DRF1 TV broadcast from 4/29/16: Simon Albers interviews Lothar Pirc, CEO of Maharish Ayurveda Health Center in Bad Ems. Simon Albers: When someday you walk through Bad Ems and look a bit to the left and a bit to the right, then you might see a yellowish, eggshell-colored little castle in Baroque style, and on the castle is written “Maharishi Ayurveda”. You may be thinking: what’s in there, maybe a fighting school, perhaps you will be taught kung fu there, or whatever? But someone who is in there often (if you knock, he comes out) is Lothar Pirc. Now let’s first clarify: what is Maharishi Ayurveda? Lothar Pirc:
Well, literally translated Ayurveda means the knowledge or the science of a long and healthy life … and it is the oldest natural healthcare system in the world. Just alone the written traditions are more than 5000 years old. It’s a very holistic system that was revived in its full completeness by the name of Maharishi Ayurveda. This is, so to speak for the authenticity of this knowledge. Ayurveda is a system that considers all areas of life and is a great enrichment for our health care system, as a complementary system. It is very very effective in preventing illnesses. It aims to rejuvenate our physiology and it is also very effective in the treatment of chronic diseases. We have been establish since 1992 as a privat clinic in Bad Ems. If I understand you correctly, I could come to you and you can tell me if there are any pending diseases, without that they have already broken out? Exactly, that’s right. It is a great feature in Ayurveda. This is how it works, we know that all diseases are caused by imbalances, imbalances in the spiritual realm, the mental area, the physical realm, through inappropriate behavior. For example wrong nutrition or through influences from the environment. And therefore our system is shaken. Imbalances emerge and these imbalances manifest in six stages. Despite all the equipment that is available today in modern medicine – and we need modern medicine, we are complementary – modern medicine generally cannot discover a disease until the 5th stage. We have the opportunity to already discover the preliminary stages of manifestation and then we do not treat the disease, but we are helping people to regain their balance. If I understand this correctly, what is the timespan between stage 5 and stage one? Is this something one can determine? As a rule, it could be a few months or even a few years and we have a very special system, so to speak, to discover the diseases at preliminary stages. The tongue is considered, the skin is considered, but the special diagnosis we use is the so-called pulse diagnosis… … where the experienced physician, based on specific criteria, feels how the disease manifests itself gradually inside the body. In Ayurveda we have the knowledge of the so-called 3 doshas. Vata, Pita and Kapha, which are metabolic principles and which are symbolized by the 3 fingers. These 3 fingers … maybe you’ve even cut yourself once… the fingertips are indeed very sensitive. There are a lot of nerves in the fingertips. There is a certain point where you feel the pulse and, depending on how they are combined.. – you can compare this to a trumpet. You have only 3 buttons, your tongue and your breath. Depending on how hard you blow, and how you combine the buttons and the tongue you can play any tune on it. This is a science that has also been lost in India. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi has revived it with the help of the family traditions. Our physicians now have 30 years of experience with it. And it is very impressive how accurately the pulse diagnosis is working. Does it work for anyone or do you have to believe it somewhat for this to work well? In other words are there patients who come and then you tell them: “I’m sorry, that’s just the way it works”? No, it works basically for anyone. You do not have to believe it. These are certain natural laws. You could imagine it just like a map on the fingertips which are associated to the specific organs or systems and then you can feel where something is in development. The great thing is, if you discover the disease before it manifests itself, it is relatively easy to treat. We do go to the dentist for preventive check-ups before dental decay has developed too much. Ayurvedically this means when a disease in stage 1 or 2 it is sufficient to adjust the diet a bit and to treat yourself with plenty of rest. In stage 3 one would add some herbal supplements or Yoga exercises and Transcendental Meditation to achieve deep relaxation. When stage 5 is detected one has to take many natural ways simultaneously. With Ayurveda it is not like with conventional medicine when the patient requests pills from the doctor and at the same time is not willing to adjust the lifestyle. You have to collaborate and you will understand why because it is all being explained. And this way one can balance the disease at a preliminary stage. If stage 5 is reached then you might have to have an operation in the case of cancer, for example. But even with this Ayurveda is very effective in strengthening the immune system, the body’s intelligence and in counteracting the side effects of modern medicine. The oldest natural health care system, Ayurveda, explained by Lothar Pirc. He runs a private clinic in Bad Ems and we will see momentarily how such a great method can be lost despite being so great. Why did it not continue?
Let’s see it right afterwards. Thank you The oldest known natural health care system is called Ayurveda. It provides us with a holistic understanding of the entire body, and may even surpass the value of modern medicine, because it can detect what a person has, or might get, much earlier – at least that’s the theory. Someone who understands these methods very well is Lothar Pirc. He has a private clinic right in Bad Ems, which treats just this. So one goes there and one may be told: this and that is to come; now we have to do something about that in time— that is, before (modern) medicine methods detect it. But now the question: Why, if that is so successful and you can see things so early, why doesn’t medicine say: Let’s do that too! Because that would be great! But apparently it does not work like that. Yes, new things always take some time to be accepted in society. I would not actually say that we’ll surpass modern medicine. I think we are a very useful complement to modern medicine. With many diseases we also need modern medicine. But especially with chronic diseases, which are very difficult to treat, we have extremely good healing results. Now, your question was: The knowledge has been lost, how did it come back? This is simply because some knowledge always gets lost over time. And then, India was a British colony for many years. The British tried to suppress this Vedic knowledge and have enforced their medicine upon the Indians. This has succeeded mostly in the large cities. But in the rural areas (after all, India is a huge subcontinent) hundreds of family traditions have specialized in certain small areas of Ayurveda for centuries. And they were only active in those sub-areas. A merit of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, who also brought Transcendental Meditation to the West 60 years ago, is that.. 40 years ago, he started to gather these family traditions and put pieces of their knowledge together like a jig-saw puzzle Then he encouraged scientific studies in order to validate these Ayurvedic principles from the perspective of modern medicine. He also had all the old classical texts newly translated from Sanskrit. Further, he set standards for the production of herbal preparations and for treatments. This revived, complete system of Ayurveda is what we call Maharishi Ayurveda. The name is like a token of the authenticity and completeness of the knowledge. Ancient healing methods can indeed be good on one hand, but if you see it from today’s point of view, Ayurveda is – in principle – like Windows XP. Back then, it was super-good, but today it might no longer fit into everyday life, because people eat very differently, live in very different circumstances. Wouldn’t one fear that people say: These old recipes of yesteryear, five thousand years ago, at a time when we definitely looked differently, those can’t really be useful in our days? Yes. So, Ayurveda is like the knowledge of the laws of nature. And our body always works the same, whether that was centuries ago or whatever – that is not a technology like Windows, which is no longer used now. Our body always works the same way. And especially in our stress-ridden times we need this ancient, complete knowledge. Because it helps us to improve health by recognizing disease earlier, by feeding ourselves properly, by knowing which exercise is appropriate for us. Furthermore, we have to reduce costs in our health care system, and for that, Ayurveda is a useful addition. Already quite a number of scientific studies show that especially with chronic diseases, such as diabetes, Ayurveda can be very successful. Wouldn’t there also be a concern? You said: That was brought to the West 60 years ago. Puzzle pieces were assembled – one knows it from the grapevine: You start out with one message, then a few details are added, and in the end a completely different story comes out. Isn’t that dangerous? Well, I don’t see any danger there. We have a lot of experience indeed. Just in our private clinic in Bad Ems, we have treated more than 25,000 people, with tremendous results. Most guests come to us, by the way from all over the world, because of personal recommendation. In Germany, there are hundreds of thousands of people who have done Ayurveda treatments in India or who take Ayurvedic food supplements. Ayurveda has become very popular, there are lots of people who like and love it. I receive requests from around the world to give lectures, and people are thrilled how very simple things can have wonderful benefits. Do you also have a very quick tip what one can do in everyday office life, when one is suffering from too much stress? Is there a quick remedy? Definitely. Now you have to consider: there are different types of stress. We humans, we each have our individual metabolism, and the special thing about Ayurveda is that we look at each person as an individual. For example, during the outpatient consultations which we offer in Bad Ems, the doctor spends a full hour with each patient. Many questions are asked, pulse diagnosis is done… ..and then one receives very specific individual recommendations, which usually can be easily integrated into every-day life. But I’ll just give you a general example … Let’s do that in a minute. The general example, we’ll do it in a minute. So we’ll hear a general example to manage every-day stress shortly from Lothar Pirc, as found in the teachings of Ayurveda. People who, like we, watch a lot of international TV – Russian, American, Indian – will have seen the man next to me here, in interviews, lectures about Ayurveda. This is Lothar Pirc. You have a clinic in Bad Ems. The whole world is interested in this oldest natural medicine: Ayurveda, which comes from India. Right. Why do you have to go to India and tell the Indians about their own practice? That’s a very interesting question. Also in India, important components of the complete Ayurveda have been lost. My wife, who is the medical director and co-founder of our clinic, and I, we just returned from a journey through institutions of higher education in India and Nepal. Pulse diagnosis, which I mentioned earlier, is not much used nowadays in India. Maharishi University in Holland has developed courses in pulse diagnosis for physicians and the general public. That is something we promoted on our trip, and also we presented scientific studies about curative successes with Ayurveda. The Indians were very impressed and we have an open invitation to cooperate with them. Now there are different ways how to eliminate and diagnose problems before they surface. Let’s talk about a remedy. We promised the viewers a general remedy to cope with stress in every-day office life. You treat people very individually, but what can I do in general, when I have stress in the office? Well, I think the most effective weapon against stress is rest, deep rest. And the deepest possible rest is experienced regularly by meditating; i.e. by practicing the Transcendental Meditation technique. One needs to learn that from a qualified teacher – in seven two-hour lessons – – then one will be able to self-sufficiently practice it, twenty minutes twice a day. So you don’t need to sit cross-legged on the office chair; one does it at home. One sits comfortably upright, relaxed, and within 1-2 minutes, one reaches an extremely enjoyable state of inner unbounded awareness. Then one comes out energized, and a lot of blockages have dissolved Long-term studies by health insurance companies show that people practicing Transcendental Meditation cause about 80% less expenses for the treatment of heart disease and 56% less for the treatment of tumors. There are very large-scale studies, which would take too long now, but I can recommend it to anyone. Also, Ayurveda knows very simple ways to remove toxins from the body. There are two types: water-soluble toxins and fat-soluble toxins. Many modern diseases are related to toxins. Now, just by drinking hot water one can eliminate water-soluble toxins from the body. It should be good quality drinking water, boiled for 20 minutes. Then fill it into a thermos and drink a cup of hot water every half hour, just like one might have tea or coffee. Nothing added? Nothing added. Just hot water. And in the evening one could eat only soup, don’t take any snacks in the afternoon – and do this for ten days or so. Then you’re slim? Then one finds that one has more energy and one feels better; one has burned off many toxins. But no food, for example: no sausage, in between? Sure, you eat lunch, you also eat breakfast, and in the evening one eats only a light meal, such as a soup Plus you drink a cup of hot water every half hour or every hour, and that is a simple detoxification cure which you can do at home. You will notice it when you clean your tongue. Have you ever cleaned your tongue, in the morning, in front of the mirror, for example by scraping it with a spoon? I always do that with a toothbrush, like this and this, and that is the sign to stop. You can take a tongue scraper, or simply a spoon, and scrape it off, and what you see there is toxins, undigested food. It’s called Ama in Ayurveda. At some point I don’t taste my own tongue anymore. (Giggles) The sense of taste is greatly improved. If you now do this hot-water cure for 10 days, then you will find that your tongue, which usually had a thick layer on it in the morning, is now relatively clean. And you’ll notice that you have more energy and mental clarity thereby. But there is a unique method which we specialize in at our clinic in Bad Ems, which is actually at the heart of our facility: It’s called Panchakarma – the royal way. This is a special system to eliminate fat-soluble toxins, heavy metals, pesticides and herbicides from the body, … and it is the reason why we have such good healing results. How else do they get out of the body? Or do they stay in there somehow? These fat-soluble toxins settle in fatty tissues, in the spaces between the cells, … and it is said in science that they have a half-life of 25 years, which means the body takes 25 years to excrete half of them in the natural way. But new ones are added all the time. That is the problem! And that is why such a Panchakarma cure, as we offer it in Bad Ems on a very high level, really is a basic thing to improve overall health. Do we just extend life, or also improve it, make it more pleasant, with less disease? Exactly. First, the quality of life is improved, but it is also true that this treatment has an immediate rejuvenating effect. There are certain parameters for measuring the aging process, like vision, hearing, memory, blood pressure, depression. There are a number of criteria and it has been found that when people do such a cure for ten days or so, … that their biological age, according to those objective measurements, is about 5 years younger after such a cure. So you can compare before and after? Because without a point of comparison, how does one know the effectiveness? Exactly. When our guests go home, their relatives and friends see it immediately: “Wow, what did you do? You look great! You look much younger!” And then they say they also got rid of some complaints—and like that, people come to us from recommendations So, in future, Hollywood stars will no longer say, I drink water and do yoga, … but they will say: I drink hot water and do Ayurveda, it keeps me young and athletic. Many already practice Ayurveda and some of them come to Bad Ems. Okay. After the break we’ll talk about the exact treatment methods in your clinic. We are talking with Lothar Pirc about Ayurveda, one of the oldest natural health care systems in the world. The world’s oldest health care system is 5000 years old, it’s called Ayurveda, … and this man here knows this health care system so well that he provides a complete clinic for it, but this man is not 5,000 years old, I got that… How can one know a 5,000 year old procedure, which has been forgotten in the meantime, how can one master this today, in 2016? Well, Ayurveda never disappeared completely. The thing is that different family traditions have upheld the knowledge of partial areas over thousands of years. About 40 years ago, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, who is known for introducing Transcendental Meditation, … started to restore Ayurveda again in its completeness using those family traditions. And today in Holland we have Maharishi Vedic University, which trains physicians, such as the doctors in our clinic, … and also the therapists, who come back twice a year to have a quality check and update, to keep up the quality standard But I don’t want to create a false impression: I am not a doctor, I am CEO and founder of the clinic; my wife is the head physician. We have 3 doctors, plus an Indian doctor from this tradition. What else do you offer in the clinic? We just talked about a cure with hot water, … but I don’t think that you will only greet your guests at the door with the kettle in your hand saying ‘Cheers!’ No, that hot-water cure was just a tip for the audience, something one can do at home. Our fundamental cure is the Panchakarma spa treatment, which literally means “five treatments”. So when a guest arrives – most come for 10 to 14 days – the first step is the diagnosis, according to allopathic and Ayurvedic criteria, and then a treatment plan is designed. This can vary greatly for different people, but I’ll give you a general framework, so one gets an idea. So during the first three days, one changes one’s diet and eats light, vegetarian food. In the morning, instead of breakfast, one takes warm Ghee, that’s clarified butter – it looks like apple juice. But one can’t drink that! Oh yes, you’ll drink that easily. It’s only a small amount, like 20-40-60 milliliters. And since it is not mixed with other food, it spreads in the body. After three days it reaches the interstitial cell spaces and tissues and begins to dissolve the toxins deposited there. Then on the third day you’ll receive a wonderful massage with warm herbal oils, given by two therapists working in synchrony. Women are treated by women, men by men. This massage with medicinal oils stimulates the metabolism and mobilizes the toxins. After that comes a heat treatment called Svedana, which is an herbal steam bath, to already remove toxins through the skin. The next day is what we call the laxative day: you take herbalized castor oil and have multiple bowel movements. Now this doesn’t sound so great, but many people report that just this elimination already greatly improved many worries and pressures they had, and also sleeping problems. After this preparatory phase of the cure, comes what we call the main treatment. We have a range of about 20 different kinds of massages: with more pressure or less, with special oils, or flowing oil, or with silk gloves. The physician prescribes what is best for your constitution and condition, with each treatment lasting about two and a half hours. One is pampered for two and a half hours; people feel in heaven, it’s a fantastic experience. Another treatment we offer is Shirodhara, which is simply oil flowing over your forehead, … which produces a very meditative state of deep relaxation. All this regenerates the entire physiology. One experiences such enjoyable peace and quietness, and simultaneously toxins are eliminated from the body, stimulated by the food one takes. Further, you’d receive those small enemas, which help to eliminate the now loosened toxins from the intestines. Now quickly, before our program time is over: how much does it cost? It may be difficult to say, in general… It is very labor-intensive. We have a hundred employees, including temps, for about 30 guests we treat per day. The treatment costs for 10 days would be about 2000 to 2500 euros and you’d have to add the hotel’s room and board and the physician’s fees. So I’d say roughly 3500 euros for 10 to 14 days. With a car, one would say that it’s not only an outside cleaning, but also the interior is cleaned and refurbished, with clearly visible success. This was Managing Director of the Maharishi Ayurveda Health Center in Bad Ems, Lothar Pirc, … about one of the oldest health care systems in the world, it’s 5000 years old and is called Ayurveda. Thank you for being here. Thank you.