Pranic Therapy Part I - An Introduction                                                         

Pranic Therapy is an alternative system of Medicine using therapy with the Universal Stream of Consciousness, the Cosmic Prana.

Pranic Therapy can be effectuated by proper knowledge of the psycho-physical organism, physical and mental discipline and opening all ourchannels to the Cosmic Prana. This is normally effected in seven steps

The Seven Stages of Pranic Therapy

1. Knowledge of the Psychosomatic Machine2. Regulation of Sleep, food & Exercise
3. Relaxation
4. Attunement to Biorythms ( Circadian Rhythms, Solar & Lunar Rhythms )5. Removing mental blocks ( Difficult due to Repression )6. Overcoming Prajnaparadha ( Fault of Awareness due to misuse of ourcognitive & conative functions)7. Opening the system to the Cosmic Prana ( Opening all channels to the
Divine Shakti )       
                                                     

 Introduction

With the advent of rapid industrialization, urbanization and thebreakdown of family life after the Second World War, sociallife in the West became tense & stressful. The spread of
materialistic ideas and ideals and the erosion of faith in Morality& the Law Divine & the social disturbance caused by the Vietnam
War brought a sense of futility & meaninglessness in the Westernpsyche.The limitations of the Western system of chemotherapy& adverse side-effects of antibiotics, sedatives and certain otherdrugs and the disillusionment with the promises of science &
technology made millions turn to Oriental philosophies, divinepractices & systems of therapy.

The response from the Orient was benevolent. Favoured by thesocial revolution that swept through several countries in the Westin the 1960s, these countries, especially the US, came to be
flooded with Gurus and Yogis. Yoga, TM, Reiki - all attained world-wide popularity.

Three Modern Movements


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As a byproduct three modern movements came into being.They are Neo-humanisn, interreligious dialogue and Holistic Health. The term 'Neo-humanism' refers to a basic changein modern man's attitude towards himself and his fellowmenwhich is characterised by

a) the recognition of the essential goodness of man b) focus on existential problems
c) striving for higher transcendental experience. The contribution of Ramakrishna Movement to inter-faith dialogue
was immense. Other movements like Maharshi InternationalUniversity & Self Realisation Fellowship contributed to this change
in the human mindset.



Holistic Health

Holistic Health refers to a modern movement which regards health asa dynamic state of the total human being. Although the symptoms of
a disease may be found in certain tissues or organs, health is not amere removal of such symptoms by the treatment of the affectedtissues or organs, but a state of multidimensional experience, according to this perspective. The mind, body & environment arein a state of dynamic interaction & the maintenance of this interactionin an optimum state of efficiency is what health means. In other words " To be healthy is to have the ability to live with full  
use of our faculties and be vigorous, alert & happy to be alive,even in old age, despite an occasional bout of illness." This" operational health" has been defined as wellness. It is a senseof all-round well-being as contrasted with illness. .
 

The greatest aspect of holistic health is its recognition oftheroleplayedby mind in health. " Mind is omnipotent " said
Freud & he had shown that the Unconscious played a key rolein causing certain diseases which came to be described aspsychosomatic diseases. He looked upon the Unconscious chiefly as the repository of negative emotions. His early discipleCarl Jung expanded the concept of the Unconscious to make it include good emotions and even spiritual urges. Adler,another disciple of Freud showed that the ego could alter unconscious behaviour.

The connecting link between the body and mind was not clear. Thework of the Canadian endocrinologist Hans Selye brought the muchn eeded connecting link. In his classic work " The Stress of Life "Selye showed that mental stress was the root cause of several types
of common illness such as hypertension, hyperacidity etc. The 'stressor' (the original source of stress ) excites the hypothalamus inthe brain. This vital organ which controls the autonomic nervous systemactivates the pituitary to secrete the stress hormone ( known as ACTH ) which stimulates the secretion of several hormones and steroids (including the well known, adrenaline or epinephrine). More sugar isreleased into the blood & BP is increased as a result of these changes. According to Selye, stress is unavoidable in life. ( The emotional centre in the brain, when upset, stimulates the oxintic cells to secretemore hydrochloric acid in the stomach which leads to hyperacidity.) When it goes beyond a certain tolerance level ( which varies from person to person ) the system breaks down resulting in illness.To the scientific picture of body-mind interrelationship given above, certain new concepts were added. One was the idea that if negative emotions could cause illness, positive emotions can cause "wellness".


The attention of medical experts & the imagination of the public wascaptured by this innovative idea when Normal Cousins, editor of Saturday Review, published a convincing account of his recoveryfrom a debilitating & incurable disease of the connective tissue.The patient's understanding of the disease & his active participation in the recovery process was highlighted by his case.The most difficult and controversial aspect of holistic health is another idea that by creating proper awareness within himself man could exercise a certain degree of voluntary control over the healing processes taking place in his body. After the aftermath of Pavlov's demonstration of conditioned reflexes, another Russian scientist K M Bykov and his colleagues showed in 1924 that severalinvoluntary processes such as regulation of body heat, heart rhythm, production of urine, BP etc which were mediated by the autonomic nervous system could be brought under voluntary control. The above finding was corroborated later during experiments conducted on animals under 'operant' (voluntary) conditioning Hundreds of peoplefound that they could bring under control their heart rhythm, brainwaves etc with the help of the biofeedback technique. Indian Yogis in the West also demonstrated that they could alter metabolic rate, heartbeat, body temperature etc simply by their will power, without the use of any biofeedback instruments.

 


Holistic health practioners invaded the scene at this juncture.They showed that not only certain organs but the working of the wholes
ystem such as the digestive system, the respiratory system, circulatory system etc ( known as the Systems concept ) could be regulated simplyby changing one's life-style & affinities. It was claimed that even diseases such as cancer could be cured or held in check be creating strong faith & the right type of consciousness.Despite the exaggerationand the propaganda which accompanied these claims, the basic ideathat man can consciously regulate involuntary and unseen physiolo-gical processes came to be accepted as a fact by the medical community.

Various meditation techniques like Transcendental Meditation, Zen,Yoga were becoming popular in the West in those days. Apart from
the spiritual benefits, (In Transcendental Meditation, the existence ofa fourth major state of Consciousness called Transcendental Consciousness was proved by Dr Keith Wallace in his Phd Thesis )practical Yoga teachers showed that Meditation also produced otherbeneficial effects such as reduction of tension, lowering of BP,relaxation of muscles, increase of concentration & work efficiency& even increase of immunological resistance to diseases. As a result, some form of Meditation has become an essential part ofmost holistic health programmes.( Dr Harold Bloomfied says that TM can be used as an adjunct to psychiatric practice.)The success of Acupuncture, herbology etc which came to be recognised as ' Alternative Medicine " , lent much support to
the holistic health position. Two great discoveries strengthenedthis position. One was the discovery of 'biological clocks' innature and the existence of biorhythms in the human body. The
other discovery was that the brain produced certain neuro-modulators called endorphins which have the property of reducing pain. The production of these natural painkillers isinfluenced by our thoughts and endorphins are produced when our EEG brain waves are in an alpha state ( 8.5 cycles per sec).