Richard G. Petty, MD

A Cause of Disease

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“Disease of the body as we know it, is a result, an end product, a final stage of something much deeper. Disease originates above the physical plane, nearer to the mental. It is entirely the result of a conflict between our spiritual and mortal selves. So long as these two are in harmony, we are in perfect health: but when there is discord there follows what we know as disease.”      

–Edward Bach (English Physician and Creator of the Bach Flower Essences, 1886-1936)   

The Third Force

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Here’s something that’s hardly ever discussed, yet it is critically important for everything from metaphysics to medicine:

“According to real, exact knowledge, one force, or two forces, can never produce a phenomenon. The presence of a third force is necessary, for it is only with the help of a third force that the first two can produce.”         

–George Gurdjieff (Armenian-born Adept, Teacher and Writer, c.1873-1949)   

Unhealthy America

The Milken Institute has released an impressive study that shows the heavy economic burden chronic disease places on our nation. “An Unhealthy America: The Economic Burden of Chronic Disease” shows the current treatment costs of seven chronic diseases – cancers, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, stroke, mental disorders and pulmonary conditions – as well as the economic impacts of lost workdays and lower employee productivity. It gives a breakdown across all 50 states and the nation as a whole. The study finds that the annual economic impact on the U.S. economy of the most common chronic diseases is more than $1 trillion, and projects that the figures could reach nearly $6 trillion by the middle of the century.

Though some of the blame for this burden can be blamed on stress and environmental factors, much more of it is a direct consequence of our lifestyle choices interacting with our genes. Most of us are failing to renew, refresh and replenish ourselves, and it is important to recognize that whenever we start debating the costs of health care in the United States.

Integrated Health is based on tailored systems to help people care for themselves by going way beyond diet and exercise, and addressing the psychological, social, cultural, subtle and spiritual components of health and wellness. Healing, Meaning and Purpose is a detailed roadmap for creating the life that you deserve, and we are going to be rolling out a new series of teleseminars and workshops in the New Year.

Prayer and Healing

We have already talked a little about the associations between active, healthy spirituality and psychological and physical well-being.

Yet another study has highlighted the connection, showing that breast cancer patients who pray in online support groups can obtain mental health benefits.

Researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison Center of Excellence in Cancer Communications Research did the study that was that was funded by the National Cancer Institute.

The research looked at message transcripts from 97 breast cancer patients participating in an online support group that was integrated with the Comprehensive Health Enhancement Support System (CHESS) “Living with Breast Cancer” program, a computer-based health education and support system. The patients were recruited from Wisconsin and Michigan.

Surveys were administered before group access and then again four months later. Text messages within the computer-mediated support groups were analyzed using a text analysis program that measured the percentage of words that were suggestive of religious belief and practice (e.g., pray, worship, faith, holy, God). Writing a higher percentage of these religious words within the online support groups was associated with lower levels of negative emotions and higher levels of self-efficacy and functional well-being, even after controlling for patients’ pre-test levels of religious beliefs.

One of the researchers had this to say:

“From a psychological standpoint, there are a variety of reasons why cancer patients may benefit from prayer – whether on the Internet or elsewhere. In reviewing the messages, some of the most common ways study participants used religion to cope with their illness included putting trust in God about the course of their illness and consequently feeling less stressed, believing in an afterlife and therefore being less afraid of death, finding blessings in their lives and appraising their cancer experience in a more constructive religious light.”

And that is, of course, one set of explanations for the findings.

Or perhaps, as we have seen before, there is a growing body of research to indicate that prayer is effective.

We just have to expect it to be effective. And isn’t that faith?

“Prayer, like radium, is a luminous and self-generating form of energy.”
–Alexis Carrel (French-born American Surgeon, Experimental Biologist and, in 1912, Winner of the Nobel Prize for Medicine or Physiology, 1873-1944)

“Too often we see prayer as a last resort rather than as our first thought. People will say, “I guess all we can do now is pray!” like that’s the last thing, horrible thing to do. And your friend says, “Has it come to that?! Is it so hopeless that all we can do is pray?”
–Rick Warren (American Evangelist and Author, 1954-)

“Though God knows all our needs, prayer is necessary for the cleansing and enlightenment of the soul.”
— John Sergieff of Kronstadt (Russian Priest who, in 1882, Established the House of Industriousness, 1829-1909)

“Man often thinks that, as God is the knower of the heart, there can be no need of any recital or gesture in prayer: but that it would surely be sufficient if he were to sit in the silence and think of God. But this is not so; it is according to the extent of a man’s consciousness of prayer that his prayer reaches God.”
–Hazrat Inayat Khan (Founder of the Sufi Order of the West, 1882-1927)

“Through prayer, the love of God grows and assumes a form which is called supreme devotion. Forms vanish, rituals fly away, books are superseded, images, temples, churches, religions and sects, countries and nationalities – all these little limitations and bondages fall off by their own nature from him who knows this love of God.”
–Swami Vivekananda (Indian Hindu Mystic and Spiritual Teacher, 1863-1902)

“Prayer is part of man’s original nature. He can never be satisfied with merely meditative religion, and naturally and involuntarily inclines to move on to the religion of prayer.”
–Toyohiko Kagawa (Japanese Christian Anti-War Campaigner, 1888-1960)

“All true prayer somehow confesses our absolute dependence on the Lord of life and death.”
Thomas Merton (French-born American Trappist Monk and Writer, 1915-1968)

“There is a relationship between prayer and action. Receptive prayer results in an inner receiving, which motivates to right action.”
— “Peace Pilgrim” (a.k.a. Mildred Norman, American Peace Activist, 1908-1981)

Diseases of Discipleship

You will not find them listed on WebMD, but “Diseases of Discipleship” are nonetheless very real. I have mentioned them in Healing Meaning and Purpose and also here. They are the result of sudden access to spiritual energies that can upset the balance of the body, mind and spirit. The great value of having a teacher is to help you balance and work with these energies without being harmed by them.

Several of my own teachers talked a lot about these diseases of discipleship, but I would particularly like to single out Douglas Baker and the writings of Roberto Assagioli, Del Pe, Torkom Saraydarian, Stan Grof and Alice Bailey.

I have also had a great deal of experience with people undergoing spiritual crises. Many have been referred to me by priests, clergy and intuitives, because many of the individuals thought that they were “going crazy,” and some had ben given psychiatric diagnoses. That extensive experience has helped me and some of my students to describe some of the “symptoms” in more detail.

Roberto Assagioli identified five critical points where problems may arise:

  1. Just before spiritual awakening begins
  2. Crises caused by spiritual awakening
  3. Reactions to spiritual awakening
  4. Phases of the process of transmutation
  5. The “Dark Night of the Soul

Today I am just going to focus on the crises caused by spiritual awakening, because a great many people are experiencing them at the moment.

Here are some of the more common signs and symptoms include:

  • Visual disturbances
  • Extreme sensitivity to light and sound
  • Paradoxically they often also find a raised pain threshold
  • Increased metabolic rate, which may cause a slight increase in body temperature and a little weight loss
  • Variable libido: some people lose all interest in sex, but most experience an increase in sexual desire, which can take them and any partners by surprise
  • Disturbances in circadian rhythms
  • Disturbances in thyroid and adrenal function: the thyroid often becomes slightly – or sometimes more than slightly – overactive and the adrenal glands slightly less responsive to stimulation
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Hypertension
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Anxiety and a feeling of “butterflies” in the region of the solar plexus
  • Inexplicable sensations roughly corresponding to the channels identified in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine
  • Irregular breathing patterns, usually hyperventilation
  • Something that feels like electricity under the tongue and under the palate
  • Crying for no readily apparent reason
  • As peoples’ consciousness rises, it is quite common to experience “Synesthesia” in which senses overlap: people may taste sounds, feel colors and “hear and see” with different parts of the body
  • Psychic abilities often begin to appear: clairvoyance, clairaudience, spiritual intuition and the ability to heal
  • Many begin to feel and see their own Inner Light and the Inner Light of other people

Not everyone gets all of these symptoms and they may come and go for a while. Some people don’t get any at all, but they are unusual. There are two books by Hazel Courteney that detail some of what happened to her, and they are well worth a read.

It is important to emphasize that all of these signs and symptoms can also be caused by illnesses. So although most people who are going through all this want to avoid doctors, it is a very good idea to ensure that everything is okay. I once saw someone who had been told that she was having a kundalini experience, even though she did not have any of the usual features. She became very unwell, but felt much better when an insulin-producing tumor was removed from her pancreas.

The most important thing is to help people remain grounded. I have seen many people become extremely grandiose and even fanatical after going through a rapid spiritual awakening. It is also important to ensure that any physical symptoms – such as thyroid or blood pressure problems – do not continue unchecked.

Helping people who are going through spiritual change or crisis needs the help of a person or persons who understand physical and psychological problems, as well as being some way along the path of spiritual development. By “crisis” I do not mean crisis of faith, but a critical turning point in an individual’s personal development.

There are plenty of good ways of grounding using some physical, psychological and subtle system exercises. I have dozens of excellent techniques that I can publish if you are interested. Sometimes it is also a good idea to eat some heavy food.

It can be very helpful to get away form other people for a while. This doesn’t mean becoming a monk or nun, but just to avoid a bad case of people poisoning. In their overly sensitive state they can pick up a lot of negative things from the people around them. I have known a good many people who would begin to experience all the physical and psychological symptoms of the people around them.

Once we have confirmed that the person does not have all this as a result of thyroid disease or anxiety, it is essential to show them what is going on and the best way to approach and conceptualize it.

Next we help people to control some of the impulses that can otherwise swamp them. One of the many reasons for development of the sophisticated mind control techniques developed by Tibetan Buddhism was to help people watch their spiritual unfoldment without being overwhelmed by it.

We also try to help people to transmute psychological energies so that they can be used constructively.

Everybody is different, but in some people acupuncture, qigong, Reiki and homeopathy have all been helpful. Several of the flower essences can be very useful, in particular:
Star Tulip
White Yarrow
Pink Yarrow

Every expert that I know in the field of spiritual development agrees with my observation that there are currently more people having major spiritual changes than ever before. It is essential for us all to know how to protect, support and birth them.

“To penetrate into the essence of all being and significance, and to release the fragrance of that inner attainment for the guidance and benefit of others, by expressing in the world of forms – truth, love, purity and beauty – this is the sole game that has any intrinsic and absolute worth. All other incidents and attainments can, in themselves, have no lasting importance.”

–Meher Baba (Indian Spiritual Teacher who, from July 1925 maintained Silence, 1894-1969)

“You knock at the door of Reality. You shake your thought wings, loosen your shoulders, and open.”
–Jalal al-Din Rumi (Afghan Sufi Poet, 1207-1273)

“Life is a series of awakenings.”

–Sri Swami Sivananda (Indian Physician and Spiritual Teacher, 1887-1963)

“What we usually call human evolution is the awakening of the Divine Nature within us.”

–“Peace Pilgrim” (a.k.a. Mildred Norman, American Peace Activist, 1908-1981)

RP On The Radio Part Deux

I mentioned that Kim Colvard and I were going to be having an online discussion. We covered a lot of topics and we’ve had some great feedback.

We are definitely going to do this again!

You can download the file here.


Communicating About Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Two of the key points about Integrated Medicine are transparency and integration of different approaches.

It is true to say that all healing is ultimately self-healing, but at the heart of healing lies relationship: how we communicate with every part of ourselves, with other people and with our health care providers. At the most mundane level, there is published data that if a health care provider has a good relationship with the person coming to them for help, the chance that the person will follow through on a treatment plan is four times higher than if they meet a health care provider who just grunts at them.

There is also a magic that can happen in strong, dynamic relationships based on partnership rather than dominance: one of the themes of Healing, Meaning and Purpose.

It worried, but did not surprise me to see a study released today.

Most Americans age 50 and older use complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), such as supplements, herbal products or acupuncture. The trouble is that – according to a survey conducted by AARP and the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicinethey often do not tell their doctors or nurses.

It is very much in person’s best interests to tell their doctor about the CAMs that they are taking because some unorthodox medicines may interfere with over-the-counter medications, prescription drugs, or other conventional medical approaches. See here for an example of some herbal remedies and supplements that may interact with psychotropic medicines.

As the report says, "Communication between patients and physicians about CAM and conventional therapies is vital to ensuring safe, integrated use of all health care approaches."

It goes on to say something that we have been preaching for years: an open dialog "allows patients and physicians the opportunity to identify CAM practices that might be beneficial and also minimizes risks to a patient from potential therapy interactions."

Among a total of 1,559 individuals age 50 and older surveyed in the spring of 2006, 63 percent reported having used one or more CAM therapies.

According to the survey – which can be found here – people between the ages of 50 and 59 are the most likely to report CAM use.

Forty-five percent of CAM enthusiasts used massage therapy, chiropractic manipulation or other bodywork; 42 percent used herbal or dietary supplements; 15 percent used mind/body practices, including hypnosis and meditation; 14 percent used naturopathy, acupuncture, or homeopathy; and 10 percent had tried energy therapies.

Sixty-six percent of CAM users said they did so to treat a specific health problem; 65 percent for overall wellness; 45 percent to supplement conventional medicine; and 42 percent to prevent illness.

Sixty-nine percent of those who reported using CAM had not discussed it with a doctor.

The intersting qustion is, "Why?"

Forty-two percent said because their doctor never asked; 30 percent said they did not know they should; 19 percent felt there was not enough time during the office visit; 17 percent didn’t think the doctor would know about the topic; and 12 percent thought the doctor would be dismissive or tell them not to use CAM.

Women were more likely than men to have discussed CAM use with their doctor (26 percent vs 16 percent) and those younger than age 65 were more likely to discuss CAM use than were older individuals.

The report concludes that "patients need to mention CAM use to their physicians and physicians need to ask about it."

Separation and Integration

“The ego always seeks to divide and separate. The Holy Spirit always seeks to unify and heal.”
–A Course in Miracles (Book of Spiritual Principles Scribed by Dr. Helen Schucman between 1965 and 1975, and First Published in 1976)

Many of us feel that we have lost or forgotten something important and it nags at us. In the Matrix, Morpheus tries to capture this when he says, “There is a splinter in your mind.”

What we have forgotten is the hidden secret not only to who we are but also to what we may become.

There are hundreds of thousands of books, websites, classes, groups and, of course, religions that all say that they have an answer to those two questions. And I tend to believe that they probably all do. But each has only a part of the puzzle.

Integrated Medicine was always designed to provide answers synthesized from the very best of what is already available.

I am always being asked whether Integrated Medicine is an approach toward health and wellness, a method of achieving personal growth and development or some form of holistic treatment?

The answer is “Yes!”

The goal is not to replace other forms of self-care or treatment, but to integrate and enhance them. The reason for using the term “Integrated,” and why it is a little different from Integrative or Integral medicine, is that it aims to:

  1. Integrate an individual’s current health and wellness practices into a combined whole
  2. Integrate all the parts of a person, for the quotation is true: the role of the ego is to separate itself from the rest of the Universe, and healing come from the Source: your Informational Matrix, your Inner Light or Soul
  3. Integrate healing methods that will ensure that each aspect of you being is addressed and respected so that the healing can flow. Not only of your body, but of your mind, relationships, the planet, society, subtle systems and your spirituality
  4. Integrate your views about the nature of reality: healing is not simply a matter of fixing a physical machine. In any case, this is not always possible. The objective is not to “use” methods and insights to heal the body. It is rather to ask that your Overself or Higher Self teach you the right perception of your body and your mind. That is why I am always recommending that the first thing that you can do for yourself is to develop your intuition so that it provides a delicate counterbalance to your ability to reason. If you have ever been to a gym, you know the importance of exercising not just your bicep muscle, but your triceps muscle as well. One without the other will make you lopsided. So it is with intellect and intuition.
  5. Integrate the personal you with something beyond yourself. The ultimate aim of Integrated Medicine is not simply to stay well, but to return to Wholeness

And all have been done already with tens of tousands of people around the globe.

Will you be next?

“To have a curable illness and to leave it untreated except for prayer is like sticking your hand in a fire and asking God to remove the flame.”
— Unknown Author (Sometimes attributed to “Sandra L. Douglas”)

"A house divided against itself cannot stand.”

–Abraham Lincoln (American Statesman and, from 1861-1865, the 16th President of the United States, 1809-1865)

“In the integral Yoga, the integral life down to even the smallest detail has to be transformed, to become Divine.”
— The Mother of Pondicherry (a.k.a. Mirra Alfassa, French-born Indian Spiritual Teacher, 1878-1973)

Medicine and Creativity

The Lancet medical journal has just published this year’s themed issue on the topic of ‘Creativity and Medicine’.

If you click on the link, you will be taken to a digital edition of the special issue. The digital edition is an exact facsimile of the print copy and is available for one month. You can turn pages just as you would with a print edition and even print off the pages for your own personal use.

The Lancet is one of the journals that you will find in the "Journal" listing on the left of this blog.

Many of the articles are extremely interesting and thought provoking: "Writing and healing;" "Development of children’s creativity to foster peace;" "Healing through art therapy;" "Theatre – a force for health promotion;" "Hospital clowns;" "Healing architecture; " "Healing gardens;" "Chance favors the prepared mind" and "What can the arts bring to medical training?" were some of my favorites, and give you a good flavor of what’s in store for you.

You will also see how this fits very precisely with a true Integrated Medicine.

One caution: it IS a medical journal and there are one or two articles near the back that are not for the squeamish.

With that caveat, there is much food for thought in these articles, and the Lancet deserves our thanks for making them available for free. Even if it is only for a month!

Growing Evidence for the Efficacy of Homeopathic Medicine

When you first hear about homeopathy it sounds like utter nonsense: "like curing like"; vital forces; miasms and super-dilute remedies that no longer contain a single molecule of the original substance.

The trouble is that – apart from two centuries of clinical experience – there is a respectable and growing body of evidence that there is indeed something to homeopathy. David Reilly from the Center for Integrative Care in Glasgow, Scotland, has written a very useful paper that is available for free download.

Over in the "Resources" section on the left hand side of the blog I have a link to a reading list that I put together for

There are many good introductory books on homeopathy, and I have mentioned some of the best. There are also a few books that delve into some of the science that could well provide a mechanism by which homeopathy may work.

In the coming weeks I shall be putting together some more reading list as well as summaries of the research into this fascinating field.

There is a final point. Homeopathic medicines, Flower essences and many forms of "Energy medicine" seem to have been becoming more effective over the last few decades, and this observation was one of the reasons for believing that New Laws of Healing are emerging.

Let me give you a simple example. Two weeks ago, I heard about a woman in the first trimester of pregnancy was being seen because of a quite severe mood problem. She had such severe morning sickness that she asked to have a trash can positioned next to her chair. Many experts believe that morning sickness begins as a reflex to expel food toxins that might harm the baby, but then develops into a neurologically-mediated cycle.

The patient had never heard of homeopathy and probably did not understand why she was asked some apparently irrelevant questions. She answered that she would feel better in the evening, if she applied pressure or a wash cloth to her stomach. She also reported that the sudden cold spell had made her much worse, and that stress and spicy foods made her much worse.

She was given the remedy Nux vomica in a very low potency. The nausea and vomiting stopped immediately, never to return. And her mood – which had been bad for many months before she became pregnant – also improved.

This is another one of those "N of one" reports, and the plural of anecdote is not data. But I was trained by homeopaths, some of whom had been in practice since the 1930s, and all had sat at the feet of some of the greatest homeopaths on the last century. Yet they all said that problems like morning sickness normally need repeated treatments over several days. Not a single treatment and it’s gone.

If you keep you eyes open you will be amazed to see how the efficacy of some forms of treatment appear to be getting better, while some others are becoming less effective with time.

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