Published by Nádia Campos in Medicine and Health
Carlos Eduardo Guimarães is a doctor, an herbalist, a musician, and a painter. Born in Belo Horizonte, he is 58 years-old. He is renowned in the fields of acupuncture and Ayurvedic medicine. His book is soon to be released about diet, of which he is very excited to talk about.
Tell us a little about your trajectory as a doctor
My initial training was as a general practitioner, I worked many years in a town near Belo Horizonte called Caeté. I went there to work at the Santa Casa and that’s where I met a doctor named Romeu Teixeira who worked with hypnosis at the health post. He treated migraines, bronchitis, various infections and illnesses with the spoken word alone. I was thoroughly impressed with that and I asked if I could accompany him on some of his work. Suddenly he started teaching me hypnosis techniques. From then on I also started working with hypnosis. At Santa Casa I applied stitches on small children, I would stitch open wounds with no anesthesia. I would talk to the child for three minutes and then apply stitches without him/her feeling any pain. And things like this, for fracture reductions. Someone would come in with a broken leg and, to set the bone into place, which is very painful, I would do it all with hypnosis. I started treating obesity with hypnosis and a series of other things as well.
I realized that medicine has not just one, but many facets. At 25 years old, or a little order, I started getting interested in acupuncture and began to pursue it. I went to study overseas, I went to São Paulo, I went off in search of knowledge. I worked many years with acupuncture. I was the first teacher of acupuncture, in a course for doctors here in Minas Gerais. And from then on I took an interest in natural medicine. I was enchanted with Chinese philosophy. I greatly identified myself with the way that the Chinese see disease. They see it in a very individual way. Acupuncture is a very unique way to analyze a person’s disturbances and unbalances. It observes a person’s climate, diet, mental and emotional issues a good deal and relates all of this with the elements of nature. Take two people with an occidental diagnosis of bronchitis, when you look closer, the entities are completely different, because the people are different. One feels cold, the other does not. One sweats a lot, and the other does not. One has constipation, the other has diarrhea. One sleeps a lot, the other sleeps very little. This shows that each person’s energy is different. And disease manifests in very different ways in each person.
What made you search for a broader, more oriental, medicine?
Well, a lot of what we choose, in reality, it is not us choosing, actually, it is our unconscious mind. It is the sum of the collective unconscious with the unconscious of your ancestors. You have much of your grandfather, of your grandmother, or your great-grandmother, of people who lived 500 years ago, which were your origin. In reality, you are thousands of years old, not just twenty or thirty something. Your mother’s ovum and your father’s spermatozoid have been going around for years and years, and you are the result of that. Our unconscious has a relation with the elements we have inside of us. When someone feels very hot it is because he has the fire element in his constitution; the person who feels very cold has the water element in his constitution; the person who feels very dispersed is like the wind, so he has wind inside of him. In reality, the human being is made of the same elements as the world. Together with these people who produced you, and the collective unconscious mind, we have a series of insights, intuitions which we do not know where they come from. But it comes from this. In 78’ when I graduated, no one talked about acupuncture and so I sought literature.
I am a post-graduate in herbal medicine and a specialist in acupuncture and clinical medicine. I have worked as a psychiatrist. I only found what I was looking for in holistic medicine. I think that it helps a lot more to treat people, it gives orientation for people to discover themselves, including their talents. I can say that you have very unique talents from the elements you have. The writer is a born writer. No one is transformed into anything, we only lapidate ourselves. What makes these talents accentuate are the elements. A person who has a lot of the fire element for example, generally makes a good politician, to assume leaderships. The air element is music, painting, it is quite incredible.
Are these elements hereditary?
Yes, you are born with them. Now, you can augment or reduce these elements through your free will. For example, if you eat a lot of cold things like melon, salad greens, watermelon, cucumber… you increase the cold elements inside of you which in this case are the air and water and you then start to have their comportments.
What is the comportment of water?
Water is more silent, the fire comportment is more restless, it makes people talk a lot. The elements appear as much physiologically as they do physically. A person who has a lot of the water element feels cold throughout life, constantly wears sweaters, and will also be subject to a series of diseases of the water element, such as articulation problems, obesity, high cholesterol. People become ill according to the elements that they predominately have. When the fire element is in excess, the person will have a lot of stomach burns, mouth sores, and high blood pressure.
So, people who are unbalanced in fire should eat more water foods?
Yes. And not just that. There are meditations, the “asanas” yoga postures. It is all very connected. Our life is all connected with the cosmos, the universe, the Creator. Anyway, we analyze the human being, their constitution, their essence.
And the Earth element?
It is the most condensed element, the heaviest. The subject who has the Earth element will generally have a tendency towards obesity, arteriosclerosis, and laziness. In general, they make good teachers. He brings inside of himself something very interesting which is the symbolic archetype of the Mother. Every earth element has a maternal goodness, likes to shelter, support people and keep them in their lap. Whether man or woman. Earth is the Mother, it is kindness, doesn’t like fighting or violence. Whereas, fire is quarrelsome, violent.
And the air element?
The air element relates to creativity, music. It expands. When our mind expands, it creates. In mental illnesses you can be sure that there is a disturbance in the air element. So you correct the air element. It is very fast. When the mind gets too fast, it wigs out. With air you need to put the brakes on a little bit. The mind has to have rest. Meditation is a way to quiet down thoughts a little. Oil massage is great for correcting disturbances of the air element.
When a person does not develop a talent, what happens?
This will eventually show up in the form of disease. Many people who have emotional problems are great artists who have not developed their gifts. Art therapy comes in as a therapeutic process of the utmost importance.
How did Ayurveda become a part your life?
Ayurveda is where Chinese medicine originated from. Ayurveda works a lot with herbs, with plants. I always liked very much to study plants. I was only able to discover myself as a doctor in oriental medicine. This is because I think that it has very important elements for the evaluation of human beings, including disturbances, and unbalances, which we call disease. So, it’s no use for you to take a bunch of medications while still having an incorrect diet, constantly over sleeping, not maintaining healthy habits. The first thing that we do is interview the subject to know what time he wakes up in the morning, what he eats, if he drinks water, how is his emotional state, how are his bowls working, if he prefers being cold or hot. Then we start understanding the elements that this person has and we can give some real orientation for him to rebalance.
What is your take on conventional medicine today?
In the old times, we cured 70% of all diseases; medicine has evolved with the laser, diagnostics through magnetic resonance imaging and continues curing the same 70%. What has happened? In the old times people didn’t go for exams, but there existed an interpretation of the whole. Today unfortunately there exists lots of exams, but the whole is forgotten. If you have medical knowledge joined with traditional knowledge, you then have a very powerful sum to help prevent and cure illnesses.
What is the best that conventional medicine has to offer?
It is a question of emergency treatments. For a surgery, for example, there is something very interesting which is anesthesia, it is fantastic! If you have the gall bladder removed, for example, you are operated on, sleep and wake up later without having felt a thing. Of course you suffered an aggression, but it is infinitely less traumatic. Some treatments are very powerful in emergency medicine. It has a very important role, if used properly.
Tell us a little about your new book:
It’s called Nutrição Ayurvédica do Tradicional ao Contemporâneo (Ayurvedic Nutrition from Traditional to Contemporary). It speaks about the philosophy of Ayurveda. I go back to the 19th century with the first discoveries of quantum physics until present day, speaking about diet. The book is an explanation of how Ayurvedic medicine works, through the elements and the grouping of them forming the doshas. Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Pitta is formed of a lot of water and little water, vata is formed of air and ether which is space and kapha is formed of water and Earth. In the book, there is a questionnaire for you to discover your own constitution, there is also a foods guide for you to choose the foods that are good for your mental and physical balance.
Why from the traditional to contemporary?
Because Ayurveda is a traditional medicine that professes many habits that for us today is very difficult to achieve. For example, plant, harvest and make food. For some this may be viable, but for the majority it is impossible. People are not even eating at home anymore. It is no use attempting to take something and not contemporize. Traditional things will only be absorbed and kept alive if adapted to the age. I speak of each element, about diets, of the spirituality of foods. A prayer before lunch and dinner is something that even in our times, we can do. Today we have the freezer which in the old times we did not have. So that’s just how it is, some things we are going to freeze.
It is wise to know how to choose organic foods, to be critical of GM foods, to know how to choose foods that will favor your elements. If you have the fire element overly exasperated, if you are a very nervous, angry, quarrelsome, and you eat a lot of foods rich in the fire element, for example, hot peppers, you’re playing cards with the devil. If you eat lots of fruits that are cold, what will happen? You will calm, you will sleep better, you will not have stomach burns.
My book tells how diet was conceived in the past and how to use this knowledge that we have in the palm of our hand. It is a vegetarian book, because we believe that animal flesh is not food. I talk about honey, milk, cheese, eggs, but not about meat. I talk about today’s view of diet, about trans-fats, omega 6 and omega 3, about antioxidants, I give an up to date notion of some foods that protect against cancer, foods that are antibiotics such as garlic. This book has come to contemporize Ayurvedic literature.
Note: Dr. Carlos Eduardo Magalhães attends in his private therapy practice in Belo Horizonte.
The telephone number is (55-31) 3287-4878
More information at www.ayurvedaemminas.com.br