Sunday, December 04, 2005

From King Khan to Spice Girl


A decade ago, they were laughed off as New Age psycho babblers. But the collaboration between Dr Mossaraf Ali and the Prince of Wales has stood them in good stead.
Today, the idea of integrated medicine, where conventional and alternative medicinal therapies are applied together, is de rigueur in the West and is fast gaining acceptance here too.

Speaking from Taragarh, a summer palace resort of the Kashmir royals in the Kangra Valley, Dr Ali, a former medical student of Delhi and Moscow, is wistful. ‘‘Today, everyone in India talks of reiki, ayurveda massages, pranic healing, but when I was practising integrated medicine in the ’80s in Delhi, no one quite understood it.’’

Hailed and derided in the same breath—skeptics question his unconventional approach—Dr Ali remains a pioneer in medical tourism in India. His A-list patients from his clinic in London, near Harley Street,to the magical, restorative Himalayan foothills in the last one decade, has had people pleading for more.
Dr Ali’s Himalayan retreat sees small groups of 16-20 people twice a year for a week’s camp, to treat ailments from chronic fatigue and stress to bereavement to alcoholism/drug addiction.
His A-listers, however, get a more personal trip with just the doctor.
Charles’ wife, Camilla, a convert for years, has been to Taragarh twice, and has given up yeast, white wine and coffee to ease her chest and sinus problems. Supermodel Kate Moss checked into Dr Ali’s Himalayan retreat six years ago allegedly to kick her cocaine habit long before she went to Arizona rehab centre last month. He has cured former Spice Girl Geri Halliwel of bulimia; helped Bollywood’s Shahrukh Khan recuperate after his back surgery; gave consultations to Karan Johar, Ramola Bachchan; flown to meet Presidents K R Narayanan and Venkataraman, former PM Atal Behari Vajpayee, minister Arjun Singh, Virgin’s Richard Branson, playwright Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber, actor Micheal Caine, Arab princes and kings, Euro aristos and the simply rich.
It is not celebrityhood but philanthropy that drives him, says Dr Ali.
His fees are modest—60 pounds for a visit to the London clinic, and 1,200 pounds for the Indian trip.
‘‘I can charge what I want, but I am a healer and my dream is to spread the message and see the medical world embrace the best of conventional and alternative medicines. Otherwise I’d probably end up looking at 200 people a day,’’ he says.

Dr Ali’s clinic sees 600 people a week and has a two-month-long waiting list.
So, what is Dr Ali’s therapy? The guiding principle is—if you correct the imbalances in the body, it will do the job of healing itself. He has incorporated all the goodness of yoga, ayurveda, dietary advice, meditation, acupuncture, homeopathy, naturopathy, all rolled into one to offer personal, tailor-made packages for each patient. ‘‘It is a four-step way to wellness—a corrective digestive system, massage therapy, exercise plan and relaxation techniques,’’ he explains. ‘‘My clinic in London is two-tiered—the gatekeeper (therapists who check pulse, breath, tongue etc for diagnosis) and treatment planners who write out the remedy.’’

In Taragarh, the day begins with two-hour yoga, three to four hour walks in the foothills visiting monasteries and temples, villages and caves waterfalls and hot springs.

‘‘It is nature’s spa,’’ he says, ‘‘and exercising at 4000-5000 feet altitude is ideal for body boosting in the oxygen rich atmosphere.’’

Would he open a clinic in Delhi now? ‘‘Indians do not have the discipline to follow this tough diet regimen, they cannot live without their pickles and spices. But I want to instill in doctors here the advantage we have: the knowledge of both East and West. However, I want to pass on my knowledge to only those who are linked to government hospitals,’’ he quickly adds.

Dr Ali will be giving a lecture at FICCI on Monday, in the Capital, and signing his books later.

More informations here:
Integrated Medicine
Educational Programs

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