Homeostasis  and Wisdom of the Body (WOB)

Despite an ongoing turnover, our organism maintains an equilibrium known as  Homeostasis.  You meet  your friend  and it seems as if he did  not change since yesterday, nevertheless all his constituents are different.  His unchanging appearance is the hallmark of homeostasis. Yet how is it maintained?  In the twenties of previous century the British physiologist E. H. Starling  maintained  that even if all physiological processes were known and understood, they would  not provide any clue on how homeostasis is maintained. The body has a wisdom by which it maintains homeostasis, and this Wisdom of the Body still eludes medical research.  At the same time the American physiologist W. B. Cannon published a book on physiology by the name  Wisdom of the Body.

Health and Disease

The healthy body maintains homeostasis, which in acute conditions is disturbed. Medicine thus tends to associate disease with disequilibrium. Which does not apply to chronic conditions, like  essential hypertension.  Blood pressure does not rise in a continuous fashion, rather it  rises in steps. For short periods of time blood pressure may remain constant. Then it  rises somewhat to remain at its new level, and so on. The same applies to the blood sugar in diabetes mellitus which also rises in steps. While blood pressure, or blood sugar drive the system upward it continually adjusts its equilibrium  to the new conditions.

Homeostasis in cancer

The same applies to the growing child. Growth is accompanied by an  ongoing adjustment of homeostasis. Might this apply also to cancer? Medicine claims that the tumor defies the organism’s control. Cancer is driven by the accumulation of erroneous mutations which initiate uncontrolled growth of the tumor. Yet it seems as if the tumor drives the organism in the same way as elevated blood pressure does.

Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL)

This condition may be detected by accident.  During a routine check up of an applicant for a new job  his white blood cell count (WBCC) is elevated. Apart from this finding these individuals were healthy. Previously they were not treated since they maintained the elevated WBBC for a while.  With time it rose in steps and remained constant for some time similar to essential hypertension.

During the sixties of the previous century, scientists in Brookhaven National Laboratory  developed an x-ray machine for extra corporeal blood irradiation. Patients were connected to the machine with two catheters. One drove arterial blood from the forearm into a tube which was irradiated by the machine. At the other end the tube was  connected to a second catheter through which  irradiated  blood   returned to the forearm. Since leukemic cells are more sensitive to x-rays than other  WBC, their count dropped.

This dramatic achievement was followed by a disappointment. Within three days WBCC returned exactly to its pre-treatment level. Neither higher nor lower. And so was the result of repeated irradiations. Disappointed with their treatment failure, scientists abandoned the machine and the  experiment was forgotten. However  they ignored its  significance. In chronic leukemia WBCC is tightly controlled, since after irradiation WOB replenished the exact amount of WBC which were depleted by the procedure.

Tumor growth is controlled

Medicine maintains that processes involved in tumor growth are unrestrained. Now imagine the following situation. Mammography revealed a tiny tumor  in a woman’s breast. Otherwise she is healthy. Obviously all processes not involved in tumor growth will maintain homeostasis, while a relative small subset of processes may not. Which is hardly acceptable. Since all processes in the body interact and since most processes are not involved in tumor growth, the majority will obviously impose equilibrium on the entire organism. Which is the central tenet of this site, and rejected by medicine.  

In other words form the inception of cancer, tumor and organism maintain an equilibrium. The tumor grows for two reasons. Either tumor becomes more aggressive, or the organism weakens. In both cases the organism will maintain homeostasis.

Two therapeutic  modalities

Treatment ought to involve both modalities, weakening the tumor or strengthening the organism. Medicine applies only the first and ignores the second, which is left to holistic medicine. The therapeutic objective depends on the extension of cancer. When localized, traditional medical treatment might suffice, however when spread into other organs, medical treatment may not suffice,  particularly since tumor becomes resistant to chemotherapy. Now the aim is to prolong remission, or to induce tumor dormancy. Occasionally cancer stops progressing, and become quiescent, which is known as tumor dormancy, whose mechanism is not understood and ignored. Yet  initiation of dormancy is  the preferred therapeutic objective in metastatic disease, which is the rational of chemotherapy. However when cancer becomes resistant to chemotherapy medicine has nothing more to offer and the task is left for holistic medicine to step in. 

Long survival with metastasis

The cancer survival report No. 5   describes survival of 3369 patients
with regional breast cancer diagnosed during the years 1950-1954. Treatment
consisted of mastectomy with or without irradiation.
Axtell LM, Ardyce J, Asire MS, Meyers MH. Cancer patient survival report
No.5 DHEW Publ No. (NIH) 77-992,1976.

The figure depicts two important phenomena:

1) From the third year an on the hazard rate declines, and the chances of
the patient improve from year to year. The longer she lives the better her
chances to survive.

More on this topic

2) 24% of patients with regional disease survived 20 years. Most of the time they were in remission and appeared healthy. Since ultimately dying from their disease, retrospectively we may conclude that all carried undetected micro metastases, and yet the hazard rate declined. Some carried metastasis for at least 19 years.

Take a woman that lived with micro metastasis that long. During this prolonged remission her organism apparently "knew" how to live with, and adapt to micro metastasis. The nature of this "force of adaptation" is still unknown. Suppose medicine could harness it for another 20 years, cancer would turn into a benign disease.

The average age of these women was 50y. Now our hypothetical patient is 70 years old. By prolonging her “force of adaptation” (remission)  for another 10 years, she might carry the hidden cancer into her grave. If we knew how to harness this force to prolong her life, the riddle of cancer might be solved without understanding its true nature.  

Susan Sontag

About 30 years ago  Ms. Susan Sontag found a lump in her breast. Susan Sontag was a famous writer who lived in New York. After recovering from the treatment  she started contemplating  about her disease and its unusual name: Cancer, (crab in Latin). Her thoughts were published as a  book "Illness as Metaphor" (1978). Cancer  has  become the predominant disease metaphor in our culture. An evil disease. It  is the only disease that we wage a war on, with deadly rays, poisons, and nuclear isotopes.

Politicians call their enemies  cancer, like  Saddam  Hussein, who was the cancer of the Middle East. Could you imagine politicians proclaiming Saddam Hussein   as  Heart Disease of  the Middle East?  I decided replace the metaphor of Evil with a better one, “Cancer-Yogi”. It highlights the patient’s  capability to live with cancer in peace and good health. It alludes to the spiritual powers of the Hindu Yogi who controls involuntary functions of his body. Otherwise this metaphor is unrelated with Yoga. The long survivors are cancer yogis and so was Susan Sontag. For 20 years she lived with cancer and was healthy, believing that she was cured. Yet several years ago cancer flared up, she was then treated and it became quiescent again.

Many cancer yogis live among us

When studying the whereabouts of other cancer yogis I discovered that most of them turned to holistic medicine for help. I decided therefore to study the different holistic approaches,met healers and practitioners. Each discipline has its own philosophy and language which  are incomprehensible to the modern practitioner. In this site I tried to articulate these ideas within the framework of modern medicine.  The common denominator for these methods, which applies also to modern medicine, conditioned reflex.

Ivan Petrovich Pavlov

Pavlov studied salivation physiology in dogs. Salivation is induced whenever the dog smells or sniffs food.  In an experiment Pavlov rang a bell when feeding the dogs with meat and measured the amount of saliva. After two weeks of training he rang the bell without feeding the dogs, and the animals salivated as if they were sniffing meat.

Here are some definitions:

Unconditional stimulus (US), here the meat.
Conditioned stimulus (CS), the tone.
Unconditional response (UR), salivation when sniffing  meat.
Conditional response (CR), salivation when hearing the bell, in the absence of meat.

In the course of the training, the CS is repeatedly presented together (or slightly before)  with the US; eventually the subject forms an association between the US and the CS. The trained dogs thus associated the tone (CS)  with a food-reward   which was manifested by saliva production to the CS alone (CR).

The bell is a co-factor in a physical-chemical process

First we ought to realize that the bell activated all digestive organs, digestive tract, liver, pancreas etc. Between meals they are inactive and quiescent. They do not produce digestive juices nor saliva, which are activated only during meals. Take for instance the enzyme pepsin, which between meals is stored in its inactive form known as pepsinogen and becomes activated during meals.  The bell activates this chemical reaction, it is its co-factor. 

Imagination is a co-factor in a physical-chemical process

Enzymes may be activated also by imagination. Find a secluded place and imagine a tasty steak. Soon you start salivating and feel how your insides start moving . The entire digestive system is preparing for a non existent meal. Your imagination activated among other the pepsinogen which became pepsin.

Free will

Now a days you hear that we lack free will. Neuroscientists claim that the brain is deciding for us even before we are aware of our will. How can a brain decide for you when and where you will imagine a steak? Your will activated pepsinogen, and was a co-factor in this process. Actually your will is a co-factor in all processes.

Placebo and placebo effect

The placebo effect is "any dummy medical treatment; originally, a medicinal preparation having no specific pharmacological activity against the patient's illness. . ." This definition summarizes the attitude of modern medicine to a placebo: a useless and undesired side-effect of treatment. Which is unfortunate since placebo is a process activator.  The bell activating salivation in Pavlov’s dogs is their placebo.

The placebo effect depends on expectation which by itself is conditioned. Consider the following thought experiment. A baby got headache and cries.  No placebo pill will relieve it, while the same headache in the adult might be relieved by an  inert pill. The baby still lacks an expectation that pills help which is required for the placebo effect.   This and other expectations are conditioned stimuli (CS) which the growing child assimilates. Expectations require a mind to reside in, which the baby lacks. Generally these conditioned stimuli are provided by the society in which the child is raised.

Similar to the ringing bell and the imagined steak, expectations promote placebos to the role of  co–factors in physical-chemical processes. Placebos activate physical-chemical processes. Actually expectations are at the root of Shamanism.

Functional MRI (fMRI)

Recent studies with fMRI imaging provide new information about the nature of the placebo as co-factor.  The fMRI method uses a blood oxygenation level-dependent (BOLD) contrast. The signal arises from changes in magnetic characteristics of blood related to differences in the relative amount of oxygenated and deoxygenated hemoglobin.  In two fMRI experiments neuroscientists  found that placebo analgesia was related to a decreased brain activity in pain sensitive brain regions, providing evidence that placebos alter the experience of pain.

A volunteer is placed in a MRI instrument which scans his brain. A bearable painful stimulus is applied to his arm, and  some brain regions lighten up. He then swallows a pill  and is not told whether it is a pain killer or a placebo. In both instances the brain reacts in a similar way.

Placebo treatment of chronic rheumatoid arthritis

Consider a patient with a chronic disease that requires adrenal steroids. Prolonged treatment is accompanied by undesirable side-effects. Several studies have shown that by interleaving placebo tablets in the treatment regimen, the total amount of drug can be reduced with less side effects. Such an interleaved placebo activates the same processes as adrenal steroids do.


You sit in front of a computer screen and watch  your brain waves dancing. They are transmitted from your head  to the computer. Now you are asked to change the height of your alpha waves. You have not the slightest idea how to go about it, and start experimenting. You frown, blow air through your mouth, move your shoulder. In short, you search for actions which might do the job. You look for associations between seemingly unrelated actions and brain wave manipulation. A Pavlovian  auto - conditioning.  In addition you start imagining  how the computer might be controlled.  You visualize your guardian angel and ask him to help, or 'irradiate' the computer in your mind. After many seemingly futile experiments, the waves on the screen yield to your will.  It does not matter what one imagines, it simply works. You created a new co-factor for the myriad biochemical processes that generate brain waves.


You don’t need a mind to activate physical-chemical processes. The hypnotized individual  shuts out his mind and accepts the instructions of the hypnotist. He is ready to replace his beliefs with those of the hypnotist. Hypnosis may be induced directly without the reliance on rituals. Like by touching the neck, drumming, or playing a  monotonous, loud  and deep sonorous tune. These  act directly on the WOB and do not require the mediation of the mind. WOB directed hypnosis is a means to influence unconscious processes controlled by WOB, and can be applied also to a patient in coma.

Guided imaging

The purpose of a guided imaging is to get the body relaxed and focused. The focus is used to create a pure moment of imagination.  Here is a simple prescription:

Lay down on your back on a comfortable surface. Make sure your hands are on the floor and you palms are facing upwards. Your legs should also be on the floor, and your feet should be pointing outward a bit. Let a breath drop in. Feel it warm you up. Exhale slowly through your mouth. Each breath flows seamlessly in through the nose and out through the mouth. Keep breathing regularly. Focus on the parts of your body where the tumor resides. Imaging the breath dropping into this area. As you exhale, the tumor strength flows out of your body with the breath and it weakens. Find another area which requires your assistance, and release the tension there, too, etc.

Guided imaging is called also as auto-hypnosis, and may be directed to activate unconscious processes. It is a way to create co-factors in processes

Holistic medicine

All of the above was an introduction to our main topic: The
medical interpretation of Holistic Medicine. From our perspective  the practitioners of holistic medicine apply diverse means to   create  co-factors for processes in the organism, whose end effect is promotion of  healing and wellness. Although “most of  their ways lead to Rome”, not all are equally effective. It is not the intention of holistic medicine to evaluate their methods  for their efficiency, which is left to us. Some of their methods  are more effective than whatever medicine has to offer. Like in disseminated cancer when chemotherapy fails. Modern medicine has the best means to sort these co-factors for their efficiency.  The time has come to investigate what holistic medicine has to offer.

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