All posts by Dr. Rajesh Vishwanathan

About Dr. Rajesh Vishwanathan

Hi, I am Dr. Rajesh Vishwanathan. I am a Family Physician with a deep interest in Diabetes and Alternative Medicine. I live and practice in Mumbai, India. My aim is to make the world a better place by introducing Alternative medicine with the main stream, so as to have an Integrative System of Medicine, that is both gentle and holistic.

A HOLISTIC M.D.



Who is a holistic medical doctor MD?

A whole new breed of MD’s have sprung up in the west and they are trained doctors in orthodox medicine and with good skills in at least one type of Alternative medicine, which may be acupuncture, herbal medicine, homeopathy or Ayurveda.  These doctors help patients who wish to benefit from the aggressive technological advances of orthodox medicine with the gentle healing of the Complementary system.

The key philosophy of holistic medicine:


The fundamental premise of holistic medicine is that no one health care medical speciality has answers to the health syndromes of the 21st century.  Holistic medicine gladly embraces all the wisdom of age-old cultures, healing systems from the orient and also does not hesitate to use drastic measures of allopathic when deemed necessary.

 

Pre-therapy work up:
 
The Holistic MD will at first function like any other orthodox specialist.  He will take a detailed history and do a clinical examination, such as pulse, BP and a complete physical examination.  Then he will perform the diagnostic blood tests that any MD normally does.  The initial work up may last more than an hour and this helps both the physician and the patient to understand each other and develop trust for one another.
 

When a patient chooses a Holistic physician, he or she has the option of trying natural complementary therapies in tandem with the allopathic treatment and this helps in elimination of the toxins in the patient and leads him to a complete and comprehensive holistic cure.
Patients with intractable health issues often search for a physician because they believe in the power of the body to heal itself, but they also recognise the need a physician who can prescribe drugs if needed.
Other patients seek holistic cures because they have exhausted all the options of conventional medicine.  A holistic physician will be able to factor past therapies and then initiate a new health regimen to help patients improve their health through orthodox and alternative means.

A holistic physician may be useful any of these health problems:

  • Unexplained depressive disorders
  •  Ischaemic heart disease
  •  Certain forms of tumours
  •  HIV or AIDS (a palliative measure to increase the life span)
  • In high blood pressure
  • Infertility
  • Menopausal symptoms 
  •  Chronic prostate problems 
  •  In Type 2 diabetes mellitus.

Conclusion:

The holistic MD has to be devoted to treating the whole person: body, mind and spirit.  Treatments are always done in the best interest of the patient.  The doctor allows the patient to share in decision-making regarding treatment.  Their job is to educate patients and help empower them to take responsibility for their care.  The doctor acts responsibly in delivering both medical and alternative treatments. The Holistic doctor should not make outrageous claims or promise a “cure.”

EUTHANASIA AND INDIAN SPIRITUALITY.

Euthanasia (Mercy Killing) is a controversial subject and there are several opinions for and against it. The word Euthanasia is derived from the Greek word ‘EU’ which means good and ‘THANATOS’ which means death.  Euthanasia is legalized in some Scandinavian countries under strict medico-legal supervision in terminally ill patients.  In India too, there have been several debates to legalize Euthanasia, but the majority of the Indian medical fraternity are opposed to it.

The Vedanta approach to disease is Holistic. Vedanta believes that diseases are caused by wrong living, like abusing the body with wrong life styles and also wrong thinking or inability to calm the restless mind.  Vedanta also believes that there are deeper causes for diseases like ‘past life karma’.  These ‘Karmic diseases’ do not respond even when handled the right way in keeping with the systems of Medicine known to man.  Unfortunately these incurable diseases cause tremendous suffering to the patient and the patient often yearns for death as a release from suffering.

Vedanta strongly believes that this suffering should be welcomed and accepted as a ‘cleansing of the Karma’ and no attempt should be made to interfere with the karma and a true cure in the spiritual sense can be only possible through the elimination of the past causations.

In cases of incurable diseases, the soul is cleansed, so that it can go into a higher realm, while there may be suffering in the body and the mind. It is for this reason, Spiritual masters like Ramana Maharishi and Swami Ramakrishna never interfered with their cancers and were blissfully ignorant of the pain, because their self realized state permitted their minds to receive the light of the soul and they were merged in the Cosmic bliss despite the tremendous suffering their bodies underwent. Vedanta is against Euthanasia because it is a hindrance to the progress of the soul. Vedanta believes that tender loving care must be given to the sufferers and they must be reminded of the eternal spiritual values for the liberation of the soul in the terminal stages of their disease.

LEARNING ABOUT DRUG INTERACTIONS.

Introduction:

In 1956, a West German pharmaceutical company, as a sedative, introduced a drug called as thalidomide.  It was marketed under the name of Contergan.   By 1958, it was promoted all over the world and was used for combating insomnia.  Pregnant women were given this drug for nausea.  Soon thalidomide’s teratogenic effects became apparent and hundreds of children were born with seal limbs and many horrific abnormalities. The drug became disgraced and it was subsequently withdrawn from the market in 1961. 

In recent years, several drugs have been introduced with a big media splash, only to be condemned later for sometimes life threatening side effects. Often newspaper headlines scream frightening headlines that Parkinson’s drug called as Pergolide can damage heart valves. There are plenty of examples of how Pharmaceutical companies hide drug side effects for profits.  A drug for arthritis called as a COX 2 inhibitor –Vioxx was withdrawn after it was seen to cause more heart attacks.  Now the truth is finally starting to come that Prozac, which is an anti-depressant, causes an increase incidence of suicide rates among its uses by almost 1200%.

Every patient should be aware of his medications:

v  All patients should know the name of the medication, and its actions and side reactions.

v  Can he/she take it on empty stomach?

v   How long should the medication be taken? Some patients take the medicines well beyond the required date and this can cause drug toxicity.

v  Can the medication cause an allergic reaction? The answer is yes because all medications have the potential to cause allergic reactions at any time.

v  Some drugs interact with alcohol and cause reactions. Some medicines react adversely with food.  Sometimes, patients have to rest after taking a particular medication.

v  Should one expect side effects to every medication?  The answer is yes. Every medication has the potential to have side effects.

v  Some medications are unsafe during lactation or pregnancy.

v  Some medications especially injectable insulin should be stored in a fridge; otherwise, there is a loss of efficacy.

v  All patients should ask their doctors about drug-drug interactions if they are using multiple medications.

Conclusion:

It is impossible to compute the total number of deaths or morbidities due to drug reactions. The National Institute of Health (NIH, USA) estimates that the number of people with adverse drug reactions admitted to hospitals in the year 2006 was about 2.2 million. It is estimated that over 20 million unnecessary antibiotic prescriptions are written in the US alone.  The figures will be definitely worse in the third world. 

Drug interactions and reactions take millions of lives the world over, every year. Patients must wake up make informed choices and learn about their medications either from their physicians or by reading about the medication from the Internet.

SPIRITUALITY HELPS TO UNDERSTAND THE HUMAN MIND.

The Indian Spiritual scriptures are full of insights of what the mind is really made of and how to control it.  Ancient Indian seers realized that the mind is actually an instrument given by God to realize the ‘self’ or the soul within.  There is indeed a very close interaction with the mind and the body too.

 The mind is defined as a bundle of thoughts. Swami. Vivekananda has compared the mind to a monkey, which is innately restless; which is drunk, with the wine, and then possessed by a ghost and finally bitten by the scorpion. Such is the state of modern man. He is so intoxicated by worldly desires that he seldom experiences a moment of peace. His mind is constantly restless, inebriated by desires, lust, anger and greed.

The mind may be considered to be finer body inside the gross body.  That vibrates at a higher rate than the gross body.

Since the mind and the body are so closely interconnected, a disease of the body will naturally affect the mind and a disease of the mind will affect the body.  The ancient Indian seers were aware of the fact that the mind should be tamed, controlled and then annihilated for complete and comprehensive health and total self-realization.

The Indian seers believed that all the misery that is seen today was only as a result of the untamed mind.  They believed that MAN MINUS MIND WAS ACTUALLY EQUAL TO GOD.  They also believed and demonstrated through their life as a living example, that a self realized person, does not operate his life through his mind or intellect, but lives in a state of ever-new joy and spontaneity. By annihilating the mind, the person does not become a zombie, but actually becomes supremely intelligent, supremely successful and fulfilled in life. 

To experience mind control and experience a state of unalloyed bliss, the ancient Indian sages prescribed many spiritual disciplines, like yoga, meditation and pranayama.  These practices help the aspirant to experience mind control and become Holistically healthy.

Some useful Herbal remedies.

Introduction:

Herbal medicine (HM) is the fulcrum of complementary and alternative medicine. It is gaining increasingly popularity all over the world and gradually streaming toward integration into the mainstream healthcare systems. The use of HM cuts across gender, social and racial classes in both developing and developed countries of the world.

Benefits of Herbal Medicine

  • More affordable than conventional medicine
  • Easier to obtain than prescription medicine.
  • Stabilizes hormones and metabolism.
  • Natural healing.
  • Strengthens the immune system.

Echinacea:

Echinacea, also called purple coneflower, is one of the most popular herbs worldwide.  Native Americans have used it for centuries to treat various ailments.  It is best known as an over-the-counter herbal remedy for the common cold or flu.  However, it’s also used to treat pain, inflammation, migraines and other health issues. They’re linked to many health benefits, such as reduced inflammation, improved immunity and lower blood sugar levels.

Ginseng:

Ginseng has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries. Ginseng has beneficial antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Ginseng could help improve brain functions like memory, behavior and mood.  Research has shown that ginseng may be useful for the treatment of erectile dysfunction (ED) in men.  Some studies exploring its effects on the immune system have focused on cancer patients undergoing surgery or chemotherapy treatment. Ginseng may be helpful in reducing the risk of certain cancers. Ginseng has been shown to help fight fatigue and promote energy

Ginkgo biloba:

Ginkgo biloba, or maidenhair, is a tree native to China that has been grown for thousands of years for a variety of uses.  Ginkgo’s antioxidant content may be the reason behind many of its health claims. 

Some specific conditions in which ginkgo extract has shown to reduce inflammation include:

  • Arthritis
  • Irritable bowel disease (IBD)
  • Cancer
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke

Elderberry:

Elderberry is an ancient herbal medicine typically made from the cooked fruit of the Sambucus nigra plant. It has long been used to relieve headaches, nerve pain, toothaches, colds, viral infections, and constipation.

Elderberry is used to treat cold and flu symptoms. Cooked elderberry is safe; it’s toxic if eaten raw or unripe.

St. John’s wort;

St. John’s wort (SJW) is an herbal medicine derived from the flowering plant Hypericum perforatum. Its small, yellow flowers are commonly used to make teas, capsules, or extracts.  Historically, it was utilized to aid wound healing and alleviate insomnia, depression, and various kidney and lung diseases. Today, it’s largely prescribed to treat mild to moderate depression.

Turmeric (Curcuma longa):

Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is an herb that belongs to the ginger family.  Curcumin is the major active compound in turmeric. It may treat a host of conditions, including chronic inflammation, pain, metabolic syndrome, and anxiety

Ginger:

Ginger is a commonplace ingredient and herbal medicine. You can eat it fresh or dried, though its main medicinal forms are as a tea or capsule. Much like turmeric, ginger is a rhizome, or stem that grows underground. It contains a variety of beneficial compounds and has long been used in traditional and folk practices to treat colds, nausea, migraines, and high blood pressure

Valerian:

Sometimes referred to as “nature’s Valium,” valerian is a flowering plant whose roots are thought to induce tranquility and a sense of calm.  The valerian root may be dried and consumed in capsule form or steeped to make tea.

Chamomile:

Chamomile is a flowering plant that also happens to be one of the most popular herbal medicines in the world.  The flowers are most often used to make tea, but the leaves may also be dried and used for making tea, medicinal extracts, or topical compresses.

Conclusion:

Herbal medicines have become extremely popular all over the world. An important driver in this upsurge in patronage and use includes low cost, the wide acceptance due to its status of being a natural product with the acclaim of low toxicity, efficacy in certain challenging diseases, flexibility in its accessibility, preparation and use.

 

THE KARMA THEORY AND POSITIVE HEALTH.

The Karma theory is not merely about re-incarnation. It includes the whole gamut of situations and relationships that we encounter in this birth.  Many westerners believe that the ‘Karma theory’ has made us Indians fatalistic and materially backward.  While, this may be partly true, the ‘Karma theory’ has held Indian society together over the years.

In recent times we have forgotten the real meaning of this theory and that is why our health has deteriorated to its current levels.  Our statistics of Cancers, Coronary artery disease and Dyslipidemias are worse than the Western standards, ever since we became urbanized and industrialized. 

Very simplistically put, according to the ‘Karma theory’, when we die in our last birth, we are shown a review of our actions in that life and we are actually made to experience the pain that our actions caused to others.  UNABLE TO FORGIVE OURSELVES FOR WHAT WE HAVE DONE TO OTHERS, AND UNABLE TO FORGIVE OTHERS FOR WHAT THEY DID TO US IN OUR LAST BIRTH, it is we who tell God to give us another birth where we can atone for our wrong actions and take revenge on those who have hurt us.

So, in the truest sense, God is not the cause of our current state of misery in this life.   Our current life is AN AGREEMENT WITH GOD, MADE BY GOD AND US DOES NOT HAVE ANY PART IN OUR CHOICE.  When we are born again, we have no memory of our past life action. That is taken away from us.  It is only a few yogis who know there past lives and that of the others.

This theory is not something that we can dismiss as nonsense or irrelevant.  It helps us have a correct understanding of why we suffer and why certain relationships are doomed in failure. This theory makes us feel contented and we will not exult when things go right or experience depression when things go wrong.

A proper understanding of this theory can also serve as a medical tool to combat the increasing numbers of ‘STRESS RELATED DISEASES’.

MELATONIN – THE NATURAL NIGHTCAP!

Introduction:

Melatonin is a hormone secreted by the pineal gland, a pea sized structure that is located in the center of the brain.  At night Melatonin is produced to help our bodies regulate the sleep-wake cycles.  The amount of Melatonin produced by our bodies seems to lessen, as we get older.  Scientists believe that this may be why old people have problems of falling asleep.

The uses of Melatonin:

  • It is useful to hasten sleep and combat jet lag, without having the side effects of conventional sleeping pills.
  • It strengthens the Immune system.
  • It delays degenerative changes in the body.
  • It has an anti-oxidant effect, which is useful to prevent strokes, coronary artery disease and cancer.
  • It is useful to combat fatigue.
  • It is said to prevent aging.
  • It is said to enhance the testosterone levels in males, thus making them more sexually active in their later years.

Side effects of Melatonin:

  • Some persons complain of nightmares.
  • Headaches.
  • Morning grogginess.
  • Mild depression.
  • Low sex drive.

Who should avoid it?

  • It should not be given to pregnant or lactating mothers, as it might affect the fetus.
  • It should not be given to people with severe allergies.
  • It should not be used in patients with Auto- immune diseases or with Leukemia.
  • It should not be administered to children.

Dosage of Melatonin:

The dosage varies enormously from person to person and successful results have been obtained with doses ranging from 1 mg to 200 mg. It is best that this drug be started in a low dosage and then worked up to larger doses to get the optimal effects.

It should be taken only at nighttime, usually about 30 minutes prior going to bed.  If a person sleeps at night, then Melatonin should not be taken during the day and vice versa – because Melatonin plays a role in setting the body’s daily clock.

Is Melatonin safe?

Melatonin is one of the least toxic substances known. People have taken as much as 6 grams (600 to 3000 times the normal dose) and carefully monitored studies have shown no sign of toxicity. The only consistent side effect has been drowsiness and a slower reaction time. In the most extensive clinical trial 75 mgs of Melatonin per day was given to 1400 women in the Netherlands for up to four years and no untoward side effects were noted. In the US, FDA reports indicate that there have been no alarming side effects, despite the fact that this medication is available as an ‘over the counter remedy’.

Conclusion:

In India, flight crews are conversant with this drug and use it regularly to combat jet lag. Some of the claims that Melatonin retards the aging process have been debunked.  But, it would good if it would be made available over the counter remedy in India, as it could be safer than commonly used medications, such as Calmpose or Valium.

Home remedies for Eye irritation.

Introduction:

Eye irritations are a common problem. Some common causes are due to:

  • Airborne irritants such as chemicals, smoke, smog, animal dander, and pollen
  • Contact lens wear
  • Excessive rubbing of eyes
  • Inflammation caused by allergens or infections
  • Too much sun exposure
  • Dry eyes or inadequate lubrication of eye surface
  • Viral infections such as the common cold

Common Home remedies for eye irritation:

Honey and milk:

Make an eyewash with warm milk and honey. Honey is known to have many amazing anti septic properties. Take equal parts of honey and lukewarm milk and mix them together and with a dropper she used to instill 2 to 3 drops of this mixture three times the day in each eye and this will often work wonders.

Castor oil:

Pure castor oil is very useful for eye irritations. Administer one drop of castor oil in each eye, thrice a day and that used to magically reduce the swelling and redness.

Cucumber slices:

Cut two slices cucumber and place it in cold ice for a few minutes. Then place the cool cucumber over the closed eyes and it is soothing and reduces the soreness in the eyes.

Rosewater:

When the eyes are irritated you can  rinse your eyes with rose water and it is very soothing for irritated eyes. Even instilling 3 to 4 drops of rose water are useful.

Aloe Vera:

 One of the most proven home remedy in recent times is Aloe Vera.

Aloe vera is readily available in different forms at drug stores and natural food stores and is fairly inexpensive. This natural remedy has proven antibacterial, anti fungal and antiviral properties..Aloe Vera eye drops also contains Aloe to soothe inflammation. Aloe is gentle enough to be used in and around the eye.

Conclusion:

A word of caution: Not all red eyes are conjunctivitis. If red eyes or eye irritation persist after three day use of home remedies, please contact your eye specialist.

Medical Qigong.

Introduction;

Medical Qigong is an ancient form of Chinese energetic medicine; it is one of the four main branches of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), along with acupuncture, herbal medicine, and medical massage.

The Principle – how Qigong acts:

It is believed that disruptions in the electromagnetic energy of the body happen throughout our lifetime as a result of poor diet, sedentary lifestyle, injuries, surgery, suppression of emotions, and aging. The goal of qigong is to correct these bio-energetic imbalances and blockages. This enables the body to strengthen and regulate the internal organs, the nervous system and the immune system, relieve pain, regulate hormones, and strengthen and release deep-seated emotions and stress. What the Qigong practitioner does is he regulates the patient’s Qi energy and brings the patient back to health.

Medical qigong therapy consists of treatment by a practitioner to regulate the client’s qi. After the treatment the client will be given qigong prescriptions to assist in their ongoing healing. Tailored specifically to the client’s medical qigong exercises use physical movement, breathing methods and mental intention to correct and restore the function in the body.   Like any other system of health care, qigong is not a cure-all but a highly effective health care practice. Qigong as an important form of complementary and alternative medicine.

Common reasons for referring someone to Qigong instruction or therapy:

  • Management of chronic illness
  • Wellness promotion/preventative medicine
  • Stress management
  • Inability of Western medicine to clearly diagnose an illness or condition i.e. strange or bizarre symptoms that don’t conform to any known Western pattern of disease.
  • Patient requests for holistic or natural treatment options
  • Unacceptable risk (to patient or physician) of proposed medical interventions
  • Terminal illness: palliative or therapeutic stages

Some diseases that Qigong treats:

Hypertension: benefits include improved blood pressure control. decreased medication use, decreased mortality by offsetting of the progression of cardiovascular lesions and retinopathy .

Asthma: disorders which are affected by emotional components or stress are very amenable to Qigong.

Allergies: Studies show Qigong can affect the immune system and stabilize the effects of stress and emotions.

Stress and stress-related disorders:  Vague. Fatigue, tension headaches, poor concentration, difficulty sleeping, problems with appetite, vague aches and pains are amenable to Qigong therapy.  

Cancer: Many studies have been presented at scientific meetings about the beneficial effects of Qigong on cancer cells and tumors.

AIDS: It can ameliorate the effects of AIDS especially in the last stages.

Gastro-intestinal: Irritable bowel, peptic ulcer disease, poor appetite, constipation, hemorrhoids, etc are successfully treated with Qigong.

Chronic fatigue/fibromyalgia: These syndromes can be frustrating to treat with Western medicine. Qigong can help these patients rebuild their stores of Qi and balance their energy circulation.

Diabetes: There is evidence that Qigong can alter hormonal levels in the body. Specific Qigong techniques exist for diabetes mellitus.

Arthritis: Qigong appears to benefit rheumatoid as well as osteoarthritis. The exercises are gentle and generally easy to learn.

Musculoskeletal pains and sports injuries: Acute or chronic musculoskeletal injuries. Best used under the guidance of a trained Qigong practitioner to avoid further injury.

Low energy states: If Western medical investigations reveal no clear cause for fatigue or low energy states, it is likely due to Qi deficiency.

Conclusion:

Qigong therapy is a great alternate medicine tool for many vexing problems that the Western orthodox medicine cannot solve.

Bio-resonance therapy.

Introduction:

Bio-resonancet uses a machine to measure the frequency of energy wavelengths coming from the body. Those measures are then used to diagnose disease. Proponents of this therapy say it can also cure certain diseases.

However, there’s no sound scientific evidence that bio-resonance has a role in diagnosing or treating disease.

How does it work?

Bio-resonance is based on the idea that unhealthy cells or organs send out altered electromagnetic waves due to cellular damage at the DNA level

Proponents of bio-resonance believe that detection of these waves can be used to diagnose disease, while changing these waves back to their normal frequency will treat disease.

It can be useful in certain medical conditions:

Smoking cessation

Studies found that 77.2 percent of people in the bio-resonance group quit smoking after one week after therapy versus 54.8 percent in the placebo group.

Stomach pain

Bio-resonance has been used to treat stomach pain of unknown or undetermined origin.

Allergies and related conditions

Using bio-resonance to treat allergies and related conditions such as dermatitis and eczema and asthma can be controlled.

Controlled studies have had mixed or negative results as to whether Bio-resonance can help treat allergies.

Rheumatoid arthritis

Some studies suggest that bio-resonance might be effective in Rheumatoid arthritis by normalizing how the levels of anti-oxidants within the body.

These antioxidants help fight free radicals, which may help lessen tissue damage in people with RA.

Cancer

Some users of bio-resonance say that it can activate tumor suppressor genes or lessen the effects of overactive cells, both of which can “kill” cancer cells.

However, most cancer-causing genetic mutations cannot be reversed. Additionally, there are no studies demonstrating the effectiveness of bio-resonance in treating cancer.

Fibromyalgia

The combination of bio-resonance therapy, manual therapy, and point massage helps patients with fibromyalgia.

The study found a 72 percent improvement in muscular pain for the group that got bio-resonance therapy versus a 37 percent improvement for the other group.

Improvements in sleep patterns and sensitivity to weather changes were also found.

Over training syndrome in athletes

Overtraining syndrome, also known as burnout, occurs when an athlete doesn’t fully recover from training and competition.  In such cases Bio-resonance therapy helps the burnt out athletes.

Conclusion:

Most healthcare professionals agree that bio-resonance can’t diagnose or treat medical conditions or illnesses.

As noted above, there are some studies that show positive effects from bio-resonance. However, these studies only include a small number of people, and research has been limited. Much more research needs to be done to study the efficaciousness of this unique therapy.