Cancer survivor & physician Dr. Nikhil Joshi discusses the launch of a new app aimed to aid those suffering from chronic illnesses through meditation
There are things many of us can or could do in times of struggle. We could sulk, and adopt a perhaps deservingly woe is me attitude. Who could blame you?
Negatives to positives
There’s anger, the road to bitterness and resentment leading to permanent mountain sized chips that weigh down even the broadest shoulders. And there are those who make the most of a bad situation, those silver-lining specialists who flip negatives into positives. Dr. Nikhil Joshi falls in the latter category.
Currently practicing out of Calgary with the occasional stint here in the province he called home for decades, Dr. Joshi is at the centre of a team who have developed the Medical Meditation app, a free mobile app that guides users through meditations to help ease suffering for those with chronic illnesses.
“In order to make the kind of change that I wanted, to reach people all over the island, I realized that my work as a physician was limited,” shared Dr. Joshi, who studied internal medicine and sub specialized in allergy and immunology.
“I can only see so many people on a given day. With an app or a piece of technology I could reach thousands to hundreds of thousands.”
Dr. Joshi knows first hand the benefits meditation possess, particularly as it comes to battling a life-changing illness. The now 33-year-old was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in 2013.
Now proudly cancer free, Dr. Joshi’s physically and emotionally taxing experience on the other side of the medical spectrum changed him both personally and professionally.
“It showed me what patients go through,” he admits. “As a physician you’re on one side of the gurney and you have an idea about trials and tribulations. When you’re a patient you have a completely different understanding. And to have both understandings made me a better doctor. But it also showed me where we fall flat as medical professionals and how the system falls flat. So the things that we can do better started to come into my head after it was all over and after I had time to recover.”
And while medical professionals like Dr. Joshi can help to alleviate ailments with a more direct and pharmacological approach, the Medical Meditation app is designed to target areas of personal care that no prescription can easily cure.
“This is about reducing the stress of chronic illnesses,” Dr. Joshi says.
“Every day in clinic we see people with different chronic illnesses and we realize that helping them is complicated and it’s not just one method. It’s not just medication, it’s not just exercise or diet. There’s multiple different avenues we need to take to improve the lives of people with chronic illnesses.
“So the app is about reducing that stress and we think that reducing that stress has medical benefits. We think it does help a variety of people with different conditions in different ways. And at the very least we know we won’t do any harm.
“I think (meditation) focuses you on the now and it makes you focus your thoughts towards positive improvement,” he adds. “So in our day to day lives full of different stresses, full of different anxieties emptying these things out of our heads is physically and mentally beneficial.”
Dr. Joshi’s family have been proud Canadians and Newfoundlanders and Labradorians for five decades and counting. His parents – father an established physician of 40 years and mother a well known name in the field of education – fled East Africa in the 1960s during uprisings in Tanzania and Kenya.
Nikhil himself dabbled in journalism, radio hosting, currency trading, blogging and even penned a pair of acclaimed books, but following in his father’s footsteps in the medical profession seemed to serve as a true and lasting calling.
“In the end I knew I really wanted to work in medicine, probably because Dad was passionate about it,” he explains.
Heart remains in NL
“He has been in Newfoundland practicing his whole career and he is very happy and he’s still happy practicing. And something about that really touched me. It made me realize that here being a physician was a privilege and one we took with a great amount of joy. Eventually I realized that was what I wanted to feel.”
And while his career has taken him across the country his heart remains ever present here in Newfoundland and Labrador.
“Newfoundland has a warmth to it that I think any person who visits it realizes and most want to stay,” Dr. Joshi explains.
“It’s not just that the air is clean. It’s that the air has like friendliness or warmth or something. The world is cold. It’s cold and our souls can empty out real quick. And so if you don’t get back to Newfoundland in time you can find yourself getting stiff and sort of robotic.
“What I always try to take from Newfoundland is that things don’t matter, possessions don’t matter, what does matter are the times you spend with friends and family,” he adds thoughtfully. “That is the measure of a successful life.”
With a flourishing career that has spanned multiple mediums, Dr. Nikhil Joshi is doing his part to give back to those who guided him through the most trying experience of his young life.
Moments are precious and time is a commodity that cannot be purchased. He’s in-tune, willing and able to make the most of his.
The measure of success
“I want the app to reach a million people, but the first people I wanted to reach were Newfoundland and Newfoundlanders because these are the people who had my back when I was sick, whether it was at the hospital or supporting the blogs or whatever,” he recalls.
“And so my first desire and duty is to help the people who help me and who helped the people who made my family feel at home their whole lives. Newfoundland is the place I want to give back first and then the world.”
For more information on the app visit medicalmeditation.ca or download the app from the App Store today.