Holistic remedies and disease prevention at the 7th Ayurveda Wellness Convention

Ayurveda in Sri Lanka. Image from Flickr user Amila Tennakoon: https://www.flickr.com/photos/lakpura/14630886123.
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Holistic remedies and disease prevention at the 7th Ayurveda Wellness Convention

When I saw a post on Facebook offering free passes for writers willing to write about the 7th International Ayurveda, Yoga, and Wellness Convention & Expo Philippines 2016, I said, why not? I write about wellness, and I was surprised to learn that there was an actual Ayurveda clinic in Manila. So, armed with my curious spirit and my trusty notebook, I went to Kaban ng Hiyas at the Mandaluyong City Hall Compound last Friday to learn more about this ancient practice. 


The 7th International Ayurveda, Yoga, and Wellness Convention & Expo Philippines 2016
The 7th International Ayurveda, Yoga, and Wellness Convention & Expo Philippines 2016


The lectures

Here were the lectures I attended:

Ayurveda 101 with Rev. Dr. Jacob Gnalian

This annual wellness event is organized by Sandhi Ayurveda, an Ayurveda clinic in Brgy. Plainview, Mandaluyong, founded by Rev. Dr. Jacob Gnalian of the Missionaries of the East. The clinic’s objectives are 1) to provide a cure for diseases which conventional medicine has not effectively cured, and 2) to provide a healthcare program for those who cannot afford the high costs of medical treatment.

Ayurveda is the oldest form of healthcare. It was developed 3000 years ago in India. As per the booklet they distributed to the attendees, “it’s a system rooted in nature’s wealth and man’s relation to the universe.” A holistic approach to healthcare, it applies preventive and curative practices with the use of natural resources that don’t have any adverse effects.

I like that Ayurveda focuses on prevention and natural remedies. I’ve always thought it best to cure illnesses – especially simple ones such as colds – the non-pharmacological way first. Here’s an example of their natural remedy to a common ailment like LBM (loose bowel movement):

  1. Allow food to pass out from the stomach.
  2. Take a glass of plain water after each bowel movement. Continue until you pass only water.
  3. Take a cup of warm water.

Ayurveda also has remedies for asthma, diabetes, eczema, psoriasis, etc. Because it is a holistic system, no disease is treated in isolation. Thus, the emphasis too on other practices like massage, breathing exercises, and yoga. The happy testimonials from patients with myoma and rare blood disorders that day definitely seem to attest to the effectiveness of Sandhi Ayurveda’s programs.


Ayurveda in Sri Lanka. Image from Flickr user Amila Tennakoon: https://www.flickr.com/photos/lakpura/14630886123.
Ayurveda employs the use of preventive and curative practices using natural resources. Image from Flickr user Amila Tennakoon.


Drug addiction and detoxification with Dr. Manuel C. Panopio

The next session’s topic was very timely, given the current administration’s war on drugs. Dr. Manuel Panopio of the Philippine College of Addiction Medicine was the next speaker. He works at the DOH Bicutan Treatment and Rehabilitation Center in Camp Bagong Diwa, Bicutan, the largest drug rehabilitation center in the country and in Asia. During his lecture, he talked about the most commonly abused substances in the Philippines and also gave us lots of insights about drug dependence and addiction. 

For instance, did you know that drug dependence is a chronic medical illness, much like diabetes? Addiction, on the other hand, is not just a psychosocial behavioral problem. It’s now considered a brain disease.

What makes these illegal drugs so addictive is that their use ups the level of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure centers. Psychology Today says that “it enables us not only to see rewards, but to take action to move toward them.” The more you hits you get, the more you crave for more. It’s a vicious cycle.

There’s hope, though. A strong support network and a solid drug rehabilitation program can treat the addiction. Dr. Panopio says their particular program entails 6 months of in-patient and 18 months of out-patient rehabilitation.


Addiction Image from Unsplash: https://unsplash.com/collections/429646/addiction?photo=kT0tsYZ2YE0.
Addiction. Image from Unsplash.


Integrative medicine with Dr. Omar G. Arabia II

The first afternoon session was with Dr. Omar G. Arabia II of the Paracelsus Integrative Medical Clinic. This was the first time I’ve every heard of integrative medicine, so I was intrigued. Integrative medicine “combines the best of conventional medicine and biological medicine,” said one of the slides in Dr. Arabia’s presentation. What does that mean?, I thought.

It turns out that integrative medicine’s aim is to address the root cause of diseases. Diseases don’t just suddenly show up. They’re caused by toxicity and malnutrition and take decades to develop. It’s usually our lifestyle choices that increase our risk for them. Diseases can be prevented by these factors: attitude and lifestyle, raw materials (salads, root crops, and juices), treatment modalities, and waste management (I’m thinking this means bowel movement).

Talking about juices, Dr. Arabia shared a curing juice formula with us participants. Just blend these three ingredients and enjoy 5-10 glasses daily:

Romaine lettuce

Green apple

Green bell pepper

Towards the end of his presentation, Dr. Arabia showed us a list of cancer patients from his clinic who were able to live at least 10 years after their diagnosis. That’s a pretty good record considering that a lot of cancer patients don’t live past the 5-year mark. If you’re curious to learn more about integrative medicine, you can check out Paracelsus Clinic at Xavierville Avenue, Quezon City. They also have a vegetarian restaurant in the same area.


Smoothies. Image from Unsplash: https://unsplash.com/search/smoothies?photo=iQISyMFR0RM.
Have you tried making smoothies? They can actually be quite yummy. Image from Unsplash.


Lifestyle Medicine with Dr. Johann Kim T. Manez

The last session I attended was the proper diet and food management one of Dr. Johann Kim T. Manez of the Adventist Medical Center in Donada Street, Pasay City. He introduced himself as a lifestyle medicine specialist, and I was again intrigued. What is lifestyle medicine? According to the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, “lifestyle medicine involves the therapeutic use of lifestyle, such as a predominantly whole food, plant-based diet, exercise, stress management, tobacco and alcohol cessation, and other non-drug modalities, to prevent, treat, and more, more importantly, reverse the lifestyle-related, chronic disease that’s all too prevalent.”

This branch of medicine is particularly relevant nowadays, what with the global upsurge of non-communicable diseases such as asthma, heart disease, and diabetes. Talking about diabetes, by the way, Dr. Manez mentioned a few controversial – at least to me! – statements about it. One is that diabetes can be reversed. Another is that it is fat and not sugar that causes diabetes.

Hmmm.. Incredible food for thought, right??

Dr. Manez also encouraged us to drink enough water (2.5 liters per day for women and 3.5 liters per day for men) and to always include the four new food groups (fruits, legumes, grains, and vegetables) in each of our meals. He talked a bit about the so-called Blue Zones – five regions in Europe, Latin America, Asia, and the U.S. researchers have identified as having the highest concentrations of centenarians in the world – as an example of how eating right can enable one to attain optimal health and live long. If you’re wondering if those centenarians from the Blue Zones still eat meat, the answer is yes. They do, but sparingly.


Lemon basil water from Andreas Kambanis: https://www.flickr.com/photos/andikam/15963568771.
How many liters have you had today? Image from Andreas Kambanis.


My key takeaways

  1. Mom was right: eat your fruits and vegetables. Nature’s bounty is healthy and readily available. It’s also just plain good for you. (And please don’t think of this habit as a sacrifice. Think of it as a way of taking care of yourself.)
  2. Take antibiotics and other such prescription drugs only when necessary. Don’t abuse them.
  3. Your lifestyle will determine whether you’ll be living older or just aging older.
  4. Taking the time to stop and smell the roses is not a waste of time. De-stress.


"Let food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food." - Hippocrates
“Let food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food.” – Hippocrates


Are you familiar with Ayurveda? What are your thoughts about holistic healthcare? 🙂


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Disclosure: I got a free pass for this event. I am not a client nor am I affiliated with any of the organizations I mentioned in this post. This post is not an endorsement; it’s just a FYI. I’m all for wellness and prevention, but if you have a medical condition, please do research and determine what the best course of healthcare treatment is appropriate for you.

Photos from here, here, here, and here.

Additional wellness and health info from Sandhi Ayurveda, Psychology Today, the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, and NPR Food.

Read my blog’s full disclosure and disclaimer here.

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