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There is a growing perception that healthy food, exercise and a stress-free mind are the key to full-fledged well-being, says Dr Sivaraman, a leading practitioner of the Siddha system of medicine. The doctor shared his insights gained from participating a path-breaking global seminar on non-communicable diseases held recently in Rodando in Canada. Underlining the global focus on healthy food, Dr Sivaraman urged the Tamil Nadu government to replace the white rice supplied in the public distribution system (ration shops) with fish and nutritious pulses. Following are excerpts of his interview to InMathi.com.
Q: What did you find the most striking about this seminar?
Dr. Sivaraman: The first thing I learned at the seminar was its disciplined time system. The minister who came to inaugurate the seminar and the members of parliament were invited only to the dinner in the evening. The event ended with a banquet. Apart from this, only medical ideas were exchanged for all the five days of the seminar.
Back in our country, such an event will be marked all through by celebrations and cheers at the opening and closing ceremonies of the seminar. The exchange of ideas and comments will happen only in between. The speakers will be given a note asking them to speak only for five minutes as they ascend the podium.
The talk about the use of the Siddha Medicine’s axiom, “if the mind gets refined, there’s no need for chanting mantras,” in the allopathic algorithm was interesting
But all these fuss and fanfare are missing at the Canada seminar. It came as a surprise that even global experts in various fields of medicine, who attended the seminar, neatly finished their speech in just 45 minutes, including the note of thanks to the organisers. They hardly deviated from their topics. There were also online speeches by professors from Nigeria and Singapore. Everything went off to a T. I felt inspired to think of conducting such a picture-perfect meet on Siddha medicine in Chennai.
Q: Did the seminar discuss climate change?
Dr. Sivaraman: What attracted me most was the discussion of the non-communicable diseases in children. I was keen on knowing about the emerging mental health challenges around the world and the prevalence of heart diseases and diabetes in the post-Covid world. A lot of statistics and data were available about the diseases increasing owing to climate change and about food for all.
One of the striking medical lectures was given by Anand Chokkalingam, a professor of cardiology at the University of Missouri, about his HiLife treatment that integrates all heart diseases.
The talk about the use of the Siddha system’s axiom: “If the mind gets refined, there’s no need for chanting mantras,” in the allopathic algorithm was very interesting.
A Canadian professor pointed out that in another 9840 days, 11 percent of Bangladesh would vanish due to climate change impact, giving evidence after evidence. It was then that I was wondering what would happen to our areas in Chennai such as Palavakkam, Kottivakkam, Mylapore etc. A researcher also spoke about how soil salinity and use of salt in food would lead to kidneys becoming dysfunctional. It reinforced the need for thinking about climate change.
Q: What do you think was the most useful thing about the seminar?
Dr. Sivaraman: Professor Timothy, author of popular books such as Relax, spoke at length about the false propaganda in the medical world through social media and how it poses challenges to the overall health of mankind. There are several superstitious misinformation campaigns apace in social media. For instance, the ideas of drinking a dog’s urine for removing facial dimples, post-vaccination magnetic power of the human body attracting pins, blades and nails and the humans with heads of snake and lizard ruling the world indirectly are utter nonsense. Because of the false propaganda, he explained clearly how the marginalized human beings are experiencing difficulties and diseases.
I had an opportunity to interact with Soumya Swaminathan, a senior scientist who had worked at the World Health Organization, and Madan Thangavelu, a scholar of genetics at Cambridge University. My interactions with them infused my thinking with new breath.
20 kg of white rice should be reduced to 10 kg at the ration shops in Tamil Nadu and instead, half a kilo of fish supplied per week and two kg of pulses and groundnuts a month so that the people get protein and fibre
At the same time, another question arose: How will the US medical guidelines be applicable to countries like India? Now the world is reverberating with calls for good food at cheap prices or free of cost. It is not a dream any more, but an imperative that 20 kg of white rice should be reduced to 10 kg at the ration shops in Tamil Nadu and instead, half a kilo of fish supplied per week and two kg of pulses and groundnuts a month so that the people get protein and fibre nutrients.
Q: What is the underlying feature of the conference?
Dr. Sivaraman: The underlying theme of the conference is that it is not just the pills that prevent diabetes, heart attacks, blood pressure, cancer, etc. They are, of course, necessary. However, there is a growing perception that healthy food, essential exercise and a stress-free mind are the only important things that can lead to a full-fledged well-being.
It is not an unfamiliar message. But now the entire scientific world is now emphasizing this message backed up by key research data. We must also pay heed to the message.
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