog posts - feel free to respond with your thoughts and comments - I love to have feedback - thank you!
Reflecting back, 8 years on from my year of adventure, I'm surprised to think how much of that year remains with me in one way or another and how much that year of time for me, fun with others really changed how I live.
To find I ended a relationship on 11/11/11 felt significant, and it's only really later that looking at the numerology - with a 1, the single digit, solo adventures made absolute sense. Or at least a whole adventure, just for me - albeit with different people joining me along the way.
By then I was the single mama of a brilliant 4 year old, and a recently re-homed bearded dragon. I'd been working at setting up my business pretty much all her life so far (she was 6 months when I qualified as a professional homeopath). Determined not to rely on much childcare, and to be able to be there during her early years, as my mum was for me meant I'd worked jobs that fitted around being a mum - where I could either take her with me, work evenings when she was in bed, or work whilst she was at grandparents or with her dad. I was working damned hard and for not very much (it was all worth it!). From somewhere the realisation hit that I wanted something for me, something fun for no reason and I wanted to try lots of things. It had to be things I could do near home - I was already going away to study at times so couldn't use up time away - I've never been great at over-relying on help, albeit been lucky enough to have it there.
So it was, my year of adventure was born. In my usual way of wanting more, I did a 13 month year, starting with December 2011 when I learnt to knit. The 'adventures', as you might have sensed, being I started with knitting weren't crazy, for some they'd have been not even on the adventure scale. But for me, they were things I could do from home at times, around being a mum of a 4 year old, around work. They were achievable stretches outside of my life as it was before. Some more outdoorsy than others, but all things that I'd either never done or I hadn't done for years or done well. I guess they could have been huge, cross the channel on a tea tray kind of adventures, but at the time that was still so far removed from what felt possible, these were good for me. And calling them adventures felt more fun, it made me smile. Anything that makes you smile (within reason of course) I think is to be enjoyed, especially if it helps a change in perspective.
A friend had a knitting shop and kindly taught me the basics - though, to my mum's chagrin, when I credited Jane having taught me to knit - she had in fact taught me twice in the past. Third time lucky!! And I guess it goes to show to not stop if you can't do it the first time. Looking back, it led onto me doing some work for Jane whose shop it was, which supplemented my income, and we had a lovely friendship that evolved over my knitting times. I knitted scarves for presents, hats, a couple of dresses - not all in my month, though knitting, as with several of the other things that followed, stuck with me, and remains part of my life. Funnily I'm writing this wearing the first jumper I knitted which I still love today.
Month 2 and I'd seen references to mindfulness though where I'd seen the actual course I did, I don't recall. I think just a google search and there it was. I worked with the Be Mindful Online people and did their month long course, finding it beneficial, enjoyable - and - you never guess what? Leading on to me doing some training to incorporate mindfulness in my work with homeopathy. The two go well together and I remain grateful and appreciative of the steps I made back then, nearly 9 years ago.
I don't want you to think every month was life changing, and I also started this adventure with a 'it doesn't matter what the outcome is' attitude which I think is important to state. We do so many things with intent, purpose and they have to be worthwhile, earn money or lead somewhere, and my whole intent back then was to enjoy, to have fun, to explore, and, importantly, be a beginner at things. To do things with no outcome attached brings a liberation and I also believe, an ability to be creative. We spend time as experts in our field now, and to fail, to fall, I think are important skills to remember - albeit perhaps more importantly to get back up, by ourselves or with help.
So onto month 3 which was pole dancing. That's always the one that makes people smile when I talk about my year of adventure, and it is one that lasted the month and that was it. I went along with a friend, we laughed a lot, I discovered I'm really bad at doing the sexy hair flicks (I had already discovered that to be fair on a burlesque lesson at a hen do, but it was reinforced again here). I loved trying to fling myself around a pole... not so much upside down, and not so much with an instructor who appeared to be in love with texting her whoever and scrolling on Facebook whilst she was teaching. But the experience, the fun, the getting out of the house and away from work. All really positive.
Next I learnt to crochet and I am currently back, reunited with my hooks and teaching my daughter now - albeit recognising where she does things better than me, unpicking and learning again from her. I love that when you think you're going to teach, you learn so much from students and learning in the process to teach. Certainly not a linear relationship. I've just finished a gorgeous top and a huge granny square blanket for our bed. Super warm and cosy for winter window open sleeping!
And so the year went on - I dove into Open Water Swimming (probably more a nervous, tentative and freaked out step into a murky lake than a dive, but way, way outside of my comfort zone. More about the comfort zone and my love of stretching it in a moment. I was exhausted after my first OWS session and amazed how cold it was, wearing my new wetsuit too. It was 16 degree C. Seriously. I've swum with no wetsuit in less. Happily. It's amazing how you adapt and change.
My friend and pole dancing companion had asked the year before if I'd do the Great North Swim with her and, on asking for the answer in my dream, I dreamt of myself on the shore watching her swim in as I held her girls' hands. My dream answers aren't always that immediate, or that clear but that was a good one! But now it was time to embrace the fear and crack on. I truly love confronting it, my inability or perceived inability as usually I can wing it when I get on with it. Usually when I crack on and make a start, something changes - and usually I'm so glad I did whatever it was. Then if or when I'm not I can usually find a way to laugh about it... In OWS I found an incredible community of people, a wonderful refreshing way to spend an evening and swam in some of the most beautiful places. It's an amazing way to recharge, to reconnect with nature, to be mindful and sit with what is important in life. Which, when it comes down to it, isn't all the stuff. Not for me at least.
I rediscovered cycling - and ended up doing my, so far first and only triathlon the following year. I still love to get on my bike when I can, and subsequently bought a road bike, then from a neighbour at a tantalisingly great price, got £1.6k worth of mountain bike for £150. Still happy about that one. So far the longest ride is a 36 mile or so trip around Lake Windermere (with a swim mid route), and I'd love to extend that next summer. My dad still beats me up every hill going despite being a wee bit older than me and is a great cycling companion.
From the swimming, because I'd joined a local triathlon group to enable me to swim in a local lake - and a love to read, I got into reading about swimming, then triathlons which led me onto running, which led me onto barefoot running. Do you see how this discovery thing went for me? I had no idea at the start of it how it would pan out, all the things I'd do but one thing led to another as they so often do... Barefoot running was an absolute joy. I feel like I'm some kind of gazelle versus an elephant if I run in normal shoes. I love the feel of running through the air, being outside, rain or sun or clouds.
I also explored photography in more depth, attempted to do yoga (I feel like I'm always attempting to do yoga!), then found I was doing so many things, decided I'd try going veggie for a month. Whilst reading about that, I thought I'd explore veganism, so did a month of that... Subsequently went raw vegan for 6 months the following year which was another expanse of discovery. I resurrected my sewing machine that I'd got for my 18th birthday. I suppose getting that and treating myself to a Reiki course at 18 was bound to lead to lentils and sandals somewhere along the way. I made bunting, hearts to hang up, a skirt my mum had started decades ago (cute and short and very 70s!) and am back in love with sewing.
Memorably though, what I learnt about mostly was not a whole load of activities, though I did learn about a load of stuff... but about what it is to do something with nothing to lose, the liberation of not having an end goal, just about having an experience. I was talking to a client recently and suggested she did something just to play, just to have fun. Her reaction, 'was it possible to do something without a end goal?' made me think a lot about how target focussed we've become. I think that being without needing something at the end has got lost sometimes in our culture, and perhaps, possibly, we'd smile more if we took time to rediscover that.
I received kindness from strangers, made connections with wonderful people I'd never met before and am so grateful are in my life. I was kind to people I'd never met before. They were kind to me. I laughed whilst swimming, sang whilst cycling, was joyful, was inspired by so many people - and have been told since that I've inspired change in others that I never set out to do. Just being, just loving life, just exploring, just stretching the comfort zone led to amazing experiences, wonderful times - and lasting changes.
I still knit, sew, crochet, barefoot run, open water swim, cycle, eat a plant based diet - and now am exploring SUP - which is again outside of my comfort zone - and am loving that. And if anyone fancies teaching me pole dancing, without checking their Facebook account or suggesting that I do sexy hair flicks I'm up for that too...
Lastly to say I guess my final words on an adventure would be to be kind - especially to yourself and not to have expectations, just to explore, see what happens and be curious about life - you never know where it might lead. It might go nowhere, or it could be lasting, and entirely life changing. It's great fun along the way.
I've been fascinated, absolutely fascinated. And wishing I had so much more time on my hands. Unlike many around me, and thankfully in many ways, work has carried on pretty much as usual. Yes there's been challenges. Being prepared to move and not getting to do it due to lockdown restrictions has meant that the lovely study room (one of the few that's finished and ready to go) has sat unused by me. Instead I'm looking forward to the osteopath re-opening and correcting the damage I've done by sitting on my bed for hours at a time whilst consulting clients. But it's been great to continue to support clients, great to still be doing my job which I love.
In between work times, I've loved the learning, there is so much to follow, so much to learn. From the anatomy, physiology and physical impact of the virus, to the spiritual perspectives around it, to following the mainstream narrative (and yes, questioning A LOT). I've also been sad - hearing of people succumbing to this unknown virus has been very sad and I don't know many people that haven't been touched by it. We know of two people who've died recently and know of neighbours who've lost people in their circles.
One thing though has been the desperate race for a cure, for a treatment and it feels to me there is an elephant in the room...
It's vast. Nothing quite like ignoring something that has stood there, standing the test of time for over 200 years. That has been refined for over 200 years. That has helped in countless epidemics, both historically and recently.
Fortunately it's not everywhere, entirely worldwide that it's being ignored. Gill Graham, homeopath and writer (as well as amazing colleague and wonderful friend) discussed how homeopathy has been used in Cuba. Finally it's being used again in India, after being banned (for the purposes of helping people with COVID-19) and then re-allowed, and clinical trials are going ahead. But in the UK? There's nothing you can do.
It's not that I want to jump up and down and scream that homeopathy could help in people experiencing COVID-19, because we all know homeopathy doesn't get given for complaint labels, it is prescribed on symptoms. It's worth remembering though that for generations homeopathy has helped with coughs, colds, flus and of course much more. This is similar to altitude sickness in terms of effects on patients - according to one NYC medic, and others following his initial news of this. We've remedies that have helped with that too.
So for me it's not a question of needing to say that homeopathy can help with this or not. But my real curiosity today comes from the panic, the fear, the constant narrative that there is nothing that can be done. Nothing. Stay at home. Wait. Stay. We will save you. Nothing you can do. The new and innovative (and incredibly creative) possible solutions that are being explored. Who, for example, came up with the idea that llama antibodies may help? I love it though - great leap. Especially with the altitude comment. What expense went into the plasma trials? And just how much money is being pumped into a rushed through solution for us, an experiment that even some medics are questioning.
If we were really curious, really interested to help, would we start exploring case notes of previous epidemics? There has been much comparison to the Spanish Flu (not actually derived from Spain - it's a longwinded story and I won't go into that here), which homeopathy had the privilege of being involved in treating. The success rates suggest to me it's an angle that could be worth exploring. Death rates of 30% in the conventional camps vs 1% with homeopathic interventions. Have a read here if it intrigues you. If that was the only time, then perhaps we move on and ignore it. Yet it's helped in leptospirosis in Cuba, and subsequently in other infectious diseases there. In Dengue in several countries. Studies carried out for evaluating the role of homoeopathic treatment of dengue fever have been encouraging, with evidence reported from Brazil, Pakistan and Cuba.
So are we to continue ignoring the elephant in the room - and if so why? I guess that's the million dollar question and the battles around, and suppression of homeopathy is nothing new. I don't want to take a victim stance here as frankly that's a little dull, but badly done and apparently 'well presented' reports - such as the UK's Science and Technology report have stories behind them. Here for the UK report which was damning towards homeopathy. Then there was the Australian Review, which spread around the world rapidly causing damage. More on that here. In case you don't want to read the whole post on the Australian Review, perhaps the fact that the first review (which mysteriously was scrapped and the process restarted) found that “Contrary to some claims, the review did not conclude that homeopathy was ineffective.”
To then hear that homeopathy is not effective for any condition, but then see how they arrived at those conclusions do make this whole debate confusing if nothing else. For those curious, this video may help.
It constantly makes me feel better that there are great people working on these questions. Scientific, enquiring minds that understand the concepts far better than me. I grope through the delicate studies with a rudimentary understanding - and allow myself to be curious, to steadily learn from them, whilst I aim to keep furthering how well I do my job. To hear that there is nothing can be done is mightily curious though.
Even if you're not a homeopathy user - in which case why - of course you should be ;) - then there is a question of why it's taken just so long to give any guidance around Vitamin D. Or Vitamin C - well known to help viral conditions.
I think I'll leave you with a post my lovely friend Gill shared, from Private Eye and their MD's column.
With love, Em
I try not to watch the news - well, actually having got rid of the TV licence a year ago after being so irritated at their biased recording, so now, I barely see the news. I try also not to read much in the mainstream about our current situation as it winds me up so much. The narrative makes no sense to me in many ways.
Planning to write this blog, I've just come across the video here. Bearing in mind anything that goes against the current narrative is getting taken down quickly I thought it was also worth sharing the description from the video too:
Bet the BBC wish they didn't let this bloke on TV
A total of 350 deaths from under 60s with no underlying health conditions!
You are more likely to DROWN than die from the virus.
Lets ban swimming! And take baths out of houses as they are so dangerous!
You are 10 times more likely to die from exercising! Lets ban that also.
I hope swimming and exercising aren't banned... I do like them both very much.
We passed some people this morning talking whilst out on a walk and the overheard comment was 'they're not going back until this has passed'. It reminded me of a chat with a friend yesterday where she was horrified to learn of the new measures to be brought in at her child's nursery. My feeling is I wouldn't send my child back until the measures to deal with this have passed. Viruses though? They've been around us for so many years. Forever. It's really not about the germ for me, it's about the terrain.
Are we going to stress constantly about the germs and when do we start to consider the terrain? More about that in a moment...
I do want to say that I'm not discounting the loss from this virus, not discounting that any loss of life is tragic. But what I'm not doing is discounting the fact that we are all going to die. All of us. That is something I've been musing over a lot recently. If I was elderly and going to pass on - would it really be OK to be alone? I hope it is for those who have. The idea my 96 year old Grandma dies by herself in her nursing home is something I've tried not to linger on and hoping that when she choses to go we, or other family, can be with her.
I am curious about so many theories flying around - one in particular that has been backed up in at least 3 studies I've seen is that the flu shot can make coronaviruses worse. One theory, that I've seen mentioned in this video here suggests that the flu shots in Italy were new ones which massively aggravated the virus response in the general population. The video MUST WATCH: Debunking the Narrative (with Prof Dolores Cahill) shares some interesting points. I'm sure I've not missed that on the BBC despite the lack of TV licence and ability to watch it.
I don't want to get at how this has been managed - but this whole state of fear, panic and more makes me very curious - we're dealing with a virus that 99%+ of people recover from (numbers from London show there is a 0.1% chance of dying from the virus) - and I'm amazed by how many of the population are happy to stay locked away, and living in fear. Yes, it's not a great illness if you get it, though does feel that as the medical community is learning more about it all the time, and so treatment outcomes improve - for example, early days of ventilation for so many do appear not to have been the best way to go. If you're on certain medication it's likely to make things worse, if you have other health conditions it may be it's harder to cope with - and whilst age seems to be one risk factor, that said, there are many elderly people, with other conditions recovering too.
In some countries even, homeopathy is being used - Cuba for example - who have experienced a lower than expected death rate, have been using homeopathy as a prophylaxis for many. Interestingly they also did so several years ago during a leptospirosis epidemic - and with BRILLIANT results.
What I'd really like, and what I'd like to write about here, is a new normal, but not the new normal that's being spoken of so loudly. I don't envisage a new normal where social interaction is all online, I don't perceive of stepping around everyone constantly. I don't want to think that in the future we'll be a-looking at everyone with suspicion. I see that that has been creeping in and have written about it in earlier posts. I see more anti-bac products than you can shake a stick at in the supermarkets - since when can't you buy normal soap? If you're looking for liquid soap, you're going for a small market now - most have additional anti-bac products in there.
Actually on a small tangent there, my partner has just read 10% Human and following that we're both experimenting with our skin microbiome and not washing the bacteria off us with soap - both of us are just bathing in water... and so far no terrible smell. Some slight smell the first few days - but either things have equalised and no smell or perhaps I'm just used to me ha. Since we're not exposing many other people to it, who minds!! But seriously, I have been musing over how over used these products are, how much untold damage we've done to our ability to cope with the natural world around us. How sterile we've become. How allergic to normal substances. Of course, there are many other factors involved here, but this is frequently cited as one of them.
I don't want a normal of separation for 'my health', for 'my protection', for 'the protection of the elderly, the vulnerable'. Not that I don't want to think about others, but there is something chilling about 'for your safety' as a phrase that I struggle with. You may recall it's been used in the past in less than desirable circumstances. I don't want to repeat those. I don't want a new online normal. What I want, what I really really want (can do a quick Spice Girls dance now if you like...) is a new normal where we learn about our health, where we take notice of this amazing body that we have, where we respect the incredible gift of life. A new normal where we take into account our environment, where we don't think everything is there for the benefit of us, where we don't just take, take, take. A new normal where we look at how we can work in symbiosis with our environment, and whilst we're like that, in symbiosis with others around us, animals and people.
One thing that I've become aware of is during our lockdown, the animals have been freed - there have been creatures taking to the empty roads, to the rivers, because our constant activity - or the lack of it - has allowed space for others to breathe. How do we respect that in our new normal? That's a question I'd really like to ask. How do we create a respectful new normal.
A space where, instead of separate squares where our children are allowed to stand, our children learn about how to look after their terrain. A world where kids aren't marketed to - a world where the sweets take a backseat and fruits and veg are promoted. A world where fermented foods are cool. A world where looking after yourself is rewarded. A world where customers, sorry patients, are helped to live more healthily instead of put on medication and remain on that for life. A world where we learn to look after ourselves.
Even a new normal - a world where homeopathy is used as a system of healthcare, moving away from a sick-care system. It had to come back in somewhere didn't it, the H word...? I see patients able to reduce and stop taking their meds. Anti-depressants come to mind, diabetic drugs, painkillers for example. Some came with the intent of reducing them, for others, they were going so well and decided it was possible once they'd started working with homeopathy.
I want a world where customers choose having been given options, instead of you have this, take that now and that will solve it. What when it doesn't? Stronger ones. And yet often that doesn't work... Add something else in. And whilst we're there, take that for the side effects of the others. What about working with our bodies instead of suppressing their screams for help? What about strengthening our terrain, supporting the 'soil', rather than just bringing in the weedkiller?
What about food? I'm so excited that there are ventures such as Nutritank out there, bringing nutritional education into medical universities. What about gut health? That's creeping in more and more with a bigger awareness of the potential - and of just how much it's vital for healthy functioning.
I want a world that looks healthy, well, not digital and disconnected. One that is vibrant and alive, not all via headphones. And it seems, I'm not alone. I've never seen so many medical experts speaking up about something that makes sense to me. Never seen so many individuals starting to question, starting to learn. Never heard of the homeopathic pharmacies and supplement companies being as busy as they were when this kicked off initially.
I have hope, and a yearning for a new normal, not to go backwards, but to step forwards, excitedly into a new potential for brilliance. Which doesn't get sold in a catalogue, on a website, from a multi-national organisation, but comes from inside, from within, from our relationship with nature.
Love to know what you think,
I was talking about this, this morning with a lovely client and mentioned I'd write a little on how to do it. It's really super simple - you write, longhand, 3 pages of anything. Instead of me telling anything about it, firstly I think we should have Julia Cameron, author of The Artist's Way and who uses the morning pages as a vital tool of the process.
"Morning Pages are three pages of longhand, stream of consciousness writing,
done first thing in the morning. *There is no wrong way to do Morning Pages*–
they are not high art. They are not even “writing.” They are about
anything and everything that crosses your mind– and they are for your eyes
only. Morning Pages provoke, clarify, comfort, cajole, prioritize and
synchronize the day at hand. Do not over-think Morning Pages: just put
three pages of anything on the page...and then do three more pages tomorrow."
In these strange times I've found them brilliant, and also recently in dealing with a long standing conflict I've found them incredibly liberating.
I've written from a space of not over-thinking, of flowing and allowing. Sometimes stuttering and stalling but each day writing my three pages. Today Byron Katie's questions crept in and were incredibly helpful, I'm not suggesting you mix and match tools - but my word, it worked for me this morning and shifted something HUGE. Phew, such a relief. I do think asking questions can be such a great tool and often describe Byron Katie's questions as a traffic light system to stopping me believing my story and bringing me back to reality.
If you've not explored Byron Katie's work before, I recommend it! Her website www.thework.com is a great place to start and I think it can be helpful to do daily, we have so many beliefs that keep us trapped in our story. Maybe I'll write more about that another time.
Sending love, Em x
The Times view of homeopaths promoting bogus coronavirus treatments: Junk Medicine
"British homeopaths are promoting bogus treatments for the coronavirus" they say...
Monday April 13 2020, 12.01am, The Times
If you've been with me for a while, this is following the same pattern as previous blogs based on newspaper "fiction". The article is posted below, with relevant points I feel are worth exploring which will be in italics. I will include links to discover more, should you be interested to do so.
The number of recorded deaths of hospital patients in this country with Covid-19 now exceeds 10,000. Sir Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust and a government adviser on the pandemic, warned yesterday that Britain was likely to be among the worst-affected countries, if not the worst of all, in Europe. In a public health crisis of such severity it is a natural human impulse to seek protection against infection. We report today that hundreds of homeopathic practitioners across the country are promoting treatments that purportedly provide it.
No. No they are not. Hundreds of practitioners are not doing this. Having worked with, studied with and got to know so many homeopaths - no one I know is talking about protection against infection. I do know people are talking about giving remedies that might help people be healthier though - that's what we do. I did also hear that in Cuba there are a group using homeopathic medicines as potential prophylaxis for the virus. They follow a history of successfully using homeopathy to deal with potential epidemics in the country which is particularly interesting and perhaps a story The Times might like to report on. Conclusions of a study, working with leptospirosis that was reported in 2010 stated: "The homeoprophylactic approach was associated with a large reduction of disease incidence and control of the epidemic." Interesting indeed.
More interesting yet (for me at least) are the facts that it wasn't conducted by homeopaths, it was scientifically robust, and had the results they gained come from the conventional scientific world, they would have been shouted from the rooftops. Did you hear about it? If you're reading this from outside of the homeopathic community the chances are you didn't. Were they able to publish in any of the medical journals they set it to, despite having been published before? No. Why might that be? Not that it wasn't a successful, interesting study. If you're curious, the excellent documentary film Magic Pills explores it further. And also talks about the other diseases that the Cubans successfully used homeoprophylaxis for. It's $4.99 to download - and a perfect time to find out more about it - addressing many of the issues raised in the media recently around homeopathy, looking at both sides of the argument.
Their claims are bogus. The basis for them is not medical science but superstition and wishful thinking. The practitioners who provide these supposed remedies are instilling false hope, profiting from vulnerability, and putting lives at risk. Their activity is exploitative and unethical, and it needs to be shut down straightaway.
Homeopathy is medical science, and fortunately in many places it is treated as such. Instilling false hope? For a start, I'd be intrigued, I am intrigued by the idea of false hope. If we were to step aside from the homeopathy issue for a moment and think about hope instead of fear, think about the placebo effect instead of the nocebo effect, think about those stories - you must have heard them too. You know the ones, where a patient is given the wrong diagnosis and they follow the anticipated path of disease and subsequent death. The other was so very ill, told they were well and recover. you know that one? I suppose the message is it works out like that because the placebo effect is very strong. Continuing to take homeopathy out of it, if 30% of people can recover due to placebo which I've seen suggested elsewhere, then hope feels to me to be an important part of the picture. Streaming constant fear into our living rooms feels to be criminal. This feels to me to be putting lives at risk. I'm well known to rant about this one to friends and family, so will kick away my soap box before I get started there.
Covid-19 is an infectious disease caused by a coronavirus that was unknown before December. There is no cure for it. Scientists are working at breakneck pace to develop a vaccine. The notion that the highly diluted substances that homeopaths describe as remedies may offer protection from this threat will appear, to most people, intuitively implausible.
I don't want to get too far off point, but having heard many contradictory reports to it being unknown before December, having heard that the virus genome analysis looks like it was around from September 2019, I find it difficult to believe it was unknown before December. To be honest there are many viruses that are unknown to most of the public all the time. This one has attracted untold media attention and I doubt it's unknown to anyone now.
Yes there is no cure for it. As with the common cold, as with 'flu. As with so many things. All the more reason to boost our own immune system and get excited about the things we can do to be healthier. Which I've seen pretty much nowhere in mainstream media. Again, not so helpful. Wash your hands. Is that the best we've got? "Breakneck pace to develop a vaccine" sounds all very well - however to my awareness coronavirus vaccines are notoriously difficult to develop and have been previously attempted and abandoned. So we wait and see.
Yet our investigation using a database developed by the Good Thinking Society, a pro-science charity, reveals that British homeopaths are promoting herbal concoctions as a counter to Covid-19. One homeopath based in London is charging new patients £150 an hour for his “Coronavirus Remote Consulting” service, with an additional £20 monthly fee for sending prescription treatments from pharmacies.
For a start, homeopaths, unless they're also herbalists, are very unlikely to be promoting herbal concoctions. This rings warning bells for me in the accuracy of reporting to begin with. And if they are, then we're talking about herbal medicines not homeopathy, rendering the references to homeopathy in the article quite pointless.
The euphemism for this sort of ministering to the sick and vulnerable is complementary medicine, but it would be more accurate to refer to it as pseudoscience. And it has always been this way. Homeopathy was dreamt up by a German physician called Samuel Hahnemann in the 1790s. Its premise is that a patient can be cured of a malady by administering a drug or substance in so heavily diluted a form, either in water or alcohol, that sometimes not even a molecule of the original substance remains.
Dreamt up. A great phrase. Brilliant put down really. It discounts years and years of hard work, refining, countless case books, hundreds of happy patients, including many of the rich and famous of the times. Recoveries from illnesses that conventional medicine had no answers for.. It discounts millions of people using homeopathy around the world. It discounts thousands of practitioners working everyday with health and so much more. If you get the opportunity to read some of the old texts around homeopathy, Dr Elizabeth Hubbard for example. Totally inspirational. Also have a read of Rima Handley's A Homeopathic Love Story for a brilliant scene setting of where homeopathy came out of, but also the passion, the incredible work and amazing results. Dreamt up. In your dreams The Times.
It seems that the authors of the article have not heard of nanotechnology, nano medicines? Not just a euphemism for homeopathy, nano-medicines are something the conventional world are getting excited about, approved by the FDA since 1995. More on that here. And, do you know what? There is evidence to suggest this may be one way homeopathy may work too. Interesting. If you'd like to read about that more, here you go, or if you're more of a watcher, you might like the clip below from the film Magic Pills, mentioned earlier.
If you're intrigued by Professor Bellare, I was lucky enough to hear him talk at a conference several summers ago. There's more here if you'd like to explore the nano-medicine idea further.
There is no evidence that homeopathy is effective. A report by the House of Commons select committee on science and technology in 2010 concluded that homeopathic treatments performed no better than placebos, or dummy medicine, and that the principles on which they were based were scientifically implausible.
Oh my word. That old chestnut. "No evidence that homeopathy is effective". Wow. That anyone can still print that amazes me. There are years of evidence that it is effective. There are case notes on top of case notes. There are trials. There is a growing bank of evidence, and it's hugely exciting. The 2010 report and how it was carried out is shocking by the way, once you really start to look into it. You might like to find out more here. Whilst I'm here, The Australian Review, the most recent, and particularly damning review which echoed around the world, feels to be shrouded in mystery. The first review was abandoned, a new team was formed and the second review found that homeopathy was not effective in helping any medical condition. Particularly alarming now, given that recent investigations have discovered that “Contrary to some claims, the [first] review did not conclude that homeopathy was ineffective.” Read more here. More on the background of the Australian Review issues here.
In fact, whilst we're still on the topic of lack of evidence, and the author is about to move onto the Royal Family patronage, here's Dr Peter Fisher on that one. Dr Fisher was homeopath to The Queen until his recent death and speaks clearly about some of the issues involved here..
The supposed discipline of homeopathy retains its place in public life not because scientific researchers see a place for it but, in part at least, because it enjoys high-profile patronage. The Prince of Wales has urged that “science and homeopathy must work in harmony”, which is a bit like calling for an alliance of locksmiths and burglars.
Err... yes they do. Plenty of scientists, despite there being no glamour, no huge accolade, and plenty of stick to be taken, are intrigued, fascinated and very involved in homeopathy. Nice analogy, but no. I saw this clip doing the rounds today and feels so super relevant I wanted to share it here. Says it beautifully. Also "there is no scientific evidence homeopathy works" - wrong. Have a read here. And if you didn't watch Dr Peter Fisher a moment ago, do have a look at the short film above.
The Society of Homeopaths, even so, maintains the trappings of a professional organisation and keeps a register of accredited members. It reports to an independent regulatory organisation, the Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care, which is responsible for protecting the public. In a global pandemic that has infected more than 1.8 million people and shut down the world economy, false hope is seductive and deadly. British homeopaths are spreading it, and they must be held accountable.
I would argue that the media is spreading terror, and they should be held accountable. False hope from homeopaths? For a start homeopathy is far more efficacious than this article would have you know, and for seconds British homeopaths are a tiny, tiny group. If they are able to spread anything around the world then perhaps they and the medicine they are using is far more powerful than The Times, and the Good Thinking Society, who appear to be behind this article, would like us to know.
Homeopaths ‘risking lives with bogus coronavirus treatments’ runs the headline. Seriously? Again. But yes, indeed, another article. There are so many incorrect statements here I thought I'd run through it a step at a time as I'd done previously. The Times is in normal font. My comments in italics.
Monday April 13 2020, 12.01am, The Times
One website claimed that homeopathy can be “very highly effective in treating flu, and Covid‑19 is no exception”.
Medical experts have condemned homeopaths they accuse of giving false hope to coronavirus victims by offering bogus treatments.
Can we look at the word bogus for a start? From the Urban Dictionary, Bogus is a word going back a couple hundred years which refered to counterfeit money and anything else that's fake. It also means wrong, uncool, unfair, unreal, off, messed up. Popularized in the late '80's ...
Homeopathy has a long history also dating back a couple of hundred years - however should you wish to look at the history of homeopathy in epidemics and pandemics, you'd see a far less "bogus" picture than The Times may wish to paint. What you'd see is homeopathy out-performing conventional medicine. Time and again. And, you could argue that back then, in those historical times, the medicine of the time wasn't that great. Fair point perhaps. However recent history shows how effective homeopathy can be too. The study in Cuba where homeopathy was used as a prophylaxis for leptospirosis was hugely effective. There is a BMJ article on it here. A longer piece in homeopathy journal Hpathy here. Perhaps we should write it off as the Cubans were homeopaths running the trial so it couldn't have been accurate? Except they weren't. Dr Gustavo Bracho was Advisor to the President and General Director of Finlay Institute, Havana, Cuba, and head of the Homeopathy and Biotherapic Projects at the Institute. He is an experienced researcher in molecular and cellular biology, and has headed the Adjuvant Group within the Immunology Department of Finlay. In 2005-2006 he was a researcher in a Collaboration Project with the Flinders Medical Centre, Adelaide, Australia, examining vaccine production methods.
Bogus? I think not.
Across the country, hundreds of homeopathic practitioners have been identified using the pandemic to drive sales of “remedies” and consultations.
Again, I think not. No one is "driving" sales of homeopathic medicines. Except one thing I did find really interesting was that as soon as this began, sales of homeopathic remedies and supplements soared. Too early for any "driving force", I feel. This came from the people. To the point that pharmacies were overflowing with orders, I think totally unprecedented times. People wanted something to support their health and they voted with their orders.
The Times built a database together with the Good Thinking Society, a pro-science charity, to identify practitioners selling virus-related products and services. The investigation uncovered a wide range of examples that experts say could place lives at risk.
Even where to start on that one. The Good Thinking Society, a renowned anti-homeopathy organisation...
Sage Homeopathy, a north London-based business, states on its website, that homeopathy can be “very highly effective in treating flu, and Covid-19 is no exception”.
To be fair, I'm not all that on board with this one. Homeopathy can be highly effective for so many, many things, but we don't treat conditions, we treat people. We treat symptoms and give remedies based on the individual. I don't know if homeopathy can help anything and never guarantee that it will do. I can say afterwards where it has helped though. Do have a watch of the video here. There's some really fascinating information shared.
Also this video from medic Dr Elizabeth Thompson who talks about how homeopathy helped her with COVID-19 like symptoms.
It adds that in the past few weeks it has “treated the symptoms associated with this virus — high fever, dry persistent cough, difficult expectoration, intense muscle pain, chills, stabbing headache, loss of taste and smell, unquenchable thirst, relapsing symptoms and complete exhaustion with slow recovery”. The website states that fees are £25 a week for “all remedies and daily check-in by phone”.
The NHS advises that people should seek proper medical advice.
Of course. And I don't know any homeopath who would say otherwise. That said, I've heard of several people, who've consulted medics (do continue to do so - I would never suggest someone didn't), for example in A&E, who were told to go home, they weren't ill enough for admission. The most up to date advice via the NHS site is for less severe symptoms to take paracetamol and wait it out. Do wash your hands and stand 2m away from anyone. So, if there was another option to help with uncomfortable symptoms - surely it could be worth it? We had COVID-19 like symptoms earlier and self isolated for the appropriate time. Was it another virus? Does it matter? My main point was that homeopathy helped. Why would I not want to use it? There also seems to be an issue that homeopaths are charging for their services. This is their work. That's cheap. There is work behind the scenes to do on assessing which remedy to give. There is work in sending remedies out. Less than £3 a day for a fair amount of work. Fair play if it was hundreds, maybe it's worth noting or complaining about, but that is nothing.
Over recent decades the Prince of Wales has consistently campaigned for homeopathic treatments. However, The Times understands that he did not receive homeopathic treatment when he contracted the virus.
Prince Charles is the patron of the Faculty of Homeopathy and once wrote a letter to the public titled “Science and homeopathy must work in harmony”.
Yup. So they should. And, to be fair, I think they can and they do in many places. The UK seems to be fairly backwards, or at least the skeptic community, in thinking so. And yet globally there is loads of really fascinating research going on. This popular video recently did the rounds and shows how homeopathy works in plant models. The scientific study, led by a Swiss research group, showed homeopathic arsenic to be more effective for treating poisoned duckweed than water alone.
Practitioners suggest a range of homeopathic treatments for coronavirus including phosphorus, bryonia and ipecac.
Well, yes. These are remedies that can help in many situations and have been used for many, many years. But again, I refer you back to my mention of symptoms, not labels. We are not treating diseases, we're treating people.
South Devon Homeopathy advises the plant aconite, for less severe symptoms, and arsenicum — highly diluted arsenic — “if the symptoms become more severe”.
Very basic, but relevant info - you could perhaps think that the article actually wanted to share something helpful with the public. Aconite can be a great remedy to take at the start of a cold, flu - and was a fabulous remedy for my daughter with croup many moons ago. Arsenicum helped me along with symptoms at various stages too.
Edzard Ernst, emeritus professor at Exeter University, warned that the pubic was being put at risk by the promotions. He said: “Such marketing is misleading, dishonest and endangers public health.
“To offer homeopathy for the treatment of or the prevention of coronavirus is unethical to the extreme.
“The Society of Homeopaths have the duty to forbid these things and protect the public; unfortunately, they also have a very poor track record for doing their duty.”
Perhaps, and I think this is a very real problem, the public is being misled by being told homeopathy is a waste of time. Perhaps, something that could help individuals is being ignored. Perhaps that is unethical. It just strikes me that if there's something more elegant, more refined than "just take paracetamol for everything", that might help with symptoms - fatigue, fever, shortness of breath perhaps. These were the ones it helped us massively with for example - perhaps we should be talking about it more, not less.
In a statement, the Good Thinking Society said that the Society of Homeopaths is failing to meet the standards required from it by the national regulator.
“Any responsible register — especially one which continues to enjoy the accreditation and conferred legitimacy of the government’s Professional Standards Authority — should make it absolutely clear that their registrants should not make any claims regarding coronavirus, and certainly should not be selling patients ineffective treatments during this crisis,” said Michael Marshall, project director at the Good Thinking Society.
To be fair, should the GTS have their way we as homeopaths should not make any claims about anything. We could say we're nice people. Perhaps. But as to the long efficacy of homeopathy in epidemics? I'm sure we shouldn't talk about that. At all.
The homeopaths advertising their services were approached for comment but had not responded by the time of publication.
Well, fair enough really. It's not like there was going to be a balanced article written.
Interesting times. Probably one of the easiest summaries of the current situation. I'm having a lot of conversations with people as to whether it might be a wake up call - to the way we live, to how we care for our planet, to how we care for each other.
We've never watched an isolated disease in the same way ever before, and that isn't to say that we shouldn't. It isn't to question what we're doing. Others are questioning some of that far louder than I, with far more authority - infectious diseases experts, medical professionals from various fields. But what I would ask is perspective. As of taking this screen shot, around 8.15am this morning, 56,000 people had died today. It's clearly an American site but doesn't make a huge difference where the stats are coming from, the comparison is the same.
Look at our spending - today - look at the cars produced. 19 million cars produced today to our 135,000 births. Do we need all of that? Some would say economy. I, in my less educated way around those matters, might say greed. An insatiable greed, which possibly is tearing us apart - can we use a global wake up call to help address this?
Do we need the shiniest, newest, best, or the one that works longest. Why are white goods not made to last? Why are we constantly marketed to about needing more? There isn't room for it all. And we are drowning in stuff. Just as, in later stages of this virus, we are drowning in mucus. The lungs of the earth are blocked, our lungs are blocked. How about less stuff, more space to breathe?
And, whilst adhering to government suggestions, how about some space to look at how we can take care of ourselves better. How we nourish ourselves instead of eating junk food and expecting our bodies to function well. How we exercise to stay well, not to look good. Anybody can have a bikini body - take your body and stick a bikini on it. Surely it shouldn't be once a year for a 2 week summer holiday. We need to learn how to support our immune system, how to enhance how we live, how to value this one body we have. After all, if we haven't got that, we haven't got anywhere to live.
I write, wishing you well in supporting yours and those loved ones to you.
Lastly, I can't leave this without writing briefly about how homeopathy has helped massively in many epidemics through history - there's video links in earlier blogs. We are not treating a named condition, we are treating symptoms and I'm seeing clients with flu-like symptoms currently doing really well using homeopathy. www.findahomeopath.org may help if you need to find someone near to you. Most homeopaths I know, myself included, are working via online systems so that's another option widely available.
Interesting this should pop up (I'm still on my unfollow mission due to overwhelm of info and working through pages I've liked etc) on the same morning I've responded to someone with some thoughts on - wait for it - social isolation.
My response is here...along with a few additional thoughts. I think those thoughts are all really valid and it's good to honour them - and any training you had before (not formal necessarily) on mindfulness/being present etc is needed right now. It's time to dig deep and be, to tread lightly where we can I feel. I definitely identify with the down thoughts especially with the 'lockdown' going on... I'm mildly optimistic there may be a new normal - if not from the government, from the people, and that we'll all, if nothing else, appreciate the hugs, love, contact more then and for now we can appreciate what we have here - which is flowers opening to the sun, lengthening days, birdsong, having people we love in our lives, even if not in direct contact with them - and lots more of course.
I recommend FaceTime calls for dinner times with friends/family - they've really cheered us up and lifted spirits, also making that one 'allowed' exercise session count - we've been out for an hour/hour and a half with the dogs for the last 3 days. And speaking/writing about the discomfort then coming back to the positives we can take from the situation. I don't think switching immediately to the positive and ignoring the feelings is OK (that feels like a sticking plaster - as I explained yesterday to my long-suffering boyfriend) but to for me to consciously not stay too long in the muddy bit is definitely easier for him - when I've been in the mud recently that is.
Sending love - get creative is probably my best tip - with ways to include lots of people without it being physical contact. I'm thinking I want a dinner party via zoom/whats app (can have up to 4 on WA) or a kitchen disco. We've a visioning group - done vision boards together and that's a really supportive place for going through things right now, along with creative ideas of ways to process feelings, e.g. mood cards. You could even have a knit and natter (ours is a stitch and bitch) group online like this.
There's some brilliant people offering food parcels/take away - we're excited about That Vegan Chef doing food boxes and will be ordering this week. Businesses offering classes online - my favourite (actually only so far in my pilates career) and brilliant teacher Amber Rose Pilates and Wellbeing is doing classes via Zoom - which now anyone can attend - not only the people in this area.
Creating a new temporary normal during these times may help where you can. I read a lovely post going round on Facebook by a psychologist who'd been talking to her clients about what they needed, and will share that at the end - it's quite a long read and I thought there were many worthwhile points made.
The sunshine has definitely helped me the last few days and I'm mildly concerned about when it goes this weekend - but I'll be OK, the practices above will help and I'm taking time to watch webinars, listen to YouTube whilst making dinner/lunches for everyone at home. This is a really interesting one for anyone interested in homeopathic treatment of epidemics, which is a time that it's really come into its own. Also yesterday I was fascinated by this one featuring an infectious diseases specialist in Germany. So I guess I'm questioning things lots too, as, it seems, are specialists in the field, but equally this is where we are right now, at this point in our collective history.
Being gentle with each other, supportive, nourishing our minds and bodies, learning new things (I'm doing Wim Hof breathing techniques when I wake up now) and am excited about my new drum hopefully coming soon... I've up cycled a table and am planning to have my first Annie Sloan experiments with a set of drawers - actually two sets. I want to learn how to do the ombre technique. I threw my toys out after waxing my table (and it turns out it looks brilliant!) so wish me luck!! I guess remember you're human - it's OK to be frustrated, just remembering what we have and are grateful for is helpful too. Diving into things we'd meant to do for ages - my wardrobe and a bookcase - possibly also our DVD collection - are on the list for me too.
So to close, dig deep, hang on in there, support each other and love much,
Edit 2: A lot of people have been attempting to connect via friend requests, so I thought it best to create a professional page that people could like and follow. Please connect for future information via Eileen M Feliciano, Psy.D. At the request of readers, I will share a mental health tip of the day until quarantine is over! I will also be posting useful mental health articles related to the pandemic, as well as general mental health.
Edit 1: I am surprised and heartened that this has been shared so widely! People have asked me to credential myself, so to that end, I am a doctoral level Psychologist in NYS with a Psy.D. in the specialities of School and Clinical Psychology.
After having thirty-one sessions this week with patients where the singular focus was COVID-19 and how to cope, I decided to consolidate my advice and make a list that I hope is helpful to all. I can't control a lot of what is going on right now, but I can contribute this.
MENTAL HEALTH WELLNESS TIPS FOR QUARANTINE
1. Stick to a routine. Go to sleep and wake up at a reasonable time, write a schedule that is varied and includes time for work as well as self-care.
2. Dress for the social life you want, not the social life you have. Get showered and dressed in comfortable clothes, wash your face, brush your teeth. Take the time to do a bath or a facial. Put on some bright colors. It is amazing how our dress can impact our mood.
3. Get out at least once a day, for at least thirty minutes. If you are concerned of contact, try first thing in the morning, or later in the evening, and try less traveled streets and avenues. If you are high risk or living with those who are high risk, open the windows and blast the fan. It is amazing how much fresh air can do for spirits.
4. Find some time to move each day, again daily for at least thirty minutes. If you don’t feel comfortable going outside, there are many YouTube videos that offer free movement classes, and if all else fails, turn on the music and have a dance party!
5. Reach out to others, you guessed it, at least once daily for thirty minutes. Try to do FaceTime, Skype, phone calls, texting—connect with other people to seek and provide support. Don’t forget to do this for your children as well. Set up virtual playdates with friends daily via FaceTime, Facebook Messenger Kids, Zoom, etc—your kids miss their friends, too!
6. Stay hydrated and eat well. This one may seem obvious, but stress and eating often don’t mix well, and we find ourselves over-indulging, forgetting to eat, and avoiding food. Drink plenty of water, eat some good and nutritious foods, and challenge yourself to learn how to cook something new!
7. Develop a self-care toolkit. This can look different for everyone. A lot of successful self-care strategies involve a sensory component (seven senses: touch, taste, sight, hearing, smell, vestibular (movement) and proprioceptive (comforting pressure). An idea for each: a soft blanket or stuffed animal, a hot chocolate, photos of vacations, comforting music, lavender or eucalyptus oil, a small swing or rocking chair, a weighted blanket. A journal, an inspirational book, or a mandala coloring book is wonderful, bubbles to blow or blowing watercolor on paper through a straw are visually appealing as well as work on controlled breath. Mint gum, Listerine strips, ginger ale, frozen Starburst, ice packs, and cold are also good for anxiety regulation. For children, it is great to help them create a self-regulation comfort box (often a shoe-box or bin they can decorate) that they can use on the ready for first-aid when overwhelmed.
8. Spend extra time playing with children. Children will rarely communicate how they are feeling, but will often make a bid for attention and communication through play. Don’t be surprised to see therapeutic themes of illness, doctor visits, and isolation play through. Understand that play is cathartic and helpful for children—it is how they process their world and problem solve, and there’s a lot they are seeing and experiencing in the now.
9. Give everyone the benefit of the doubt, and a wide berth. A lot of cooped up time can bring out the worst in everyone. Each person will have moments when they will not be at their best. It is important to move with grace through blowups, to not show up to every argument you are invited to, and to not hold grudges and continue disagreements. Everyone is doing the best they can to make it through this.
10. Everyone find their own retreat space. Space is at a premium, particularly with city living. It is important that people think through their own separate space for work and for relaxation. For children, help them identify a place where they can go to retreat when stressed. You can make this place cozy by using blankets, pillows, cushions, scarves, beanbags, tents, and “forts”. It is good to know that even when we are on top of each other, we have our own special place to go to be alone.
11. Expect behavioral issues in children, and respond gently. We are all struggling with disruption in routine, none more than children, who rely on routines constructed by others to make them feel safe and to know what comes next. Expect increased anxiety, worries and fears, nightmares, difficulty separating or sleeping, testing limits, and meltdowns. Do not introduce major behavioral plans or consequences at this time—hold stable and focus on emotional connection.
12. Focus on safety and attachment. We are going to be living for a bit with the unprecedented demand of meeting all work deadlines, homeschooling children, running a sterile household, and making a whole lot of entertainment in confinement. We can get wrapped up in meeting expectations in all domains, but we must remember that these are scary and unpredictable times for children. Focus on strengthening the connection through time spent following their lead, through physical touch, through play, through therapeutic books, and via verbal reassurances that you will be there for them in this time.
13. Lower expectations and practice radical self-acceptance. This idea is connected with #12. We are doing too many things in this moment, under fear and stress. This does not make a formula for excellence. Instead, give yourself what psychologists call “radical self acceptance”: accepting everything about yourself, your current situation, and your life without question, blame, or pushback. You cannot fail at this—there is no roadmap, no precedent for this, and we are all truly doing the best we can in an impossible situation.
14. Limit social media and COVID conversation, especially around children. One can find tons of information on COVID-19 to consume, and it changes minute to minute. The information is often sensationalized, negatively skewed, and alarmist. Find a few trusted sources that you can check in with consistently, limit it to a few times a day, and set a time limit for yourself on how much you consume (again 30 minutes tops, 2-3 times daily). Keep news and alarming conversations out of earshot from children—they see and hear everything, and can become very frightened by what they hear.
15. Notice the good in the world, the helpers. There is a lot of scary, negative, and overwhelming information to take in regarding this pandemic. There are also a ton of stories of people sacrificing, donating, and supporting one another in miraculous ways. It is important to counter-balance the heavy information with the hopeful information.
16. Help others. Find ways, big and small, to give back to others. Support restaurants, offer to grocery shop, check in with elderly neighbors, write psychological wellness tips for others—helping others gives us a sense of agency when things seem out of control.
17. Find something you can control, and control the heck out of it. In moments of big uncertainty and overwhelm, control your little corner of the world. Organize your bookshelf, purge your closet, put together that furniture, group your toys. It helps to anchor and ground us when the bigger things are chaotic.
18. Find a long-term project to dive into. Now is the time to learn how to play the keyboard, put together a huge jigsaw puzzle, start a 15 hour game of Risk, paint a picture, read the Harry Potter series, binge watch an 8-season show, crochet a blanket, solve a Rubix cube, or develop a new town in Animal Crossing. Find something that will keep you busy, distracted, and engaged to take breaks from what is going on in the outside world.
19. Engage in repetitive movements and left-right movements. Research has shown that repetitive movement (knitting, coloring, painting, clay sculpting, jump roping etc) especially left-right movement (running, drumming, skating, hopping) can be effective at self-soothing and maintaining self-regulation in moments of distress.
20. Find an expressive art and go for it. Our emotional brain is very receptive to the creative arts, and it is a direct portal for release of feeling. Find something that is creative (sculpting, drawing, dancing, music, singing, playing) and give it your all. See how relieved you can feel. It is a very effective way of helping kids to emote and communicate as well!
21. Find lightness and humor in each day. There is a lot to be worried about, and with good reason. Counterbalance this heaviness with something funny each day: cat videos on YouTube, a stand-up show on Netflix, a funny movie—we all need a little comedic relief in our day, every day.
22. Reach out for help—your team is there for you. If you have a therapist or psychiatrist, they are available to you, even at a distance. Keep up your medications and your therapy sessions the best you can. If you are having difficulty coping, seek out help for the first time. There are mental health people on the ready to help you through this crisis. Your children’s teachers and related service providers will do anything within their power to help, especially for those parents tasked with the difficult task of being a whole treatment team to their child with special challenges. Seek support groups of fellow home-schoolers, parents, and neighbors to feel connected. There is help and support out there, any time of the day—although we are physically distant, we can always connect virtually.
23. “Chunk” your quarantine, take it moment by moment. We have no road map for this. We don’t know what this will look like in 1 day, 1 week, or 1 month from now. Often, when I work with patients who have anxiety around overwhelming issues, I suggest that they engage in a strategy called “chunking”—focusing on whatever bite-sized piece of a challenge that feels manageable. Whether that be 5 minutes, a day, or a week at a time—find what feels doable for you, and set a time stamp for how far ahead in the future you will let yourself worry. Take each chunk one at a time, and move through stress in pieces.
24. Remind yourself daily that this is temporary. It seems in the midst of this quarantine that it will never end. It is terrifying to think of the road stretching ahead of us. Please take time to remind yourself that although this is very scary and difficult, and will go on for an undetermined amount of time, it is a season of life and it will pass. We will return to feeing free, safe, busy, and connected in the days ahead.
25. Find the lesson. This whole crisis can seem sad, senseless, and at times, avoidable. When psychologists work with trauma, a key feature to helping someone work through said trauma is to help them find their agency, the potential positive outcomes they can effect, the meaning and construction that can come out of destruction. What can each of us learn here, in big and small ways, from this crisis? What needs to change in ourselves, our homes, our communities, our nation, and our world?
Is this virus the enemy? Is any virus the enemy? In the conventional world of thinking, of course it is. I'm seeing reference to 'fight' to 'battle' to 'wipe this out' and of course 'kill it'. And yet they keep on coming. Viruses that is, not patriarchal battle references. Viruses, being clever little beasts, mutate. So every year the flu shot for example, is a best guess, not what the flu virus actually is this year. It's a prediction. And sometimes it's pretty close. Sometimes, according to the gov.uk stats, it has a 15% efficacy rate. So not that near. However, I'm not on a plan to head down that particular rabbit hole right now.
What I'm curious about this morning is where is the talk of 'increase our immunity', 'strengthen our vital force' (that one would likely be unique to homeopaths - others talk of energy in their own terms). Where is that? It's coming - but from the alternative/complementary health sector. Where are the recipes brim packed with nutrients to make you feel great and give your body a boost of much needed vitamins and minerals. They're out there but you need to look. Do look, and take the time you're not commuting to fall in love with creating beautiful, vibrant, life giving dishes. That is if you don't already.
Where are the antidotes to fear? The viral pandemic, as I see it has been overtaken by the fear pandemic, which, as we know, weakens our ability to be able to respond well to external stressors. Maybe look at ways to redress that. Perhaps tap into laughter yoga online if you can. I've been wanting to train in that for some time - maybe helped by the suggestion that at times the laughter from my work room seems to be a part of the therapy. It's not always laughter in there. And I do generally discount it as a part of what I do... But laughter as a whole? I do think it can be so very healing. Where are the comedies streamed into our screens to offset the news? They might be on there - I got rid of our TV licence last year as a cost-cutting and stepping away from media exercise - if so tune into them! Find them in other places and have a good belly laugh.
Chat with friends - we've loved having dinner with friends via video call and has been a great way to connect, laugh and be.We've all found it refreshing.
I'm going with supplements, homeopathy, getting into the sun (whilst walking the dogs or sitting in the garden), going to start online pilates as of tomorrow. Amber, my fabulous friend and brilliant teacher has set up online as a result of the situation. I highly recommend her. You can join her Facebook group here and start changing your life - and body - for the better. I genuinely feel her classes help make me a better person. This break in the rain is making me think that running could be back on the menu (yup, I've been rather fair-weather around that recently). We're eating well, loads of fresh foods, home cooked, whole food, plant based. We're also listening to guidelines and adhering to these. This blog is in now way supposed to replace those. Do be aware of NHS and Gov.uk suggestions too.
Where are the people reassuring us that this one might not be pleasant, might be pretty virulent, but after this time we'll start on things which cause far more deaths/year? Heart disease, diabetes - which I know can be resolved, or at least massively improved with diet and lifestyle changes, even if you aren't a homeopathy fan (which I've seen help in both) there's loads can be done. Climate changes may well kill far more, and yet we drag our heels with that one still.
I've included some suggestions in earlier blogs of things we may do to improve our immune system in terms of homeopathic remedies and supplements. I'd love to see it out there in the mainstream, but I think we may be waiting a while.
I wonder also if there's a personal invitation to many of us to stop living in an unsustainable way. Grounding us certainly feels like an invite to 'make do and mend', to get creative with ideas, and ways of being. To grow our own instead of fighting at the supermarket. It'll be a challenge in a terrace but challenges provide opportunity - right?!
Lastly, to just mention that I'm aware many may struggle over the coming months and where finances are an issue I'm open to offering reduced prices - contact me if you want to discuss this.
With love to all.
There's a few things I want to share - and they're really new to me. My thoughts feel to be in development but I felt others might find some comfort from them. One thing I need to say is the situation was frustrating me and was really getting me down, hence taking action to step away from news, from constant media on the topic. It's definitely something that helped ease my anxiety around it and whilst I can dip in here and there, constantly bombarding me from all angles didn't feel good.
Another is that I have this feeling... this could just be crazy talk - you can stop reading here if you like - but if you're with me so far, my feeling is perhaps we could start to find a new way through. The fact that we're all so busy all of the time, too busy to talk, too busy to stop - in fact too busy to stop until our body makes us. I've been there and it's really not clever. To burnout. To push and push and push - for what? What's all the striving for?
For some of us, for money, for food, to survive. To support our families. I've been a single parent - with maintenance input - and have friends who've done it all themselves. I have support from an incredible family. They really are amazing. I've had friends who've done it without that. So yes, some of the striving is needed, and I would never want to downplay that. Striving meant survival. Once it reaches a certain threshold though, the keeping getting more and more and more all the time. Do we need to do that? Society has certainly told us so. Nature however shows us that there is growth and death and an eternal cycle of letting go and enjoying and letting go again.
I do have concerns right now - for self employed people unable to work online, or those on zero hour contracts who have nothing lined up in terms of income due to their line of work or circumstances, for an uncertain future. And I'd like to be able to do something about that. A fund? Help those near me if I can. I'm unsure how that needs to unfold but without support from a government source to help ease the impact of these times, I feel it needs to come from somewhere. I'd love to have conversations with those who may have insights into what something like that could look like. I guess the food banks are open and running but feels like we're going to need more than that. You can't pay a bill with a tin of beans. It feels like perhaps those who've got a few spare £s could help out those who haven't. Not as a loan, my feeling is as an unconditional gift of kindness. If you're interested do get in touch.
Concerns around health for loved ones and others is another one, though I'm not heavily tapping into the fear around that. I'm doing what I can and there's a great medical service when it's needed, and also much homeopathy can do so much to support viral flu type symptoms. My previous blogs Current times and Current times: part 2 share some thoughts. Since those were written I've had contact with colleagues updating me on more cases that are doing well with homeopathy. One was someone with type 1 diabetes too. A good recovery using homeopathic medicines. Of course take the conventional advice. I don't suggest anyone doesn't. But if you're a holistic health advocate or user, there's much you can do alongside that too.
What I am excited about though, is that perhaps there can be a new way we do things. We've become a throwaway society focussed on growth and expansion and frankly more and bigger and bigger. Bigger cars, bigger TVs, bigger holidays. More. Doesn't work? Get a new one. My partner has had a non-working Dyson for about 4 years now, this last week has stripped it all back and put it together - it works perfectly. That's not my thing, but I'm so happy he's done it and love the make do and mend approach. We've a table, given to us for free by a friend and I've just painted it up - looks as good as new and am so excited about waxing it and sitting down for our first meal at it. I've refurbished cushions recently for a new bedroom from old ones I've had for years with a cut off of fabric I found at a local shop.
Perhaps we can develop better, more cohesive communities. Perhaps we can rally around and look after our elders - which seems to be happening in communities around the UK. Maybe this can continue after the current time. The elders have so much to offer in so many ways and to honour this is beautiful.
I've no answers, only questions, but I guess my big one is, we're here right now, so what are we going to do - to feel fear and panic, or to feel love for our planet and our fellow creatures? I'm going for the latter where I can. I'm excited about the creativity that might come about, the gentle leaning into nature. It feels, it really does, like this could be an opportunity for the planet to breathe, to recover. And I believe we can use it for such ourselves. To go inside, to meditate, to discover, instead of distracting and striving outwards all the time.
Get in touch if you'd like to be a part of something - I don't know what it feels like or looks like but if you've got a similar vision I'd love to hear from you.
With much love,
I'm a Homeopath working in the Skipton (North Yorkshire) area. I am also able to offer food intolerance testing using Kinesiology and advice around diet and lifestyle.
Em Colley MARH, Practitioner of Classical Homeopathy, BSc(Hons) Psychology and Neuroscience
Focussed Mindfulness Practitioner
Dip (SNHS) Kinesiology
Dip (SNHS) Holistic Nutrition
Certificate in Whole Food, Plant Based Nutrition