We need to always remember we have the ailment and the ailment does not have us.. This is the only way we can have control on our lives, whatever ailment we may have.
In 2011, I was fortunate to interview Dr Dean Ornish, the founder of bypassing the bypass, a revolutionary program that had proven to be effective in reversing heart disease. Dr Dean Ornish had bypassed the dominant Western allopathic system and replaced it with a holistic system based on Indian philosophy. For the upcoming New Age, Dr Ornish’s achievement was no mean feat, for it proved beyond doubt that prevention is a far more potent medical intervention than expensive invasive techniques such as cardiac surgery.
The inspiration for Dr Ornish’s holistic approach was the Indian guru, Swami Satchidananda, founder of Integral Yoga, whose ashram, Yogaville, was based in Buckingham, Virginia, and is famous for the LOTUS temple. He told me the Swami had told him to shift the focus from ‘I’ to ‘We’ to keep oneself ‘well’ and not ‘ill’.
I learnt many truths in the process of conducting the interview. He told me how nowadays, people often think that advances in medicine have to be a new drug, a new laser, or a surgical intervention to be powerful. Most people look for something really high-tech and expensive, he said. He also explained how most people often have a hard time believing that the simple choices that we make in our lives each day on what we eat, how we respond to stress, whether or not we smoke, how much we exercise, and the quality of our relationships, can make a powerful difference in our health, our well-being, and our survival.
This is very relevant for people with MS. We need to work on all the aspects in our life and not keep waiting for a drug to be found.
We need to eat a healthier diet, quit smoking, exercise, meditate, and bring in a better attitude of connecting with others in our life. In the process, the brain receives more blood and oxygen. This results in a feeling of well being where one thinks more clearly, has more energy and needs less sleep.
Dean Ornish also told me one fact that I can never forget. This was very relevant to me and perhaps many other patients of neurological ailments. He said one’s brain can grow so many new brain neurons in only three months that one’s brain can get measurably bigger. The face gets more blood flow, so our skin glows more and wrinkles less. The heart gets more blood flow, so one has more stamina and can even begin to reverse heart disease. His statement was in the context of heart disease, of course but was definitely food for thought for me.
I thought if the brain can indeed get many new brain neurons and actually grow bigger, then the changes of causing a complete remission in multiple sclerosis is definitely possible.
After interviewing Dr Ornish, the main change I made in my routine was improve my fitness, especially the yoga routine and started affirming that I would go into a permanent state of remission if I shall indeed stick to this.