Tag Archives: Ayurveda

Healing: Dr. Veena’s Ayurmantra, review

panorama of the neighbourhood from the rooftop of Dr. Veena’s Ayurmantra in Kerala, India

Continuing the story of my stay at Dr. Veena’s Ayurmantra iin Trippunithura, (near Kochi), Kerala, India. Part 1 is a personal diary of my stay seeking treatment for syndromes, there is also a collection of “Kerala Field Notes” with riffs and lousy snaps about a few other activities while there.

For background on the series, check the Healing Ramble introduction video and follow along for Auroville diary, a rapid exit and then onwards to Nepal and possibly Pacifica, maybe Adelaide. Maybe you already saw the dispatches from Phitsanulok, Thailand. 

Unsurprisingly, there are various photo essays (ephemera, Lomo “spy camera” from a cenotaph in b&w or colour for your amusement), a Remembrance Day podcast and video spiel from Gandhi beach.

Next, (for convenience and hopeful promotion of Dr. Veena’s Ayurveda Hospital – Gmap), sharing a publicly-posted review (under no-longer-secret-pseudonym), ergo:

Dr. Veena’s Ayurmantra Review

I recently stayed three weeks in-patient at Dr Veena’s Ayurmantra and found the experience was exceptional due to the kindness and skill of Dr. Veena and Dr. Hamesh. 

After years of shuffling between all manner of specialist doctors with divergent opinions but no solutions besides prescription medications and experiencing little to no improvement, I decided to try a non-traditional approach with Ayurvedic medicine and set out to find a clinic which suited my needs. I wanted a place that was small and attentive and not a “tourist spa”. Further, I sought a place with amenities and cleanliness which would make my stay pleasant.  Continue reading Healing: Dr. Veena’s Ayurmantra, review

Kerala Field Notes: painting, rupees, museum, specs, wedding etc

The doors open, you don’t know where you might go, so you go

An omnibus round-up for lousy photos of logistical considerations, various tasks and personal memories in Thrippunithura (Kochi), Kerala, India (wiki), late 2016 while staying at Dr. Veena’s Ayurmantra hospital. Please read the related story and consider watching the “Healing Ramble, introduction” video for context on this series. 

In the neighbourhood

sherbet coloured houses in the neighbourhood 

I sought permission to go out of the house to explore the neighbourhood, and after a while, she relented, warning me of the intense heat. I made a few oil pastel paintings of neighbouring houses which were all “sherbet coloured“ with lime greens, tangerine oranges and lavender which I found delightful.

i stepped out to make oil pastel painting and quickly made pals / note my awsum disposable clothes 

However, as soon as I would sit down with my art supplies, the neighbourhood boys and men would gather around to see what I was doing, ask me dozens of questions, and look on intently at everything I was doing. Continue reading Kerala Field Notes: painting, rupees, museum, specs, wedding etc

Healing: Story of Dr. Veena’s Ayurmantra ~ Thrippunithura, Kerala, India

Me and Mr. Mohammed the Ayurvedic practitioner at Dr. Veena’s Ayurmantra in Kerala, India

What follows comes from my erstwhile “Healing Journal” – written/compiled on a foggy meandering journey to various countries (Pacifica, Phitsanulok, Cochin/Kochi, Pokhara, Dikwella/Galle…) visiting all manner of hospitals, clinics and exploring various healing modalities and techniques. Shared here more-or-less unedited for posterity (whatever that is) and to shed light to those struggling who might come across this riff.

Please watch the “Healing Ramble, introduction” video for context on this series. Importantly, this is not meant to be a travelogue or creative writing exercise, just laying out my experience as it came to me. I may include some links to other projects or creations that came out of this, maybe… I’m not there yet.

This entry, from Thrippunithura (Kochi), Kerala, India (wiki), late 2016 and was written during my stay and in the weeks following – hence possible tense shifting and “note-style”. For the record: it’s nowJune 2021, i live in Japan, am stable if far from “normal”.  No advice or sympathy requested or accepted. Carry on. 

Thrippunithura, Kerala, India , Nov. 2016

Intro: On my healing journey, I had tried most every possible medical modality to find some relief, and was determined to try everything which showed reasonable promise a benefit.

A friend from Dubai recommended Ayurveda as a natural and holistic approach, and in a fog – truly, in a really difficult point in my healing process, I investigated 20+ Ayurvedic clinics in India and Sri Lanka – very rapidly and without knowing what i was doing really…, received all manner of different replies, prices and recommendations.

my first cup of Chai in India! such splendid heaven for a dime

I settled on Dr. Veena’s Ayurmantra the province/state of Kerala, India due her excellent clear communications and no nonsense approach to the clinic (some seemed dodgy, others were “resorts for yuppies” with very high rates, most told me to “call” and i am not a phone calling type). 

Settling-in

I flew from Thailand (after time doing a load of tests at a hospital in Phitsanulok) to Kochi (aka Cochin), spent two nights in an airport hotel recovering in a bath {note: will share travel tips later in the series}, venturing out only to drink coconut (below) and tea (above) and rolled by taxi to the clinic – exhausted, demoralized, confused but open to anything.

stepping out into “all of the India” to drink a coconut 

The clinic was run by a whip smart woman named Dr. Veena who was sometimes assisted by her husband, a jovial tall thin man named Dr. Hemesh who worked at a regional Ayurveda hospital requiring a long bus ride for him every day. Such chemistry between them ;)

I lived in-patient in this facility for three weeks. My room was simple with the bed, wardrobe and desk and a wet bathroom. For much of the time, I was the only patient in their small three-story facility. Other times, there was a couple from Malaysia.

They also had a wonderful 3-year-old daughter who spent the day with relatives and came home welcoming me with a best hug calling me “Uncle”. The staff included a house lady, and a practitioner, a short Muslim man with a moustache – though almost every man the state of Kerala had a moustache. My 3 week, intensive, in-patient program of traditional Ayurvedic treatments was designed to address chronic pain, pain and heaviness in legs, reduced/uneven sleep. The treatments consisted of various massages with medicated oils, plus inhalations, purging, dripping medicated oil/milk on forehead, eyewashes … plus specific food for body’s needs, meditation time, stretching and a variety of herbal medications.

assorted Ayurvedic medications i took “to go” at the end of my treatment cycle along with Dr Veena’s handwritten direction 

Left with 2 month program of medications (capsules, liquids, ghee, powders…) and advice to avoid cold, avoid acidic food and meat, do yoga stretching and breathing exercises. Day-to-Day

Shirodhara vessel for gently pouring liquids over the forehead 

Continue reading Healing: Story of Dr. Veena’s Ayurmantra ~ Thrippunithura, Kerala, India

“Thunderstorms in the Crash Years” – audio story about #MECFS & #Fibro

Dave working on healing at Peacock Ayurveda near Galle, Sri Lanka (with Dr.)
Dave working on healing at Peacock Ayurveda near Galle, Sri Lanka (with Dr.)
 

Amidst a thunderstorm at 4AM on a balcony in Chiang Mai, Dave discusses – with excessive frankness and emotion – various medical conundrums (Fibromyalgia and CFS-ME) and details the physical feelings of “crash mode” as well as the mental strain in dealing with self de-identification and inter-personal relationships, confusion in seeking help, and various alternative treatments.

audio story about #MECFS & #Fibro, just click play below

Always be kind for: Thunder in the Crash Years – Postcard #75 (75MB, 37:09, mp3, stereo)

No sympathy or advice requested.

(un-licensed but fairish-use) music by:

  • Tegan and Sara “Wake Up Exhausted” (demo)
  • Billy Bragg “Must I Paint you a Picture” (extended)
  • New Pornographers “The Crash Years” and “Adventures in Solitude” (studio)
 

 

Healing Ramble: #MECFS journey to Thailand, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and onwards

Kind of nervous about this project but somehow it feels like a good (or important) idea so here we go… &/or just watch :).

I deal with #MECFS a complicated complex and chronic disease (see below). 

After diagnosis eight years ago (2013), I was kinda ground-up by then-local (Vancouver, Canada) medical system through challenging and ill-advised therapies, a litany of dangerous medications and laborious uneventful tests. Plus my entire life seemed to fall apart… ugh. As such I set out on a meandering journey seeking to figure out what was up with my body and brain and try to find a way forward. Continue reading Healing Ramble: #MECFS journey to Thailand, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and onwards

Waiting, not Riding

Waiting for a train
Alone amongst a billion
Just to pass by, not to ride

No where to go
But to my healing room.
Not the Darjeeling Limited
but moreorless the same
sweet lime or milk chai
your choice, 6 Rp
Moreorless.

Train rolls by
I jump a tuktuk
He drops me off
Somewhere wrong.

Watercolours & oil pastels, Trippunithura, Kerala, India, 2016 (thank you Dr. Veena)

In process / tea cup for watercolours
Tuk tuk in general direction
Station from bench

Diary: Home is Where the Herbs are at

Dig a hole in good soil and plant the appropriate items, wait, then dig again

Years ago when I was at an Ayurveda Health Home in Pokhara, Nepal (which was one of the most wonderful experiences of my life, especially in this “healing journey”) the kind doctor suggested I use turmeric daily.

When I asked her what was the best form/way to purchase this, she said “grow your own” and I explained it was difficult because I had no home, no prospects of getting one, and was rambling and rather lost so a garden was not really possible.

Now. Three years later, I have a life, a home, a garden, and turmeric which is now made into things daily.

Note: many good things about this plant especially anti-inflammatory properties.

Also, in this photo is gorgeous ginger, again freshly harvested.

Turmeric and Ginger = magic

Annotations and updates about health situation

Starting a journey towards Ayurveda, Kerala, India. I was a wreck at this time (weird eh)

Briefly: Annotations and updates about health situation

So much goodness in my life these days (wife, baby, home) but still there are things which challenge me so very much —mostly the pain and brain fog and constant unrefreshingness and crippling fatigue of my weird illness (ME-CFS) but no one wants to hear about that 🙂

There are two good things, ergo:

1) I’m *doing better* than I was before the 3 extended Ayurveda in-patient stints (India, Nepal, Sri Lanka) which reset my body and cleared out the copious medication as prescribed to me by doctors in Canada/US which almost took me down to bottom of the sea #rough (benzos, opiates, ssris, anti-spasm/etc…)

++ Simplifying life, reducing stress (new life), being in one place all add to this. Keep in mind once “lockdown/quarantine” is over, nothing really changes for me… No big deal, I have hobbies.

2) In the wake of the “current public health viral situation” ™, there’s suddenly a lot more attention on my consortium of illnesses due to the “c19 long haulers“ who are experiencing the same sort of symptoms (brain fog, sensory overstimulation, unrefreshing sleep, muscles/joint ache, etc. etc.) and being told by doctors that “there’s nothing wrong“ so suddenly, there’s a lot more science overlapping to folks like me. As such, virologists and super-computers are suddenly pointing powers towards cracking codes which relate to me (no I’m not selfish).

And suddenly there’s all kinds of “main stream“ news coverage and discussion about this illness *and* emerging tests coming from Montréal of all places to determine *real* biomarkers based on “PEM/post exercise malaise”.

I mention main stream because a lot of the coverage and information about my illnesses (ME/CFS and Fibromyalgia and CSS) get overlapped with other “things” and a lot of crap about it being “in your head“ and you get referred to cognitive behavioral therapy and gradiated exercise therapy both of which do more harm than good and are clearly debunked as useful treatments. And holy wow, so much snake oil and magical treatments and gurus out there… People drain their life trying to find a way out of this deep dark well. I know, I am one of them… hundreds of dollars a month on supplements and B vitamin injections and saunas and trigger point injection therapy and blah blah blah.

I’m writing this because after a great art exhibit at buddy’s goat farm – where I really paced myself and was careful and all of that – I’ve been in bed/crash mode for three days (I do the laundry and dishes and take out the trash and compost so better than other times in my life) since.

Anyhow:

Added a few links and comments in a FB flow to send out to the universe.

(Keep in mind various plant medicines which would be rather fortuitous are simply not available in my current geographical situation).

PS this is not a request for advice, sympathy, empathy or whatever… How are you doing?

PPS my heart is happy *and* sometimes my brain works so two out of three ain’t bad

More: And yes, sending letters and postcards is *therapy* and brings me joy as I can do this in simple little quiet times, spark my brain and bring happiness to others (I think anyway :-)). ++ Bathtime with Ichiro is great for both of us. The hot deep Japanese ofuro baths are a huge help for me

Note to self: The important thing is not to get frustrated when I “crash” as hard as it is / drink tulsi tea, hot bath, fresh air, low stim

Note: I’m sharing all these links because in the last 3 to 6 months there’s been more “actual science and reporting” than in the previous 6+ years since I was diagnosed (May 2013)

Note: It’s walking through a foggy mysterious painful confusing maze / obstacle course every day > sometimes I find a footing and float myself out into the world – Literally or metaphorically – though I don’t much make a distinction anymore. I’m alive, I have a pen and paper and tasty beverages so I’ll take that

PS in reply to some messages, my diet is aces (hooray miso, genmei, fish, pickles) and I have “done the work” with various eliminations and eating systems over the years.

Yes, counseling, lots of it and very helpful at certain times.
(You don’t even have to ask about journals do you?)

There’s an evolving/backfill inspection at my web archive called “healing journey” with more of curious (a lot more in the draft folder including completely parts of my various things at Ayurvedic clinics and hospitals in Thailand

Memo: After frustrations with “one test at a time” I (somehow) went daily to hospital in a anonymous workday city and did 27+ different (sophisticated/specialized) tests especially to illuminate /eliminate other possible diagnoses or identify problems, plus MRI, EEG etc.
Also loads of traditional Thai massage (the kind with a beat you up & stretch you out / not *that kind* …)

#daveo50 ~ 2017 / 50 years > days > photos

#daveo50 ~ 2017 / for passport, visa, or other ID

Project: Upon turning 50 years old on August 16, 2020, Dave Olson (me, hello) is posting a photo (or maybe photos) a day / per year – starting with 1970 with intent of chronicling existence through various primary evidence sourced from studio portraits, class photos, ID / passport photos, or occasionally other “casual/group/random” shots when the above don’t exist in my archive (note: not “artificial intelligence,” really me, pulled from shoeboxes, journals, wallets and whatnot – diligently scanned and dated via glasses and haircuts, lightly annotated).

Continue reading #daveo50 ~ 2017 / 50 years > days > photos

Thunderstorms in the Crash Years – Postcard #75

 

Amidst a thunderstorm at 4AM on a balcony in Chiang Mai, Dave discusses – with excessive frankness and emotion – various medical conundrums (Fibromyalgia and CFS-ME) and details the physical feelings of “crash mode” as well as the mental strain in dealing with self de-identification and inter-personal relationships, confusion in seeking help, and various alternative treatments.

No sympathy or advice requested.

Always be kind for: Thunder in the Crash Years – Postcard #75 (75MB, 37:09, mp3, stereo)

Continue reading Thunderstorms in the Crash Years – Postcard #75

Cow Washing from Well in Kerala

Outside my bedroom window at an Ayurvedic Clinic in Tripunitura, Kerala, India, this man in his dhoti would wash his cow/buffalo(?) with well-water each day. Splash, splash. This is all. I had a lot of time to watch him wash as i was sequestered for treatment.

Healing: Shirodhara Time (Kerala)

Shirodhara time in Dr Veena’s Ayurmantra clinic in Kerala, India

 Shirodhara is a form of Ayurvedic therapy that involves gently pouring liquids over the forehead and can be one of the steps involved in Panchakarma.