Integrated Healing


Joseph R. Carbone, M.D.

I am a physician with specialties in Psychiatry and Neurology. I integrate Eastern Healing Practices into my work with patients. Although western medicine has much to offer, there is a need for a critical reevaluation of some of it's practices. Frequently, the methods involved are not aimed at true healing, but rather involve placing chemical Band-Aids on symptoms.

///The following are excerpts from my stress management seminars.

Breathing Exercises

One of the most powerful tools we can use in calming/soothing ourselves is the control of our breathing. In his outstanding book Spontaneous Healing, Andrew Weil, M.D., describes a very powerful breathing exercise derived from the ancient science of breath control, Pranayama. These are called the 4-7-8 exercises based on the ratio of inhalation, breath holding, and exhalation times.

Basically, you inhale through the nose for a count of 4. The breath is then held for a count of 7. You then exhale for a count of 8. These three steps are all done while you hold the tip of the tongue behind the ridge of the upper 2 front teeth. The entire 3 step process should be repeated at least 4-8 times. It is good to repeat the entire 3-step process 12 - 16 times for even greater results. It is good to do these exercises at least twice everyday and additional times, as needed, for relief of stress and anxiety.

One patient of mine was able to lower both his systolic and diastolic blood pressures by 20 points using these exercises!

Cognitive Therapy

///Cognitive Therapy is a form of psychotherapy which is highly effective and can be used even in acute crisis interventions. One of the main aspects of cognitive therapy is the recognition of so-called cognitive errors. Three common cognitive errors are discounting, catastrophizing, and jumping-to-conclusions. Cognitive therapy is based on the idea that our thoughts can influence our feelings. It may sound basic, but that's what makes it so effective. For example, one type of so-called cognitive distortion is called "discounting" When a person is good at something, for example, and someone else compliments the person's skill, the person who is complimented might think, "but that's no big deal, anyone can do that." What they are doing is "discounting" their own achievements and talents. Now one could argue that a depressed mood comes first and then there is the tendency to use thinking that is depressive. I would agree, but it kind of becomes like debating which came first, the chicken or the egg...ultimately, it doesn't really matter. What happens is that the depressed and/or anxious person is caught in a vicious cycle. Even if it is the mood that is depressed first, if you can intervene at the level of the thoughts you are generating, you can fight the depression or anxiety. The key is to begin to take note of the spontaneous negative thoughts (automatic thoughts) that one is having and to learn how to recognize the so-called cognitive errors or distortions involved in those thoughts. One then learns how to generate new kinds of positive, resourceful thoughts. I will elaborate more on this powerful form of therapy in the future. I recommend the book Feeling Good, by David Burns, M.D. for more information.

///I like to use the following analogy when speaking with patients regarding the use of tranquilizers in the treatment of anxiety: Imagine a smoke detector in your home is making noise. Would you put a blanket or something else over it to silence it?....I hope not! Most people would quickly look for the source of the smoke and take other appropriate life saving actions. Yet when we are faced with feelings of anxiety most physicians trained in Western Medicine prescribe tranquilizers. These (temporarily, usually) dull the anxiety. The anxiety is important, however! It acts as a kind of smoke alarm for our mindbody. It tells us something is wrong with the way we are living. The healing appproach is to look for the fire and to deal with it.///

A Healing Approach

The Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh in his writings tell how we may deal with uncomfortable feelings like anxiety and anger. I use the mnemonic RAELI as a guide: 
R - Recognize the feeling
A - Accept the feeling
E-  Embrace the feeling like a mother embraces her child
L - Look deeply into the feeling
I - Allow insight to develop///  

Siddartha Gotama developed a system of wholesome living. He described what he called the Four Noble Truths which essentially state: 
1. There is much suffering in life. 
2. Much of the suffering in life is caused by our desires
   and cravings. 
3. There is a cure for our suffering! 
4. The cure for our suffering lies in our following the  Middle    Path which is described in detail in The Eight  Noble Truths.

Siddartha Gotama did not have am MD or a CSW or a PhD  Yet, he described a system which is extremely healing. He is known to hundreds of millions of people throughout the world as The Enlightened One or the Buddha and founded his system over 2500 yrs ago long before modern psychology, social work and psychiatry were established!///

Meditation

Meditation is another powerful non-drug form of healing. There are essentially 3 types:

Soothing (Samatha),
Insight (Vipassana),
Lovingkindness (Metta)

As I continue to develop this website, I will have more to say about this wonderful healing.

The website, Buddhanet.net, has free online courses in meditation which the Ven. Pannyavaro has very kindly and generously made available and I urge all to visit that site for more details.

Meditation can be performed while moving as well as while sitting.

The mindful drinking of a cup of tea can be a form of meditation!

For some more reading on Meditation I would strongly recommend: The Miracle of Mindfulness, A Manual on Meditation, by the Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh For more reading specifically dealing with anger, I recommend Anger, Wisdom for Cooling the Flames, also by the Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh./// For more information on the Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh, click on the Plum Village link below.

Taoism and Traditional Chinese Medicine

Meditation is also a part of the Taoist tradition. Taoism underlies all of Traditional Chinese Medicine,including acupuncture and accupressure, the Internal Martial Arts (Nei-Jia) and dietary planning.///

Chi is also known as Prana in Ayurvedic Medicine. This is the life force that courses through all beings and thoruough the Universe as a whole.

Most illnesses can be conceptualized as involving blockages in the smooth flow of Chi. The Chi flows through various channels and meridians in the body.

The reason it is so important to hold the tip of the tongue against the gumline of the upper front teeth during the 4-7-8 breathing exercise described above is because by doing that you close a circuit and thereby allow the Chi to flow through the Du Mai or Governing Vessel into the Ren Mai or Conception Vessel. These are two major Chi Vessels. When they are linked to form a circuit, we call that circuit the Microcosmic Orbit.///

Yin and Yang are two complementary Principles in the Universe. Knowlege of Yin and Yang is essential, even in planning healing diet. As an example of the healing use of the knowlege of Yin and Yang is that green tea is a yin drink and therefore soothing. This makes it ideal when dealing with stressful situations which tend to arouse too much yang.///

Taoist Sexuality

Taoist principles are extremely healing in sexuality as well. The energy of the orgasm, for example, can be circulated throughout the entire system for renewal of vigor, instead of being dissipated in an ejacualation. As a result, a man can continue making love for hours and hours without feeling tired and drained! The energy is shared with his partner. There are even special "Double Meditation" practices.

Much has been written on this in the Taoist litereature and it was first mentioned by Li Huang, The Emperor of China, in his classic text on Internal Medicine written thousands of years ago! Today, a leader in the field is Mantak Chia and I strongly recommend, for both men and women, his book The Multi Orgasmic Man, co-authored with Douglas Abrams. I also recommend Master David Liu's book, T'ai Chi Ch'uan & Meditation.///

Ayurvedic Medicine and Yoga

Ayurvedic Medicine from ancient India is also very powerful and has influenced Traditional Chinese Medicine. Chi is known as Prana and as I mention above, the science of controlling it is known as Pranayama. The major energy centers in ancient Indian Medicine are known as Chakras.

Yoga may be regarded as a form of moving meditation. I will say more about this in the future. I recommend the sites SivaSakti.com and Kundalini.org for much information including free on-line training! (Click on the links below.)///

I will continue to add to this website. For suggestion, questions, please e-mail me at ameurasian@yahoo.com and please sign my Guestbook!

Copyright(C)2002 by Joseph R. Carbone, M.D. All Rights Reserved.

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