Can Modern Medicine be holistic?
I often contemplated this question after I became a Reiki practitioner.
From infancy to adulthood, I was cared for by a kind and gentle family physician Dr. Vasudev. His prescriptions were also as gentle as him! For symptomatic relief, he often prescribed paracetamol – a very mild and safe drug. And thanks to the body’s innate healing mechanism, the most common infections I got as a child healed on their own.
Dr.Vasudev prescribed antibiotics only when indicated. Over the two decades that I consulted him, he must have prescribed antibiotics a maximum of three times!
In my early twenties, Reiki came into my life.
I came down with the flu right after my Reiki training class.
My temperature was very high. However, in the Reiki class, we were told to avoid modern medicines since Reiki was considered holistic healing.
After struggling with fever and extreme fatigue for a couple of days, I told my teacher I couldn’t take it anymore and took paracetamol to support myself.
Once I got better, I began contemplating the meaning of ‘holistic.’
Sure, I practice Reiki now. But does that mean I must not take modern medicines when required?
This question gave birth to an internal struggle and I was determined to find an answer. Every time I remembered Dr. Vasudev, I felt there was absolutely nothing wrong even if I chose to take modern medicines. I wasn’t popping them for pleasure! I took them only when I genuinely needed them.
The Universe must have heard my cry. Less than a month later, I crossed paths with Suraj.
When I looked into his eyes for the first time, I recognised a hidden light. He felt very familiar and my heart skipped a beat. I didn’t know yet that he was a doctor.
I told the Universe, “Looks like I found my soulmate! Universe, please tell me my intuition is correct.”
And the Universe whispered, “Wait and watch.”
When Suraj revealed he is a surgeon, my eyes almost popped out of my head!
“This sure is no coincidence,” I thought.
In spite of our contrasting backgrounds, we clicked.
Our subsequent union in marriage answered my question – “Can Modern Medicine be holistic?”
I soon saw that much like Dr. Vasudev, Suraj’s prescriptions were also very gentle. The drug he recommended most often was paracetamol too.
He prescribed an antibiotic for me just once. This was for a suspected bacterial infection, where the use of antibiotics was indicated. In the fourteen years that we have been together, I have needed antibiotics just once and he not even once!
He has told me repeatedly, “Most minor infections resolve on their own, irrespective of whether you choose to take medicine or not. In such cases, medicine is primarily for symptomatic relief. “
On the same note, he insisted, ” But if it’s a major infection or other health condition that requires your body to take external medical support, don’t you dare tell me you will not take it! I don’t care if you are a Reiki practitioner. Go ahead and do all the Reiki you want. But if your body genuinely needs support, I am not going to allow you to take any risks and you will take whatever treatment is required.”
And I was like, “Wow! You actually are another Dr. Vasudev!”
In our co-authored book “When Spirit Meets Science,” Suraj writes “Allowing the body to heal naturally when it can is a sign of strength while turning to external support when it cannot is a sign of wisdom.”
When I had episodes of acid reflux after our second baby arrived and my lifestyle took a hit, he didn’t tell me to blindly pop antacids!
He said antacids were only a temporary solution (I confess I took them when symptoms were severe).
He pointed out exactly where I was going wrong in my eating habits and asked me to become more mindful.
This advice made me reflect on my eating. I realised I was stuffing myself with food for emotional reasons! I worked on addressing my emotions and became more mindful in my eating. This made a positive difference to the health of my gut. This approach requires more effort than just popping an antacid and feeling fine right away. But in my particular case of acid reflux, this was the holistic way towards long-term healing.
Seeing my husband practice medicine ( not just with me but also with his own patients) gave me the conviction that modern medicine can also be ‘holistic.’
On the rare occasions that Suraj prescribes a medical treatment, I know in my bones that if he is recommending it, then I (or anyone in our family) ought not to think twice about it.
And when he says, “Just give it time. The body will heal itself,” I know that’s perfect advice too, and take it easy.
Reiki is present for me either way – calming, balancing, and softly supporting the remarkable human body in its process of healing!