Dr A Sreekumar, Senior ENT Surgeon & Specialist in Nutritional Medicine and Chairman & Managing Director, Wellness Solutions was in Oman recently to explore options of bringing his concept of wellness solutions to the Sultanate. In an exhaustive interview with Rekha Balakrishnan, he touched upon different aspects of wellness, programmes, diet and exercise as well as the mind-body relationship.
They call it ‘wellness management in healthcare that is a first-of-its-kind in the world’. Wellness Solutions based in Cochin, Kerala, India recognises that wellness of optimal health is absolutely necessary in today’s lifestyle and each individual should be able to manage one’s own health for sustainable health. They have developed systematic and scientific programmes to make people healthy. Here, nutritional medicine is practised in the most scientific manner. At Wellness Solutions, elements of traditional Indian system of medicine (Ayurveda, Naturopathy and Yoga) are combined with modern (allopathic) medicine. The wellness initiatives include nutritional medicine, cellular detoxification, holistic treatment (yoga, music therapy), mind-body medicine and Ayurveda Treatment Therapy. Other programmes offered are metabolic assessment, diabetic care, cancer care, psoriasis care, auto immune disease care, neurological care, wellness seminars, wellness education and training to doctors to paramedics. Excerpts from the interview:
Can you tell us more on the concept that Wellness Solutions is based?
We founded the organisation over 12 years ago and have eight branches in different cities and also have a presence in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. We offer personalised healthcare management. The present practice of medicine follows disease care management. For example, dietary advice is given based on diseases, but we offer an individualised management plan. We manage this based on some basic fundamental things – we do a genetic analysis that gives an idea of the future risk and this risk is mainly what your genes are expressing. So if you live in a risk-prone environment or are genetically susceptible, you may get the disease. To know the present status of health we do metabolic analysis and based on that we give the right advice. We do this based on nutrigenomic advice that is mainly preventive healthcare. Nutrigenomics is actually nutrition based on your gene expression. When we are aware of the gene expression and present status we can give the right advice. And this comes in the form of exercise, diet, relaxation and dietary supplementation.
How does individualised and personalised advice work?
If someone asks me about nutrition, it’s what everybody requires but the dosage for each one is entirely different. What we mean by metabolic assessment is that we have a format where we assess the individual’s history; personal, physical, psychological, hormonal, immunity status and even life-style habits. Instead of changing most of the habits we strive to find the deficiencies in that habit and support it. Normally if you are asked to change your lifestyle, it may be difficult and hence won’t work. What we do is proper management of the existing lifestyle in the right way. We have patients coming to us with already contracted diseases. We adopt pharmacogenomics; medicines based on the gene expression. We will know which medicine will work for them, how to avoid side effects and the complications of various medicines. Based on this, we have experiences in most of the lifestyle diseases like diabetes, heart disease, cancer, arthritis, auto-immune disease and that helps us to prevent or stop epidemics that are affecting most of the developing world now. So these are the areas we concentrate on.
What are the programmes that you have initiated?
One is the school health programme that offers a comprehensive health package for students in the form of workshops that teach students how to become healthier and successful in their lives. Children, in fact, imbibe the message faster than adults. We conduct one-day programmes that focus on this aspect and we monitor them regularly so that we can give them advice as days and years pass by. We also have a corporate healthcare package for industries, companies, organisations and associations where the aim is to improve the health of the employees. What happens is that when you improve their health, the productivity goes up. This is the best welfare initiative any organisation can implement. It’s the most important insurance for their future.
On the treatment side, we have on our special system what we call Women’s Health Package. We are giving a lot of awareness to the women’s movement in different parts of India. We analyse their status from a young age, how to preserve their hormones and body bio-chemistry imbalance. We can give awareness and ways to manage a lot of things.
Our management system follows after assessment, a detoxification procedure. It plainly means cleansing of cells; for this we use modern medicine and the herbal system. Then we also give advice on the way to exercise.
Our Denditic Cell Therapy (Denvax) for Cancer is a new treatment schedule proposed by the Nobel prize winner of Medicine in 2011, Dr Steinman. Here we use patient’s own blood from which T cells (Immune cells) are segregated, and then grown in appropriate medium. On 6th day patient’s cancer antigen is fed to this and this becomes a strong and specific immune reaction to patient’s cancer. We have a protocol of combining this with nutritional intervention which has been successful in managing cancer and to some extent in prevention. In order to treat obesity we have developed a successful method by combining detoxification with nutritional therapy.
Can you throw more light on the exercise part of wellness?
In my experience, more than 95 per cent of people exercise in a wrong way. So we give personalised advice on exercise and combine it with dietary advice based on the individual’s food habits. We don’t want to change most of the food they eat but give advice on nutritional supplements. These are the basic concepts we are working on, supported internationally by Australian College of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine, Mayo’s Clinic, Nutrition Care and other renowned organisations.”
Mental well-being is equally important… what is your take on this?
I am an allopathic doctor who specialises in nutrition. When we talk of medicine, apart from the physical part, the mental aspect is also important. If you ask me what the most important part of the body is, I would say it’s the mind. Mind takes the decision and the body follows it. If it cannot do that, you are in trouble. All the medicines are mental blockers; for example painkillers, sedatives, etc are receptor blockers. They mean only one thing; you are blocking the signals from the body to the mind so it is not aware what’s happening. We think we are safe, symptoms are cured and though we have to block the symptoms for the daily routine but along with that we have to correct the signalling pathway. For management of any disease, we don’t right away begin with counselling. On subsequent visits, we explain what the body-mind relationship is all about and then it is understood. This means if a sick person comes to us, until we make him improve a bit, he will not understand and believe you on this.