My journey into mind-body medicine began in 1964 and has progressed through many winding and often torturous roads. That year I was free for the summer break from my university program and traveled to Bulgaria where I had heard of interesting work being done by a man name Georgi Lozonov. I had contacted his office and arranged to spend one month with his staff as a volunteer. The experience changed the course of my life and strengthened my resolve to explore more deeply the connections between mind and body.
I had been meditating since 1958 and already had a number of experiences that were quite significant, but it was not until I met this remarkable man that they somehow all came together allowing me to move forward into new dimensions of personal growth. Over the next few years I delved deeply into ancient healing systems and discovered that healing the mind and the soul was a critical factor in the healing of the body, and that knowing when an illness began and the mental/emotional circumstances that brought it about were at least as important, if not more important, that the physiological causes that the traditional medical science of the day was dealing with.
This “traditional medicine” is in a state of crisis today and I believe that it is because it has lost the perspective of the mind-body connection. The reliance on so-called “evidence” based science has blinded the medical establishment to proven healing methods that have been with the human race from the most ancient times. So, instead of availing ourselves of the great wealth of knowledge that has been passed down to us, we have rejected much of it out of hand simply because we have not taken it into a laboratory for dissection and an assumed empirical study. This shift has brought us from a holistic approach to the human being, one that sees the person as a whole person rather than as an individual symptom or set of symptoms, to an approach in which symptoms are treated with surgery, prescription drugs or over-the-counter drugs. Unfortunately, changing this mind-set will be difficult because there are billion dollar industries involved and very powerful special interest groups are threatened by the perceived loss of revenues. So the issue becomes political and economic and we, the patient or the consumer, becomes the losers.
I do not want to minimize the contributions of “modern” medicine. They are substantial. Yet, our reliance on the “miracles” of this medicine have taken away a vital element in our well-being, that of responsibility for ourselves. We run to the doctor to get the “magic bullet,” the pill that will solve all our problems. But following a reasonable and intelligent diet or getting enough exercise or enough rest, or observing basic laws of good hygiene…well, these seem to be beyond our abilities. Ironically, the miracle drugs that were taking us into a healthy 21st century have proven, in many cases, to be more harmful than helpful. Financial considerations have become a greater driving force as pharmaceutical companies understate the risks and overstate the benefits.
We have become a drug-dependent society and doctors as well as patients feel a growing sense of frustration as chronic diseases become less and less responsive to the drugs that are prescribed. The answer that comes out of the marketplace is often to develop stronger substances with more dangerous side effects. As side-effects create new problems, we then rely on other drugs to control the new problem, and so we have patients taking five, six, ten medications and becoming the statistic of over a million people that are hospitalized each year from the effects of prescription drugs.
Yet the problem of the original illness is not solved. An example is the over-prescription of antibiotics. We produce about 60 million pounds of antibiotics annually. As we continue to over-prescribe and to add antibiotics into our food supply via the animals that we are raising with antibiotic treated feed, we help create stronger viruses and bacteria that evolve much faster than our species. The result…many of the infectious diseases that we believed we had eradicated are resurfacing in more virulent forms. There is at this time a tuberculosis epidemic in the United States and the strain of bacteria is resistant to penicillin.
In response to this situation, medicine has turned to an older wisdom and is seeking an integrative approach rather than an exclusionary one. This is the movement toward a mind-body medicine and the work that changed my life so many years ago is coming into its own. It is not the denial of modern medicine, but the complementary and alternative nature of this wisdom that offers so much promise for our return to a state of health and wellbeing, and my work with spiritual healing and distance healing that were met with derision through the years is now being investigated by main stream science and medicine. It will be interesting to see how this new medicine develops.
Dr. Alkalay is the founder of the Genesis Society and the Genesis Tree of Life Yoga and Wellness Center in Forest Hills, NY. He is also in private practice as a naturopath, therapeutic counselor. He is an intuitive and an energy healer, For more information go to www.genesishealthbeauty.com or call 718-544-5997.