ANTIBIOTICS

DEFINITION

Antibiotics

A chemical substance derivable from a mould or bacterium that kills micro-organisms and cures infections

When antibiotics were first discovered, they were known as a wonder drug. They were the cure for our many ills. They worked quickly and effectively, and now every time you go to the doctor you seem to be given antibiotics for whatever it is that’s wrong with you. Make no mistake. They work.

Over the last hundred years or so, many brilliant chemists have worked day and night to find cures for all the major diseases that have plagued the world. They are still searching for answers for some, but I am sure that it is only a matter of time before they do.

These cures are distributed in the form of medicinal drugs prescribed by qualified medical doctors; and we assume they are doing us good, because soon after taking them, we normally start to feel better. It’s all thanks to the pharmaceutical companies who make them. The strange thing is, whenever I go to my local doctor – which is very rare – I feel as if I am no longer in the door, than they are writing me out a prescription for some penicillin, or some antibiotics. Maybe it’s just me?

I began thinking deeply about this, especially when I compared it to my studies of traditional thai massage (one branch of traditional thai medicine; the others being diet, spirituality, and herbs). In thailand, they believe you must always treat the individual patient, not the symptom. They look at your whole body, your lifestyle, and your mind, in order to diagnose the disease (it may be traditional medicine, but it’s worked well for several thousand years).

The principal of their medicine (and all other eastern medicine) is prevention, rather than cure, whereas the principal of our medicine is wait until it gets so bad that only the strongest chemicals will cure it.

To be fair, western medicine can cure in areas eastern medicines can’t. I have a friend who has just had a heart attack; he is 56 and has lived his whole life over indulging in fatty foods, alcohol, and cigarettes. He was a publican for many years and took no notice of his health.

He suffered from angina (any disease of the throat or fauces marked by spasmodic attacks of intense suffocative pain) for over ten years, until three months ago, he had a heart attack, and was rushed to hospital. They injected him with a life saving drug, and several weeks later he was taken into surgery to be given a triple bypass operation, whereby the damaged part of his heart was bypassed with a vein taken from his leg.

He has since made a complete recovery and is doing well (now on a non dairy, vegetarian diet). Eastern medicine would not have been able to save him in the moment, but eastern medicine and a healthy lifestyle may have prevented him from having the heart attack in the first place.

The idea of prevention is alien in our western society. We expect to do whatever we like to our bodies and then have someone fix it; and this is where the drug companies come in. They are masters at last minute life savers, although we must not forget the wonderful surgeons and doctors who do such a great job; without whom many lives around the world would be considerably shorter.

This pop a pill idea is so popular now that people eat, smoke, and drink themselves towards an early grave, only to be saved at the last moment by western medicine. Only then do they wake up to what they’ve been doing to their health.

So who are these people who make these life saving drugs? Are these charitable people intent on saving the world from disease? Are they government scientists? The answer to both of those questions is a resounding no. The people who make these drugs are employed by multinational companies, whose prime motivation as a public or private company, is profit. That is why they are in business; not to heal the world, but to keep the shareholders happy. They don’t actually care what you do with your life, that’s your choice. Health and prevention is nothing to do with them.

As they see it, it’s the government’s job to educate you, and your job is to listen; they are only there as a backup when things go wrong, or a specific cure is needed for a specific disease.

Our health in the hands of the shareholders

I became worried that there must be a conflict of interest going on. Surely someone whose primary motivation is money, has different priorities to someone only concerned with helping people? The companies would say they can achieve both, but I’m not so sure. The pharmaceutical business is worth many billions of dollars around the world, and with all drugs patented, the drug company can set whatever price they want – so if you haven’t got the money, you can’t get the treatment.

From a business point of view that seems fair. If the newspaper costs £1.00 and you only have 50 pence, you can’t buy the newspaper; but this isn’t about newspapers, this is about the lives of human beings, and this is evident in developing nations that desperately need access to retro-viral drugs (which inhibit the onset of aids; a disease which is killing millions across the world).

Because these people live in poor countries where the governments are usually corrupt, there is little money to buy these lifelines. I am aware it costs a lot of money to produce these drugs, and that the money needs to come from somewhere; but I cannot understand why such an important role is left to private individuals who are trying to make money, not just for themselves, but usually for their shareholders who demand a return on their money every year.

Would we as tax payers not be prepared to fund research into cures that may potentially save us one day? Do we not care about saving our fellow humans in other parts of the world? Probably not.

We want to spend our money on things that bring us pleasure! If we get sick, that’s someone else’s problem, and indeed it is. The privately run multinational pharmaceutical companies to be exact.

The miracle workers

They love it when we get sick, after all, if no one was getting sick what would be the point of investing all that money in new drugs? We get sick, the doctor prescribes the cure, we get better, the multinational gets paid. Seems a fair system, doesn’t it? No one loses out. Or do they? In the west we have come to rely on “simple” cures like antibiotics, to cure almost any common ailment; just as we have drugs for flu, hay fever, headaches, backaches, leg aches – you name it, there’s a pharmaceutical drug for it. High blood pressure, anxiety, depression, even schizophrenia, there’s drugs for all. The whole world can live better lives thanks to the big pharmaceutical companies!

My dad now takes various drugs every day to control his high blood pressure, without which he would be in serious trouble; so most people would agree that pharmaceuticals are wonder drugs. They are quick acting, usually effective, and if you forget the nasty (sometimes very nasty) side effects, they could truly be called a modern miracle.

Man has finally overcome nature. We can cure what was previously incurable, we can control what would have previously been fatal, and we can arrest the development of diseases in their tracks! These drug companies have taken the personal out of personal responsibility, and replaced it with corporate. These are the people who now take responsibility for your health. These faceless multi-billion dollar giants are the people who will look after your health; for just a few pounds for each drug you buy. No longer do we need to look after our own health, why should we? We can live a completely unhealthy lifestyle, and just before we die, be given a wonder drug, and some clever surgery, and extend our life for another few years.

But I would like to ask you a serious question. How many illnesses around today are actually because of the life we lead? Do we even know the effect that all the electronic and radio equipment is having on us? Do we know what happens when we microwave our food, or when we spray pesticides and other chemicals over our fruit and vegetables; or what happens when the animals we are eating are injected with antibiotics? I certainly don’t. Do you? And yet we carry on regardless, feeling safe in the knowledge that someone else is looking out for us.

The human system – although strong and resilient – is a finely balanced machine. Is it not surprising that we get sick, and catch diseases, with the food we ingest and the artificial environment we live in? Our system is not prepared for the stress we put it under, but it is all credit to it that it manages to stay in balance, despite our best efforts to subdue it. We don’t listen to our bodies when they tell us to slow down or tell us to rest, we just pop another pill and carry on.

I’m not sure if you know that headache pills only mask the signal your body is passing to you, they don’t cure it.

Illness is when the body is no longer in balance. Feeding it unnatural remedies may be a quick fix, but it does not bring the body back into balance like a natural cure would.

For thousands of years, herbalists have been decocting plants and picking medicinal herbs to cure illness. They have looked to nature to provide the cure, and it has. These days, we rely on a company whose primary motivation is money, to invent a synthetic drug to cure us, and I think it is sad we lost touch with our connection to the earth – where the true healing is. Unfortunately, natural cures are still regarded by the western medical profession as “quack” (an untrained person who pretends to be a physician and who dispenses medical advice) medicine. As far as they are concerned, the only way to cure someone, is through a combination of the use of drugs which have gone through rigorous testing process, and invasive surgery (which, it has to be said, does produce good results).

Because they do not have the conclusive “empirical” (derived from experiment and observation rather than theory) evidence that is required in western pharmaceutical medicine, eastern, or traditional medicine which uses herbs and plants is dismissed. I see this as a short sighted view; after all, some of these traditional systems have been successfully treating people for thousands of years! If they had never managed to cure anyone then we would have to agree with western doctors, but I think the evidence speaks for itself. Traditional, as I prefer to call it, rather than “alternative” medicine is derived from nature, the most powerful force in the universe; so whether the medicine is “spiritual,” uses stones, or crystals, oils, bark from the tree, special chanting techniques, many hands placed above the body, needles inserted into the body, or pressure exerted on specific points, we must all admit that if it works, then that is all the evidence we need! Why do we need more evidence than that?

In my training in traditional thai yoga massage, we used acupressure along “invisible” energy lines. Dissection was forbidden in thai medicine in the past, and yet if you look a chart of these invisible lines over a western anatomical figure, you will see that they closely map to the nervous system of the body.

How did they know that 2500 years ago? Who knows; and until we understand energy and the body more, we will remain in the dark. All I can say is, the treatment I use, which is based on ancient techniques, works. Amazingly, people feel better! That is pretty good evidence, don’t you think? But still the western scientists won’t give in; they believe their way is the only way.

I’m sorry to say that it isn’t. That isn’t to say that you should run around the world looking for any old traditional medicine practitioner;

I’m sure there are as many bad ones as there are bad western doctors, it is purely individual. All I can suggest is that you keep an open mind to anything and everything, western and eastern, but don’t just pop a pill because it’s available.

You need to try to become more aware of your body at all times; you need to feel your own body – not physically – but try to visualise it; starting with the head and working down through your shoulders, through your arms and fingers, down your torso, down your legs to your toes. Listen to your body before you run down to the doctor with every ailment; all you will be filled with, is synthetic drugs, which you remember, only treat the symptom, not the whole patient.

But of course, the overworked doctors are too busy with everyone and their illnesses these days to have time to concentrate on treating the patient. Pain is the sign that the body is out of balance, and you need to find that vital ingredient to put your body back into balance. But please look to yourself and to nature first before you look to the man in the suit. Nature has your best interest at heart. Does the pharmaceutical company?

As we close this discussion, I have an important item to share with you which may give you something to think about. We have talked about humans finding cures for all sorts of diseases, and managing to extend our lives where we would have died in such cases; but why do we need to find a cure for disease? That might sound like the stupidest thing you’ve read since picking up this book, but I am serious. It is so we can extend our lives so they are not terminated before what we think is their “time.” But who actually knows why we get diseases? Maybe this is nature’s way of controlling the population, so the earth’s limited resources are kept in balance. On the island I am living on at the moment, the stewards of the island, the tibetan buddhists, have a policy of not interfering with nature; and so it was, that I watched a young lamb, who had only days before, been gambolling with the other lambs, die slowly over several days. It was heartbreaking to watch, as its life-force gradually ebbed away. I felt cruel for not trying to help. The vet we phoned said if we gave it some antibiotics, it would probably make a full recovery; but instead, we let nature take its course. This is true of all other animals humans do not have a use for, or have no monetary value – we just let nature take its course.

We do not grieve for them, we just say: “Oh well, that’s nature,” so I ask you why we do not just let nature take its course with humans? We talk about it “not being our time,” but how do we know that the disease isn’t nature telling us “it’s time?”

Maybe we should stop interfering, and let nature take its course, but would that make us less than human? I will leave you with that thought.

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