Category Archives: Alternatives



Dr Wilheim Reich the father of this therapy believed that Bio-energy flowed through the body and considered that the repression of the emotions and sexual instincts could lead to blockages resulting in various rigid patterns and behavior and the tightening of specific muscle groups.  As such blockages increased, the energy flow in the organism was impeded and chronic instances led to a marked deterioration of health.  For Reich sexual energy was the essence of our existence and the climax experienced during the organism was essential to maintain positive health.  Reichian therapy dismantles the layers of pent up emotions.

The Reichian Body work therapy:

Dr Reich divided the body into seven zones at right angles to the spine and centered in: the eyes, mouth, neck, chest, diaphragm, abdomen and pelvis including the legs. His bodywork therapy included:

  • Deep breathing which helps the patient feel the stream of bio-energy flow in the form of tingling or pricking sensation.
  • Deep massage, which is applied to spastic muscles so that they become loosened up.
  • Facial expressions, Here the patient is taught to ‘make faces’ expressing certain emotions, while keeping eye contact with the therapist and maintaining certain patterns of breathing.
  • Chest work. The therapist pushes the chest while the patient exhales or screams.
  • Convulsive reflex work. This helps breaking the body Armour.
  • Stress positions.  Stress positions are pointed out and the patient is taught how to reduce body irritation and increase the sense of relaxation.
  • Active exercises help the patient to loosen up the body.
  • Eye exercises.  The patient rolls the eyes and opens them wide, as if in sudden amazement.
  • The mouth.  The patient makes crying, shouting or sucking motions and moves the lips in various ways.
  • The neck.  The patient is encouraged to yell to release pent up tensions.
  • Correction of the chest, diaphragm, abdominal movements and pelvic movements.  These special exercises are done to release negative emotions.


Reichian therapy is a systematic loosening of body tensions and is holistic in its approach to increase the natural energy flow in the body.



The plant, known, as the, ‘Malabar Nut’ is a small shrub found all over India. The Botanical name of this plant is ‘Justicia adhatoda.’  The bark, leaves, flowers and roots are used extensively in Ayurvedic medicine. It is also commonly called as ‘Vasaka.’

The Ayurvedic physicians prize this remedy very much and call it ‘BAIDYAMATA’ meaning ‘mother of all physicians.’  There is a Sanskrit hymn in praise of this remedy which says that, as long as Vasaka will remain, patients suffering from spitting of blood, phthisis and common cough and cold need not despair.  Ayurvedic physicians even proclaim that no death can take place from cough from any kind if Vasaka can play its role and be used judiciously to heal the patient.

Medicinal uses:

Ayurvedic Uses:  Charaka used it spitting of blood.  Sushruta found it an excellent remedy in tuberculosis, respiratory troubles and jaundice.  Bavaprakasha found it useful in fevers associated with biliousness and respiratory troubles. Charakadatta found it excellent in slow fevers and leprosy.  Bangasena found it useful in piles. In short, all major Ayurvedic books uniformly extol the virtues of Vasaka.

Homoeopathic physicians find this remedy useful hoarseness of the voice and rattling cough, sneezing and whenever copious yellow mucous is expectorated from the chest.

Allopathic research has revealed that it contains fat, resins, a bitter alkaloid, vasicine, an organic acid, adhatodic acid, sugar gum and salts. Allopathic research has also revealed that Vasaka has medicinal properties and is useful in rheumatism, constipation, asthma, chronic bronchitis and other chest affections.


Today, there is a sharp increase in respiratory disorders due to pollution. We are encountering antibiotic resistant bacteria.  There has also been a sharp increase in Community Acquired Pneumonias and Viral lung disorders. There is a tremendous resurgence of Tuberculosis due to the AIDS epidemic.

At such a time, more research should be done on herbs like Vasaka and our rapidly declining Bio-diversity. Our ancient traditions should be researched and preserved.



Springtime is the time for colds and flu all over the world. There is a very famous saying about cold and I quote –“spring is not the best of seasons. Cold and flu are two good reasons; wind and rain and other sorrow, warm today and cold tomorrow. Whoever said spring was romantic?  The word that best applies is frantic!”-Unquote.

The common cold and flu are essentially viral diseases and they defy all forms of orthodox treatment. In the old days it was taught to medical students that the common cold could be cured with medicines in one week and without medicines in seven days. This statement only reflects the frustration physicians and patients face while dealing with these debilitating and irritating diseases.

Some non-pharmacological ways of dealing with cold and flu:

  • Salt-water rinsing of the nostrils to avoid nasal congestion,
  • Covering up to stay warm and complete rest in bed.
  • Salt water gargling can moisten a sore throat and bring some relief. Gargling with tea is also helpful. Some people gargle with honey mixed with raspberry leaves and lemon juice.
  • Drinking plenty of warm liquids can help relieve nasal congestion, prevent dehydration, and soothe the uncomfortably inflamed nasal membranes
  • Taking a piping hot shower can moisturize the nasal passages and relax the aching body in cold and flu..

Eating certain foods that are rich in Vitamin A & C

  • Bananas
  • Bell Peppers.
  • Blueberries lower fevers and help with the aches and pains
  • Carrots
  • Chilli Peppers can open sinuses.
  • Cranberries
  • Mustard & Horseradish helps break up mucus in air passages.
  • Onion: Has phytochemicals that help in clearing infections.
  • Rice useful in influenza with diarrhoea.
  • Tea: Black and green tea act like natural antibiotics
  • Lemon and honey juice boost the immune system
  • Cayenne pepper helps keep you warm if you have a fever
  • Chamomile tea: gives good sleep and relaxation.
  • Peppermint tea is useful when sinuses are blocked. 
  • Ginger is useful for flu with stomach problems
  • Thyme is a good herb in coughs.
  •  Oregano: is good for colds and coughs.
  •  Sage is an excellent herb for sore throats and fevers.
  •  Cinnamon is an immune booster.


Even though natural methods are useful and gentle, care should be taken while prescribing these medicines in the elderly and the very young.  In both these cases a common cold can turn into a dangerous chest infection and if unchecked can lead to extreme morbidity and even death.





Dr. Fritz Perls, a Psychiatrist from Berlin is considered as the father of Gestalt therapy.  Early in his career, Dr Perls discovered that, for people to be whole or balanced, they needed to recognize bodily yearnings and impulses instead of disguising them.

Gestalt is a German word that refers to a pattern of parts making up a whole and the underlying principle of Gestalt psychology is that and analysis of parts does not lead to an understanding of the whole.

Dr. Perls was a curt and blunt therapist.  He devised stage demonstrations of Gestalt therapy, where he would invite members of the audience to participate with him in ‘role play’.  He used to have two chairs beside him.  One was the ‘hot seat’ in which the participant sat in, engaging in a dialogue with Dr. Perls.  The other chair was there to help persons to switch roles and enact different parts, engage in self-questioning processes. Frequently this method showed the participants their weaknesses and their limitations and how to set themselves free.

The Gestalt Therapy prayer:

Essentially Dr. Perls believed that each person lived in his own universe and had to take responsibility for his own behavior and growth. The well-known Gestalt prayer goes in this fashion:

I do my thing, and you do your own thing,

I am not in this world to live up to your expectations

And you are not in this world to live up to mine.

You are you and I am I,

And if by chance we find each other it’s beautiful.

If not, it can’t be helped.


Gestalt therapy is all about Self-awareness and experience.  The guiding principle is: Be aware of what you experience, how you experience your existence now and pay attention to how you sabotage ways by which you can attain awareness.  Dr. Perls also lay a lot of emphasis on dreams because he considered them as messages, which help people understand unfinished situations in life.

 In 1960, Dr. Fritz Perls set up the Gestalt Institute at Canada but did not live long enough to see it prosper.


Yoga, prayer and meditation, the Indian way is becoming popular in western countries.  Many Biofeedback research centers have opened there and scientists are studying the beneficial effect of prayer and meditation on the body and the mind. 

Meditation is a fundamental spiritual discipline of all major religions.  Meditation may be defined as a withdrawal or the reversal of one’s consciousness from the body and the world, into the realm of the soul. It is an inward journey onto the bright path of contemplation of God.  Meditation helps one to have more awareness of oneself. It helps us experience a state of internal freedom and a sense of joy.

Medically speaking, regular Meditation and Prayer helps us in the following way:

  1. It reduces stress. 
  2. It bolsters the immunity of the body.
  3. It increases the memory and will power.
  4. It can slow down the progress of cancers and certain forms of degenerative diseases.
  5. It prevents the premature aging of the body.
  6. It helps fighting psychosomatic disorders.
  7. It helps fight depression, phobias and fears.

Thus, both Meditation and Prayer can be valuable modern medical tools in many branches of Medicine such as; Psychiatry, Cardiovascular Medicine, Respiratory Medicine, Geriatrics, Gastro-enterology, Skin and Connective tissue diseases, Sports and Aviation medicine. Meditation and Prayer can be valuable tools in terminal diseases like cancers and AIDS and help in alleviating pain in the terminal stages of such diseases.


Yoga is very popular in the West today. The Yoga postures (asanas) help the body by correcting faulty body posture, by increasing the secretion of naturally occurring substances called Endorphins in the body (these substances help give the body a sense of well being and freedom from pain).  Yoga helps to reduce the levels of pain producing prostaglandin in the body. (This is very useful in combating pain in arthritic conditions). Yoga positively helps the regulation of various organs and glands in the body.  Yoga has a beneficial effect on the Endocrine glands and this explains why it helps combat diseases like Stress mediated Diabetes Mellitus.  Yoga also regulates the activity of the muscle spindles in the body and this in turn helps the muscles to relax.

Pranayama or controlled breathing practices can be another very useful tool in Medicine.  There are many kinds of Pranayama and should be taught by experts. Pranayama also works the same way as Yoga and prayer and increases the oxygenation in the tissues and helps better elimination of carbon dioxide and other waste products.


The Alexander Technique is an Alternative Health therapy. It was developed by, F. Matthias Alexander, who was a Tasmanian.  Alexander was a talented actor and recitalist.  As a young man, during his stint as a miner and an amateur recitalist, he would lose his voice and none of the orthodox systems of medicine helped him.  He then resorted to studying his own posture in a mirror and he noticed that the position of the head was affecting his entire pattern of his body movement.   His head sagged and this depressed his larynx. He found that consciously lifting his head vertically, he was able to improve his vocal disorder.  Gradually, Alexander was convinced that the body should move with maximum balance and co-ordination, so that only minimal effort was made for any given activity.  He concluded that good posture, aided natural breathing patterns, good blood circulation and eased the pressure on the vertebrae.

There are seven basic movements of raising the head upward.

The head and the body should be maintained vertically during sitting.

The hands should be moved horizontally in front of the chest, then raised above the head and lowered to rest on the thighs.

Walking with ease so that the head moves upward and away from the body. Moving the legs, the right leg is raised until the thigh is parallet to the floor, so that the line of the hips should be parallel to the floor

Heel and toes, the toes should be placed on the floor while the heel is raised and lowered.  This helps in reducing the tension and makes the movement freer and more relaxed.

Knee bending should be done while the body is perpendicular to the ground. The hips and ankles should never be bent.

Standing up and sitting down should be with minimum amount of effort in rising from the sitting up to the standing position.

Conclusion: The Alexander technique is a Holistic therapy and stresses the direct relationship between the body movement and mental balance. The Alexander technique is very popular in the West and in Hong Kong and Singapore.



In the late 1970’s, allopathic physicians foolishly believed that the war on the bugs was won. It was during this period, when there was spectacular development of new antibiotics like Doxycycline and a new class of antibiotics called as the Cephalosporins.  The World Health Organization was talking of a slogan, ‘ HEALTH FOR ALL BY THE YEAR 2000 A.D.’

Little did allopathic physicians realize that the bacteria and the viruses were hatching their own diabolical plan to make man helpless against their onslaught.  In the 1970’s complementary systems were generally looked down upon and Alternative therapy schools were few and far between and people looked down upon Alternative health practitioners..

President Richard Nixon’s visit to the US to China did sparkle  a brief interest in Acupuncture.  Then we had the devastating epidemic of HIV-AIDS in the 80’s. It was becoming evident that the sexually transmittable diseases were making a come back. There were other viruses such as SARS, Bird flu. The humble staphylococcus was becoming resistant to Vancomycin and new terms called as MRSA, ESBL’s,  VRE’s  became common words to describe these super bugs. It now seemed that medicine had turned around one full circle. Practitioners of medicine realized that they should also concentrate on the immunity of the community, instead of going after the bugs alone. Complementary medicine made a big come back in the late 80’s and 90’s.

Alternative medicine schools:

Alternative medicine schools or Naturopathic schools provide unique teaching methods that are not available in allopathic schools. These schools incorporate the Mind-Body and the Soul concept in their teaching.  They integrate divine, , and religious traditions, along with emerging complementary systems of medicine in their teaching curriculum.    Alternative medicine schools often include many alternative healing modalities such as; Ayurveda; homeopathy naturopathy;; acupuncture and acupressure; chiropractic; hydrotherapy; hypnotherapy; and many other Holistic therapies

It is well known that a disease is caused by a triad of factors;  THE AGENT (bug), THE HOST RESISTANCE AND ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS.  The primary belief of holistic medicine schools is that the virus or the bug is not the cause of disease. They believe that diseases are caused as a consequence of the body’s reaction to the pathogen.  These practitioners focus on improving the person’s immunity to fight off disease.


Various naturopathic medical schools teach natural healing methods that are effective in treating a wide array of major and minor medical conditions.  Medical research has proved that many of the complementary systems are indeed very effective.  It is seen that the demand for such schools and practitioners is growing.  Complementary  Medicine promotes patient empowerment and promotes health in a holistic way.  Alternative medicine schools also teach the value of good nutrition, supplemental vitamins and minerals.  It also promotes the use of herbal medicine.  More and more Alternative Medical Schools are springing up the world over and they offer a great career option to holistically minded students.



The late Prime minister of India, Mr. Morarji Desai created quite a flutter, when he openly propagated drinking one’s own urine for good health. Since then, a lot of laboratories all over the world have been engaged in research to find out the efficacy of this therapy.

Historical and Religious Evidence:

Ayurvedic masters like, Sushrutha, Vagabhatta and Harita have explicitly extolled the medical virtues of auto-urine therapy. In the Damar Tantra, Lord Shiva has given a discourse to Devi Parvati about the benefits of drinking one’s own urine.

Dr. John Armstrong of the USA has claimed that even the Testament extorts people to drink their own urine. To quote – “Drink waters out of thine own cistern” – unquote.

Tibetan and Buddhists lamas live long and healthy lives by drinking their own urine.

It is well known that Gypsies, sailors, criminals and dacoits drink their own urine to maintain health and strength.

The chemical composition of urine:

Urine is rich is Urea nitrogen, urea, uric acid, amino nitrogen, minerals and trace elements, enzymes (amylase, lactic dehydrogenace, Urokinase), hormones and urobilinogen.

Auto-urine therapy may be useful:

  • Urine contains essential nutrients
  • It contains highly active enzymes such as; urokinase, that can burst clots in the heart and prevent heart attacks.
  • It contains valuable salts for the body.
  • It possesses anti-bacterial properties.
  • Increase the body immunity
  • Improve the kidney function
  • Confers longevity and good health and acts like an elixir for a healthy life.

Limitations of Auto Urine therapy:

  • It should be avoided in Diabetes Mellitus.
  • It should be avoided in all disorders where salt is contraindicated, example in severe hypertension.
  • It should not be used in Kidney failure.


This therapy is extremely controversial. Many Allopathic physicians are skeptical about the benefits of Auto-urine therapy and they argue that urine is a substance that has been rejected by the body, so why drink it?  There are others who feel that urine may contain pathogenic bacteria.  There can be endless debates, but numbers of persons drinking their own urine is on the rise.



The World Health Organisation states, “health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”. In more recent years, this statement has been modified to include the ability to lead a “socially and economically productive life.” (ref: WHO definition of health)

But most experts argue that Health is not a state, but rather a spectrum, where one end of the spectrum is death and the other end of the spectrum is complete health.  Most of us tend to fluctuate into states that are in between the two stated extreme bands.

The interest in Holistic Medicine:

In recent years there has been a plethora of new diseases such as AIDS, other viral infections like SARS and BIRD FLU, an increase of Stress related diseases such as Diabetes, Coronary artery disease, and an ever increasing list of psychiatric illnesses.

Faced with ever increasing nuisances of modern day diseases, Allopathic as a system has been found woefully inadequate. Many patients feel that the allopathic physician is very impersonal and treats only a particular diseased organ instead of treating the patient as a whole entity.

Dissatisfied with the Allopathic system, more patients are seeking treatment outside the allopathic system and resorting to Alternative systems of medicine.

What is Holistic Medicine?

Holistic medicine is not a single system like the Allopathic system. It is a Complementary system of Medicine that aims to treat the individual as a whole; MIND BODY AND SOUL. Here the practitioner aims to treat the whole individual, rather than one diseased part of the body.

Holistic medicine is based on the premise that for a body to be healthy, the mind should be at in harmony and tranquil so that the soul force may express itself throughout the individual and result in positive and vibrant health.

Holistic Health Practitioner may combine, Nutritional therapy, massage therapy, counselling, herbs, reflexology, acupressure, yoga, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Homeopathy, Ayurveda, Reiki and many other holistic methods to gently ease the body into health from a diseased state.

The advantages that Holistic health practitioners offer:

  • The therapies are gentle and generally free from side effects.
  • There are a wide variety of therapies for the patients to choose from.
  • The body is cleansed of toxins.
  • The patient experiences a genuine sense of well being.
  • Most Holistic health practitioners are very attentive and take a detail history and the patients feel that they are being properly heard.
  • The patients feel better when they are treated as whole.


Holistic Health practitioners are becoming more sought after the world over despite the ridicule they constantly face from their learned allopathic colleagues.  Unfortunately, more research has to be done to scientifically integrate the complementary systems with the mainstream orthodox system of medicine.


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.


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.”