On Health and Healing: Scientist or Avatar?

Entering medical school was a ”dream come true” kind of a thing for me.But the dreaming didn’t end there. I wanted to be a good doctor who could serve mankind. Of course in the first years of Med school with all the basic sciences I felt quite frustrated as to when would the clinical part come, and soon after with the clinical practices other frustrations came about.

As a student I often experienced that I knew more details about the patients than the doctors responible for the ward and the doctor always said I had more time to spend with each patient and that she was very busy. I really wanted to know the cause of the disease and I wasn’t limiting myself to microbiologyical causes.Little did I know that I would not be able to do anything with all those information.

Then I realized that I was running from one clinical practice to the other seeing the same patients as the years passed by in different clinics. The patient whom I had met in the internal medicine ward with joint pain and was diagnosed with arthritis (an autoimmune disease with an unknown ethiology) so the treatment was steroids.After two years I saw the same patient in dermatology ward, hospitalized for Psoriasis (another autoimmune disease with unknown ethiology) and that went on and on. Then there was another patient who was diagnosed with psoriasis after using lots of steroids ended up in internal medicine ward with cushing’s syndrom. And then one day I said to myself „welcome to the world of unknown ethiology and steroids”.

”All causes are beginnings…”, ”… we have scientific knowledge when we know the cause…”, and “… to know a thing’s nature is to know the reason why it is…”Aristotle

I once read: The cause of the enterance of disease into the human body is either a physical one or is the effect of excitement of the nerves.” (Abdu’l-Baha,Some Answered Questions, page 296-8)

And this made me think that in our approach to healing we need to think beyond microbes and agents since those seem to be half of the story. And what does the excitement of nerves mean? I had heard from many mothers that their kids developed fever after an accident or a shock. Then I remembered that in the page 294 of the same book I had read:

”if a cause of terror suddenly occurs, perhaps an excitement may be produced in the nerves of a strong (well) person, which will immediately cause a malady. The cause of the sickness will be no material thing, for that person has not eaten anything and nothing harmful has touched him, the excitement of the nerves is then the only cause of the illness. In the same way the sudden realization of a chief desire will give such a joy that the nerves will be excited by it, and this excitement may produce health.”

When I discussed this with a doctor friend of mine he said sarcastically, ”then we don’t need doctors when kids develop fever, we need Santa Claus to make the kids happy by giving them gifts and they will be healed”. And I still thought to myself, ”well we haven’t tried this method, it might work pretty well”.

Later I read in the same book that ”all this has effect only to a certain extent, and that not always. For if someone is afflicted with a very violent disease, or is wounded, these means will not remove the disease nor close and heal the wound. That is to say, these means have no power in severe maladies, unless the constitution helps, because a strong constitution often overcomes disease.”

This last part closed the door for an all embracing type of healing-the Santa Clause type- yet kept a little window open in case of a very strong minded and healthy constituent person.

I still found what I had studied incomplete and the insights I was getting from the other writings made me feel that a doctor with good intention who cares for the patients and his/her mind is set on healing can really help an ill person with other means too.

Then I came across Avicenna’s scripts (Ibn Sina 980A.D.-1037 A.D.) who was also a pioneer in psychophysiology and psychosomatic medicine. He recognized ‘physiological psychology’ in the treatment of illnesses involving emotions, and developed a system for associating changes in the pulse rate with inner feelings, which is seen as an anticipation of the word association test attributed to Carl Jung.

” Avicenna is reported to have treated a very ill patient by feeling the patient’s pulse and reciting aloud to him the names of provinces, districts, towns, streets, and people. He noticed how the patient’s pulse increased when certain names were mentioned, from which Avicenna deduced that the patient was in love with a girl whose home Avicenna was able to locate by the digital examination. Avicenna advised the patient to marry the girl he is in love with, and the patient soon recovered from his illness after his marriage.”

Nowadays this science has been developed into Applied Kinesiology and Biofeedback. Applied Kinesiology is a practice within the realm of alternative medicine and is different from kinesiology, which is the study of human movement. Applied Kinesioloy has been criticized on theoretical and empirical grounds, and characterized as pseudoscience. Biofeedback is a technique that trains people to improve their health by controlling certain bodily processes that normally happen involuntarily, such as heart rate, blood pressure, muscle tension, and skin temperature.

The way I see it is that the term alternative medicine is not a proper term that has been given by the conventional scientists to the holistic medicine. Instead it should be called Advanced Medicine where it includes the physical aspect as well as emotional aspect of human structure.

I think both doctors and patients need to be more open towards different types of healing. Human brain works in an amazing way. The research in Neuroanatomy is proving that there is more to our brain than what we use in everyday life. The fact that our right brain has a totally different function from our left brain is something that is being discovered now. The left being practical part, reality based, detaile oriented, and being about Maths and Sciences. Our right brain, fantasy based, uses feelings, big picture oriented and is a land where imagination rules, and it is the land of Avatar.

How much of our right brain do we really use, I don’t know. Although Religion and Philosophy are the inhabitant of right brain I am not sure if all religious people use their right brain. Because one way to use the right brain is meditation and if all religious people would meditate then they would feel the oneness of all and they wouldn’t become suicide bombers.

To look at the big picture, healing is a vast subject for all of us yet to be discovered.

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