OM SWEET OM
It's what the doctor ordered
Unconventional. But effective. Either the healing touch of "OM" while this mantra has been
chanted since time immemorial, the medicine cabinet of the mind has now discovered its
A recent report in Time Magazine reveals how patients enrolling for heart operations at the
Columbia Presbyterian Medical center in New York are offered in optional programme
spanning massage, yoga and meditation. An increasing number of patients are being urged by
doctors to say "OM" before surgery as the utterance of this mantra has a relaxing effect.
"In my work as a cardiovascular surgeon. I used the most sophisticated tools of modern
medicine to separate patients from their diseased organs and replace these organs with
healthy ones." Says Mehmer Oz, director of the Columbia Presbyterian Heart Institute.
"While my training was in the science of the Western world. I also rely heavily on this
ancient Eastern technique of meditation to help my patients for surgery and to
steer them gently towards recovery. Why? because it works."
Minimal access surgeons P.K. Chowbey reaveals that the 'OM' technique is prevalent here
as well-and not just because of the religion factor. "In operation theaters, we have the
'Gayatri Mantra' playing in the back ground.
If a patient is particularly disturbed before anesthesia is administered, we provide him/her
with headphones, which play this chant. The cardiac monitor shows that a high pulse rate
130-140 stabilizes to 7-80 within minutes. Having a chant such as 'OM' in the background,
builds a feeling of confidence among surgeons and staff . " Heart surgeon
Naresh Trehan adds an interesting insight. "the use of a chart such as " Om prior to
surgery helps patients think positively."
"By the sound of things, it's all in the mind" elaborates psychiatrist Sanjay Chugh, M.D.
"When the body goes through native stress (distress), the level of steroids shoots up as
the body experiences what we call the fight or flight response. Pre and post-operative
meditation chanting or counseling reduces the level of steroids and is, consequently,
good for the body.
So, even as conventional medicine takes on the task of the therapy, un-conventional techniques
such as chanting are increasingly being prescribed by doctors. Sometimes treatment starts
with the self; When 'OM' is where the heart is, believing is curing.
Contributed by D.D. Sharma from U.S.A
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