Esoteric Medicine: is it complementary or alternative medicine and what’s the difference?

by Eunice J Minford MBChB MA FRCS Ed, Consultant Surgeon, N Ireland

I used to think that complementary medicine and alternative medicine were the same thing. I have come across others who speak of them as one and the same thing as well. The words are used interchangeably by many, and both often get tied together in the abbreviation ‘CAM’ – to refer to all things complementary and alternative in the world of medicine.

I was also very dismissive of anything that was in any way alternative/complementary and basically anything that was not mainstream medicine, and which had not been verified scientifically as I understood it. I viewed them, as many medical doctors do, with contempt and considered them all to be a waste of time and potentially dangerous if they prevented people getting access to ‘real medicine’. I had heard stories of people refusing medical treatment and who insisted on the ‘alternative’ path – only to end up dead when their cancer was of course not cured by the ‘alternative’ treatment. So it would be fair to say I was pretty staunchly against anything that had the label of complementary or alternative, as to me they were all in the same bag!

At that time I was of course very much in the arrogance of the medical/scientific consciousness, which thinks that doctors and scientists are the only ones who understand the body, illness and disease and treatment, and that unless people have been through the rigors of a bona fide medical and scientific training, then they basically have no right to make any claims as to the workings of the body – even their own. Continue reading “Esoteric Medicine: is it complementary or alternative medicine and what’s the difference?”

Gallstones – more to it than the five F’s?

By Eunice Minford, MA FRCS Ed, Consultant General Surgeon, N.Ireland

Gallstones are quite common (25-40% of the population have them) and they can cause a variety of medical conditions. However, it is only the minority of patients (10-20%) with gallstones that develop symptoms requiring removal of the gallbladder – many people live with gallstones without even knowing they have them and without any symptoms. Some conditions caused by gallstones, like pancreatitis, can be quite serious and even life threatening. Much more commonly, patients present with pain in the right side or across the top of their abdomen, often associated with nausea and vomiting. Some people notice it is brought on by eating fatty foods in particular, as the gallbladder is involved in digestion of fat – it stores bile and contracts to release bile into the gut when we eat a fatty meal. The pain can occur when a gallstone gets lodged, preventing the passage of bile from the gallbladder into the bile duct and gut.

Being a surgeon myself, it was not difficult to self-diagnose gallstone disease when I first developed symptoms about 10 years ago. I had been out for a meal and had eaten too much, along with having a particularly rich chocolate dessert. It tasted yummy at the time, but several hours later when I was in agony my body was saying something else! I eased the pain and the nausea by making myself sick – off-loading what was clearly an over-loaded system.

Over the next couple of years I had intermittent attacks, often precipitated by eating something that was too fatty.

Continue reading “Gallstones – more to it than the five F’s?”

Why are patients called patients?

by Dr Anne Malatt, Ophthalmologist, MBBS, MS, FRANZCO, FRACS, Australia

Why are patients called patients?

Most practitioners call their customers clients, but doctors call theirs patients.

Why is that?

Is it because they spend so much time waiting patiently for care – that waiting to see a doctor or waiting for a hospital procedure is an exercise in learning to be patient?

………… Continue reading “Why are patients called patients?”

Cancer – is it bad luck or a blessing in disguise?

by Anne Malatt, Australia 

When we receive a diagnosis of cancer, or hear of it in someone else, our immediate response has often been to say that it is “bad luck.”

In fact, a recent study attributed two thirds of cancer cases to ‘bad luck’. (1)

What is luck, and what does it have to do with cancer?

When something ‘good’ happens, like getting a great job or buying a new car, people tend to say “aren’t you lucky?” And when they do, we can be quick to point out that we worked hard for it, and we deserve it.

Yet, when something ‘bad’ happens, like a diagnosis of cancer, we are not so quick to take the credit for it! We are very willing to call it ‘bad luck’.

So, is it luck, or is it not? Are we responsible, or are we not? And if we are, how can we be responsible for the ‘good’ things, and not the ‘bad’ things?  Continue reading “Cancer – is it bad luck or a blessing in disguise?”

Getting Away with It…

by Anne Malatt, Australia.

A dear friend sent me a link to a funny photo, which came from a facebook page with the title:

“Yes, Officer I did see the Speed Limit sign, I just didn’t see YOU!”

When I saw the title I laughed out loud and then I was stopped in my tracks.

I realised that this was how I had lived my life, thinking I was getting away with it.

What do I mean when I say this?

For me, it means that I know I am doing something that is not right, but I somehow think I have a right to do it, and that it will not have the same consequences for me that it has for other people.

The arrogance of this is stupendous.

How do I do it?

When I was younger, I used to drink like a fish, smoke like a chimney and root like a rabbit. I did not get away with it, any of it. As a consequence, I was forced to make major changes to the way I lived, in order to keep on living. I made these changes at the age of 28, long before I moved to the Byron Shire and met Serge Benhayon. Even though I cleaned up my act, I was still not self-loving in the way I lived. There was still a hardness there, especially on myself, and a drive, that came from never feeling enough, just as I was.

Now, my life is much more loving and seen from the outside, probably pure and boring, but I still do stuff. Continue reading “Getting Away with It…”

How are you Feeling?

by Eunice J Minford MA FRCS Ed, Consultant Surgeon, N Ireland

A simple observation highlights to me the importance of the difference between what we feel and what we think, particularly when it comes to health. The world we live in gives precedence to the intelligence of the mind and/or the brain without taking full cognisance of the intelligence of the body. Thinking and thoughts are associated with the mind/brain and much weight is given to the acquisition of knowledge and information and the cognitive disciplines in education and professional life. In contrast, feelings are often dismissed or ignored or over-ridden. They may be negatively associated with emotions or a so-called ‘emotional person’ or someone being too ‘touchy feely’ as opposed to the rational, logical thinker. Certainly as a child I was lead to believe that feelings were somewhat irrelevant; I was not encouraged to express what I felt but instead learned the opposite. I thought it was good to be the ‘strong silent’ type who didn’t disclose feelings or personal matters. Everything was always ‘fine’ no matter what was really going on.

Whilst thoughts may appear to arise in the mind, feelings come from the body and are the language of the intelligence of the body. When I do a ward round in the morning, I ask patients “How are you feeling?” not  “What are you thinking?” if I want to know what is going on for them and their wellbeing.

Continue reading “How are you Feeling?”

The Im-patient Doctor


by Dr Anne Malatt MBBS, MS, FRANZCO, FRACS

I recently had surgery.

The wonder-fully inspiring account of this can be read elsewhere on this website.  I just felt to balance it with the other side of the story.

The surgery itself was an amazing healing.

I felt wonderful for a few days afterwards and lay on the couch allowing my family to look after me and feeling the grace of it all.

As my body started to heal, my mind started to play tricks.

I did not deserve to care for myself and be cared for; I was needed here there and everywhere; I started to feel empty because I was not “doing” anything… all my old thoughts and patterns started to rear their ugly heads and demand my attention.

The tension was too much for me. Continue reading “The Im-patient Doctor”

Surgery can be Healing (The Patient Surgeon)

by Dr Anne Malatt MBBS, MS, FRANZCO, FRACS

I am a surgeon.  I love operating, but I have never really felt it to be healing, until now.

I have never been a patient person either, but I recently had surgery as a patient, and truly felt what a profound opportunity for healing it can be.

I chose to have the surgery at the hospital where I work.  I love and trust the staff there and knew I would be in the care of people who love me.

I chose the timing of the surgery so that I had time to prepare adequately beforehand, and so that I had a chance to take time off and rest afterwards. It was a little later than the surgeon would have liked, but I knew that if I did it any sooner, it would have been more stressful for me and I would not have taken enough time off afterwards.

The day itself was amazing. Continue reading “Surgery can be Healing (The Patient Surgeon)”

Illness and Disease are Healing

by Eunice J Minford MA FRCS Ed Consultant Surgeon, Antrim, N. Ireland

It is quite common to consider illness and disease as something ‘bad’ that has happened, that something is ‘wrong’ or has ‘gone wrong’, that something has been imposed upon us that needs to be eradicated, removed or eliminated. Whilst there may well be a need for surgery or medicine in order to treat a condition, how we perceive illness and disease can make a profound difference to how we see and understand it and how we understand healing.  There is the tendency to see illness and disease as the enemy, something to be fought against and overcome. The phrase ‘fighting cancer’ or ‘battling cancer’ is often used when referring to patients who are engaged in cancer treatment. This way of understanding illness and disease was part and parcel of my medical training, which was steeped in the biomedical paradigm. The latter reinforces the idea that illness and disease happen to us, but are not caused by us, that we are victims of circumstance, chance, bad luck, our genes, toxins/chemicals or infectious agents. In this system, patients are devoid of responsibility for their own health and dependent upon the doctor to fix or cure them and thus they are disempowered. However, with the development of different paradigms of understanding the manifestation of illness and disease we are able to consider another way of understanding illness and disease – one that does not render the person a victim but is instead empowering and encourages them to take responsibility for their health. Continue reading “Illness and Disease are Healing”

Letter Published in The Sun Herald 5th August

by Eunice Minford MA FRCS Ed. Consultant Surgeon

The following letter was published by the SunHerald in Australia on 5th August 2012, as “Medical Leader.”
The unedited, original version is below and note the sentence regarding personal responsibility for health has been removed, even though this was submitted in bold as shown to highlight its importance.

Dear Editor,

Recent articles in your paper made damning allegations about Serge Benhayon and his business. However, the overwhelming evidence of many professional, intelligent, highly qualified people is in favour of Benhayon and his work through Universal Medicine. It is astounding and insulting to us, our professions and our qualifications that our views may now be dismissed as the irrelevant ramblings of ‘brainwashed  devotees’ based on nothing more than the hearsay of the anonymous few with an axe to grind. Continue reading “Letter Published in The Sun Herald 5th August”