A renowned anaesthesiologist and inventor, musician, former competitive soccer player and active tennis athlete, Dr Abhinav Gautam is a cut above other medical practitioners in his uniquely integrated and holistic approach to healing. He leads Intuitive Interventions, based in the USA, an organisation which has pioneered the art of RELIEF™ (real-time, echo, located, interventional, epineural, fibrolysis) which “resets and restores the body to a pre-injury state without surgery, medication, stem cells or downtime”. His clients range from world-renowned sportspersons like David Ortiz and Candace Parker to self-help guru Anthony (Tony) Robbins. Dr Abhinav is well-beloved and respected amongst his patients for his cutting edge treatment and caring attitude.
On how he got into this novel method of healing, Dr Abhinav says being an athlete at school and college was crucial in the development of his understanding of the body, all the injuries and aches he sustained making him his “own first patient”. Later, after taking care of hundreds of patients during surgery as a resident in a hospital, he says, “I could not help but think there has to be a better way to help people than the one that only treated symptoms and did not go to the underlying basis.” When he was an established doctor a few years ago, he began scanning his own body with a high-fidelity linear ultrasound and reconciling what he was feeling with what he was seeing on screen. “Such reconciliation had never been done before, one might even call it revolutionary. It allowed me to figure out the true cause of pain and stiffness.”
A self-taught instrumentalist and musician, Dr Abhinav says, “The world is sound. Vibrational resonance is at the core of the physical world. I have always seen sound (I have AV—audio-visual—synesthesia) and I believe it is this ability that has enabled me to intuitively reconstruct the body with sound. It is similar to how dolphins project the world.” He plays his own recorded musical compositions while he does procedures on patients.
Dr Abhinav’s philosophy of holistic healing is far from the general medical protocol. Sadly, he says, medicine as practiced now is a “narrow pathway related to symptoms, in which the doctor is trying his best to protect himself from future lawsuits.” Protocols are defined by specialisations that leave out many linkages within the bodily systems—they even leave out the mind. It is wrong, he maintains, to look at the body in isolation; it forms a part of the mind-body complex.
A critical juncture in his journey was when he superimposed the Ayurvedic and modern anatomical atlases of peripheral nerves. He noticed that there was tremendous overlap between the images and that the concept of energy flow through nadis is in fact true. It is now known that connective tissue has more nerve innervation than any other layer of tissue, and restoring this layer has a significant positive impact on a patient’s health. “Indian medicine is based on the insights of the rishis,” he says, “who were connected to Nature, and listening to it carefully found ways to solve problems of wellness and meaning that confront us.”
Dr Abhinav’s father, noted physicist and Vedic scholar Professor Subhash Kak, had an immense impact on his approach to life. Dr Abhinav was raised in a home that exposed him to the deeper meaning of diverse fields such as the Vedas, Ayurveda, and modern disciplines like quantum mechanics. He says his father always told him that anything was possible, that his upbringing encouraged him to be open like the child who saw that the emperor had no clothes, and that such an attitude is essential in creativity and discovery. The Vedic view is that knowledge ultimately springs from within, from one’s intuition. “Outer knowledge, from textbooks, is important and serves a foundation but one needs to go beyond it to understand this ever-changing world, and ever-changing situation in the body, and come up with ways to deal with pain and suffering.”
He says his father also introduced him to the scientific problem of consciousness. “The Vedas claim to be ātma-vidya, that is, the science of consciousness. They don’t only touch upon our psychological and intellectual needs—through Sāṅkhya, Yoga, and Vedanta—their system helps us define Ayurveda, ‘the science of life.’” It is astonishing, Dr Abhinav says, that while we comprehend everything in our consciousness, we remain oblivious to its nature. In his opinion, in many ways, chronic illness is the body telling the person that there is a disconnect between it and the person’s mind. “The body speaks to us in so many ways but most often we don’t listen.”
The Vedas claim to be ātma-vidya, that is, the science of consciousness. They don’t only touch upon our psychological and intellectual needs—through Sāṅkhya, Yoga, and Vedanta—their system helps us define Ayurveda, ‘the science of life.
Our organs are all within the “bag” of our connective tissues, he describes, and upon it are impressed the signature of many of the processes going on within. One cannot really see one’s heart, or liver, or transverse colon. “But if you close your eyes, you can visualize and connect with very inch of your subcutaneous connective tissue. Your mind’s eye is a proprioceptive reconstruction.”
Dr Abhinav has also co-authored a paper on Bio-semiotics with his father [https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12304-013-9169-5], the science of production and interpretation of signs and codes in the biological realm. He says they were trying to see how a biological system communicates inner states through its signals. Going into the mind and questioning one’s reality in so many different ways, through physiological and neurological processes and logic, as well as probing the connective tissue, helps one uncover the deeper messages that are being generated.
Many of the testimonials on the Intuitive Interventions website [https://i2i.md/] allude to the words ‘believer’ and ‘non-believer’, with patients starting as skeptics but being convinced after the treatment. But Dr Abhinav says that this initial lack of faith has no effect on the treatment. In fact, he says he is glad if his patient is skeptical because any smart person should be so. “And there is nothing,” he says, “as satisfying as seeing the erstwhile skeptical patient break into the widest smile when the cause of pain and discomfort has disappeared. Nothing feels better than alleviating people’s suffering. When people feel something they thought was impossible it changes their entire context of reality.”
The testimonials all attest to Dr Abhinav’s immense skill as well as caring approach. Tony Robbins says, “Dr. Abhi, I call him, he’s an extraordinary man, and he has such a brain for technology, but also he has such consciousness and caring. If you’re worried about pain, there’s no pain in this thing. He’s so sensitive in what he does, and the results are miraculous. He’s an incredibly humble man.” Dr Abhinav says that Tony Robbins is fond of the Haruki Murakami quote, “Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional,” that, in many ways, summarises his own philosophy.
Considering the awe with which his patients remark on his sensitivity and caring, it would appear to indicate this quality is somewhat lacking in the majority of the medical industry today. But when asked for his opinion, Dr Abhinav says, “I’m not sure. Clearly the healthcare system is broken at many levels. I am fortunate that I am not constrained by time when it comes to my patients, but that is something most doctors cannot do. It is not anyone’s fault, this is how industrialized medicine works: its productivity is measured by the number of patients the doctor has seen.”
On the biggest challenge faced by the medical industry today, he says that they are not focused enough on prevention and health. “Isn’t it fascinating that there are instructions manuals for everything we buy, but not for own bodies?” he asks. While mainstream allopathic medicine focuses on specific symptoms and often uses medication to suppress symptoms, Dr Abhinav’s treatment methods such as RELIEF™ use ultrasound to identify the root cause of problems and fix them without steroids or medication. “We are not interested in band-aiding a problem,” he says, adding that getting to a root cause is crucial because once the patient’s anatomy is restored, they can then help the patient develop the tools necessary to maintain themselves.
“An analogy would be that after you bring your car in for major servicing, we then teach the driver how to interpret the warning lights and how to do basic maintenance. My treatment helps the individual become more aware of their mind-body complex. One could even say that in some way it facilitates Yoga, that is, coming together of mind and body. Once a person has become more aware of the body, it becomes easier to prevent future injuries, and also learn how to train the body if one is an athlete, and the mind, if one has a white-collar job.”
These are uncertain times, and as long as we are human, we are vulnerable, and as Dr Abhinav said about his high profile clients: “The net worth of an individual has no meaning when they are in pain.”
One would do well to follow Dr Abhinav’s philosophy of holistic medicine and integration of mind and body to truly heal, as well as prevent, injury. He has brought—and continues to bring, as the entire health industry bands together to fight the novel coronavirus—tremendous change and well-being, by taking the best from Western and Indian medicine and blending them in a way that is truly his own.