Arnica Montana Newsletter - December 2005

newsletter

G'day! From the hub of the universe in the hills above Perth Western Australia.

It's a long time since the last newsletter in April this year. but life has a way of evolving in the least expected ways. My apologies for only visiting the UK once this year –I had an early hip replacement in January and this meant I was only able to travel in June rather than in March /April as in previous years for the Spring problems! As I only returned to Australia in mid August via an unexpected side trip to Sri Lanka,(more later) an October visit was out of the question for health reasons.

April 2006 is the next scheduled visit and please feel free to contact me by email kate@arnica.com.au or phone +61 8 9291 0510.

Conten ts

Arnica Montana in Asia

Letter From David Lavell

(Chartered Engineer)

Sri Lanka

A story of a British immigrant to Sri Lanka

Report by Ivy Dieltiens

Contact details for UK Group Practice are Mission Control Janet Murphy +44 1273 419272.Please ring here for confirmation of next dates in April 2005.(A bit nearer the time!)

For supplies of Arnica Montana products contact Lizzie Ogden +44 1273 430047.

Arnica Montana in Asia

Arnica Montana Pty Ltd Australia and Arnica Montana Ltd UK have been busy expanding into Hong Kong Taipei South Korea Sri Lanka and currently Bangkok this year.

The 10 topical products based on Arnica Calendula and Sage, and the interactive cdrom and accompanying kit for Accidents and Emergencies were brought to the attention of these countries through Austrade expos. Earlier in the year we were present in Los Angeles and Prague where we received a lot of interest and very favourable reports.

The mission statement for Arnica Montana is always to raise the awareness and profile of Homeopathy as a mainstream alternative and complementary system of medicine, and to encourage and empower self help in all health matters. These expos arouse a great deal of interest in Homeopathy, not known in Asian countries, although of course they have their own very effective systems of traditional and folk medicine. However Homeopathy is unique in that once established it is easy to administer and economical in cost to provide. Most importantly of course self administration is easy and very effective, as we know from experience in Europe.

As I am at present based in Australia where Homeopathy is not known as a mainstream system of medicine, and exists only as a few modules in a Naturopaths' training, the main aim has been to target Australasia, but to my surprise many of the 20,000 odd hits a month on the website are from the USA where Homeopathy has been rigorously suppressed since the 20 th century, although it has a higher profile there than it does here. Lay practitioners, as are now common in the UK, can only practise independently in a few states, and the rest have to practise alongside a medically qualified doctor.

In April this year we donated the cdroms and companion kits to the island of Nias twice trashed in the Asian Tsunani tidal wave, and subsequently by the earthquake which decimated the island very soon after, and left many more people dead, injured, homeless, and profoundly traumatised. Added to the tragedy was the Australian SeaKing helicopter disaster which crashed on its way to assist, killing 9 people taking medical and engineering aid to the island. A UN engineer who lives locally was on the replacement team, and here is the report of his experience. Although it makes for sober reading, I am so pleased that Arnica Montana could at least contribute something to the expedition.

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Brookbridge Horizons Pty Ltd trading as:

ABN 14 009 371 528

David Lavell & Associates

CONSULTING CHARTERED ENGINEERS

14 Sandover Road

Darlington WA 6070 Phone/fax: 9299 7720 Email: dalavell@iinet.net.au

Principal: David Anthony Lavell

Dip CE, BE, MBA, CP Eng, M.I.E (Aust)

________________________________________________________________________

9 November 2005

To Whom It May Concern:

Re: Arnica Montana's Homeopathy for Accidents and Emergencies.

As a member of Registered Engineers for Disaster Relief (RedR), I was seconded by AusAID in April this year to assess structural damage to community buildings on Nias Island, Indonesia. This action was carried out in association with the pledged Tsunami relief assistance, and after the major earthquake of 28 th March which caused major loss of life and injuries as well as extensive destruction to buildings and infrastructure throughout the island.

The engineering assessments were conducted in association with medical assistance coordinated by AusAID and supported by Surf Aid International. RedR engineers accompanied medical teams to major towns and remote communities throughout Nias, where injured persons were sought out and treated; at the same time buildings and infrastructure was assessed and recorded.

During this mission I had the good fortune of having 2 sets of "Homeopathy for Accidents and Emergencies" by Arnica Montana, which includes as I understand it, comprehensive medicines and informational CD-ROM per kit. These kits were soon in the hands of the medical teams who showed great interest and expressed appreciation for having the added resources in a time of great need. All engineers on mission saw first hand the medical teams in action treating very sick and injured persons throughout the island. Due to the nature of some of the injuries some patients, who most certainly owe their lives to the medical teams, were airlifted to local and international ship hospitals.

My sincere thanks go to Kate Diamantopoulo for making the homeopathic kits available to the people of Nias Island, Indonesia.

Yours sincerely,

David Lavell

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Sri Lanka

My visit to Sri Lanka in August was another example of how life has a way of taking over when least expected.

My eldest daughter Helen 27, a professional photographer, met me in the UK in June and suggested I go with her and an old patient of mine to Sri Lanka where the Tsunami has also had a devastating effect. She had been commissioned to do a photojournalist report on the situation post Tsunami as regards aid happening there. On 26 th December huge numbers of the population were on their annual pilgrimage to the Catholic Cathedral at Galle in the South West of the island. The Tsunami swept through and killed nearly all of the thousands making their way there including a full train. The skeleton of this train has been left where it was destroyed as a monument to those who died in it. An estimated 40,000 people were killed, homes disappeared, entire families lost, and of course no work for months afterwards.

As an incidental, Helen has taken some great pictures of Kalamunda this year of the flora and fauna which can be viewed on www.kalamundaweb.com

By the way-Kalamunda means home in the forest in Aboriginal language-it really is home to me, and I love it.

Helen was asked to go and make a photo documentary of the disaster and its effects, and to make a record of the aid that was actually happening. I'm sure many of you are aware that aid often does not get to where it should, and in the case of Sri Lanka, money was apparently being diverted into the clearing of the coast line of traditional work –fishing-which for centuries has supported a self sustaining village way of life –rehousing the villagers in shelter in the jungle too far from their boats- most of which had been lost in any case-and plans to use the aid money to build luxury resort hotels which created jobs, but not for the poor of the island.(Source BBC World Service November 2005) I am proud to say that Helen is now back in Brighton UK and is busy raising 10,000 GBP for a school she has been given land for in Kataragama on the East coast. Here they are also using the donated cdrom and kits with the help of Helen's Buddhist colleague and travelling companion, Liz Walker, who has now bought a house there and is very busy setting things in motion.

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A story of a British immigrant to Sri Lanka ; –he had left the UK due to unresolvable family problems and settled on the East Coast of Sri Lanka for a quiet life the year before-and established a hotel on the beach deciding to call it ‘Hotel Tsunami" (!) He went to bed on the night of the disaster at around 7pm on account of going on a blinder the night before, and woke up wrapped round a palm tree with his hotel in ruins around him wondering where he was. He was still in a state of profound shock, unable to function and being cared for by local people 8 months later when Helen and Liz arrived in Kataragama: they were able to successfully treat him with the Accident and Emergency Kit. I was back in Australia by this time and we liased by phone. As a side comment, I do always seem to be near the phone when this sort of thing occurs and do seem to be in the right place at the right time when really needed over the years.

Whilst in Hikkaduwa Sri Lanka I found myself lodging next door to a ruined hotel owned by Nicky Sheehan and her partner John who had founded the Zap club in Brighton UK–all of us Brightonians know the club -still rocking along on the seafront! They had fled to the jungle that night and whilst I was there donated 10 fishing boats to the local community. They were still rebuilding their hotel, and had been tirelessly and selflessly working for the Tsunami aid all year since it happened. I take my hat off to them-and no-they didn't have any insurance!

Apart from this, my contribution was to take a comprehensive Homeopathic briefcase sized kit containing about 350 remedies to the Homeopathic clinics, kindly donated by Brighton Homeopath Vee Walton, other Homeopaths and Helios Homeopathic Pharmacy Tunbridge Wells Kent UK. I also took donations from the West Australian Homeopathic Association (I'm a committee member) including kits from Owen's Homeopathics in Perth, and attended the Homeopathic clinics in the jungle at different venues run by Ivy Dieltiens , a wonderful young South African Homeopath who has given freely of her time since qualifying in South Africa earlier in the year. I stayed and supported Ivy in these clinics for a week seeing an average of 40 patients a day before visiting a proposed Homeopathic/Healing centre in the mountains above Kandy. I also had the privilege of meeting several dedicated Homeopaths-some doctors, some lay practitioners, who were all doing their best to assist the Sinhalese in their country's disaster.

For further information this is well reported on the website www.whatreallyworks.co.uk sponsored by the Sunday Times (London)Weekend newspaper.

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Here is Ivy's report:

6 MONTHS IN POST-TSUNAMI SRI LANKA

CURRENT EXPERIENCE

Having arrived in Sri Lanka in March 2005 to volunteer with Homeopaths Without Borders (HWB) - North America for an intended stay of 3 weeks, I have subsequently found myself working in homeopathy clinics along the west coast 100km south of Colombo, in the Hikkaduwa region. The wave which hit the coast on 26 December 2004 killed over 40 000 people and in its wake left a trail of destruction that changed the course of the country forever. Boulders weighing half a ton were deposited 100 yards inland and overcrowded trains were swept off the rails by the second wave which reached a height of 30 feet. Homes were completely flattened, and families which were enjoying a Sunday morning off were suddenly and without warning torn apart.

The first few weeks saw a desperate need for emergency care. The first group of homeopaths to arrive, Rene Guarnaluse, Denis Marier and Eric Udell of the USA, consulted patients mainly suffering with wounds and injuries as a direct result of the tsunami, needing to tend to dressings and basic first aid. This was later replaced by acute conditions exacerbated by poor living conditions of people living in tents in monsoon rains. Over six months as medical care and the need for treatment normalised, my camps have continued to grow in the treatment of chronic disorders. Six days of every week I go into a village with a translator, offering free homeopathic treatment, consult on average 20 patients a day and distribute a pamphlet written in Sinhala explaining what homeopathy is.

PHOTO1

Free homeopathic clinic in Kuleegoda, with volunteers Dr Ivy Dieltiens (on right) and Kate Diamantopoulo. Photo: Helen Diamantopoulo .This photograph can be seen on the website www.arnica.com.au in Kate's photo gallery section.

As homeopaths, we recognise the benefit and strengths of our profession in helping with emotional and mental traumas and know how effective our remedies are in helping patients cope. I am still trying to come to terms with the trauma endured by my patients - how does one deal with having to live with the knowledge that you lost one child in deciding to save the other? Or losing all your children together with your mother as that particular day you had an appointment in another village? Despite the loss of loved ones and homes, the fear and fright endured at the time, how do you process the aftermath when hundreds of bodies lay in the hot tropical sun? I've heard the stories, seen the destruction, and only during a brief visit to Europe did I get an opportunity to process the enormity of what the country has had to endure. Perhaps the commonality of grief, that everyone has suffered so much, makes it easier for the community to cope? Still, one can never truly understand.

As a result, one would expect to see an influx of psychosomatic cases, and to be able to help on a deeper level, but unfortunately it has been my perception that patients will consult a doctor (homeopathic or otherwise) only for physical pain. It has been frustrating not being able to use homeopathy to it's full potential. Experience so far has shown that my own patients generally will not seek help for emotional disorders suffered as a result of the tsunami, though this often comes out in the case taking with symptoms of loss of appetite, insomnia etc. Patients generally do not understand (nor appreciate) the reason behind the indepth case-taking (about 15 minutes including the translation), and it has been suggested to me that they would prefer a shorter consultation time as they have grown accustomed to with western practise. Counselling of patients has been difficult as one needs to converse through the translators, and with a limited understanding of Sri Lankan culture (e.g. re-incarnation and other Buddhist beliefs), it becomes a tough area to venture into and to interpret the individualised reactions. One has also to deal with time constraints and lack of privacy in an open setting, so patients tend to provide only the physical complaints.

Despite the frustration at not being able to reach the majority of emotionally and mentally traumatised patients, one can treat the multiple disorders arising from the changes in living conditions (sleeping on the floor, overcrowding etc.) and offer some relief and comfort to people who have already suffered so much. Most of my cases have been either long standing arthritis or asthma, or injuries sustained whilst running away when the waves first hit (Arnica continues to be the most prescribed remedy). Coughs and colds, skin eruptions that have not been able to heal and hypertensive and diabetic patients are seen daily. In a country where Panadol's are swallowed like sweets and antibiotics prescribed for every ailment, there is an overwhelming need to provide an alternative form of healthcare, especially as the majority of individuals cannot afford the cost of western medicine.

My method of prescription has been the split dose method as described by Samuel Hahnemann in the Organon's sixth edition. Patients are requested to bring a bottle to their consultation, a single dose of the remedy (either 3 drops or 2 granules/pillules) is placed in the water, and patients are instructed to succuss the bottle 8 times prior to taking a teaspoon or capful.

The region in which I am currently based is a popular tourist destination and relatively free from the political upheaval seen in the north and east coast of Sri Lanka. As a result, many volunteers come to this region to help as it's a scenic as well as safe area. Many NGO's are established, and over the last 6 months I have seen the coastline develop in terms of building and reconstruction. Foreign programs (e.g. drama and music therapy) have come in to help children and victims deal with the emotional trauma. Schools with computers and libraries have been established with international aid. Boats have been donated by individuals to fishermen (there are now 3 times the number of boats in Galle that were there prior to the tsunami). Buses with tourists drive along the coasts handing out aid (anything from shoes to toys to toiletries). One can see the progress and development happening on a daily basis, and many families have been fortunate enough to come out of this disaster into better living conditions.

Unfortunately this has also brought with it a culture of greed and jealousy, a negative aspect induced by foreigners who have come in with no other intentions other than to help. Each community has a certain number of families, and only that exact number of aid can be left at the camps in order to avoid fighting. Tourists have been manipulated and deceived, and many volunteers have left disheartened. In 6 months, I've witnessed both the worst and best in humanity, both from local people as well as international organisations. Fortunately due to the nature of homeopathy, I've been in a position to help those who are genuinely in need, and to gain access to the mothers and children of a community, thereby avoiding the negativity experienced by most volunteers providing financial aid.

THE EAST COAST

In July 2005 I ventured to Kalmunai - a village 1 hour south of Batticaloa on the east coast of Sri Lanka and the first area to be hit by the tidal waves. Contrary to my current experience, one could feel the fear still present in the community. In an area where houses were built in close proximity, the beach was now deserted. There was little sign of rebuilding and the silence broken by the crows gave a real insight into the trauma endured. You can sense the apprehension of a ghost town which lost over 2000 lives. Due to the heat and lack of facilities, this area is much less visited by foreigners, and while NGO's and other organisations are seen, it has by no means the same support as the west coast.

The purpose of my trip was to visit the Homeopaths Without Borders (HWB) of Germany, who had been working in the area since February but with whom I had not yet established contact. This branch of HWB has set up a clinic in Sainthamuruthu in a rented house in the mornings (9 - 12 a.m.), and in the afternoon (3 - 6 p.m.) they visit one of 9 refugee camps. Volunteers are flown in from Germany every 2 to 3 weeks on a rotation basis.

In my own practise on the west coast, as well as what I understood from the German homeopaths, it is difficult to get patients to return for follow-up consultations (on average 10% return in my own practise). Although treatment appears effective and patients happy with results, my experience has shown they rarely come back until months later when the symptoms return or they have a new complaint. No explanation can be given for this. As patients don't often return it's difficult to gage how the treatment is being received (a few have attributed this to the fact the clinics are free and therefore perceived as "less valuable").

During my 4 days spent on the east coast in Kalmunai, I made arrangements to visit with some local homeopaths who are working with the National Association of Homeopaths and Affiliates (NAHA) and run free camps in the tsunami affected areas of Kalmunaikudy, Maruthamunai, Pandiruppa and Ninthavur. Four homeopathic doctors are responsible for running these camps every Saturday, and payment given for the use of their medicines and time. This project is funded by Brian O'Shaugnessy of Ireland, an individual who collected money to help give back livelihoods lost due to the tsunami.

In comparison to my normal daily practise, it was evident that the patients in these parts had suffered a greater deal. The trauma and emotional upsets were more open in the cases - a large number of family members had been lost in the tsunami as the housing in this particular area was very close together and densely populated. They were also quite obviously not as well taken care of as on the west coast. Despite the passing of 6 months, it still felt as if the tsunami had only recently struck in this area.

FUTURE PROSPECTS

Sri Lanka is an island on the verge of seeing the benefits of homeopathy and is at a position where new beginnings are being sought. It's close proximity to India amazes me that to this time homeopathy has not been more developed. The current situation is the government and Ministry of Indigenous medicine has hired a representative (Dr Eswara Das) from India to promote and develop homeopathy here. There are approximately 170 registered homeopaths, one government hospital that consults about 200 out patients daily, and an undefined number of unregistered practitioners. Negotiations are underway which will potentially see the first homeopathic college in the country open in the following year.

Personally, I have accepted a job in a hotel as a resident homeopath, putting me in a position to promote homeopathy to tourists from around the world and to continue spreading homeopathy in this manner. I will be continuing my free clinics initially for 3 days a week, and hopefully bringing in more volunteers to continue the work I've started.

However, my 6 months experience with HWB North America and witnessing the efforts of HWB Germany on the east coast has shown that the running of free clinics is only one aspect of what needs to be done. As a means of spreading and developing homeopathy, the focus I feel should be on educating the community about homeopathy and not just handing out free "lactose tablets". Empowering people to look after themselves gives them some sense of self-worth, as opposed to being at the mercy of foreign aid. To support the community in giving them the power to do something in terms of first aid or acute crises, homeopathy will be more effective and eventually gain a stronghold from which it can be developed. The objective should be to plant the seed, not distribute the fruit.

My recommendation is to train and use the local homeopaths to teach certain members of the community in basic homeopathic prescribing, and to form a network of support along tsunami affected areas. At least in this way, should another disaster strike (in whatever form), the local community will be able to help themselves to some extent. And its in this simple, yet effective practise of homeopathy, that will spark an interest in individuals to continue their studies and spread homeopathy through their own enthusiasm gained from direct experience.

SPECIAL THANKS

The support and encouragement received over the past 6 months from individuals has been overwhelming and touching. There have been times when I've questioned the purpose of my endeavour, become frustrated with my limitations, and working individually has proved exhausting at times. It's through the encouragement from people who have never met with me yet have taken the time to offer support that has kept me going, and thanks to generous donations that I have been able to sustain myself. In particular I would like to extend my greatest of appreciation to the following organisations and people:

If you have any enquiries or suggestions, please feel free to contact me.

Dr Ivy Dieltiens (M.Tech.Hom.)

drdieltiens@yahoo.com

+94 773 184 390

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I feel honoured to have been able to contribute in some useful way and am very proud of all my Homeopathic colleagues worldwide who feel as passionately as I do about helping so many people less fortunate in a constructive way. I also feel very humbled by the Sri Lankan people who, without exception, were unfailingly cheerful, courteous, and caring of each other in the clinics I attended. They had all been profoundly devastated by the Tsunami and all had lost so much. I did not hear one complaint from any of the 40 patients I saw every day and had to ask how they had been affected by the Tsunami-they did not once volunteer this information and confined themselves to the description of their medical symptoms.

It was so moving to see how they cared for one another in their communities. We held clinics in the jungle –one of which was sponsored by Aussie Shane Warne-the Rainbow Clinic -which should help balance some of the bad press he has received recently-and the Sinhalese had been visited several times by professional cricketers from many countries which had meant a lot to them!

As a traditional Catholic I also attended Mass on the Sunday before I left in Galle Cathedral, to which so many had been marching on the day they were killed.(26,000 estimated) Poignantly it was still covered in scaffolding and was packed. Anyone near enough to the Cathedral sheltered inside and was saved as it was on slightly higher ground. Significantly none of the Buddhist shrines or temples were damaged that day, even though right in the path of the wave, and the population as a whole ran into the temples in the jungle from the beaches where they lived, and were also saved. The monks are still looking after them and the children use the buildings as schools as well as for other purposes such as our clinics-many are thousands of years old and kept in immaculate condition. The island also has many Hindus Muslims and Buddhists-but all are tolerant of, and help each other, in their communities. Very different to the scenario in similar disasters in the Western world as witnessed recently in New Orleans. A spiritual outlook on life is always needed to survive well.

On a lighter note, since this is the festive season,-for a giggle have a look at my younger daughter Rosie's website www.sharonabroad.com –you need Quicktime to see her as her alter ego Sharon, travel journalist, making an idiot of herself in the Indian Embassy getting her visa. Not for her altruistic motives for being in India-she is an entertainer and we all need to laugh and have life with all its problems in proportion! Sharon is currently visiting the Taj Mahal and Jaipur having thoroughly enjoyed Nepal, Varanasi, Delhi, and Mumbai. She looks after herself with the help of a Helios Traveller's Kit and has had a few close calls with various ailments but dealt with them Homeopathically.

Her twin Tom and band www.eightiesmatchbox.com are currently performing the age old artistes routine of ‘resting' between jobs, -in their case waiting to be resigned, but are keeping busy writing new music, and gigging rehearsing and all that as ever. Their new stuff can be heard on www.myspace.com and you need to go on to their website to get the link. Wear earplugs to start with as they are known as a ‘psycho punk" rock band and in June this year were head hunted by "System of a Down" to be their support band for a month's European tour in all the major cities to audiences of 25,000.I caught up with them at Brixton Academy London, when I was over, and my hearing has not been the same since of course. In my opinion the best track of the new 4 featured is ‘Love turns to Hate" Hardly a Christmas message-but a real stormer nevertheless! Good to hear my son bashing away at the drums and keeping it all thundering along-and to hear him yelling along with the others in the chorus!

Here in Perth we are waiting for the return of Joe(18) my eldest nephew of the 6 kids who live at the other end of the road-he has been so missed as the eldest boy, but has been having a wild time as a jackeroo (cowboy for the uninitiated)on a cattle station up North galloping around mustering on horse back and loving every minute of it. He took the Accidents and Emergencies kit and cd as the cattle station is very remote from any medical centre and found it very useful. He now sees his future as a free agent in cattle broking. He was adamant that he did not want to go to Uni –I'm with him there. What on earth is the point of living in Australia and not taking advantage of this traditional way of life and growing up learning life skills like that? Uni can wait until he's more mature, and in any case it's available at any time in your life if you want to go later on. None of my children have been (neither have I) and I didn't encourage it-I think you need time away from a bossy formulaic education, increasingly dictated to by people who have never lived a life outside a classroom, with no life experience, and degrees in things like floor polishing it seems to me.

As Christmas fast approaches, I wish you all well with an Aussie salute which I have only just found out about-for non Aussies, it means you are constantly waving the flies away as summer at last arrives here!

Kate Diamantopoulo
ps. You heard it here first-the Aussie Sockeroos are going to win the World Cup-I know because they keep telling me every 5 minutes on the radio and TV-noone else need apply.

As I won $75 on the Melbourne cup(the equivalent of the Grand National which I always bet on when in the UK) with Makybe Diva coming first as out and out favourite here, there may be some truth in it-we shall see. I shall be interested to see the match with those teddy bears Galataserai the Turkish team-according to them noone else need apply either, and by the way-it's never them that start the fights.

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