In the ‘Western World’, we are dominated by scientific proof. If it can’t be proven by science, then it’s fake news, alternative therapies or snake oil. We also end up in quite a ridiculous situation where two opposing opinions are able to dig up scientific papers to back their own arguments.
There is a lot of bad science out there…
I often use PubMed as a source for scientific papers and one thing to look out for is any ‘Conflicts of Interest’. You can see these listed at the end of a study. Industry is a huge funder of research.
So, what has this got to do with ancient traditions?
If we go back hundreds or even thousands of years, there wasn’t science as we know it now. The knowledge of what works was handed down by the elders and became steeped in tradition.
The ‘Western World’ would look at these traditions and mock them because science couldn’t understand them. As technology has improved, science has been able to unravel the reasons behind why some of these traditions have benefits. Some examples are:
Meditation – it is only in the past 5 years or so that meditation has become mainstream. It was mocked for many years as being a thing for ‘hippies’. However, with EEG technology, we are now able to measure the human brain before and after meditation to see how the brain reacts. 20 minutes of meditation every day actually changes the shape of the brain after 8 weeks. I have written a blog explaining why Meditation isn’t Woo-Woo! Check it out here
Fasting – Ramadan is a great example where Muslim cultures would fast during daylight and eat at night. It is referred to as a ‘cleanse’. In 2016 Yoshinori Ohsumi won the Nobel Prize for discovering the mechanisms for autophagy. When we fast our bodies go into a process of autophagy which is cleansing your body at a cellular level.
Acupuncture – this is still under debate and one that science has not conclusively proven. However, it is available on the British NHS and many people have become advocates for Acupuncture, particularly for pain relief.
Ayahuasca – whilst illegal in most countries, Ayahuasca has been used for thousands of years by Shamans in South America. It’s a psychedelic substance and its effects on the human body aren’t nice – leading to a purge (vomiting and diarrhoea). However, it is increasingly being used as a tool to treat PTSD, depression and addictions. I’m not advocating Ayahuasca but it is interesting to me how these traditions are slowly but surely making their way into the mainstream.
The point that I am making is … just because science can’t explain something, it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t work. Sometimes science needs to catch-up.
There is a lot in this world we cannot explain, but there is a lot we can learn from ancient traditions.
If you are interested in having a discussion around anything in my blogs, please do get in touch.
Nick Powell is the founder of Stronger Self and he works with entrepreneurs and senior leaders to enable them to take their personal and professional performance to the next level.
Nick’s approach uses cutting edge tools and techniques from the worlds of biohacking, productivity, anti-aging and neuroscience; harnessing the exciting intersection between biology and technology.
Nick has developed his Peak Performance Coaching Programmes to enable his clients to deliver extraordinary results across all aspects of their personal and professional lives.
He runs his Coaching sessions face to face in London & Surrey and across the World via Zoom.