Allopathic treatments have helped many over the years, but the side effects are giving way to alternative methods. Priyanka Mehra looks at the holistic treatment method of natural therapy
Visits to the hospitals are often accompanied by numerous unfriendly looking machines, enough to deter most patients. If the thought of this scares you, then don’t worry! There are an increasing number of people who say that your health is directly hard wired to a control room in your mind.
The mental state and physiological state are more intertwined than we think. Psychological treatment is often sought to achieve biological balance in humans. After all, we are a single unit and not compartmentalised by different disciplines. Physiological problems or sickness can also cause depression, while stress can aggravate our medical problems.
Prof Guy Bourgeault of the University of Montreal elaborates in his book, On Being Human: “In psychogenic syndromes, influences reciprocate; that is to say the body influences the spirit, and the psychological state affects the physical condition. A two-way movement is implied in the recognition of psychosomatic nature of many complaints and illnesses.”
There are many practices that call for a holistic treatment of any individual, from hypnotherapy to naturophathy. Naturotherapist Sejal Vora has been practising natural therapy since 2006. She says, “I believe in natural medicine and understanding your natural self without popping pills and chemicals. They may have side effects in the long term. Natural therapy is self empowering because you are healing yourself from within.” Vora has done a course in natural medicine from the Institute of Alternate Medicine and Theta Healing, University of Theta Healing, USA.
Naturopathy propagates that we are nothing but a sum total of our experiences. For example, someone who has grown up watching an abusive relationship between his/ her parents is bound to grow up and manifest violence in some form; whether bullying other children in school or keeping these feelings bottled subconsciously for longer. Eventually these bottled emotions snowball into something much bigger, often leading to an abusive relationship during adulthood. So any ailment that you are going through in the present, more often than not, has its roots in something that has been experienced through your formative years and has left an indelible mark on your psyche.
This connection between the mind and body is pervasive in ancient religious texts. A Buddhist scripture says, “Hope nurtures the body and prolongs life.” Austrian psychoanalyst Dr Viktor E Frankl shares this theory. He wrote in Man’s Search for Meaning that he survived a Nazi concentration camp because he consistently kept hoping and believing in the future, while those who abandoned hope soon collapsed inwardly and died. Namita Jain, a global fitness expert, concurs: “There is definitely a body and mind connection that aids healing. Diet too is vital.”
Moreover, several studies have been carried out to study the effects of placebos, where the patient’s belief that he is taking in something curative actually helps speed up the process of recovery. Dr Mohammad, a skin specialist, says: “There is a definite connection between the body and the mind; in fact a lot of skin diseases are the result of stress. While we do prescribe medicine to the patients we also talk to them to understand their issues and state of mind and more often than not suggest lifestyle changes.”
Vora believes in uprooting the disease from both the body and mind, as opposed to sending someone to the hospital for the physical ailment where the root cause which is also psychological remains unaddressed. “I myself am the biggest case study in weight loss,” she says. Looking at her slender frame, it is nearly impossible to believe that she was once fat till one sees a picture of a podgy version of her. In her pursuit of success and fame, as part of the high flying corporate life in New York, she became a victim of that lifestyle.
While she was making lots of money, she had no real relationships and poor health. As a result, she put on almost 25 kilos. Most of us subconsciously eat to fill a void and a sense of emptiness in our life, we often substitute the feeling of fullness after stuffing ourselves to the feeling of being secure, content, and wanted.
Vora tried everything from the gym to diets, starving herself and then binging uncontrollably. However, nothing seemed to be working. She took a detached and honest view of her life and realised the person she was becoming was materialistic, indifferent, and superficial. It was renowned clinical Hypnotherapist Dr Vikram Reddy that helped her immensely. Gradual changes on a daily basis in food intake, reading, understanding the body, mind, and nutrition synergy, brought about changes eventually. She lost weight (30 kilos) in a healthy way with toned skin, no stretch marks or any other side effects, and with peace of mind.
“This is why it is extremely important for me to go into my client’s natural environment and observe their behaviour and intrapersonal relationships which are the core,”
The most common problems that naturopaths treat are related to skin diseases, relationship issues, weight concerns, and sexual problems. The younger the patient, the easier and faster is the healing. Younger patients are also able to make lifestyle and attitude changes and at the same time, accept their emotions for what they are, and work on themselves. It is all about taking charge of your life and starting afresh. In short, taking responsibility of your own life and action and getting over the feeling of helplessness and being victimised.
Dr Mohammed comments, “I do think Naturotherapy does have its limitations, as sometimes patients are not willing to make the change or understand that their physical ailment has its root in their mind and the speed of their recovery will depend on a drastic shift in attitude. I feel if someone is determined to overcome a disease they will do so no matter what, whereas it is extremely difficult to help someone who is defeated in spirit.”
The important point is to seek help and not live your life with unnecessary burden, just take that step and make the change now, seek therapy – Naturally!
34-YEAR OLD ART PROFESSIONAL RIVKA SADRANGANI, SAYS “I WAS FACING NUMEROUS HEALTH ISSUES ON MANY LEVELS. NATURAL THERAPY HAS LITERALLY BROUGHT ME BACK. FROM THE NUTRITION ASPECT, I HAVE UNDERSTOOD HOW TO NOURISH MYSELF. NATURAL THERAPY HAS BEEN A LIFE CHANGING EXPERIENCE FOR ME.”
A career in alternate therapies is extremely lucrative in today’s times. Alternate therapy makes you independent and you can help others after experiencing its benefits yourself. An alternate therapist can make anywhere between Rs. 50,000 to Rs.2 lakh per month. There are several options open from one-on-one sessions, to teaching, to corporate workshops; it all depends on how far you want to go – the sky is the limit. Ten years down the line alternate therapy is slated to be one of the biggest careers.