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Quest for new treatments drives German doctor to ayurveda

Ashwani Kumar N R, Mangalore, Jan 11, 2013, DHNS: 0:06 IST

Expedition of passion

Regina Fischer, a physician in a small town in Germany, never imagined in her wildest dreams that she would become so steeped in ayurveda so as to use it as a regular part of her medical practice.

A graduate of the Waldenburg Medical Institute where she specialised in orthopaedics and neurology, Fischer initially offered established patterns of treatment at her hometown of Wangen. Eventually convinced that regular methods of treatment could only serve as a guideline for treatment of ailments, and could not be actually used for core treatments, Fischer sought alternative medical practices to help develop a new set of treatments.

Driven by curiosity, Dr Fischer is now in India, learning from ayurvedic practitioners at a treatment centre in Inna, a small village in Karkala taluk, about the value of traditional Indian methods of healing.

A tango dancer in her spare time, Dr Fischer evolved the idea of the “integrated” approach of treatment, using a blend of art, traditional therapy, modern technology and a general system of medication. Her approach involves using dance therapy and other “traditional” methods of treatment, including ayurveda.

Her search for a better system of treatment has led her to Karnataka, where she intends to soak in all she can about yoga and ayurveda. But her contact with the Inna ayurveda treatment centre could not have been made without a mistake. In an email sent to a misspelled mail address, she explained her desire to find research opportunities in North India. The email landed in the inbox of Dr Anil Kumar of Surathkal, who coincidentally operates the ayurvedic hospital ‘Krishna Ayurveda’ at Inna.

Based on Dr Kumar’s helpful response, Dr Fischer has used the three weeks of her annual holidays to come to India, to conduct research on ayurveda and naturopathy. Her two earlier sojourns to the country, including an attempt to study similar methods at a centre in Aleppey, Kerala, had ended in disappointment. She told Deccan Herald that this is her first visit to Karnataka.

Integrated approach

Fischer explained that part of her approach is to go beyond the norm in treating ailments. “My primary aim is to eliminate my patient’s problem, and I do not subscribe to a particular channel of medication. Instead, I believe in add- ing a global perspective to potential methods of treatment, rather than purely a German perspective,” she said.

According to Fischer, a large part of her treatment will involve providing mental relief to patients through ayurvedic treatments such as Panchakarma and Tailabhyanaga. “Every patient is different and the relationship of a patient and a doctor means more than it generally is,” she said and added that the most integral process of treatment is inducing calm in the patient.

She also explained that she has chosen to follow an integrated approach to treatment because it will best help in the total cure of the problem. “I make patients undergo more than a single aspect of alternative treatment such as music and dance therapy, along with proper medication,” she said. “I treat some patients at their home. I have even applied the Tango as a part of the therapy and found myself successful in treating a patient who had suffered a stroke and had spent the last 13 years in a pathetic condition. Because I wanted to effectively involve my patients in art therapy, I also spent six months in the US to learn the professional Argentinean Tango.”

Dr Fischer, who will spend a week in Inna before carrying on to Odisha and elsewhere, hopes to hone her skills to the point where she can help all of her patients. The Krishna Ayurveda treatment centre is operated by Dr Kumar, in partnership with Dr Prakash Nambiar, Dr Guruprasad Navada and Panchakarma specialist Guruprasad Shetty.

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