A special fellow stayed at my house in Bangkok for the last couple of weeks, providing me a great opportunity to probe the larger concepts that the alternative health movement are exploring.
Olli Posti is a young Finnish man, who was diagnosed with MS (multiple sclerosis). This is a condition where the immune system attacks the CNS (central nervous system), causing a myriad of debilitating symptoms. Since medications for MS are largely at an experimental stage, and contain massive risks, Olli took the alternative route and has been using nutrition and a mishmash of traditionalist ideas to combat the condition.
When Olli found out he was sick, he thought his life was over, that’s what his doctors told him too. Today he is great-full for his condition, and believes he is healthier then a decade ago when he was first diagnosed. He won the b-series tennis tournament in Finland and has beat his teenage cooper tests – he insists that these sports achievements are not based on exercise but simply nutrition and a generally a generally healthy lifestyle.
I will introduce a few larger concepts he discussed, and will come back to update this post as I can wrap my head around the science of these concepts and trace original research.
1. Quality is everything.
One concept Olli kept repeating was that of quality. He says people should stop comparing apples and oranges for a while, and wrap their heads around how massive differences there are between apples and apples, and oranges and oranges. Mineral depletion, narrow approaches to fertilizing, pesticides, GMO’s, natural breeding for yields alone and other factors have all reduced the nutritional content of our food. He says that organic is better, but often not the best. He looks for products which come from single estate farms, that have the confidence to share their exceptional techniques, rather then holding on to them as production secrets.
On the side note Olli talked about how processed goods often work in opposite ways then the original, claiming that sea and rock salt reduce blood pressure while table salt raises it, and chewing on sugar cane strengthens teeth while all processes from squeezing out juices to industrial applications gradually create more stress for the teeth.
2. Drinking salted water
Olli believes that the quality of water we consume is very important. He said that water produced by reverse osmosis is ‘too clean for our body’, he felt more comfortable about it once we hunted down some pink Himalayan rock salt to beef up the minerals. In Finland he would generally consume spring water that he collects into glass bottles. Olli says that adding a little salt to the water increase our cells ability to take in the water. He also proposed adding some lemon or lime for similar ends.
3. Avoiding processed goods
Olli believes it is better to fast, then to eat bad things. If the food has little nutritional value, or causes inflammation etc. just skip it altogether He talks about a sensitivity that develops once we get over the bloat we have subjected our selves to, and from there on we can navigate with an internal compass.
4. Decoding your cravings
Do you feel like an ice cream? Your body is calling for fat and sugar. If you give your body a higher form of fat and sugar (say organic avocados and wild honey), your body will start craving the more nutritional forms is has encountered. Look for charts that present qualitative differences of food sources, and be sure to understand how to ensure that the praised properties make it until your digestion (don’t roast your nuts or overcook your fish).
5. Natural probiotics
Olli was not against probiotic supplements, but he claimed that all natural cultures have had their own sources of probiotics that we have often forgot or bastardized over time. In Thailand he was always on the lookout, finding fermented cabbages, crabs and fish in the Thai markets, fermented olives in the Chinese markets etc. He correctly predicted that a lot of these traditionally raw foods were boiled today, destroying the beneficial bacteria’s. He wanted the uncooked traditional versions. He claimed that if we have enough healthy gut bacteria, nasty ones don’t get a foothold, making us immune to scary bacteria like e-coli or salmonella.
He said that the least understood area of probiotics is that of our skin, which traditionally has a probiotic layer, that is killed by the normal chemicals on soaps, especially antibacterial ones. Since there was no satisfactory soaps in my house, and we were unable to find any in our brief shopping trips, he just settled for water showers and cold pressed coconut oil. I must say to Olli’s credit, that I didn’t catch a whiff of bad body odors from him, which is more then I can say about myself despite multiple daily showers and all that soap.
6. Other weirdness
There were many other weird concepts he talked about, like grounding; spending time on grass every day, or getting a special mattress that is connected to the ground in an electric plug. Orgonite; he left me an orgonite neckless and a ‘zapper’ which has a battery that is fed through some crystals etc. and can supposedly charge positive energy to the body. He also talked about a concept which I cant remember the name to, where gold or other materials are somehow processed into a magical state, giving them extraordinary powers.
Spending a couple of weeks with Olli was a fascinating experience, I saw him as an extremely intuitive individual who is driven by his condition to experiment with marginal cures. Sometimes I was disturbed by his lack of ‘objectivity or quantification’ , and I tried to caution him. Any fear mongering was wasted, he felt that all risks in his actions were negligible compared to the side effects he could expect from traditional MS medications. A brief look into the subject certainly gave credibility to this claim.
I felt a strong anti science sentiment with Olli, which disappeared with some debate. I explained that science cannot really lie, since science is nothing but the experimental design and the observation. All explanations are philosophy of science, thus when we think we are discussing science, we rarely are. Most of what people see as scientific dishonesty actually relates to the interpretation of the science, have you ever noticed what happens when courts force medical companies to publish the missing details from their research (the real science)? Scandals follow. Its ridiculous to even discuss an experiment for which all the data has not been revealed. Don’t be mislead by the pseudo scientific rantings of those who treat their scientific philosophy like a religious conviction. Those making the actual research are usually much more open to possibilities and interpretations. Force is chosen by those who lack or fear reason.
One principle I defiantly disagree with is his idea of understanding a bio-active botanical through large doses. I think there is a clear pattern of dose dependency in medical herbs, that is expressed in traditional approaches, and being validated through research. Traditional herbal medicine is based on balance, and the herbs are mainly a tool to help achieve that end. Large dosages might provide beneficial properties, but perhaps at the cost of balance and long term well being.
I find it strange that a country like Finland with a socialized healthcare system does not grab onto the opportunity to perform some basic research on these types of individuals who have chosen a path questionable to traditional medicine. It seems that Olli has achieved much better results then could be expected by the experimental 3000e per month that the government would have funded for him.
You can visit Olli’s website (in finnish) at the following address: