Health & Science
5:34 pm
Wed July 17, 2013

East Meets West: Guide to Wellness Channels Modern & Spiritual Medicine

"In the 20th century, medicine was strictly concerned with treating illnesses. The medicine of the 21st century is about wellness."

Dr. Ashok Bedi explains some practical ways we can use spiritual and traditional medicine to achieve wellness.
Dr. Ashok Bedi explains some practical ways we can use spiritual and traditional medicine to achieve wellness.
Credit Boswell Book Company

Those are the opening lines of the new book Crossing the Healing Zone: From Illness to Wellness, written by Milwaukee psychiatrist Dr. Ashok Bedi.

A Jungian psychoanalyst, Bedi says that to achieve wellness, we must merge the best practices of both Western and Eastern medicine - to achieve healing of the body, mind and spirit.

His book combines modern medical teachings, complementary treatments and techniques, traditional psychology, physics and spirituality to offer practical tips for boosting health levels. It's is the result of more than 30 years of practice after having trained in India and later at Oxford in England.

He says using the Jungian perspective differs from traditional psychiatry, but it has made all the difference for his patients.

"Jung thought...when you repress your spirituality, your creative drive, your altruistic drive, your wish for connection with something deeper and sacred in your own life, that's when you start to heal," Bedi says.

When we lose that deeper connection to ourselves or to a bigger spirituality, Bedi says, that's when patients can suffer.

"All of our medical problems, all of our psychiatric illness, all of our relationship tangles, all of our hang-ups or complexes...are all our dreams, all our active imagination, all our creative products, all these are whispers of our soul, some deeper part of you is trying to communicate something to you," he says.

Then the task of the analyst or therapist is to help a patient tap into that sacredness, which can also be thought of as the soul - "the giver of life and health and wholeness and sobriety," Bedi says.

"When you decode it, understand it, then it becomes sacred, it becomes a bridge to a deeper part of your consciousness," Bedi says. "Then the person starts to heal."

While his approach takes elements of Eastern spiritual healing, Bedi says he isn't so interested in religion as he is in the medical benefits of practices like yoga, breathing exercises and practicing mindfulness. He documents the research done so far on such practices, and offers a practical guide to using them to help readers achieve wellness of mind and body.

Bedi also serves as president of the Carl. G. Jung Institute of Chicago and leads annual training in India. A board certified psychiatrist, Dr. Bedi is also a clinical professor in psychiatry at the Medical College of Wisconsin and practices at the Aurora Psychiatric Hospital and Aurora Health Care Network.