The dance boss who hasn’t seen a GP for 42 years… thanks to natural remedies and a pair of infrared pants
By Vicki Grimshaw from Mailonline
Alternative approach: Debbie Moore saw a homeopath for pneumonia
Feverish, with a high temperature and a dreadful pain in her chest, Debbie Moore knew she needed medical attention, but the Pineapple Studios boss decided against seeing a doctor.
Instead, she went to her homeopath. He said she had bronchopneumonia – inflammation of the lungs and upper chest – and ‘prescribed’ various homeopathic drops, which she took daily for several weeks.
‘I’d suffered bad coughs on and off throughout my life – possibly as a legacy of whooping cough as a teenager. But this was a pretty bad case of it,’ she recalls. ‘Yet within two weeks of treatment, I was cured, and have never suffered with it since,’ she says, eight years later.
Debbie has relied on homeopathy to treat all her ills – and her family’s – for the past 42 years. She is convinced it has even helped her daughter, who was paralysed at the age of 14 following haemorrhages on her spine.
‘I believe that more than 90 per cent of illnesses are triggered by some sort of emotional upset that you have to clear from your life,’ she says. ‘Otherwise, even if you take medicine, the illnesses will keep coming back.’
She thinks conventional medicine is too focused on drug treatments. ‘Western doctors hand out pills like sweets. I’m appalled at how many people regularly take ibuprofen without exploring why their head hurts, such as whether they need reading glasses, or are spending too long on computers.
‘Homeopathy and complementary medicine are all about prevention.’
Debbie has not always been so against conventional treatments. Until the age of 21 she was ‘just like everyone else’, as she puts it, taking the odd aspirin for a headache, or paracetamol for a cold.
But all that changed in 1968 after her two-year marriage to photographer David Grant ended. In just six months, the 5ft 8in model dropped from eight to six-and-a-half stone, before soaring to 11 stone. Depressed and unable to find work, she went to see her GP, in her home city of Manchester, who simply told her to take better care of her diet.
Soon after, she moved to London, where she was diagnosed with an underactive thyroid gland; this had caused a lack of thyroid hormones, slowing her metabolism down. She was prescribed thyroxin tablets to boost her hormone levels.
These are meant to be taken for life; desperate to avoid that, on the advice of a friend Debbie went to see the late Dr Chandra Sharma, a well-known homeopathic doctor. Debbie, now 64, says she has not set foot in a conventional GP’s surgery since.
She says: ‘My life changed for ever when I saw Dr Sharma, for he offered me a cure, not just pills. He looked at the emotional reason for my thyroid problem, which was depression due to my marriage breakdown.
‘So I was told to go to dance lessons as it exercised every muscle, as well as being uplifting. I took up jazz classes taught by Arlene Phillips in Covent Garden, London. Within four months I was weaned off the thyroxin and within nine I was cured. I was back to eight stone, which I still am today, and modelling again for the likes of David Bailey.’
The dancing also led to her setting up Pineapple Dance Studios. ‘The dance class I’d been attending closed down, so with nowhere else to go I found a derelict pineapple warehouse nearby and opened Pineapple Dance Studios in 1979.’
The dance and clothing business is now a multi-million-pound enterprise; last month, Debbie’s success was recognised when she received an OBE.
Throughout this time, Debbie continued to use homeopathy. This treats ‘like with like’; a substance that in large doses causes the symptoms of an illness is used in tiny doses to relieve the same symptoms. For example, onions, which cause the eyes to itch and water, are used to reduce hayfever symptoms.
The homeopathy industry is worth an estimated £40 million in Britain alone, but remains highly controversial. Critics point out that the active substance in the remedies is so diluted that the effect is no better than a placebo, or dummy pill.
Last month, an MPs’ report called for the £4million funding of homeopathic treatments on the NHS to be stopped, given the lack of evidence for their efficacy.
But many patients, as well as the British Homeopathic Association, vehemently disagree. Debbie points to her own experiences as proof of the benefits of homeopathy.
On a trip to Thailand seven years ago, she was badly bitten by mosquitoes and collapsed shortly after arriving back in London. Concerned that she might have dengue fever, her homeopath tested her blood.
‘He showed me on his computer screen the parasites and amoeba in my blood. He immediately gave me drops of wormwood and black walnut herbs, which are cleansing and get rid of parasitic infections, and within three days I was fine.’
Homeopathy also helped her daughter Lara, who suffered a spinal haemorrhage when she was ten and another at 14, leaving her paralysed, able only to blink and speak.
‘The doctors wanted to operate on her spine again, but I refused as I felt conventional medicine was no longer helping her. I brought in my homeopathic doctors, including Dr Sharma, who gave her round-the-clock care with massage and acupuncture.
‘Over the years I spent a fortune contacting every healer recommended to me to see if they could help. We made mistakes, but the only real harm was to my wallet,’ she says.
Now Lara, 36, is in a wheelchair but has upper-body movement and leads a full life as a journalist and disability adviser.
She is also a keen advocate of homeopathic treatments, which she uses alongside her regular hospital check-ups with spinal experts.
Debbie acknowledges that western medicine has its place, particularly with serious conditions, but believes that complementary medicine should be used in conjunction with western medicine wherever possible.
To keep herself healthy, she undergoes ‘homeopathic’ health checks every three months. ‘As well as checking my urine, saliva and blood for imbalances, I have blood analysis under a microscope, which is believed to show up conditions such as poor digestion and heart disease.’
She also has Electro-dermal Screening, in which a probe emitting a tiny electric pulse is held against the body’s many so-called ‘pressure points’ – changes in the electrical circuits are said to ‘reveal’ health problems (there is no scientific evidence for this).
In addition, she sees a lymphatic draining masseuse and reflexologist every three weeks to ‘detoxify’ her system, and swears by an holistic dentist, who treats dental problems with homeopathic remedies.
Debbie even wears underwear made with infrared magnetic cloth, which is said to trap infrared rays emitted by our bodies to help stimulate circulation and metabolism, and draw out toxins.
She is such a firm believer in ‘prevention’ that she sends her staff to her homeopath’s clinic for check-ups and the company kitchen has a cupboard filled with homeopathic and natural remedies.
‘I’m very concerned about them, but it’s also in my own interest for them to keep well,’ she says.
Debbie is well aware that many will think her beliefs dotty, but she is convinced her approach to exercise and complementary medicine has helped her achieve the success she now enjoys. But despite her constant striving, she accepts it is impossible to lead the perfect life.
‘I am a Manchester girl and love fish and chips and burgers, and I drink alcohol and cappuccinos most days. But what I don’t do is poison my body with pharmaceutical drugs,’ says Debbie.
‘I am so focused on my health some might see me as a hypochondriac, but if you aren’t in optimum health it has a negative effect on your relationship, your job – everything.
‘Many people go to the beautician every month to get their Botox done or have their car serviced regularly – I simply apply the same dedication to my body.’