Monthly Archives: August 2015

People not wanting to get better

placebo-effect-250x150When I was an Emergency Room physician and teaching (and a non-believer in holistic medicine which I practice now), I knew the importance of the placebo effect. But now I can see how the mind can create what I call a negative placebo effect.

There were times in the ER that I would take sample capsules and empty them and give them to a patient with the admonition to “be careful since these capsules are very potent pain killers.” I never had a complaint that the medicine did not work (and it was free since the empty capsules originated from the drug representatives samples).

The title of this article could be the antithesis of the placebo affect because there are people out there that for different reasons  do not want to get better and some even do not have any real pathology to cure. Maybe I should call this the “negative placebo affect.” I am not admonishing anyone in this article since there are different reasons for this; sometimes  subconscious reasons that the person may not even realize why they stay feeling sick. For example, I had a backward patient that under hypnosis the reason for his constant complaints became overt. The reason was that as a child having his tonsils out he remembers the family paid him a lot of attention as did the nurses and he got plenty of ice cream. Therefore, being sick or believing so he sought the same bonding and love from his parents.

Sometimes a person has anger issues with another close person (family or lover,etc) and being sick can give them freedom to be demanding or even getting even by making that person a servant to them out of guilt. Yes, it happens! Maybe another person is just tired of being the caregiver and the way out of this is to be taken care of by having headaches or some other dis-ease.

I have tracked down the causative agent in a few people that were getting sick on and off too often. It was the only way they could get some rest without feeling guilty about taking time off from work or from caring for other(s). Sometimes when they have programmed their subconscious mental level that they are sick they really become sick (and also from any one of the reasons above which can cause  stress that goes along with illnesses). It has happened to me as a child when I would lie about pretending to be sick to avoid school and then really getting a cold or sore-throat.

As an example, now that I am an Holistic MD I have noticed an alternative diagnostic test that may help uncover why a positive or negative placebo effect may be working on a client: the practice of kinesiology also called muscle testing. I certainly am not against this evaluation and have used it to some degree on clients and have had it used on me successfully and unsuccessfully. But I have found severalpossible flaws in this evaluation (as I have in blood testing also) that should be considered:

  1. It depends on the training of the person doing the kinesiology for several reasons:
  • They have to be able to dissociate their own energies when testing. This is really important if they have their own negative problems. This energy whether it is chronic or even just an event (like an argument with someone that day) can interfere with their own energies and therefore with the kinesiology testing validity. They have to be trained well enough in this technique that they can test and discern whether the client themselves wishes to test sick or negate each attempt by the kinestheolgist. In my 25 years as an Holistic physician I have found only two people with this capability of discernment
  •  There exists  some people that need to be sick on an subconscious level that will throw the testing in the direction that fills this need. Again, it takes a special healer kinestheolgist to recognize this and even bring it to the attention of the client.
  • As you will see in the next paragraph, I do not believe that any one test is conclusive for diagnosing a person. There are too many dis-eases with similar signs and symptoms that have to be thought of and ruled out by the healer. This is called the differential diagnosis and is a list of diseases with similar signs and symptoms. The healer (kinestheolgist) needs to be aware of the pitfalls of believing that one type of testing is the “end-all” and panacea for a diagnosis.
  • Unfortunately, I have found that healers that cannot write for labs and other licensed diagnostic techniques use muscle testing exclusively. Some have even just taken cursory courses in kinesiology and then believe they can diagnose their clients. I have also witnessed a physician that uses and relies on muscle testing as his primary source for putting people on supplements and even hormones. In fact, I have known him to take clients off their needed pharmaceuticals for serious chronic diseases with deleterious outcomes.

Now in my practice I do use blood and urine testing and sputum testing to help for a final diagnosis, but only as an adjunct to my 2–3 hours interview with the client. For example, if a thyroid blood test comes back within the normal limits; but the client tells me that they are losing their hair, always cold, gaining weight but exercising and not eating differently then before, fatigued constantly and that the outer 1/3 of their eyebrow has fallen out I strongly consider that they have a low thyroid condition (hypothyroid) in spite of the laboratory test. I may order other thyroid tests to rule out certain thyroid conditions that I did not originally test for like an autoimmune thyroid problem, but start treating the client on a low natural thyroid medicine. Not conventional I know but it has never failed me. The point is that I do not use just testing to come to a diagnosis but symptoms and signs, the interview and physical along with any tests I believe necessary.

Back to the title of this article and my beliefs! If a person intermittently but often gets sick, or gets chronically sick without respite no matter how long they have been treated by others and myself I need to do certain things and go through certain thoughts.

  • Everything has been ruled out but the person is sick, fatigued may be no worse but certainly no better.
  • It is not unusual for the person for some reason to have at first made themselves believe they are ill for one of the reasons stated or one of which I have not thought. But this stress probably has brought down their immune system so that they either have now created the problems for real that they stated or another dis-ease. It is of course, in my experience that with stress the client is going to have more then just one dis-ease. This can be treated still by many holistic techniques such as specific natural intravenous techniques, hypnosis, guided imagery, exercise, especially nutrition and I even often recommend and give a list of funny videos as a prescription.
  • Go over their life style again: diet, exercise, stress

Permit me to go through a case study which may or may not apply to anybody else out there. It has to do with a client of mine that came in so fatigued that she could not function doing anything except bathroom obligations. She would be defined as a chronic fatigue patient since this had been going on for years and she saw many allopathic and integrative-complementary doctors and healers before being brought to me by her sister. All her laboratory results were normal including the complete blood count and no anemia was evident,etc. Her sister incidentally was an alternative practitioner . She not only took care of her older sister and also the mother who interestingly had similar symptoms of fatigue. In the family there is an older brother that did energy machine healing who was free of any similar problems. I treated the sister with IVs of colloidal silver, Mega Vitmins with extra B12 and folic acicd, and amino acid IVs  since her nutrition regimen was poor and she stated she was too exhausted to eat  even though her younger sister prepared the family meals. Treated her for weeks also with stress therapy. Finally I told her she needs someone that knew more then me and actually it would be helpful if the person was experienced in Chronic Fatigue Immune Disorder. She never got better. The sad part is her younger sister developed the same symptoms, again with a complete work-up and labs all normal. She became bed ridden and fatigued constantly and could not work neither.

I believe to this day that this case points to how a placebo-being the mind – can also be negative. I hope that it also points out that stress is the main culprit. if one takes allopathic or alternative treatments and does not search for the cause both treatments should be called alleviation and not cures.

Alan J. Sault MD, ABHM-Diplomat, Author: Emotional Vampires and Your Hormones: an holistic physician’s view on how stress affects your well-being and what you can do about it


Absorption the forgotten fact in eating well



Do you know anyone,yourself perhaps,who eats all the right things in the right proportions at the right times and still does not feel well?“You are what you eat!” is only a partially true statement – metaphysical considerations aside, and speaking only of the physical body, it would be more accurate to say that you are what you absorb. No matter how healthy, organic and well balanced your diet, and what and how many supplements you take, nothing is contributed to the body if it is not absorbed through the intestine into the blood and lymph systems. One of the real secrets to good health is having a healthy gut; an intestinal lining that can absorb necessary nutrients and block unhealthy molecules. Each of us carries in our intestines about 400 or more different species of microbes. Some of these are bad and some are good. There are also the in-between I call opportunists that take over when the good are killed off. Not so bad but not helpful. Sometimes the harmful bacteria over whelm the good bacteria and create the state known as dysbiosis. When this occurs, the good bacteria can no longer carry out their functions, such as making certain B vitamins and K vitamins, while the harmful opportunistic are free to perform negative; activities such as giving off dangerous toxins, and allowing; the re-absorption of estrogens that can contribute to certain cancers.

Dysbiosis can be caused by the way we eat (the Standard American Diet ( a.k.a. SAD) that is high in unhealthy fats and simple carbohydrates such as refined flour and sugar: and low in fiber and complex carbohydrates such as fresh fruits and vegetables: by environmental toxins, by stress, and by medications – especially antibiotics. If dysbiosis continues we can end up with leaky gut syndrome.

A leaky gut allows dangerous substances that should be passed out of the body to leak back into the system through the wall of the small intestine. One example of this is an intestinal yeast invasion. Yeast gives off at least 79 different toxins. Three of these can interfere with the neurotransmitter actylcholine and lead to foggy brain thinking. Other symptoms of dysbiosis are digestive problems such as bloating, gas,constipation or diarrhea, as well as irritable bowel problems.

There can also be systemic effects from the leaky gut syndrome. When foreign substances (antigens) that should be eliminated are getting into the blood, the body forms antibodies against them. If the molecular structure of the antigen is similar to that of another part of the body (organ, gland, blood vessels, joints) the result is an autoimmune disease, where the body’s own defenses attack the body instead of protecting it.

Leaky gut syndrome can be diagnosed through a thorough history and evaluation and confirmed with diagnostic testing. Once the diagnosis is made, there are curative natural treatments to remedy the situation, such as an appropriate liver-intestinal cleansing. I believe that both should be done at the same time since the liver and intestine are so interrelated in detoxifying the body. It may be important to take digestive enzymes or hydrochloric acid. It is too often overlooked that 50% of people over the age of 60 lack hydrochloric acid. Unfortunately a lot of the same symptoms occur with too little stomach acid as with too much, and the recommendation is often antacids. It is stomach acid that stimulates the gallbladder and pancreas to do their jobs. Stomach acids are also the first line of defense against pathological microbes that gain entry into the system via the digestive tract. Without proper digestion by the digestive juices absorption cannot take place.

Another cause of malabsorption in a fairly large percentage of our child and adult population is the often misdiagnosed celiac disease. Celiac disease is when a person cannot digest grains that contain gluten, such as wheat, oats (?), r;ye, and barley. These seem to act like a steam roller as they go through the small intestine flattening out the absorptive apparatus. Unfortunately, celiac disease is often not considered in the differential diagnoses of people with intestinal and systemic problems; such as weight loss, anemia, foul smelling stools, rashes, indigestion, abdominal discomfort, allergies and recently found neurological problems. Celiac may not even have signs nor symptoms in the intestinal tract and only cause neurological problems. Often it is the the educated patient who brings this possibility to the attention of the health care provider. Again, once an accurate diagnosis is made (there are easy blood tests) natural remedies and dietary chooses can give relief.

So while the advice of Hippocrates to “Let food be your medicine and let medicine be your food” is certainly excellent, it is also important to be sure that we create the optimal environment in order for the food/medicine to be effective.

Alan J. Sault MD, ABHM – Diplomat

Author: Emotional Vampires and Your Hormones: an holistic physician’s view of how stress affects your well-being and what you can do about it