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Indian gurus and holistic therapies: too bad for the “down to earth” Camilla | Catherine Bennett

Recent stories from an Indian spa suggest that Camilla is perhaps the most misunderstood royal of them all. Is it possible for her to be, as advertised, completely pragmatic – and at the same time the poster child for a feel-good outfit where one percent gathers for prayed nourishment that creates positive vibes in their bodies?

Central to Camilla’s years of rehabilitation was the seductive idea that she would be immune – unlike her husband – to all temptations of a spiritual or Orientalist nature. A deadpan, queer- and gin-scented foil to her husband’s more vaporous holistic aspirations, she was invariably presented by “friends” as the fix for his sleight of hand.

“She’s very down-to-earth,” Lady Anne Glenconner, a former lady-in-waiting, confirmed after Charles took over. Camilla’s down-to-earth being of that quintessentially British genre, we now learn, that can accommodate an attentive guru. In this case, Dr Issac Mathai, a homeopath who, as owner of Soukya, the “world’s premier integrative health destination”, applies his prodigious diagnostic and spiritual gifts for prices from £735 a night.

“Just by examining me and taking my pulse,” reported a recent guest, “he concludes that I am only breathing at 60% capacity, that there is a blockage in my liver, that something is wrong. wrong with my kidneys and that I have neurological problems.”

Camilla arrived here, on her eighth visit, at the end of October, which was new in India, less so with us. Private detective says royal reporters have been warned to be quiet. “She will undergo rejuvenation therapies,” said the India time, adding that Mathai “has been Camilla and Charles’ holistic doctor for several years.” Mathai previously revealed he visited the couple “three/four times a year” and was at St James’s Palace ahead of the Queen’s funeral, “for a consultation and to convey my condolences”.

Like Camilla, Charles stayed at Soukya: during a birthday visit in 2019, his treatments reportedly included shirodhara (having oil dripping down his forehead), meditation and yoga. He and Mathai were introduced, according to the India time, by British integrative practitioner Dr Michael Dixon, health adviser to Charles, who ran the Prince’s Foundation for Integrated Health before it was swindled by its chief financial officer and shut down. Dixon now leads its effective successor, the College of Medicine and Integrated Health, with a new team – of which Mathai is an international ambassador. All of these cooperations, as much as they delight homeopaths, may dismay anyone who hoped that Charles, as king, would finally stop campaigning for the widespread prescription of complementary medicines, to include practices for which there is no no clear scientific basis. In May, Dixon’s Integrated Medicine Alliance, a new group promoting complementary therapies, met with Charles at Clarence House.

His associate, Mathai, quotes the King’s writing, after his birthday: “I look forward to establishing a version of your clinic at Dumfries House.”

Within Soukya, Mathai’s therapeutic ambitions already exceed his thirty treatments; he compares himself, according to a hilarious account of the Timewith the late guru Sri Sathya Sai Baba, “the spirit prompts me to heal, even the effects of being in the womb”.

Maybe he’s right in thinking that most potential clients have now forgotten about Sai Baba’s signature spiritual stunt, the magic of watches and jewelry, ditto the BBC investigation accusing him of sexual abuse .

If the royal esteem for Mathai and his holistic resort makes the news of many subjects, it is not for lack of trying on the part of the doctor. Cautious royal warrant holders, recalling the Queen’s excommunication of Rigby & Peller, will surely marvel at Mathai’s confidence as he refers, once again, to royal consultations of which he absolutely cannot reveal nature. Photographs of Charles and Camilla adorn his center’s website; no interview or travel article promoting Soukya fails to invoke Camilla’s repeated visits as well as those of her longtime regular colleague Emma Thompson and, perhaps less helpfully, Sarah Ferguson. (When Ferguson sought refuge with Mathai, they visited Sai Baba, who conjured up a gold necklace for the occasion.)

Perhaps too much was expected of Camilla that, unlike virtually every other recruit to the royal family, she resisted her homeopathic traditions. Long before wellness became a recognized industry, its members demonstrated how easily the rich and gullible would embrace practitioners offering baroque, bespoke care befitting their status. In fact, it defies belief, with mind, body and spirit being so interconnected, that the family penchant for various integrative mysteries, energies and healings – the one that unites Charles, Diana, Meghan, Harry and now Camilla – never led them all to harmonious coexistence.

It is possible, of course, that Camilla was pressured into paying for the enlightenment; that a 10-hour flight followed by Mathai’s patented purge diet could easily feel like sublime peace after those public bouts with Charles’ fountain pen.

Even so, you wonder what’s wrong with a wing of Balmoral or Castle Mey or Dumfries House – all of which offer the option of eating organic snacks in complete silence, minus the aviation emissions and a potentially embarrassing conduct in front of these citizens of Bengaluru who, in a city where 16% live in slums, must cleanse their colons without professional help. For domestic staff familiar with Charles’ requests, an additional request, that they pray over Camilla’s haggis, could hardly be considered onerous. Failing that, the Minister of Crathie has recently shown himself to be infinitely loyal.

Although for a regular visitor such as Camilla, a future not featuring Soukha’s unique care would inevitably increase the possibility of a more toxic gut environment, it would at least relieve her and her husband of potentially greater risk. : that of being Dr. Mathai’s promotional assets. .

Catherine Bennett is an Observer columnist

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