Discussion This discussion seeks to examine the nature of the relationship between
my highly atypical recovery from myopic macular degeneration and the treatment I
received from Maharishi Ayurveda Hospital.
1. Was the Ayurvedic treatment responsible for my vision recovery?
Throughout this site I havedeliberatelydescribed my recovery as subsequent to my
treatment, rather than explicitly stating that it was caused by it.
one event follows another, it does not of course follow that there is a causal relationship
between the two. However, as the improvement and especially the degree of it, was
SO contrary to clinical expectation, and indeed appears to be unprecedented in terms
of published myopic macular degeneration ophthalmic case history - it cannot be unreasonable
to advance the proposition that my treatment and recovery are indeed associated.
Obviously, further case history data of macular recovery subsequent to the kind of
highly skilled and authentic treatment I received at Maharishi Ayurveda Hospital
is needed to strengthen the case for the correlation. Indeed, that is the very purpose
of this site: To present a reasoned, and reasonable, healing option for people who
are told, just as I was - that there is no effective treatment for their (myopic)
2. Do I believe the Ayurvedic treatment was responsible for my vision recovery?
Of course, inner conviction and outer reality are not necessarily the same. Just
because I am certain that I see a snake in the grass, it does not make it true -
it may well be a piece of rope.
The above notwithstanding, I do have strong conviction
that my treatment was deeply associated with my recovery. In addition to the empirical
facts of the highly atypical (myopic) macular regeneration, I had several subjective
experiences during my retinal recovery that contributed to my belief. I will now
EXPERIENCE 1 The perception of rapid flickering light spots in the visual field is
not uncommon for people with retinal problems, and may be indicative of retinal activity.
After my first residential treatment in India, once back in the UK, I had a dramatic
increase in the quantity, intensity and duration of the phenomena compared to pre-treatment.
(My Ayurvedic doctor described these phases as ‘nature re-organizing itself’’).
This experience was extraordinary, and I readily admit cannot be explained with reference
to any existing evidence-based clinical paradigm or model that I know of:
After taking Ayurvedic herbs for just 12 days (before I went to Delhi for my first
residential treatment), I woke up one morning with the unmistakable experience that
the cells in my eye had DECIDED to try to see again. The experience was totally
unexpected, deeply visceral, and completely different to the feeling that “I” (my
sense of self) had decided to see again. This bears repeating - the subjective experience
of decision-making was independent of my sense of ‘me. In other words, left eye
tissue itself was expressing volition.
Though it is obviously outside the scope of this site to speculate whether physiological
entities in themselves can express volition, the experience appears to be fully consistent
with one of Ayurveda’s core paradigms:
To the limited degree that I understand it,
their model of illness involves the belief that illness expresses ‘memory loss’ -
- in effect, that physiology ‘forgets’ its original programming. From that perspective,
Ayurvedic treatment seeks to ‘re-awaken’ lost memory. Perhaps the cells in my left
eye had ‘remembered’ their original programming.
It occurs to me that this experience may represent something that is not conceptually
so very different from that which is driving research in regenerative medicine, especially
with regard to the use of embryonic stem cells. While the goal here is to implant
pre-differentiated healthy cells to take on the programming appropriate to the new
implanted physiological location, the goal of Ayurveda can be seen as (re)manifesting
the lost memory of the original programming in situ.
3. Could my improvement have been merely a placebo effect?
I suspect that psychological attitude does indeed have a part to play in recovery.
Ironically, however, if my recovery was indeed only the result of belief, this would
surely give rise to the proposition that belief alone can dramatically regenerate
retinal (and presumably other central nervous system) tissue.
In my case, the relationship between my belief and my recovery produces a negative
correlation: because my vision recovered so much after my first residential treatment,
belief was stronger going into the second residential treatment - which produced
less recovery than the first.
4. Could my improvement have been a coincidence?
Of course, from the point of view of pure logic, the answer to this question has
to be yes, but only in the sense that a monkey, given infinite time, could write
the works of William Shakespeare. We all know however, this ain’t gonna happen!
more clinically meaningful issue therefore is whether my recovery would have happened
without the treatment.
5. Would my improvement have happened without the treatment?
My recovery does appear to be absolutely unique at least with respect to published
case data. For example, searches through the bio-medical databases Medline and PubMed
reveal a total absence of any parallel case data.
If any clinician or researcher would
be kind enough to send me citations that clearly show spontaneous recoveries of the
same (or even approximate) magnitude, I will add them to this site and revise this
It may be important to note here that my condition, Myopic Macular Degeneration is
distinct from, though of course related to, the more common condition of Age Related
Macular Degeneration (sometimes abbreviated to ARMD or AMD). Unlike ARMD, Myopic
Macular Degeneration is related to the stretching of the retina as a result of the
elongation of the eyeball from substantial short-sightedness.
There is, however, one
further important point to bring out here: even if my recovery is not unprecedented,
and on very rare occasions spontaneous recoveries of parallel magnitude do occur,
it does not of course mean that my treatment was not deeply associated with my highly
In essence then, I believe the issue can be summed up by considering
the following two propositions:
undocumented dramatic spontaneous recoveries may rarely occur. So rarely in fact
that none of my UK ophthalmic consultants felt it appropriate to indicate even the
possibility in their prognoses, and so rarely that there appears to be no parallel
published case in the scientific literature.
my dramatic recovery was associated with my treatment
Which of these possibilities
seem most likely to you?
6. Why hasn’t my right eye improved to the same degree as my left eye?
Given the right eye’s pathology, my understanding is that the degree of recovery
is deemed to be as clinically atypical as that for my left.