I must have
been five when I had my first brush with alternative therapy. I was
with my grandparents in Almora when I had this excruciating stomach
pain at night - when it is not easy to get a doctor, especially in
the hills. While the other family members were hunting for some pills,
my unperturbed grandmother took out a little book wrapped in a red
cloth. She made me lie on the bed and chanted some mantras. She then
produced a peacock feather from the same box and, still chanting,
ran it over my body several times. My pain suddenly disappeared!
using herbs and condiments have been practiced in our family as far
back as I can remember. Later, I married a doctor - a super specialist
in respiratory medicine - who believes that at the end of the day,
the patient should feel better; the curative measures are not important.
He may not practice it himself, but he's open to any form of alternative
therapy as long as it gives results. I treat my children with homeopathy.
For chronic ailments, I prescribe acupressure and magnet therapy
to friends and relatives.
medicine is fast catching on. Flip through the Yellow Pages, you
will find heads such as: ayurvedic medicines, homeopathic consultants,
acupuncturists, nature cure, yoga center, herbal clinics and so on.
Newspapers regularly carry advertisements of workshops on reiki,
stress management, past life therapy etc. What's happening?
you turn, people tell you to consider another path. Dissatisfaction
with today's way of living is leading to a reappraisal of old ideas
and systems. This is reintroducing a holistic view of life, which
brings in the intimate relationship between body, mind and spirit.
Truly, well-being depends on harmony. That means not only being well
balanced as an individual physically, mentally, emotionally, and
spiritually, but also being one with everyone and everything around
By the same
token, disease is a result of disruption of that harmony. Holistic
health, therefore, takes a much broader view of life than orthodox
medicine, which defines health narrowly as the absence of disease.
We have always had yoga, ayurveda, naturopathy, even magnet therapy,
unani and Tibetan medicine to turn to if all else failed. But lately,
the choices have widened - aromatherapy, Bach flower remedies, color
therapy, pyramids, marma therapy, ozone therapy, water therapy… the
list is endless.
are not new. In fact, they are the oldest in the world - it's just
that they have now been urbanized. Alternative medicine is attracting
people as it offers hope when orthodox medicine cannot. For some,
the philosophy behind the therapy is as important as its effects.
The very fact that an individual is able to participate in his/her
cure is a welcome alternative to passive pill taking.
A common denominator
linking holistic therapies is a belief in the curative power of nature.
Treatment is invariably aimed at unlocking the individual's self-healing
potential rather than being interventionist. India has a number of
doctors who are blending alternative therapies with conventional
medicine. Psychiatrists are using hypnotherapy. Anesthesiologists
are taking help from acupuncture. Physiotherapists are using acupressure
and reflexology. Despite the fact that mainstream medical thinking
is still rooted in the science of the past, it seems inevitable that
the tide will turn towards holistic health.
It's not necessarily
a matter of dumping everything that medical science has stood for,
but of redrawing the boundaries. One factor that accounts for orthodox
medicine's obsession with the physical is that psychological factors
are elusive and virtually impossible to quantify precisely. The irony
is that orthodox medicine lags behind science. Quantum mechanics
and other branches of physics have revealed that laws of the mechanistic
world only operate at one level. When you go to the domains of the
very small, the world of protons, neutrons and other atomic particles,
or the very large, the universal scale, other laws apply.
set of possibilities applies in the field of health and disease.
Many forms of alternative medicine deal with aspects of our nature
which have been ignored by orthodox medicine.
the permission of Life Positive
and Sunita's site, SPB