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subsequent to treatment by MAHARISHI AYURVEDA

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.

Specifically, it considers placebo effect, coincidence, the role of my belief as an active ingredient in physiological repair, and the precedence or indeed the lack of it - with respect to published myopic macular degeneration ophthalmic case history.

     1.  Was the Ayurvedic treatment responsible for my vision recovery?
     2.  Do I
believe my Ayurvedic treatment was responsible for my vision recovery?
     3.   Could my improvement have been merely a placebo effect?
     4.   Could my improvement have been a coincidence?
     5.   Would my improvement have happened without the treatment?
     6.   Why hasn’t my right eye improved to the same degree as my left eye?


1.  Was the  Ayurvedic treatment responsible for my vision recovery?


Throughout this site I have deliberately described my recovery as subsequent to my treatment, rather than explicitly stating that it was caused by it.

Just because 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) macular degeneration.


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 outline two:


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!

The 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 discussion accordingly.

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 atypical recovery.

In essence then, I believe the issue can be summed up by considering the following two propositions:


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.

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