I received the following email from a reader, in response to my work with an energy medicine company.
I considered Spamming this comment immediately, primarily because the writer’s condescending and accusatory tone turned my stomach. Instead, I slept on it and woke up the next day with gratitude for E. She took the time to share with me her beliefs about healing, beliefs that often go unquestioned in our Western culture, and she presented me with the opportunity to open a discussion about these beliefs.
Many people, like E, trust only methodologies proven by scientific studies and condoned by medical institutions. They only consider viable those therapies which have an identifiable “mechanism of action,” such as a specific, drug-like chemical reaction in the body.
I don’t share that worldview. I believe we can profoundly support our health with time-honored methods that have yet to fit the processes and instruments of our medical industry. I made the choice to heal outside the “rules and regulations” of western medicine. That choice may not be right for you. But if it is, I am here to empower you in that choice.
This is E’s original comment:
I love what you’ve done to promote healthy eating, but I’m shocked to read about your work with this new company. As medical professionals, we must make ethical decisions on behalf of our patients. You are pushing expensive products with no peer-reviewed data in support of their efficacy onto the readers of your blog, many of whom are ill, desperate for solutions to their chronic health issues, and easily goaded into trying unverified treatments. These people have spent hundreds of dollars on medications already, and you’re using your personal anecdote to sell the kind of product that’s offered by multi-level marketing companies. I’m glad to read that you felt better after dabbing peppermint oil on your head, but to make a claim to the general public that it improves functioning of your parasympathetic nervous system–with zero reproducible results, even in animal models–is fraudulent. Wake up, Lauren. You seem like an articulate woman who is capable of stepping back and seeing the forest for the trees. I apologize if this sounds hurtful. It pains me to see people being duped, and a seemingly nice person like you, who seems to want to help people, getting caught up in this mess.
Have you ever considered applying to a Master’s or PhD program to research the treatment you’re interested in? It’s not an easy road, as there are many more rules and regulations in place to vet information. It will, however, bring you much closer to the truth than giving oil rubs at Bastyr.
Finally, I encourage you to take a look at naturopathicdiaries.com for a viewpoint from a naturopath who is now completing her Master’s at a reputable institution
This is my response to E.
Energetic therapies are the most universal and ancient lineage in healing. In our modern culture, these therapies are called alternative healing, but a more accurate description is original healing. Archaeological excavation of mummified bodies suggest humans used acupuncture, an energetic technique, as early 3000 B.C. to treat conditions such as arthritis and back pain.
“In every culture and in every medical tradition before ours, healing was accomplished by moving energy.” -Nobel Laureate Albert Szent-Gyorgyi
Today, some individuals can feel, see, hear or otherwise sense the subtle fields of energy around the human body. This tactile perception of energy, now uncommon, was an integral part of ancient energy healing.
The ability to perceive subtle energy allows individuals to use energy for healing others. The individuals I know who are uniquely gifted in energetic sensibilities are herbalists, flower essence masters, Reikei practitioners, and acupuncture practitioners.
The Unknown Unkowns
For years, I had searched for a scientific explanation of energy therapies, with the intent to legitimize this holistic tool in the eyes of modern science. I sought a certain, proven, and mechanistic explanation, but found no theory satisfactorily thorough.
When read the book Ignorance by Stuart Feinstein, Professor and Chair of the Department of Biological Sciences at Columbia University, I realized that I was on an endless pursuit. I was searching for a scientific answer that was, likely, not yet discovered by science.
In his book, Feinstein explains how we further the progress of science through a necessary, but often uncomfortable, time of uncertainty. To use the words of Nobel Prize winning physicist Erwin Schrodinger, we must “abid[e] by ignorance for an indefinite period.”
“Consider the wide stretches of the electromagnetic spectrum, including most obviously the ultraviolet and infrared but also several million additional wavelengths that we now detect only by using devices such as televisions, cell phones, and radios. All were completely unknown, indeed inconceivable, to our ancestors of just a few generations ago,” writes Feinstein. “Just as there are forces beyond the perception of our sensory apparatus, there may be perspectives that are beyond the conception of our mental apparatus.”
In other words, there are unknown unknowns. With a sense of freedom, I realized energy therapies may work at a level of forces we do not – and may not ever – comprehend.
The Music of Energetics
Modern science will eventually develop measuring devices sensitive enough to reveal more of the energy fields that interact with the human body. I believe that we will see faster progress in this area if we explore energetics beyond the realm of reductionism.
Modern science is governed by reductionism, a belief which attempts to understand a whole by breaking it down and analyzing the tiniest particles. Author and biochemist Rupert Sheldrake points out the primary problem with reductionism: it’s like trying to find out how a computer works by grinding it up, and studying the molecules of nickel and copper. There is a place for reductionism in studying the human body, but we also need to compliment it with a bigger-picture perspective.
The human body is a Mozart Symphony, but Western science often tries to study the symphony by playing each note by each instrument, one by one. That’s a sure way to lose the music.
I believe we’ll learn how energetics work by listening to the entire symphony, not to the individual notes of atoms and chemical interactions.
Where’s the Cat?
Feinstein says, “More often than not, science is like looking for a black cat in a dark room, and there may not be a cat in the room.” Studying energy therapies from a reductionistic approach is often like trying to find a nonexistent cat.
Consider acupuncture. We know it works, and we have the double-blind, placebo-controlled, peer-reviewed studies to show it. But, after investing countless dollars into analyzing this therapy, we do not have a measurable mechanism to explain acupuncture. Scientists are trying to catch the Acupuncture-Explanation-Cat, but maybe there is not a cat. Maybe, the explanation is the dark room itself. Maybe it’s the whole house.
Scientifically and Exactly
At the end of this article, you may still be asking me the question, “how, scientifically and exactly, does energy medicine work?”
And my reply is, “Scientifically and exactly, I don’t know.”
Perhaps that leads you to the next question: “Then why do you use and recommend energetic therapies?”
Because I want to tell you that you have a choice in your healing journey. You can choose, as I did, to find support in therapies not yet sanctioned by the scientific studies of Western Medicine.
Finding this support is a journey of discovery and careful experimentation that will be unique to you, your history, and your body. The modalities that work for you may not be mechanistically repeatable for someone else, even in similar situations.
When I used energy medicine and alternative nutrition, both neglected and even “unproven” by modern science, I experienced healing that Western Medicine told me was impossible. I want to encourage you to consider alternatives, anchored in ancient traditions, that have yet to fit the processes and instruments of our current medical industry.
I’m stoked, that is all I have to say. I trust you and will trust your product. Thank you. 🙂
Lauren, thank you so much for your courage and your grace to speak your truth knowing that you will be rejected and criticized by so many. I think so many of us that follow your blog and have similar health journey’s as you know exactly how difficult it is to hold beliefs and make choices that are out of the medical and cultural norms. We regularly face condescension and ridicule that can leave us feeling hurt and isolated. It is because of communities like the one you’ve created here by sharing your story with us, that we all can find the strength to keep listening to our intuition and healing our bodies. Keep up the good work!
Thank you for your graceful and accurate reply on this issue. I’m a registered dietitian and have my Master’s Degree in Nutrition from a very traditional ivy league university where I was taught that peer reviewed science was the only way to practice. Luckily, I was born with an intuitive voice that knew there were many things that created positive results that couldn’t be explained but still existed.
I’ve experienced the positive benefits of homeopathy which helped my son heal from eczema as a baby, the powerful effects of cranial-sacral therapy on healing from emotional trauma and the mind/body benefits of a daily Ashtanga yoga practice. To my knowledge there is very little, if any, scientific proof that these modalities have beneficial effects yet I am living proof that they do.
After years of digestive and fatigue issues I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease a few years ago. My endocrinologist told me that my thyroid would just die and there was nothing I could do it about it. Ha! Thankfully I didn’t listen to him and utilized “unproven” dietary and herbal interventions as well as infrared sauna, massage, meditation, and nutritional supplementation to heal my body. When I had my yearly ultrasound a few months ago, the endocrinologist was shocked that my thyroid looked so wel he saidl that he wouldn’t have known that I had Hashimoto’s by looking at it. Ummm, that’s proof to me.
Your blog was one of the first ones I found when I was searching for nutrient dense recipes and I’ve been enjoying all of the info you’ve shared since. I’m currently waiting for my Meo Energetics oils to arrive. I’m looking forward to experiencing more “unproven” beneficial effects from them.
I’m excited for you on your new venture and wish you much success. You are an articulate, intelligent woman who is a trusted source of knowledge for those of us with autoimmune issues. You’ve more than proven your methods.
Laura, thank you for your thoughtful comment and sharing your own healing journey with alternative therapies. I agree that living proof is proof enough for me to continue on this path of holistic healing. I applaud you for listening to your intuition, and orchestrating such healing for yourself and your family. I appreciate your kind and encouraging words about my life’s work. Thank you for your support of Meo Energetics, and I hope you enjoy the oils!
The proven and accepted medical treatments E. was referring to caused my husband’s death. He died as a result of the treatments not from his symptoms. Just saying……
I promise I’m not secretly “E,” however I’d be lying if I said that some of the concerns they’ve presented hadn’t occurred to me as well. I am glad somebody posed the questions about the efficacy of these products so you had a chance to publicly address them. I am a Certified Pharmacy Technician and for years have seen patients who are clearly very reliant on their medications, and understandably so. However, I’ve also seen quite a bit of prescription drug abuse. I, for one, can’t relate as directly to autoimmune or digestive concerns, but like many others have struggled with my own health concerns. Most notably, I struggled with frequent staph infections for a few years and felt that my doctors were doing me a disservice by simply prescribing antibiotics rather than doing bacterial cultures or helping me get down to the root of why I was so prone to these infections. It has been frustrating to me as a Pharmacy Technician to balance my cynicism towards both Western medicine and more alternative/homeopathic therapies… but that’s just it: it is a balance! If I was dying of an infection, I wouldn’t be turning down antibiotics simply in favor of homeopathic treatments, but I might do both and see if it works better than just relying on the antibiotics alone. And so far, the addition of “alternative” treatments in preventing staph has worked wonderfully and I haven’t had a staph infection throughout all of 2016. As far as my current concerns go, I may just be taking a leap of faith by buying two of these oils to help me with anxiety, focus, and fatigue, but I doubt I’ll face many (if any) side effects from these as I would if I’d pursued anti-anxiety medications or Adderall… If your products are effective for most users, then the results critics want will come. And if they aren’t effective for their intended purpose, then they are still aromatherapeutic and can find use in my home. At the very least, I figured something like this was worth a try over a more extreme alternative. Thank you for addressing these concerns, though!
I am so grateful for this post and your choice to address head-on the critics of the ideas that you believe in. This is an area that is near and dear to my heart because I have been sick with a chronic condition that conventional medicine has not been able to alleviate or improve. I have turned to “unproven” dietary interventions, healing touch and homeopathy and have found the most relief. I am on the cusp of going back to school for nutrition to help others decrease suffering from chronic conditions and trying to make the decision whether to go with a holistic/functional nutrition program or pursue a more conventional masters program to become a dietitian. It is hard for me to articulate why I want to pursue the “unproven” at this point, and I appreciate hearing you stand up for your own orientation in such a beautiful way. Thank you.
I’m so impressed with your ability to respond to well to such a slap in the face! You responded so well and your response now helps others understand more about why “risking” “alternative” medicine might *actually* be worth the risk!
Keep on doing your good work, Lauren. Your courage brings hope to so many, including me.
Brilliant response instead of reaction.
As Joe Dispenza says, dont wait for science to tell you, go do it and let science measure you.
Trusting our intuition and path is the way ahead, not blindly following other humans.
Great post and way of showing your response to the comment. There is a balance we need to find between western modern medicine and ancient healing remedies and also each ones place in health. I healed myself with a naturopathic, functional medicine doctor and am constantly changing and healing. I would have never gotten these results with what is promoted through modern medicine/ doctors and “health”. Im a personal trainer so I see most clients that think the workouts are gunna do it.. its a balance of all things and thats what naturopathy, functional medicine and ancient remedies/therapies have taught me. Ill definitely keep checking out your page! And as I’m starting my own blog and learning my way of spreading this message I hope to start a connection with you!
I too have an autoimmune disease and have seen so much healing in the form of biofeedback and spiritual energy healing. Western medicine is why I have autoimmune problems in the first place, due to overtaking antibiotics as a child (with no education around them). Of course I still go to the dentist and went to the doctor when I broke my foot. But other than that – I’d rather pay out of pocket for alternative medicine than kill my body with prescription drugs any day! I have a feeling people will eventually catch up to this concept.