Vertical Ill Health, Prescription drugs and Primum non nocere

“Doctors are confronted daily with patients suffering from illnesses for which conventional medicine offers only superficial treatment of symptoms. The magic of antibiotics is vanishing as a host of resistant infections emerge. Diseases such as AIDS and chronic fatigue syndrome have shown us clearly that our present treatments are simply not effective and hint at new health problems that may lie ahead. The metaphor of a modern plague may be appropriate. Growing numbers of people lack vitality and suffer from a host of complaints difficult to define. Most adults, and many children, today suffer from complaints including allergies, headaches, lack of energy, excessive fatigue, and various digestive and respiratory disorders, along with a variety of emotional states ranging from mild depression to mood swings and anxiety.
They are manifesting what Jeffrey Bland, Ph.D., of Gig Harbor, Washington, calls a state of “vertical ill health.” “They are not sick enough to lie down (in which case they would become ‘horizontally ill’) and yet consider themselves ‘normal’ because most of the people they know are equally unhealthy,” explains Leon Chaitow, N.D., D.O., of London, England. “They derive only limited benefit from the flood of tranquilizers, antidepressants, analgesics, and anti-inflammatory drugs[…]”
Excerpt From: Larry Trivieri. “Alternative Medicine.”
I’m reading this awesomely swell book lately.  As a naturopathic premedical student, I find it interesting to cycle between the safety and established concreteness of my Anatomy & Physiology textbook, to my alternative medicine texts, and then to the way out there psychotherapy of the audiobook, Advanced Energy Anatomy by Catherine Myss.  I really feel like its best to look at the whole spectrum of modalities to treat the body, mind and spirit.  Primum non nocere or “Do no harm” is the first principle of naturopathic medicine.  I had an interesting conversation yesterday with an admissions counselor for the National College of National Medicine about naturopathy’s relationship to allopathic medicine.  These ideas were sparked by an interview I saw from Paul Mittman, ND discussing naturopathic supplements to aid chemotherapy.  Yet, every bone in my body resists the idea that chemotherapy can be anything but toxic to the human body.  If the chemicals used spill on the ground they are treated as biohazards materials, yet it is normal and considered therapy if they are pumped into the body via IV.  The statistics on chemotherapy’s effectiveness show that cancer patients who choose no treatment at all have longer survival rates than those who follow doctors orders of receiving chemo.  
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Mittman’s view was one of using naturopathic medicine as being used complementary to allopathic.  But can naturopathic medicine stand alone?  The admissions counselor’s opinion was that in order to follow “Do no harm” if an allopathic treatment could temporarily resolve the painful symptoms of a patient while the root cause is sill being determined, then it must be recommended or they must be referred.  The judgment of the doctor becomes especially important here.  You may be doing harm not referring them to an allopathic treatment.  However, it must be seen as a temporary bandaid and not a lifelong crutch of dependency.  Whether or not I will prescribe drugs as a part of my practice is an important decision that will be made based on future knowledge and experience.  
Yes, the current state of medicine is corrupt and revolves around making money for expensive and invasive tests, pharmaceutical drugs and using treatments that have been proven useless.  Innovation is discouraged and allopathic doctors seem to live in constant fear of being seen as experimental by their peers.  Yet, MDs and NDs must cooperate because we must work within the system to change it.  While the intention of holistic health is pure, we cannot sugarcoat the reality we exist in or kid ourselves with idealistic values when the world exists in the state it does currently.  This applies to both medicine and politics.  Idealistic ideas must be translated into realistic action that will make a difference today.

Radical self love is the best medicine.

I need feminism because I’m done holding back my anger because it isn’t pretty.  I need feminism because I’m done telling myself to shut up when other women need to hear my voice.  I need feminism because I’m afraid to leave the house if I’m bloated from PMS or have a bad skin day and my outlook on life shouldn’t be dictated by the way I look today.  I need feminism because fuck the fact that when a homeless man tells me “Smile, pretty girl” I am trained so obediently that my facial muscles react before my mind does.  I need feminism because I feel unsafe riding public transit and always have.  Today a man with apparent mental handicaps started talking to me on the bus.  Our conversation was going great and he was talking about how he gathered walnuts to feed the squirrels in the winter and something about that seemed so endearingly kind.  Then when we got to main street he started pointing out all the “hot blondes” on main street.  Then he kept staring at me and told me the reason he hadn’t talked to me at the bus stop was because my boyfriend was standing with me.  I began to feel unsafe so I pulled out a book and started reading.  I felt like a line had been crossed where instead of being a friend I had turned into an object to this otherwise gentle person.  It says something that even those whom we are instructed by society to give the benefit of the doubt to or pity, such as homeless men and men with mental handicaps can make women feel unsafe at the drop of a hat.

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Meeting People Online

Okcupid (Internet Noun) is a place where people with severe emotional problems and/or sexual/love addictions can interact and thus pay out certain dramas that correspond to their disfunctions.  It is a breeding paradise for low vibrations.
Good luck on okcupid.

I’ve met some very interesting people online.  There’s Steve who currently resides in a prison, who I remember sitting at the table of the Wilmington library fidgeting and drinking a Rockstar energy drink while showing me an album comprised completely of the bad photos that people throw away.  He found them dumpster diving.  Or, there’s Blake, whose Myspace page was ‘The Void,’ and instead of being a bunch of angled seflies and ‘surveys’ (Why did people take those anyway?) it was an archive of occult information and beautiful psychedelic paintings.  I didn’t even know what he looked like until I met him in person during a mewithoutYou show.  Beautiful blue eyes and instant connection.  Luckily for me, he is now my boyfriend.  But sometimes you fall in love with someone’s online persona and things in person become a bit hairy.  Once, I flew halfway across the country for a man who now would be unlikely to lift a finger for me.  He was utterly convinced of a mode of alternative healing called Ayurveda which I have since incorporated into my life.  Ayurveda, for those unaware, is an ancient method of healing revolving mainly around constitution types- Pitta (motivated but angry control freaks), Vata (skinny creative neurotics) and Kapha (lazy-but-lovable.  Santa?)  As well as the concept of agni (“digestive fire” or hutzpa if you will) and ama or “mucoid plaque” buildup, which according to Ayurveda, is the root of all disease.  And if you eat past 9 PM, you’re getting ama-ed up, and cancer will be in your life forecast.  Not really according to Ayurveda, but those were some of the rules this Milwaukee man lived by.  I believe now that he was very much a reaction to his past.  He woke up at 5 am to use the bathroom outside because a book told him to, yet he worked at a toilet factory which, even now, in my bitterness, I find poetically just.  He lived completely according to the Aghora trilogy, which if you are unfamiliar with, speaks in bizarre parables and helps to shed light on the path of enlightenment through Tantra.  Overcoming your fears through extremes until your are impenetrable to life.  Surrounding yourself by death until it no longer phases you.  Beautiful spiritual concepts, though whether or not the stories within these texts are to be taken literally is very up in the air.  To this day I am flabbergasted to the lengths this man went to convince himself and everyone around him that this was of living was the only one.  But for some reason, I loved him, in perhaps the way one loves a flesh eating bacteria that has gained them some pity and attention.  I put my copy of Aghora at the Left Hand of God down at the sink of the Milwaukee airport, in the women’s bathroom shortly after landing.  Here I nervously stared in the mirror, at my impeccably lovely outfit I had spent way too much time and money preparing.  I was about to meet this person for the first time, after exchanging emails and snail mail for months.  It was in this same bathroom that I met another girl with the same name as me who was also meeting a man she had met online (This was one of those scenarios where fate brings an instant friend into your life, perhaps to keep you from dying from an anxiety attack).  I can only hope that a bored soccer mom has found my Aghora book and discovered the wonders of meditating on corpses and eating your firstborn son for Shiva.


Reflections on Homeopathy

Today, at the co-op I was looking through homeopathic treatments.  I tried to pull one out and all of them came crashing down in on the ground.  I cleaned them up, purchased the GABA I came for, (An excellent yet controversial anti-anxiety neurotransmitter suplement that blocks nerve impulses and slows neuronal transmission) and on my way home realized some Phosphorus 30 had fallen into my cowboy boot.  Seeing this as a ‘sign from the universe’ as I often do, I decided to take some.  Tonight I find myself completely fascinated by homeopathic constitution types.  I took a quiz on mine, and Phosphorus came up on the top.  I realize how controversial homeopathy is, among most alternative treatments.  I had written it off as pseudoscience, and then I met a woman in Arizona who told me a homeopathic snake venom treatment, Lachesis, had cured her cancer.  I remember the feeling of well-being and balance I had after receiving acupuncture and a personalized bachus flower remedy after visting a naturopathic student clinic.  I’m excited to be opened up to learning more about homeopathy and bachus flower remedies.  My mind feels comparatively still tonight.  The anxiety that has been my constant companion this week has settled and I can finally think clearly.  It also may very well be the GABA finally taking effect.  Things like these truly inspire me to study alternative and natural medicine further.  I’d like to someday help people to heal themselves as I have on my own journey towards wholeness.

A Profile of the Phospherian Constitution, from The British Homeopathic Association:

The constitutional picture of Phosphorus was described by Kent in the 19th century. Many authors have elaborated on this model and added a psychological profile of the Phosphoric type.

The Phosphoric individual is pale, anaemic, with full red lips, thin with a narrow high arched chest: the appearance typical of someone suffering with tuberculosis.

Romantic literature of the 19th century is full of Phosphoric heroines. Dumas’ La Dame aux Camelias is a notable example. Greta Garbo gave a brilliant portrayal of the consumptive heroine, Marguerite Gautier, in the Hollywood film and brought Phosphorus to life for homeopaths.

The constitutional Phosphorus is extrovert, bright, lively, with sparkling eyes and a charismatic nature. One feels invigorated in her company. She is intensely sympathetic and acutely sensitive to mood, atmosphere and all sensory impressions. She is impressionable and clairvoyant. She is imaginative and bubbly, the typical “bright young thing”.

Mia Farrow as Daisy in the film of Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby demonstrates the shadow side of Phosphorus. Daisy is a social butterfly, narcissistic and highly-strung. Although she probably loves Gatsby in her way, self-preservation and self-interest take precedence. Her character is shallow and emotionally immature; she is incapable of the intensity of love that Gatsby feels. In difficult situations, she falls apart, descends into histrionics and demands intense sympathy and support from others. She needs protection from the harsh realities of life. After the drama of Gatsby’s tragic death, Daisy continues her life as though nothing had happened; the ugly events do not fit into her idealistic view of the world. It is as though Gatsby never existed.

Just as with the element there is a darker side to the personality. Being so open, the Phosphorus type is prone to fears, anxieties and the result of a vivid imagination. There is a great fear of the dark, the supernatural, fire, storms, disease and death. The element Phosphorus is unstable; it rapidly turns into the gaseous form when exposed to air. Likewise, the Phosphorus archetype lacks boundaries on every level. The intense sensitivity to “other worlds” and the fears are one expression of this lack of personal boundaries.

This tendency extends on a physical level too. There is a bleeding tendency leading to nosebleeds, bleeding gums, heavy periods, bruising, and clotting disorders, which can result in anaemia.

Just like a match, the Phosphorus personality is prone to burn out. This may be emotional, leading to depression or nervous exhaustion, or physical illness may result. A dose of Phosphorus rapidly restores the spark.

As a tubercular remedy, there is a tendency to upper respiratory complaints: sore throat, hoarseness, bronchitis, asthma and chest infections. The bleeding tendency leads to blood streaked sputum, and the pains are burning in nature. There is a deterioration of the condition as dusk approaches, and the patient becomes fearful, craving company and sympathy.

In expert medical hands Phosphorus may be used to treat serious disease, such as epilepsy, liver conditions, including hepatitis, arthritis and destructive bone diseases. Phosphorus is an immensely important remedy in homeopathy, one of our desert island remedies. It is full of contradictions, as gentle and loving as an affectionate kitten yet as dangerous and destructive as the deadliest of poisons.

 I enjoy homeopathy’s personification of the mineral and its aim to treat the emotional root of the problem.

Aim of religion, method of science….

With phosphorescent smiles,

Lorelei Swank


Wilm-a-gogo Rockabilly Car Show

Dude, why is WordPress only letting me post 4 photos in a gallery?  I mean, this isn’t life or death but there’s a chemistry test I’m seriously trying to procrastinate studying for, so this is of upmost importance to me at this moment in time.

Anyway, these are some photos from the Wilm-a-gogo Car Show from last month.  Joyfully narrowed down to a measly 4 photos.


Edited:  Figger’d it out.  Hu-hu hyuck. :B

Double Edit:  It now appears that a polar bear from outer space appears above each post.  I enjoy and approve of this.

Dharma types & Ayurveda.

A dialogue I found very interesting;

Try not to see me as an outsider or a pitta provoked person.. yes I may have red hair, and who knows, may have just eaten some hot food in the summer time.

Have you ever thought about how all methods are traps? Judaism, Buddhism, yoga, meditation, tarpana, upaya, mantra, yantra….you have to allow yourself to be trapped by the system in order for it to work.

Yes, absolutely! The key is knowing they are traps while submitting to them. The alternative is no method in which your own mind becomes the only referent. That’s at least as dangerous as any other snare.

For example, if I were to come up to you and suggest something from Wise Traditions, or TCM, you might not do it because of your link to Ayurveda. (I’ve noticed cult like behavior from many Ayurveda students.)

To learn an ancient tradition you have to allow your mind to be cultured. The first step in that is indoctrination. Unfortunately, if people never go beyond the first step, culture easily turns to cult. The ultimate aim of culture and discipline is freedom- the idea of taming the monkey mind instead of having it run roughshod over you. The methods of taming are many, the aim is one.

Ever hear about how Zen Buddhism’s third patriarch, about how setting up what you like against what you dislike is the disease of the mind? Ayurveda seems to be doing a whole lot of that. It seems to reek of spiritual materialism, “oh, buy this mala, buy this copper, eat this, and you’ll be free!” Free from what? Free from the trap of the mind you created? Seems like you can get really deep into this and find no return from the abyss.

I agree, but remember Ayurveda is not a spiritual tradition- it is a system of healing. By drinking water from a copper cup you tonify the liver and scrap āma- there is no suggestion of spirituality there. By wearing a mālā you may cool your pitta on a very subtle level, and by eating specific foods you calm your dosha- all of these have to do with the dharma of the body.

I feel that you have your mind perverted at times when doing these readings, several humans have told me you seem to be using it as a way to advertise for the Institute. Many people have come to their parents after readings, and the parents have all said you’re just trying to generate so that people will check out the place where you get your income.

While I probably do have a bias for the Institute- it really did change my life back in 1998 when I studied here, and I’ve seen it do the same for many others- I have no financial incentive (or otherwise) for promoting its services. I guess for the same reason you recommend a restaurant that you like or an acupuncturist to your friends I also recommend the tute. Truth is, I have not seen every restaurant or teaching institution out there so I can only recommend what I know- and that is a sort of bias. When I see in someone’s chart that they would be benefitted by medical school I recommend that. When I see alternative therapies, I offer those up. I don’t remember but in your case, didn’t I recommend acupuncture? Anyhow, you are right- I do recommend the AI probably disproportionately, but it is not because I have anything to gain from that- believe me- it is only because I know what it’s done for me and others. (By the way, I tell students at the beginning of every year that in my case I never graduated, I flunked Sanskrit and many other classes, but I fell in love with Jyotisha while I was here and that catapulted me in a whole new direction in life).

Astrology seems to be reinforcing limitations. If you reinforce people’s limitations, aren’t they likely to stick? It dwells in the matrix of individual you walk around looking at people.. “oh, there’s a male, oh, there’s a vata- kapha, ooh, there is a cancer.. and it creates a net like in comic books of “this is who I am, this is who you are, this is how it is.” Then like a fish in an ocean of plastic, you have to remove the net so you can breathe again.

IN the vedantic sense we are unlimited atman, and if you can live that reality I salute you! However, in the relative world don’t you find it useful to know that you’re a male? Knowing what clothes to wear, what bathroom to use, and how to style your hair- you’re lying to yourself if you think that doesn’t condition you. You are in fact following the social rules appropriate to your gender whether you know it or not. The same goes for Vata or Kapha- whether you’re aware of their reality in your life, you are playing out behaviors associated with them constantly. The role of Jyotisha is to shed light on these realities of embodied existence and bring them to our awareness. What you do with them is up to you. If you choose to create limitations based on them, fine. Mantriji, my Sanskrit teacher and Hart’s Jyotisha guru said ‘You have to transcend the planets!’ but he also said ‘don’t throw away the flashlight (jyotisha) until you can see in the dark.’
The buddha iterated something similar: “once you’ve crossed the river, of what use the boat?” The tool is no longer necessary once it’s outworn its use. IF you’re at that level, again, I congratulate you. But if not, if you haven’t learned how to see in the dark yourself, I wouldn’t throw away the flashlight.

Who knows if Parvati’s curse on all of jyotish is true from legend, but either way, I’ve gotten feedback from a lot of people who I previously recommended talk to you, and they’ve all had similar comments on how it felt a little weird you’d suggest taking classes as part of some dharmic trip.

which classes?

I’ve felt that anybody who tells you that he/she has some way of leading you to spiritual advancement is like somebody who picks your pocket and then sells you your own watch. My own family has made similar comments about your business.

I agree, and I’m sorry if it seems that I’m trying to sell somebody spiritual advancement. I have so far to go myself I certainly never intentionally set myself up as a spiritual teacher- God forbid! That’s a very bad karmic slope… What I have spent the last 10 years of my life on is this idea of “what’s my dharma- the natural law of my personality- and how can I live according to that to get a better job, improve relationships, and ultimately find the right spiritual path”? The nature of my work with the DTypes is that there is no one path better than another! In addition, the idea is self-knowledge, not follow a guru. As far as “selling your own watch” and “your business” I have only two things to sell- my Dharma Types book and consultations. All consultations have a money back guarantee- if you don’t like it, I will return your money no questions asked. If your friends/family feel they didn’t get their money’s worth, please let them know the same. This is not only for you- it’s how I run all consultations. As far as the book goes, well, I stand beside it- the information contained in it is much more than my own little mind construed. You can trash me, but don’t trash dharma- as the Mahabharata says, “dharma protects those who protect it, and destroys those who destroy it.”


The Enchanted Forest

A very important milestone in my life.  The visitation to the Enchanted Forest, a legendary abandoned amusement park behind Safeway in Ellicott City.  To brace ourselves for this grand tour, we began by visiting a fairy store.


What a strange place Ellicott City is.  And then, we find the legendary park in a strip mall.  We sneak through behind a gate, behind the castle walls into the woods.