An Introduction by Simon Rees, ND LSM FCT HOM TCM, Feb 2011.
Part Two: The Criteria
This article is one of our exclusive “feature-length” pieces which we are offering to the public for free. Don’t forget it can easily be printed (see above right).
In Part One of this article, we looked at the underlying new paradigm of Living Systems Medicine: a grand vision of interconnectedness, a world made of information fields in interaction – at many levels of perspective, each representing one organised whole within another, which we call living systems. We considered also, based on this, the integration of both holism and reductionism in a single unified model of medicine for the future – for the first time in history. We also emphasized that rather than looking only at the parts or the whole, the relationships between all the different levels of system and sub-system take centre-stage in the living systems approach.
But how, I asked, are we to effectively piece all of these fancy ideas together in a manner which brings real practical results in terms of ecological, economic or medical success? That, I added, is the million-dollar question… Thankfully, the Living Systems model has an answer for this, too.
It has been called the “hierarchy of values,” by American biologist and systems thinker James Grier Miller.11
The Hierarchy of Values: Effective Prioritization
By values, as we shall go on to see, Miller was not referring to social values, but to system values, i.e., what matters most to a system at a given moment in time in order to achieve its objectives.
The word “hierarchy” suggests an order or sequence of priority. In order to analyze all these system complexities and yet still be able to make effective decisions 12 as a result, we must have a means of sorting the data into a hierarchy of priority at any given time.
This hierarchy must, in turn, be based on what is of greatest importance to the system under question at that time. This, in other words, is what Miller refers to as the system’s “values.”
If that ecosystem described earlier is beset by mining companies stripping down the trees, then it is quite possible that this will represent the top priority “value” to the ecosystem in that moment, more than any other. In other words, if we were to make a list of all things currently threatening this ecosystem, after a thorough systems analysis, then the miners might well end up being listed as the number one threat. The state of the gorillas’ teeth or the monkeys’ tails would very likely not be number one on this hierarchy of values, though!
By values we might, as in this example, be referring to threats, and/or we might instead be referring simply to the system’s needs at a given juncture. I should clarify the similarities and differences between this and a famous theory in sociology, of Abraham Maslow, which has a rather different application. Needs may indeed include those represented in 1943 in the pyramid of Maslow’s “Hierarchy of Needs” – the fact we first need things such as shelter, water and food, and if we have those then other needs such as love, sex, esteem, etc., start to draw more of our attention. The concept in the case of Living Systems Medicine, though, is broader and has a different purpose, as we are not trying to explain people’s behaviour sociologically, but rather to treat them medically. We are also looking at people individually – one patient at a time – rather than trying to make a fixed list for all of humanity. The ‘hierarchy of values’ is highly individual to each patient and each health situation.
Thus, rather than focusing exclusively on personal needs ranging from survival at one end to, according to Maslow, self-actualization at the other, the hierarchy of values in a medical context represents clinical priorities. The objective in this case is optimizing health and healing, and a ‘value’ represents any issue or course of action which is ‘valuable’ to ensure success.
To give examples, dealing with mining companies descending on a forest, in the previous analogy, or dealing with, say, mercury poisoning of the brain in a human being with brain dysfunction, might represent priority ‘values’ for us even though they were not listed as ‘needs’ by Maslow. In practice, in Living Systems Medicine, the ‘hierarchy of values’ is broken down into a series of organs and tissues (kidneys, lungs, brain, heart, adrenals, etc.) and the disease-causing/pernicious factors ailing them (toxins, bacteria, parasites, traumas, etc.) 3-9
The ability to assess a correct hierarchy of values for a system in distress is, in essence, the most challenging obstacle to any of these sciences – including medicine. Correct is defined as the one with the best overall perspective for the long-term survival and optimal health of the system, considering all of the various elements, relations and factors involved and what they are likely to do or cause in the future.
A key example of the application of this principle to medicine is the idea of “disease causation.” Although it may be argued that the causes of illness are always in the back of the mind of any healthcare practitioner, the fact remains that they are rarely at the forefront of the mind (due to not being covered in any depth on medical training curricula), and certainly not in a scientifically rigorous causative analysis – which is only possible within a systems model.
In order to truly assess a hierarchy of priorities for a system in distress, it becomes inevitable to look at the underlying causes of a problem.
For this reason, in a Living Systems Medicine curriculum, Disease Causation becomes an important topic of in-depth study in its own right – for what, as far as I am aware, is the first time in the history of medicine, marking a key landscape in the ongoing evolution of medical training in this world! The study topic of Disease Causation, in turn, does not refer primarily to disease processes within the body (although naturally this forms a part of it), but principally to the primary causes of those processes – pernicious factors such as key toxins, infectious agents, ionizing radiation, non-ionizing electromagnetic fields, malnutrition, traumas, inherited weaknesses, and so on. 3-9
Incidentally, the profit-driven search to “map the genome” in recent years and patent new drugs to “make a mint” from them based on fallacious genetic theories is, to be frank, a distraction from the more primary objective: What, besides “wear and tear” and natural ageing, is causing damage to our bodies, including our genes, leading to chronic illness? In other words, the emphasis moves away from genes – or any other body structure or process – and focuses far more on things that damage genes (such as, for example, dental poisoning of mercury, 15-20, 31-32 which is a key mutagen and teratogen) and/or our organs and tissues in general.
In Living Systems Medicine, our starting point is not that the body is “stupid” and unable to look after itself (which might otherwise lead us to point the finger merely at bodily processes going awry for no apparent reason – a common tendency in shallow medical discussions!) – but instead, that the body is intelligent and self-governing. This is exemplified by homeostasis and a million other bodily processes which amazingly manage to “take care of themselves” most of the time and maintain the body in perfect health – except for extraneous disrupting factors. In a word, this is what I mean by “Disease Causation” – a hugely neglected but absolutely central issue for the future of medicine, which stands dead at the centre of the Living Systems Medicine approach.
Minimal Inputs – and Disrupting Factors
Related to the above, and easy to remember, is also a key piece of advice shared by Dr Yurkovsky in his professional teaching, where he suggested it is better to: “Take out, take out, take out – rather than give, give, give!” 3
A lot of medicine – both conventional and alternative – focuses on “giving” things to the body. One not-so-ethical reason for this, it might possibly be argued, is that it is more profitable in general to have products for sale which can be “given” to the body, such as pills, according to some kind of theory as to why they are needed. However, cozy though that may be for those making a living out of such an approach, a more ethical and human concern is our patients’ well-being as our first priority – and the “Here, take this, this and this, oh and this too” approach, as a primary emphasis, does not in general fit very well with a systems perspective on the human body.
The latter reveals that the body, being largely very able to look after itself except for extraneous disrupting factors, is best helped when we focus on removing those disrupting factors. Consequently, things are “given” in Living Systems Medicine, but with a unique emphasis on minimal inputs: the minimum and least-invasive possible to achieve the objective of assisting the body to remove those disrupting factors so that it can be allowed to get on with its natural job of self-maintenance again.
It is perhaps like a tree which grows on its own without needing a lot of input from us, but does need protecting from mining companies.
Regarding minimalism, there is a possibly apocryphal story about Pablo Picasso – no doubt embellished over the generations – which illustrates a parallel point relevant also to medicine: that “less,” as I tell my own patients, is sometimes “more”!
The story goes that Pablo was once approached in a restaurant or (depending on which version you believe) tapas bar, and asked if he could draw a portrait right there and then, while sitting at his table. He pulled a pencil from his jacket, and within a minute completed a quick sketch on a table napkin.
Having done so, he proffered it to the gentleman, asking for the sum of two million pesetas in payment. Appalled, the man replied, “But sir, it only took you a minute; how can you possibly charge that much?”
Picasso simply raised his eyebrows knowingly, then said, “Young sir, it did not take me only a minute to draw your portrait on this napkin. What you see here is the result of over forty years of work.”
In medicine, sometimes (or often) the doctors – like Dr Yurkovsky – who hand out less pills and products to their patients, but choose to focus on items of highest meaning to the system, are offering a far worthier service than doctors who try to “look competent” by prescribing a “bag-full of stuff” to each patient.
Of course, to focus on the key system priorities in this way, skill is required. Fortunately, the Living Systems model has for the first time in the evolution of medicine made the process of focusing a scientific one that can be learned (a subject I will also return to in Part Three of this article). . .
The Uniqueness of Living Systems Medicine
Inevitably, the causative approach discussed above also means that a practitioner of Living Systems Medicine takes a keen interest in the patient’s environment, diet and lifestyle.
Beware of any practitioners who focus mainly on giving you products (particularly if there are many of them and/or they are costly and/or if they create an ongoing dependency) without ever offering much serious advice about environmental, dietary and lifestyle factors – and without investigating them routinely. In Living Systems Medicine, the approach taken will balance this process of analysis and/or advice, on the one hand, with therapeutic inputs of minimal type, on the other.
I anticipate that many medical practitioners, on first reading this and learning about Living Systems Medicine, and recognizing that it is a common sense approach to medicine, may naturally then formulate the erroneous idea that what they are doing now is already a form of Living Systems Medicine – or at least may try to claim as much!
In response, I would warmly commend wariness in that respect before jumping to conclusions. . . I have done a thorough analysis of the field of both conventional and alternative medicine, as did Savely Yurkovsky, M.D., before me. I came to the clear conclusion that in practically all existing approaches of quality, there do exist elements of Living Systems Medicine – but never all of the elements at once! The single exception to this is Field Control Therapy, which was consciously created as a form of Living Systems Medicine. So it may be easy to try and fool oneself about this, if one chooses to selectively notice only the commonalities, and conveniently overlook what is missing in a given approach.
If you happen to be a medical practitioner yourself, and read the various sections of this article with care, though, I challenge you not to find aspects of Living Systems Medicine which are new, in the context of your given favoured approach and medical training, unless you are a Field Control Therapy practitioner. If you find that I am mistaken, and are thus able to confound my challenge, may I invite you to share your findings via the comments section at the bottom of this page! The process of further discussion of such questions could even prove interesting for all concerned. . . It is always possible I have made a mistake in this respect, but up till now, I have never found any approach to medicine besides Field Control Therapy which completely matches the Living Systems Medicine model in all its respects as described in this article and at the same time has done so consciously with use of systems language and concepts. I am also reminded, of course, of the famous statement of William James when he supposedly said:
“When a thing is new, people say ‘It is not true.’ Later, when its truth becomes obvious, they say ‘It is not important.’ Finally, when its importance cannot be denied, they say ‘Anyway, it is not new.’ “
The reason I have included this section of the article is that I have, in fact, already had a number of conversations with medical doctors and others who, on hearing about Living Systems Medicine, gradually warmed to the third state in William James’ account, thus once they recognized that the idea was a good one, they assured me that they were already practising it themselves and had always known it. I assure you it was not the case for them, and most likely won’t be for readers of this article, either!
Is Living Systems Medicine Time-Consuming, Then?
Based on what I have written so far, you would certainly be forgiven for imagining that this process must, perforce, be more draining of clinical time than simpler methods which focus on pills and fixes. After all, here I am talking about things like the patient’s environment, diet and lifestyle. Just how practiceable is this clinically, you may ask, on a pragmatic note?
Yes, on average a Living Systems Medicine practitioner tends to spend a bit more time with patients than, say, the average conventional doctor who tries to limit appointment times to ten minutes or less. Instead, we have found that in the average case, a patient does best if he or she spends 30-60 minutes in an appointment about once every 3-4 weeks. However, there is a deceptive saving of time in the more “conveyor belt” approach. Imagine an airport where people are trying to find their way out to the taxi stand, and you are directing them all onto a quick and easy conveyor belt which leads to the basement! Understandably, this is not a real “choice”: one option is a real way out of the airport – and the other is a dead-end! Yes, you can do this very quickly, and the time spent with each person is brief. But there will surely later be a medical equivalent of what is known in geopolitics as “blowback” – i.e., today’s “time saved” will become tomorrow’s nightmare.
Instead of pointing all the people in Arrivals at the airport onto a dead-end conveyor belt with great efficiency, if we spend a bit longer giving directions that do typically require a bit more explanation, but will actually enable people to find their way out to the taxi rank, then the net result in the long run will be more time and money saved overall for all the people involved – alongside better health, of course, which after all is the primary objective.
Pursuing this line of argument, it could well be argued, then, that the speediness of medical consultations in modern society is, in itself, the primary reason for the high and rising rates of cancer, heart disease, autism, Alzheimer’s Disease, and so many other degenerative illnesses. Ultimately, this speediness – due to not reaching the level of disease causation in most cases – ends up wasting far more time for everyone in the long term, including the patients themselves who go on to develop worse and worse diseases as they age, and the medical profession whose overall costs climb to increasingly extortionate amounts. The “time saved” by doctors in orthodox medicine is not, in fact, saved at all. Instead, there is a great deal of “time lost,” which is visible in the high costs of medical insurance (e.g. in the USA) or taxation for the National Health Service (e.g. in the UK). If doctors would only be paid at the same monthly wage to spend a bit more time with their patients, taking a causative Living Systems Medicine approach, then everyone’s overall costs will be greatly lowered, and, more to the point, many people would be suffering far less from awful illnesses.
This also brings us back, then, to the Pablo Picasso story – and the underlying question of perceived value. In modern society, we have mixed up our values (financial and otherwise) very badly in relation to medicine. The true value – both financial and health-wise – lies in taking a causative approach, and then everyone (including the doctors) are happier, healthier and wealthier, due to reduced medical costs overall, allowing the money that is paid to be devoted to “Picasso’s skills” (causative medicine) instead of being endlessly wasted on dead-end painters. . .
Stress vs. Strain
A more technical way of describing what we mean by “Causative Medicine” is also covered (by Dr Yurkovsky) in greater depth elsewhere, but may be summarized briefly as follows: In a systems analysis, the underlying causes may be called the “stressors” to the system. These are distinct from what we call “strain” which consists of the effects which those stressors are causing in bodily organs and tissues.3-5, 7
To use a dramatic example (in the hope that this may help you remember the concept!), if you were about to fall off a cliff but are clinging on to a piece of rock with your fingers, and the rock is beginning to cut into your fingers so that they are bleeding, what is the “stressor” and what is the “strain” in this analogy? The answer is that gravity is the stressor, and the bleeding of your fingers and anxiety in your mind are two manifestations of “strain” in your body!
Sadly, the majority of healthcare practitioners – both conventional and alternative – are on very shaky ground when it comes to making this key distinction between stress and strain. It is because most have not yet been trained in Living Systems Medicine. As a result, we are constantly hearing about forms of strain (high cholesterol, high blood pressure, allergies, autoimmune illness or tumours being classic examples) as though these were causing diseases – when in fact they are merely forms of strain. Because of this lack of systems rigour in the customary medical analysis, very little if any attention is paid, in general, to the underlying stressors which may be causing the strain, and, just as importantly, to applying a systematic method of prioritization to assessing the respective importance of those various stressors.
A classic example – but not the only one – of what has gone wrong in both conventional and alternative forms of medicine where Living Systems Medicine has not yet been introduced as a new model is the absence of toxicology on healthcare training courses. In spite of many years of training about disease processes and corresponding symptoms and drug actions, conventional doctors receive almost no training, if any, in the key field of toxicology. The situation is no better in most alternative healthcare training courses.
Sometimes it seems that every doctor and alternative therapist I meet wants to venture an opinion on the role of “toxins” on health, but without ever having formally studied toxins! Most could not even name which “toxins” they are referring to, nor their locations and effects in different specific bodily organs. The formal study of toxins, and the effect they have on health, is called toxicology – and until now it has been a rare field of specialist study, whereas in Living Systems Medicine, for obvious reasons as described above, it needs to be included as a key component of in-depth study. Since toxins are one of those “extraneous disrupting factors” which we will run up against if practising Causative Medicine, then it makes sense to study the topic scientifically… 15-20, 28, 31-35
Likewise, besides toxicology, it will be necessary to devote more than a miniscule amount of attention to lifestyle, nutrition and, of course, detailed study of the effects of other disease causes, such as for example both ionizing and non-ionizing electromagnetic fields. Traumas – including emotional assaults and physical injuries – will likewise need to be studied in depth – and corresponding methods for assessing and treating them – since these are yet another item on the list of primary disease causes. And the list goes on. The bottom line, in Living Systems Medicine, is not to make assumptions about disease causes, nor to imagine that all diseases are caused by our “favourite scapegoat” while we pay little or no attention to the other factors potentially involved (notwithstanding the separate and important issue of establishing a prioritization hierarchy amongst those causes): Instead, we aim to make a more systematic appraisal of the subject of Disease Causation as a serious objective. Imagine, if you will, that we are not selling packets of crisps here, but trying to set up a sophisticated restaurant with a varied menu!
But Isn’t Reduction of Strain Enough?
If seeking to help a system under strain, due to the presence of a key stress or various key stresses, one might naturally also ask if it is not sufficient simply to reduce the strain.
Indeed, this is what the majority of existing medical approaches are doing. If someone has a headache, a painkiller will reduce the pain (i.e., the strain), without in general seeking to look at causes (i.e., the stress). If there is a tumour – take it out. If there is an allergy – find some way to desensitive yourself to it. If your body is attacking its own colon – take some form of anti-inflammatory medication to calm things down.
This appears a logical and plausible approach. We can describe it, in fact, as “coping medicine,” as it aims to cope with what’s happening, rather than resolve situations at the level of causation. As a crude but illustrative example, let’s imagine that your toilet flush is broken due to a pipe blockage. The first “coping” solution might be to make sure you close the lid each time you leave the toilet, to help contain the smell. So far so good – and this may appear logical and plausible – and you may also remember the phrase, “Out of sight, out of mind”!
Naturally, though, the plumbing problem has not gone away just because you closed the lid.
So the next person perhaps suggests a more aggressive solution, and blows a hole in your bathroom wall, sticking a new pipe through it, to suck out the contents of your toilet bowl and empty it onto the grass outside. Again, we have a plausible-sounding way of “coping” and sure enough, the smell is reduced – at least inside the house! – and now in fact the toilet bowl looks cleaner too.
The trouble is, not only has the plumbing problem not been fixed, but now you have also allowed part of your bathroom to be destroyed. As this example shows, many forms of “coping medicine” can end up causing considerable “collateral damage” – which is bad enough in itself, but is even worse if in spite of the collateral damage, the plumbing remains unfixed! A look at the listed side effects of common pharmaceutical medications, for example, is enough to give one nightmares, and no matter what is claimed about the “proven safety” of branded medications “after extensive testing,” the fact remains that ‘correctly’ prescribed medications are the third leading cause of death in the USA. Perhaps we could even live with that, if the ‘plumbing’ was really getting fixed, but in many cases it is not – the choice is between a non-invasive approach such as closing your toilet lid, or a more aggressive one such as installing a pipe that involves ripping out half a wall.
Next, enter a sub-class of alternative medical practitioners who claim to have the ability to “assist” the human system not only to resolve its own strain, but to be able to take care of the stressors directly, without us needing to even know what they are or pay much attention to them. This is what could be described as “constitutional medicine.” It is a claim which has been made in various therapies (e.g. it is claimed in various ways in nutritional therapy, flower essence therapy, Nutri-Energetics Systems, psychotherapy, etc.), but in my experience, the two most effective approaches of this type – by far – are the longest-standing ones: classical homeopathy and Traditional Chinese Medicine. Both of these medical systems focus mostly on trying to “tweak” the system in some way so that it becomes better able to sort its own stresses out.
In some examples of this sub-class of medicine, the attempt may backfire considerably, because the very idea of helping the constitution to be stronger, from the inside out, is a very ambitious and challenging idea – and trying to put that into practice is not easy. In the best examples, such as homeopathy and Traditional Chinese Medicine, the approach taken is only successful in a percentage of cases because of the tremendous sophistication and multi-faceted complexity of both of these traditions. (As an aside, this also makes these approaches more difficult to learn and practise, in general, than Living Systems Medicine).
So my conclusion about this sub-class of medicine is that it can be helpful sometimes, but principally, it seems, in advanced, long-proven traditions which have had between centuries and millenia to evolve sophisticated methods of constitutional treatment; and even then, only in a fraction of cases, nowadays, due to the limitations of the approach – which I’ll come onto below. In Living Systems Medicine, we do make active use of constitutional medicine. In Field Control Therapy, for example, Dr Yurkovsky naturally turns to classical homeopathy when he wants to treat the patient constitutionally – which is only on a relative minority of occasions clinically, and for specific reasons when it is indicated – rather than being the only approach applied indiscriminately in all situations. In the Living Systems model, approaches such as traditional homeopathy and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) – and perhaps other constitutional methods if and when relevant such as counselling, nutrition or others – are regarded as tools for occasional use where indicated by a Living Systems assessment – rather than being used as primary tools, which would be a mistake.
Thus in the ideal Living Systems medical clinics of the future, there would be practitioners of homeopathy – and possibly certain other potentially helpful approaches such as TCM, counselling, nutrition and biological dentistry – as secondary practitioners across the corridor from the Living Systems practitioner who is the first point of contact to assess the system needs of each patient situation. This would be the optimum ‘teamwork’ situation, and so, as you can see, a number of disciplines have a role in Living Systems Medicine – but do require a Living Systems trained practitioner at the heart of the clinic to do the priority assessment first. . . which is the very part most often missing in contemporary medicine of all types!
In the bathroom analogy, let’s say that in constitutional medicine instead of just closing the lid we evolve a method of coping by filling up buckets of water elsewhere, bringing them into the bathroom, and pouring them into the basin, to flush the toilet each time. In this case scenario, we have moved on from “coping medicine” to something a bit more sophisticated – now we are going “on the offensive,” and thus helping the house dweller to take the problem in hand and apply some sort of compensatory action such as this.
In a nutshell, this is then the limitation inherent in constitutional medicine: If the extraneous disrupting factors which I have referred to are of a particularly damaging nature, then they frequently end up being beyond the capability of the ‘constitution’ to sort out without direct assistance aimed at the disrupting factors (disease causes) themselves. In short, we confront what homeopaths refer to as ‘blocks’ or ‘obstacles to cure.’ In the bathroom, we find, then, that not only will the house dweller be forever dependent on the tiring task of filling up buckets of water elsewhere and bringing them in to flush the toilet each time (which is itself not a curative action, only a compensatory one), but in addition the original cause of the plumbing blockage – while we go on ignoring it – may in fact worsen in time, so that eventually even the bucket method fails to work.
(In case you are wondering – yes, this analogy is based on real events – rather than pure imagination! I’ve been there and yes, we tried all of the above except that, thankfully, we didn’t opt for the hole in the wall pseudo-solution!)
This fits perfectly with our clinical experience of most modern illnesses: Mostly people’s illnesses are not fixed in time, but progressively worsen while the causes have not been addressed. In many cases, this is due to key toxins such as mercury, which remain in the body (like blockages in the plumbing, in the above analogy), and instead of moving out, may over time instead move progressively deeper into the system. So whether we apply some form of “coping medicine” or perhaps graduate to a more sophisticated attempt at “compensatory medicine” by trying to treat the person constitutionally, the fact remains that we are still not getting to the root causes, and for this reason are not providing a true resolution.
Getting back to the previous analogy I used to illustrate stress versus strain – the man hanging from a cliff by his fingers! Here, the ‘coping’ strategy may help him to hold on to the cliff-edge for longer, whether or not this further damages his fingers and psyche; and the ‘compensatory’ constitutional strategy may involve some means of giving him a quick boost of energy and focus to try and get him to jump up and out of his situation. The latter attempt may work some of the time, but let’s say that – based on my own clinical experience – in at least a majority of cases, there is also a high wall on the edge of the cliff, above his fingers, so that even if he has a boost of energy to jump up, he is simply incapable of scaling the whole wall – unless we help him to break down the wall itself.
That, in essence, is why the true practice of Living Systems Medicine does and must involve causative medicine: In recognizing that human beings are living systems, we are at the same time recognizing that we are not Gods – i.e., that we have the same limitations intrinsic to all living systems! Thus no matter what those limitations are, there will be some situations whose resolution lies beyond them (and based on clinical experience, nowadays this is a majority of chronic illnesses); or, in other words, illnesses which cannot be resolved unless the “wall” of underlying causes is directly assessed and removed.
This analogy also highlights another important component of Living Systems Medicine: the way that in clinical practice we often equate the “disease causes” and the “obstacles to cure” as to be in many cases the same thing. Often it is one wall, whether we name it cause or obstacle.
There is a wider question, too, which has been emerging in this article: How are we to sort through the disease stressors and strains, clinically, and figure out the priorities at any given moment?
The answer is not to play at guesswork – but to approach the problem scientifically. There is actually a science of how to make effective decisions, which I’ll come onto further below. But for now, let me offer a specific medical example.
These are the facts and observations to start with: We know that there are hundreds of body compartments, in terms of even just the most obvious organs and tissues, and that in the average illness, many tend to be involved. We also know that many are inter-related, both in health and sickness, and thus one organ may “bring down” another organ. We also know that some organs and tissues play a more pivotal role than others, in the organisation and maintenance of the body’s functioning and health.
Consequently, we also find clinically, in case after case, that by tending to prioritize some organs over others in the priority of sequence, we get better results. For example, places such as the bone marrow and thymus involved in the manufacture and maturation of various types of blood cell (white cells, red cells and platelets), or places such as the endocrine system and brain involved in controlling bodily operations, or places such as the kidneys and bowel involved in expelling toxins, tend to demand earlier attention than more peripheral tissues. However, this in itself is not a hard and fast rule, because every systems breakdown is a unique situation. Either way, as we shall come on to see, a clinical assessment technique and accompanying test “algorithm” have been designed specifically to enable effective prioritization in each individual case with precision.
Why Living Systems Medicine is Needed
How badly can things go wrong when, instead of practising causative medicine in this way, a shallower approach is adopted based on a shallower analysis – instead of a full systems one?
Our medical mentor, Dr Yurkovsky, has referred to “The Law of Unintended Consequences,” 7-8 with regard to the ease with which interfering with a system via some plausible-enough sounding idea can unintentionally wreak havoc on that system afterwards. By way of example, he has presented the case of a woman 7 (typifying a common pattern) who began with one unpleasant but relatively minor local health complaint (vulvodynia), and then, after attending 32 healthcare practitioners and specialists, one by one, in search of a cure, including the “best” of both conventional and alternative ones, and spending money “in six figures” on the treatments, she ended up instead with the same minor health complaint and 20 new and worse ones!
In short, this real case was shared as a warning to the rest of us, concerning how badly things can and do go wrong when medical practitioners – in any field of healthcare – have not had any training in Living Systems Medicine.
Another clear deficiency in forms of medicine outside of Living Systems Medicine is that, by and large, with only a few exceptions, they aim themselves at the level of the “foot soldier” in a battle (biochemical and structural diagnosis and intervention) 28 rather than targeting the primary war effort at communication between presidents and generals – those with the higher power to determine the actions of the foot soldiers (deeper diagnosis and intervention at the level of information fields) and, thus, the outcome of the war.
As covered in the opening sections of Part One of this article, all systems – including the human body and its organs and tissues – are made up fundamentally of information fields. Dr Yurkovsky has, based on the work of William A. Tiller, Ph.D., 22 established a hierarchy of values not only amongst the disease causes but, in this case, also among the cellular information fields of human tissue. Namely, the deepest information domains of human physiology are those with the greatest impact on states of health or disease. 3
This is truly a “calling” for all medical practitioners: a foghorn in the night calling our ship to change direction, saying, “Stop drifting! Come this way, to the harbour!”
Based on this fundamental insight, it is insufficient to base a medical system on the “nuts and bolts” of biochemistry: Instead, it needs to be based on (or, at any rate, targeting its primary methods at) the “information fields” guiding those nuts and bolts in tissues. In other words, Living Systems Medicine represents the start of a new era of diagnostics and therapeutics – one which is primarily based on information fields. 3-5 In diagnosis, this means that a system known as “bio-resonance testing” forms a key role as a part of the process (although not, of course, the entire process). In therapy, this means that informational remedies (as, for example, used in FCT remedies or in traditional homeopathy) take the helm (although, again, it does not need to be exclusively so. I am not suggesting any unnecessary restrictions or lack of flexibility in the medical approach we take – but rather, my aim is to discuss where the medical emphasis lies: which methods we would best devote the most time to).
Is this the same as what is more popularly known as “energy medicine”? 30, 21, 28 The answer is: yes and no! It all depends on what you mean by “energy medicine.”
If by “energy” you are referring to the deepest domains of fields in human cells, then the answer is yes. However, at the same time, we refer to “information” as a specific type of field which is known in physics as a separate and deeper entity than “energy,” per se.
The distinction is often blurred in common parlance, but it is perhaps akin to the difference between sunlight and a seed (an analogy I have just thought up for this article, in an effort to highlight what I mean by “information” versus “energy”). . .
Plants receive energy from the sun, which is used for growth; but the sunlight isn’t what “tells” each seed what type of plant to grow into. For this complex, species-specific process, each seed contains or accesses its own information – in some form – which will determine the plant type and direct its growth.
How exactly this takes place is a deeper question, but for the purposes of this analogy, we all know that it does indeed take place, or else acorns could not grow into oaks – they would not ‘know’ how to – i.e., the ‘information’ would not be available. But suffice it to say, for now, that by ‘information’ we are not referring to any physical structures such as DNA. Genes do help to encode a range of cellular responses, but this is like saying that you have a team of builders who possess various house-building skills, which is not the same thing as having a detailed house design for the builders to follow. Each of your liver cells has the same full set of DNA as your brain cells or your lung cells, but the deeper question is ‘How did your liver cells know to be liver cells, whereas your brain cells knew to be brain cells, and so on, and yet their DNA is all identical?‘ In the house construction analogy, the builders are “things” (physical entities) – albeit skilled ones – whereas the “house design” is a purely informational entity that is communicated to the builders. This is a complex subject for another article in its own right, but for now I wanted only to highlight the non-physical concept of information underlying all physiological processes.
As this analogy hopefully makes clear, information plays an important – and directive – role in the process of a seed’s growth. The same is true for the cells in our organs and, thus, optimal medicine concentrates first and foremost on assuring healthy information access in the seed, since sunlight (energy) and soil (building blocks) will then largely take care of themselves, provided of course that we aren’t sowing our seeds in barren fields and cold climes. . .
Information Medicine is more of a scientific discipline than more intuitive forms of energy medicine, such as for example hands-on healing. Living Systems Medicine is not itself a form of hands-on healing. Not that I have anything against it, and not that it should or could not be used if there is a living systems basis for it. Under such circumstances, Living Systems Medicine would not reject its use, but simply cannot be defined on this basis, because it is not the foundation of the approach, which is far broader and may be practised without any “hands-on” component at all.
I am a trained practitioner of various hands-on therapies, myself, including Chinese Medical Acupressure, Swedish massage, Tibetan Pulsing Yoga and general hands-on healing. The point of this article is not to criticise any other form of medicine or healing – and indeed, many other existing approaches, both conventional and alternative, have, in various respects, their own merits. Rather, my aim is to show what is universally the next logical step in medical evolution: Okay, we have all been swimming in different streams, but right now I am looking downstream towards the Big River into which all of our streams are flowing – the great paradigm of medicine and healing which is set to radically improve clinical results across the board; Living Systems Medicine.
Returning to the question of hands-on healing, in particular: Part of the brilliance of Living Systems Medicine is that we are bringing science right into the heart of what was formerly left almost exclusively in the realms of medical intuition. Now, for the first time in history, a rigorous scientific discipline is being taught in the medical applications of information fields and energy fields, and its name is Living Systems Medicine.
Those who encounter this news with surprise or scepticism are reminded that physics research has, indeed, held many surprises 29, 22 for us over the years in terms of what it has shown us about how the world – and the human body – operate. However, it is our duty as true scientific thinkers and as true clinicians to incorporate scientific findings even if they surprise us due to the “billiard ball” mentality under which many of us have been raised, and which most of us have been taught at our schools and universities. So I am aware that, in what I am writing here, I am asking each reader to “step up to the bat” and reach beyond the limitations of our collective upbringing and education: beyond and into the new era of science which we have defined as the Living Systems Revolution.
For each of us, it is our fundamental duty that we don’t expect science to follow our own preconceptions about the universe: Instead, it is our duty to follow science where it leads us. And in the field of medicine, it is leading us into a new era of what we have termed Information Medicine.
If one were to try and practise a so-called form of ‘Living Systems Medicine’ but all the while utilizing primarily biochemical and structural tools of diagnosis and therapeutics, without using mainly tools focused on information fields, then effectively one is not practising Living Systems Medicine. This is because the process of performing a living systems assessment – as covered in the whole of this Part Two of this article – necessitates the notion of priority assessment of which methods and interventions hold the highest meaning to the system (patient) in a given moment. The word “meaning,” in this context, is one of Dr Yurkovsky’s favourites. The reason informational inputs usually hold higher meaning than biochemical or structural ones is because of the properties of living systems according to modern physics. Those who choose to