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THE ART OF HEALING

[2008-01-20]
 
Today marks a new chapter in the life of this column as it is renamed "The Art of Healing" after over 5 years as "The Art of Qi". It started as an attempt to popularize qigong to Malaysians, especially since qigong is known to be beneficial not only for overall health, but also in fighting cancer.

Loyal readers would have realized that although I did write a lot about qigong and the ramifications of qi in many aspects of life, my stories have also included many energy-healing methods, psychic healing/surgery and other complementary therapies. I also wrote a lot about nutritional healing, and delved into a bit into travelogues, taking advantage of my travels to report on healing and anything of interest I encountered. Finally I also shared a little bit about spirituality and spiritual healing, and the esoteric and mystical world of Sufis, Sufism and Sufi healing, which is where the direction of my personal life is going to.

Readers will have noticed my contention that conventional doctors are relying too much on drugs in treating their patients. Too little emphasis is made on the role of nutrition, detoxification, and energy healing in the combat against diseases, especially when it comes to preventing and treating cancer. While doctors are supportive of the need for a healthy diet and lifestyle, including maintaining an ideal weight, adequate exercise, managing stress well, not drinking alcohol, and not smoking, the Health Ministry needs to continue its commendable efforts in educating the public until we see a reversal in the unhealthy trend ( increase in hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, overweight/obesity and diabetes ) recorded in the last decade.

I became a medical doctor thinking that I would heal the patients who come to me, but after about 20 years of practising conventional medicine exclusively, I became very disappointed that most of the time doctors only dispense drugs to relieve the patients off their symptoms, but do not heal the patients. Of course, there are situations where we cure the patients through medications, surgery or other methods, but for most, they are not healed. That is, the diseases remain in the patients even though the symptoms are "under control".

THE DOCTOR & HIS PATIENT

Consider the following scenario which many of you can identify with ( the patient is a 50 year old man ):

Doctor: Uncle, your blood pressure is consistently high over the last 1 week, and in spite of adequate rest, it is still high today. I have to start you on medication. You are only slightly overweight, so you need not lose much, and you should exercise more. Aim for 30 minutes daily brisk walking. If you smoke, stop smoking.

And like most typical Malaysian men past their 40's, the patient finds it difficult to stop smoking, slowly but surely puts on weight ( especially around the belly ), and hardly exercises.

The patient is then monitored regularly, and at each visit:

Doctor: Uncle, your blood pressure is under control. Take your medicine and see me next month. Take care of your weight and don't forget the brisk walks. If you can't stop smoking, at least reduce.
So both the doctor and the patient are happy that the blood pressure is "under control".
But 1 year later:

Doctor: Uncle, your blood pressure is high again in spite of the medicine. I have to increase the dose. Today your blood test also shows too much bad cholesterol. I have to prescribe another medicine for that. Your weight has also increased. Try to improve your diet.

The patient is then monitored regularly, and at each visit:

Doctor: Uncle, your blood pressure and bad cholesterol are under control. Take your medicines and see me next month. Take care of your weight and don't forget the brisk walks. If you can't stop smoking, at least reduce.

But 2 years later:

Doctor: Uncle, your blood pressure is high again. I have given the maximum dose of the medicine. Now I have to add a second medicine to control your blood pressure ( or give a tablet that has both drugs ). Your bad cholesterol is also creeping up. The dose for the medicine for that has to be increased also. Your weight is also increasing. Your blood sugar is normal but you are at risk of getting diabetes. You have a family history of hypertension, heart attack and diabetes. Please watch your weight and don't slacken on your brisk walks.

The patient is then monitored regularly, and at each visit:

Doctor: Uncle, your blood pressure, bad cholesterol and blood sugar are under control. Take your medications and see me next month. Blah..blah..blah…

Both the doctor and the patient are happy that the blood pressure, bad cholesterol and blood sugar are "under control".

But 3 years later:

Doctor: Uncle, your blood pressure is high again, so I have to change to the "latest" but more expensive drug. Since high doses of the previous medicines could not control your BP, I will start with the maximum dose of the new drug. Your bad cholesterol is ok but you have to continue the medicine. The last time we stopped the medicine, it crept up again. I have another bad news for you. Your blood sugar is high and the glucose-tolerance test confirms that you are now diabetic. I have to start you on medication for diabetes as well. I will also explain to you about your diet. About your chest discomfort, we really need to have a thorough evaluation of your heart. Diabetics are at higher risk of heart disease and stroke. Your hypertension also increases the risk of both.

And so the saga continues. There are thousands of men above 40 and women above 50 out there who have to pop many drug pills everyday to control their blood pressure, bad cholesterol, glucose, and to strengthen their hearts, keep their coronary vessels open and thin their blood. Many have to take additional medicines just to counter the side-effects of these drugs.

My point is, both the doctor and patient are happy when the blood pressure, bad cholesterol and blood sugar are normal or "under control" under the influence of the drugs. I am not satisfied if the problem is normalized because of the drugs. The aim of the doctor should be to get the patient healthy and normal without drugs. All the while these patients have the diseases roaring inside them, despite the "normal" readings. All they have to do is to stop their medications for several days to prove what I say is right.

HOLISTIC INTEGRATED MEDICINE

This was what led me to practise holistic integrated medicine - combining modern medicine with nutritional, natural and complementary therapies. I still use drugs, but as a last choice. My aim is to restore the patient's health without having to use drugs for life. This requires a lot of commitment from the patients themselves - to improve their diet and lifestyle. I also rely a lot on nutritional therapy, qigong and other healing methods. There are not many of us, but the number is growing. I hope more doctors will also embrace this holistic integrated approach. In the West, many universities now teach complementary medicine to medical students. Several of our local medical faculties have introduced the subject recently. In China, learning TCM ( Traditional Chinese Medicine ) is compulsory for all doctors.

YOU CAN REDUCE OR STOP DRUG THERAPY

Unfortunately, most patients have been told by their doctors that once they are on medication, it will be life-long and that there is no possibility of going off the medicines. Instead the doses are bound to increase over time to cope with worsening of the disease. If the patients don't even believe it is possible to get off the drugs, or even reduce the dosage, then they will not make an effort.

I have reported ( in this column ) many such patients that were able to stop their medications, even after many years, through various methods used, including qigong. If you have been reading the last two articles, you know that just through Shaolin Zi Fa Self-Healing Qigong alone so many have been able to stop or reduce their medicines.

In a previous article ( see www.superqigong.com ) I also related how my colleagues saved a diabetic from leg amputation just hours before the scheduled surgery, which was attested to be absolutely necessary by two of the teaching hospital's consultants. Yet the patient's leg was saved after he discharged himself and followed the strict nutritional program, while maintaining his insulin therapy. Finally his insulin dose was reduced by 90%. I believe so many more leg amputations can be saved.

However, I must caution that even if you opt for nutritional and complementary therapies, you must be adequately monitored by doctors so that the promised healing is verified.

As I mentioned before, my medical training gave me a solid understanding of the science behind health and disease, and the importance of evidence-based medicine. It also exposed me to the fact that modern medicine still cannot solve many health problems, and still has many deficiencies, among which are too much reliance on drugs, chemotherapy and radiotherapy at the expense of the basic requirements of health - good nutrition and lifestyle; and getting caught up in global capitalist economic practices - eg. because of drug patents and ensuing high costs, many in poor countries are deprived of the best available medicines.

This year I hope to share with you the holistic integrated strategies in preventing and treating the common chronic lifestyle diseases which you may develop as you become older. As always, one indispensable component of my prescription is qigong.

 
Dr Amir Farid Isahak
 
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