Pain is inevitable; suffering is optional
... is a quote from Traditional Chinese Medicine.
I believe that naturopathic medicine and natural therapies are
appropriate and easily available if you know something about them. My personal
experience with naturopathic practitioners has continued for over 20 years.
The tradition of naturopathic medicine and natural therapies
arises from the needs of our ancestors to cope with problems and illnesses.
They have holistic philosophies. They consider the whole person and what each
needs to do to be responsible for themselves to live healthy and satisfying lives.
They aim to remove those things which hinder healing. Practitioners are trained
in many ancient and modern healing skills, from traditional herbalism, to genetic
research, nutritional science, diet and exercise, manipulation, homeopathy,
counselling, and pharmacology.
In my 30s I learnt that my mother, Mavis had Huntington’s
Disease (HD). Being at risk for HD I decided to be proactive in keeping well.
I looked towards naturopathic medicine and natural therapies in order to keep
well. This has been a rewarding journey and I would like to share a little of
my knowledge and understanding with you. I have been lucky that I have been able
to use the Internet to get to the vast quantity of useful, helpful information.
I have also found the ‘Yellow Pages’ is usually the best source of local therapists.
These are some of the therapies I have experienced or learnt about:
Chiropractic stresses the idea that the cause of many disease
processes begins with the body's inability to adapt to its environment It looks
to address these diseases not by the use of drugs and chemicals, but by locating
and adjusting a musculoskeletal area of the body which is functioning improperly.
Spinal manipulation is the cure, combined with lifestyle programmes. Being a
person who tumbled fell and twisted things I was often at my chiropractor, who
has always asked ‘Why’? He checks to see if dietary supplements are necessary.
He has always been very interested in my HD, always proactive. He is constantly
upgrading his knowledge and delighted to use it.
New Zealand Chiropractors' Association
I was coping with an irregularity with my nervous system,
which was making my HD symptoms worse. I looked up ‘Homeopaths’ in the Yellow
Pages, decided that I would like a woman in my team, discussed it with my Osteopath
and rang the principal of the Wellington College of Homeopathy and Clinic. Her
remedy made wonderful progress with my problems so much so that I prepared to do
all those walks awaiting me and my camera.
Homeopathy Home is the most comprehensive homeopathic web site in the world and well worth a visit.
The NZ Council of Homeopaths is the professional organisation of the homeopathic practitioners in NZ. It includes the councils by laws and a register of practitioners
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Diet and Supplements
I have experienced ravenous hunger and having to eat all the
time. As I deteriorated so my HD symptoms became intrusive and I had to plan my
life very carefully and avoid late nights. I lacked energy and coping with late
nights was impossible. I had to plan to do things on alternate days. I lacked
concentration and was only able to do one task at a time. My husband, Dave learnt
not to try to discuss a different topic or task than I was concentrating on.
I found it hard to make a fluent conversation, I had no sense
of time or the date, and found appointments a challenge. My tongue muscle
tightened and pointed and swept around my mouth causing saliva that I had to
swallow continually. It affected my speech. I had to be careful swallowing and
My weak co-ordination affected my handwriting, balance,
cleaning my teeth, sitting in an audience and keeping my hands and feet under
Because my natural sleep hormones have never flowed until
morning I have always had to have sleeping pills, especially since HD has been
around. My homeopath suggested I try the ProZone lifestyle. For over 30 years
Dr Barry Sears has worked to understand the biochemical basis of disease and
develop functional foods to reduce the risk of disease.
Dr Sears website is useful
and informative and the only contact for those of you in NZ. The ProZone diet
had many positive outcomes for some time. Later I began experiencing weight loss.
In order to put on weight I stopped following the ProZone diet.
At this time a book flyer arrived for ‘ Stay healthy by
supplying what’s lacking in your diet’ Researched by David Coory of Tauranga NZ.
My husband Dave was very interested and purchased one. ‘The book is dedicated to
researchers world-wide, who painstakingly pursue a better understanding of that
most complex and marvellous process - the human digestive system. It works to
enable you to avoid and cure health problems by knowing what you need to eat in
order to get the Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) of all vitamins and minerals
in NZ foods. Because we believe the information to be so important, we have
bought books for all our family.
Phone 0800 140 141 (NZ only - credit card required).
Fax 0800 140 141 (NZ only)
My son Nick has always kept an eye on HD research and HD
websites and found that he could rely on the
HDlighthouse to keep
him up with what is current and new developments. In May 2001, Nick discovered the
results of a small, but successful trial, in England, using pure
EPA for a
small group of HD patients on the site. EPA is a poly-unsaturated fat found in
cold water fish. It seemed important to use this information. I have been taking
EPA supplements since 1991.
In February 2002, taking the advice from the HDLighthoue,
I started taking Creatine tablets. “Since 1993 creatine has been a popular
supplement for endurance athletes. Creatine was shown to protect against chemical
induced HD in mice in January 1998. Now it is shown that creatine also protects
mice carrying the mutant HD gene. Mice that have creatine as 2% of their diet
live about 17%longer. More creatine decreases the gain. It is a good bet that
creatine will help HD in humans,” wrote Jerry Lampson, HDLighthouse.
HDLighthouse information on the ‘HDL Triad’ (spirituality,
exercise and diet) has given me positive enthusiasm to fight back against HD.
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Constant headaches made me look for a way to manage them. I
chose to visit a Naturopath who had no difficulty in finding these were due to
food allergies. "The integrity of the whole person" is the key to naturopathic
medicine. It stresses the body's inherent ability to heal itself, to identify
the underlying causes of illness rather than suppressing them with drugs, to
regain harmonious function by treating the whole person rather than the specific
malady. People are encouraged to look after themselves.
Link: The NZ Society
of Naturopaths has information for practitioners and the public, on issues
relating to individual and community health and well being and has an excellent
description of each aspect of Naturopathy taught and available from naturopaths
here in NZ.
The gym I go to has a Sports Clinic where a physio and an
osteopath share the facilities. I was having injury after injury because my
muscles went into serious spasms at the least provocation. In desperation I
made an appointment with the osteopath. This proved to be the best decision I
could have made, because no matter what pulled or twisted he could try to make
me more comfortable. Usually patients have one or two visits and resume normal
life. My osteopath later gave me an Acuhealth unit, which is an electronic,
self-treatment acupuncture stimulator used on Voll’s Points for nerve degeneration.
The response was immediate. I used it for 18 months. It also had points for
allergies. After stimulating them I no longer get carsick and can stand loud music!
Keeping fit - Gymnasiums - Personal Trainers
I had Ed Chiu’s "Caring For Persons With Huntington’s Disease"
and photocopied the chapter for Physiotherapists to give to my Personal Trainer
to base my gymnasium sessions on. He compiled a list for each area to work on
and the details for each. We worked weekly on cardio, stretch, relaxation,
strengthen, breathing, posture, control, skills, and intellectual goals. If you
cannot afford your own trainer, the gym staff should have someone who can help
specifically with HD or any other problems.
Link: Chapter 5 Physiotherapy Ed Chiu
The philosophy and practice of yoga evolved in India. It aims to unite body,
mind and spirit for health and fulfilment. Practising the postures tones the
muscles and stimulates the circulation to improve overall health. Techniques
for relaxation and breath control help to calm the mind, increase concentration
and develop the ability to cope with tension. It can be a complete system for
personal development, promoting total physical and spiritual well being.
I was more than devastated when I could no longer participate
in yoga classes. At the library I looked for books on yoga and discovered a
little book "Yoga for Common Complaints" by Drs Robin Monro, Nagarathna, and
Nagendra, based on a system developed by the Vivekananda Yoga and Research
Foundation. Being a schoolteacher I understood the value of a basic warm up,
loosening up and then the sun salute. The book has very detailed instructions,
which I initially found hard to understand. For the first six months it took me
an hour to get to the sun salute and do some of the stretches given to me by my
trainer. Yoga enabled me to be far more flexible than I have been previously.
When I could not participate in yoga classes, my teacher gave
me information about a workshop by a Feldenkrais tutor, which worked on very
small movements. Travelling into Wellington seemed too much so I declined.
Feldenkrais Guild Inc. is the professional organisation concerned with
maintaing the quality and integrity of the practice in New Zealand. It is set
up to enable you to find a practitioner in your region.
I hope I have given those of you who know little about
alternative medicines, the confidence to enquire and learn more. They indeed
offer the Huntington families sound support.