Recently, as Chairman of INSAF ( Interfaith Spiritual Fellowship ) and a Global Council Trustee of URI ( United Religions Initiative, ), I had the honour of hosting and chairing the regional meeting and conference of URI here in Kuala Lumpur. The keynote speaker was Ms Yoland Trevino, a Maya from Guatemala ( South America ) who is the current Chair of the URI Global Council. The conference theme was “Peace Among Religions” and she shared with us the perspective of a native indigenous person and her “Earth Religion”. She is also a traditional healer.

The Mayas are descendents of a rich ancient civilization that had surprisingly advanced knowledge of many things, including architecture, agriculture, art, trade, cosmology, religion and healing. Their glorious history rivals that of the Incas and the Aztecs, the other famous South American civilizations. But like the others, according to the western historians, their civilization crumbled and their people disappeared. Ms Trevino is one living proof that the Mayas have survived the cycles of diseases, famine and the persecution by invaders and colonists.

Ancient Maya wisdom taught that we must respect and take good care of Mother Earth and all living creatures. If not, we will suffer from dire consequences. In fact, we are already seeing the truth of this warning as we now have to live in a polluted, overheated, violent and angry earth.

Many Mayas are gifted healers, carrying on the traditions of their elders and forefathers. Their lives and their religion are firmly rooted to revering, protecting and depending on “Mother Earth” as the provider and sustainer of life, and the source of remedies for ill-health.

While their spiritual practice is full of rituals dedicated to Mother Earth, their traditional medicine is similarly wholly dependent on the healing powers provided by the earth – its soil, water, plants and creatures. Most of their remedies come from the jungle.

Maya traditional medicine is actually very sophisticated. Maya traditional healers try to harmonize their lives and their patients’ lives with Mother Earth. Maya traditional healing is holistic healing, with full awareness that the body, mind, emotions, spirit and environment are all interconnected. Their healers know that healing occurs only when there is balance and harmony in the patient’s life. They also heal with love from their hearts.

The Maya spiritual elders consult their Cholqij calendar in guiding their daily lives and in their spiritual or ritual ceremonies. They also work with 20 different energies and 13 different forces!

“Kan Ku” is the Maya term for life force, which we call “qi”. The Maya traditional healers use this force to initiate and sustain healing, together with other remedies. Healers use Kan Ku healing to restore health and balance to the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual bodies.

The Maya ancestors passed their healing practice down the generations without giving it a name. Fortunately, this form of healing has been preserved. With the modern-day Mayas now spread over many continents, some have begun to refer to their traditional medicine as Kan Ku, so that it can be formalized and others can be trained according to a set syllabus.

So now Kan Ku also refers to the ancient healing practice of the Maya people of the highlands of Guatemala. It is based on treating imbalances in the mental, emotional, and spiritual bodies as prerequisites for restoring the physical body to health.

The guiding principles of the Maya healers are very much in agreement with my own practice. Wisdom is universal and eternal.


Our first duty is to keep our spirit healthy, that is being at peace with God or Creator ( if you are a believer ), or with Nature. All the ancient civilizations know about this. Chinese philosophy is also about being in harmony with the Tao ( Universal Power/Spirit ).

So for those who believe that we are spiritual beings temporarily housed in our physical bodies for our earthly existence, the remedies for all ailments should start with healing the spirit. The cancer patients who came to me for advice on their disease have all had a heavy dose of a spiritual “sermon” from me, regardless of their religion. While there are barriers between our different religions, the spiritual advice is the same. Once the patient understands the spiritual meaning behind disease and suffering, what happens next is acceptable, even if it means more pain, and even death. But that does not mean that being spiritual means thinking of God or praying for recovery and doing nothing else. Searching for the correct remedy and taking medicines are also spiritual duties, because it is a commandment to keep our physical bodies healthy, and to cure it from any disease!


Our second duty is keeping our mind and body healthy. Life is a gift from God, and so is our body. We should treasure our body like how we would treasure a very valuable gift. That this body is so valuable, yet we take it for granted, is often only realized by many when the body malfunctions, either from degeneration ( wear and tear of ageing, made faster by poor upkeep of the body ), disease or accidents.

I remember reading a quote from a wise person who related how he took care of his teeth as if they are priceless ivory gifts from God. He keeps them clean and polished all the time. If we have a similar attitude towards caring for our whole body, then we should all be healthier than we are now.

Caring for the body also means providing it with all the best nutrients it needs, and avoiding harmful foods ( refined or “empty calories” foods, bad fats, etc ), toxins, chemicals, antibiotics and even hormones that should not be there.

It also means doing sufficient exercise to keep it in good running condition, and having sufficient rest and sleep to allow it time to repair and recuperate from the day’s hard work.

When we are sick, we must find remedies to restore the body to its original healthy state, and not just try to suppress the symptoms or abnormalities like what most drugs do.
To restore good health, we have to go back to basics and provide abundant nutrients and natural medicines ( if necessary ) to allow the body to start healing itself. Massage, physiotherapy, exercise, body manipulation techniques or other natural methods may be helpful. Mind-body exercises like Qigong will enhance the qi or healing energy needed by our cells to do their work. But all these will be useless if we don’t first remove any known cause ( eg. smoking for cancer, heart disease, lung disease, and others ) and adopt a healthier lifestyle.


As a believer in God, I hold on to His promise that for every ailment, He has provided the remedy. But obviously, we have not yet found the promised remedies for all the diseases. We still don’t have satisfactory answers for most cancers, and there is a long list of “incurable” diseases.

So we have to keep on searching. But are we searching at the right place? Are the drugs we produce actually the promised remedies? I am fully convinced that modern medicine has been going on the wrong tract by not searching enough from what nature has, but is too pre-occupied with producing new chemicals that are often harmful to the body.

The promised remedies should have these five criteria: (1) Are very effective in reversing and finally curing the target disease; (2) Have minimal or no side-effects ( eg. may have bitter or unpleasant taste if they are only meant as medicine, and not food ); (3) Have multiple beneficial effects, like most nutrients; (4) Are likely to be natural methods, or materials sourced from the abundance of Nature ( though I do not exclude modern technology, modern machines, or even synthetic drugs as long as they are effective and safe ); and (5) If meant to be applied, ingested or injected, are from clean and permissible sources ( eg. halal for Muslims ). Since the remedies are promised by the Creator, He will not create remedies not suitable for us.

When I test chemotherapy drugs against the above criteria, most fail against (1), (2) and (3). Some are actually from natural plant sources, but they severely damage the body while trying to kill the cancer cells. So I believe we have not found the promised remedy for cancer, and must continue our search. In the meantime, the oncologists have no choice but to use the “best” that they currently can offer to the cancer patients, but I hope the researchers will discover more effective and safer alternatives soon.

Too many people are suffering and dying from cancer, mainly because we have not respected and preserved our Mother Earth enough and our environment is now heavily polluted, and also we have not taken good care of our own body.

Unfortunately, some of the plants that carry the promised remedies may have already been wiped out from the earth even before we can study them, as a result of our rampant and wanton deforestation and disregard for Nature. We only have ourselves to blame.

May this be a timely reminder for the need to love, respect and take good care of our earth, and also our body. May peace prevail on earth, and may you have good health always.


Dr Amir Farid Isahak
Categories: Uncategorized


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