...three pioneers, three countries.... never the twain shall meet?
Written by Miria Robinson & John B. Levine
Dr Sushil Koirala
Dr Bashar Al Naher
Dr Maciek Zarow
My mother-in-law said, ‘Of course, John, you know that we all have a special relationship with our dentist. Some will travel to other
cities just to visit their Dentist!’ 'How ridiculous! I don't know of
anyone who fits into that category,' I thought, but wisely said nothing for a
moment later, the penny dropped. I know of no one, that is, except me! For the
last few years I have considered it normal to live in Cambridge, England and
fly to Krakow, Poland for an appointment with my dentist.
Looking back, you may well remember every single dentist that has peered into your mouth to examine, pick about, x-ray, drill
The earliest dentist in my life that I remember was a gentle man. He was generally a good dentist, however one day he discussed with
my parents that once I turned twelve he thought it would be a good idea if they
were to get my teeth straightened. Following my twelfth birthday, off I went to
an orthodontist to be fitted with braces - and for the next year was asked to
smile with my lips together.
Teeth straightened, the orthodontist, said, ‘Now all you need is a few more visits to the dentist’. When I asked why, he replied,
‘We just need to fix a few of your teeth'. ’Fix’ and 'a few' transpired to be
euphemisms to lull me into feeling that it was a perfectly normal course of
events that I would need to get twenty new fillings. Yes, that’s right, twenty!
Alas, the old orthodontic technology was to wrap each tooth in a metal band,
however these were never snug enough as to not let in food, and decay followed.
So that’s when my relationship with my dentists really got cemented. Yet all dark clouds have a silver lining (or perhaps one of
amalgam?). Little did I know that years later I would be working with three
Fast forward to 1993, when I was living in Poland just after the communist era came crashing
down. I had recently moved to Krakow and was perplexed as to how I could find a
good dentist. My recurring nightmare was that of being trapped in the surgery
of an ex-communist party member wanting to expound “capitalism as the root of
all evil”, whilst giving me root canal treatment using an ancient drilling
machine that he had to pedal to make work, then, giving up, yank my tooth out
with a pair of pliers. I was, in fact, about to meet my first pioneering
Ex-pat networking events became my lifeline to Western civilization. Dr Macek Zarow’s name kept cropping up as one of the top dentists
in Krakow. In addition to a thriving practice, Dr Macek lectured in dentistry
at Jagelloniona University, Krakow, and had a private ‘finishing school’ for
dentists, where they learnt and practiced cutting edge techniques.
So, confident my teeth would be safe with him, off I skipped to see Dr Macek Zarow one brisk Krakow morning. Entering the surgery it
seemed I had been beamed to a five star
hotel reception in Sydney, LA or London. The
décor was serene and stylish. The staff were friendly and efficient, apparently
even more so than those in the West - and not one communist battleaxe in sight!
After a short wait I was ushered in to see Macek for a check-up. We got talking and I told him that I compose Alphamusic, so he shared that he, too, had relaxing
music which he played to patients during treatments. He offered to let me
listen, so instead of my Alphamusic we played his relaxation music. All was
going smoothly until just at the moment the music climaxed to a crescendo, the
drill hit my tender raw nerve. The pain was amplified ten times. When I started
wincing, Macek just laughed, saying that if Alphamusic was any better, he might
conduct a university scientific test.
His passing remark turned out to be a serious commitment. Ten years later, in Spring 2003, Dr Zarow presented a
paper in Gothenberg, Sweden, at
the International Association of Dental Research Conference, proving that
Alphamusic reduced dental stress and anxiety by up to 30%.
After Poland, I moved to Cambridge, UK. There I was, back at square one, searching for a good dentist that would
put me at ease whilst being first rate in terms of knowledge and skill.
My homeopath, Sue Homer, kept saying that I 'simply must visit [her] dentist in London.' His name was Dr
Bashar Al-Naher. Sue and her friends said they had never experienced any pain
during any of their visits, including during treatment for root canals and
crowns. This seemed nothing short of miraculous. I had to discover for myself
if it was too good to be true. On meeting Dr Al-Naher, I was delighted to
discover him to be a genuinely caring, warm individual.
He actively claims to be a pioneer, in the realm of ‘enjoyable dentistry’. Rather than devoting his time to gathering scientific
proof of the efficacy of his methods so that his theories may be accepted by
his peer group, he has opted to devote his life to treating his patients. 'I
have proved it scientifically, as part of my doctoral thesis’, says Bashar. Can
he sight any additional proof, I ask him. ‘Well, yes – over 10,000 happy
patients whom I have treated. Do you mean that sort of proof?!’, he
What is the secret formula behind this apparently miraculous approach to dentistry? Is Dr Al-Naher making rash claims when he
states that his is the only form of dentistry in the world where every patient
experiences no pain at all? The secret? Well it’s no secret at all, he says. It
is a careful combination of guided visualization, Alphamusic and an exact
combination of Oxygen and Nitrous Oxide [laughing gas]. ‘It is only recently
that I have switched over to nearly exclusively using a particular Alphamusic
title,‘Silence of Heart’. Before my discovery of this particular composition I
had been using typical relaxation music. I originally thought that the regular
rhythms and repetitious melodies would be the key to help people relax. What I
have observed is that the majority of patients listening to ‘Heart’ during my
treatments, fall much faster and more deeply into the trance-like state
necessary to assist in pain relief. I believe this may be due to the choice of
tones and arhythmic patterns in the Alphamusic.'
When asked if his patients remember anything, Bashar states, ‘They are at all times conscious. I don’t want them to go to sleep or
get into an uncounscious state. I induce an altered state where time stands
still. They experience no pain. This way they remember and associate pleasure
with their visit to the dentist.'
'Pleasure and dentistry?!', I think to myeslf, 'This dentist is more than a pioneer, he is a saint!'
The third and last dentist in our tale is Dr Sushil Koraila, who lives and practices in Kathmandu, Nepal. We met over the internet,
which Dr Koraila had been scouring in search of music that would complement his
treatments by assisting in reducing brain wave oscillation, so inducing a
meditative state. He is blazing a trail to integrate meditation and vedic
practices with dentistry, which he calls his ‘Vedic Smile Concept’. In scientific
lingo this is referred to as Minimally Invasive Cosmetic Dentistry ( MICD).
Sushil has a fascinating quest. Even in Nepal, the birthplace of the Buddha, where meditation and ayurveda have been practised for
thousands of years, we find a dentist who wants to prove scientifically that
such ancient modalities have relevance in today’s world. He has already formed
a formidable team of scientists to measure brainwaves, body chemistry,
behaviour and physiology. Why? Dr Koraila explains, 'I couldn’t understand why
in Nepal, the land of meditation, we have such high rates of anxiety and
stress, symptoms of which can include clenched jaw and grinding of teeth whilst
sleeping. Our research has shown that the internet is a major culprit. It is a
mixed blessing, one of the downsides being that people here have a window into
a whole new lifestyle that they could be leading – then they can’t sleep,
worrying how they can afford all the luxuries.'
The solution? An holistic approach, integrating the emotional and psychological needs of each individual. First Sushil strives to
understand the patient, how they think, their likes and dislikes, struggles and
strengths. This gives rise to an assessment of which dosha (ayurvedic for
'constitution') they are, and herbs may be prescribed. They are taught
meditation, which they are urged to practice prior to any treatment. During the
dental treatment Alphamusic is played to assist in inducing and maintaining a
meditative state. He calls it 'The Vedic Smile Concept'. Dr Koraila's next step
is to educate other practitioners worldwide in the same practice methods.
'So you see, John, avoiding sugar is good not only for the teeth, it supports the whole ayurvedic philosophy and way of life. This is
what I have learnt from Dr Kostopoulos...' It is my mother-in-law, holding
forth on the benefits of cutting sugar from one's diet. Apart from the truth of
what she is saying, it is generally acknowledged that it is a good idea to
agree with one's mother-in-law, so I smile sweetly and nod. My mind scans back
over the three pioneering dentists I have had the honour to discover. They have
never met, and each has his own unique approach, yet they share the belief that
enducing a meditative state is the key to the success of their treatments.
Encountering them has restored my faith in dentistry, and reminded me that
there are splendid dentists around the world, if we are willing to go that
extra mile to find them.
We are giving you a chance to read Dr Macek Zarow's research and to visit the websites of all three of the featured dentists, plus
the opportunity to hear a free sample of the ‘Silence of Heart’ music click