SNVMC Emergency Department Doctor Stresses Mind Body Connection
Emergency Department physician, Dr. Anoop Kumar has dedicated his life to helping people who are sick, scared and hurt.
“I received my MD in 2007 and completed my training in Emergency Medicine in 2011. I like the clinical diversity of Emergency Medicine. I see young, old, female, male, many critically ill, some not so ill, medical, psychiatric, surgical, and social conditions. If one can bear to look, it's (the ED) a window into the soul of society,” says Dr. Kumar.
While his goal is to help and heal the men, women, and children who enter through the doors of Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center, Dr. Kumar has always been concerned with more than physical ailments, “The mind-body connection is real. There’s a lot of research pointing to that.”
That connection plays an integral part in his life, and it’s something he’s especially mindful of as he’s treating some of the region’s sickest patients. While being the answer to a patients’ prayers is a tremendous gift, it also carries with it an enormous amount of responsibility. That’s why Dr. Kumar has organized something for his co-workers at Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center. Every month, he leads a meditation session for the doctors, nurses, and staff at the hospital. Meditation is something he has had in his life since he was a child, “I grew up with meditation,” explains Dr. Kumar, “To start off meditating as a kid, isn’t really meditating, it’s just noticing things around you. Noticing your thoughts, noticing your feelings.”
As a child, Anoop Kumar was surrounded by the teachings of Eastern philosophy. He says he came to recognize a common message woven through philosophy, science, and spirituality- a message of well-being. It’s that message that helped inspire him to write his first book, “Michelangelo’s Medicine.”
“When I became a physician and completed my training in Emergency Medicine, I saw that all those years of thinking about health, healing, and what it means to be human, could lend an important context to healthcare,” he explains, “One of the main points I make in the book is the human being is not only a human body. For example, when we learn anatomy, we learn about organs. But organs alone don't make a human being. We have to include other elements, like emotion, thought, intuition, desire, and consciousness.”
Dr. Kumar isn’t a stranger to sharing his knowledge when it comes to the art of meditation. It was just about two years ago, he began corresponding with Deepak Chopra, known worldwide as a pioneer in mind-body medicine. “The statements he made about the mind several decades ago were often ridiculed, but today some of those same principles are taught in top institutions around the world. Interestingly, the period over which his career developed, is the same period over which I was privately thinking about the same things.”
Since that time, Dr. Kumar has spoken at three of Chopra’s events. He says it’s been an invaluable experience, and while he’s gleaned a number of lessons from these events, one of the most important is simple, “I’ve learned to keep putting my ideas out there. There are no perfect ideas. If the ideas are good, they become refined and therefore more useful in the heat of the spotlight.”
Dr. Kumar’s latest idea is coming in the shape of a book on anxiety and how poorly managed anxiety and stress contributes to disease. In an effort to keep his healthcare colleagues from heading down that path, Dr. Kumar says he’ll continue offering his month meditation which he hopes offers not only relief but empowerment to members of the team, “There’s always a lot more to know, there’s always a lot more to experience. And sometimes as we branch out and experience more things, the things that we already know, get seen in a new context and new light and changes how we experience our lives.”
The next meditation with Dr. Kumar is taking place on Wednesday, March 7th.
If you’re looking for a change, or an employer who supports you, head over to sentaracareers.com, we’re looking for qualified candidates to join the team.