We will learn today how we can harness the immense power of our mind to improve our lives. We discuss in this podcast:
- Rheumatologist Dr. Nisha Manek’s spiritual family environment in Kenya
- Western approach to biochemistry and energy medicine
- The power of Qigong
- Complementary therapies in rheumatology
- William Tiller’s work in the field of subtle energies
- Mindfulness meditation
- The relationship between science and spirtuality
- The role of intention
On this week’s podcast, board-certified rheumatologist Dr. Nisha Manek joined us to talk about her new book “Bridging Science And Spirit” and tell us how we can recreate our reality with the power of the mind.
Nisha Manek’s Journey to Exploring the Power of the Mind
Dr. Manek first developed an interest in exploring the mind during her childhood. Growing up in Kenya, she was raised in a very spiritually aware household. When she was about eight years old, her father sadly passed away, which motivated her to learn more about the truth of life. Science would provide her with the means to do this.
Leaving Kenya at about 16, Dr. Manek went to Case Western Reserve University in Ohio, majoring in Chemistry. Following this, she attended medical school at Glasgow University in Scotland and trained in internal medicine in London. She completed her fellowship in Rheumatology at Stanford University and then joined the division of Rheumatology at Mayo Clinic, Minnesota. She is now a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and a fellow of the American College of Physicians.
Dr. Manek describes science as being like her heartbeat, paying keen attention to her body, supplements, hygiene, vaccinations, etc., in her daily life. However, despite passionately working in a robust conventional clinical environment for so long, Dr. Manek realised there was a stubborn gap in healthcare, as traditional treatment did not manage to get everybody better.
At the Mayo Clinic, she looked into this more, exploring the energetic pathways of the human body system. During this time, she wrote a book chapter for the “Mayo Clinic textbook of complementary therapies,” focusing on the science of Qigong (an energy medicine practice).
Complementary Therapies in Rheumatology Practice
According to Dr. Manek, one in three Americans use some form of complementary medicine, with rheumatic diseases, such as rheumatoid and psoriatic arthritis, leading the way.
Dr. Manek and her colleagues conducted a national survey to study physician attitudes to complementary medicine. She invited 600 rheumatologists to answer a questionnaire, with 58% responding. The results found widespread favourable opinions among rheumatologists of many complementary therapies, including body work and acupuncture.
In this survey, energy medicine remained an outlier, with only 11% of rheumatologists saying they would support its use. Dr. Manek was surprised by this, given that Qigong, which she had researched for her book chapter, was supported by robust evidence.
Learning More About Science and Spirit
As part of her research into Qigong, Dr. Manek came across the work of Dr. William A. Tiller, a Professor Emeritus of Materials Science and Engineering at Stanford University.
While at Stanford, Dr. Tiller developed a gas discharge device to explore the power of intention. This was effectively two glass plates with gases, including carbon dioxide and xenon, sandwiched between them. Rather than running electricity through this device to light up the gas, he studied the use of subtle energy. Standing over the device but not touching it, he visualized it lighting up.
And guess what? It lit up every time! The same occurred when he instructed others to do the same – healers, Stanford students, and individuals of all age groups. This showed him that human intention has the power to change something without physically touching it.
Dr. Manek concluded that Dr. Tiller would be the perfect mentor for her. Like her, he realised that humans are much more than just chemistry.
Before agreeing to work with Dr. Manek, Dr. Tiller made her promise to meditate every day! Under his mentorship, she relocated to Scottsdale, Arizona, in the middle of winter to learn more. Meeting weekly, Dr. Manek started by learning the rules of thermodynamics law and how it applies to the impact of human intention. She discovered that both science and spirituality present a vital pathway to knowledge.
Dr. Manek’s Book – “Bridging Science and Spirit”
Dr. Manek intended her book to be a straightforward guide, allowing readers to build on her basic ideas and allowing her to disseminate all the information she had discovered. This includes seven pillars that support the concept of science and spirit, including the history of science, consciousness, experiments that bridge human intention to physical reality, and thermodynamics.
“Bridging Science and Spirit” offers readers practical techniques based on cutting-edge theories and research.
She offers us a few practical insights for boosting our health and well-being:
- Firstly, Dr. Manek describes the importance of boosting and increasing the vitality of our immune system. You can achieve this by taking at least 1000mg of vitamin C daily and/or getting plenty of vitamin C through your diet. Other great immunity boosters include ginger tea and tulsi (holy basil) tea – this was a staple during Dr. Manek’s upbringing in Kenya!
- You should also take 10,000 IU of vitamin D daily, given that evidence shows we are all likely to be deficient. Dr. Manek also recommends taking 200µg zinc daily or consuming a handful of Brazil nuts and pumpkin seeds, which are excellent sources of zinc and selenium.
- Turmeric is an excellent addition to the diet – a natural source of vitamin C, vitamin D, zinc, and selenium! If you opt for a turmeric supplement, look for a lipid-soluble one and one that states a “standardised” version to ensure optimum results.
- Dr. Manek understands the importance of washing our hands to protect ourselves against infection. Science supports the effectiveness of good handwashing. This is particularly true in the case of the COVID-19 pandemic, whereby the coronavirus is an RNA virus with a lipid membrane. Washing with simple soap and water dissolves the lipid membrane and makes the virus inactive.
- Finally, Dr. Manek reminds us to remember the power of intention discussed earlier. She advises her patients to place their supplements in their left hand, cover it with their right hand and hold intention over it before taking it. Intend that the medicine’s energy will be effortlessly assimilated into your body.
The Power of the Mind and Arthritis
As a rheumatologist, Dr. Manek knows the importance of combining conventional medicine with complementary therapies and uses this approach in the daily care of her patients. So, what are some actionable tips for arthritis patients?
Can Emotional Stress Cause Arthritis?
Let’s consider the connection between our mind and our physical health. Do your emotions affect the course of a chronic disease such as RA?
There is some speculation that emotional stress may be a contributing factor in the development and exacerbation of arthritis. It is thought that emotional stress can cause the body to release inflammatory chemicals that can damage the joints.
A PLoS One qualitative study identified stress and overexertion as a patient’s perceived trigger of RA and spondylitis disease flare-ups. Patients also frequently cited relaxation techniques as an essential strategy for managing flares.
Mindfulness and Rheumatoid Arthritis
So, how can we use the power of our mind to manage our symptoms? Mindfulness can be a powerful tool for people with rheumatoid arthritis. It is a form of meditation that focuses on observing thoughts, feelings, and sensations in the present moment.
A systematic review and meta-analysis published in 2020 provided evidence that mindfulness interventions can significantly improve depression, pain intensity, and symptoms in patients with RA, compared with conventional therapy.
Can Meditation Cure RA?
Meditation isn’t a cure for RA; after all, there is no current cure. But meditation may be a valuable tool for managing your symptoms if you’re struggling with RA. If you’re interested in learning more about how meditation can help, speak with your healthcare provider about a recommended program.
Does Mindfulness Decrease Inflammation?
There is plenty of scientific evidence to show that mindfulness practices can help to decrease inflammation. For example, a study published in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases found that mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) effectively reduced the pain, swelling, and stiffness associated with RA.
Mindfulness may help reduce inflammation by reducing stress and anxiety. When you’re stressed, your body releases chemicals that can increase inflammation. Mindfulness can combat stress and anxiety by allowing you to focus on your thoughts and feelings. A recently published study demonstrated this nicely. A 3-day mindfulness retreat statistically reduced participants’ perceived stress and anxiety levels. The retreat also significantly reduced the pro-inflammatory cytokines IL-6 and IL-8 and increased the anti-inflammatory IL-10.
Fascinatingly, research has shown that mind-body interventions, such as Tai Chi, mindfulness, yoga, and Qigong, actually alter the expression of genes associated with our inflammatory response.
Can Meditation Cure Joint Pain?
It’s hard to believe that stopping or slowing down and taking time to focus on your body and breathing can help combat chronic joint pain. But experts believe that it can, and plenty of evidence is available to support this.
Meditation helps reduce stress levels in the body by slowing down our breathing pattern and heart rate while clearing your mind of all thoughts so that you can focus on nothing but yourself and your body’s inner workings. This allows your body to relax, which decreases stress levels overall.
In addition, meditation can increase blood flow throughout your entire body, which will help relieve any stiffness or soreness associated with arthritis or other conditions causing joint pain, such as RA and other inflammatory arthritis.
How Do You Meditate for Arthritis?
There are many ways to manage the symptoms of arthritis and improve your quality of life. One of those methods is meditation. While most people think of meditation as a way to relax and calm the mind, it can also be a powerful tool for managing pain and inflammation.
There are many different types of meditation, but the basic concept is to stop thinking about things and focus only on the present moment.
Dr. Manek describes the importance of pumping energy into our bodies. Imagine a battery – pumping energy into your immune system, nerves, muscles, heart, and brain cells. Whether your energy source is Tai Chi, Yoga, or Qigong – you can follow a simple practice on YouTube. Dr. Manek enjoys Spring Forest Qigong. For those with arthritis, the Arthritis Foundation contains information from leading tai chi practitioner and family physician Dr. Paul Lam about using Tai Chi to help manage symptoms. If you cannot stand, you can reap the benefits of chair Tai Chi. Dr. Manek prescribes Tai Chi routinely to her patients and teaches them the power of mindfulness.
Dr. Manek also likes to use thymus thumping to awaken her body’s energies. The thymus is located just behind the sternum, above the heart.
Discover More About the Power of the Mind
To learn more about Dr. Nisha Manek’s fascinating work, check out her website: www.NishaManekMD.com. There is lots of fascinating information, including insights from Dr. Tiller and Lama Zopa Rinpoche, a heart disciple of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. In particular, her blog posts explore many of these concepts in greater detail.
Also, check out Dr. Manek’s book – “Bridging Science and Spirit,” available on Amazon. And remember her take-home message – foster good habits, take your supplements and learn good energetic practices!