No Flu for You!

As you are probably aware, this has been a whopper of a year for
flus. If the flu has passed you by, count your blessings! We have treated over
fifty cases between us this year alone. And from media reports of flu epidemics
leading even to school closings, the Northwest is not alone in fighting the
flu. The two of us felt very for-tunate to have returned from a recent
three-week visit to India perfectly healthy.

I, Judyth, was feeling great until I stepped into a cigarette smoke-filled
restaurant the day after Christmas. This somehow was the last straw in
weakening my immune system sufficiently to be susceptible to a persistent
six-week onslaught of flu symp- toms ranging from a throat so sore that I
could barely swallow for two weeks(two strep cultures were negative), tonsils
swollen to the point of feeling like I had a golf ball lodged in my throat, a
violent gagging cough every time I ate anything, and sciatic-type leg aches
deep inside the bones which drove me crazy for several nights and prevented
sleep. Now, as you can understand, this was quite embarrassing for a
naturopathic doctor! During this entire time, I repeatedly treated lots of my
patients suffering from the flu with much success, most of them recovering
within two or three days. I found myself giving suggestions to my hypnosis
patients that the sound of my coughing would take them into a DEEPER and DEEPER
state of trance. Some of my patients told me “I sure hope I don’t get what you
have!” Others asked, “Are you taking anything for your flu?” I
was doing all the right things, or so I thought- taking all the appropriate
homeopathic remedies and vitamins and avoiding dairy products. One symptoms
would go aways, but another, even more severe, would quickly follow. I spent a
lot of time wondering what I was supposed to learn from it all, and, needless
to say, some moments of serious discouragement.

The turning point to regaining my health came when we attended a wonderful
Indian banquet in honor of Paramahansa Yogananda’s birthday. That day Bob
sensed that I needed some inspiration and read to me the section from
Yogananda’s book The Divine Romance on healing. Yogananda talked about
the importance of holding powerfully in one’s mind the imperturbable thought of
wholeness in order to overpower the vibration or thought of illness. He told a
story about his sister having suffered from a terrible throat infection. She
couldn’t swallow anything (just like me) without terrible pain and cried to
Yogananda, “Please do anything you want to help me.” He told her, “It is your
mind that is creating this sore throat.” He brought her food to eat and,
without her awareness, placed his hand on her throat as he sent the power of
his thought into her throat. She was immediately able to eat without any pain
and was thrilled that her throat was healed. After Yogananda left, she looked
at her throat in the mirror. When she saw the ulcers still there, the pain
suddenly re-turned. When she told him what happened, he said, “I saw your
throat perfect in the light of God, and that is why you were well. But you saw
the disease, and that is why you are feeling pain.” He instructed her to drink
some water and , because her mind, was receptive, the throat pain was again
immediately alleviated. She didn’t look at her throat in the mirror again.

This story deeply impressed me, but my throat pain persisted. At the
banquet that evening I ran into a patient whom I had helped with the flu a week
before. She had recovered within a few days and thanked me and said she was
sorry I was still sick. I heard myself responding, “It’s more important for me
to be able to help my patients heal than myself.” I immediately realized I was
unconsciously being a martyr rather than practicing the principle of “Physician
Heal Thyself”. I woke the next day free of my agonizing throat pain,
understanding that there’s no real value in helping others with their healing
while I sacrificed my own health in the process.

With all this experience in treating the flu, hopefully we can help you to
avoid it in the future. Or, if you do find yourself starting to get the flu,
these tips will help you to heal yourself quickly. And if your flu persists,
even though you’re doing all the right things, look for a deeper cause within
your being.

Prevention : We all know that, historically, even in the
epidemics of the plague

and typhoid, some people remain healthy while others succumb to the illness.
The best favor you can do for yourself is to keep yourself optimally healthy so
you are more likely to be in the first category. As we always recommend, the
biggest favor you can do for your body is to eat and drink live, healthy foods
which are low in fat, salt, sugar, and caffeine and to engage in a regular
exercise program which you enjoy. Getting as much restful sleep as you need,
working at a job you really like,

expressing your creativity, experiencing satisfying sex, eliminating unnecesary
stress, and practicing daily relaxation, deep breathing, and meditation will
all en-hance your stamina and vitality. As practitioners of Ayurvedic medicine,
we have learned that eating, exercising, and living according to your
particular body type

and knowing how to vary your habits with the changing seasons will help you
pre-vent illness. A high-quality multivitamin and mineral helps keep your body
balanced and strengthens your immune system as do such herbs as Echinacea.

Another specific preventive measure against the flu is a homeopathic oral
immu-

nization of Influenzinum. An widely-respected Argentinian homeopathic
doctor who has taught us a great deal told a story of how he was called by a
group of nuns living in a convent just outside Buenos Aires, his home. They
lived in a cold, damp stone building and every winter they would all be struck
by the flu. He administered

homeopathic Influenzinum to all of them except for the mother superior,
who re- fused treatment. None of them came down with the flu the following year
except for her. We used this program with a few of our patients this year (next
year we’ll remember to use it with more of them and with ourselves, too!) One
35 year-old man, diagnosed as HIV (AIDS antibody) positive, wanted to make sure
he didn’t get a flu which could weaken his vulnerable immune system. He told us
that he feels great and has been flu-free despite the fact that he is a teacher
and has been around lots of flu-stricken students. High-potency homeopathic
immunizations such as those we use are generally available only through
homeopathic physicians.

If your preventive measures do not succeed and you find yourself coming
down with the flu, you don’t have to resign yourself to a miserable and
debilitating week in bed. We recommend Vitamin C and Beta carotene liberally
during the flu along with simple, healthy eating or juice fasting and often
recommend either an anti-viral / immune supportive herbal combination or,
whenever the flu involves a lot of mucus production, an Ayurvedic heating
herbal powder which generally works like magic to relieve mucus congestion.

Homeopathy is definitely our magic bullet to treat flus. Finding the
correct homeo- pathic remedy which corresponds to the individual’s flu symptoms
can stop the flu in its tracks, whether it is an upper respiratory flu (sinus
congestion, sore throat, ear pain, coughing), or a gastrointestinal flu
(diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal cramping), as well as alleviating the general
symptoms of exhaustion, aches and pains, fever, chills, and headaches.
Oscillococcinum: This is a homoepathic remedy developed in Europe during
the past few years and has been proven successful in double-blind studies for
early stages of the flu.We recommend this remedy if someone calls us just as
the flu is starting to hit them (which is, unfortunately, usually not the
case). Gelsemium (Yellow jasmine): This is probably the most common flu
remedy. It is for people who are feeling dizzy, drowsy, droopy, and dull. The
individual often experi- ences a dull frontal or occipetal (back of head)
headache, muscle aches all over the body, often complains of chills up and down
the spine, may have a sore throat, and is generally thirstless. The main
feature is the overwhelming tiredness, often with a heaviness of the eyelids,
and sometimes accompanied by dizziness and nausea. We’ve seen this remedy knock
out the flu in a matter of hours many times. Bryonia alba (Wild hops):
This remedy is for people who are feeling very achey and find it painful to
move even a little. They just want to stay in bed and remain perfectly still.
The person often experiences a dry, hacking cough, dryness of the mucus
membranes, and is terribly thirsty with a parched mouth and may have muscle and
joint aches, a headache which is also made much worse from any movement, and
they tend to be unusually crabby and irritable. Eupatorium perfoliatum
(Boneset): This is the remedy for a flu with deep bone pain which makes the
person feel like their bones are about to break. This bruised sensation is most
pronounced in the back. They may have a dry, hacking cough, chills, sneezing,
and red eyes and are also very thirsty. Rhus toxicodendron ( homeopathic
Poison ivy): This is for a rusty-gate type flu where the joints are
stiff,achey, and cracking and feel much better from a hot bath or after walking
around and stretching them out. This type of flu may come on from exposure to
cold, damp weather. Pulsatilla (Windflower): This is for a different
type of flu, one whose main component is a “ripe cold”. Those needing this
remedy have a thick, yellowish-green nasal discharge, may have a similar
discharge from the eyes, causing their eyes to be glued shut on waking in the
morning. They tend to be weepier than their normal selves, want company and
con-solation, and usually have no thirst. Being outside makes them feel better.
Podophyllum (May apple): This remedy is specific for a gastrointestinal-
type flu in which the person experiences, often suddenly, explosive diarrhea,
abdominal cramping, rumbling, and gurgling and sometimes feels exhausted after
the diarrhea.

Though homeopathic remedies are the best cure for the flu that we know of,
it is important to remember that only the one correct remedy will have the
often rapid and dramatic results we’re looking for. Although acute homeopathic
prescribing may seem simple, it has taken us a number of years to learn it
well.

As with any illness, your flu, if you do get it, is trying to teach you
something. The faster you learn what that lesson is, the faster you will be
healed. Ande the deeper your healing, the more likely you won’t have to repeat
it later. We wish you well!

Judyth Reichenberg-Ullman ND MSW Written by Judyth Reichenberg-Ullman ND MSW

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