Illness as Metaphor: Fungus Part A

Marcey Shapiro, MD

Marcey Shapiro, MD

One way to approach health problems is to examine them through the lens of nature. Any physical illness provides a wealth of metaphorical information to the person or community that is affected. Look for what healthy role the disease-causing agent has in nature. In this light, we can learn a lot from fungus. Health issues relating to overgrowth of fungi are commonplace in a family-practice setting.

Fungus is a communal organism much like ants are communal insects. They grow in vast cooperative networks, especially in dark, damp places like the soil. They spread in a web-like manner through underground filamentous projections. Most of the life of terrestrial fungus is subterranean. Above-ground mushrooms and other fruiting bodies of fungus are a minute fraction of their mass.

In humans, the soil in which fungus embeds is human tissue. As in the Earth’s soil, fungi grow well in stagnant areas with persistent dampness. On the planet’s surface, fungi have many important roles. They enliven stagnation and clear it, getting things moving again, as demonstrated by the example of stagnant water purification via fungus-catalyzed bioremediation.

In Chinese medicine as well, dampness is associated with stagnation. Excessive dampness in the digestive tract results in bloating, heaviness, fullness, and murkiness that can also express as cloudy thought, rumination, cysts or tumors, and in severe cases, insanity. Dampness interferes with the conversion of food nutrients to energy, bone, blood, and thought. Dampness in the lungs leads to phlegm, cough, shortness of breath, infections, and anxiety. Once dampness is prevalent in the system, it can be slow to transform.

Likewise, once fungus is established, it can be difficult to clear up without significant changes in behavior and attitude. Fungi, like humans, are complex multicellular organisms. The pharmaceutical model of killing fungus is problematic because the things that kill “them” kill “us” too. Many antifungal drugs are toxic, especially to the liver, our main organ of detoxification. Fungi interlace themselves through our tissues and do not give up easily. Fungal die-off rapidly releases many products of stagnation back into our system that the fungi had been slowly transforming.

Therefore many people with yeast overgrowth syndrome prefer to remain on a milder program of protracted dietary restrictions, gentle detoxification, and shifting of thoughts and beliefs. (Yeasts like Candida albicans are types of fungi commonly associated with humans.) This allows the excess fungus to slowly clear as their body gradually eliminates bound metals and toxins, and allows time for the murkiness in their thoughts and emotional overwhelm to settle and clarify as well.

Excerpted from Transforming the Nature of Health: A Holistic Vision of Healing that Honors Our connection to the Earth, Others, and Ourselves  by Marcey Shapiro, MD, published by North Atlantic Books, copyright © 2012 by Marcey Shapiro. Reprinted by permission of publisher.

Stay tuned for more thoughts from Marcey Shapiro, MD,  on “Transforming Health” and Heart Centered Living

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Food Waste – Video

with Karen Roth, Holistic Nutritionist

with Karen Roth, Holistic Nutritionist

Have you ever wondered if those left overs were still safe to eat? Or how long after an expiration date is a product still good?

In the video below learn guidelines for how to confidently judge when food is still safe to eat.

Know tips for having your foods last longer.

Video Link: Food Waste with Karen Roth, Holistic Nutritionist.

For additional educational video clips submitted by AHHA members, visit the American Holistic Health Association’s Self Help Videos section.

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It’s Not All In Your Mind – Article

Joan Mathews-Larson, PhD

Joan Mathews-Larson, PhD

In the last few decades, biochemists and medical doctors have begun to pinpoint scientific explanations for behavior that used to be labeled “physiological.”

The article link below describes several of the biochemical abnormalities that can be caused by molecular imbalance in the brain and how they can be reversed and/ or treated successfully.

Discover what happens when chemists become doctors and how we all benefit from their discoveries.

Article Link: It’s Not All In Your Mind by Joan Mathews-Larson, PhD

For additional articles, visit the American Holistic Health Association’s Self-Help Articles Collection.

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Power of Choice available in Spanish – AHHA Resource

AHHA_LOGO_CLR_squareThe popular AHHA booklet, Wellness From Within: The First Step, is available in Spanish. You can direct your Spanish-speaking friends to this resource for learning about the power of choice.

For a briefer version of the same concepts, there is the flyer available in Spanish.

AHHA Resource Links: Booklet in Spanish; Flyer in Spanish

For additional information about the other wellness resources, visit the Wellness Resources resource page.

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6 tips to Control Your Food Cravings – Video

with Daniel Amen, MD

with Daniel Amen, MD

Did you know that strong food cravings could be playing havoc with your decision making? When your blood sugar goes low, less blood flows to your brain – and contributes to you make poor decisions.

In the video link below learn six important tips for dealing with cravings:
1. Keep blood sugar balanced.
2. Get rid of artificial sweeteners.
3. Stress management program.
4. Outsmart the food triggers.
5. Deal with hidden food allergies.
6. Use supplements to help cravings.

If these are not enough, you may be a compulsive overeater and need more tools.

Video Link: 6 Tips to Control Your Food Cravings with Daniel Amen, MD

For additional educational video clips submitted by AHHA members, visit the American Holistic Health Association’s Self Help Videos section.

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3 Steps to Manifesting Your Ideal Life – Article

Edwin Harkness Spinia

Edwin Harkness Spinia

Did you know that you can create your experience via your underlying beliefs  – whether they are conscious or unconscious? If you’re not conscious of your beliefs, then you must make them conscious.

The article below explains that once you are clear on exactly what you want, then it is a straightforward matter to manifest your desire following three steps.

Visualize exactly what you want for five minutes per day; put yourself in the pictures, with detail and emotion; focus on the end result.

Article Link: 3 Steps to Manifesting Your Ideal Life by Edwin Harkness Spinia

For additional articles, visit the American Holistic Health Association’s Self-Help Articles Collection.

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Do you have high blood pressure? – Research Article

iStockPhotoBooksIf you want to reduce your blood pressure without the use of drugs, have you considered yoga?

Researchers recently did a review of studies that tracked the blood pressure of participants who practiced yoga over an extended period of time. Although the study results were not consistent, perhaps due to varying research techniques, many showed positive results.

The research link below shows positive results.

Research Article Link: “Yoga Might Reduce Blood Pressure“ from the September 2014 issue of Natural Standard’s Integrative Medicine Newsletter.

For additional research results, visit the American Holistic Health Association’s Special Updates eReport Archives and note Featured Research item in each issue.

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Nutrition for Fibromyalgia – Video

with Julie Cerrato

with Julie Cerrato

Forming a solid nutritional plan is vital for fibromyalgia sufferers who may be nutrient-depleted.

The video link below notes that an anti-inflammatory, plant-based diet focusing on fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains is highly advised for the treatment of fibromyalgia.

Also, learn about diet choices to avoid.

Video Link: Nutrition for Fibromyalgia with Julie Cerrato

For additional educational video clips submitted by AHHA members, visit the American Holistic Health Association’s Self Help Videos section.

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The Courage to Heal – Article

Steven E. Hodes, MD

Steven E. Hodes, MD

Before you can understand the nature of healing you must understand the spiritual nature of human beings.

The article linked offers powerful strategies which can help you in your internal struggles.

We need to learn, and really ‘get,’ that our minds do create our own realities and that courage is needed to face the challenge, to own up to that truth.

Article Link: The Courage to Heal by Steven E. Hodes, MD

For additional articles, visit the American Holistic Health Association’s Self-Help Articles Collection.

Posted in Beliefs, CONDITIONS, HEALING APPROACHES, integrative, LIFESTYLE/ATTITUDE | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Mercury in amalgam fillings – Issue

IssuesBlogPhotoAfter decades, the controversy about the safety of mercury in dental fillings is in the headlines again. The convictions of each side are just as strong as ever. The dental industry insists that when mercury is combined with silver, tin, and copper for an amalgam filling, the mercury is chemically changed so that the levels of mercury vapor released in your mouth are low enough to be safe. Concerned consumer groups stress the documented toxic nature of mercury. They point out that the mercury vapors of the amalgam filling in your mouth are higher than the levels banned by the EPA in paint fumes over two decades ago.

ISSUE: Mercury in amalgam fillings

AHHA strives to maintain a neutral position on issues. To support those who wish to learn more about this month’s issue, we have compiled the following pro and con online articles to get you started.

Pro Link #1: About Dental Amalgam Fillings
U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Pro Link #2: What is Dental Amalgam (Silver Filling)? (9/6/14)

Pro Link #3: Fillings, Silver-Colored
American Dental Association

Con Link #1: Are Amalgam Fillings Dangerous? 60 Minutes Investigates Amalgam Fillings (5/16/14)
Dr. Marilyn K. Jones

Con Link #2: Measurably Misleading (August 2014)
Consumers for Dental Choice

Con Link #3: New Report Finds FDA Deliberately Deceptive—and Slowly Poisoning Millions of Americans (8/12/14)
Alliance for Natural Health USA

We encourage you to post your comments and tell your friends about additional resources you have found relating to this important health issue.

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