modern medicine, reiki, when spirit meets science

The Miracle Of Acceptance: Mental Health Breakthroughs

Earlier this year, I received a call from a Reiki student of mine. She said she was ready to do her Master Level Training.

This woman had been diagnosed with a major mental health challenge in 2015. It was so severe that she was hospitalized for some days and received psychiatric treatment.

After she regained some stability and normalcy, she approached me for Reiki training.

Soon after she received her Level 1 attunement, she had some breakthroughs in her personal and professional life.

She dropped by one day to share her happiness with me.

As we chatted and laughed together, her face suddenly turned grim.

She said, “Haripriya, I feel so blessed. I bounced back to normalcy pretty quickly after this mental health crisis. And then Reiki came into my life and I experienced such wondrous shifts.”

“That’s so good for you, isn’t it?” I said, wondering why she looked serious.

“Yes. But I really don’t like the fact that psychiatric treatment is going to be a permanent part of my life. I know I risk a relapse if I discontinue treatment. And I don’t like this one bit! I wish I had been cured for good. But I know there isn’t a cure for this condition at the moment. Can you help me here?” she said.

Since I have no medical background, I felt I ought not to offer random advice.

So, I said, “I understand your feelings. Please give me some time. I will get back to you with some insight into this. Meanwhile, please continue with whatever medical treatment you may be on and do keep up with your Reiki practice too.”

I then spoke to a couple of psychiatrists I know well.

I understood from them that-

1. While some people with mental health challenges need just simple short-term treatment, others require ongoing longer-term treatment.
2. Many people fear the side effects of psychiatric drugs but don’t understand that the risks of not taking them when medically indicated are far worse than any side effect they may experience. Some others view a psychiatric diagnosis as a ‘stigma’ and have a hard time accepting the challenge they are faced with.
3. Many people give in to fear or misconception midway and abruptly stop treatment. This then puts them at a risk for relapse. And treatment gets more difficult with every episode of relapse. Patients then place the blame on the treatment itself, saying it didn’t help, remaining blind to the fact that they were not patient enough to stick with it, and discontinued midway (or modified treatment as they deemed fit).
4. The best outcomes are experienced by people who move forward with a sense of trust, who abide by medical advice from a professional they trust, and who are consistent in their effort to get better.

After I had a thorough understanding of this, I called my student over for a discussion and explained everything I had understood to her.

She broke down.

“This is exactly what I am going through,” she wept, “I simply cannot accept the fact that I have this problem. I feel like I am a crazy woman or something.”

I held her hand and said, “I understand. It’s OK to be upset. And you aren’t a crazy woman. Please trust me when I say this. Do allow yourself some time to grieve. But whenever you are ready, do you think you can come to an acceptance of the situation? I can help you if you require support.”

She said, “I will try.”

She called me after four months.

Even before I could ask her a question, she said excitedly, “Haripriya, I have been practicing Reiki every day without missing a single day in between. I feel this has helped me accept my situation as it is and I am feeling WAY lighter. This acceptance has also helped me look at the positive side. My medical treatment is helping me lead a near-normal life. I am no longer the pale woman I used to be. I have a lot more energy and zest for life. I am motivated enough to take care of myself. I spend time in nature after work every day. I have joined a weekend aerobic class and I also took swimming lessons last month! I even managed to attend a high school reunion yesterday. This would have been impossible for my previous self! I so hated meeting people when I was affected by that condition. And the icing on the cake is that I even received a promotion at work! My doctor says I am making excellent progress and that if I continue this way, my need for medication and therapy would be tailored accordingly.”

Her voice was reverberating with excitement and I held back from saying anything until she had poured her heart out.

She finally finished with the sentence – “My ability to accept my situation for what it is and keeping up with treatment brought about these miraculous shifts!”

I said, “Wow, wow, wow! I am so very happy for you. Keep shining like a star!”

She went on to do Reiki Level 2 in 2016. And she is now a Reiki 3A practitioner!

She is doing great. When required, she has no hesitation in revealing that she is on long-term psychiatric treatment for a condition that has no cure at the moment.

She has accepted her life as it is and does everything in her power to support herself physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and also medically.

She doesn’t care what anyone thinks of her anymore for she is so busy living her life to the fullest.

She no longer sees herself as a broken lunatic. She sees herself as an empowered woman who has risen like a phoenix from the ashes!

This is an image of heart made with hands in a blog post on Celebrating Love by Haripriya Suraj in her blog When Spirit Meets Science
modern medicine, reiki

Primum Non Nocere – First Do No Harm

When Suraj and I were newly married, we met a Reiki practitioner friend of mine.

After engaging in small talk for a while, my friend began to talk to Suraj about Reiki.

She spoke of how Reiki had helped her in terms of physical wellness, personal development, synchronistic happenings and spiritual growth. Everything she shared seemed pleasant and plausible. Suraj listened earnestly to her.

Suddenly, the tone changed and she began to talk about how Reiki had helped her charge electronics, stop a hailstorm, and also clear traffic jams.

I noticed the expression on Suraj’s face changed for a split second. I knew this may have been a tad too much for a scientific person like him. However, he was polite and continued to listen with interest.

The conversation took an even crazier turn when my friend finally claimed that her Reiki teacher had cured hypertension, heart disease, and even cancer through Reiki.

At this point, I knew Suraj had much to say. However, for my sake, he probably just listened and didn’t get into an argument with her.

On our way back home, I said, “I guess everything my friend shared was a bit ‘too much’ for you.”

He was quiet for a few seconds, after which he said, “You see, the problem is not about something being ‘too much.’ What concerns me is the potential harm that can come out of claims that no one can verify.”

This was all new to me back then. So, I said, “Can you elaborate?”

“If Reiki is really able to charge devices and clear storms, is there harm to anyone?” he asked.

“No, there isn’t. I understand it may be hard to believe such stuff. I think what she meant was when you have a strong enough intention, miraculous things happen. Reiki is just an instrument to make something happen,” I explained.

“That’s alright. But my point is – this claim causes no harm to anyone. And if Reiki can perform such feats, good for the world,” he went on, “But the other stuff she said about her teacher curing hypertension, heart disease, and cancer is what I am concerned about. If there is even the slightest bit of untruth there, you do know it can end up causing harm right?”

“Can you elaborate again?” I asked.

“I constantly see cancer patients who try a hundred other therapies and finally land in the hospital with advanced disease. By the time they approach us, it’s too late for us to help. If the same people had come at an early stage, they could have easily been cured,” he said.

“Yes. I understand,” I said.

“Your friend started off sounding perfectly normal. And there was a sudden jump to a totally different wavelength that didn’t match what she said initially. Unless there is solid evidence to support medical claims, I don’t think they should be made. It has the potential to mislead another. You owe it to Reiki to talk about its true essence and beauty,” he said.

I listened quietly and contemplated his words.

“If her teacher claimed she could make an aircraft fly through Reiki and that there was no need for technology or for a pilot, would you board the aircraft?” he asked.

“No way!” I said.

“Because you clearly see the practical aspects of it – you recognise the dangers of allowing an aircraft to take off without solid evidence that Reiki can make it fly. Then why wouldn’t you question tall medical claims like these?” he asked.

Based on this conversation that happened way back in 2008, Suraj wrote in our co-authored book ‘When Spirit Meets Science’-

A very important guiding principle taught to all medical students is ‘Primum Non Nocere’ which in Latin means, ‘First, do no harm.’ It is wiser to do nothing than to do something which would make a sick person worse.

From this tenet of non-maleficience emerges the need for evidence.

If a doctor/healer offers something to a patient, he should be as certain as possible that it works. The downside of not being certain is that it often creates more harm than good. Even if a particular therapy does not cause direct harm to a patient, it may cause indirect harm by preventing him from taking therapy that would have been more effective.

When in doubt, the principle of ‘Primum Non Nocere’ acts as a guiding light.

It took me some years to to truly understand the essence of this principle. Now, I am able to see and honour it completely and I also apply it in my own Reiki practice.

modern medicine, womb healing

Womb Surgery: Black, White, Or Grey?

Some months back, a good friend of ours, who is a counselor, said to Suraj, “You know, all these surgeries that you doctors perform on the pregnant womb leave a deep scar not just on the body but also on the mind. I really think they ought not to be done.”

Since she was so blunt, Suraj was also equally blunt and asked, “Well, what do you want us to do then? Just allow pregnant women with life-threatening conditions to bleed to death? It’s a question of saving someone’s life or saving their womb. What would you recommend in that situation?”

Our friend smiled and said, “Yes, of course. I’m sorry. I guess I didn’t look at the situation from that perspective. Just wondering how these women can be helped with the repercussions of what they go through.”

“Well, that’s what people like you and Haripriya are here for. So, go ahead and help them!” he said.

“Right. Of course,” she said and laughed.

Recently, I heard about a patient with a medical condition called ‘Placenta Accreta’ where the placenta grows into the wall of the uterus. Under normal circumstances, the placenta detaches from the uterine wall post childbirth. However, this condition causes the placenta to remain attached. After delivery, this can cause severe blood loss and endanger the mother’s life. Very often, surgical removal of the uterus along with the baby is the medical solution to keep the mother safe.

My heart went out to this patient. I felt it must be such a difficult time for her.

From a psychological standpoint, the question that may arise in such a situation is-

Has this woman lost a significant part of herself- her womb?
Many women would say – ‘Yes.’

Could this woman be emotionally distressed by the loss of her womb?
Possibly. The degree of distress may vary from person to person. But some distress is natural.

The other question that usually troubles many is –

Could the surgery have been avoided?
And very often, the answer to that question is ‘Not if you want to save her life.’

Losing an organ is not easy at all. And it can certainly have a negative impact on the psyche.

But, sometimes, surgery seems to be the safest solution for a person, so life can go on.

Over the centuries, millions of women have risked their lives to give birth. In the current time, with hospitals, cesarean sections, bright lights, and high-tech instruments, the process of childbirth may not have a natural feel to it. But there has never been a safer time to give birth either.

One thing I have learned over the years is this –

Situations aren’t always black and white.
Very often, they are grey.

Is surgery on the womb a negative thing to happen to a person?
The answer can never be a simple yes because there are so many factors to consider.

Do difficult unnatural birthing experiences result in the formation of traumatic memories within mother and baby? I don’t know if conventional science would agree. But, as an energy healer, I do believe they can.

But again, it’s about weighing the trauma experienced against the benefit received from the unnatural birthing experience. If there was benefit to mother or baby, it makes sense to feel grateful for the same, while also acknowledging the pain one may have felt along the way. Healing ourselves from the painful aspect of the experience comes next so we can be free to move on.

To achieve a complete understanding, situations have to be seen from different perspectives. And choices have to be made based on what’s best for a person in a given situation. Most people would probably agree that saving a life comes first.

One thing is for certain – it is possible to heal from even the most distressing of situations, including the loss of the womb.

Grief, guilt, shame, and a myriad of distressing emotions may have to be dealt with along the way. But there is a way to heal.

And as long as there is a way, there is hope.
,

modern medicine, when spirit meets science

Your Health, Whose Responsibility?

Many of us think having one illness to deal with is a big thing in itself.

But ever so often, I hear of people who are battling so many illnesses all at once.

Every three months or so, Suraj will have a patient diagnosed with cancer but who also has been coping with multiple other illnesses, one after the other.

The patient profile will be somewhat like this-

  1. Smoker
  2. Obese
  3. Uncontrolled hypertension for 15 years
  4. Uncontrolled diabetes for 10 years
  5. Borderline kidney disease
  6. Heart attack 3 years back.
  7. Cardiac bypass done
  8. Stroke one year back
  9. And now another major surgery for cancer

Sometimes, non-smokers and people who aren’t obese also feature on this list.

I can’t help but wonder how someone can have so many bodily troubles all at once and what went wrong – physically, mentally, emotionally or spiritually –  that they ended up in this position.

In some cases, it’s obvious people brought their misery upon themselves – as in the case of smokers, alcoholics, and people who don’t comply with medical advice with regards to medication and lifestyle. In other cases, the reason for their misery is not obvious and it may require some soul searching to arrive at an answer. I empathise more with the latter category.

There was one patient who had a history of multiple illnesses and was also diagnosed with cancer. Even after successful completion of his treatment for cancer, he landed in hospital every few months. Reason being – his addiction to smoking was making him fall sick over and over again – in different ways.

He was advised repeatedly to stop smoking. But he refused to even try – never mind that he had to end up in the ICU every few months.

Sometimes, such patients also have an attitude. They say – “Doctor, you don’t worry about my smoking. Your job is only to treat us, make us get well and out of this hospital.”

And when some such patients succumb to their illness, their family thinks the doctor was responsible for not helping them get better!

Never mind that the patient didn’t care to take any responsibility for their own health. And talk about conveniently placing the blame on others so we can be blind to our own shortcomings!

Unfortunately, law requires that anyone who comes in for conventional treatment be offered the same, irrespective of how they lead their lives or how they behave in hospital.

If people with such attitudes come to me for energy healing, I would bid them goodbye very soon and tell them I cannot help them set their lives right. And no one could sue me for it!

modern medicine, when spirit meets science, womb healing

Womb Healing For Cesarean Birth Mamas

I know a lot of women who are unhappy about the fact that they required a cesarean section to bring their babies into the world.

They usually report feeling angry or inadequate, like they weren’t capable of giving birth naturally.

While it is perfectly normal to feel those emotions, this is a trauma you don’t want to carry in your womb. On the healing path, we have enough to deal with already. For our own well-being, it is best we learn to see things we couldn’t have done much about from higher perspectives so we may be free to move forward.

Womb Healing For Cesarean Birth Mamas

  1. Completely acknowledge the emotions you are feeling. Journal about them or use EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique). The more you acknowledge them, the faster they are neutralized and easier they become to release. This paves way for you to see the same upsetting event from a different perspective and heal yourself in the process.
  2. Reflect on why you needed a cesarean section in the first place. You would have been informed by your medical team about why you required the surgery. This surgery is done when allowing labour to progress naturally poses a risk to the baby or mother. Until several decades back, rates of infant and maternal mortality were pretty high. Women risked their lives in order to give birth. Thanks to advances in medicine that make a timely diagnosis of complications and intervention possible, mortality rates have been brought down significantly. Yes, you were deprived of your natural birthing experience. However, you or your baby also gained something in the process. Acknowledging the benefit you received will help you release the associated trauma faster and may even bring in feelings of gratitude.
  3. Contemplate on feelings of ‘let down’ you may be holding on to. If you feel like your body let you down by not allowing you to birth naturally, ask yourself if that’s true or if it’s just another limiting belief you’ve taken on. A lot of women hold on to the belief that in order to be seen as women they must be perfect in every way – fair, beautiful, slim, blemishless, perfect moms, wives, and daughters and the list goes on. Could it be that you’re harbouring a subconscious belief that says you must also be the perfect ‘birther’ of life?
  4. Nature is perfect and imperfect at the same time. There is nothing like a ‘perfect birther.’ Left to nature, births happen perfectly and imperfectly all the time. Left to nature, some mothers and offspring survive, some don’t. This is the case with animals too, and not just humans. That’s just how nature works on Planet Earth. When seen from this perspective, have you ever considered that it may not even be your fault or your body’s fault that you couldn’t have a perfect natural birth?
  5. Having said that, it’s also equally true (at least for those of us on the healing path) that our outer world is a reflection of our inner world. There are times when we know why we manifested a certain experience into our lives. There could be soul lessons to learn, especially if something bothers us more than it should. Looking at an experience from your soul’s perspective may help you find answers to deeper questions you may be asking and bring solace to your body, mind, heart, and soul.

In conclusion, remember, we are at a pivotal point in the story of humanity. Many of us women now have the freedom to awaken to the power of our Divine Feminine and our wombs. Nothing that you experienced – physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and medically – can stop you from awakening and connecting to your womb on a whole new level. The only thing that can stop anyone is their reluctance to see events from more balanced perspectives and their unwillingness to let go of stored pain. Accepting life for what it presents while also being open to its mysteries and newer possibilities can bring peace and healing.

energy medicine, modern medicine, when spirit meets science

Energy Principles: When Resistance Blocks Flow

The minute he saw us, he began the conversation with a snide remark – “What Suraj? How is your practice going? I wish you had been a doctor of natural medicine! I would have come to you for treatment of all my ailments.”

We recently met an Uncle of mine at a family gathering. Something seems to come over him when he sees Suraj. He is ‘anti-modern medicine’ and believes allopathy (modern medicine) is ‘bad medicine.’ He tries to drag Suraj and me into pointless arguments that prove his belief is valid.

Since one cannot reason with Uncle, we try to limit our conversations and excuse ourselves politely as quickly as possible. However, this time around, I decided we had had enough and chose to give him a piece of my mind (with due respect).  

Suraj simply smiled when Uncle began the conversation in a strange manner as always. He is now used to his annoying ways and has stopped participating in these medical discussions. But I said –

“Well, I think Suraj is great doing exactly what he is doing. He’s helping so many cancer-afflicted people live a long and disease-free life.”

Uncle ignored my comment and went on in a judgmental tone.

“Allopathy cannot cure a single disease – diabetes, hypertension, arthritis – you name it. Plus all those side effects to deal with.”

He glanced at Suraj, who chose not to comment. But I couldn’t stop myself.  

“Well, allopathy may not be able to cure many illnesses, including hypertension and diabetes. But applied in the right manner, it can certainly manage them effectively,” I said.

“Well, you are wrong Haripriya,” he said.

“No Uncle, I’m not. So many in our own family are alive today only because, thanks to modern medicine, they have been able to manage hypertension and diabetes well. Mind you – I’m saying ‘manage,’ not cure. And some died miserably because they left those conditions unmanaged. And you know who all these people are,” I said.

“Well, that doesn’t mean anything,” he said.

“What does it mean then? I asked.

“I have always lived in accordance with principles of natural medicine. I believe in preventive medicine. I take only natural medicine for all my ailments. Everyone in our family could have done the same,” he said.

“Uncle, if you have always lived by principles that you believe prevent illnesses, why did you develop so many ailments in the first place?” I asked, “Should you not have been disease-free?”

The expression on his face changed.

“Well, my bad luck probably,” he said, “But it’s my good luck I choose to take natural medicine for my ailments.”

“Then why did you undergo an angioplasty when you were diagnosed with a heart condition?” I asked, “Isn’t that a modern medical procedure too? Couldn’t you heal it the natural way?”

“No choice there dear,” he said

“We always have a choice Uncle. If a treatment is all ‘bad’ and there’s absolutely nothing good about it, why take it at all?” I asked.  

Uncle laughed, “You don’t understand Haripriya.”

“So, help me understand the logic Uncle. What are your current blood pressure and blood sugar readings? You said they were high last year. Are they under control now?” I went on.

“Oh, don’t you worry about that!” he said, sounding hesitant to answer my question and changed the subject, “You talk in favour of modern medicine because your husband is a surgeon. Being a Reiki practitioner, you should be able to understand what I am trying to say.”

“You are mistaken Uncle. I don’t talk this way because Suraj is a surgeon. I talk like this because I have learned to see things from a neutral perspective. Nothing can be all bad. Good sides exist too. Modern Medicine is practiced world over and everyone knows people who have benefited from it one way or the other. To say allopathy is all bad and can’t manage any disease sounds biased to me,” I said.

“Well, you can come talk to my Yoga teacher. He will explain to you in detail about the dangers of allopathy,” he said.

“I can learn all about that from my husband right here Uncle. He is able to explain perfectly well the risks of any modern medicine or medical procedure. But he is also able to explain the benefits offered by the same. All benefits and risks are rigorously documented. Nothing is sugar-coated. Modern medical treatments are meant to be taken only when their benefits outweigh their risks. And when that’s the case, I don’t see any reason why they shouldn’t be taken when genuinely required,” I said. 

“Well, Haripriya, you are blind,” he said and patted me on the head with a smile.

“I’d rather be blind than biased Uncle,” I said, “When I am biased towards anything in life, my energy drops. When I talk bad of something, even if it’s just a form of medicine, life ensures I get a dose of exactly that which I was resisting! But when I am able to see the greater good in everything, while also being aware of the potential negatives, my life flows with ease and I am at peace. I have learned my lessons the hard way.”

“Well, all this sounds like Greek and Latin to me!” he said.

‘It won’t be if you work with energy Uncle,” I said, “Why don’t you get trained in Reiki?”

At that point, another person entered the room, our conversation ended and Uncle walked away.

“Whew! What came over you today?” asked Suraj.

“Nothing! I just spoke my heart,” I said, “Hopefully, we will never have one of these draining conversations with Uncle again!”

“Hmm… Let’s see. Knowing him, you never know!” said Suraj.

Two hours passed and there was no sign of Uncle. As we prepared to leave, he appeared suddenly and said, “Haripriya, I will get in touch with you regarding Reiki. I wish to learn this strange language you speak!”

“You’re most welcome to Uncle. Call me and we’ll plan it out, ” I said.

“God bless,” he uttered and left.

What’s going to happen next? I will know only after I receive that phone call from him! I am certain it will come exactly when he is ready for it – not one moment sooner or later.

modern medicine, reiki, when spirit meets science

The Joy Of Offering Reiki To Loved Ones

Recently, I offered Reiki to my husband Suraj after a very tiring day he had at work.

He had to perform a complex cancer surgery involving four major organs – the esophagus, stomach, and spleen had to be removed completely, and a portion of the pancreas also had to be removed. A segment of the intestine had to be brought up and converted into a new esophagus.

Just listening to the details of the surgery made me feel overwhelmed and I thought to myself,

“You sure need a lot of stamina, and courage to do this kind of work!”

I could also imagine how tiring it may have been for the surgical team. This extensive procedure required him and his supporting team to be on their feet for almost seven hours at a stretch.

When he returned home, I saw he was super exhausted. His neck and shoulders seemed to be hurting.

He had asked me for Reiki the evening prior to this long surgery. But I was exhausted and promised to do it the next day. Considering how difficult the surgery was, offering Reiki after he was done with it turned out to be of greater benefit.

As I placed my palms over his third eye chakra, his breathing became softer, his body loosened up and he began to relax.

When I had my palms on his throat chakra, he suddenly opened his eyes and flashed a warm smile at me.

No words were required. The smile told me he was enjoying the Reiki.

He closed his eyes and drifted back into a state of deep relaxation again.

I felt grateful for the opportunity to share the gift of Reiki with an individual who is constantly giving to others in need of his services.

As I worked my way through the chakras, I noticed that his shoulders and some other chakras needed extra attention. However, overall, the energy flowed easily and he received all of it with zero resistance. When the session was done, he got up feeling energized and rejuvenated.

One of the gifts of Reiki is being able to share it with those we love and cherish the most.

I have been offering Reiki to my family and friends for years now and I must say those have been among the best sessions. I feel this is because there is an already established exchange of love with the people we are closest to. Sharing Reiki seems to make that bond of love even stronger.

What are your experiences of offering Reiki to those you love? I would love to hear from you!

modern medicine, when spirit meets science

The Human Touch

The big brown eyes seemed to hold deep wisdom.  Even while I was talking with her mother, six-year-old Gowri’s (name changed) gaze never left my face. She appeared to be assessing me.

“Oh yes, she understands all that we say,” her mother said, “But she doesn’t talk to strangers.”

Throughout her pre-operative evaluation over the next few days, Gowri didn’t say a word to me despite my best efforts to hold a conversation with her.  As a surgical oncologist, my encounters are predominantly with older adults.  Maybe I had lost the knack for connecting with young children.

The day of surgery arrived. Unlike most children I have seen, Gowri was extraordinarily calm. She was sedated by the anesthesiologist in the presence of her mother and taken to the operating theatre. The surgery itself was a little more difficult than usual but all went well and it was over in about two hours.

My anesthesiology colleague was extremely gentle in waking Gowri out of anesthesia.  But as soon as she regained consciousness, she seemed very restless. The nurses tried to calm her down. She held up the little finger of her right hand.  The nurse asked her “Do you feel like peeing, child?” She shook her head.  But she still held up her little finger.

Was her finger hurting? The surgery was on her neck, so why would she show her little finger?  I ran all possible explanations in my head –  Was there any pressure on her hand during surgery? An electrocautery injury? An embolism into an artery supplying her hand? I was standing off to the side, but I came to take a closer look.  She had seen me in my scrubs before and recognized me immediately.  I took her hand to examine it – she immediately clasped her little finger around my own little finger and instantly became calm.

I tried my best but couldn’t examine her hand well in this position. My rational, non-emotional, clinical mind wanted to rule out any issue with her hand. But Gowri seemed to be content now. I kept holding her finger throughout her recovery from anesthesia and during her transfer to the post-operative ward. She had become her old calm self. After some time, we called her mother into the ward to see her.

Teary-eyed and anxious, Gowri’s mother came to her daughter’s bedside. Seeing her mother, Gowri gave a tiny smile. With the mother happily fussing over her, Gowri’s finger relaxed and let my hand go.  Quickly I checked her hand again to make sure all was OK. It was.

All Gowri had wanted was a human touch.

This article was first published on https://drsurajmanjunath.com/the-human-touch/

modern medicine, when spirit meets science

Intuition In Medicine

What is this mysterious inner knowing?

That seems to keep life flowing.

When rationality does not find a way,

Intuition steps in with secrets to say.

The word ‘intuition’ is rarely used in medical terminology. But considering that medicine is both a science and an art, practitioners frequently use their intuition, irrespective of whether they are aware of it or not.

Very often, a doctor knows what to expect from a patient the moment they set foot into the clinic. The subtle signals they give out during their consult and their body language speak volumes to an experienced practitioner. This art of assessment is honed over years of experience. Energy healers would probably call this an ‘energy field’ emanated by the patient.

Though medical treatments are evidence-based, they are often required to be delivered in various permutations and combinations, depending on the case being treated. Many decisions – for example, what is a probable diagnosis (and what could be other possible diagnoses), what treatment to give, what not to give, when to give, when to change it, when to stop, when to operate, and when not to operate – are often based on judgment and intuitive decision making.

Many people may not be conscious of the intuition operating in their lives. Nonetheless, it is used by almost everyone in varying degrees.

Excerpt from the chapter ‘Intuition In Everyday Life & Medicine’, When Spirit Meets Science by Dr. Suraj Manjunath.

modern medicine, when spirit meets science

Toughness & Temperaments: Stories From The Operation Theatre

“Good evening Sir!”

Suraj and I were walking towards the hospital car park when I heard some cheerful voices behind me. I turned around and saw two young women and a man passing by. 

The greeting was for Suraj. The three of them walked up to us, smiling.

“Hello! Meet Haripriya, my wife” said Suraj to the three of them. 

They smiled and nodded at me.  

“Meet Savita, Vinod and Nisha,” he said to me, “Savita and Vinod are among our best theatre nurses. They must have assisted me with at least 50 surgeries over the last one year. Nisha joined recently and is training to be a theatre nurse too.”

“That’s wonderful! Nice to meet you all,” I said.

“I’ve seen you often on the residential campus Ma’am,” said Nisha to me, “I live there too.”

“Ahhh, yes! I did think you looked familiar as well,” I replied.

We engaged in small talk for a few minutes and then parted ways. 

A week later, I was waiting for Suraj outside the operation theatre block, when I saw Nisha emerging from the entrance. She was walking hurriedly and had tears in her eyes.

She bumped into a senior nurse on her way out and wiped her tears as she explained something to her solemnly.

“Something seems to be wrong,” I thought to myself, feeling concerned.

A month later, I was on a walk in the residential campus when I ran into Nisha near the gate.

She recognized me immediately and said,

“Hello Ma’am! How are you?”

“I’m good Nisha.” I said, “Are you done for the day?”

“Yes Ma’am,” she said, “I assisted a complex case today. It went on for seven hours.”

“Wow!” I said, “You must have a lot of stamina.”

“Thank you Ma’am,” said Nisha and the expression on her face changed suddenly.

“Being a theatre nurse is tough Ma’am,” she said and paused.

“Yes, I can imagine,” I said, sensing there was more to her statement.

“It’s easy to work with some surgeons, difficult with others,” she went on, “I couldn’t handle the temperaments of some surgeons. So, I gave up last month and moved to ward nursing.”

I listened empathetically.

“However, I love to assist surgeries and thought my passion must be more important than the temperaments of others. So, I decided to switch back to working as a theatre nurse,” she said.

I recalled that day last month when I had seen Nisha in tears.

“Something upsetting must have happened while she was assisting that day,” I thought to myself.

“You’ve taken a good decision Nisha. Your love for you work is what counts most,” I said.

I shared this with Suraj later and asked him if it was really so hard for theatre nurses.

He said, “High pressure situations are commonplace during surgery – unexpected obstacles can show up and theatre nurses have to assist seamlessly. Some surgeons lose their temper when assistants aren’t able to keep up in the operation theatre.”

“Oh I see,” I said, “This high pressure environment must be hard on the surgeons as well as theatre nurses. Isn’t learning to be calm a part of your training? Isn’t it a helpful skill to have when one must perform under pressure?”

“Yes, it is. But it isn’t a formal part of training. It’s all learnt on the job,” he said, “Some people possess these skills naturally, some pick it up along the way and some never do.”

“So, problems with human behaviour and interpersonal skills are common to all professions I guess,” I said.

“Yes, of course,” he said.

I thought to myself that being a nurse must be hard. The work is demanding, while the pay isn’t great. In addition, nurses are required to withstand pressure from multiple ends.

Some months later, I bumped into Nisha again during one of my evening walks. She shared with me excitedly that she had received a good job offer from a reputed hospital in Oman and was relocating shortly.

“That’s very good news. Congratulations Nisha!” I said.

“Thank you Ma’am,” she said, “Thank God I decided to pursue my passion. The work experience I gathered as a theatre nurse here and the recommendation letters I got from several surgeons, including Dr Suraj, helped me get the job.”

“That’s awesome!” I said, feeling truly happy for her, “I wish you the best life has to offer.”

This incident made me reflect on different aspects of life – sensitivity in human beings, ability to stay calm under pressure, and the value of persistence and perseverance.