50 PIONEERS IN ALTERNATIVE HEALTH and MEDICINE | Part IV | Pioneers 31-40


50 Pioneers in Alternative Health and Medicine

Once all of these practices were questioned by the masses. These men and women helped revolutionize their respective fields and push forward the idea of alternative medicine and new practices. While these practices were one time considered outrageous they are now readily accepted by most sources of medicine.

Part IV • Pioneers 31-40

31.  Martin Seligman - Year: 1942-Present - Fields: Positive Psychology - Country: USA- Martin Seligman is a strong promoter of positive psychology and well-being. His theory of “learned helplessness” is popular among scientific and clinical psychologists. A Review published in 2002, ranked Seligman as the 31st most cited psychologist of the 20th century. Seligman is currently, Family Professor of Psychology in the University of Pennsylvania’s department of Psychology. He was elected President of the American Psychological Association in 1998. Seligman's foundational experiments and theory of "learned helplessness" began at University of Pennsylvania in 1967. Seligman argued that clinical depression and related mental illnesses result in part from a perceived absence of control over the outcome of a situation. Eventually he worked with Christopher Peterson to create what they describe as a "positive" counterpart to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). While the DSM focuses on what can go wrong, Character Strengths and Virtues is designed to look at what can go right. Their list includes six character strengths: wisdom/knowledge, courage, humanity, justice, temperance, and transcendence. Each of these has three to five sub-entries; for instance, temperance includes forgiveness, humility, prudence, and self-regulation.

32. C. A. Ansar - Year: 1970-Present - Fields: Reflexology, Yoga, Ayurveda - Country: India Ansar is a visually impaired practitioner of alternative medicine and the chief consultant at Dr. Ansar's Healing Touch, a healthcare center based in Kochi. He is known for his alternative medical practice which combines the therapeutic techniques of reflexology, yoga, naturopathy and Ayurveda. Ansar did his post-graduate studies in Ayurveda at Sri Jayendra Saraswathi Ayurveda College and Hospital. It was during this period, he was diagnosed with Glaucoma, a disease which affects the optic nerve, eventually leading to blindness. He completed his studies but, he lost his vision completely in 2007. Ansar continued his studies and underwent training in Swedish massage, Sujok therapy, Yoga and Reflexology. After obtaining a practitioner's license from the Indian Board of Alternative Medicines, he started his own private practice, Dr. Ansar's Healing Touch Health Centre. Here, he has trained and employed visually impaired people as therapists. He also delivers motivational speeches at various seminars. The Chavara International Institute for Visually Challenged awarded him the Chavara Excellence Award in 2014. 

33. Albert Ellis - Year: 1913-2007 - Fields: Psychology - Country: USA - In 1955 Ellis developed Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT). He held MA and PhD degrees in clinical psychology from Columbia University. He is considered to be one of the originators of the cognitive paradigm shift in psychotherapy and one of the founders of cognitive-behavioral therapies. Based on a 1982 professional survey of US and Canadian psychologists, he was considered the second most influential psychotherapist in history. Psychology Today noted, "No individual, has had a greater impact on modern psychotherapy”. Ellis was advocating a new, more active and directive type of psychotherapy. In 1955, he presented rational therapy (RT). In RT, the therapist sought to help the client understand, that his personal philosophy contained beliefs that contributed to his own emotional pain. This new approach stressed to change a client's self-defeating beliefs and behaviors by demonstrating their irrationality, self-defeatism and rigidity. Ellis believed that through rational analysis and cognitive reconstruction, people could understand their core irrational beliefs and then develop rational constructs. By 1957, he formally set forth the first cognitive behavior therapy by proposing that therapists help people adjust their thinking and behavior as a treatment for emotional and behavioral problems. Ellis published his first major book on REBT in 1962. REBT is an active-directive, philosophically and empirically based psychotherapy, the aim of which is to resolve emotional and behavioral problems and disturbances and to help people to lead more fulfilling lives. REBT is seen as the first form of cognitive behavioral therapy.

34. Thich Nhat Hanh - Year: 1926-Present - Fields: Zen - Country: Vietnam - Hanh was a Buddhist monk and peace activist. Nhất Hạnh published more than 100 books. He is active in the peace movement, promoting nonviolent solutions to conflict. He also refrains from animal product consumption as a means of non-violence towards animals. At the age of 16 he entered the monastery at nearby Từ Hiếu Temple. Thích Nhất Hạnh received training in Vietnamese traditions of Mahayana Buddhism, as well as Vietnamese Thiền, and received full ordination as a Bhikkhu in 1951. In 1956 Nhất Hạnh was named editor-in-chief of Vietnamese Buddhism periodical. In the following years he founded Lá Bối Press, the Vạn Hanh Buddhist University in Saigon, and the School of Youth for Social Service. Buddhist peace workers went into rural areas to establish schools, build healthcare clinics, and help rebuild villages. He established two monasteries in Vietnam and helped establish monasteries and Dharma centers in California, Vermont, Mississippi, and New York. The masters approach has combined a variety of teachings of Early Buddhism, Mahayana Buddhist traditions of Yogācāra and Zen, and Western psychology to teach Mindfulness of Breathing and the Four Establishments of Mindfulness. Nhất Hạnh has been a trailblazer in the Buddhism movement, promoting the individual's active role in creating change.

35. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar - Year: 1956-Present - Fields: Breathing, Ayurveda, Meditation - Country: India - Shankar is a renowned Indian spiritual leader. He founded the Art of Living Foundation in 1981, a volunteer-based NGO providing social support to the people. In 1997, he established a Geneva-based charity, the International Association for Human Values, an NGO that engages in relief work and rural development and aims to foster shared global values. Ravi Shankar's first teacher was Sudhakar Chaturvedi, an Indian Vedic Scholar and a close associate of Mahatma Gandhi. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the St Joseph's College of Bangalore University. After graduation, Shankar travelled with his second teacher, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, giving talks and arranging conferences on Vedic science, and setting up Transcendental Meditation and Ayurveda centers. In the 1980s, Shankar initiated a series of courses in spirituality around the globe. He says that his rhythmic breathing practice, Sudarshan Kriya, came to him in 1982 after a ten-day period of silence on the banks of the Bhadra River in Shimoga. In 1983, Shankar held the first Art of Living course in Switzerland. In 1986, he travelled to Apple Valley, California in the US to conduct the first course held in North America. A number of medical studies on its preparatory practices have been published in international peer-reviewed journals. A range of mental and physical benefits are reported in these studies, including reduced levels of stress, improved immune system, relief from anxiety and depression, increased antioxidant protection, and enhanced brain function (increased mental focus, calmness, and recovery from stressful stimuli), among other findings.

36. Roger John Williams - Year: 1893-1998 - Fields: Biochemistry, Nutrition - Country: USA Roger Williams is an American biochemist who spent his academic career at the University of Texas at Austin. He is known for isolating and naming folic acid and for his roles in discovering pantothenic acid, vitamin B6, lipoic acid, and avidin. He served as the founding director of the Clayton Foundation Biochemical Institute from 1941 to 1963. He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1946, and served as the president of the American Chemical Society in 1957. Later in his career he spent time writing about the importance of nutrition. Williams is credited for emphasizing the "Biochemical Individuality" of each person with respect to their metabolic makeup and micronutrient needs. His book Biochemical Individuality emphasizes the uniqueness of nutritional requirements from person to person based on their genetic makeup, lifestyle, medical history and diet. Dr. Williams help us all to understand our immune systems much better.

37. Dr Mark Houston - Year: 1929-Present - Fields: Cardiovascular, Hypertension - Country: USA - As a world renowned cardiologist, Dr. Houston’s most remarkable contribution may well be his outstanding systems biology approach to cardiovascular disease, dyslipidaemia and hypertension. With an exhaustive knowledge of human nutrition and metabolic medicine, Dr. Houston has successfully pointed the way for the integrative and cardiovascular medicine of the future. His research has allowed him to develop a functional approach that addresses the underlying causes of cardiovascular disease, identifying inflammation, oxidative stress and autoimmune dysfunction as the principal factors. Dr. Houston’s clinical success, as well as his ability to convey his unconventional findings, has seen him selected as one of the Top Physicians in Hypertension in the world. USA Today cited him as one of the most influential doctors in the US in both Hypertension and Hyperlipidemia. He was selected for The Patient’s Choice Award in 2010-2011 by Consumer Reports USA.

38. Dr John Cunningham Lilly - Year: 1915-2001 - Fields: Deprivation Tank - Country: USA Dr. Lilly’s greatest contribution was that of his deprivation tank. He was a researcher of the nature of consciousness using mainly isolation tanks and psychedelic drugs. During World War II, Lilly researched the physiology of high-altitude flying and invented instruments for measuring gas pressure. After the war, he trained in psychoanalysis at the University of Pennsylvania, where he began researching the physical structures of the brain and consciousness. In 1951 he published a paper showing he could display patterns of brain electrical activity on a cathode ray display screen using electrodes he devised specially for insertion into a living brain. Lilly's work on electrical stimulation of the nervous system gave rise to biphasic charge balanced electrical stimulation pulses, now an established approach to design stimulation in neuroprosthetics. He devised the first isolation tank in 1954, a dark soundproof tank of warm salt water in which subjects could float for long periods in sensory isolation. Lilly and a research colleague were the first subjects of this research. After 10 years of experimentation without taking any psychoactive substances, he tried floating in combination with a psychedelic agent, mostly LSD. According to Lilly, electronics engineered by humans will eventually develop into an autonomous bioform (also known as artificial intelligence). Since the optimal survival conditions for artificial intelligence are drastically different from those humans need, Lilly predicted (based on his ketamine-induced visions) a dramatic conflict between the two forms of intelligence. Today, Deprivation Tanks have seen a serious rise in popularity.

39. Fritz Perls - Gestalt therapy Year: 1893-1970 - Fields: Gesalt Therapy - Country: USA - Fritz Perls, Laura Perls and Paul Goodman came up with Gesalt therapy during the 1950’s. It was first described in the 1951 book Gestalt Therapy. Perls became associated with the Esalen Institute in 1964, and he lived there until 1969. The core of the Gestalt Therapy process is enhanced awareness of sensation, perception, bodily feelings, emotion, and behavior, in the present moment. Relationship is emphasized, along with contact between the self, its  environment, and others. In 1933, Fritz Perls, Laura, and their eldest child emigrated to South Africa, where Perls started a psychoanalytic training institute. During the early 1940s Fritz Perls wrote his first book, Ego, Hunger, and Aggression. After writing Gestalt Therapy in 1951, Fritz and Laura Perls started the first Gestalt Institute in their Manhattan apartment. Fritz Perls began traveling throughout the United States in order to conduct Gestalt workshops and training. In 1960 Fritz Perls left Laura Perls behind in Manhattan and moved to Los Angeles, where he practiced in conjunction with Jim Simkin. In 1963, he started to offer workshops in Big Sur, California. He also traveled to Japan, where he stayed in a Zen monstary. Eventually he settled at Esalen and even built a house on the grounds. One of his students at Esalen was Dick Price, who developed Gestalt Practice, based in large part upon what he learned from Peris. At Esalen, Perls collaborated with Ida Rolf, founder of Rolfing Structural Integration, to address the relationship between the mind and the body.

40. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar - Year: 1956-Present - Fields: Breathing, Ayurveda, Meditation - Country: India - Shankar is a renowned Indian spiritual leader. He founded the Art of Living Foundation in 1981, a volunteer-based NGO providing social support to the people. In 1997, he established a Geneva-based charity, the International Association for Human Values, an NGO that engages in relief work and rural development and aims to foster shared global values. Ravi Shankar's first teacher was Sudhakar Chaturvedi, an Indian Vedic Scholar and a close associate of Mahatma Gandhi. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the St Joseph's College of Bangalore University. After graduation, Shankar travelled with his second teacher, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, giving talks and arranging conferences on Vedic science, and setting up Transcendental Meditation and Ayurveda centers. In the 1980s, Shankar initiated a series of courses in spirituality around the globe. He says that his rhythmic breathing practice, Sudarshan Kriya, came to him in 1982 after a ten-day period of silence on the banks of the Bhadra River in Shimoga. In 1983, Shankar held the first Art of Living course in Switzerland. In 1986, he travelled to Apple Valley, California in the US to conduct the first course held in North America. A number of medical studies on its preparatory practices have been published in international peer-reviewed journals. A range of mental and physical benefits are reported in these studies, including reduced levels of stress, improved immune system, relief from anxiety and depression, increased antioxidant protection, and enhanced brain function (increased mental focus, calmness, and recovery from stressful stimuli), among other findings.

 

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06 May 2019


By Bradley Aden
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