Friday, 13 February 2004  
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Medico spiritual health model on the way

The Sri Lanka Medical Association (SLMA) is working on the possibility of introducing a medico-spiritual health model in Sri Lanka, thus enhancing the healing powers of the mind in ensuring better health for the people.

The SLMA last year's president Dr. Sunil Epa Seneviratne, revealing this at the organisation's 116th Annual Sessions said:

A scene from the past _ will this be?

With doctors seeking the possibility of a spiritually oriented health care model being worked out here, health sector strikes and scenes like this where service personnel had been called up to help in maintaining health care services, could become a thing of the past.

There is now evidence that mind has a healing power as much as mind can make one sick. Link between body and mind has now been discovered. It is though a functional system called psycho neuro immuno endocrine (PNIE) system. The challenge for the medical profession now is to find ways of enhancing this power of mind in healing.

This is a need since we have recognized the limitations of the existing methods of healing. It is now established that spiritual practices such as meditation and prayers promote better health. Those with religious commitments live longer and healthier lives, science has established this fact. These practices act probably by enhancing the power of mind in healing. Therefore we now have got to accept that there is a new dimension to health-the Spiritual Dimension.


Unfortunately, the present health model we practice - the Bio Medical Model, does not recognize this dimension in health. Therefore there is no place for mind and its influence on healing. There is now a need for a new health model which incorporates the spiritual dimension. Such a model, we will name as Medico Spiritual Health model. This model would allow both doctors and patients to recognize the healing powers of mind and would allow patient to enhance their inner capacities of healing.

This would reduce their total dependence on doctors when they are ill. This is not an alternative to the existing healing methods, rather an augmentation of those. Such a model would recognise the role of religious leaders in healing. Spirituality would no doubt have other benefits as well. This will help build not only a healthy nation but a more disciplined nation as well. This certainly is a need of the day considering the present plight we are in today.

The SLMA therefore proposes to incorporate the spiritual dimension in health and to introduce the new Medico-Spiritual Health Model in Sri Lanka. We would be showing a new direction in health to the rest of the world as well by this.

Dr. Upali Marasinghe, (Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist)

Mind-body interactions create an ideal situation in the promotion of the health of the unborn baby. Research shows unborn and newborn children are sensitive, intuitive, emotional individuals with significant perceptual and mental capabilities. They can hear, see, taste and move inside the womb.

They are not just deaf and dumb creatures, as believed 200 years ago.

Major part of our human body consists of water. Japanese researches have come up with the theory that when a water molecule crystallizes pure water becomes pure crystal but contaminated water may not crystallize as beautifully as pure water. Music, visual images, words could stimulate water.

Using these scientific observations and traditional meditational techniques we could communicate with the unborn positively.

Every month we invite about 30-40 expectant mothers with their husbands to our Peace Meditation Centre "Vishva Niketan" in Moratuwa for a short interaction session. Here we try to inculcate strong parental bond with the unborn baby via strengthen human positive feeling namely, "loving kindness" or "metta" in Pali.


Heart Association and the Coconut Oil controversy

Following the coconut oil controversy which openly surfaced between two cardiologists at a medical discussion on heart disease held in Colombo, several readers of this page who had attended that discussion have written to us, asking why the Sri Lanka Heart Association once and for all decide on this issue whether coconut oil is good or bad for heart patients and thus avoid the situation patients are faced with today where they find one cardiologist advocating the use of coconut oil for heart patients, and another just the opposite.

Several patients who had been at this discussion told Health Watch - If any research or trial has to be done on this issue before coming to a final decision, let it be done, and a final conclusion taken by the professionals on this controversy.


Dr. Amit Chandra (Cardiac Surgeon, Durdans Hospital) on Life after bypass surgery

Blockages in the coronary artery are made up mainly of cholesterol among other things. The predisposing factors are high blood cholesterol levels (LDL - 100, triglycerides - 100), high blood pressure (BP - 140/90), obesity (BMI - 25 kg/m2), smoking, diabetes, family history, sedentary life style and stress.

Bypass surgery simply overcomes the harmful effects of the blockages in order to save and protect the heart. The propensity to develop further blockages or the root cause which is called atherosclerosis still remains in the body. If not controlled, further blockages will form in the heart and other parts of body (brain, kidneys and arteries of lower legs). Therefore, once patient has been rehabilitated in to his society after bypass surgery, further efforts should be directed to keep atherosclerosis in check. It means strict control of blood sugar, blood pressure and blood cholesterol, cessation of smoking, regular physical activity and weight reduction.

From medical point of view, the post-bypass period can be divided into two phases. immediate phase and the late phase.

In first month after surgery (immediate phase), the person progressively gains strength as he recovers from his surgery and depending on his physical strength and stamina, makes his re-entry in to the social system. This process can take 3 weeks to 3 months in a usual patient. Beyond this period (late phase) the focus should be mainly on preventing the progression of atherosclerosis and if at all, reversing the coronary artery disease.

The first goal can be achieved by the usual prescription of diet, blood pressure, sugar, cholesterol control and cessation of smoking and control of weight.

The second, which is more desirable, can't be achieved by usual medical prescription. It is said that we all have the vital energy or force, which keeps us healthy and alive. Properly directed by proper techniques (Yoga, breathing techniques, meditation, relaxation exercises, positive visualisation, healthy diet), it also heals the body in a way no medicine can achieve. Western literature is increasingly recognising the power of faith and role of free flow of vital force in healing the disease and infirmity.

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