Why I’m not Participating in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

by Dr. Scott Graves

Recently, the ice bucket challenge for ALS has spread wildly across social media and the Internet. The purpose of the ice bucket challenge is to raise awareness about ALS and to donate for research to finding a cure for this awful disease. One must admit that the idea for doing this was brilliant and has wildly caught on. The movement in general is a very positive one and I think it’s great for those that want to partake. I truly hope it does help in many ways.

However, I will not be participating in the ice bucket challenge for ALS for a couple of reasons. Before you think I am cruel, cynical or a party pooper, please understand that I am fiercely and lovingly dedicated to helping people heal. In the bottom of this article, I discuss some alternatives to ALS that have existed for thousands of years that can in fact help people heal from this disease or at least move in the right direction.

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1. Is this challenge really raising awareness?

Yesterday, I randomly asked the first twenty people I could find that had taken the challenge to answer two questions.

1. What does ALS stand for?

2. What happens symptomatically to people with ALS?

Out of the twenty people who had taken the challenge, not one person had the answer to either question. This is unfortunate. The whole idea is to raise awareness, but what I am finding is that those who are partaking of the challenge don’t know any more about it even after they dumped a bucket of water on themselves.

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis or Lou Gehrig’s Disease is a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system that leads to weakening and wasting of the muscles. This disease has a very rapid progression and most don’t live beyond 5 years after initial symptoms and diagnosis.

2. Will the money really help to find a cure?

Pharmaceutical companies produce some pretty amazing drugs that do some pretty amazing, life-saving and incredible things, and we need many of the products they have to offer. This world is a better place because of many of these drugs. However, they are also motivated by one very powerful ideal: to make a profit. It is not my intent to get into a debate, but finding a cure for a disease that already has drugs that make them a lot of money would go against the idea of making a profit. Cures are not good for the pharmaceutical industry, treating and managing disease with expensive drugs is. With some diseases, like cancer, we are still using the same drugs (chemotherapy) that we were with little or no better results for the past 60 years. With all our modern advancements, is this really the best that can be done? Raising money may help this cause, but I choose to raise awareness through other more productive means, like this article for starters. I hope you will too and take my challenge below.

3. Are there any alternatives that work or have at least a partial solution? What about the ancient systems of medicine like Chinese medicine and Ayurveda?

I fall more in love with Chinese medicine every day. It is truly remarkable. Many people become experts at what they do in as little as 5-10 years. The Chinese have had thousands of years to perfect their craft and they had responses to every disease known to man both then and now. They have had a response long ago that in my opinion is far beyond where modern medicine is today with this disease. You may find that hard to believe and that’s OK. In Chinese medicine, health problems aren’t diagnosed and treated by disease but by patterns that have relationships to things with the whole of the body. We seek to identify the root patterns. ALS follows a pattern or multiple patterns.

In ALS there is atrophy and weakness of the extremities among other symptoms. The Chinese long ago called this Wei Bi or Wei Syndrome. Wei means withered. The Chinese also identified the causes to such a syndrome many years ago (I believe other factors are at work today as well). In The Practice of Chinese Medicine by Dr. Giovanni Maciocia, six factors are identified (p.1220):

1. Wind-heat from a warm disease (Chinese concept)

2. Dampness (Chinese concept)

3. Poor diet and lifestyle (eating bad food, not exercising, etc…)

4. Excessive sexual activity and overwork

5. Traumas to the head

6. Emotional shock affecting primarily the heart and spleen channels (meridians)

Therefore from a Chinese perspective, one or more of these issues are to fully or partially to blame for atrophy syndromes. I would also like to add that I believe modern chemicals and heavy metals are also a huge part of why this disease develops. Human beings are being subjected to massive amounts of chemicals in personal care products (deodorant, hair spray, gel, shampoo, conditioner, etc…), heavy metals from dental amalgams and many other things. They are all toxic to the body and cause internal damage, especially central nervous system damage. Buy organic, non-toxic personal care products. Additionally, the emotional aspects of this disease are imperative to address as well and follow specific patterns too (more on this below).

The Chinese mentioned long ago how acupuncture has been very successful in helping with symptoms of atrophy. In addition to body and scalp acupuncture, the Chinese have an extensive herbal pharmacopeia that was more that well equipped to deal with atrophy (wei) syndrome for thousands of years. Many individual herbs and formulas exist that have been successful in dealing with atrophy. The wisdom of thousands of years of medicine is right under our nose, but it is not even being considered. Moreover, compared to the most popular drug for ALS, Chinese treatment is less expensive. Rilutek (60 tablets) can cost between $200-300 per month to as much as $1200 per month without insurance co-pay. Drugs are very profitable. This drug just slows down the progression of ALS, has many heavy side effects and doesn’t do anything to address the root cause.

Prices for Rilutek pulled from www.goodrx.com

On the other hand, Chinese herbs are far less costly, are very effective, address the root pattern and offer little if any side effects.

This is what we must be raising awareness about!!

In addition to acupuncture and many herbs and herbal formulas, Chinese medicine offers an amazing understanding of how lifestyle changes and food therapy can also make a huge difference. Please understand that one acupuncture treatment, one herbal formula and some small changes won’t do the job. It takes time, dedication, many lifestyle changes and perseverance to head in a new direction. Modern advancements also have come up with many products that chelate or pull out heavy metals and chemicals from the body. We use many of them in the clinic and they work wonders.

Even more important than this can be the emotional and mental roots that have led to this disease. Emotions are one of the powerful causes of disease. With ALS, this is no exception. In Chinese medicine there is a main emotion that is associated with every organ in the body. With ALS, the most affected organs from a Chinese perspective are the spleen, heart and kidneys. The main emotion of the spleen is worrying and over thinking. The spleen organ governs the muscles. A healthy spleen means healthy strong muscles. The heart is most affected by sadness. And the kidneys are most affected by disease.

The Chinese believed that emotions generated from traumatic life experiences can literally damage the body and produce disease. Those who suffer with ALS seem to allow their internal fears and sadness to eat away at them. They may be literally wasting away emotionally because of what has happened to them in the past. They try to be strong, but on the inside they feel emotionally weak. They also may tend to take on and carry other people’s problems with them. These, of course, are generalities and many other emotional issues specific to each person could be contributing to the problem.

The emotions from the memories of the past much of the time are still stored internally, even after 20, 30 or even 60 years or longer. The Chinese talked about this thousands of years ago. These toxic emotions need to be released and let go of. Many amazing energy modalities exist such as EFT (emotional freedom techniques), Faster Emotionally Focused Transformation and Body Talk are being used by people all over the world to help people let go of their emotional baggage. Talk therapy for many is important, but talking about your problems is not always synonymous with letting them go from your body. Two great books that offer a fresh and enlightening perspective on letting go of the past are called Letting Go: The Pathway of Surrender and Healing and Recovery by Dr. David Hawkins, M.D. I challenge you to read them whether you have ALS or not because it is that important.

This article is my way of raising awareness about existing solutions and my challenge to you is as follows:

1. Send this article through facebook or email to your family and friends to get a real dialogue started about solutions for ALS that exist now. Be open and willing to explore options that have worked for thousands of years.

2. Take control of your own health by doing what is necessary now to be healthy and NOT when you have health problems, symptoms or a disease. We have a health crisis in the USA today.

3. Contact a Chinese acupuncturist or Oriental medical doctor to learn more about the wonders of Chinese medicine and how it can help you.

4. Contact a practitioner that practices EFT, Faster EFT or Body Talk to learn how to let go of your past. We all have a past, dealing with it is is the most loving thing you can do for yourself. I work with people at a distance through the phone or Skype and would be happy to meet with you, so please call now – 407-255-0314. Take steps to prevent disease, even if you don’t have any symptoms.

No practitioner can guarantee that you will heal from any disease, and I am not saying Chinese medicine is the THE cure. But Chinese medicine and modern energy medicine sure have a great track record of moving things in the right direction. I am 100% for raising awareness and doing things that will benefit those with disease, and while the ice bucket challenge for ALS is enticing, I choose to point to solutions (even if not perfect ones) that already exist. It just seems more logical and helpful.

Will you help me get the word out?


Dr. Scott Graves ND, MA is a Florida-based Naturopath and Intuitive who specializes in Nutrition Response Testing, NAET, EFT, and Psychokinesiology. He offers free 15 minute phone consultations and is available for radio and TV interviews. Like him on Facebook.

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