Lifestyle – Dr Hussain Bhatti worked in conventional Western medicine until an injury in the 1980s led him in a new direction. Having experienced the benefits of complementary medicine, he went on to train in that field. He now specialises in treating stress and illnesses it causes, as he tells JUDY MURPHY.
When Dr Hussain Bhatti, a qualified and experienced medical doctor, decided in the 1980s, to start focusing on complementary medicine, many of his colleagues thought he was mad.
He wasn’t. Rather, the Galway-based doctor was streets ahead of his time. Since then, increasing numbers of people, including members of the medical profession, have become more aware of taking a holistic approach when it comes to tackling illness.
That’s central to Dr Bhatti’s philosophy and has been for more than 30 years.
“For me, it’s about treating the whole body,” he says simply.
Having a conventional medical background is “brilliant”, he says, “because I know about an illness and I know about body parts”.
Dr Bhatti trained as a GP in India and went on to earn further qualifications when he moved to Ireland.
Coming here “just happened” through a friend of his uncle who was training as an eye-surgeon in Dublin and loved Ireland.
“I never looked back. From day one I just loved this country.”
Dr Bhatti’s first job in Galway was in Merlin Park, in medicine. He also worked in surgery at the Regional (now UHG) and went on to do a post-grad in paediatrics with the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons. He continued to add to his qualifications, with psychiatry among his specialisations.
Dr Bhatti also worked in Portiuncula and St Brigid’’s Psychiatric Hospital in Ballinasloe and spent three years in charge of the Alcohol and Addiction Unit there in the late 1980s before changing direction.
He had previously been working in orthopaedics in Merlin when he developed back problems – and the chronic pain he endured marked the beginning of his journey to holistic medicine.
Dr Bhatti was treated by different consultants for the excruciating pain, but nothing helped. Then, while attending a wedding in the UK, “after taking a fist-full of Ponstan” painkillers, he met an English GP who suggested he try an alternative approach.
Acupuncture was what he turned to and after three sessions, the effect “was like a miracle”.
Until then, Dr Bhatti had been sceptical about acupuncture. “I thought it was a piseóg,” he says honestly. “But after that experience, I decided to look into it.
“I had trained in India and I would always have been a believer in Western medicine until I hurt my back. But Western medicine didn’t have the answers to my back problems.”
Later, he realised that there was more to illness than just the physical element.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.
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