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ALS ice buckets vs. true healing: holistic guide to healing neurological illness

KISS band members take the ALS ice bucket challenge
KISS band members take the ALS ice bucket challenge
Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

This summer the world has been taken by storm with the ALS ice bucket challenge, a viral fundraising campaign created to support the ALS Association. With numerous celebrities and public figures agreeing to have ice water dumped on them to bring attention to the ALS Association and the illness it addresses, millions of dollars have been raised for this organization. While this surprise phenomenon has been entertaining and makes many people feel that they are doing good for people suffering with a crippling illness, there are some health advocates who are critical of the rush to support an organization that only spends 28% of the money they collect on research. Of that 28%, most goes to pharmaceutical industry research that ignores natural and holistic healing methods that have allowed many people to successfully halt or reverse the progression of this illness.

ALS is the acronym for Lou Gehrig's Disease (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis). It was first named for the New York Yankees "Iron Horse" star baseball player Lou Gehrig, whose career and life were cut short by this debilitating illness. Like any illness, there are multiple levels of factors that help create the condition, and multiple levels of therapies that can foster healing and recovery. This article will provide a comprehensive review of body-mind-spirit approaches that have offered help to those dealing with ALS and other neurological disorders.

According to contributors to the Cancer Tutor website, ALS is greatly associated with heavy metal toxicity and microbes and parasites that release toxins (mycotoxins) into the brain/nervous system. They recommend using functional medicine protocols that help repair the digestive and detoxification systems along with therapies that safely kill off the harmful microorganisms and safely detox heavy metals from the body.

Luella May, a natural healing advocate shares on the Natural News site that ALS can be helped by physical therapy, speech therapy, and acupuncture, as well as supplements of specific vitamins, minerals, amino acids, superfood algaes, herbs, and colloidal gold. She also highlights the importance of an alkalizing diet, which avoids processed foods, animal foods, and sugar.

Eric Edney wrote a book on his recovery from ALS called Eric Is Winning, which describes how he discovered a regimen using diet and natural medicine to reverse the illness. His findings parallell those of the Cancer Tutor site and of Luella May's report on Natural News.

Another key discovery for healing ALS is the Patricia Kane EPL (essential phospholipids) protocol. Kane found that these healthy fats (lipids) help repair the immune system and help the body clear out toxins and microbes and heal itself. She has reported great success using this protocol with ALS as well as many other neurological-based conditions including autism.

Now that we've covered the physical, biochemical aspect of ALS, let's explore the psychological and spiritual factors underlying the condition.

One prominent example of a spiritual healing and seemingly miraculous recovery from ALS is Dr. Ben Johnson. Dr. Johnson is a physician who appeared in the 2006 film "The Secret," which exposed viewers to the metaphysical law of attraction. Johnson was diagnosed in 2004 with ALS, and being a spiritually-minded person he chose to apply a spiritual energy psychology healing method taught by Dr. Alex Loyd, called The Healing Code. The Healing Code uses specific positions of one's hands on one's head combined with statements designed to heal root issues in one's consciousness that have produced internal stress and foster illness. Loyd refers to core issues as "heart issues," which were essential ones for Dr. Johnson to address using The Healing Codes protocol.

Another approach to address ALS has been proposed by metaphysical researchers who cite epidemiological evidence that ALS is associated with certain demographic factors related to a particular archetype. That archetype is the warrior, and this illness is particularly common among men such as soldiers and athletes. These researchers state that:

"Our hypothesis is that the memory of group warrior experiences is one trigger of ALS. But, once again, like fever or breast cancer, ALS could be a final common pathway of multiple etiologies, the metaphysical being just one.
As noted above, ALS is more common in men, and we suspect that this metaphysical hypothesis is more relavent to men getting ALS.
In support of this metaphysical hypothesis, we present:
A Supporting Proposition: ALS is associated with the warrior archetype of de-voted physical action, that is, the warrior morphic/memory field.
The evidence, which includes both warriors on the battlefield and warriors on the athletic field, is based on several scientific studies plus what we are calling "Informal Studies of Famous People.
These studies suggest that the warrior archetype is associated with ALS and the statesman archetype with Parkinson's dis-ease - the other neurological dis-ease of aging that affects movement.
The scientific studies of ALS suggest a "war-related environmental trigger", which we are proposing is prior group warrior experiences.
An individual's vulnerability to this environmental factor would be what we are calling "top gun team warrior-ness."
The warrior archetype includes the more general notion of de-voted physical action, where "de-votion" means "from the vow." Warriors on the battlefield and on the athletic field exhibit this de-voted physical action.
We are suggesting that a group of people - through the warrior archetype of de-voted physical action - can be knowingly or unknowingly attached to prior group warrior experiences that can trigger ALS. As detected by the scientific studies, warriors on the battlefield and warriors on the athletic field are the tip of this iceberg of warrior de-voted physical action."

The significance of the warrior archetype will be significant as we look at the next set of ideas, for the warrior is often one who engages in self-sacrifice to help the survival of the team, family, or tribe.

According to renowned self-help publisher Louise Hay, ALS has a metaphysical causal factor. In her Heal Your Body guide, she states:

Lou Gehrig's Disease (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis): Unwillingness to accept self-worth. Denial of success

Her suggested healing afffirmation is: "I know I am worthwhile. It is safe for me to succeed. Life loves me.

According to psychologist Michael J. Lincoln, Ph.D., author of Messages From The Body: Their Psycholgical Meaning, there are indeed psychological origins for this condition. His explanation is as follows:

"I don't dare!" They are experiencing severe annihilation anxiety around the issue of seeking, manifesting, and especially acknowledging success. They have the utter conviction that they are the "turd of the Universe," and that they don't have any worth whatsoever. They deny their success, and they are totally unwilling to accept their self-worth.
They are in effect completely immobilized by betrayal avoidance, in that the family, the mother in particular, conveyed to them very clearly that any form of self-manifestation, success in the world and commitment elsewhere would destroy their family.
It got started at a time when there was, in their experience, no difference between their mother and the Universe, so that in effect, they would be committing "deicide" if they seek success or if they recognize their worth - they would be destroying God and all Its creation. So to avoid that "ultimate calamity" they are sacrificing themselves on the altar of "filial piety."

Evy McDonald, R.N., M.S., M.Div., former intensive and coronary care director, was diagnosed with ALS in the 1980s, which progressed until she was a "bowl of jello in a wheelchair." After her recovery from ALS, she conducted a medical research project on the mind-body-spirit connection in ALS., and she shares her insights and steps in fostering her recovery:

After months of solitary introspection, a dramatic change emerged in my process of thinking, feeling and interacting with the world. I have been able to articulate these changes as seven key patterns or principles. These were:

1. I went from get to give - demanding from life to giving to life. From feeling that life owed me something to giving my all to life. From trying to get honors, recognition, success, power, achievements to giving my time, talents, enthusiasm to others and the world. At first, I had no idea how one served selflessly. Then I remembered a quote: "You can accomplish anything if you are willing to take credit for nothing." From my wheelchair I started giving to those around me - with no expectation of either reward or return, without trying to "take credit." Each evening I would look back on the day and give myself a report card. Had I been loving? Had I been of service to anyone? Really? Did I have expectations of something in return for an action of mine? What eventually became apparent was that this discipline was not only good for the soul - it was transforming my body.

Research is beginning to document the power of love and serving. Schmale and Iker, in a study of 68 women predisposed to cervical carcinoma, discovered that they could predict, prior to biopsy, which women would have carcinomatous changes on the basis of the presence or absence of a high hopelessness potential and/or reported recent hopelessness. Further research revealed a certain character pattern or quality that counteracted these feelings of helplessness and hopelessness and thus enhanced a state of health. This quality was the selfless devotion of giving to others. Patients reported two feelings that created an internal state of contentment: pride of action and the feeling of goodness that comes when people give without regard for their own personal needs. This internal state, says Schmale, reflects one's ability to cope with life and thus remain in a state of health.

2. I went from resentment to forgiveness. It astounded me when I recognized how many people I still resented from some act or words they had said to me from as long as 25 years ago. For example, I noticed that I still resented my third grade teacher. She had told me that because I was handicapped, I didn't need to learn to write. What did my resentment do to her? Nothing! Nothing at all. The only one still being affected was me.

3. I went from self-hatred to self-acceptance and unconditional love. My body had never been right. I came in two sizes as a result of the childhood polio. I despised my body and wished it would just disappear. Outwardly I pretended to accept and love myself. So the problem wasn't totally in the hating of my body, but in the mixed messages I was sending myself. I could give up and just hate myself totally - or learn to love myself totally. Because I longed to experience unconditional love before I died, I chose to learn to love my body (which, thanks to the ALS, was now like a bowl of jello in a wheelchair!). Every day I would focus on some part of my body, praise it and love it. I also began to look at myself in a mirror and speak words of love and affection to my reflection. This was not an easy task. But, as a friend of mine says, "If you can fake it you can make it." So, at first I faked it. But, gradually the self-acceptance became real. Eventually, I found myself completely content with me and with my physical body. And, as my experience of love for myself deepened, I was finally able to love others as well as accept their love for me.

4. I went from wanting to escape from life to accepting life exactly as it is. In truth, I'd been dissatisfied with my job and wanted out. Yet I had said that I wanted to be the youngest female hospital administrator in the USA - even if it killed me! And how could I admit that the entire thrust of my life was wrong? What then?

5. I went from expecting and preparing for death to celebrating life and living every moment. I had been given one year to live by the top neurologists in the country. For me, it was a verdict. I became preoccupied with my death and how to have it be the best death possible. One day I asked myself, "What is my life for? To sit here dying each moment or to celebrate the life I still have?"

6. I went from denying painful emotions to sharing them and letting them go. Having lied for so many years about my feelings, I first had to allow them to be, then to identify them, distinguish one from another, and finally to share them openly with others. In the process of sharing, I discovered those that weren't useful just disappeared.

7. I went from avoiding intimacy to opening myself to love. This last shift was actually a product of the other six - and perhaps the most important one. In a well-known experiment out of Ohio State University, rabbits were given a diet high in fat and cholesterol to demonstrate atherosclerotic changes. The results were as predicted - except for one group, where there were 60 percent less atherosclerotic changes than in all the other groups. The only variable discovered was that the researcher for this group regularly took the rabbits from their cages and petted, stroked and talked to them. This experiment was repeated many times, with the same results. The rabbits who were stroked and cared for were healthier than those who were not. Intimacy at every level - emotional, intellectual, spiritual, and physical - is the flowering of unconditional love.