tracychess's blog

Pharmacy: Where to Buy Placebos

Pharmacy: Where to Buy Placebos

Have you visited your local pharmacy lately? I recommend it as a bit of a reality check. Check out the stuff for sale near the cash register - that's the stuff they want to catch your eye as you pay, hoping you'll "pick up something extra," the stuff with the highest profit margin.

But before you head out, a few words about placebos.

10 Reasons to Love your Homeopath

10 Reasons to Love Your Homeopath

Why should you love your homeopath? There are lots of reasons from love to money, and more. For your health. 

Lots of people who swear by homeopathic medicines, but a small group thinks they should be banned. In the book "Think Like a Freak", authors Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner tell us that the three hardest words in the English language are "I don't know." These three words are the reason for arguments against homeopathy.

Annals of Internal Medicine Claims Black is White

Annals of Internal Medicine Claims Black is White

The Annals of Internal Medicine today published an editorial titled "Enough Is Enough: Stop Wasting Money on Vitamin and Mineral Supplements". The editorial tells us that three separate research projects studied the effects of 'supplements' on different chronic illness, and found no significant disease benefit from 'supplements'.  

Do You Need A Healthicine?

Do You Need A Healthicine?

Healthicines increase healthiness.  Medicines decrease illness.  It's easy to say, but it can be very difficult to understand clearly. Are "alternative medicines" healthicines or medicines? Are vitamins healthicines, or medicines?  Are herbal medicines healthicines or medicines. Let's begin with some simple examples, where the lines are very clear.

Generic Cancer Part 1: What is Generic Cancer, Does Generic Cancer Kill?

Healthicine: Generic Cancer

What is 'generic cancer'? Is there such a thing as generic cancer? How common is it? What causes it? What is the best treatment? Can it be cured?

Modern medicine views cancer as a disease. It uses surgery to cut the disease from the body, chemicals and radiation to attempt to kill the disease. At the same time, modern medicine admits that it cannot 'cure' this disease called cancer. Medicine considers a cancer to be 'dead' if it does not recur for 5 years after treatment.  If it re-appears after 5 years - it is considered to be a 'new cancer'. 

Are Your "Side Effects" Symptoms of Illness or Healthiness?

Are Your "Side Effects" Symptoms of Illness or Healthiness?

Our current medical paradigm is incomplete and insufficient. Clinical studies treat symptoms* as 'bad', to be 'treated' or minimized. This failure is at the core of many of the systemic medical problems we face today. It is a reason we have 'given up' trying to cure many chronic illnesses. It is also a reason we don't test conventional nor alternative medicines adequately.

Most medical studies completely ignore symptoms of health and healing. All medications list 'side effects' on the packaging.  Every medicine has a design effect. Other effects are listed as 'side effects'.

Side effects can be symptoms of healing and healthiness.  They might be symptoms indicating further, or different, unhealthiness or illness. The packaging, and our current medical systems do not distinguish between these two - and other symptoms.  We will have a better, more effective, medical system when we learn this distinction.

When we have an illness, there are many symptoms to consider:

a) There are symptoms caused by the illness, or the damage it is doing. If you have a bacterial infection, the bacteria could be releasing toxins that cause pain or discomfort.  Discomfort from an illness is immensely varied, and can range from a minor feeling of unease, to unrelenting pain from a serious cancer.

b) There are symptoms that indicate your body is fighting the illness.  Inflammation, pain, swelling, vomiting, etc.

c) There are symptoms of healing, when your body is replacing cells that were damaged by the illness. These may include itching, swelling, even discomfort and pain. When your body is clearing out toxins from the illness there may be many more symptoms.  These symptoms might start - as soon as the illness is present. When your body detects an illness, it starts to feel the illness, to fight the illness, and to heal from the illness - all at once.

d) There are also symptoms that appear when you have recovered.  If you were sick for a while, your body might feel agitated, eager to get moving, stretching, etc.

Are You Deficient In Vitamin M?

Are You Deficient In Vitamin M?

Are you suffering from low Vitamin M? Here are some of the symptoms:

  • depression
  • lethargy
  • high stress
  • poor circulation
  • weak social or community health
  • isolation
  • poor mobility

Are you suffering from a deficiency of Music?

Music has been demonstrated to have benefits as treatment for illness. Sometimes it is dismissed as if it were 'anecdotal evidence'. In truth, music is a healthicine. Anecdotal evidence is one of the most uninformed and mis-used phrases by the commercial medical interests - but that should be the subject of another blog post.

Placebos, Nocebos, and the Symptoms of Healing

Placebos, Nocebos,  and the Symptoms of Healing

The placebo effect is one of the most misunderstood, misrepresented, misused and maligned effects of health and medical products.

Placebo is an interesting word, the definition of which helps to create a false image of the placebo effect.  Placebo, according to Webster, is "a usually pharmacologically inert preparation prescribed more for the mental relief of the patient than for its actual effect on a disorder". Written as if placebos do not provide physical relief.  But they do.

Many doctors prescribe 'placebos' because they recognize that mental relief is an important aspect of physical relief.  Even if they don't understand the details.  These doctors are not 'deceiving', they are acting in the best interests of the patient. They often prescribe 'patent medicines' that, in theory, will have no effect on the condition, rather than an alternative medicine - because paying more, and going to a pharmacy, increases the placebo effect.

Some doctors recognize that drugs with an actual effect - not specifically related to the patients (untreatable by medicine) condition have a stronger placebo effect.  In those cases, the most effective placebo is not an inert pill, but one that the patient can 'feel working'.

The Placebo Effect has three parts

1. The basic placebo effect, in theory, increases your response to a treatment.  It doesn't matter if the treatment is a patent medicine, an alternative medicine, a surgery, or a prayer - all benefit from the placebo effect.

2. The nocebo effect (a reverse placebo effect) can increase your awareness of, or the presence of side effects of a treatment.

3. Regression to the mean is a natural physical process that moves statistical outliers, e.g. people who are outside the normal range of healthiness, back into the normal range. It works equally well with golf tournaments, coin tosses, protest movements, and health conditions.

May All Your Medicines Be Green


May All Your Medicines Be Green

Hippocrates – the father of medicine – said, "Let your food be your medicine, and let your medicine be your food."  Medicines are a subset of foods, according to Hippocrates.  I like that.  What are medicines today?  What are foods?

Universal Declaration of Health Freedom

Universal Declaration of Health Freedom

Everyone has a right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of healthiness. 

Most governments have recognized the people's rights to life and liberty. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights says "Everyone has the right to life, liberty and...". The United States Declaration of Independence says  "All men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that amount these are life, liberty and...";

These rights are fundamental; they are not conditional nor linked to any responsibilities. There are some alternatives for the word after 'and'. Now is the time to correct this situation. 

Everyone has a right pursue their own healthiness.  To heal when you are sick, to rest when you are tired. To make decisions and take actions that affect your personal healthiness. Everyone has a right to medical assistance and treatment, to choose their doctor and their treatments - or not. Health freedom does not necessarily mean 'free treatment'. We need efficient and effective systems to administer payments for health and medical treatments - to decide which treatments will be paid for by the community - and which are paid for by the person.  These systems need to be flexible to change as our knowledge of medicine and health changes.  Payment systems are not about health freedom. 

Is there difference between a right to pursue healthiness and a right to medicine? We might think of health as a 'yes or no'.  Either you are healthy, or you are sick.  Not! Healthiness is a scale, hundreds or perhaps thousands of scales actually, ranging from almost dead to very, very healthy.

Healthiness is varied and complex. The Hierarchy of Healthiness is an effective structure for the study of health, clearly articulating the primary and secondary disciplines of healthiness, and facilitating a scientific exploration of healthicine. 

Healthiness begins with genetics, is activated by nutrition, and enabled through the growth of our cells. Cells combine into tissues, tissues combine to create organs.  Organs, tissues and cells cooperate to create our respiratory, circulatory, and other systems. Our bodies consist of each of these components.  Our health depends on every one.  Our minds raise our healthiness to a new level - and our spirits rise above the body and mind.  Finally, communities of people - we are not alone, complete the hierarchy of healthiness. 

Each layer in the hierarchy of healthiness: genetics, nutrition, cells, tissues, organs, systems, bodies, minds, spirits and communities is dependent on the prior layer for its existence, stability and health. Each layer can affect any other layer in the hierarchy, in a positive and a negative fashion. Each layer in the hierarchy of healthiness is composed of many individual components, that work together and affect our overall healthiness.  Most of our health components are below 'optimal', but overall, we are healthy.  When some, or many of the health components are well below optimal health - we are unhealthy. At some point, unhealthiness crosses a diagnostic threshold - and we have an 'illness'. It is important to understand that you can have an illness - and be healthy, at the same time. Your cellular healthiness does not disappear just because you have a broken leg.  Your genetic healthiness doesn't change when you have a cold.  Your spirit healthiness may be strong, when your flesh is weak. Healthiness is a scale, a set of many scales, not an on-off switch. 

Once we understand the concept of healthiness - separate from the concept of illness - we can reach for health freedom

Health freedom is the right of people to pursue their personal healthiness. Why does this need to be a right of all persons?  There are many reasons.  

Most, possibly all, actions that affect your healthiness positively also affect it negatively.  These are not 'side effects', they are simply changes in health balances.  We need to exercise to stay healthy.  Exercise depletes our calorie store, our essential nutrients, and our water stores.  Health requires balance. Sometimes, optimizing health requires shifting the balance one way - and then helping it return. 

When we are sick, every action we take to recover has positive and negative effects our healthiness.  Everyone has the right to choose their healthy actions - and their sickness actions.  We all need to seek medical advice at times - but we also need the right to make our own decisions.

Science and medicine work hard to prevent, diagnose and treat illness.  But, there are still many disagreements with regards to which actions are correct, which actions are most effective. Science is about challenging prior assumptions.  I hope we always continue to have healthy disagreements. Personal choices are required.  Trust your doctor, but if you are able, investigate for yourself and make your own decisions. That's your health freedom, your right to pursue healthiness

Your health freedom, your right to pursue healthiness goes beyond illness and medicines.

Science and medicine do not study healthiness.  There is no standard technique to measure healthiness. Someday, I hope and expect we will have several competing ways to measure healthiness.  And we may learn to compare them and rate different techniques to refine our understanding of healthiness and health measurement.  But today, we have no recognized tool or technique to measure your healthiness, nor to measure the healthiness of any single layer in the hierarchy of healthiness, nor any organ, system or community. Note: There are some techniques to measure healthiness of communities - but in fact they only measure illness and attempt to extrapolate overall healthiness of individuals from 'absence of illness'. When we look at the details in the hierarchy of healthiness, we can start to realize how difficult it will be to develop scientific measurements of healthiness. 

We have a lot to learn about healthiness.  There are many things we do not know.  What we do know is always open to scientific study and challenges. When we know much more about health and healthiness, we will still need to consider this famous quote:

"We have not succeeded in answering all our problems. The answers we have found only serve to raise a whole set of new questions. In some ways we feel we are as confused as ever, but we believe we are confused on a higher level and about more important things."

and we will still need the right of everyone to pursue healthiness on their own.


This post is based on a post on the site written in November 2010. Many other people and groups have contributed to the goals of health freedom, and some of them have created declarations of Health Freedom or Medical Freedom.  I want to acknowledge and respect the work of these people and their contribution to the fields of health freedom. 

International Declaration of Health Freedom from World Health Freedom Assembly 2006.  A more in depth declaration of health freedom.  Contains information that is useful for contacting other Health Freedom organizations around the world.

2004 - NHFC Declaration of Health Freedom A national view from the United States of America. 

Amend the Constitution to grant Americans Medical Freedom - a petition to amend the constitution of the United States to ensure: "freedom of choice regarding what happens to our body, medically and nutritionally."

Charter of Health Freedom  A Canadian Health Freedom document.

​to your health, tracy

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