Thursday, April 16, 2009

Integrating Naturopathy with Vipassana

Just providing link to the paper by Dr. Jay Sanghvi in which he shares experiences at the Nature Cure Centre, of integrating Vipassana meditation with naturopathy.

KUTCH: India’s Naturopathy Hub

Who could believe that a desert like area would ever become a hub of naturopathy centres. People normally relate nature to greenery and think that for building a Naturopathy centre, a high rainfall area with lot of natural flora would be ideal. This notion is misplaced as Nature comprises of 5 elements water, soil, fire, air, space and greenery is just one of the topographical presentations of nature.

Kutch has emerged as the hub of Naturopathy in India. Dry climate of the area lends itself well to faster healing and a conducive environment propagates Naturopathy.
It has the highest concentration of naturopathy centres in the country, 5 prominent ones at last count.

Credit for this should go to two dedicated doctors who gave up their lucrative practices to establish and promote naturopathy in Kutch. Dr Savla (now involved full time with Vipassana center at Bada, Kutch) was the first qualified paediatrician of Kutch. He practiced in Bhuj and charged handsome fee for his very effective but simple treatments. Legend has it that more than 3 decades back, he charged someone Rs 100 for curing their son by simply feeding water. To avoid any misinterpretation, I must say, even then it was less than the money spent by the couple for taxi to Bhuj and back. He believed in Nature’s power and its simplicity.

Soon he started a Nature cure centre in Bhuj, with an aim to apply his rigorous medical training and understanding of Nature’s means to treat people using simple Natural therapies. He would treat people for all kind of diseases and disorders using mud, water, fire (heat), air, and space. He also used yoga, massage and some elements of Ayurveda.

Then one day, he had an unusual patient, a doctor. The doctor was a qualified Ayurveda physician and going with the trend, used to practice allopathic medicine in a remote village of kutch. Due to lack of medical infrastructure in the area, he had a roaring practice. Unfortunately he cut his tongue and no treatment would work. Someone suggested Dr Savla’s clinic and he was cured mainly using ice and water.

The doctor became a convert, closed down his practice and joined Dr Savla as his assistant. His name is Dr Jay Sanghvi, one of the most prominent and renowned Naturopaths in the country. Their Nature Cure Centre in Jubilee colony, Bhuj attracted poor and rich alike. They always found ways and means to treat people with chronic diseases, many a times called irreversible conditions in modern medicine. Kidney disorders, heart problems, arthritis, fibromyalgia, ulcerative colitis and several other medical conditions were treated in this centre using Natural remedies and warmth of the doctors. Though the centre no longer runs in its previous form, people treated fondly remember the time spent there. Isn’t it unusual for a hospital!

Soon the place became hub of activity for all naturopathy related activities in the area. As they say, ‘log judte gaye aur karva banta gaya’, (people kept coming together and caravan was formed).

They along with Late Sri Sugnaram ‘Dada’ Ladkani started ‘All India Natural Life Association’ to spread the goodness of Naturopathy beyond Kutch and Gujarat. They started ‘Tulsi School of Naturopathy’ to train youth in skills of treatment through Naturopathy. They collaborated with Dr Nipun Buch to incorporate more elements of Ayurveda in their suites of treatment.

More importantly they motivated huge number of people to adopt Natural remedies and lifestyle through camps in several cities as well as in foreign countries, radio talks, talks and lectures to youngsters in colleges, rotary club members, Mahila Mandals etc. They motivated several philanthropists to set up Nature Cure Centres and guided them through their immense knowledge and experience. They really used 360° communication to propagate Naturopathy in Kutch and beyond.

Today there are 5 prominent Nature Cure Centres in Kutch. Navjivan near Mandvi, one each in Bidada and Mundra, Sarvamangal in Bhuj and youngest among them, Ananddham in Kharoi near Bhachau.

Ananddham is yet another unique experiment of Dr Sanghvi. He collaborated with Sanjay Singh, an IIM Ahmedabad graduate to float Swas Healthcare, which runs this centre to serve poor as well as financially well to do on a commercially sustainable basis. The logic, commercial viability is important to expand quickly and take its benefits to large number of people. Recently Swas has opened a City Clinic in Rajkot to improve accessibility of its services. Jury is still out on whether Naturopathy would remain a philanthropic activity or society would be willing to pay directly for its benefits, but if this model succeeds, Kutch would be remembered as its birth place.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Judicious Lifestyle changes for better health

"I have spent the past three weeks at Ananddham Nature Cure Centre, Village Kharoi, Bhachau, Gujarat for my chronic low back pain. The centre is managed by Mr. Sanjay Singh, IIM-A.

While at the Centre, the following was the line of treatment - Yoga & Pranayam, Diet control, Mud packs, Massages, Hot & cold fomentations and wraps, Magnet therapy, Accupressure etc. The treatment course is dictated by the patient's condition.

While at the Centre, I have seen kidney failure cases, the creatinine levels dropping from 9 when admitted to 5 when discharged. A person with a history of having undergone 100 dialysis, has spend 45 days at the Centre, & is now off the dialyzer since the past 6 months. A 30-year old case of hypothyroidism has been completely cured. My brother-in-law was admitted with obesity-related osteo-arthiritis, and his knee-joint pain has been reduced by as much as 85%. A patient with high BP problem reduced his daily BP medication by 50% within 4 days, and stopped all medications within 10 days. A lady from Sharjah is currently being treated for Parkinsons.

These are not miracles, but judicious lifestyle changes for better health. The human body is given a chance to heal itself, which it is quite capable of doing.

I recommend Nature Cure for its effectiveness, for treating Arthritis, Obesity, BP problems, renal function impairment, diabetes and many other life-long problems, since a chance is made available to the patient to lead as normal a life as possible."

Sudhir (A new and improved version after the treatment)

Ulcerative Colitis - A doctor's experience

“I did my MD from Mumbai and went to US for my further studies. With long hours of work and limited sleep hours during my residency and felowship,the stress on my physical body started to show. Early in Jan 2007 I started having bouts of bloody diarrhoea with mucus, low grade temperature and severe fatigue. Further investigations including a colonoscopy and capsule endoscopy revealed that I had ulcerative colitis, a disease which causes inflammation of the large intestine leading to ulcers and subsequent loose stools mixed with blood and pus.

Although the exact etiology of the disease still remains a mystery, environmental and genetic factors have been implicated. For me the stress of long hours of work, the cold environment and my family history of ulcerative colitis might have played an important role. The frequent bowel movements, local discomfort in the rectum, the exhaustion and fatigue were impairing my ability to work. In spite of these physical aliments, I was able to function and carry on my duties thanks to strength I received by practicing Vipassana meditation.

I was blessed to come in contact with Vipassana, the ancient technique of meditation taught by Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha. Through this technique one learns to observe the mind – body interactions in an equanimous manner and in doing so slowly but surely purifies his or mind and gets rid of defilements which are a root cause of our misery and many physical and mental diseases. If practiced properly one is sure to reap its benefits.

Due to my hectic schedule I was not able to devote time for the meditation regularly, hence although the technique helped me to deal with my disease I would still suffer from relapses.

After completion of my training, I visited India. Through a common friend I had the opportunity to meet Dr. Sanghvi a very noble soul who was a Naturopathy doctor and also taught Vipassana.

He gently pursued me to give a try to the naturopathy therapy and invited me to come to Ananddham Nature Cure Centre in Kutch, Gujarat. As I was suffering from a relapse of my disease and was desperate for help, I decided to visit Ananddham with my parents.

Under the supervision of Dr. Sanghvi and other Ayurvedic physicians my treatment started. The philosophy of the treatment was - let Mother Nature do its job in healing the mind and the body. They used abdominal mudpacks, Neem water sitz bath, cold abdominal pack, acupressure, and delicious nutritious foods to heal the body. Apart from the above treatment I was started on a mixture of Ayurvedic medications which was prescribed under Dr. Sanghvi’s supervision. With total trust and faith in the Nature cure my body sated to respond.

Within a few days my bowel frequency and the consistency became normal. After just eight days I could sleep whole night without any disturbing pain. I was so happy. The Doctors, the paramedic staff and the rest of the kitchen staff made every effort to accommodate us and make our stay comfortable and memorable.

The place was very peaceful and had Ashram like calmness. It has rooms to accommodate everyone’s budget. The campus spread over 18 acres is pretty much like a green oasis in desert. At Ananddham, doctors are qualified and experienced. Even most of the therapists are qualified Naturopaths and well trained. Food served is customized to individual’s need. It is pure vegetarian, healthy, nutritive, and ‘satvik’.

I just stayed there for two weeks but my health condition made a marked recovery. Thanks to the Nature cure my disease has been in remission for a long time and I was able to get back my energy level to be able to work and continue to serve my patients and give them the care which had been so generously showered on to me by Anandham’s doctors.

Based on my personal experience I would strongly recommend this therapy to people who are suffering from this condition, it is worth a try and I am confident that just as I benefited from this wonderful treatment, so will others benefit from our Mother Nature.

Be Happy