Showing posts from October, 2008

Something from Nothing: Preposterous, Placebo, or Possibility?

For the last several days I've been in Vancouver, BC learning from Jan Scholten MD , a homeopathic physician from Utrecht, in the Netherlands. Over 100 other homeopaths from all over Canada and the USA gathered to hear about his current work with mineral and plant remedies. He's especially interested these days in people who have autoimmune diseases. Dr. Scholten has given a great deal to the world, including now working with HIV patients in Africa. He and his colleagues with the AIDS Remedy Fund piloted a study in Kenya with patients using a homeopathic remedy called " Iquilai ," said to restore balance of mineral nutrients needed for effective immune function. AIDS is a disease that many consider hopeless, especially in Africa. Perhaps it doesn't have to be . . . and as Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len might say, we don't really know what is going on anyway. Prominent symptoms AIDS patients experience include opportunistic respiratory infections, loss of appetite, w

"Only God works, and I do my cleaning": Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len

The movie The Secret (2006) popularized the Law of Attraction. According to it, our thoughts create our reality by magnetizing events and circumstances that correspond to their "vibration". Some say that through using this Law, we can manifest our dreams at will. From The Secret's official web site : "The Secret explains with simplicity the law that is governing all lives, and offers the knowledge of how to create -- intentionally and effortlessly -- a joyful life. This is the secret to everything -- the secret to unlimited happiness, love, health and prosperity." Millions of people including Oprah Winfrey have embraced this movie's teachings; new "Law of Attraction" books, coaches, and training programs seem to appear every day. These programs teach people to formulate and affirm intentions for what they want in their lives. Some have found, however, that this Law may not always "work" as consciously planned -- especially if unconscio

An unusual cause (and cure) for physician burnout

As a psychiatrist, I've worked in many general hospitals and inpatient psychiatric units -- including specialized ones for forensically mentally ill people. Patients arrive on such units in all kinds of distress: severe depression, psychosis, suicide attempts, domestic violence, drug and alcohol abuse, and sometimes criminal offenses. Many also have additional problems like diabetes, hypertension, delirium, or intractible medication side effects. Bureaucracy and paperwork can be monstrous in themselves, even before you reach the patients. Physician, therapist, and nursing staff burnout thrive in such environments. So I've been in awe of Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len's experiences working at Hawaii State Hospital in the 1980's. Detailed accounts of these are in the book Zero Limits , which he and Dr. Joe Vitale co-authored. But the nutshell version is that while he was there -- doing only his Ho'oponopono cleaning, no conventional therapy -- all but 2 patients on a dangerou

Would you abandon a child?

This morning the Arizona Republic captured a disturbing story about a 14-year-old Iowa girl abandoned in a Nebraska hospital . It's a mirror of many others, including a father who recently surrendered 9 of his 10 children (ages 1 to 17) at Creighton University Hospital. His wife had died, and he could no longer cope with the burden of raising them. The oldest child was not abandoned. Officials have attributed such events to the misuse of " Safe Haven " laws, intended to prevent infanticide and babies being left to die in trash dumpsters or elsewhere. All 50 states but District of Columbia have adopted these laws, which can unfortunately have unintended consequences in these hard economic times. I n the Creighton University Hospital case, other family members were upset about not being asked for help before surrendering the children. For whatever reason, the father felt he had nowhere else to turn but the hospital. I can imagine what the teens and children might feel a

Peace Begins with Me

Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len reminded me recently that his teacher Morrnah Simeona , the kahuna who updated the ancient Hawaiian problem-solving practice of ho'oponopono, kept a sign upon her desk. "Peace Begins with Me," it said. People came to Morrnah from all over for various kinds of healing, especially spiritual; she was also expert in massage. She was apparently very relaxed about all this, and was even known to fall asleep during training seminars. She went about her business, practicing the inner peace conveyed by her desk sign. She also got results. This kind of calmness sometimes eludes me. People come to doctors hoping for some kind of relief. So I get anxious when they're suffering; I feel both their pain and and the need to relieve it. Morrnah probably cared a great deal for others, or she wouldn't have made herself available to them. But she also taught that getting too wound up in others' pain makes one useless as a healer. In my own case, the danger