Dr. Akil Palanisamy is a physician who practices integrative medicine, and the author of a new book, The Paleovedic Diet: A Complete Program to Burn Fat, Increase Energy, and Reverse Disease. His interest in holistic health grew out years of struggle with his own health issues.
Palanisamy was graduating from Harvard and had been accepted to medical school at University of California, San Francisco, when he starting having pain in his wrist and numbness and tingling in his arms. The pain was diagnosed as repetitive strain injury (RSI).
He was prescribed anti-inflammatory drugs and physical therapy. For a while, there was moderate improvement, but by the time he started his second year in med school, the pain was intolerable. The pain had also spread to his back, making it impossible for him to sit for more than fifteen minutes.He was also overcome with an extreme fatigue, and he lost thirty pounds from his already lean frame. Under the pressure of his studies, he began to struggle with severe anxiety.
At this point, Palanisamy had seen some of the top doctors in the country, without a resolution in his condition. As he faced his third year of medical school, he asked for and was granted a year away from the program. He committed himself to finding a solution and getting well.
His parents worried his diet was a factor. His problems began shortly after he became a vegetarian. He argued that he was eating healthy, and consumed tofu and dairy for protein.
When he visited a practitioner of Ayurveda, the traditional medicine of India, she recommended herbs and spices and dietary modifications. She recommended bone broth. Because his vegetarianism was rooted in strong ethical beliefs, he was resistant, but he decided to try her recommendations.
After a month of bone broth, he felt about ten percent better. Bone broth contains minerals and gelatin, both of which support digestion and reduce inflammation. He was healing and repairing his gut.
Before the onset of his illness, he had managed stress with meditation, exercise and yoga. Now he explored acupuncture and gigong. He saw energy healers and Reiki practitioners, and he improved another twenty percent.
About four months into his year off, Palanisamy decided to resume eating meat. It was a difficult decision, but he knew if he didn’t recover, he would never fulfill his dream of becoming a doctor. His Ayurvedic practitioner agreed, saying that some body types do better with animal protein. Within two months, he began to regain weight, and had less pain and more energy.
The final piece fell into place when Palanisamy met a holistic chiropractor who practiced functional medicine. By the end of his year, his was pain-free. His weight had normalized and his energy and mood were high.
Now, after more than ten years, he himself has treated thousands of patients using the principles of integrative medicine. And through his new book, he is sharing his knowledge with the world.