Dr. Prabhu, is one of a few qualified Indian acupuncturists and is a member of the prestigious Indian Academy of Acupuncture Science. He is a son of Goa, and has a permanent clinic, Sai Acupuncture Clinic, situated at Dhupem-Ucassaim, Mapusa. However he holds healing camps all over India.
Acupuncture is perhaps the oldest medical therapy known to the world. However though man’s intelligence widened it was somehow not given due importance, but it is now recognised as a medical science by the World Health Organisation and it is making a comeback to a world which is threatened by yet another giant killer. AIDS, declares Dr. Prabhu. The science of acupuncture believes that there are 14 channels in the body through which energy Qifpronounced as chi, and the Chinese equivalent of pran in Ayurveda) flows ceaselessly. This energy has positive and negative constituents which in Chinese are called yang and ying respectively, explains Dr. Prabhu.
In a normally healthy person these two constituents are held in balance, which makes for his good health. Any imbalance due to deficiency or excess of either one of these constituents leads to an ailment or disease, which can then be corrected with the help of acupuncture,’elaborates Dr. Prabhu.
According to Dr. Prabhu, acupuncture originated in India hundreds of years ago. â€œAn indirect mention of it is even made in the Mahabharata; when Pitamaha Bhishma is shot by an arrow from Arjuna and is mortally injured, he requests him to give him a bed of arrows. Arjuna obliges him with one, and till the end of the great war Bhishma remains alive. And surprisingly inspite of his injuries he looks comfortable and free from pain,’ he narrates.
When Arjuna made the bed of arrows he took care to see that the arrows would prick at certain special points in the body explains Dr. Prabhu.
Then why is the science of acupuncture known as a Chinese treatment?
Even though acupuncture originated in India, like Buddhism it passed over to China where it was widely and systematically practised for hundreds of years. It was specially patronised by king Mao-Tse-Tung, the great Chinese ruler, under whom it flourished, Dr. Prabhu clarifies.
â€œAcupuncture could also be called Shiravedh. As per my knowledge, the special points of Shiravedh used by Ayurveda for different ailments are also incidentally used by acupuncture to cure the same ailments,’ asserts Dr. Prabhu.
In day-to-day life too, we find people unknowingly using some of the principles of acupuncture informs Dr. Prabhu. â€œFor instance, the ears of small children specially girls (and in some states both, the male’s as well as the female child’s) are pierced for earrings. The points where the ears are pricked for earrings was found to facilitate good eyesight, thus it was found to be commonly used by fishermen who went out on fishing trips at night.’
Dr. Prabhu also points out that mostly ladies use kum kum and nose rings. â€œThis is because ladies are usually more vulnerable to common cold and sinusitis since they are the ones who do most of the household washing. And the points where the kum kum and the nose-rings are used were found to be good to avoid common cold and sinusitis,’ elaborates Dr. Prabhu.
Nowadays most of the goldsmiths are unaware of the scientific importance of finding the exact point at which the ear or nose should be pricked, he observes.
Acupuncture is also linked to many traditional methods of treatment. Citing various examples Dr. Prabhu draws a parallel between certain therapies used in acupuncture and the ones used traditionally in different parts of India:-
1) Acupuncture – involves needling certain points of the body. People in the Himalayas used thorns and pointed stones to treat some disorders.
2) Moxibution – involves using mora sticks to heat certain points of the body. For instance many people in Goa use a hot coin to burn certain potions of the skin to treat jaundice.
3) Cupping method – involves using special cups to build up suction pressure on certain points of the body. A parallel can be drawn with the local method of ‘removing Vetoj’ – as they call it in Goa – on the stomach and back with the help of a glass to remove pain and cold.
4) Acupressure – involves using thumb or nail pressure at certainpressure points. In our day-to-day life we find that when someone faints, people use pressure on points like the ‘bigtoe’to revive the person.
Acupuncture, according to Dr. Prabhu, can cure ailments like polio, hemiplegia (paralysis of one side of the body), paralysis, arthritis, various ear disorders, loss of balance or giddiness, spondylosis, backache, sciatica, asthma, mental retardation, epilepsy, migraines, sinusitis, impotence, mendtrual disorders, insomnia, loss of sleep, diabetes-mellitus, hyper-acidity, knee pain and other chronic disorders.
â€œAcupuncture can also help reduce blood pressure and can be used very efficiently in an emergency because the action is very fast,’ asserts Dr. Prabhu. This is done by needling certain points on the body and by hand stimulation.
Does acupuncture have any side effect?
According to Dr. Prabhu, acupuncture has no side effects because it uses the principle of mobilising one’s own body to fight the viruses affecting it.
For instance to be rid of viral fever, an allopathic patient is given antibiotics to kill the virus, but while doing so they also damage the body’s natural defence system. And thus even though there is a drop in the body temperature, the patient feels weak and has to take bed rest. Whereas, in acupuncture we just prick hemeotatic points which increase body resistance and enables it to kill the virus. As a result the person recovers from the viral fever and feels as energetic as ever,’ explains Dr. Prabhu.
Dr. Prabhu also informs that acupuncture could be effectively used to arrest addictions like smoking and alcoholism in a person. ‘In fact, acupuncture has also joined the fight against AIDS. In 1987, a group of acupuncturists from USA even submitted a thesis on the role of acupuncture in curing AIDS,’ he points out.
Dandruff and allopecia (falling hair) have troubled mankind for generations. Can acupuncture arrest these problems?
Acupuncture can get rid of dandruff, but it can cure allopecia only if it is not hereditary, answers Dr. Prabhu.
Explaining its advantages over other methods Dr. Prabhu points out that.
1) Acupuncture is safe as there are no side effects in contrast to Western drugs, on the contrary it has many good effects on the general health of a person.
2) It is found to be effective in chronic cases like paralysis, polio, mental retardation – ailments for which no satisfactory treatment has been found in other ‘pathies’.
3) It could save poor countries like India a lot of foreign exchange by cutting down imports of Western drugs.
To strengthen his statement that acupuncture is a wonder treatment free of side-effects, Dr. Prabhu cited a few examples:-
Valentin Mendes, a 66-year-old man from Ucassaim was suffering from backache, cramps and burning pain in is legs in addition to occipital headaches and heaviness in both hands. ‘He told me that he was fed up with life itself, he couldn’t even walk a short distance. But after 40 sittings with me he has got rid of all his problems and now he is so active that every morning he goes for long walks,’ confirms Dr. Prabhu.
Hirabai Sinari, a 65-year old lady from Ribandar had been suffering from astroarthins (knee swelling and pain) for the last 25 years. ‘She was brought on a chair to my clinic, but after just 20 sittings she could walk,’ asserts Dr. Prabhu.
“Another one of my patients, Justin D’Souza from Socorro-Porvorim, had paralysis on his left side after he suffered his third heart attack. He was in a coma and a heart specialist had diagnosed that he had not long to live.
His brother brought him to my clinic and after 90 sittings he started walking on his own with only the support of his stick,’ confirms Dr. Prabhu.
‘Besides his surprising recovery, another interesting thing that pointed out was the growth of black hair on his otherwise bare head,’ he adds.
Acupuncture, like any other form of treatment also has its limitations.
‘It should be obvious even to a layman that where a surgery is indicated it would be foolish to try acupuncture. Moreover acupuncture does not pretend to cure all diseases,’ explains Dr. Prabhu.
If acupuncture is so effective why is it that only a few doctors get success?
‘Acupuncture,’ explains Dr. Prabhu,’ requires a great deal of skill and insight to select the proper points; accurate location; the required depth to which the needle should pierce the skin: and the right degree of stimulation.
All said and done, acupuncture, a science which originated in India has returned home like the prodigal son; and hopefully to stay. Who knows one day, this very science could needle away the deadly disease AIDS which is presently holding the world at ransom.