Dr Shantha Godagama I Ep #13 | A British Legacy in popularizing Ayurveda & Marmaouncture in the UK

the content discussed in this episode is for educational or informative purposes only and should not be replaced by individualized professional conductations or professional medical

advice hey guys i’m tasha hey listeners this is ghooni and you’re tuned in to doctor of the podcast where we chat and explore all things on integrative medicine so we have a special guest today with us he is a trailblazer and one of the pioneers who brought ayurveda to the uk in the 70s he is a qualified ayurvedic physician and acupuncturist and mama puncturist who started his career at the tiring home clinic which is a british-based residential complementary medicine clinic he’s also the founding president of the ayurvedic medical association uk british marmapuncture association and british institute of mama puncture so a very warm welcome to you dr godagama thank you so much for coming on to our show dot if the podcast thank you very much for invitation hi gooni it’s nice to see you to zoom as usual dasha um so maybe a good place to start would be how you came into iveda and what sparked your interest in it so it is always from my childhood interest to be involved in healing profession and to become a doctor or physician uh the journey starts 1965 i joined the faculty of iowa in colombo and it was very interesting faculty because there we learned both western medicine and ayurvedic medicines that are those are the mainline treatment modality available today and then after my qualification i was selected by the government as a first iowa doctor to be trained in panchakarma treatments panchakarma treatment is a method of purification is internal and external internally you give oral medications to detox the body and external we do hunger that will massage our steam bath and so on you break down the toxins and it’s a complete purification that is what we call panchakarma so i was trained one year especially for panchakarma and then of course after my full training i went into a private practice in sri lanka in a very remote area where we had about population about 25 000 people and there was no doctor available in that region so then i was forced to practice western medicine because of the need of western medicine quite great in a remote area so i was practicing western medicine for nearly three years in sri lanka the the reason why i went to acupuncture was that i had a patient suffering from a condition called trigeminal neuralgia that is suicidal pain across the face and i was using injections all those painkillers and patients getting nowhere and then i knew he was getting very very desperate depressed and he was quite negative at the time luckily i heard this acupuncture set up in colombia general hospital and i wrote a letter to professor anton diazole and this man he went for treatment for three months and then he came back to me and in our tradition he knelt down in front of me saving his life so in fact in fact that was the first eye opener for me as a practitioner so i must learn this science so that is why i became the first student in sri lanka to learn acupuncture and i did a one-year course under anthropology while as i was practicing and also we used to do a lot of surgical procedures using acupuncture instead of anesthesia we use we we can numb the patient using acupuncture and then we had a few surgical procedures like a hysterectomy opening up the stomach and then removing the womb and thyroidectomies and few dental extractions while the patient was quite conscious so therefore it is the enormous amount of capability and capacity acupuncture being very well demonstrated i have added that as another therapeutic tool to my existing practice so i carried out western medicine together with acupuncture since i started acupuncture side of it i have withdrawn almost all the painkillers from the patients who are 90 of our patients are suffering from pain so it was a very good tool to control the pain uh doctor gutierrez how did you come to the uk uh dr sidney rosney he heard of our acupuncture practices in sri lanka and then he came and he observed how we were using acupuncture as a therapeutic model and then as a result immediately he invited me to come and work in his residential clinic in newport bangladesh and kings and so i became a consultant actually first i already doctored to arrive uk on a work permit so impressed with the clinic it was a huge investment by samurais lang ran as a registered charity for accommodating about 100 living in patients later on i became a director of the clinic so that is how i set up the first ayurvedic medical center within that institute um what are some of the the challenges you faced as you set up the clinic or you set up ayurveda being the pioneer it was quite challenging and also the depressing time for me because in 1979 i rather was unheard of in this part of the world so even if you asked a medical doctor what is really know nothing about it so it is it is how the the world communication in this western world has been completely blocked away from the eastern sciences so therefore i was quite depressed because i didn’t know how to get my journey started although i set up a clinic for residential purpose uh introducing iowa as a therapeutic modality but from when you go to the general public and ask about iowa is not known so it was a challenging time then i thought what what can i do to him uh to promote is within the community that is uh 22 years ago i have written this book called i rather hand book of ayurveda what i have done was that i have diluted the technicality of the idea the science into the relevance language so therefore is a very good website reading like you can start from the beginning to end in one day right so therefore hugely popular and it’s available in many translations around the world so i’m very happy that you know the word of highway and its science and its best been passed down to the general population so gradually uh i’ve been involved in seminars conferences organizing public events in the past 40 years within various locations to popularize algorithms you’re definitely a pioneer in like you know you spread the message for the community in the uk so there’s there’s so much to celebrate for that because i don’t think you know they would have been able to get access to this information uh early on now we had uh quite interesting leading figures in this country uk particularly i must mention prince charles prince of wales you know he was very keen and supportive for iran and indian sciences and i met him a couple of times and he’s a champ president of the king’s fund here and also he was he had his own organization called prince of wales foundation for integrated health he has given us a lot of support to get i read on board and get either the popularized i i was a keynote speaker at the king’s fund seminar on ira organized by his own organization that’s great that’s really useful to have someone on your side um that supports it of that stature yeah how how have you seen ayurveda change over time in the uk from the moment you arrive and being you know the first to today yes goodnight it is very interesting today i’m very happy about my journey and firstly i founded the ayurvedic medical association uk that was about nearly 30 years ago i managed to get nearly 60 qualified ird doctors who have done six-year degrees for diplomas from sri lanka or india or pakistan they came over here and they were living here and they were not practicing in a way so therefore i i have provided the platform and laid the initial stones for them to come forward and i have arranged that organization and then also i have co-founded with my colleague dr mauro fatih the college of ireda in the uk about 25 years ago and because we i have recognized we cannot depend on graduates from abroad all the time we need to produce the already qualified personalities in uk within this ground so that was one of the aim of popularizing highways to create a educational institute in uk which allow british public to join and learn easily and how did the regulatory landscape change over time in the uk how it changed was that british government and the british public wanted these professionals particularly the herbal medical sector to be regulated by state at the same time so that we have a very strong herbal lobby here in uk national institute of herbal practitioners and various western herbals and then of course the chinese herbal sector came up and then i really covered sector came up and set up so therefore jointly we together made some representations there where there were three parliamentary select committees actually appointed during this last 35 years period and all those committees were aimed at how to regulate the herbal medical sector in uk so we were pressing for statutory regulation and then government was quite reluctant and in the end final result was the last committee appointed which i gave evidence on for before three committees and it was left for self-regulatory model so that is what we are following and the government recommended actually uh one unified organization to represent ayurvedic profession so that was my mission last five years i was trying and collaborating and cooperating with all the iot practitioner organizations within uk to get them together into under the round table so i’ve been providing platform for that and so finally we have founded the british ayurvedic medical council so therefore during all these processes the public was quite aware of it and a lot of communication a lot of publications taken place in uk a lot of writings in local paper the thing in the west is that we need to give a confidence so public confidence is important in any profession and also we need to be seen transparency of the organization and also the professionalisms to be maintained by the organization so those are the works we have done in setting up the british already medical council not only that i have set up the british marmapancha association and british institute of murmur puncture during my time here so all these organization has been well set now for with regards to marvel puncture and acupuncture what’s the difference that is where the the story began another story because i have studied vedic medicine in colombo of course and then in one of the bibles in ayurveda is the character and susan so three thousand years old textbooks very well explained 107 vital points is used as murmur this is the three thousand years old world marmara marma is the vital points which exist within the body in various particularly running around on skin surface so there were 107 points described in character but the thing is it’s been recommended for therapeutic purpose but no ayurvedic practitioner or no ayurvedic institute india or in india or sri lanka been actively engaged or involved in designing a course to teach the science as another therapeutic modality because i was there is a number of therapeutic modalities not only once one area we are looking at the marma is another modality described in character and very well explained in ayurvedic medicine but nobody taught the science to the medical ayurvedic students throughout the world so since i learned what an acupuncture came from china i have done a lot of research work on this subject so fortunately when i wrote my book after all my research work i have realized that this is a true science acupuncture went to china from india historically particularly when the moguls invaded and ruled india at the time the cultural heritage had left india for other countries one of the country was the china it went as far as japan particularly through the buddhist route when you look at the history buddhist monks were trained as physicians and trained as a martial art experts they had to travel through difficult conditions so they learned the self-defense as well as the healing arts one of the healing also the marmoshiki stuff marmot chapter went to china and we thank china to developing murmur as acupuncture and developing in as a true science so this went all around the world since uh henrik is injured the state secretary of uh united states visited china first time the door opened to the western world china was open during mao zedong’s time so this is our nearly 45 years ago so with my research work now it is worldwide known within the already community my first graduates they graduated in house of lords here in uk and during the graduation ceremony the indian high commission also present at the time and i mentioned that i’m bringing back the olden days glory back to india as a marmapancha awesome that’s so that’s so interesting to have that history to know that how it moved across borders and giving it its rightful space to be appreciated and used in this journey i’m not alone here dr frank ross from australia he ran an already institute in australia and then he mentioned about the value of mar machik is uh introducing and then uh dr vasanth lad from america usa so there are few books written by various scholars during that time so therefore it is a very established science now um so could you draw parallels between acupuncture and multipuncture main difference is there is the 107 marma points missing in acupuncture and the main seven chakras of the body is missing this is energy medicine energy medicine is that you are manipulating body and what is energy is chronic energy or c energy using a needle stimulating a point so all those point patterns very well explained in chinese acupuncture and and there are therapeutic indications been very well explained then the murmur function 117 varma points and they are existing independently without any connection to any meridians or energy system they are sitting independently within the body and we have recognized 70 of them are located within acupuncture points within the meridian system so that is the entry point into the whole body energy system so when you do marmala chikisa into those 70 points that trigger the whole body action uh it’s like you are tapping the main electrical system so what is the main electrical system in the body the seven chakras seven chakras absorb universal energies according to our environment our body is a creation in this world and so therefore we are part of it we are part of a built environment so therefore we’ve been influenced by external factors and the main sources are these seven chapters and from seven chapters like transformers there are 117 marvel points and out of hundred and seventy in marvel points seventy of them are discovered they are sitting on acupuncture meridian points so those are the points accessed to the internal organs so it’s well laid and well said that’s the difference when you learn acupuncture you learn on the acupuncture and meridian system no mentioning about the 117 marmala points and chakra point so i have combined these two systems together and as a unique method as magma puncture that is a complete science so um if i understand correctly are you saying that what you’re adding on top of what acupuncture is saying is that there’s like the big picture which is the chakra points and then there are additional points within the acupuncture points that are not mentioned and that are access to different access points energetically speaking to the body yeah there are influencing points so i would say highly powerful and more vital points say acupuncture points the third level of energy in the body the first level chakra second level 117 mormon points and then the third level is the acupuncture point right so i have seen the limitation in practice when you practice on certain conditions acupuncture points alone you may get 30 percent success but if you combine with marma points you get 75 success or 100 yeah so that’s the difference so the success rate is higher yeah um so i guess from there like what could be interesting to know is how do you think it can be adapted in the mainstream health care system yes you are right on the spot on that question because that is a question now prince charles the leading figure actually he wants to see one day this is in the national health service in uk so following his advice and guidance we have led the organizational site very strongly now so that is the first step towards the entry to the national health service once you have a self-regulatory model then what we’ll have it will become a statutory model once it becomes a statutory model then the state will take over and once we have enough graduates in the uk through these institutes colleges which we have accredited by the british iowa medical council and once you have enough graduates there become a possibility within the nhs look at the story of acupuncture for example now acupuncture is well established and well recognized during my time it used to be a backstreet practice now here even in milton keynes we have a contract with the nhs trust that acupuncture has been offered to the patients so that is the the step in the future we are hoping once the profession gets housed in order so that will lead to the recognition of iowa in uk there’s no doubt about it right so regulatory foundation and then statutory foundation in supporting that we have created another organization called all party parliamentary group for indian health sciences because we need some political support so together we have about nearly 35 mps on a british government signed uh for this organization and we are one may be alleging a political platform uh towards recognition of irad or indian health sciences and another way we are influencing uh government i’ve been the first uh appointee by the british government medicine and healthcare regulatory authority i’ve been working 15 years as advisor on herbal medicine especially on ironic medical side worked as a member of the herbal medicine advisory committee with the department of health and mhra i was wondering because you you have this this heritage you’re bringing to england with ayurveda what is it about ayurveda that you are so passionate about and why do you believe that if there was more ayurvedic in people’s health care system um they would potentially be more healthier or what is it about ayurveda that you think people can use in their daily healthcare it’s an interesting question gunes so ayurveda has a wide variety of therapeutic modalities to prevent the illness treat the illness and maintain the illness the prevention is a major part of ayurveda so if i draw a comparison to western medicine western surgical sciences fantastic hundred percent i agree with but western medical treatment and the patients what they are getting from the jeep is one way it’s good it relieves the symptom at the time but when you come into a cure western medicine is very limited in curing diseases why because the problem is gone too far too deep within the human body so it become chronic when a patient go to a doctor that means you display clinical symptoms then the doctor diagnosed that that pathological process is a long process it is hidden within the body abnormal patterns develop every day and then it comes to surface one day at that point is helpless because then you talk about the maintenance and management of the condition right beauty of iran you go and see an average doctor whether you check the pulse or you check your lifestyle you talk many things not five minutes or ten minutes of consultation you talk many aspects of life and then go deeply into their lifestyles and then find out what are those imbalance in the body so and what is our birth what practically born and everyone is unique you tasha you guni and me we are anatomically physiologically the same but functionally we are different so therefore that difference is very well recognized in high rate and then you need to design a unique treatment modality for each of them so that is the difference i see in iowa you you address the for example the why they say once you can’t be every season for everybody it’s the prevention you prepare the body for the next season but i i think one point that uh because we were talking with dr atik about this as well um what do you think ayurveda is ready to do in the uk with regards to those three points which is prevention uh treat uh illness treatment and management do you think that at this current time ayurveda in the uk can cover with the knowledge and the different practitioners that are here can they cover these three these three areas they can cover these three areas but the thing is a question is that it is not widely available to the british public so availability and because it is expensive too so therefore access to iowa is not freely available so that is why where we need to address this issue in the future on long run uh grenade that because we are living in a commercial world everything down to money so therefore drug companies are they are making huge profits and when you really look at the inside stories of drug companies you know they are making drugs to manage the diseases right they are not producing drugs to cure the disease so once you find a medicine to cure the different disease that means there is no market um and so and so but the thing is that do you believe that the is there enough practitioners in in the uk to be able to have that knowledge to treat the venus like the western side yes they need knowledge they are knowledgeable once you graduate from already college or already colleges in india or sri lanka then they are qualified to manage the illnesses or treat the illnesses or care of the illnesses or guide the patients to prevention right so they are equipped fully equipped with that so but the time limitation is very important because you need to spend time with the patient so i spend at least minimum minimum half an hour or sometimes one hour in consultation so you get you need to understand the whole person without understanding our person you can’t prescribe or you can’t design any treatment plan so that is yeah but what i’ve i’ve noticed in the uk in the west is that um people when they look at ayurveda they might come across therapists or coach i really coach for nutrition and i think there is a misconception about what they can actually provide in terms of healthcare yeah this is what uh the regulation come into actually your question leading to that because now don’t forget because of the western popularity now we are gaining popularity every day for indian health sciences indians and women from yoga to the meditation to their everything so it’s getting more and more popular so when any science becomes more and more popular that leading to malpractice in a way right so uh that is why we need a regulatory body so for example there are yoga yoga there are so many yoga poses asanas even some things like goat yoga and things yoga which is really offensive you know what are they doing what we do so this is what we’re talking about the regulation right and not only that either it’s the same there are so many you can’t blame the western public people are going into india or sri lanka they are learning either in various institutes various individuals in the same same way here in the uk too when i it was eye-opener when one day a lady came to me and said can you teach me already so the question is so simple to her to ask me yeah yeah i spent six years learning that so how do you they wouldn’t go to like a medical doctor and say like hey can you teach me to do a heart surgery that no way they would do that right there’s no no quick route to this you know so that is why we set up the college with the syllabuses approved by the indian health council and sri lanka so therefore we need to we can’t dilute any science in in such a way because of the popularity we need to protect the system that is the protection is my priority that’s why when i set up the college also now we know where we are going to dilute the curriculum so we need to have a standard curriculum thought to the students proper thing so there are so there are so many institutes here even in operating in uk also nowhere near to our college of art with curriculum so therefore we need to be very careful where people are trying to learn things very quickly of because of the public interest yeah so you can’t blame them so we need to protect the profession very well you know this is our duty yeah yep um thank you so much thank you so much thank you thank you for coming on we hope to have more fruitful conversations like these uh in future thank you if you enjoyed this episode go ahead and select that follow or subscribe button for now stay safe and we’ll see you next week

Dr Shantha Godagama I Ep #13 | A British Legacy in popularizing Ayurveda & Marmaouncture in the UK

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