An asclepeion was a healing temple, sacred to the god Asclepius, in ancient Greece and Rome. Starting around 350 BC, the cult of Asclepius became increasingly popular. Pilgrims flocked to asclepieia to be healed, slept overnight, and reported their dreams to a priest the following day. He prescribed a cure, often a visit to the baths or a gymnasium.
Asclepeia provided carefully controlled spaces conducive to healing. In the Asclepieion of Epidaurus, three large marble boards preserved the names, case histories, complaints, and cures of about 70 patients. Some of the surgical cures listed, such as the opening of an abdominal abscess or the removal of traumatic foreign material, are realistic enough to have taken place with the patient in a dream-like state of induced sleep known as enkoimesis, similar to anesthesia, induced with the help of soporific substances such as opium.
Since snakes were sacred to Asclepius, they were often used in healing rituals. Non-venomous snakes were left to crawl on the floor in dormitories where the sick and injured slept. Statues of Hygieia, the goddess of cleanliness, were covered by women’s hair and pieces of Babylonian clothing. According to inscriptions, the same sacrifices were offered at Paros.
Hippocrates is said to have received his medical training at an asclepieion on the isle of Kos. Prior to becoming the personal physician to the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius, Galen treated and studied at the famed asclepieion at Pergamon.
Saw Palmetto is a small palm tree, normally reaching a height of around 3–6 feet. Its trunk is sprawling, and it grows in clumps or dense thickets in sandy coastal lands or as undergrowth in pine woods or hardwood hammocks.
The light green leaves of the palm have a bare stem terminating in a rounded fan of about 20 leaflets. The upper stem is armed with sharp teeth or spines that give the species its common name. The spines are easily capable of breaking the skin, and protection should be worn when working around a Saw Palmetto.
The fruits of the Saw Palmetto are highly enriched with fatty acids and phytosterols, and extracts of the fruits have been the subject of intensive research for the treatment of urinary tract infections. This extract is also commonly used for other medical conditions.
Aboriginal Americans used the fruit for food and in the treatment of a variety of urinary and reproductive system problems. The Mayans drank it as a tonic, and the Seminoles used the berries as an expectorant and antiseptic. The extract has been suggested as a potential treatment for male pattern baldness.
Tragacanth is a natural gum obtained from the dried sap of several species of legumes of the genus Astragalus. Some of these species’ common names include Milk Vetch or Goat’s Thorn. The gum is sometimes called Shiraz Gum or Gum Dragon.
The sap is an odorless, tasteless, water-soluble mixture of polysaccharides obtained by draining from the root of the plant. It seeps from the plant in twisted ribbons or flakes which can be powdered. It absorbs water to become a gel, which can be stirred into a paste.
It is used in incense as a binder to hold powdered herbs together. It is also the traditional binder used in the making of artist’s pastels, as it does not adhere to itself the same way gum arabic does when dry. In addition, it is used to make a paste used in patisseries to create life-like flowers as decorations for cakes.
Tragacanth contains an alkaloid that has historically been used as an herbal remedy for such conditions as cough and diarrhea. As a mucilage or paste it has been used as a topical treatment for burns, as a cast to prohibit mobility for healing bones, and is used in pharmaceuticals and foods as an emulsifier, thickener, stabilizer, and texturant additive.
Gum tragacanth is less common in products than other gums, such as gum arabic or guar gum, largely because most Tragacanth is grown in Middle Eastern countries which have shaky trade relations. Commercial cultivation of tragacanth plants has generally not proved economically worthwhile in the west.
Laughter is an audible expression or appearance of excitement, an inward feeling of joy or humor. It is part of universal human vocabulary. There are hundreds of thousands of dialects, but everyone speaks laughter in pretty much the same way.
As a primitive, unconscious vocalization, laughter is probably genetic. In a study of the “Giggle Twins,” two happy twins were separated at birth and reunited 43 years later. Until they met each other, neither of these exceptionally happy ladies had known anyone who laughed as much as they did. The twins inherited some aspects of their laugh sound and pattern, readiness to laugh, and even taste in humor.
Norman Cousins suffered from arthritis and developed a recovery program incorporating megadoses of Vitamin C, along with hope, a positive attitude, and laughter induced by Marx Brothers films. He made the joyous discovery that ten minutes of genuine belly laughter had an anesthetic effect and would give him at least two hours of pain-free sleep. When the pain-killing effect of the laughter wore off, he would switch on the motion picture projector again and it would lead to another pain-free interval.
Scientists have noted the similarity in forms of laughter among various primates, which suggests that laughter derives from a common origin among primate species. An extremely rare neurological condition has been observed whereby the sufferer is unable to laugh out loud, a condition known as aphonogelia.
Theranostics is a term used to describe the proposed process of diagnostic therapy for individual patients. This involves testing for possible reaction to a new medication and tailoring a treatment based on the test results.
It encompasses the utilization of a wide range of subjects including predictive medicine, personalized medicine, integrated medicine and pharmacodiagnostics. The method is looked upon as the possible end result of new advances made in new drug discovery, molecular biology and microarray chips technology.
Although the use of the term Theranostics has been criticized as less than accurate, it is in line with today’s personalized approach to medicine, especially as it relates to cancer treatment. The stakes have never been higher to know that a drug therapy is working in real time than with cancer. Tumor responsiveness is critical to successful treatment and the term used to describe the process of making clinical treatment decisions mid-therapy in direct response to that precise therapy is Theranostics.
However, Theranostics is a confusing term and not understood by most professionals. There is no difficulty in describing this concept without using a special term, so if one needs to use a single word to describe a test linked to therapy, one can use pharmacodiagnostics, which is more appropriate and easy to understand.
A cancer survivor is an individual with cancer of any type, current or past, who is still living. About 11 million Americans alive today, or one in 30 people, are either currently undergoing treatment for cancer or have done so in the past. Nearly 65% of persons diagnosed with cancer are expected to live more than five years after the cancer is discovered.
Many cancer survivors describe the process of living with and beating cancer as a life-changing experience. It is not uncommon for this experience to bring about a personal epiphany, which the person uses as motivation to meet goals of great personal importance, such as climbing a mountain or reconciling with an estranged family member.
In October 1996, Lance Armstrong was diagnosed with testicular cancer, with a tumor that had metastasized to his brain and lungs. His cancer treatments included surgery and extensive chemotherapy, and his prognosis was originally poor. He went on to win the Tour de France each year from 1999 to 2005, and is the only person to win seven times.
In 1995, the Grammy-nominated American poet, activist and author Nikki Giovanni was diagnosed with lung cancer. Alive today, a 15-year survivor, she denies that her cancer has made her a better person, adding that “If it takes a near-death experience for you to appreciate your life, you’re wasting somebody’s time.”
Healing of the body is accomplished through restoration of damaged cells to normal function. It is the process by which cells regenerate and repair. Healing incorporates both the removal and replacement of damaged areas in the body.
Living organs will heal using a combination of regeneration and repair. Regeneration occurs when damaged cells are replaced by the same cell structure that was originally present. Repair is the process by which injured areas are replaced with scar tissue, a natural part of the body’s reaction to wounding or injury that is deeply correlated with healing.
In order for an injury to be healed by regeneration, the cell type that was destroyed will replicate. This process occurs by use of a cellular framework along which to grow known as collagen. Collagen is the main component of all connective tissue that guides cell growth. It continues to exist even when the cells around it are damaged.
The existing cells replicate, using the collagen framework as a guide, eventually bringing the damaged area of the body back to normal. After regeneration is complete, the damage to the original cell area is undetectable. Ultimately, a scar made of collagen containing a small number of assistive healing cells is left.
Ho’oponopono is an ancient Hawaiian practice of reconciliation and forgiveness. It is defined as mental cleansing in which relationships are set right through prayer, discussion, confession, repentance, and mutual restitution and forgiveness. Traditionally, ho’oponopono is practiced by healing priests or kahuna among family members. Modern versions are performed within the family by a family elder, or by the individual alone.
Ho’o is the equivalent of the English “to”. It creates a verb from the noun pono, which is defined as goodness, uprightness and morality. Ponopono is defined as to put right, correct, revise, adjust, amend, regulate, arrange, rectify, tidy up, or make orderly.
The process begins as a statement of the problem is made, and the transgression discussed. Participants are expected to work problems through and cooperate, not hold fast to the fault. One or more periods of silence may be taken for reflection on the entanglement of emotions and injuries. Everyone’s feelings are acknowledged, then confession, repentance and forgiveness take place. Everyone releases each other, letting go. They cut off the past and together close the event with a ceremonial feast called pani, which often includes eating limu kala or kala seaweed, symbolic of the release.
In the late 20th century, courts in Hawaii began to order juvenile and adult offenders to work with an elder who would conduct ho’oponopono for their families, as a form of alternative dispute resolution. The ho’oponopono is conducted in the traditional way, without court interference, with a practitioner picked by the family from a list of court approved providers. Some native practitioners provide ho’oponopono to clients who otherwise might seek family counseling.
Cymatic therapy is a scientifically unsupported alternative medicine technique using acoustic waves which was developed in the 1960s by Sir Peter Guy Manners. It is based on the assumption that human cells, organs, and tissues have each a natural resonant frequency which changes when perturbed by illness.
Starting in the sixth century BC, Greek philosopher Pythagoras was the first to use music to heal a person’s body and emotions. During the eighth century, German scientist Ernst Chladni proved that sound does affect matter. Chlandi, the father of acoustics showed that as he drew a bow across the edge of a metal plate covered with sand, the sand moved and formed geometric patterns.
Cymatic therapists apply different audible frequencies and combinations of sound waves which they claim entrain malfunctioning components back to their healthy vibratory state and promote natural healing. The operational principle of cymatic therapy is out of step with mainstream scientific thought, and it is viewed with skepticism by most medical doctors. Relying on this type of treatment alone, and avoiding or delaying conventional medical care, may have serious health consequences.
Cymatic therapy is operationally, historically, and philosophically distinct from the many medical uses of ultrasound and from the more mainstream practice of music therapy.
Moxibustion is a traditional Chinese medicine therapy using moxa, or mugwort herb. It plays an important role in the traditional medical systems of China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Tibet, and Mongolia. Suppliers usually age the mugwort and grind it up to a fluff. Practitioners then burn the fluff or process it further into a stick that resembles a cigar. They can use it indirectly, with acupuncture needles, or sometimes burn it on a patient’s skin.
Practitioners use moxa to warm regions and acupuncture points with the intention of stimulating circulation through the points and inducing a smoother flow of blood and qi. Research has shown that mugwort acts as an emmenagogue, meaning that it stimulates blood-flow in the pelvic area and uterus. It is claimed that moxibustion militates against cold and dampness in the body.
Medical historians believe that moxibustion pre-dated acupuncture, and needling came to supplement moxa after the 2nd century BC. Different schools of acupuncture use moxa in varying degrees. For example a 5-elements acupuncturist will use moxa directly on the skin, whilst a TCM-style practitioner will use rolls of moxa and hold them over the point treated. It can also be burnt atop a fine slice of ginger root to prevent scarring.
Practitioners consider moxibustion to be especially effective in the treatment of chronic problems. Bian Que, one of the most famous doctors of Chinese antiquity and the first specialist in moxibustion, discussed the benefits of moxa over acupuncture in his classic work. He asserted that moxa could add new energy to the body and could treat both excess and deficient conditions. On the other hand, he advised against the use of acupuncture in an already weak patient, on the grounds that needle manipulation would leak too much energy.
In North and South America, indigenous peoples regard mugwort as a sacred plant of divination and spiritual healing. Mugwort amongst other herbs were often bound into smudge sticks. Europeans placed sprigs of mugwort under pillows to provoke dreams, and the herb had associations with the practice of magic in Anglo-Saxon times.