In the orbit of Blood Type Science teachings, we are well acquainted with the notion of the host organism's individual endowment ("terrain") as complex mediator of processes of health and disease, AND as a key factor in therapeutic selection. In the field of Aromamedicine, an empiric in vitro tool for both diagnosis and treatment selection in cases of infectious illness is the aromatogram (pronounced aro-MAT-o-gram). Impressive as it is, it is often incomplete without taking into account the patient's olfactory preference (along with other host variables), a factor not yet understood, yet uncannily accurate.
Developed in France, birthplace of Aromamedicine itself, by M. Girault (1969) et al (1972), the aromatogram involves the collection of specimen from the infected patient, the laboratory culturing of infectious agent, and the impregnation of multiple agar samples with this culture; each petri dish's center contains a disk of filter paper saturated with a different essential oil, each chosen for likely effectiveness versus the likely pathogen (note that it is not even necessary that the pathogen be definitively identified). Each disk is rated for its effectiveness in "repelling" proliferation of the cultured agent, measured by diameter of surrounding uninvaded substrate. Then, a combination/program of those essential oils most clinically antipathogenic is prescribed as treatment in that case.
"Terrain" is shown to be significant in at least two known ways:
(1) Olfactorily: A patient for whom two essential oils, for example, have shown equal anti-infectious effectiveness in vitro may greatly prefer the fragrance of one of these two remedies - usually the one that proves, in vivo, to be of markedly greater therapeutic value.
(2) Immunologically: An essential oil relatively ineffective against a given pathogen may otherwise positively affect the host terrain, enabling his own resources to prevent the proliferation/spread of that pathogen.
Most English speakers associate "Aromatherapy" with massage, bath oils and room fragrancing, as these constitute the major forms of essential oil use in the so-called "English School" popular also in the US, Australia, and Germany. This school is sometimes called "Holistic Aromatherapy" and commonly uses patient/consumer olfactory-preference as a key, if not essential, treatment selection factor.
Aromamedicine, on the other hand, is practiced by a large minority (about 20%?) of medical doctors in France, where the laboratory aromatogram is standard procedure. Essential oils are there blended and prescribed for administration via inhalation, oral ingestion, vaginal pessary or douche, rectal suppository or enema, and/or topical application. The oils are, in France as in the US, also readily available to the general public in health shops, increasingly in organic therapeutic grade/quality.
Kurt Schnaubelt, PhD, is a Swiss biochemist greatly responsible for popularizing French Aromamedicine in the US, by means of his books (see below), lectures and articles, as well as his organic line of essential oils, "Original Swiss Aromatics, and his educational program at the Pacific Institute of Aromatherapy, in San Rafael, California. He is energetically pioneering an inclusive art and science of Aromamedicine; his consumer-empowering ideology is decidedly anti-"Licensed-Practitioner-Only", flying in the face of the UK's massage/aromatherapist "Don't-try-this-yourself-at-home" warning-laden approach, while endeavoring to upgrade the scienticfic legitimacy of Aromamedicine through increased controlled clinical experimentation and validation of long-known holistic/anecdotal findings.
Dr. Schnaubelt is joined by Robert Tisserand, Marcel Lavabre, and Len and Shirley Price of the English School, Peter Damian of Germany, and Drs. Daniel Pénoël and Pierre Franchomme et al of the French School in publishing about the Aromatogram for lay consumption.
The role (limbic and other) of host olfaction in human health is still largely a medical mystery, holding promise of providing an important key to our understanding of bio-individuality. This, coupled with other "terrain"-mediated variables in the interaction of infectious agents and essential oils presents clinical Aromamedicine as a particularly exciting field of enquiry in genomic naturopathy and all individuality-geared medicine.
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Refs. and Further Reading:
Belaiche, Paul, & Girault, M., Traité de Phytothérapie et d'Aromathérapie, Paris, Maloine SA, 1979
Damian, Peter and Kate, Aromatherapy: Scent and Psyche, Rochester, Vermont, Healing Arts Press, 1995
Durante, Alain and Malherbe, Sylvie, "The Aromatogram: A Vital Key to Optimizing Treatment in the French Practice of Aromatherapy", Aromatic Thymes, Vol 7.3, Fall/Winter, 2000
Franchomme, Pierre, and Pénoël, Daniel, L'Aromathérapie Exactement, Limoges, 1990
Lavabre, Marcel, Aromatherapy Workbook, Rochester, Vermont, Healing Arts Press, 1990
Price, Shirley, and Price, Len, Aromatherapy for Health Professionals, 2nd edition, Edinburgh, Churchill Livingstone, 1999
Schnaubelt, Kurt, PhD, Advanced Aromatherapy: The Science of Essential Oil Therapy, Rochester, Vermont, Healing Arts Press, 1998
Schnaubelt, Kurt, Medical Aromatherapy: Healing with Essential Oils, Berkeley, Ca., Frog Ltd., 1999
I have a blind neighbor, Vicki, with whom I shared coffee the other day at a local café. Vicki is a remarkable woman who has her own radio show and is between guide dogs (they retire after 4-6 years, I think). I've known Vicki through 3 of them now.
The subject of diet came up, and I asked her her blood type. "O", she said, as she munched her scone, one hand on her "latte". It turns out that this woman, age 53, is yet another Californian intuiting the BTD in many ways.
1. She knows she needs to eat plenty of red meat and fish/seafood, and enjoys these regularly and heartily; poultry, too.
2. She knows she needs to "get pumped" every day, and already does, on her Nordic Track at home. But -- get this -- she also cross country skis for real. And she's already well aware of the anger and mood connection to aerobic fitness (cf. 8/10/06: "Two Screechin' O Cabbies") and has it under control.
3. She loves her leafy greens and berries, and avoids orange juice.
4. She's aware that wheat is problematic for her (though she hasn't yet given it up).
She still drinks coffee with cow's milk. Doesn't like soy milk at all.
I got her very jazzed about our way of life, and she plans to visit dadamo on line, via her fancy equipment/software-for-the-blind so she can fine-tune her diet (Are D'Adamo's books available in audio format?).
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Oh, and I asked her (cf. my 3/24/06 Blog: "Infantile-Americans") what she thinks of the term "visually-challenged" (or "sight-challenged") as the politically-correct replacement (euphemism?) for "blind". Suffice it to say, there was howling laughter at our table.
I just love it when she says, "Great to see you!" and "See ya later!"
Ah, the human spirit.
And, if you're reading this, Hi Vicki!
At my age, many of my peers go in for the full facelift, or at least the eye-job, with or without browlift. In my own case, I confess to all sorts of manual/pretend operations before the mirror: "This is what I'd look like if...", imagining the deft slicing away of these new ellipses of spongy periorbital epidermis. I see "jowls" developing, too, and (make believe) do away with them, chop chop.
The challenge is to think contextually. Yes, when one is before the mirror, up close, it stands to reason that one compares oneself with filmed or magazine(retouched) headshots of those whose annual surgical bill exceeds your income. But get the Big Picture.
Here's the image that frequently comes to my own mind: Oscar Night, the last time I watched it. I don't remember what year it was, since I don't go to the movies, but it was the year Gwyneth won Best Actress and wore pink. I had never seen her before, or another actress named Kim Basinger, who wore mint/aqua (I think Helen Hunt was milling around, too, in taupe?), and I remarked, "They're all so POINTY!" Well defined clavicles, skinny necks and arms, flat chests, angular jaws, chins, cheekbones, and elbows. I thought, "This isn't even attractive" (and I had some credibility at the time, being then svelte and blonde and pretty myself).
Two women caught my eye at that televised gala, women whose names I was only told later. Both looked soft, womanly, real. Yes, "real" says it, for there seemed to be human substance behind their faces and physiques, so different from the emaciated herd. The two women were: Judi Dench and Kathy Bates. These women clearly knew they were actresses rather than runway models (and dare I say "women rather than boys"?). Much more than mere heft was of note in their carriage: They had class, presence, style, élan. Their sheer confidence made the Pointy Brigade look like vacuous wannabe's, grasping at angularity as if to cover or polish some paucity of ... soul?
Realness. Verve. Character and Vitality. Whenever I find myself playing with my eyelids or jawline, I force myself to remember Dame Judi and Kathy, whom I would much rather resemble as I journey croneward than, say, Morgan Fairchild.
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Looking 30 is great -- when you're 30 or thereabout. Me, I naturally got away with looking young through my 40's. During the past year, however, the decades and processes have realigned, somehow, and here we are... Still: I wouldn't rather be pointy (even if such were beautiful. Beauty, anyway, can attract unpleasant attentions, and all manner of creeps, don't I know it).
When I was "young and beautiful", the way to discourage unwanted attentions was to dress dowdily and hide. In midlife, it's much easier. Nature can help us gain weight, droop, sag, be soft and all too human, even with great hair and clothes. Interestingness should matter. Wrinkles should be welcomed, nay, fanfared.
Even in the case of masculine beauty, there are men who have their eyelids clipped and bald pates plugged, and look scary, like many of the women. Morgan Fairchild does look scary. Seen Olivia Newton-John or Cher lately?
Joan Collins was on Martha Stewart's TV show a couple of weeks ago; she looked like a ghoul beside the much more vivacious, natural (60-something) Martha, whose face gives us that "context". Judi Dench and Kathy Bates are, and look like, real people. (Princess) Grace Kelly died in her 50's, a natural beauty.
The keyword here may well be "grace". Imagine two very elderly former starlets, side by side. One looks her age and is full of life. The other seems to have outwitted Decay by stretching her skin so tight she appears, ironically, full of Death, while she's forced to FAKE the youthful vigor that matches her appearance. The former is aging gracefully and graciously. The latter is a pathetic picture of ambition laced with emptiness: All you see is a catalogue of cosmetic procedures, from hair to teeth to skin to lipo. Whom would you rather be, or know? (Warning: Every one of these latter types began, in midlife or earlier, with some "small" procedure.)
Whom are you becoming, at 50? The parent of bride or groom? A grandparent? A mentor? A sage or leader? And - even if you ARE an actor or actress - are you coming into your prime? or fighting, nipping, suctioning, raging against the softening of the light?
Is it really a spa-trip you need? A facelift? or might you be better occupied with living into your age, finding your depth, celebrating and thanking your wrinkles that shout at your soul to Get Real?
To my mind, a facelift says, "I won't face this reality". A truly aging face says, "I inhabit reality".
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Teenagers go through body-image trauma of the Adolescent kind. Postpartum women traverse a body-image passage too, having experienced pregnancy and childbirth, now coming to grips with mammary and pelvic reality, skin repercussions and the rest. Adolescence, Matrescence, and, yes, Senescence: Pivotal phases on life's way, involving, among other phenomena, coping with massive and permanent transformations of our bodies, changes over which we naturally have little control and which are meant, I believe, to co-operate with mental and emotional expansion and wizening.
Do we embrace all that is Life? Do we endeavor to understand it? Or, rather, to conquer it? This exemplifies one of the profoundest quandaries of our era: Is technology an enhancer of Life? or its Nemesis?
There are magnificent wines that age beyond their corks' lifespans. Masters of such matters fly around the world, visiting great collections and re-corking these fragile gems in a way that does not interfere with their aging process.
Are you aging that gracefully? Is your inner life blossoming so gorgeously that your container can't keep pace? Can you cross the bridge into Elderhood with your juice intact - nay - still developing? or are you jostling the bottle, messing with it, affixing new, glittery (and pointy?) labels? Overhandle the bottle, you see, and you actually destroy the wine.
So: Is your elixir worth preserving? Does it merit its antique bottle with all its dust and cobwebs? If not, pointiness might fool some of the people, but only some of the time, and never yourself.
"Age is one's true face, long waiting in the wings for the charade of youth to tire". - my Journal, 30 June, 1993
"Il faut apprendre à connaître les vins du pays où l'on se trouve. C'est la meilleure manière de pénétrer dans l'intimité profonde d'une terre." - Montaigne
On the third Thursday of November, the Beaujolais Nouveau (or "Primeur") is released for consumption but weeks after harvest (was it September 6 this year?). During my New York years, I remember the great fanfare about Georges Duboeuf's accompanying those first cases (via Concorde, in modern times) from Paris to New York every year. Here in San Francisco (my abode for over 20 years), the anticipation is almost nonexistent: (1) The European link is nowhere near as strong, and (2) Northern Californians have their own wines and tastes. As a former New Yorker AND European resident, I grab it fresh from its journey and taste it each and every year.
Hallelujah, the 2006 Duboeuf is Good Stuff. Vibrant, almost electric boysenberry-purple color bounds from the pour and dances around the glass; sweet berry aromas excite the nose, with no disappointment on the palate, where a round, live fruitiness magically dries down to a suave finish. A jolly quaff, suiting late autumn with its darkening late afternoons and more inclement weather: A reminder of nature's fecund provision (and the perfect accompaniment to tricky traditional Thanksgiving dinner elements: Cranberries, sweet potatoes...).
Why is Beaujolais Nouveau scoffed at by wine geeks and Californians but enjoyed with gusto by Europeans, non-Americans, and a stateside élite? It's actually a huge seller: Tops among all Beaujolais, which itself outsells red Burgundy (admittedly, the Gamay grape of Beaujolais is more abundantly produced). Because it's the people's wine,for one thing. Most wine snobs in America ignorantly associate wine with fancy, gourmet jet-set affairs while Europeans of all ages take wine for granted with almost every meal. So, secondly, it is an important symbol of a timeworn way of life the overwhelming majority of non-Europeans have never experienced.
As for its youthful bounciness and vitality, it seems Americans are heeding critics who tell them: Tannin=Good, Oak-chips=Good, Woodiness=Good; Europeans know better: To accompany most food, wood can be distracting, while tannic structure invaded too soon is always a serious no-no.
In continental Europe, most regions have their wines; the vintners are usually known personally and play an important role in their villages. I lived in the "Lavaux" viticultural region of Switzerland (Eastern Vaud/Northeast coast of Lac Léman) where the new wine was labored over and awaited every fall, where, in fact, the harvest's Must ran through drink machines in local cafeterias, as lemonade and iced tea often do in the US (talk about everyday, unaffected enjoyment). Everyone wanted to sample the year's juice and celebrate the harvest: A community tradition, keeping the people identifed with their ground.
Here in San Francisco, community traditions are not (a) as historically embedded, or (b) as earthbound, even with "wine country" just up the road. San Franciscans are, after all, still Americans, more concerned with each Friday's movie releases and with annual traditions like the World Series and the Academy Awards than with the one opportunity they have of distinguishing the fine points of a circumscribed region's terroir, year after year, fresh from the vine. Not only that, we Californians are a transient people, drifting between cities and counties with little, if any, relationship to our regions' soil or producers (Irony: Our state is the nation's major wine producer AND its "fruit bowl").
Now: For those of you new to Beaujolais:
Beaujolais is the region (southernmost tip of Burgundy).
Gamay is the grape variety.
More or less granitic is the soil.
"Nouveau" or "Primeur" means the wine is released about 8 weeks after the harvest, and is to be drunk from November of its vintage year until, say, February. By the end of March, it's no longer alive and brimming with vigor, but may be fine for a cooking wine. (Note: This year, Duboeuf has released a second Primeur, from Beaujolais-Villages - see below for definition of "Beaujolais-Villages" - in addition to his regular "Spécial Cuvée Beaujolais Nouveau".)
"Villages" is one step up: Worth a taste; I haven't yet tried it.
If Beaujolais is NOT "Nouveau/Primeur", however, it can age a bit:
"Beaujolais" can be enjoyed for about a year after vintage.
"Beaujolais-Villages" for another year to year and a half, maybe a total of 2-3 years in a good vintage and/or from a village headed toward "Cru" status.
"Beaujolais Cru" (the label will simply tell the name of the village, e.g., Juliénas; it'll only say Beaujolais on the back label): The "Cru" villages (10 of 'em) can go longer, depending on which village. Morgon and Moulin-à-Vent are usually the most "structured" (I think Côte de Brouilly can sometimes be as tight) and have occasionally been compared with neighboring Burgundy(Pinot Noir). On the other hand, one can enjoy a young Cru from a "lighter" village such as Fleurie or St-Amour at the 2-3 year mark as well. In 2006 I've had 2003 Moulin-à-Vent that's purple and fruity, albeit with (vive la France!) finesse and nuance.
Beaujolais: Where Gamay cultivation is perfected.
Beaujolais Nouveau: Gamay naked and upfront.
There's nothing not to like about it unless one is affecting a contrived sophistication. I'm no snob: It's real. It's cheap. It's friendly. It's delicious. It's fun.
Learn to make Beaujolais Nouveau a holiday season tradition; it's an enjoyable way to self-educate re: Terroir. This means: Honing one's tasting skills, year to year, vis-à-vis one small area and its one masterfully showcased grape variety, always at the same age. For those outside Europe, it's probably your only opportunity to taste what the current season's harvest produced.
Have a jolly Thanksgiving and merry Christmas/New Year with the 2006 Nouveau: A Good Year!
A Votre Santé!
The first I'd ever read or heard re: induced abortion as a risk factor for serious later illness was through macrobiotics, in the mid 1980's. Its practitioners were at that time certain that one major "yang" cause of multiple sclerosis was previous abortion, explaining its sudden dispersal of the intensely centripetal Ki flow of early pregnancy as later leading to MS or other weakening of the legs (see Michio Kushi's Natural Healing Through Macrobiotics, Japan Pubs., Tokyo, 1978).
Throughout the 1980's and 90's I was reading and hearing snippets of information linking abortion to breast cancer, and I'd often marveled at the rise of both, within the same demographic, over the same last 3 decades of the last century. Various macrobiotic practitioners, including Naburo Muramoto, had espoused a belief in this link.
Recently, I read The Cost of "Choice": Women Evaluate the Impact of Abortion (edited by Erika Bachiochi, Encounter Books, San Francisco, 2004), especially for its middle section, "Abortion and Women's Health", containing three chapters. The chapter on the Abortion-Breast Cancer link, by Angela Lanfranchi, MD, cofounder of the Breast Cancer Prevention Institute, is positively compelling, supplying data that show the following:
1. Breast cancer is the ONLY major cancer that has continued rising in incidence
2. There are 17 statistically significant studies showing a link between abortion and later breast cancer, 8 of which were conducted in the US.
3. Abortion before age 18 or after age 30, with no prior term birth, increases breast cancer risk substantially.
4. The more estrogen a woman is exposed to in her lifetime, the higher her risk for breast cancer (e.g., early menarche, late menopause, estrogen replacement therapy, birth control pills).
5. The earlier in life that a woman's breasts develop from Type 1 (female infant to early pregnancy) and Type 2 (adult female through early pregnancy) to mature Type 3 and 4 lobules (Late pregnancy/lactation-readiness ONLY) the lower her risk of breast cancer. Type 1 and 2 lobules are known to be where cancers arise, and these proliferate dramatically during the first 32 weeks of pregnancy. Youthful full term pregnancy thus protects a woman, lowering her risk of breast cancer(And this is why childless women have a higher rate of breast cancer: They, too, never develop those Type 3 and 4 lobules that act, effectively, as a prevention factor).
6. It is only after 32 weeks of pregnancy that a woman's breasts stop growing larger and THEN mature into Type 3 and 4 lobules in preparation for breastfeeding. ANY premature birth, before 32 weeks, more than doubles breast cancer risk. NOTE: There is NO medical dispute that premature deliveries cause increased breast cancer risk. (But were you told?)
7. Women who first give birth after age 30 (an increasingly prevalent cultural pattern in the US today) are at increased risk for breast cancer.
[Note: About 95% of my first-time postpartum clientele is over 30]
There follows an essay by Elizabeth Shadigan, MD, supplying more numbers:
Approximately 25% of all pregnancies in the US are deliberately terminated (between 1.2 and 1.6 million/year). Therefore, if there is even a small positive or negative effect of induced abortion on subsequent maternal health, many, many women - and their families - will be affected.
Dr. Shadigan cites current research suggesting that a history of induced abortion is associated with an increased long-term risk of:
1. breast cancer
2. placenta previa
3. pre-term birth
4. maternal suicide
A girl's decision to have an abortion instead of a full-term pregnancy at age 18 can almost double her 5-year and lifetime risk of breast cancer at age 50, regardless of race. Again, we see the finding that the risk of breast cancer is increased if the abortion is performed before a first full-term pregnancy. In sum, Dr. Shadigan confirms that the risk of breast cancer increases with induced abortion when:
(1) the induced abortion precedes a first full-term pregnancy
(2) the woman is a teenager
(3) the woman is over the age of 30
(4) the pregnancy is terminated at more than 12 weeks' gestation
(5) the woman has a family history of breast cancer.
Get this: ALL (100%) of the women in one study who had a family history of breast cancer AND aborted their first pregnancy as teenagers developed breast cancer by age 45.
Induced abortion was found to increase risk of later placenta previa by approximately 50%. Substantially increased risk for very early premature deliveries (at 20-30 weeks) where there's been a history of induced abortion, was also found.
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The three MD's presenting in this section are outraged that 'political considerations' prevent this knowlege from being shared with patients or presented to their colleagues at conferences, as if preventing educated consent can be considered either Good Medicine or Good Politics.
Recently I had dinner with a friend who was discussing the way(s) in which political considerations have driven AIDS research and disclosure. I asked him, "Can you imagine a man with AIDS NOT being asked by his own doctor whether he's homosexual?" We agreed that that would be scandalous; the patient with serious and perhaps terminal illness is not permitted (by the responsible physician) ignorance of known risk factors impacting his illness...usually.
Most importantly, responsible preventative measures must be taught to the public. We caution people about "safe sex", but not about abortion's risks? (So how "safe" was that sex?)
Dr. D'Adamo has stated, in his Blood Type Encyclopedia, that there is research implicating vasectomy as a prostate cancer risk-factor. This link, too, is not generally known. Even the birth control pill's health risks were considered "politically incorrect" to mention in the early days of the Sexual Revolution. What does that tell us about that Revolution? Are there subversive elements embedded within it, demanding public ignorance of its risks?
If women (and men) need to be "Free to Choose", then these must be EDUCATED choices. Induced abortion can have serious health repercussions, as can IUDs, Birth Control Pills, "unsafe sex", and vasectomies. All women and men deserve to have these risks candidly explained.