• Vol. 41 No. 2, 87–90
  • 15 February 2012

6th College of Surgeons Lecture The Philosophy of Balance: The Art of Healing

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ABSTRACT

With the rise of high tech medicine, and emphasis on the scientific aspects of medicine, there is danger that we may lose the balanced approach to healing, and lose the benefit of the traditional medical wisdom and emotional support, to improve the care of our patients. Allopathic or the mainstream medicine (Western medicine) is not the only way. With over-emphasis on the anatomy and pathology, the biochemistry and the molecular biology, we tend to treat the disease, and somehow neglect the patient. That is one of the reasons why many patients still turn to alternative medicine to relieve their ailments. We need to remember that the patient is a person, consisting of not just the body, but also the mind and the spirit. We therefore need to treat not just the body but also the mind and to heal the spirit. That would be the balanced approach in the management of patients. To treat our patients optimally, we need to understand the natural history of diseases, and not make our treatment worse than the disease itself, carefully balancing the risks and benefits in our treatment for that individual patient. The mind has more influence over the body in health and diseases than we used to think. We need to be optimistic and give patients hope through counseling, and help to minimise the harmful effects of stress and anxiety on the body. It is as important to improve the immunity of the body to diseases (infection as well as cancer) as to get rid of every bacteria or cancer cell. It may not be possible to get rid of all the cancer cells in the body, but it may be possible to keep them under control. The most important factor in improving the immunity is for the patient to have a relaxed mind. He would need emotional support from family and friends. Exercise, proper diet with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables would help to improve immunity and speed up the healing process. The art of healing is the art of balancing the Science and the Art of Medicine, treating the disease and the patient as a whole, incorporating the best in allopathic (Western) medicine as well as complementary medical practices. With this, we hope to provide the best care to our patients.


With the rise of high tech medicine, and emphasis on the scientific aspects of medicine, there is danger that we may lose the balanced approach to healing, and lose the benefit of the traditional medical wisdom and emotional support to improve the care of our patients.

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