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Heal as a whole

Every time my friend suffered an attack of migraine, the debilitating pain and associated issues left her sobbing. Hypersensitive to light, shrieking at the slightest of sound and vomiting frequently, she would not even be able to lie down. And then commenced the hospital routine. She would be administered shots of painkillers, anti-nausea, antacid and glucose, followed by an intimidating prescription for the next few days. Troubled by the extent of her discomfort, those around her would helplessly wonder how to help.

Watching her suffer at regular intervals, I decided to be of some help and started looking for alternative healing techniques that would take her pain away and put a permanent stop to this problem.

A complete cure

Millions suffer from migraines and other debilitating conditions that seem to have no cure in conventional medicine, commonly referred to as allopathy. We start popping pills at the slightest semblance of an ailment. But when it comes to the damage this causes, we are plain clueless. It is a never-ending cycle–you get treated for one ailment but in the meantime, another problem arises due to the side-effects of the medicine you were taking. For instance, did you know prolonged intake of antacids can result in kidney stones? It seems as if there is no escaping this vicious cycle of conventional tablets, tonics and injections.

During my search for a complete cure, I chanced upon holistic healing and what I found was encouraging. According to alternative healing therapist Ushaa Rani, “Holistic healing is a practice where issues pertaining to four important aspects of the body–physical, emotional, mental and spiritual–are addressed.”

Many other experts I spoke to concur with Ushaa’s view that a balance of these aspects was the key to healthy living, and any individual or collective imbalance of these aspects could result in an ailment. According to her, “The body comprises seven chakras or energy points. Any imbalance in these chakras manifests in a physical ailment. The role of a healer is to align the imbalances and guarantee good health.”

Roots of holistic healing

While China might be credited with being the birthplace of holistic healing in the form of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the Indian practice of Ayurveda is also counted as one of the oldest practices.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)

Traditional Chinese Medicine is based on the principle that the body shares a very close relationship with the natural environment. This relationship is of utmost importance and any deviation will result in an ailment. It is based on Qi (life force), Yin-yang theory (two complementary aspects of an individual) and the five phases (water, wood, fire, earth and metal). In a holistic practice, structure is yin and function is yang, and the lower body is yin and upper body is yang. This explains the relationship between processes and action. A balance between yin and yang is the key to optimal health. Other techniques under the big umbrella of TCM include acupressure, acupuncture, herbal medicine, cupping and moxibustion.

We live in times when we are constantly plagued by diseases owing to changing weather conditions, pesticides, processed foods, allergies, genetic mutations and global warming.


Ayurveda is a holistic healing practice, where ‘ayur’ means life and ‘veda’ means knowledge or science–collectively called the science of life. According to Dr Manikantan Menon, the Founder Director of Sri Sri Ayurveda, this age-old practice is about maintaining harmony of the mind, body and spirit. He says, “When a patient opts for Ayurveda, we not only treat the ailment but also look into wellness of these three factors. Sometimes diseases are psychosomatic, so we need to treat the mind too.”

This practice lays emphasis on the five elements of nature–earth, water, fire, air and ether–called the Panchamahabhuta. These elements collectively constitute the three doshas (energies)–vata, pita and kapha. A prolonged imbalance in these doshas can lead to a disease.

Even the Mayans of Central America believed that balance was the secret to good health. They claimed that diseases were manifestations of imbalances, and to maintain balance between the body and soul, they used herbs, plants and massages.

What conventional medicine tells us?

As opposed to holistic healing which goes to the root of the ailment, conventional medicine mainly focuses on giving symptomatic relief. Ushaa puts it interestingly when she explains that holistic healing surpasses the ‘fix-it solution’ of allopathic approach. Instead, it looks into the root of the illness and the treatment given is psychosomatic. It is not a one-time solution, but an ongoing process of living healthier and better. For instance, if you visit a holistic healer for indigestion, they will first treat the organ where the problem originated i.e. the stomach. If the condition persists then they will treat the solar plexus–which is a network of nerves in the abdomen. If there is no change in the situation, they will move on to other holistic techniques.

Why holistic healing?

We live in times when we are constantly plagued by diseases owing to changing weather conditions, pesticides, processed foods, allergies, genetic mutations and global warming. Erratic work schedules and a sedentary lifestyle also contribute to the alarming spike in diseases. The gradual increase in healthcare costs, surge in hospital bills, fear of surgeries and the aftermath, and the emotional upheaval that a patient undergoes is urging people to opt for alternative healing practices. The objective of a patient has gradually shifted from ‘being cured’ to ‘being healed’. Ushaa says holistic healing, like allopathy, doesn’t promise a cure but it certainly makes a positive difference to your life. “One thing patients should understand is that healing doesn’t happen overnight. For some patients, it may take just one sitting while for others it might take ten,” she warns.

Holistic healers believe that everyone’s body composition is unique, so are the health problems. Ergo, the same ailments have to be dealt with differently in different people. If you have been suffering and all your efforts–visiting hospitals and meeting specialists–have gone in vain, holistic healing might just be your guardian angel.


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