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'Hudu-Guru', Religion, or Science?

We offer an introduction to a new series on "alternative" healing practitioners.

Medicine has been practiced in various forms in every culture on the planet, and has been documented, by some, for more than 3,500 years.  

Previous to our pharmaceutical age, healers used herbs as medicine; promoted certain eating and cleansing habits as both preventative and cure; and provided various activity protocols for bolstering immunity, or the body's own ability to heal itself. 

In this day and age, Americans have quite the love affair with pharmaceuticals, and often distrust the wisdom of the ages.

I'm not exactly sure how this historically evolved, but we have replaced nutrition, herbal remedies, exercise and healthy routines, with synthetically manufactured pills. 

Though I am grateful to modern science for the development of many pain relieving and life saving pharmaceuticals, I am certain that we, as a culture, need to swing the pendulum to a balanced approach of using all things at our disposal for a healthy life.

For example, a person may feel depressed. This depression could be the result of going through experiences that are overwhelming and disheartening to the person; it may be due to a genetic abnormality in their brain, which results in an inability to produce 'happy' chemicals; it may be due to ailments within the body that steal the healing energy of the body from the brain function, which results in lethargy and a depressed feeling; it may be due to extended periods of time in dark weather conditions, which result in the lack of Vitamin D production, among other things; or it may be from lack of sleep, since sleep deprivation has co-morbid (similar or overlapping) symptoms with depression. 

Since there are many possible causes, there are many possible solutions. It would be unwise to treat depression that is a result of sleep deprivation with a drug like wellbutrin. 

Likewise, it would be cruel to tell a person who has befallen tragic circumstances to just eat a healthy meal and get a few nights of good sleep. It should not be a surprise that we can treat depression with a variety of approaches, such as counseling, pharmaceuticals, or healthy habits like getting sunshine, exercise, healthy food and good sleep, and sometimes a combination of them all.  

Yet all too often both lay persons and medical professionals are quick to turn to pharmaceuticals and resistant to employ other forms of cure. Though healthy eating habits, exercise, herbal supplementation, and counseling may take longer to get results, they definitely take less of a toll on our cleaning organs, (liver, spleen, kidneys), and have little to no negative side effects.  

Somehow, wrapped up with our love of pharmaceutical science and gluttony for technology, we have abandoned nature. We, as a culture, are often cut off from the healing powers that are provided through our planet and through the scientific observations that predate computers and pharmaceutical labs.  

Instead of seeing ourselves as part of an organic whole, we see ourselves as separate entities from nature and from each other.  Anything that challenges this notion is highly resisted. 

However, I am happy to say that it seems our culture is coming out of the pharmaceutical worship, and becoming more accepting of long term lifestyle changes that put the power of healing into our own hands.  

Things that would have been considered "hudu guru" just 20 years ago, are now becoming mainstream in urban America. Right here in Manayunk/Roxborough, we have multiple acupuncture practices, a or two, a dozen chiropractors, two yoga studios, a Reiki healer, and two massage practices, (aside from the massage therapists who work with the chiropractors). Twenty years ago, that would have made us Californians. But today, we can still be Yunkers and have a lineup like that. 

 A few weeks ago, I attended a wellness event at the Lyceum Wellness Center. This practice is home to , a technologically advanced chiropractor, and two massage therapists.  I sat in on a number of workshops and had some healing work done on me as well.  So, during the next few weeks, I will be writing a series of articles on the modes of wellness and healing that were presented at the wellness event, and a few more that are available in the Manayunk/Roxborough region as well. 

 Check back each week to read about:

  • Acupuncture
  • Chiropractics
  • Massage Therapies
  • Bowen Body Work
  • Life Coaching / Success Coaching
  • A Yin Yang Approach to Nutrition
  • Homeopathy
  • Reflexology
  • Pilates
  • The Power of Juicing
  • Yoga
  • Tai Chi & Chi Kung
  • Guided Meditation
  • Chakra Meditation
  • Reiki Energy Healing
  • Pranic Energy Healing
  • And maybe a few more if you ask.

But is it "hudu-guru" and religion? Or, can science back the claims of these “alternative practitioners?" 

Actually, many modes of prevention and healing have been rigorously tested by the scientific community. Some make questionable claims, but many have been scientifically validated.

And, though some forms of healing may have been developed more than 1,000 years ago, by people in a culture who practiced a different religion than mine or yours, that does not mean we cannot all benefit from what they discovered.  

As far as I know, Jews watch TV, even though the technology for television was largely credited to a German scientist. And, TV can be used for good or evil. What you do with a TV is your own responsibility.  

Likewise, certain practices may be often wrapped in a particular religion's garb, but when we talk about that practice's science, then we are free to use it for the good it has to offer regardless of our faith, and, in fact, even use it in conjunction with our faith–whatever faith that may be. 

In other words, if a healing practice can be scientifically validated, but it comes from a Hindi tradition, for example, can a Christian or a Buddhist use the healing mode? I believe the answer is yes–and vice versa. 

So, join me as I research the modalities and their science, and put it into laymen’s terms free from religious preference. 

Here’s to your health.

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