When I studied Ayurveda in Southern India, where about half of treatments are traditional healing methods (Ayurvedic), versus allopathic (Western medicine), we were warned by the head of our Ayurvedic institute that people are lazy and want a quick fix.
This third generation Ayurvedic doctor acknowledged that many, today, choose Western medicine because they think it’s easier to pop a pill than make lifestyle changes, or continue natural non-invasive treatments.
When I suggested a friend consider Acupuncture for chronic pain, the response was, “the pills I take every day are working fine.” Yet, the fact that the issue at hand was long-standing, meant the pills were not curing the problem, only ignoring them.
This is maya. The veil of illusion. Those who think a shot or a pill are the easy ways out are blinded by the routine and the pervasiveness of prescription or over-the-counter drugs to mask symptoms. I’ve always believed that if there is pain or discomfort, the body is telling you something. We need to listen to our symptoms, rather than quell them.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Ayurveda, Yoga Therapy (which in my line incorporates both aforementioned “wisdom methods”) and other holistic approaches require careful listening of the body, ideally BEFORE pain, to achieve optimal mental and physical health.
Wayne Aaron, LMT, and owner of Massage Blessings stresses the benefits of his healing art to maintain wellbeing. “Periodic massages are like an apple a day. Massage therapy takes the hard edge off stress by relaxing the associated pain patterns. Massage has many health benefits including stress reduction, lowering blood pressure, stimulating the immune system, and for those who suffer from acute muscular pain, they can be magical.”
However, in our “Sicko” society, it’s more common for clients to visit a massage therapist, naturopath, acupuncturist, yoga therapist or other holistic wellness practitioner when the GP can’t help, or to remediate pain.
Joel Fuhrman, M.D., author of the best seller, “Eat to Live,” says “Going to doctors and getting a pill for every issue has a subconscious effect to avert personal responsibility, and the motivation for patients to earn back their health is lessened.”
Anna has been taking sleeping pills most of her life. While she may swallow the drugs mindlessly, she needs to be mindful that the dependency on the drugs causes many other imbalances and side effects.
Adding non-natural substances to your body, daily, can never be a good thing. Yoga therapy, and many of the other healing arts can be very helpful to bring about restful sleep or help clients to release stress and feel more rested in the morning. Will one session do the trick? No. But neither does one pill on one day, or just one visit to an M.D. in a lifetime.
Again, it’s maya. People question why they need more than one visit, when they may have a lifetime of bad habits or practices that cause dis-ease.
The Times of India reported last year that in Allahabad, 40 percent of patients at 20 health centers in district are given Ayurvedic remedies.
“The experts said ayurvedic drugs for controlling blood pressure and diabetes have become popular among patients…parents often urge doctors to prescribe ayurvedic or homeopathic medicines to their children suffering from various diseases stating that these drugs have no side effects.” Not too surprising. We tend to seek the best for our children, and put our own needs aside.
Golfers, dentists and tennis players have unilateral habits that create imbalance resulting in dis-comfort. Likewise, office workers are examples of how “normal” lifestyles playing havoc on our body. Desk workers often twist to work on the computer or phone. They may scrunch their shoulders and cause low back distress.
People spend eons pushing their bodies out of balance. Yet, hesitate to commit to periodic sessions to correct the damage. As part of my yoga therapy, I work on myofascial remodeling to help put the body’s soft tissues back into balance. But just like body work or energy work, one session will rarely cut it for long lasting issues.
One of my favorite episodes of the 1970’s “Bob Newhart Show” was when psychologist Bob was being interviewed on a TV talk show. The host questioned how long it took to cure his patients. Then, she asked if he guaranteed his work. Finally, she sounded horrified at what he charged his patients, some of whom are never “cured.” “Who else charges this much without guaranteeing their work,” she demanded. His response: “Ummm, my plumber?
For those who are not seeking the pop-the-pill effect, yoga therapy is one approach to calm the mind, thereby easing stress, anxiety, PTSD, depression and other emotional issues.
My Ayurvedic teacher, on my first day of classes gave us a beautiful message. “Through silence, you clear out your doubts. Silence is the absence of self. An uninterrupted flow of knowledge is the tradition of Ayurveda.”
The “Charaka Samhita,” the most well known Ayurvedic treatise, written in 600 BC, tells us that in every habitat nature creates healing plants.
“In all Asia, there is the belief that the best doctor is the one that heals patients using nothing more than diet,” it says in “The Book of Tibetan Medicine” by Ralph Quinlan Forde. “Tibetan Medicine has always recognized the role of diet in health care…it is believed that diet is one of the four causes of disease as well as the key to prevention…Tibetan Medicine is aware that the gift of our food reflects the environment from which it came: both produce optimum health when they are pure and uncontaminated.”