Thursday, 20th September 2018
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With Breda Gardner Homeopath, lcph, mcos, rgn

Health Therapies Clinic

13 Gladstone Street, Waterford.

Tel: 087 2025753.

Insight Natural Health Clinic

15 Upper Patrick St, Kilkenny

Tel: 056 7724429

East meets West

The terrible weather we recently experienced was not all bad news. There were some marvellous examples of community spirit across the country, whilst at home I was finally able to read - and not scan! - a couple of books that have been sat on my shelf for a while!

One such book is "Oriental Medicine & Eastern Philosophy" written by my friend Dheai Ilsaaid. He is a practising acupuncturist in Waterford. In his book, he explains how Eastern philosophies relate to the human body, and how that knowledge can be used to help patients to restore balance and harmony to the mind, body and spirit. In no way does Dheai attempt to disrespect or replace traditional, Western medicine; rather he suggests some thought-provoking ideas about how an alternative or complementary approach may be of benefit to the patient. In my experience, it’s always a useful exercise to challenge established ways of thinking and to consider different ways of doing things. I am a firm believer that we have much to learn from other cultures, societies and civilisations.

Dheai describes some of the ways in which Oriental medicine is different from its Western cousin. As an example, in his practice, he used different diagnostic techniques, looking at the patient’s face, tongue and pulse. He also focuses on diet, nutrition, mindfulness, positive affirmations and meditation. The last point is an interesting one. I have long believed that many of our institutions - like big businesses, schools, the Dáil and so on - would work much more effectively if they started each day with a period of meditation and calm reflection!

Breathing is closely related to meditation, and it is another area where Dheai has some fascinating insights. In Oriental medicine, breathing properly is seen as the foundation for good health, because it is the basis for the life source. Breathing is life and life is breathing. Oriental medicine believes that the immune system starts at the nose, because this is where the "chi" (life energy) first enters the body. Breathing in and out through the nose allows the air to be filtered and regulated before it enters the body. What you get out depends on what you put in. It is the breath that delivers oxygen to all parts of the body, so the chi must enter and exit the body properly if it is to correctly nourish the organs and positively influence the mind and emotions. According to Dheai, breathing the right way helps to ensure good health, but breathing incorrectly can lead to issues like constipation, poor concentration and asthma. In the West, there is much less of a focus on the importance of good breathing, but nonetheless we do assign it some worth. If someone is really stressed out or has had a shock, our first response is often to tell them to take a deep breath. Oriental medicine takes this advice much further, and underlines the vital role of breathing properly in order to ensure good health. As with meditation, I feel this is an area where we have valuable lessons to learn from our Oriental cousins.

I’ll share more insights from Dheai’s book next week: in the meantime, you can get more information or order this book from


Letters to the Editor

  • Waiting can be bad for your He...

    When the latest statistic that waiting times for patients had risen to their highest level yet, there can't have been too many people that were surprised.There are now over 700.000 people on waiting lists with over 50.000 of them children. That so many people are waiting for treatment in one of the most developed economies in the world is truly frightening. Of course you can take into account the underfunding of the health sector during the economic downturn but it still wouldn't fully explain why so ma …

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