Ben Goldacre's Bad Science
weblog is usually good for a quick dose of entertainment, but I have to
limit my consumption; there's only so much I can take before it begins
to depress me instead. On Sunday, a friend showed me his new copy of the
Science book. I didn't have the time to look through it properly,
but it did inspire me to notice an article in the newspaper today that
I might otherwise have missed.
The piece, written by Chetna Dua, is titled
in health", and it appears in the Metro Plus supplement to
The Hindu in Delhi on November 23,
2009, sandwiched between Rahul Verma's occasionally entertaining food
column and R. V. Smith's frequently annoying "Down Memory Lane". It's
about the great healing powers of flowers, as employed in treatment
since 1990 by the good Doctor Malti Khaitan of Delhi.
The flowers are plucked early morning in a special way so that
their nectar is retained and then energised by the powers of the sun and
proper meditation in Gangajal procured from Rishikesh. That is why they
have great healing powers, she believes.
How could flowers plucked in a special way (by ELVES!) fail to
have therapeutic value? I can't imagine they were happy about being
forced to meditate in water from the Ganges, though, even if it was
collected from Rishikesh (where the river enters the plains, and is not
yet as polluted as it becomes further downstream) and the power of the
sun was energising them at the same time.
But, Doctor, (one imagines the journalist asking,
how do these flower remedies differ from
other forms of medicine?
On how these concoctions differ from other forms of medicine, this PhD
from the Indian Board of Alternative Medicines in Kolkata says,
While most forms of medicine focus only on the physical element
of a person, my remedies work to achieve a balance of the body, mind and
soul in a human being, thus offering a complete healing of the person
from within. The flower essences help to melt the tension in different
chakras and subtle bodies of a person.
I wonder—does one have to eat the energised flowers, or is sniffing them
enough to initiate complete healing from within?
The Indian Board of Alternative
Medicine has a web site which serves up only a blank page. I presume
the PhD is actually from the allied
Indian Institute of Alternative
Medicine, which has a frighteningly long
list of alternative
therapies, including "Pyramid Healing", "Holotropic Breathwork", and
"Gem Therapy". Its
"about us" page has
photographs of its Founder and Principal with the last two Presidents of
India, the current Prime Minister, and a smattering of other smiling
dignitaries. Clearly an excellent place to learn about how to melt
tension in chakras and subtle bodies.
helped people suffering from all kinds of illness like
headaches, cold, asthma, depression, etc., she notes that the
results vary from person to person.
Somebody might get cured in
two months while for another it could even take six months. She
However, I don't stop the allopathic medicine of a patient.
This is an alternative therapy which has no side affects and can be
taken by a patient along with any other form of medication.
This reminds me of a favourite "Wizard of Id" strip, where the King
admires the Wizard for his tenacity:
He'll get that tide to turn,
even if it takes him twelve hours to do it! (Aside: the strip
should be somewhere in this
archive, but I have not been able to find it. If someone knows where
it lives, I would very much appreciate a link.)
But we learn that the good Doctor is not content merely with curing
people without side affects (sic):
After having put down the remedial powers of flowers in her book
Flowers That Heal, Khaitan now wants to spread her
knowledge and skill to more and more people so that it continues to live
after her. Keeping this in mind, she has launched a series of courses in
flower therapy at her studio in Lajpat Nagar.
In a country where Homoeopathy is not only wildly popular, but
officially recognised as legitimate medicine, I'm sure her courses will
do very well.