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The latest healing story was added to this page on May 26, 2008.

The following are Gary's personal healing experiences over the course of his adult lifetime, since the time of his awakening to his ability to heal himself.  They are his testimonials for natural herbs and substances, vitamins, supplements or practices that have helped him personally heal but there is no guarantee that they will work in the same way or time frame for you or someone you know.  He hopes that by sharing his stories he may inspire others to seek natural means of self-healing that are appropriate to the situation.  Gary accepts no responsibility or liability to any person for trying any healing regimen or substance that has resulted in a healing for him.  Gary also gives his justifications for avoiding certain foods, substances in foods or practices that adversely affected his health based on his personal experience, the experience of other people he personally knows, or his personal research.  His healing experiences often involved healing practitioners whom he names and, although you may not experience the same degree of healing that he has, these people were instrumental in improving Gary's health or helping him heal in some significant way.  For those readers interested in the potential for these problems in Gary's birth chart, he has included a brief synopsis at the end of each section.

Other people's testimonials about healing remedies and practices have often led Gary to explore their efficacy through experimenting with them on himself.  However, the most powerful effect that testimonials of others have had on him is that they are inspirational evidence that we all have the ability to heal ourselves.

The story that led Gary to his discovery of his ability to heal himself is about his arthritis.  By 1990, Gary suffered from severe pain and considerable swelling in the joints of the fingers in both of his hands.  The pain in these joints had become so severe that it was painful to shake hands, write (even his signature), type, or turn a doorknob, and it was impossible for him to remove lids from jars or caps from bottles without a pair of pliers or some other leverage tool.  Often, the pain was a shooting, debilitating sensation that left him unable to focus on anything else until it eventually subsided.  His fingers are also double jointed and he was in the habit of popping his finger joints but had to discontinue this habit because of the pain and inflamation.  Elizabeth George, a long-term friend and client of his in Tallahassee, Florida, was and continues to be an advocate of the macrobiotic diet (that excludes the nightshades) and she told Gary that an accumulation of toxins (called lectins) contained in the nightshades that cause agglutination of blood cells may be the cause of his joint pain and swelling.  Gary consulted his family physician who recommended over-the-counter pain killers, offered no therapies for a cure, and said it would only get worse over time.  Gary's mother also suffered from this condition for years and, with finger joints swollen to twice their normal size, writing was painful and removing caps and lids was impossible for her (without a tool).

Elizabeth informed Gary that the edible nightshades include potatoes (but not sweet potatoes), tomatoes, peppers of the genus Capsicum (green, red, yellow and hot peppers), and eggplant.  These vegetables are in the same family as deadly nightshade and belladonna, both poisons.  All members of this family contain toxins, though the level of toxicity in the edible nightshades is tolerable for most people.  However, the effect of these toxins varies from individual to individual so some people can tolerate them without apparent effect while others, like Gary, have severe reactions to years of accumulation of these toxins in their bodies.

Because of the severity and inconvenience of the pain he was experiencing, Gary was ready to try anything that might improve his condition.  It was no easy decision for him to abstain from eating the nightshades because he loves potatoes and tomatoes and ate them (or tomato derivatives) almost every day of his life.  This meant giving up some of his favorite foods at the time like pizza, lasagna and pasta sauce and reading the label of every food product he bought.  Fortunately for him, he didn't like peppers or eggplant.  With resolve and determination, he avoided eating all nightshades and bought no products containing them.  Elizabeth forewarned him that it may take months for the toxins to leach out of his joints and, for the first three months of his no-nightshades diet, there was no change in the severity of the pain or degree of swelling in his finger joints.  At this point, he began to question whether the sacrifice of some of his favorite foods was worth suffering through the cravings he sometimes had for them.  Gary believes that it is often when we reach that dark edge of despair and feel like giving up that we begin to see the light of our own wisdom.  As if in answer to this despair, after those difficult, first three months he began to notice the severity of the pain gradually decline and it continued to do so until, at the end of seven months without consuming any nightshades, the pain and swelling in his fingers were completely gone and his hands had returned to their normal, healthy condition!  Furthermore, his fingers continued to remain free of pain and swelling because he continued to avoid nightshades in his diet long after the pain disappeared so it is unlikely that the pain and swelling were caused by anything other than nightshade toxins.

Before you begin to think that Gary has had to abstain from the nightshades the rest of his life, read the rest of this story!  Understandably, he was reluctant to try eating any nightshades after this successful self-healing through simple avoidance of them.  Yet, he still missed them and longed for their flavors at times.  He decided that he would try occasionally eating potatoes but not tomatoes to see if the pain returned and to see if the joints in his fingers could tolerate potatoes more than tomatoes.  He found that when he ate potatoes some mild pain returned to the joints in his fingers but nothing like the severe pain he experienced before abstaining from the nightshades for seven months.  Furthermore, the joint pain lasted for only 2-3 days.  When he ate potatoes for several days in a week, the resulting joint pain lasted longer - typically about twice as long as the number of days he ate potatoes.  He decided to quit eating potatoes for 2-3 weeks until all joint pain subsided and then he experimented with eating tomatoes but no potatoes.  He discovered that after eating some concentrated form of tomatoes (like tomato paste) or a fresh or cooked tomato that he experienced pain in his finger joints that was more intense than after eating potatoes.

During the ensuing years, Gary has occasionally eaten potatoes, pizza, lasagna, and even sun-dried tomatoes (but not raw tomatoes) and as long as he eats them in moderation, he hasn't experienced much joint pain in his fingers.  Today, when he eats too much of them, the pain returns to his finger joints and, in the last two years, he has also experienced pain in the joints of his big toes.  He is aware that gout also manifests in the big toes but his diet is low in fat and doesn't included much rich food so the joint pain in these toes is more likely caused by consuming too many nightshades.  In 2004, Gary read the book Eat Right For Your Type by Dr. Peter D'Adamo (1996).  Gary learned from this book that, when he eats foods containing complex proteins called lectins that are incompatible with his blood type antigen (he is blood type O), the lectins in these foods agglutinate blood cells in the joints of his fingers and toes, causing congestion not unlike an allergic reaction.  It was not surprising that this book said that the nightshades are very high in lectins and that blood type O should avoid them because they cause arthritic conditions!

For those interested in where the potential for arthritis is in Gary's birth chart:  he was born with Saturn (rules arthritis, stiffness, joints, and joint aliments) in his 6th house (rules potential health problems and diseases) and Saturn is opposite (limitation, obstruction, difficulty) his Venus (rules flexibility and ease).  Venus, in turn, rules his 3rd house (fingers and hands) and is in his 12th house (toes and feet).

Gary needed to supplement his income in 2004 so he worked part-time for The Savvy Sleeper a small bedding company in Ivy, Virginia (near Charlottesville).  One of his job responsibilities was to help move mattresses and frames but on April 14, 2004, very soon after starting the job, he injured his right arm and shoulder lifting a very heavy, mechanized bed frame.  The day of the injury Gary quit the job but Michael Penny, the owner of the company, asked him to stay - with the understanding that Gary would not be asked to lift any mattresses or frames.  Nonetheless, his right arm and shoulder continued to be very painful, he couldn’t lift that arm above his head, he couldn’t move it behind his back to put on a shirt or jacket as he was accustomed to doing, he couldn’t sleep on his right side, and some activities like showering and using the computer mouse with that arm were very painful (as a result, he had to learn how to use a computer mouse with his left hand and continues to do so to this day).

Gary heard about Marsha Robertson's work as a Feldenkrais practitioner from Terri Saunders, Gary's nutritional consultant, and from Suzanne Wilson, DC, his Network Chiropractor, in Charlottesville, Virginia.  Gary highly recommends all three of these practitioners who have helped him tremendously.  Terri and Suzanne both recommended Marsha and regularly receive her Feldenkrais treatments.  Gary had been benefiting from Suzanne’s network chiropractic treatments for several years by then but, because she was unable to help with this arm and shoulder injury, Suzanne repeatedly recommended that he see Marsha.  Gary knew nothing about Feldenkrais and how much it could help with such injuries but he already knew Marsha so he decided to schedule an appointment.  The results were nothing short of amazing!  As he continued with Marsha's gentle Feldenkrais treatments, (1) his shoulder and neck were less frequently sore, (2) when they did hurt, they were not as painful as in the past, and (3) each treatment increased the range of motion of his injured arm.  After receiving Marsha's healing treatments once or twice a month for about six months, his arm and shoulder pain were gone.  Before he began receiving her treatments, he had tried other practitioners – massage therapists, a physical therapist, Suzanne Wilson and a rolfer – to relieve the pain and heal the injury but Marsha's Feldenkrais treatments were the only healing modality that worked on this injury.  Since he was injured while working in a part-time job, he received no Workmen's Compensation and had to pay for treatments himself but they were worth much more than he paid for them!  After Marsha healed Gary's injury, he continued with her treatments, which also helped his chronic spinal and foot problems.  In addition, he is also more conscious of his posture, gate and other movements because of her Feldenkrais treatments.  Gary highly recommends Marsha Robertson's work as a Feldenkrais practitioner and she also helps people with sleep problems.  Her phone number is 434-970-1066.

Since this was a temporary injury rather than an innate propensity, it is not indicated in his birth chart, except as temporary planetary influences from the moving planets (called transits) to the positions of the planets in Gary's birth chart.  The pertinent transits indicating a potential injury that day included transiting Uranus (rules accidents, surprises) conjunct Gary's Mars (rules accidents, injuries, muscles, pain, and sprains).  This is a once-in-a-lifetime, long-term transit that lasts, on and off, for two years but it was at a peak at the time of the injury/accident (it was less than ¼ degree from exactitude or maximum intensity).  In addition, transiting Mars was conjunct Uranus in Gary's chart (it was 2 degrees from exactitude or maximum intensity), which occurs about every two years.  This is commonly referred to as a "double whammy" when an aspect is repeated like this (transiting Uranus was conjunct his Mars while, simultaneously, transiting Mars was conjunct his Uranus) and this "double whammy" is a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence (and thus indicated a once-in-a-lifetime injury)!

Gary had a fungus growing in and deforming the toenails of his big toes for years.  This fungus caused a portion of his toenails to thicken, turn black (or dark), and form ridges in the surface of his nails.  Not only was it unpleasant to look at, but he was afraid of (1) losing a toenail, or (2) one becoming so deformed that it would make wearing shoes uncomfortable, or (3) one becoming so thick that he couldn't cut it with clippers.  When Gary was just beginning his practice as an astrologer in the early 1980s, he worked a few hours a week in a health food store.  While in the store, he read, heard from the owner and from customers how Pau d' Arco tea could rid his toenails of this persistent fungus.  This tea (also known as "ipê roxo" in Brazil and as "lapacho" in Argentina and Paraguay where it has been used by traditional healers for centuries) is the inner bark of a tall tree that grows throughout South America.  Gary was told by those who had successfully healed their toenails using this tea to brew it and then let it cool enough to soak his infected nails in it.  Although he tried this a couple of times, he found it to be enough of a hassle to discourage him from doing it again.  However, he began drinking a cup of the tea daily and discovered that this had a dampening effect on the fungus and even caused it to completely disappear for months at a time.  Something to keep in mind about toenails is that they grow very slowly so it can take months for the deformed part of the nail (the ridges and thickening) caused by the fungus to be completely replaced by healthy nail (when the fungus is dead, the toenail turns from black to clear again).

However, Gary discovered that drinking Pau d' Arco tea didn't permanently prevent the fungus from re-infecting the toenails of his big toes.  Like all fungi, toenail fungus needs a consistently moist environment to grow and, even though Gary always wears socks (except when he sleeps), they don't keep his toes dry enough to inhibit the fungus during warm or hot weather.  Gary's feet sweat a lot anyway (even when he wears sandals) because he was born with Mars (heat, sweat, infections) in Pisces (a water sign that rules the feet).  He discussed with Suzanne Wilson, DC, his Network Chiropractor in Charlottesville, Virginia, the struggle he was having trying to permanently eliminate this fungus using Pau d' Arco tea and she recommended that he externally apply Tea Tree Oil (an essential oil made from the Australian Tea tree) to the infected nails.  Suzanne explained that this oil has strong antibiotic properties and that it should kill the fungus.  Gary knew about the antiseptic properties of this oil but never thought about topically applying it to his infected toenails!  Two heads are better than one!  By applying Tea Tree Oil topically to his infected nails (at least once a week) and drinking Pau d' Arco tea, Gary's toenails have been free of fungus for years and will remain that way.

For those interested in where the potential for toenail fungus infection is in Gary's birth chart:  he was born with Mars (rules infection) in Pisces (rules the toes and fungi) and Mars is quincunx (mild difficulty, frustrating, annoying) his Saturn (rules toenails; represents things that are hidden, chronic and persistent) in his 6th house (rules potential health problems and diseases).  Gary was also born with the Moon (fungi) ruling his 6th house (potential health problems and diseases) and his Moon squares (flare ups and irritation) his Pluto (rules deformity and corruption - of the toenails in this instance) in his 6th house.

During 2007 and early 2008, Gary had a small growth (one-eighth of an inch in diameter) on his leg that looked like a miniature head of cauliflower (because it was white, raised and rough).  It didn't hurt and it wasn't growing but it was not like a mole or other skin blemish - it was definitely abnormal.  Gary thought about having it removed (frozen by liquid Nitrogen) but hadn't done the research to find a physician who would freeze it without a biopsy (he didn't want someone cutting it because, if it was cancerous, it could spread via his bloodstream).  But he was tired of looking at it and, in May 2008, he decided that he wanted it to fall off and disappear.  He visualized this happening and also applied some tea tree oil, thinking that if it was viral, this oil may kill it.  After three or four applications of the oil over the span of a week, one morning he noticed that it was gone - it had fallen off!  There is no scar or other evidence that it was ever there.

For those interested in where the potential for skin growths is in Gary's birth chart:  he was born with Saturn (rules the skin and it also rules growths) in his 6th house (rules potential health problems and diseases).  Gary was also born with the Moon (rules the disease of cancer) ruling his 6th house (potential health problems and diseases) and, with his Moon in a T-square and Saturn in his 6th house (skin problems), he must care for his skin and protect it from the Sun.
Good Timing and Location are Keys to Success

Gary Brand, Traditional Astrologer
Tallahassee, Florida

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