Acupuncture Treatment for Ulcerative Colitis

Can-Acupuncture-Treat-UCAcupuncture Treatment for Ulcerative Colitis

Many people suffer from auto-immune diseases. Ulcerative Colitis (UC) is one such auto-immune disease. It is characterized mostly by an inflammation of the colon leading to constant bleeding from the rear end. Medical science calls it as part of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). There is no definitive cause assigned to it. There is no cure for the disease. Medicines like Mesalamine are designed mostly to contain the disease, i.e. to avoid its flaring up. I was able to obtain great success for myself in this disease with Acupuncture form of therapy. This piece below is to share my story with a wider audience so they can have a path to hope and success.

I first suffered from UC more than a dozen years ago. I was going through a particularly job-related stressful period in my life. I ignored the problem, till I could clearly see blood in my stool. I went to the emergency room and had colonoscopy done. I was prescribed steroids (Prednisone), which stopped the bleeding within a few days. I was also prescribed a Mesalazine formulation designed for long-term maintenance. I am against taking medicines for life. I immediately sought the help of Meditation, and went for a 10-day Vipassana course. I felt much relieved and happy, and in a few months, I let go of the maintenance medicine.

About 5 years after the first occurrence, I had another flare-up of the condition of UC. There was another job-related stress and some kind of a sinking feeling. After colonoscopy, the usual steroid and Mesalazine regiment was prescribed. However, this time the medicines were ineffective and the bleeding continued. My Gastro-Enterologist (GE) doctor now wanted to prescribe an immuno-suppresive medicine which worked on a different mechanism. After noticing its side effects including a form of cancer, I decided to obtain second opinion. Then I also consulted a tertiary GE specialist at a teaching hospital who had spent his life studying just UC. He also told me that there is no definite cause for this. He recommended that I should continue to take the maintenance regimen, as that is the best bet. I did another course of Vipassana meditation, which gave much relief but still did not completely stop the bleeding.

A chance encounter with an Acupuncturist set me on a different course. He said that they have no problem in curing UC. I was intrigued. I found a nice acupuncturist nearby and consulted her. She spent a whole hour listening to my symptoms in great detail. She also said that I will be cured soon. I was impressed. With two weeks of acupuncture treatment, with some herbs, my bleeding completely stopped. I repeat: bleeding completely stopped with acupuncture in 10 days, when it won’t stop for the previous six months. This looks like magic but it is completely true. I continued to do maintenance sessions with the acupuncturist at reduced frequencies, finally just once a month. My body and mind felt healthier. After an year I was completely cured.

A couple of years later, we relocated to another city for work. Again, because of job-related stress, UC reared its head. After colonoscopy I was prescribed the usual regimen of medicine, which did not help in stopping the bleeding. I lost a lot of weight. I called my previous acupuncturist and planned to fly out to her for treatment. However, she completely assured me that if I found a good acupuncturist in my new city, I will be able to get the same benefit. I followed her advice and selected an acupuncturist in my new city. He also said that the chances of success were excellent. Once again, with just two weeks of acupuncture treatment and herbs, my bleeding completely stopped. That was magic, repeated again.

I wanted to understand how this thing works. I was told that a good place to start was ‘The Web that has not Weaver’. It is a good book, but it is difficult to understand their language beyond the introductory chapters. They speak in terms of Chi and meridians. The reader can read this book on their own.

It has been several years since my last UC flare-up. Even now, I go to acupuncturist if my body begins to feel even a little bit uneasy. And I feel instantly better. Others are free to try.

I believe that the permanent solution lies within ourselves. We should be mentally strong and positive. There is nothing that we cannot do if we put our minds to it. We should prepare for the worst and hope for the best in every situation. We should lower our expectations. Being alive is great. We should be grateful for our life and everything else we have. We should take the time to thank all the beings that make your life livable and enjoyable. Our family, friends, customers, employers, suppliers, colleagues, restaurants, snow-removers, pets, and everyone else.

Auto-immune disease means that the body turns on itself. i.e. our body’s defense mechanisms like Adrenal glands get into overgear to protect against some imagined or real enemy. We exhaust ourselves in some time, run on fumes for a while, and then we get into a downward spiral from which it becomes difficult to escape. The best preventive method is to not feel negative at all in the first place. Try to be positive, always. Try to see something good in everything. Once negative feeling arises, it will have its effect on us. We can try to deny or suppress it, but it will come out some time or the other, in some way or the other.

We should try to see the world as sunny. There are many people who have lost their limbs or vision, but have not given up their dreams. Keep dreaming of a great future ahead. Then keep working towards it. Once life has a lofty purpose, then everything else, gain or loss, seems small and insignificant. Nothing bothers us and our bodies anymore. We can be as happy as we want to be.

Leadership models: Mahatma Gandhi and Steve Jobs

Leadership models: Mahatma Gandhi and Steve Jobs

I had the opportunity recently to present a talk on Leadership at a seminar at our university. The attendees were about 60 graduate students. I began my talk with a wide-ranging view of leadership, including my own lessons on leadership (posted on this blog), Steven Covey’s 4-role model of leadership, among other perspectives. Included in my presentation were two case studies of Mahatma Gandhi and Steve Jobs. These were worthy case studies as one was about socio-spiritual leadership, and the other one was about technological-organizational leadership. The case studies were of comparable quality, and were full of colorful images. A fellow presenter later observed that the attendees were much more alert and engaged when I spoke about Steve Jobs. This happened at a school where we focus a lot on spirituality and morality, based on Vedas and consciousness.

I wonder why Jobs was the more attractive message to the multicultural graduate students? One simple explanation could be that most of these young people use Apple products such as Macs and iPhones and are interested in all things Apple. Another reason could be that a majority of participants in the seminar were computer science students and therefore technology leadership would be of greater appeal to them. Yet another explanation could be that Jobs is a contemporary figure who died only a few years ago, while Gandhi died way back in 1948. Yet another reason could be that this talk was held in the US, to an audience who might care more about American icons rather than the distant ones from Asia. Most students had already seen his 2005 Stanford Commencement speech.

There are any similarities between the leadership models of Gandhi and Jobs. Both were transformative leaders of planetary scale: stubborn individuals who bent the existing reality to their dreams and purposes and achieved great results. Both had strong spiritual underpinnings: Gandhi was a believer in universal brotherhood, and Jobs was influenced by Zen. Both were adventurous, creative and lived on the edge: incessantly innovating and keeping their opponents on tenterhooks. Both played two major transformative innings each: Gandhi won his moral leadership spurs working for Indians in South Africa, and then moved to India to achieve India’s freedom from the British Empire; Jobs made history with the design of personal computers (Apple-II and Macintosh), and then helped Apple achieve even greater success with the iPod/iTunes music ecosystem and the iPhone/Apps computing-communication ecosystem. Finally, both died unconventionally, one to an assasin’s bullet and the other to cancer.

I think that Gandhi’s leadership model is very relevant even today (or else I won’t have bothered to present it). Gandhi worked towards universal goals such as freedom and human dignity using innovative paths such as truth, non-violence and self-reliance. These goals and paths were worthy of emulation by Martin Luther King Jr. In the US, and by Nelson Mandela in South Africa, and Aung San Suu Kyi in Mynamar, and many more.

The concept of freedom may have different meaning today. There are wealth inequities and technological colonization in the world today. The French economist Thomas Picketty has analyzed the causes of wealth inequities, and made a strong case for a ‘global income tax’ for global growth and happiness. Mohammad Yunus has innovated with micro-finance. On the technology side, Elon Musk is revolutionizing transportation with electric cars and inexpensive space travel. Google and Facebook and Amazon are also transforming the world. There is room for a new kind of a leadership today, beyond Gandhi and Jobs.

Your Digital Self

In the digital world you are defined by the data exhaust of your many activities. From your communication and movement activities, to your purchase and sales activities, there is a digital record of your actions that can be put together to collectively constitute your digital self.

The data about you can be analyzed and mined for patterns of behavior. Who you talk to, when you talk, what you talk about, and how you communicate … all these can be deciphered from analyzing the text and time-stamps of your conversations. Your pictures and comments and Likes on FaceBook tells a lot about what you do, what you like, and who you relate to. Your tweets are a veritable record of your many proclamations, jokes, and commentary. Smartphone apps like WhatsApp contain a complete record of much sharing among half-a-billion people across the globe.

For instance, a composite profile of a person was made using only 45 days’s worth of data from WhatsApp. It showed who the person talked to, what she talked about, when she talked most, and how she communicated. Advertising companies can perfectly understand her behavior patterns, and sell her what they can. The analysis showed that the person spoke a lot about food, desserts, and weight loss. And that she was online most often at 8 pm. Thus companies could sell her more food, sugary stuff, and then also sell her dreams and products for weight loss.

Our behaviors are far more patterned, and a lot less spontaneous, than we care to believe. Modeling the data about your activities can show that. How can we be better prepared to counter those who may be using many of our unconscious behavior patterns to fleece us? One way is to understand your own digital self better.

The first step is to be open to understanding yourself in a deep data-driven way. The example above shows the value of being self-aware of our behavior patterns.

The second step will be to obtain data about our digital self. Organizations like FaceBook and Google gather all the data, analyze it and then send targeted ads on behalf of businesses. However is is not very clear right now, how an individual can gather the data from the likes of FaceBook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, and hundreds of other sites. If large organizations can obtain such data, individuals should also be able to do so. I found an application called http://givememydata.com/ that helps you get back your data from FaceBook.

Data about one’s own activities should be made available free of charge to every individual. The data should be made available in a pre-processed form that is easily understandable and manageable by the individual concerned. This should be similar to how all credit-rating agencies need to offer you annually a free record of all your financial profile.

Once the data has been collected, the third step is to analyze the data, along very simple lines to generate a composite dashboard of oneself. That will be our accessible digital self, seen through the digital mirror.

For more on data mining check out my book available on Amazon.