I have always been a proponent of spending time outdoors in the fresh air, including the practice of forest bathing therapy for physical, mental, and spiritual wellbeing. Unfortunately, most people spend almost 90% of their time in indoor environments, much to the detriment of their health.Continue reading “Outdoors vs. Indoors: Where is it Safe and Where Should you Avoid Gathering?”
“When one tries to rise above nature, one is liable to fall below it.”
– Sherlock Holmes
Exploring ‘Sherlock’s Corner’ of Mederi Medicine
From a wholistic perspective, cancer and other complex diseases require a deep investigation in several areas and involves the layering of various lenses, both macro and micro. Aptly, the Mederi Medicine approach has been greatly influenced by the problem-solving methods of the fictional detective, Sherlock Holmes. This is why I refer to the investigational component of Mederi Medicine as “Sherlock’s Corner”, to pay homage to Holmes’ logic.
Of equal relevance to the exploration, collection, and analysis of data in medicine is the understanding and application of hermeneutics. Hermeneutics is the science and method of interpretation, the process that helps us determine what is most relevant when considering the information within the context of a patient’s life story, which involves communication and relationship. Dr. Drew Leder explains that “Clinical medicine can best be understood not as a purified science, but as a hermeneutical enterprise: that is, as involved with the interpretation of (methodological) texts.” He suggests that the hermeneutics of medicine can be broken down into four text categories: “the “experiential text” as the patient’s experience of the illness; the “narrative text” as the history of the illness; the “physical text” as the objective examination of the patient’s body; the “instrumental text” as the construction by diagnostic technologies.” The information generated, when pooled together, can be useful in developing an understanding of the underlying disease, as well as a treatment plan. Leder further suggests that: “Certain flaws in modern medicine arise from its refusal of a hermeneutic self-understanding…in seeking to escape all interpretive subjectivity, medicine has threatened to expunge its primary subject–the living, experiencing patient.”Continue reading “Exploring ‘Sherlock’s Corner’ of Mederi Medicine”
In the midst of the busyness and celebration of the holidays, let us all as a collective pause to shine forth as a light with loving kindness and goodness.
Be the Light
The Winter Solstice marks the longest night of the year, and the gradual but noticeable shift toward the light. Bonfires, candles, and twinkling holiday lights remind us of how even a small light illuminates the darkness.
“We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.” ~ Mother Teresa
At this time of festivity, let us draw inspiration from the Christmas Psalms, and shine forth into the world.
A Trilogy of Christmas Psalms: “Sing to the Lord a New Song” (Psalm 96); “God Reigns! Earth Rejoices” (Psalm 97); “Joy to the World” (Psalm 98).
The ancient hymn “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” is sung during Advent and on Christmas Day. Believed to have originated with a community of fifth-century Jewish Christians, the hymn was perhaps part of their Hanukkah festival. The text contains many elements of the Hanukkah celebration, with remembrance of wandering in the wilderness, darkness and death, but also the celebration of light.
“Dispel the shadows of the night and turn our darkness into light. Rejoice! Rejoice! Immanuel shall come to you, O Israel. O come, O King of nations, bind in one the hearts of all mankind.”
At this sacred time, I wish you a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, and Joyous Solstice, and a New Year blessed with love, light, peace, and wellbeing. Let us pray for one another that we may all “Be the light.”
In my observation, far too many people today are merely surviving instead of thriving. I attribute most of the erosion of well being and resilience—including the growing prevalence of chronic, degenerative diseases—to the increased stressors of contemporary society. Although the role of stress in disease has long been recognized, it is now more fully understood through the advances of scientific research.
Perhaps the biggest breakthrough in cancer has been the discovery of the relationship between the sympathetic nervous system and cancer growth and reoccurrence. This was first detected though observational research showing a strong association between cancer patients on beta-blockers and a reduction in reoccurrence rates, a slowing of cancer growth, and decreased angiogenesis. 1-6 Researchers studying the relationship of vagal nerve activity (measured through heart rate variability) and the neuro-modulation of tumors found improved overall survival rate in cancer patients when the parasympathetic nervous system (the system responsible for calming the body) is activated.7
These are exciting discoveries, and support my life’s work on the importance of using herbal adaptogens and nervines to help the body adapt to physical and emotional stressors. Neither disease nor treatment of disease, including natural approaches through health optimization, can be described in a linear reductionist model, which is what almost everyone attempts to do. It is the collective effect of the perturbations in multiple underlying networks that result in the symptoms of disease, thus effective treatment should be directed at strengthening and harmonizing all systems of the organism. Continue reading “Adaptogens – Essential Support for Restoration, Protection, Resilience, and Longevity”
St. Francis has been a major influence in my life since I was in my early twenties and searching for Truth. I studied a bit of theology in school, and being brought up as an Italian Roman Catholic, had more questions than answers. I thought, “Either there is a God, our faith should be our guiding force in our lives, and we should serve and love God and others, or we should stop pretending.” It seemed so simple, and so clear.
I looked for Truth in other faiths, but Francis pointed me back to Catholicism. I recall one day thinking, “If St. Francis could live with such clarity, compassion, and generosity of spirit and never stray from his faith, nor even question it, who am I to think I need to?” When I discovered Eastern Christianity from an Eastern Rite Franciscan monastery, I found my home. I joined the Order of St. Francis as a Secular (3rd Order) Franciscan, took vows, and spent close to three years living in a Byzantine Eastern Catholic Rite Franciscan Order in New Canaan, Connecticut.
I find the teachings of St. Francis to be as relevant today as they were back in the 13th century. Consider this letter that he wrote to all leaders of his day, reflect on the world we live in now, and contemplate how we each can do our part to create ‘heaven on earth.’ Continue reading “A Blessing for the Feast Day of St. Francis, October 4th 2017”
To achieve optimal health and well-being, we must not only pay attention to how we care for ourselves physically but also attend to our emotional, intellectual, and spiritual well-being and happiness. This may involve questioning long-held beliefs and ways of being in the world that no longer serve us.
For example, most of us worry from time to time—and some people worry most of the time. But the reality is that worrying is a futile activity. Worrying about world events, other people’s lives or even your own life has no effect on the outcome. In fact, worrying does nothing except create fear and unhappiness in the precious moments of your life. But interestingly enough, while worrying doesn’t ever improve a situation, cultivating an attitude of happiness and trust can.