The Truth About “Homeopathic” Medicine

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Homeopathy -- effective, useless, or dangerous? (Photo: Marcos Zerene)

Homeopathy — effective, useless, or dangerous? (Photo: Marcos Zerene)

[Audio version]

[Text version]

I routinely use an arnica gel for minor muscular strains. In fact, it’s one of my “go to” treatments.

In 2010, however, I found myself swallowing Boiron Arnica Montana 30C pellets, an oral version that was the only option at the closest GNC. I started at five pellets, SIX times a day–TWICE the recommended dose. Risk of overdose? Not likely.

“30C,” which I looked up that evening, tells you all you need to know.

This consumable version of arnica, unlike the creams I’d used in the past, was a homeopathic remedy. Samuel Hahnemann, a German physician, pioneered the field of homeopathy in 1796, if the term “pioneer” can be applied to alternative “medicine” founded on concepts like mass dilution and beatings with horse-hair implements. From the Wikipedia entry for “homeopathic dilutions,” last I looked:

Homeopaths use a process called “dynamisation” or “potentisation” whereby a substance is diluted with alcohol or distilled water and then vigorously shaken by ten hard strikes against an elastic body in a process called “succussion”… Hahnemann believed that the process of succussion activated the vital energy of the diluted substance.

Riiiight.

Back to 30C. 30C indicates a 10-60  (10^(-60), or 10 to the negative 60th) dilution, the dilution most recommended by Hahnemann.

30C would require giving 2 billion doses per second to 6 billion people for 4 billion years to deliver a single molecule of the original material to any one person. Put another way, if I diluted one-third of a drop of liquid into all the water on earth, it would produce a remedy with a concentration of about 13C, more than twice the “strength” of our 30C arnica.

Most homeopathic remedies in liquid are indistinguishable from water and don’t contain a single molecule of active medicine. In systematic review after systematic review, these dilutive homeopathic remedies display no ability to heal beyond placebo.

I found this particularly bothersome. Bothersome because I appeared to heal faster using oral 30C arnica.

There are a few potential explanations… Read More

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The Tim Ferriss Show, Episode 22: Ed Catmull, President of Pixar, on Steve Jobs, Stories, and Lessons Learned

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Ed Catmull, President and Co-Founder of Pixar.

Ed Catmull, President and Co-Founder of Pixar.

NOTE TO E-MAIL SUBSCRIBERS: Please see this post in your inbox for a recording of the recent 2.5-hour live Q&A. Not on the email list? Sign up here and get extras like this for free.

Listen on iTunes, download (right click “save as”), or stream below now:

This podcast is brought to you by The Tim Ferriss Book Club, which features a handful of books that have changed my life. Here’s the list.  You can also find all 20+ episodes of this podcast here. Some are sober and some are drunk,  so you can roll the dice.

Now, on to our guest…

Ed Catmull is co-founder of Pixar Animation Studios (along with Steve Jobs and John Lasseter) and president of Pixar Animation and Disney Animation. Ed has received five Academy Awards, and — as a computer scientist — he has contributed to many important developments in computer graphics.  He is the author of  Creativity, Inc., which Forbes has said “just might be the best business book ever written.” (!)

This episode touches on a lot, including lessons learned from George Lucas and Steve Jobs, the origins of Pixar, personal challenges, routines, and much more.

Show notes and links are below.  Enjoy!

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Do you enjoy this podcast? If so, please leave a short review here.  It keeps me going… Read More

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How to Never Check Luggage Again

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Travel has many joys. Luggage is not one of them.

Travel has many joys. Luggage is not one of them.

NOTE: If you signed up for my email list, please see this post in your email (perhaps on Saturday afternoon PT) for the Monday night Q&A info.

This post will explore three options for never checking luggage again. Some of them are extreme; all of them are effective.

In my next post, I’ll detail what I (and some friends) pack in carry-on. Some are surprising and hilarious.

Given that I spend 100+ days of the year traveling, and that I’ve been to 40+ countries, I’ve tested just about everything.

Hauling a five-piece Samsonite set around the planet is hell on earth. I watched a friend do this up and down dozens of subway and hotel staircases in Europe for three weeks, and — while I laughed a lot, especially when he resorted to just dragging or throwing his bags down stairs — I’d like to save you the breakdown. Trip enjoyment is inversely proportionate to the amount of crap (re: distractions) you bring with you.

So, how to avoid checked luggage altogether?

We’ll cover three different options, in descending order of craziness. I promise that something in this post will work for every one of you, even if partially:

– Using “urban caching” for travel purposes
– Mailing instead of checking (and some Steve Jobs-ian quirks)
– Ultralight packing

Many of these suggestions have been given to me by readers over the years, so thank you!

I try and bring such gifts full circle by collecting hundreds of tips, testing them, and publishing the winners.

So here we go… Read More

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Tim Ferriss Rethinks Email

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Pretty soon, many of you will get an email from me.  It’ll probably surprise you.

See, when I sketched out the original 4-Hour Workweek site in 2006 (sorely in need of a redesign), I included an email capture field, as that’s what friends said I should do:

The_4-Hour_Workweek_and_Timothy_Ferriss

Then I promptly forgot all about it. I hated email, so I didn’t want to send you email. Simple as that. Do unto others, right?

But things have changed.

Now, with Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp, and hundreds of clones, the Internet and mobile are a battlefield of noise. Even if you “like” my Facebook fan page, my updates will rarely reach more than 10% of you.

For years now, thousands of you have complained that Feedburner delivers time-sensitive blog posts days or WEEKS too late. This means missed giveaways, meetups, competitions, Q&As, parties, and all sorts of fun stuff.

Needless to say, this sucks.

So I reluctantly decided to re-examine email. In a world where people change email addresses less often than physical addresses, it just made sense.

My first step was to dust off the keyboard and log into AWeber, which I’d decided was best for me eight years prior. What I found shocked me. I had nearly 300,000 email addresses from sign-ups! Holy negligence, Batman!

Ah, well. Yet another reason for my friends to make fun of me. Enjoy, Kevin Rose.

But better late than never. Within the next 10 days, I will start emailing new blog posts to anyone who’s signed up (on the homepage or the newer blog form), generally around one post per week.  Plus, you’ll get VIP treatment, like private Q&As, exclusive content, giveaways, and other things that don’t appear on the blog.

Here’s the deal:

- If you haven’t signed up yet (or you’re not sure), please do so now. Here’s the link. No spam, ever. Just good stuff.

If you sign up now, your first email will also include a link to a free download of the entire 4-Hour Chef audiobook, which includes narration by yours truly and Neil Gaiman (!). And to kick things off, I’ll be doing a 2-3-hour Q&A — for email subscribers only — next Monday night, 8/11. Ask me anything: business, personal, “inappropriate,” whatever.  Nothing is off limits. Sign up here to get the details via email.  A recording will be made available to email subscribers who can’t make the live session.

I’ll also be giving away a round-trip ticket to anywhere in the world. For details, you guessed it, you need to click here.

- If you’ve already signed up, you’re all set! Please keep an eye out for a welcome email from “Tim Ferriss” within the next 10 days.

It’s not spam. It’s from me.  Following that, blog posts and VIP goodies will show up, roughly once per week.

If you’re using Gmail and my email ends up in your “Promotions” folder, please do me a favor and drag it to your “Primary” so it doesn’t get lost in all the OKCupid notifications and whatnot.

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And please realize — I and my assistant get about 1,000 email a day. It’s funking unreal, and it’s brutal. No one is more sensitive to email abuse than I am, so I will NOT abuse your inbox.

If you get annoyed, you can one-click unsubscribe. Easy peasy and no BS.

Things will be intermittent (usually once a week, sometimes twice), and posts will be high-quality (like this or this).

As mentioned, I’ll be doing a 2-3-hour Q&A next week to kick things off, and also giving away a roundtrip ticket anywhere in the world. For details on both, just add your email here.

If you have any questions about all this, please ask in the comments! I’ll be paying close attention and answering as many as I can. I’ve literally put off email for years, but enough is enough. It’s the right thing to do.

And thank you for reading. Whatever this blog has become, I owe it all to you.

Pura vida,

Tim

timothy-ferriss-hat-headshot-four-hour-work-week-body-chef

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The Tim Ferriss Show, Episode 21: Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park – Making Art, Making Music, Getting To 60+ Million Albums

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Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park.

Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park.

Listen on iTunes, download (right click “save as”), or stream below now:

This podcast is brought to you by The Tim Ferriss Book Club, which features a handful of books that have changed my life. Here’s the list.

Now, on to our guest…

Mike Shinoda is best known as the rapper, principal songwriter, keyboardist, rhythm guitarist and one of the two vocalists (yes, an insane list) of Linkin Park, which has sold more than 60 million albums worldwide and earned two Grammy Awards in the process.

Mike has collaborated with everyone from Jay-Z to Depeche Mode, and he’s also the lead rapper in his side project Fort Minor, which I’m a huge fan of.

As if that’s not enough, he’s also provided artwork, production and mixing for all the projects mentioned above. The man is a beast… but did he start out that way? His answers might surprise you.

This episode covers how Mike got started, advice for aspiring musicians (or creatives/artists of any type), navigating “entertainment” and Hollywood, daily rituals, how he writes songs, how he rehearses, and much more.

Enjoy!

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Show Notes and Select Links from Episode 21…

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What Steve Jobs, Thomas Edison, and Bob Dylan Have In Common

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Dr. Peter H. Diamandis is the Chairman and CEO of the X PRIZE Foundation, and co-Founder and Chairman of the Singularity University, a Silicon Valley-based institution partnered with NASA, Google, Autodesk and Nokia. Dr. Diamandis attended MIT, where he received his degrees in molecular genetics and aerospace engineering, as well as Harvard Medical School where he received his M.D.

He’s no underachiever.

I’ve known Peter for many years, both as a friend and as advising faculty at Singularity University. He is known for being incredibly resourceful, but it’s his ability to teach and catalyze resourcefulness that impresses me most.

Here is a short essay from Peter on exactly this.  Enjoy… Read More

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The 30-Day Challenge: No Booze, No Masturbating (NOBNOM)

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Both of these things are very distracting. (Photo: Shawn Perez)

Both of these things are very distracting. (Photo: Shawn Perez)

The short version: I’d like to pay you to not drink or jerk off for 30 days. Sign up here and get your monk on.

Sex is A-OK.

The longer version is below, which includes juicy details, more options for women, and some farewell-porn suggestions…

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You know who you are, you filthy animals.

Secret bookmarks to Pornhub (“Discount airfare” – Ha!), secret folders labeled “Tax Returns” for when wifi fails, bookmarks for animated GIFs in case of slow connections (curtsy to Tumblr), Hotspot Shield for when you’re in countries that ban your cherished images (download it before you fly!)…

Oh, wait. Am I projecting again?

Yes, I’ve admitted it before, and I’ll admit it again: dudes watch porn on the Internet. Shocker, I know. All those guys on the magazine covers? They do it, too.

Less obvious, perhaps, is how dramatically your life can change if you quit porn and masturbation for a short period.

I did this for 30 days recently, and — oddly enough — I found it much easier and more impactful to quit booze for the same 30 days. Just a few of the benefits I experienced included… Read More

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