Articles

The artcles below are arranged in order below my World Peace article. If you value your health, invest the time to read them.

World Peace-Through Inner Peace Written by Altair de Almeida

The Importance of Water Edited by Altair de Almeida

The Dark Heart of Allopathic Medicine By 'What Doctors don't tell you'

Taming the Drug Monster By Patrick Holford, The games Pharmaceuticals play with OUR lives.

Inside Tai Chi -A rare in depth interview with Master Wee Kee Jin

Glow Your Heart: Inspirational Living through Biodanza-Written by Altair de Almeida

Using peptides, damaged muscles, joints, and tissue can be repaired and thus helped grow muscles and lose weight.


Times Online article - Crouching grannies, hidden tigers
Date: 16 July 2021
Tai Chi... at last getting the approval it so well deserves in the media. A great article showing how Tai Chi helps with balance particularly amongst the elderly. A horrifying statistic is that annually 17,000 people have falls that require hospital treatment in the UK. Read the full article - Crouching grannies, hidden tigers


World Peace-Through Inner Peace

By Altair de Almeida, Lic Ac., MBAcC, MRSS(T), DS, MTCUGB, ABTUK. December 2004. This document was published by Weekender Magazine.

We all want Peace in the World don't we?
OK, rather than jumping to any conclusions, let me ask you-would you like World Peace?
Assuming you're not a terrorist-and even they, in their own peculiar way are trying to create Peace using forceful means- the answer is most likely to be 'Yes!'
If so many people want World Peace, why don't we have it?
If you think about it the answer is very simple:
We believe that the politicians will make Peace and we put that responsibility onto them.
We then get angry when they don't and blame them for creating wars!
We have huge debates as to whether Bush and Blair did the right thing in attacking Iraq or perhaps whether they can stop terrorism by terrorising people elsewhere.
Here is a sad fact:
Since the 1800's there hasn't been one single day when there hasn't been a war going on somewhere in the World.
In the West the politicians have created the fallacy that Nuclear weapons have helped to keep World Peace.
Just because no major Western power has been invaded by another country since the Second World War we assume that there is Peace.
We need to think again.
The US, Britain and France in that order are the largest sellers of Military weapons in the World.
It is a huge business.In fact it is one of the Worlds largest industries.
For all three countries, creating wars makes them rich!
I was on holiday in Greece not long ago when on the CNN news they showed an American missile clearly pass through one building to explode in another - the correct target - in Baghdad.This was applauded as amazing technology by the Americans, which I guess it is, but with horror and disbelief by the Greeks in the shop I was in.
To them, and I guess to any humane being, for one huge country to create mayhem in another just because they can get away with it is barberous.
However, that was one free World wide advertisement for the US military.
All the military personnel-and dictators- the World over would be sitting up to take notice!
The US and Britain would be happy to sell them these weapons of mass destruction.
After all they helped Saddam into power when it suited them, then a few years later decided he wasn't suitable anymore, and proceeded to remove him by force. Now they're attempting to put someone else to take over, but no doubt that will backfire in some years, or even months to come.
I'm only mentioning Iraq because it is in the current news- yet this manipulation goes on all the time. The US and Britain amongst others have engineered changes in government in countries where they have vested interests the World over.
Mark Thatcher (Maggie's son) was only recently caught in the act, in South Africa, but this happens all the time - Haiti, Colombia… the list is endless.
The film, 'The Matrix', enthralled many of us.
If you haven't watched it get down to that video store!
In my opinion the first one is worth watching, because it is the most potent; the following ones are glamourised and lose the Truth of what is actually happening.
The important point is that it is portrayed as happening in the future - the fact is it is already happening!
OK, not the robotic machines that look like humans, because they aren't required!
The majority of people are already hypnotised by the popular media. We're fed what mis-information is required by the powers that be (and I don't necessarily mean the politicians, but the people behind them, the faceless ones that have the real control and money) to keep us in our places, usually by INDUCING FEAR, OF ONE SORT OR ANOTHER. That induced fear could be about the lack of money by hiking up interest rates or whatever.
Until recently it used to be the USSR.
When that collapsed something else had to be found to replace it. Terrorism has been used to replace it.
It has been said that 9-11 was deliberately induced by the powers behind the scenes. Certainly the invasion of Iraq (to find and destroy the non-existent weapons of mass destruction) is now known to have devious motives. Some say it was the US greed for Oil. Others point out the not very well known fact that Saddam Hussein was threatening to change his oil prices to the Euro instead of the hated Dollar. That would have devastating effects on the US economy.
Now that Iran is saying similar things it could be that they're next!
Maybe re-read the book 1984, by George Orwell.
He makes this change of vacillating goodies and baddies so clear.
If you think I'm exaggerating have a read of 'Positive News' a free news paper (see www.positivenews.org.uk to have a read and to find where they can be obtained) This just shows how much good news is actually happening…that the newspapers neglect to tell you.
To demonstrate how powerful your hypnosis is - the proof of the pudding - try giving up reading the papers / listening to the news or watching telly, for just one week.
Can you 'unplug' yourself from the Matrix?
Most likely you'll make some excuse, like it's good to be informed.
In fact all us are being informed with someone else's version of what is going on, not the reality.
The Truth is you can't do it, unless you're very disciplined. Most people fear being considered odd or un-informed.
The measure of how plugged (addicted) into the Matrix you are is how easy or difficult you find letting go of the daily 'fix' of media fodder.

I'm encouraged that there's a growing trend amongst some younger adults to ignore the media.
Great, they won't be tainted by the political slant, and will be able to make decisions without other people's vested interest.

Back to the Matrix film angle:
In the film, Neo (meaning New) played by Keanu Reaves is made out to be the 'One'.
The Truth is that there is no one person to do the job of healing the world.
The One is you and I.. the Hero who chooses to break free.
We're all created in the image of the Divine (not in looks) but in potential. We all have infinite potential to create what we want to. This may sound contraversial: we have created everything in our lives, mostly unconsciously.
It is possible to change and create what we want to.
Most people are too 'plugged' into the Matrix, living in the past or future. Most are too fearful of breaking free. A cage after all has a certain safety!
When we choose to live in the Now, by reducing the chatter of the mind (and that takes practice and a lot of persistence) the real Magic happens. We become like a child (not childish), in awe of the Earth and it's gifts.
When we make the decision to be Present, we start to live authentically. We become true to 'our inner selves'.
We become Innocent, Honest and Courageous.
We all inwardly aspire to be like that.
That's why films like the Matrix, Braveheart, Dead Poets Society inspire us…we too would like to be like that!
It takes great courage to keep coming back to the Present and the awareness of our Being, the Beauty and Power that wants to express itself.
However, let's not jump too far ahead and trip up!
The first step is to decide if you really want to let go of the cage you're in.
Do you want to change?
It's OK; the fear of doing so is normal.
After all you're stepping into the unknown.
The unknown is often frightening!

As young children we lived much more in the Present. We lived life to the hilt! No wonder we were full of energy, until we later took on the drudgery of Society and it's rules.

If you sincerely want to change from living a stagnant life and have consciously decided to do so, Life itself will step in and help you along.
You may fall a few times, like you did before you learned to walk!
Useful books to guide you on your journey are: Conversations with God (Book one), by Neale Walsch. Sounds religious, but that it ain't!
You can then progress to the 'Power of Now' by Eckhart Tolle.
A set of 3 CD's by Eckhart called 'Practicing the power of Now' is the best I've come across to help us to understand and make the jump to Being Present.
If you want on-going support and most do when we start, I delve into this in my Tai Chi classes.
If you're happy with your life as it is that's great-keep on trucking!

If we expect our politicians to create Peace, we're being naïve.
We need to look much closer to home to find solutions.
In fact to you and I!
Inner Peace is the rarest occurrence in the world amongst adults. In some remote societies this quality still exists. Think about it- do you know anyone with a deep sense of inner Peace?
You may do, but they are few and far between.
We all want Peace, yet 'we live lives of quiet desperation' to quote a philosopher.
Instead we're all rushing around stressed to the eyeballs... for what?

The major killers in Western society are Heart attacks, Cancer and Strokes in that order. All are linked to stress levels. The more stressed you are the more likely you are to 'attract' one of these diseases. Even the word dis-ease gives the game away (out of ease).
Yet inner Peace is our birthright. We all were born with that quality, assuming our bodily needs were taken care of, and we weren't ill.
That's why adults love to gaze at babies - even ugly ones - because they have something that mesmerises us. We often don't label it as Peace, but that is what it is…innocence (inner sense), quietness of Mind, Joy etc.
This is often short lived, as we excite the baby, tickle them etc.
We had this done to us too. We got 'programmed' away from Peacefulness into excitement.
We then began to link excitement and attention from others as 'love' (which it mostly isn't) and for the rest of our lives we look for love through other people's attention towards us.
It may fulfil us for a short while, for example when we first fall in love, but it quickly fades as you know, and the problems start again.
Some people even make a regular habit of it, falling in and out of love - it's like a drug - that has a 'high' but the 'low' is guaranteed to follow.
Does this sound depressing?
Is the Truth of this hitting home?
We're all in the same boat!
Don't worry; there is a way out!
Divine Wisdom put Peace, Joy, Love where it is always accessible within each of us.
Wasn't that smart?
'Oh yeah,' you may say,' if that's true how do we access it?'
Putting it at it's simplest these qualities we all seek are only really present when our Minds calm down… when the constant chattering of the mind is reduced.
That's very rare these days as our whole society is designed to do the opposite - create excitement through adverts, films, sit-coms, newspapers etc.
Everything is sensationalised.
Society in the media is portrayed as being at least ten times as violent as it really is.
No wonder we get scared.
All this gets the mind churning, the emotions flare up and away we go on the merry-go-round of excitement, depression, and excitement...
There are many simple things that will return you to your Inner Self, Inner Sense, Innocence.
Walking in the countryside, looking at nature, taking it easy are some simple steps.
Looking, really looking at the splendour of a flower, or the magnificence of a starlit sky, help us re-awaken the awe, the wonder of Life.
For many our minds are so sped up and we're so stressed that to take that time to observe nature in itself is difficult.
For me learning Tai Chi helped a great deal in this process of calming the mind.
When the mind quietens Peace automatically is present.
I often use the analogy of the Sun.
The Sun is always shining. The clouds, which hide the Sun, are like our thoughts. When the clouds (thoughts) lighten up and disappear, the Sun (Inner Peace) reappears.
The Inner Peace is always there, but is usually masked by our incessant thinking patterns.
When we delve into the Inner Peace, we get in touch with what I call our 'Inner Dance' or Spiritual Way, which is unique and subtly different for each person.
When we're connected to this 'Inner Being', Humility is a natural spin-off. We realise that to deliberately harm someone else is to harm ourselves, so we refrain from such things, and replace it with helping others.
The original or Inner Teaching of all the Masters that walked this Earth said the same thing, in different ways, for example, ' Be still and know that I am God.'
However in time those teachings are dogmatised, the Mind sets in making rules that will create fear and the religions and religious wars are born... the Matrix
The way to Inner Peace and Joy is simple.
Live in the moment.
Yes, I know it's easier said then done; yet it can be done.
It takes great discipline.
It gets easier the more we practice.
The rewards are enormous- Joy, Peace, Love, Beauty, Wisdom, Grace...

The mistake most of us make is to look for love, joy, and peace through being with someone or something else.
The Truth is that all those qualities lies within us.
The other person is only a reflection of your own love. The more we connect with our own Peace, Joy, Love the greater will the reflection be from others, it is self-perpetuating.
By the same token the more we indulge in the incessant chatter of the Mind the more we will find anger, guilt, shame, jealousy and the rest keeping us company.
There is a saying, 'If we spent as much time looking at ourselves (i.e. keeping our mind calm) as we do looking at others, the whole world would be looking at us'.
When we decide to switch habits - and that's all it is - from seeking excitement and mind chattering to centering ourselves, becoming fully aware of where we are, what we're doing, Inner Peace happens.

This then spreads to our loved ones, our community etc.
When enough of us switch habits, World Peace will automatically happen.
The politicians themselves would have no choice but to follow the lead of the Peaceful society.
Is this just a pipe dream?
No, it's already happening yet it also depends on you and me.
So don't hold your breath waiting for World Peace, create it for yourself.
I guarantee you one thing, when you change, the world changes (or your perception of it, and it won't trouble you as it does now).
All it takes is a decision followed by persistence…. The depth of Inner Peace is limitless!!!
Good Luck!


Altair de Almeida has been involved in Natural Medicine since 1975.
He is a registered Acupuncturist, Shiatsu Teacher / Practitioner, Tai Chi and Biodanza Teacher. He founded the Inner Dance school of Tai Chi and Qigong in 1988 and teaches in Malvern and Worcester.
Further details: Contact Altair
© 2003

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The Importance of Water

  1. 75% of Britons are chronically dehydrated.
  2. In 37% of Britons, the thirst mechanism is so weak that it is often mistaken for hunger.
  3. Even MILD dehydration will slow down one's metabolism as much as 3%.
  4. One glass of water will shut down midnight hunger pangs for almost 100% of the dieters studied in a University of Washington study.
  5. Lack of water, the #1 trigger of daytime fatigue.
  6. Preliminary research indicates that 8-10 glasses of water a day could significantly ease back and joint pain for up to 80% of sufferers.
  7. A mere 2% drop in body water can trigger fuzzy short-term memory, trouble with basic math, and difficulty focusing on the computer screen or on a printed page.
  8. Drinking 5 glasses of water daily decreases the risk of colon cancer by 45%, plus it can slash the risk of breast cancer by 79%, and one is 50% less likely to develop bladder cancer.
  9. Drink fresh Spring water if you can.There is no substitute for it!
    Our bodies, evolved over a million years ago, was not designed to drink tap water, despite what the Water authorities propaganda tells you. There are billions of prescriptions for medical drugs annually.Where do you think they go? They are filtered out by our bodies through the urine and into the sewers. They never filter these drugs out, so if you drink tap water, you get a multitude of unwanted effects from other peoples drugs!
    Bottled water is a better source.However, sitting in plastic bottles doesn't help, as water is the most soluble substance on Earth.So the plastics dissolve in bottled water.
    If you don't have access to fresh spring water, invest in a good filter.
    I don't mean Brita water filters either, despite their good selling techniques. Next to Air, Water is the next most valuable fuel.
    Will you compromise on that?
    If you do, you compromise your health. Very simple really!
    If you want the best filtered energised water, just as your body was designed to drink, contact me.
    Water is Life. It's PRECIOUS!

Contact Altair.
©

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The Dark Heart of Allopathic Medicine

Dear Friends, Romans, Countrymen,
Lend me your eyes!
Let me ask you a question.
If you could find a simple way to make this world a better place would you do it?
Or would you, like many, decide you'd prefer to live the way you've always lived: complain about the mess the politicians make and continue to live without doing anything to change the status quo?

I've known about the information in this article for several years.
However I've never seen it put as succinctly as it is here.
Those of you who know me know that I am passionate about health.
To me Health doesn't just mean a healthy body.
It means Peace of mind too, and love for ourselves, others and for this Beautiful Earth.
I humbly ask you to pass this onto as many people as you can.
It is copywrite free.
Personally I do not subscribe to the magazine and I'm not about to start.
Whether you do or don't is up to you.

The Pharmacutical companies, amongst others, have vested interests in keeping people in fear and ignorance.
It's time for us to change that by understanding some of what is really going on behind the scenes.

Maggie Thatcher in the 80's usurped the power of one trade union after another in the UK.
One union that she backed down from attacking was the British Medical Association, that protects the interests of the doctors in the UK.
She was going to, but 6 of the largest pharmaceuticals called for a meeting with her.
They warned her that they would move their assets etc to Europe if she went after the BMA. This would involve millions of dollars of lost revenue to the UK government.
The Iron Lady backed down!
Since those days the Pharmaceuticals have grown far more powerful and more lucrative.
They can and do control governments world wide.
It doesn't matter which party is in power.
That is why this information is so important to share.
When the public vote with their feet, no one can control them.
However the public need to know what is happening.
You can help.
Sorry if I've been long winded.
It needs perpective!
Instead of fowarding it on, please cut and paste it.That way it stays intact, otherwise there will be many gaps in the words,making it more difficult to read when you pass it on.
Also ideally use the Bcc tab when sending emails to many of your friends simultaneously, as this reduces the possibility of viruses being passed on by keeping their emails unseen and keeping their emails private.
If you don't know how to do that do ask me.
Good Health, Wealth and Wisdom to you all!
Love and Joy,
Altair

PS My brother is a doctor. So are several of my patients, students and friends. I have enormous respect for those dedicated doctors who do anything to help their patients.This is about those who put profit before patients.

From What Doctors don't tell you:
Subject: A doctor tells you why you can't trust your doctor again

Your doctor is merely a pawn in a multi-billion dollar industry- while your health and well-being are a poor, distant second.

When you visit the doctor, it's probably with a sense of trust and hope. You're at your most vulnerable, but you trust the doctor, and you know he wants to do the best for you.

Unfortunately, the relationship isn't quite so straightforward for the doctor. Of course he wants to do the best for you, and that's why he joined the profession in the first place.

But increasingly he is being pulled by powerful forces that affect his decisions and the way you will be treated.

'The dark heart of medicine'
These unspoken pressures are so strong that they've been described as the 'dark heart of medicine' - not our expression, but that of a doctor who has been practising medicine for the past 20 years.
Finally, after watching his beloved profession being manipulated to such an extent that the patient comes second, he felt he had to write down his feelings in an extraordinary letter that arrived at our offices a few days ago.

After years of exposing the dangers and shortcomings of medicine in our monthly journal What Doctors Don't Tell You, for the first time in more than 16 years it was a case of 'what doctors DO tell us'.

'Doctors are becoming pawns of a system'
The doctor, who we'll refer to as 'Dr D', which is the first letter of his last name, wrote it because he wants you - someone who may visit his doctor in all good faith - to understand what's happening.

"I believe it is time that more people were made aware of this dark heart of current medicine which is turning doctors into pawns of a system that dumbs down the real issues to a bewildering degree", Dr D writes.

This dark heart has been created by the pharmaceutical industry,which sees the doctor as nothing more than the deliverer of its expensive, and sometimes dangerous, drugs. To get the doctor to prescribe their drug, which may not be appropriate for you, the drug salesmen will cajole, bribe - and even threaten - the doctor.
Threaten? Yes, and we'll explain how a little later.

Doctors form a pressure group against drug companies
This state of affairs has now got so bad that Dr Bob Goodman, an internist in New York, and Dr Des Spence, a general practitioner in Glasgow, have formed themselves into an action group they're calling 'No Free Lunch'. Like our doctor who wrote to us, they have become sick and tired of the way that medicine's ambitions have become distorted by drug company pressures. They want to put a stop to the overt, and covert, ways that drug companies pressurize doctors into prescribing their drugs.

As Goodman and Spence point out, drug companies are even paying for staff canteens at hospitals - and their colleagues aren't even batting an eyelid. Sadly, most doctors view these subtle forms of'support' as their right, and one that doesn't need to be questioned.

Of course, this support goes way beyond the free lunch. There's the 'educational' trip to the Caribbean, the free computer that's an important 'information aid', and the sizeable 'research funds'that are paid to doctors who are prepared to put patients on a new drug - just to see what happens. And then there are the free lunches.
We reported one such free lunch for cancer specialists in Australia where $1,000 bottles of wine were being served with the equally expensive food.

Those are some of the overt ways that drug companies encourage doctors to prescribe a particular drug to you.

How drug companies know about every drug you take.

But the covert ways are rather more sinister. Very few people realise that the details of the prescription that the doctor writes out for you are passed on to the regulators. They, in turn, sell on the information to commercial data companies that,in their turn, sell it on to. . .the drug companies.

And it's big business. In the States, the American Medical Association earned $44m for the sales of prescriptions information last year alone. It was sold on to companies such as IMS Health,which, in turn, sold on the same information to the pharmaceutical industry for $1.75bn, making a profit of $284m on the sales last year.

This means that within months the drug company representative knows exactly what drugs any particular doctor has prescribed.
Yes, that doctor who came along with his wife to the 'conference'in the Caribbean, and yet didn't write one single prescription for the new arthritis drug the salesman had been pushing so hard.
Now, if that doctor wants to come to the Caribbean again next year, guess what he's got to do?

Such are the covert ways of the drug industry.

How drug companies control the patients' groups.

Well, you might think, if I can't trust my doctor as an impartial source, I can go to the patient support groups. If so, it's time to introduce you to the techniques known as 'astroturfing'. This is a term coined by drug companies to describe methods they use to influence seemingly impartial and independent support groups that supply helpful information and advice on specific diseases, such as arthritis and asthma.

The drug giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) was recently caught out 'astroturfing' a patients group called Ekbom Support Group, which helps advise people with restless legs syndrome. GSK had helped the group set up its website - and the group was actively promoting GSK's drug for restless legs syndrome, Adartrel.
Unfortunately for everyone concerned, GSK was promoting the drug up to eight months before it had been approved.

The GSK case is far from being an isolated incident. When the British Medical Journal investigated 28 other support groups, they found that 27 were being funded by drug companies, and were presenting information that was, at best, 'partial'. They all seemed to be pushing specific drugs for treating the condition, and were downplaying the risks, the journal found.

How you don't have to be a pawn in their game

This headlong dash by drug companies to make ever bigger profits has a tragic consequence, one that Professor Ian Roberts at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine recently described as 'industry slaughter'. Every year an estimated 100,000 Americans and 30,000 Britons die from an adverse reaction to a drug prescribed by their doctor - and those are the deaths that are identified as being the result of a drug. A lot more die as a result of surgery.
We know the true figure is far, far worse, but we will probably never know just how bad it really is.

What the public don't realise is that the Pharmaceuticals do their own research on the drugs they produce.
What this means is that they have vested interests to say it works just.
Don't become just another medical statistic - take up our FREE offer Today!. . . . .
But it was because someone had to be there for you - and to give you the real facts about medicine - that we created the monthly health journal 'What Doctors Don't Tell You' (WDDTY). There's not a day that goes by when we don't receive a letter from someone who is thankful that we did.

Our recent files contain around 5,000 letters from subscribers to our journal whose lives have been improved because they have read something in WDDTY that has made a positive difference. They nclude people who were confined to wheelchairs, others who were to have a leg amputated, others still whose lives were destroyed by a particular drug.

Today each and every one of them is alive and very well because they acted on the impartial, well-researched information they read in WDDTY.

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Taming the Drug Monster

A major shake down is brewing for the pharmaceutical industry following increasing reports of manipulating drug trial data, doctors and the government to increase sales and profits. A recent issue of the New England Journal of Medicine published a correction on a study it published on Rofecoxib (Vioxx) - the now withdrawn pain-killer that is estimated to have damaged or killed up to 140,000 Americans - stating that increased cardiovascular risks were visible as early as four months into treatment, rather than the 18 months that Merck had claimed.

There are now an estimated 10,000 court cases outstanding against Vioxx manufacturer Merck - 400 of which are brought by patients in the UK who claim to have been damaged by the drug and not properly warned about the risks. The cost of legal actions to Merck has been put at between $5 and $50 billion. [1] As of April 2006, just six cases had been heard. In three, the plaintiffs were awarded damages running into millions of dollars. We don't hear so much about this in the UK because plaintiffs here have been refused legal aid and insurers will not fund no-win, no-fee cases, so no cases can be brought.
This might sound like old news but this kind of manipulation of data is finally sounding big alarm bells within the medical profession. After all, commercial drug testing centres, funded by the company making the drug, are four times more likely to come up with favourable results than independent ones. [2] How can doctors know the science they're being sold is free from spin?
Another shocking example recently emerged on a trial of the anti-depressant Seroxat. The summary at the start of the research paper, which is the only part most doctors read, claimed that Seroxat was 'well tolerated and effective'.[3] But when a team of independent scientists looked at the whole paper, they found this: 'Out of 93 children given Seroxat, 11 had serious ADRs [adverse drug reactions] compared with 2 in the placebo group'. [4] Just how serious? 'Seven of these children were admitted to hospital during treatment.'
This kind of deceptive reporting in what are supposed to be objective research reports is making the medical profession increasingly nervous. After all, this is what they rely on to practice safe medicine. On 8 July 2006, the British Medical Journal ran an editorial suggesting that drug companies should not be allowed to evaluate their own products. Instead, to get their drugs tested and licensed they would contribute to a central pot for independent, publicly-funded clinical trials.
But, of course, it doesn't stop there. Clinical practice guidelines advise doctors on the drugs to use for various conditions. However, 80 per cent of the academics who write them have financial links with the companies whose products they are recommending. [5] [6] Then, of course, there's the wining and dining of doctors. Drug companies in America spend around $15 billion a year on marketing, which is about half the amount they spend on research and development. [7] A big chunk of this is spent selling drugs to doctors who have to clock up a certain number of days of 'continuing medical education', paid for, you guessed it, largely by the pharmaceutical industry. A recent article in the American Medical Association's journal of ethics wants to put an end to this. 'Only continuing medical education activities that are entirely free of pharmaceutical industry funding should qualify as education,' they write. Continuing education should be funded by doctors, not drug companies, say the authors. And just in case you think these companies behave differently elsewhere, in the UK for instance, this is what the 2005 Parliamentary health committee investigation, The Influence of the Pharmaceutical Industry, found: '[it] buys influence over doctors, charities, patient groups, journalists and politicians, whose regulation is sometimes weak or ambiguous.'
In the wake of the Vioxx scandal, the US FDA, the agency charged with protecting the public from the dangers of drugs, has been heavily criticised for not responding fast enough to problems with drugs, for being too close to the drug companies and for not devoting enough attention and resources to safety once a drug had been licensed. In May, a report by the US government's General Accounting Office made damning criticisms of the FDA, saying that the agency 'did not to have clear policies for addressing drug safety issues and that it sometimes excludes its best safety experts from important meetings'. Not only was it slow to respond but 'the agency's entire system for reviewing the safety of drugs already on the market is too limited and broadly flawed'. [8]
The pharmaceutical industry begs to differ. A spokesman from the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry explicitly referred to the existing state of affairs between all the parties concerned - except for patients - and implied that as far as they were concerned, it was working fine. 'The challenge is to acknowledge there is a contract between industry, regulators and health service which recognises that there is a trade-off between risks and benefits.' [9]
With an estimated death toll of over 10,000 Britons every year from adverse drug reactions, and over 40,000 made seriously ill enough to require hospitalisation, that's one hell of a trade off. [10]
'Full spectrum dominance' is the stated aim of the American military. It involves being ready 'to defeat any adversary and control any situation across the range of military operations'. Not a bad description of what the pharmaceutical industry has achieved across the whole field of prescription drugs, from creating to selling. Besides dominating the clinical trials production line, the drug companies have also found ways of exerting control over researchers, medical journals, doctors and even patient groups. The industry's strategy for maintaining their full spectrum dominance all the way down the drug chain is very simple - they pay for it.
'Something is very wrong,' writes Dr John Abramson of Harvard University in his brilliant and disturbing book Overdosed America,'with a system that leads patients to demand and doctors to prescribe a drug that provides no better relief and causes significantly more side effects'.
These recent and growing recommendations to sever the financial and information stranglehold big pharma has on medicine may, at last, provide a more level playing field in which it will become increasingly obvious that, for most chronic diseases, nutrition works better than drugs. It's time we stopped swallowing what the drug industry tells us.

Patrick Holford

References:

  1. A Jack, 'Master or servant: the US drugs regulator is put under scrutiny', Financial Times, 7 January 2021
  2. J Lexchin et al, Pharmaceutical industry sponsorship and research outcome and quality, British Medical Journal (2003), vol 326, pp 1167-70
  3. E Marshall, 'Antidepressants and children: buried data can be hazardous to a company's health', Science (2004), vol 304 (5677), pp 1576-1577.
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Wee Kee Jin - Inside Taiji Quan

 

By Paul Alexander, martial artist and researcher

This interview, conducted in April 2004,  was first published in July of the same year, in the UK magazine Martial Arts Illustrated. It is reproduced here by kind permission of the author.

One day I am sat at a computer, researching away. The next I am chatting away to Pete Dobson - a Taiji practitioner with 18 years experience - now with the "Taiji School of Central Equilibrium".

Pete comes across as a geezer, a really warm guy who coaches boxing - trains with Herbie Hyde -  sculpts, runs Buddhist meditation sessions at prisons, has taught Taiji at drug rehabilitation centres....geez, he needs an article of his own to do him justice.

Well one thing led to another and Pete had arranged for me to sit in on an advanced Whooping Crane Kung Fu class with his teacher Wee Kee Jin. Wee Kee Jin - or Jin as he prefers - tours the UK and Europe twice a year promoting his Taiji, before popping back for a well earned rest in New Zealand. He rarely teaches White Crane, so this was going to be good.

I spent the day with Pete, Jin, Goju Ryu stylist Bob Honiball and his student Paul Fretter. Bob and Paul are being passed the White Crane system that Wee Kee Jin learnt from Master Huang and that he in turn learnt from Ru Ru Ko.

The day was split into two halves of White crane instruction, broken up by a "Pete Dobson special" for lunch. I could see from the outset that there is an obvious connection to Okinawan Karate, visible in the breathing, sinking and connection of whole body. The forms were beautiful and powerful to the eye, the Crane seemed soft, almost like Taiji....later I was fortunate enough to spend some time talking to Jin, my questions certainly got answers. 

Before we sat and talked, I asked Jin if there was anything that he wanted me to ask. Jin simply said, "no, I don't mind, if you ask a good question then you will get a good answer. If you ask a stupid question, then you will get a stupid answer."

None of the answers were stupid, so I must have done OK - although I chickened out of asking him if he could beat Bruce Lee........

PA: What inspired you to start martial arts?

WKJ: I started at the age of 14 in the Chin Woo association. I studied there for 4 years, then served national service in Singapore, then I stopped. When I was 24, I went to see my uncle in Taiwan, I watched him doing his Taiji form. After that he asked me to try to push him and of course I got thrown all over the place. He mentioned a teacher named Huang Sheng Yuan in Malaysia and Singapore, he said if I was keen I should look him up. So I started.

PA: I understand that you went to live with Master Huang, can you tell me about that?

WKJ: I lived with him for 4 years. I was training full-time, 7 days a week, 8 hours a day. No holiday, no new year. He said that I should learn White Crane and Taiji, so I learnt both systems. At mealtimes he would talk about Taiji, we would get up and push hands, then sit back down and get a drink. We would see some machinery for example, then he would ask me, "what are the Taiji principles there?". When I was there I was the only live-in student, he had about four before me, I was the last.

PA: What was the strangest way that your teacher helped you learn?

WKJ: In 1954, he led the Chen Man Ching school and his White Crane school into competitions. He trained his students by going into a concrete space and pouring water on the floor, then he would tell his students to push hands. If you can stay grounded on a slippery floor in a small area, it is good skill.

PA: I have read your book, I found that you stress training the basics. How important, do you think, are the basics?

WKJ: When people say that I am very advanced in Taiji, it is not that I am doing something different. Advanced in Taiji is that you have a deeper understanding of the principles. After 5 years, 10 years, the beginner, the advanced student, the same principles are worked on but the understanding different. I practice the forms, the 37 short form, 20 years on I will still be doing the form. 50 years.....still doing the form! What happens inside the form changes, that is why I say that advanced is only a deeper understanding of the basic principles. It doesn't mean something different.

PA: You must still practice the basics then?

WKJ: Yes. This is why, when I am asked what I do in my practice, I never tell, because the public will think that it is so boring! When one starts to learn simple things, they then start to go for the complicated things. When you reach a certain level you find that it is unnecessary to go on, instead you must go back. When you go back, you will find a different place to where you first were. I always say, the basics are the most monotonous and boring, the most simple yet most difficult things to do.

There is a saying, "learning is fun but training is boring", do you agree?

WKJ: No, that is not true. That is why first, if you are to learn any art, you must first prepare to discipline yourself. If you don't have the mind or space to discipline yourself to practice everyday consistently, then don't learn. After years the practice must not be a discipline. It must be an enjoyment. If it is still a discipline then there is an enforcing factor. When you enjoy it, it is different. For me, I enjoy it.

PA: So it has become a major part of your life?

WKJ: Yes.....beside my wife. The Taiji principles say that you have to balance everything.

PA: What would you say are the differences between White Crane and Taiji?

WKJ: Before his death in 1992, my teacher told me that he felt that he had been unfair to his White Crane teacher because he spent more time promoting Taiji than White Crane. So I hoped that I could promote White Crane for him. But the more I go into Taiji, the more I realise why, in the end, my teacher stopped doing Crane. White Crane and Taiji are basically based on the same principles. If you take a diamond, White Crane is an uncut diamond, Taiji is a polished diamond. So I noticed that as one gets more refined, they don't want to do rough things.

PA: So one would move onto Taiji naturally?

WKJ: Yes. Taiji is something that one can do when 50 or 60 years old. Harder styles are for younger people mostly. That is the way it goes. But I must stress that White Crane is not an external art.

PA: A lot of people seem to be preoccupied with whether an art is external or internal. What do you think the differences between the two are?

WKJ: Actually it is a misconception. It is said that external is a hard style, internal is a soft style. The real meaning of internal is; that an external art is imported from outside China, an internal art is one that has originated from inside China. Shaolin was brought in from India, this is why it is an external art. Also, within so called internal and external arts there are hard and soft styles. So White Crane is a soft style and Taiji is also a soft style.

PA: Do you still train "hard" White Crane? Have you adapted more Taiji into it?

WKJ: The White Crane itself is a soft style, it is not a hard style. People mistake this because if you do White Crane without following the principles, you do the same as a hard style martial art. When my teacher, Master Huang, first met Chen Man Ching, he didn't believe that my teacher didn't do Taiji. White Crane should be relax, relax, relax...and also remember that the founder was a woman.

PA: Do you think that the fighting side of Taiji is very important?

WKJ: It is not really important in the sense that the health is the foundation. At first start for health, then progress more into the Taiji, more into the martial arts. I always suggest the beginner goes for health. What is the point of being a good fighter who is always sick? Right? For the martial arts side, you must go for the philosophy side. The philosophy of Taiji is about how to be a human being. That is more important. For students who cannot decide if they want to study Taiji, I always say - if you want to kick and punch you do Shaolin or Karate, if you want to throw people around you do Aikido or Judo, if you want patience and perseverance you do Taiji. You want the best martial art, don't train or practice...get yourself a gun! It is important to stress though that Taiji is only for defence. In Taiji, overcome movements from your stillness, overcome other peoples actions with non-actions. When you reach a higher skill of Taiji, when people push you, you don't even have to neutralise, you just take the force down because it will bounce back up. The highest level of Taiji is called "receiving force". But for me this is still not the highest level of Taiji. For this you have to go to the philosophical side, when you learn to become human. You are so nice that nobody wants to fight with you. That is the highest level.

PA: If you had to label the style that you teach, would it be Yang family?

WKJ: It is a very strong Yang style. Chen Man Ching is from Yang Cheng Fu, he simplified the 37 form based on the Yang style. My teacher was Chen Man Chings student, but the way we do it, especially in the transitions, is different from most Chen Man Ching schools. My teacher had surpassed his teachers. When my teacher left for Singapore in 1956, Chen Man Ching told him, "in 7 years time you will be better than me". So my teacher put his understanding in. So I wouldn't want to say if my Yang style is Chen Man Ching or Huang....I prefer to call myself Taiji Quan. The style is created by man, it is only a type of movement created to follow the Taiji principles.

PA: So do you think that a Taiji form is the most important thing?

WKJ: The form is a set of movements created for you to be able to put the principles into your body. It is only a set of tools. In the end any movement that you do should follow the principles of Taiji. So my teacher said, "you should learn principles, not movements". A lot of people like to learn a lot of movement, but not many people like to learn just one move. A lot of people like to teach a lot of movement, but not many people like to teach one movement. If you teach movement, you will finish teaching the form, then you must have another form to teach. If you teach a principle then there is no end. The way I teach is the same way as my teachers taught. They let you feel the body so that you know what happens within the body. Being told to relax or sink can be confusing, but if I let you feel the body, then you know what is happening. Although you cant do it now, you know what should happen. Then use the mind to visualise the plan. That is how my teacher taught.

PA: How is the school in New Zealand?

WKJ: I don't have a big class in New Zealand because I teach in Europe for half of the year. In New Zealand, I only have students that have trained with me for a long time, 10 years maybe. They teach beginners in their schools. I don't tell my students that they must teach under my school, they can go away and teach. When their students have been training for 3 or 4 years and are really keen, then they can come and train under me. As teachers, when the time is right, you must allow your students to go out and teach. Not to encase them because when they teach, they progress. Teaching is another phase of learning, also we can get more people learning Taiji. I don't want an organisation, they tend to spend more time talking politics than they do practicing and teaching!

PA: I have heard that you are fond of push hands, do you think that push hands is very important to Taiji practice?

WKJ: Yes, it is a very important part of practice. In the form you try to be synchronised, balanced, connected and relaxed without any external force. In the push hands you get an external force. You learn to listen to the force coming in, more importantly you harmonize. You then ask yourself, "what were my reactions to that force?".

PA: If you had to measure training between push hands and form, would you say 50/50?

WKJ: No. I would say 2/3 of the time train form, 1/3 push hands. Most people get it the other way around. The form is the foundation, what you do in the form is the same as what you do in push hands.

PA: Do you think that push hands should be taken competitively?

WKJ: I don't mind competitions, as long as the principles of Taiji are followed. If push hands turns into wrestling, it becomes strength, not Taiji principles. In the practice of push hands I think that most people only think of pushing, but that is the product of push hands. The foundation is to receive. Learn to receive the force. If you can receive the force then you can take the force into the ground, the push comes naturally. It is why in push hands practice, in Taiji practice on the whole, if you want to get good in Taiji you must let go of your pride and ego, that is the most difficult thing. To have 100% faith in not using brute force and not to overcome others but learn to overcome yourself.

PA: Do you practice with weapons?

WKJ: In the White Crane we only do the walking stick. In our system of Taiji we have staff, spear and swords.

PA: What is your favourite weapon?

WKJ: M16.............no, sword.

PA: Do you practice with weapons a lot?

WKJ: No, in fact I practice on my forms. The form is the earth, the sword is the water, the spear is the fire, the sabre is metal, the staff is wood, everything comes from the earth. Weapons are only extensions of your arms, so it goes back to basics again.

PA: Some of the stories about the masters of old are quite mystifying, do you think that they are true?

WKJ: Yes. I believe certain things are truth, but there are exaggerations over the years, like Chinese whispers. Certain things are truth, certain things might be mystical. Teachers should be careful not to mystify things. Facts are facts, not facts are not facts. When people see my teacher on tape with people bouncing off of him, they ask me if it is truth. Then I explain to them, if he didn't have the skill, I wouldn't have given up 4 years of my life to live with him. I used to try to explain to them, but now I don't even want to try. I say if you believe its true then its true, if you don't then its not. I would rather spend my time training than wasting it on explaining to people who cannot accept the truth.

PA: Do you think that Taiji has been watered down over the years?

WKJ: Let me put it this way. If it has all of the principles then it is Taiji, if it doesn't then it is not Taiji. Some people might come and just want exercise, that is a good thing. But you have to explain to them the principles.....to be upright etc. Whether they want to come just for exercise or not is up to them.

PA: How do you see your school progressing over the next few years?

WKJ: My goal is to help people. Most people know about Taiji, they don't have to practice with me, what is important is to practice Taiji. If you do an exercise that is a martial art, it must be a martial arts exercise that can last your whole life. It is pointless to do something that you cannot do when you are 30 or 40 years old. If, when you are 60 years old, you cant do it, it means the time spent before is wasted. Also, if you do a martial art or any exercise, you must choose one that doesn't injure you. If it causes injuries, then what is the point in doing it? So for me it is not important. As for me, my schools progression, I just like to practice, I leave the school to other people.

PA: What do you think makes a good student?

WKJ: A student must not have a bias opinion. When practicing be open-minded, if you keep looking at lots of different styles you will learn nothing from them, you will keep looking for their faults. Try when you look to look for good in them. It doesn't matter who takes the class, you always go in with the concept - what can I learn from this person? We all have something to learn. When you know how to spot a mistake, it is an improvement, at least you know that there is a mistake. If you cant spot your mistakes, then you don't improve. More importantly, if you spot a mistake in others, ask yourself - do I have that habit? Then correct yourself. I think that it is important for a student to be open. Also to not idolise the teacher.

PA: Do you think that there is a lot of that in martial arts?

WKJ: Yes. When you idolise the teacher, whatever he says you follow without thinking. Blind worship. A teacher must not allow the student to idolise him. When a teacher has a student that idolises him, he gets carried away, then he starts to believe things that are not true. Best thing is to be down to earth, if you are down to earth you are connected, grounded.

PA: So what do you think makes a good teacher?

WKJ: In my book I said that a good teacher is not necessarily a famous teacher, or one who has written a good book. A good teacher must be able to explain and embody the principles, to teach the student what they know without keeping secrets. Do not treat the student as a slave, "this my student!", this is not your student but Taiji's student! Most teachers try to hold on to the students, you must let them be free.

PA: You teach workshops around Europe, are they suitable for beginners?

WKJ: In the workshops I always start with the basics. The system has 5 up and down movements, then the form, then push hands. When I am asked why I teach people who have trained 2 years and 10 years in the same class, I say that I teach the same thing, but what they understand and absorb are different.

PA: So if you had someone with 10 years experience, could they still get something the workshop?

WKJ: You must understand the basics of your system. If you don't understand the basics, then you don't understand the way you do form or push hands. The way that you do the basics and push hands is the same, if everything is different then it is disconnected. It is like going to study English, learning the ABC, then making words, then sentences, then essays. You don't go to English schools to learn the ABC, write in German and talk in Chinese......it doesn't make sense!

PA: Could you give any advice to those beginning their martial arts journey?

WKJ: I think as a beginner you should go to many places to try out. But at some time you must make a decision to take one style that you are comfortable with, to follow one teacher that you are confident with. If you keep going to different styles, it is like trying to choose different airlines to go to the same place. As long as the teacher follows the principles, then you will end up at the same destination. Some take longer, some shorter, but you will get to the same place. If you go to many different styles you will end up confused.

PA: Do you think it is important to train in the mornings?

WKJ: The benefit that you get from one hours training in the early morning is like four hours in the afternoon. This is because the mind is fresh. I start at 4 o'clock and do three hours in the morning. I sleep at about 9 or 10 at night.

PA: Any last words of advice for Taiji practitioners?

WKJ: You don't just learn or do the form, you have to understand the form. How the movements are created, how to understand the secret of receiving is the greatest work. Everything becomes connected, when you push hands I am connected, like a sponge. A sponge only goes in as far as you push it, then when you release, it releases.

"Don't just learn the movements, understand the principles"

PA: These words echoed through my mind as I headed for the train station. Pete and Jin kindly gave me a lift, in the car I realised that their relationship had become more than student-teacher, it was a friendship. When I had pushed Jin I just rebounded off his body, without any obvious movement. Wee Kee Jin had fried my brain, inspired me and given me a lot to think about. I train Yin Fu Bagua with He Jing Han and inside him is the spiralling force of Bagua. Inside Wee Kee Jin was Taiji. These are martial artists that embody the purity of their system. They never ask to be called "master", but never-the-less, the system seems to master them..

Copied here by kind permission of Paul Alexander, who is a full time instructor, practitioner and researcher.

Glow Your Heart: Inspirational Living through Biodanza

by Altair de Almeida (First published in Health and Happiness magazine)



To me, self-transformation means becoming more authentic and truer to my real character (as opposed to living a persona created by my parents and other early influences). As a result of my difficult childhood, I was propelled into my journey of self-transformation from the age of nineteen, some thirty-three years ago. During this time I have explored many different avenues, some of which were very powerful for me and others less so.

The first I'd heard of Biodanza was through a very enticing interview I'd read. It was about the creator of Biodanza, Rolando Toro. He started to create Biodanza in the early 1960's as a response to what he called 'the profound darkness that I witnessed during the Second World War'. A professor of Medicine at the Centre of Medical Anthropology in Chile and a Psychologist, Toro was researching for educational ways through which the Human race could be helped to move forward.

I went to my first class in 1999 and was astounded! I couldn't believe that people, particularly in England, with a reputation for being stiff upper lipped, could be so emotionally 'open' and able to express tenderness, compassion, love and joy publicly.  It resonated with something deep in my core and I immediately knew that I wanted to delve into this system, because it would enable me to express myself more honestly and profoundly.

What really grabbed me was that Biodanza combined three of my passions:
Self-transformation, music and dance.  I immediately enrolled for the teacher training.

Having previously trained as an Acupuncturist, Shiatsu practitioner/teacher and Tai Chi / Qigong teacher I was aware that powerful as those systems are, none engage the individual as much as Biodanza, with the pure joy of expressing our care, tenderness and love for other human beings.

In our society we play safe by expressing ourselves deeply only in our intimate relationships - with our spouses or children, often not very well.

Wilhelm Reich, one of the pioneers of Humanistic Psychology, proposed that every traumatic incident, especially in early childhood, for example being hit by your 'loving parent' etc. is 're-membered' in the muscles and tissues of the body.  He called it 'body armour'. The more difficult our childhood has been, the stronger is our body armour. It serves to protect by distancing ourselves from others. If these 'blocks' are not healed and dissolved they create dis-ease or being 'out of ease' within the mind, body and spirit.  

Have you wondered why some people are often ill? There are no coincidences. When we choose to heal those parts of ourselves that had to 'split off' in order to survive mentally and emotionally, our lives become more full of passion, joy, love and peace. Instead of thinking one thing, feeling another and doing something else, we become more integrated, authentic and experience more freedom.

Instinctively, when I came across Biodanza, I realised that here at last I had found a system that can dissolve these blocks in a gentle way - through pleasure and enjoyment, as opposed to the often painful cathartic methods used in many psychotherapeutic models.

Biodanza, sometimes called the 'science of a party' uses an eclectic and vibrant mix of uplifting music - from tribal drums and hip swaying soul, to soothing classical music. Biodanza is about coming out of the head into the body. The evocative music is always carefully chosen to induce 'vivencia' or being fully Present in the Now. There are no steps to learn!  We deepen the ability to share our feelings from our Heart, according to our individual capabilities. Nothing is forced; everything evolves at our own pace.

Biodanza uses a wide variety of simple movements. Some are slow, others quicker. There are free dances, shared dances, breathing and stretching exercises, to mention just a few. A great emphasis is made about 'listening' to our bodies, so as not to over-exert ourselves and about being in balance.

Biodanza needs to be experienced. Reading about it can only hint at its transformative power. However, research the world over proves that regular Biodanza sessions creates healthful transformation right down to cellular level.
The class is carefully planned by the facilitator to lead you into a pleasurable healing journey. As you deepen the process you gradually become authentic by safely revealing your real Self. The more authentic you become, the more you release behaviours that stop you from being and doing what you truly want to.

You gravitate towards work, relationships and people that enliven you. You let go of stuck patterns like working only because 'the money is good' or 'it's the done thing' etc.  Stress is released the joyful way. Health blossoms!

Your ability to care for others and yourself improves. You will find it easier to express yourself. Your relationships improve at all levels. Self-confidence increases. You become more courageous. Your ability to set your boundaries strengthens. You can say 'No' when you need to, and 'Yes!' with passion, when you want to.

The first step to getting your feet, health and life moving purposefully forward is as simple as joining a Biodanza class!  Go alone or take your friends along.

Let go of being 'stuck in a rut'!
Glow your heart. Go Biodancing!

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Disclaimer: The articles above are for informational purposes only. The entire content of my website is based on my opinion and research, unless otherwise noted. In the event you choose to use this or a similar protocols you may want to talk to your doctor or qualified health care professional first. The information I have provided in my website is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information and is not intended, as medical advice. I would encourage you to make your own health care decisions based upon your own research along with your doctor or health care professional. Products (or their distributors) mentioned on this site do not make any claim to any specific benefits that might be achieved by using them. This information is not specific to any company’s products. Statements have not been evaluated by the food and drug administration(US) or NICE (UK)The entire risk as to the use of this website and the information therein is assumed by the user.

Shiatsu Society The Tai Chi Union for Great Britain British Acupuncture Council Systema Rolando Toro - Biodanza