The Deepest Meaning of “Cure”

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Musings from 20th Street



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The following article was originally written for Thrive Global, Arianna Huffington’s newest platform, launched two weeks ago, for which Jane was privileged to be asked to participate.  


The Deepest Meaning of “Cure”


If we’ve been diagnosed with an illness, or even if we just have the illness of “life,” perhaps if we can come to a new understanding of the meaning of “cure.” And, in looking at the meaning of the word and concept “cure,” perhaps we can learn some essential truths about our self, and then actually maximize the odds of our being “cured” of whatever afflictions we suffer from.

The word, cure comes from the Latin word, cura, meaning care and concern. But it also means trouble, anxiety and sorrow. The etymology of the word suggests that cure is an active process of bringing care and concern to the trouble, anxiety, even sorrow that is the constant companion of illness. Sorrow — for the loss of health, loss of a future as one envisioned it, for many losses that are individualistic to each person — is essential to cure.

But the root cura also gives rise to another word: curiosus, from which we get our word, curiosity. We must be curious about our illness. Not just frightened and worried, but curious too.

A two-month baby is driven by constant curiosity. He will roll his eyes to see whatever comes into his field of vision. Two months later, the baby, still being driven by curiosity, will crane his neck in every possible direction to see whatever is possible to see. And two months after that, the baby will crawl in every possible direction to do the same, still giving expression to his unrelenting curiosity. Then, the baby rises up on his legs, and is able to extend the region of his exploration. At each developmental step, the baby’s curiosity brings new abilities, more complete processing skills of all that surrounds him, and a growing imagination.

An eight-year-old boy will precariously place himself on a narrow board with wheels, and thrust himself into a pivot to make his whole body and the contraption soar through the air together, as though they were one. We parents hold our breath waiting to see if he will figure out how to ride a skateboard successfully, and not break various bones in the process. He will do this because he has seen others doing it, and he is curious. He wants to know the sensation of flying through space.

A teenage girl, under the vigilant eye of her mother, leaves the house looking perfectly conservatively dressed, wearing church-like attire. A block away from home, she will hike up her skirt above her knees, and sail her way into a party where every other girl, similarly, has a skirt as high as the flooded Mississippi, with lipstick and eye shadow to boot. Our girl, however, eschews the make-up, choosing only the path of adventure that can be easily put back in place before she walks back into her mother’s house. She does this in part, to feel a sense of belonging with her friends. Maybe there is, too, a hint of rebelliousness. But underlying both is a curiosity. What is it like to be one of the girls? What is it like to defy my mother’s orders?

Curiosity is a natural state. And to the extent that we retain a curious attitude in life, it assists us in managing obstacles, difficulties, and even illness. To the extent that we are curious, we stretch ourselves; we expand who we are into something larger and broader. We exercise our imagination, bringing the whole gamut of our body/brain abilities into the effort. Curiosity represents us at the pinnacle of what it means to be human: a thoughtful, creative, imaginative, resourceful being.

The best way of being curious and to rediscover some essential truths about oneself is a method of inquiry that asks WHY of all things. When we found ourselves confronting what seems like an impossible path, or a difficult decision, or a paralyzing feeling, or a diagnosis of a terrible disease, we need to be asking ourselves these questions:

Why am I having this dilemma? What is the root cause?
Was there a precipitating event — either internal or external?
What do I want the destination of my issue to be? Where do I want its resolution to land me?
Might the reason for my conflict, or even the state of my body, have to do with my emotions, my feelings, my thoughts, my unexpressed, unacknowledged, unactivated self?

Especially when we are diagnosed with a disease, it is difficult to understand that maintaining an attitude of curiosity is useful. But when we can acknowledge that in asking “Why?” with curiosity, we can come to a profound understanding of the meaning of our disease/ condition/ dilemma. We might honor the very honest and profound assessment of this one man’s intelligence:

“I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.”



Follow-Up On Fulvic Acid


You may remember the Musings I wrote back in April, about fulvic acid. In Think of Your Body As One Great Big Battery, I talked about the importance of fulvic acid, which is another way of saying “dirt”.


The following is re-printed from the Rethinking Cancer newsletter, created by the Foundation For Advancement in Cancer Therapy, which was founded by Ruth Sackman (my origianl mentor in the holistic health arena), and is now headed by Consuelo Reyes.


Why Dirt Makes Us Happy


For centuries people have been finding solace and joy futzing around in their gardens. Now, in the 21st Century, science has figured out why.

Researchers have long theorized that the sharp rise in autoimmune conditions, like asthma and allergies, could stem from living too clean (the “hygiene hypothesis”). The idea is that routine exposure to harmless microorganisms in the environment, like soil bacteria, strengthens our immune system and trains it to ignore benign molecules like pollen or hairs on a neighbor’s cat. A series of studies reported in Neuroscience took this hypothesis a step further by treating depression with a specific soil bacterium, Mycobacterium vaccae. They found, for example, that lung cancer patients injected with killed M. vaccae reported better quality of life and less nausea and pain. The injections also eased skin allergies in other patients. Additional studies have shown promise with M. vaccae in improving cognitive function, Crohn’s disease and even rheumatoid arthritis.

It appears that the bacteria activates a set of serotonin-releasing neurons in the brain – the same nerves targeted by Prozac – with no side effects. Lack of serotonin has been linked to depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder and bipolar problems. According to Christopher Lowry, a neuroscientist at the University of Bristol, England, “What we think happens is that the bacteria activate immune cells, which release chemicals called cytokines that then act on receptors on the sensory nerves to increase their activity.”

When researchers looked at mouse brains to see which neurons, if any, were activated after the bacterial injections, they discovered that serotonin-producing neurons in the area of the brain that regulates mood, were more active in treated mice. When another set of mice were subjected to a stress-response test – dropping each mouse in water to see how long it would take the animal to switch from active swimming to passive floating, the M. vaccae-injected mice swam for nearly twice as long as the control group. Past research had shown that antidepressants increase active swimming and decrease immobility. “The bacteria,” Lowry explains, “had the exact same effect as antidepressant drugs.”

But it’s not necessary to inject M. vaccae to get these mood enhancing effects. Studies suggest that simply inhaling M. vaccae – just walking in the wild or rooting around in the garden – can elicit a happy state of mind. Lowry notes, “You can also ingest M. vaccae through water sources or through eating plants – lettuce that you pick from the garden, or carrots.”

It’s nice that science has reaffirmed the feelings of well-being we experience in the great outdoors, but let’s not depend too much on those guys in labs with reams of data to tell us whether or not we’re delusional. Mankind has survived for thousands of years by careful observation of Nature and the trial and error practice of living. You don’t have to wait for the studies; listen to your gut instincts and learn.



1. “Identification of an Immune-Responsive Mesolimbocortical Serotonergic System: Potential Role in Regulation of Emotional Behavior,” by Christopher Lowry et al, published in Neuroscience

2. “Is Dirt the New Prozac?” by Josie Glausiusz


Respectfully submitted by:
*Licensed Psychologist
*Certified  Psychoanalyst
*Stone Carrier Medicine Woman, Native American Traditional Organization



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Out now through Free Association Press, you can purchase it on Amazon




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The Value of Curiosity



Emily Graslie is the world’s only Chief Curiosity Correspondent. She works at the Field Museum, Chicago, and in her 2015 Ted Talk she talked about how essential curiosity is in preserving natural history, and also in propelling mankind forward.
You can watch the full video





La Casa has the only infrared/ salt sauna in New York City. We consider it a miraculous duo of therapies, so we were excited to see a fantastic article on, titled “Infrared Sauna Helps Remove Heavy Metals and Prevent Cancer”.


In it, Lori Alton writes: 
“Traditional saunas, which use steam to induce sweating, require high temperatures – something many users find uncomfortable. In contrast, infrared sauna rays use radiant heat similar to that of the sun – but minus the harmful ultraviolet rays – allowing the infrared rays to penetrate the skin, heating from the inside out as well as on the surface.

“Experts advise temperatures of 105 to 130 degrees Fahrenheit as optimal for infrared saunas. The result is a higher comfort level and the ability to remain in the sauna longer for maximum therapeutic effects.”

You can read the full, highly informative article





 You can check on all of Jane’s latest Thrive Global contributions


Ariana Huffington’s brand new platform is dedicated entirely to issues related to health and wellness.



Introducing our latest promotion – Midweek Specials! Join us at La Casa Spa & Wellness Center Tuesday-Thursday for enticing deals on our self-healing services. Book any 60-minute service or package with us and add an additional service for an unbelievable discount – or book any three self-healing services for just $69 (save up to $211!)



La Casa Spa and Wellness Center was created out of the experience one woman had with her mother. Long before holistic medicine became widely known, Dr. Jane Goldberg spent the 1970s seeking alternative cancer therapies for her mother, who had been diagnosed with terminal bone cancer. Following sound principles of holistic health, Jane’s mother was able to reverse her cancer condition entirely, moving from her wheelchair to joyfully playing tennis again. This experience inspired Jane to specialize in her psychoanalytic practice to work with cancer patients, and to fulfill the need for a holistic healing center in NYC. Jane and La Casa invite you to partake of the restorative and profoundly cleansing therapies that have brought La Casa world-wide recognition.


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