Last night Kathy Sykes explored the ‘alternative therapy’ meditation. Just to categorise this ancient psychological and physiological techniqe as ‘alternative’ seem somewhat ridiculous to me. Still, Kathy Sykes, somewhat straitjacketed by her self-applied label as ‘scientist’ admitted that regularly sitting quietly and doing nothing except observe her breathing benefited her whole day including her capacity to love. That she knew this before making the programme didn’t deter her from making expensive journeys around the world in search of proof.

The facts regarding meditation and health are simple.

1. Up to 50% of patients consulting a GP in England are suffering from conditions either caused or made worse by stress – FACT.
2. Meditation and relaxation techniques are good for reducing stress and preventing stress from building up in the first place – FACT.
3. Therefore meditation is a useful treatment for many patients with many problems – LOGICAL CONCLUSION.

But the scientific Ms. Sykes needs scientific proof and for that we must be taken around the world for her to interview meditators, the ‘happiest man in the world’, see machines that show brain changes due to meditation etc. And finally she concluded that it would be wonderful if meditation could be shown to make people happier.

But everyone knows that meditation and relaxation makes people happier and very probably much healthier. As the 19th century poet Longfellow put it:

Joy, temperance, and repose,
Slam the door on the doctor’s nose.

I don’t know if it’s merely a symptom of the general dumbing down of our society and particularly that of the BBC, but I found Kathy Sykes’s tone throughout this series very much like that of a primary school teacher slowly and carefully explaining things to her 10 and 11 year old pupils. Of course these explanations were totally from a deterministic, mechanistic view of medicine and the universe. Philosophy of medicine is not quite as simple as that as pioneers of holistic philosophy in medicine such as Dr. E.K.Ledermann, have pointed out.

We live in a world where NAIVE REALISM RULES! and no it’s not okay. This series on alternative medicine taught me very little except remind me to do my Autogenic Therapy meditation regularly.