Having a housefire is a one of the most stressful, dehumanizing experiences a family can experience. Like cancer, fires appear unexpectedly, and fill victims with fear, grief, and hopelessness. Western firefighting methods do not adequately meet the needs of these victims. No one knows your house as well as you do, yet firefighters take a very paternalistic approach, removing you from the decision-making process, then leaving you to clean up their mess. In the same spirit as integrative oncology, advocates of integrative firefighting believe that families, practitioners of conventional firefighting, as well as advocates of alternative firefighting philosophies should work as a team to achieve their common goals. The integrative approach offers victims choices, and empowers them by inviting them to participate in their own journey through the extinguishing process.

The first fire department was in ancient Rome and provided free firefighting services to citizens. Today firefighting services are a dominated by a consortium of of big business (producers of firefighting equipment) the government (public works) and a militia of mercenary firefighters, collectively known a “Big Hydrant.” This alliance has resulted in a proliferation of expensive, impersonal technology, but firefighting results have not improved since the times of the ancient Romans.

Consider the following story: Sonya of Westchester Missouri had a grease fire in her kitchen. When the flames began to spread, she did what she had been programmed to do since childhood. She called 911, summoning the local fire department. When they were finished, the fire was extinguished, but her windows were smashed, and there were thousands of dollars worth of water damage to her house. It took nearly 6 months to complete all the repairs. 1 year later her house was struck by lightning and burned to the ground. This failure of conventional firefighting is commonplace in our country.

Methods of fire-fighting in the Western world are based on a set of principles derived from the scientific philosophy of fire propagation. Western philosophy reduces fire to only 3 elements, commonly know as the “fire-triangle.” This reductionist approach teaches that heat, fuel and oxygen are the three essential elements to a fire. True to the bidding of Big Hydrant, the Western philosophy of fire is indoctrinated in our children starting in elementary school. It is the only philosophy considered in American fire fighting. The Western approach is one of many ways of understanding fires. Yet, alternative philosophies are systematically ignored, and even ridiculed.

Alternative approaches recognize that there is a universal energy which unites a structure to its inhabitants and the world around them. These components cannot be viewed in isolation from each other, and must be in balance to achieve a harmonious state of noncombustion. It is widely ignored in allopathic firefighting that there is a natural tendency for nature to restore balance, and for fires to extinguish themselves. Conventional firefighting techniques use a “treat the fire” approach, while alternative philosophies use a holistic approach, supporting the tendency for fires to extinguish naturally.

In ancient Chinese philosophy, there are 5 elements: Fire, Earth, Water, Metal and Wood. These elements are interchangeable and in a constant state of flux. They are reflected in every aspect of life. For instance, fire is associated with Tuesday and the direction South. Water is associated with Wednesday and the direction North. These five elements are also critical in the practice of Feng shui. Feng shui analyzes the the various components and energies (qi) of our surroundings. The layout and design of a structure as well as the size, shape, color and location of all the elements within a structure connect in a way that affects the balance of the qi within. An imbalance in this elements may alter the energy in a way that disturbs the noncombustive state. Integrating Eastern philosophy into firefighting would encourage firefighters to always attack fires from the North, and only on Wednesdays. Insurance rates would be discounted for structures meeting local feng shui building codes.

Homeopathy is an ancient healing science invented in the late 18th century. Homeopaths understand the law of similars and and the law of infinitesimals. If a substance can create a symptom, the same substance given in very dilute solution has an opposite, therapeutic effect. For instance, homeopathic preparations of coffee are used as a treatment for insomnia. Homeopathic remedies are often diluted to such a degree that not a single molecule of the active ingredient remains, however, the memory of the original substance alters the energetic field of the solvent, enhancing the therapeutic effect.

It has recently been discovered that the principles of homeopathy can be applied to firefighting. Sodium is an alkali metal. In its elemental form it is highly reactive, and will spontaneously burst into flame when exposed to moisture. A homeopathic preparation of sodium (200C or 1 part sodium in 100²ºº parts water) is an excellent remedy for combustion. In accordance with the law of infinitesimals, higher dilutions are even more effective. In a recent study, fires treated with homeopathic sodium were extinguished much faster, and caused significantly less structural damage than untreated fires. Other effective homeopathic firefighting preparations include: lithium, arsenic, cobra venom, thyroid hormone, sulfur, Tobasco, and bee-vomit. A recent study by the NCCAFF (National Center for Complementary and Alternative Fire Fighting) suggest that aqueous preparations are more effective than tinctures.

America is a diverse society. It is time for Big Hydrant to relinquish its stranglehold on the choices of the public. The sooner that alternative philosophies of combustion are accepted, the sooner those in need will have choice in their journey to the state of true oxidative homeostasis. This will be achieved only when all philosophies are recognized and allowed to work together. We are grateful to advocates of integrative oncology for paving the way for our efforts.


Posted by David Weinberg

David Weinberg is a full-time academic vitreoretinal surgeon, and professor of ophthalmology at the Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. His interest in the less-than-science-based aspects of medicine was sparked by inquiries from his patients. Investigation their questions led to his discovery of numerous grandiose claims for implausible, unproven treatments of potentially blinding eye diseases. All opinions expressed by Dr. Weinberg are his alone, and do not represent those of his employer or any other organization with which he is affiliated.