"It's just the tip of the iceberg," said Alvydas Petruškevičius, a specialist in holistic medicine, when my sister asked if the diffuser and essential oil that she had received as a gift were exactly what “BoSwiss”, his company established in Switzerland, was producing. After a couple of days, led by curiosity I met with Alvydas and his wife and business partner Milda on a husky race track in Studen, where we talked about balance in life, whilst those lively, or sometimes struggling winter heroes were sledding by in their harness.
Before moving to the mountainous area of Unteriberg in Switzerland, Alvydas had lived in South of France for several years and was immersed in the education of the people of Monaco, encouraging them to turn to natural resources to help improve and maintain physical and mental health. He himself went a long way until he learnt to entrust the power of natural resources: first he worked as a neurorehabilitologist, then as a pharmacologist, whose focus was on the collaboration with global pharmaceutical companies. Only after seeing the harmful side effects of chemical drugs, Alvydas began to look for natural treatments that have existed for centuries.
– When and why did you leave Lithuania? – I ask one of the necessary questions for a Lithuanian living abroad.
– We left more than four years ago because we lacked light both in real and figurative sense. Even until then, we spent most of our time outside of Lithuania because of our professional activities involving aromatherapy. In Lithuania, there is so much artificialness, that we decided to go where people more looking for real things. For example, when we start talking about essential oils in Lithuania, people often respond to it negatively, because Europe has been dominated by “Young Living”, a company selling essential oils, which from beautiful smells has made just a big business. What this company is trying to present as genuine things is really false, because scent enhancers have nothing to do with essential oils.
– Are you saying that there is more naturalness in South of France?
– There are just our friends, the base, the French Association of Aromatherapy, Phytotherapy and Gemotherapy, part of which we are. It disseminates information about such therapies and evaluates distilleries who distil essential oils from wild plants. The whole point of the association is to spread the message to the people about the true aromatherapy of wild, not cultivated plants. I am not talking about aromatherapy, where hectares are covered with lavender, but about where lavender naturally grows in the fields, because that is completely different. The value of cultivated lavender is only suitable for the production of soaps and detergents, but their aromatherapy value is zero. Meanwhile, true wild lavender from Provence can control migraine right here and immediately.
– The majority of your customers are in Monaco. Why did you decide to move to Switzerland?
– Since we had been practicing educational and consultative activities in Monaco, we needed material things such as blends of essential oils to solve certain situations, and we needed phytotherapeutic and gemotherapeutic products that we had developed in that association. When people saw a huge difference in effect, the need of natural products began to increase, so we had to find a base where we would turn the ideas of our products into reality on a larger scale. French law is quite chaotic. When developing a product within your company, you don't know what to expect in a few years, so we chose Switzerland, where everything is stable and it is clear that when you start doing something, after five years no one will add extra fees. In order to concentrate on creation, legal stability is very important. In addition, Switzerland is the place where an individual paying for a health insurance can choose between chemical drugs and holistic medicine. This demonstrates the progressive attitude of the country towards the rights of the population to choose and not be limited to the decisions made for them. Clean air, clean water and clear thinking add to all this.
– Maybe you also benefit from the support of the local community?
– We don't need anything from this community yet, but we are excited about their openness to what we do. The same bank, “Credit Suisse”, after collecting our documents and reviewing our profile, invited us back and offered funding. We thanked and replied that we had enough funding. We are pleased that even the banking system’s approach is open to our activities.
– You were once a neurorehabilitologist, later a pharmacologist. Tell me about your transition to holistic medicine.
– Our current projects are closely related to neurorehabilitation, just at a different angle. I'm not proud of my work in the global pharmaceutical business, that's my dark side.
– And why dark?
– Pharmaceutical industry turned real medicine into a business. Human health has become a secondary matter when pharmaceutical companies focused on money and business development.
– But what led you to the transition to holistic medicine?
– Our activities are wide, I do not even want to mention medicine, I just call it holism, which includes a complete human structure, not just a physical body. Humanity got in trouble, when modern medicine began to suppress symptoms instead of removing the underlying causes of disease. Everyone will agree that we are made up of cells and that in order for them to function harmoniously, something needs to support their activities. What supports sustainable structure activities is called the human information field. Religious people call it spirit or soul. I look at it scientifically because I know that this informational structure can be measured and written down, influenced, changed and reprogrammed.
– One of the ways is psychotherapy and psychology. But it is less effective because it only works through one channel – audio. In fact, we are also working in this direction: we collaborate with Monaco's psychosensoric pedagogy organisation, whose goal is to help people get rid of the consequences of distorted information.
The shops offer laundry detergents with synthetic scents. What are they doing? They block and distort, provide distorted information to our brain.
– How do you define distorted information?
– All that we get from the environment through our sensoric system – vision, hearing, touch, taste, smell, etc. – influences the human information field, the way of thinking and ultimately the perception of the world. The shops offer laundry detergents with synthetic scents. What are they doing? They block and distort, provide distorted information to our brain. As a result, the brain starts to function asymmetrically, makes distorted decisions, and all of this is later reflected in the physical body and its self-perception. The list of distorted information sources includes synthetic odours, synthetic flavours, and all that chemistry that is swallowed in the form of pills. Current medicine only works to suppress symptoms. And the symptom is a very good thing because it is sent to us so that we understand that we are doing something wrong in life.
– The “BoSwiss” blog says that the purpose of your products is to eliminate the effects of the modern lifestyle on the human body. This includes the consequences of food, drinks, chemical cosmetics and perfumery. How does cosmetic cream get from human skin to the human mind?
– Go to the woods during the summer when the pines smell, or go to the flowering meadow and appreciate how you feel. You will be relaxed, tension and all the fear will disappear. Your body will begin to recover because the regulatory system will start functioning correctly and will help your cells function in a harmonious and efficient manner. And what happens if you find yourself in an environment where there is a smell of petroleum products? Breathing system responds to it as a danger and breathing is blocked. It becomes frequent and superficial, the supply of oxygen is disrupted and the cells can no longer produce energy properly. How is energy produced? Carbohydrates and oxygen decompose into carbon dioxide and water. And if oxygen is lacking, carbohydrates are broken down into lactic acid and therefore the pH, the so-called body acidity index, deviates to the acid side. First of all, the immune system reacts: it becomes aggressive, starts attacking its own cells, causing inflammatory processes, etc. The cause of most chronic diseases is very simple – impaired respiratory function, altered cellular oxygen uptake.
– Can you give some examples of a lifestyle that causes such imbalances?
– If a man devotes his whole life and energy to earning money, because he thinks it is right (I do not say that it is absolutely wrong), his body structure, more precisely, the cells, suffer. They get less oxygen, less energy, the regulation itself is disrupted and some parts of the cells become dissatisfied. Initially sad, and then malignant. And malignant cells are cancerous.
– Is cancer a scourge of life for too much concentration on the material world, on money?
– No, I don't think it's bad, I'm just trying to explain the processes of disease development. I would say, the whole point is to find a balance between the material values and the things that let us discover peace and joy in being.
I would say, the whole point is to find a balance between the material values and the things that let us discover peace and joy in being.
– When did the actual breakthrough happen in your life, when you decided to turn away from pharmaceutical industry and started looking for solutions in nature?
– I went through life lessons of my own. And I was focused on the pharmaceutical business, I had great aspirations for career and material well-being. I'm not saying it's bad, but this rhythm of life has led me to holism. At that time I couldn't expect that I could ski, snowboard or ride a mountain bike and feel comfortable. Many things fell at the same time. When one focuses on a single goal, which is not the most important in life, when that pursuit becomes only a chase after that one, in my case wrong, goal, the joy of life is lost. When the joy of life is lost, many negative thoughts emerge.
– What was your goal?
– Like most people in Lithuania: career, money, material wealth. This is not bad, but it should not be the main goal. Money is very good if you make the right use of it by creating the good that you can share with others, ensure it bring joy to others. It’s now become our ambition.
– What is the mission of your company “BoSwiss” and how did you come up with the idea to start it?
– Its mission is to select and create valuable, 100% wild plant essential oils and extracts and make them available to the people that need them. The company was inspired by our educational activity in Monaco, where visitors of the events began to inquire about natural products, which we were talking about so much, when encouraging to stop using synthetic cosmetics, synthetic perfumes and other products harmful to humans. When we searched for manufacturers that would sell 100% natural, quality products, we realised there was little to choose from. Therefore, it was decided to set up a company and, on the basis of it, to develop products such as those demanded by the people who attended our lectures.
– Tell me about your trip to Oman.
– We have strong links with Oman, because a lot of our activities are related to one important component of Oman, called Frankincense (lot. Boswellia sacra), of which various versions have recently become very popular as business people started associating it with big money. We get it from the tree of Boswellia sacra, growing in Oman. I emphasise the name of the tree because the resin extracted from this tree has an extremely clean informational structure, which means it can carry the greatest possible human health benefits. Similar plants are found in Somalia and India, but they have less impact on the human body.
– What are other traditional treatment techniques of the holistic medicine?
– As I mentioned, holism involves not only the physical body, but also the mental part, and in some sense we show ways how people can help themselves. What are these ways? Most of these are natural methods such as phytotherapy, aromatherapy and gemotherapy. But there are other very good tools such as simple human touch using techniques that come from China, the Middle East, etc. I mastered all of these methodologies, but then realised that my desire is to build a whole system that is effective. I wonder how to combine all the different things into one system, which would give enough efficiency during the time frame in which a person is still motivated to continue.
– Can the motivation to achieve well-being disappear so easily?
– Yes. If a typical European does not get a result within a month, he throws what he has done because he decides it is ineffective and fake. Over the course of a month, our preparations must help to achieve the result that a person feels a fundamental change in his or her life, well-being, and mood.
– Were there any other trips that helped you discover certain directions in life?
– I travelled to other countries to gain the knowledge of old medicine from those who still practice it. These were the territories of current Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Afghanistan. I managed to get to those people who transfer medical knowledge within the family. In Turkmenistan I had to participate in several projects related to the development of the national health system. At that time, I got hold of the original translation of a thousand-year-old writings from a Persian physician and philosopher Avicena, or Ibn Sina in Arabic. I got hold of those real scripts – not the selected ones, but the full information. Avicena in Europe is known as the father of medicine. Even back then he spoke extensively in his writings about the possibility of helping a person by influencing his information field. What everyone today is talking about quantum medicine is indeed very old. Another very well described thing in these writings is how the use of the plant information system – essential oils and other extracts – can affect the human information field.
I also searched for medical knowledge in South Korea. The Chinese themselves say that the cradle of true medicine is Korea, which was once part of China. A good example from the Korea is the retention of old medical knowledge and the ability to create a system that combines modern and traditional medicine. I had the opportunity to observe the surgery being performed, where I was astonished to see surgeons meditating before operating. When asked what was happening there, the surgeons answered that they did the surgery because meditation is part of it as it creates a certain information field that brings positive changes. And the physical removal of some kind of derivative is only a later consequence.
– Doctors meditate, settle down before surgery... And patients?
– Since I was very interested in oncology at the time and helping people who are in this situation, I had a chance to visit the major Korean oncology centres, where you will not see any gloomy faces – all the patients and doctors are walking with smiles on their faces. The structure of the treatment is designed to send a positive thinking signal to the hospital patient. In many cases of severe illness treatment, the main goal is to restore the human central nervous system to positivity. Thus, the treatment starts with a change in the direction of thinking. Let's say, if one could draw a strict line between the light at the top and the dark at the bottom, then those people willing to get the balance back and start to recover, should first lift their eyes up.
Of course, that knowledge can be found everywhere. The traditional medicine representatives in Oman explained that everything is written, but only a few read it and want to gain deep insights. When asked where the knowledge was written, they opened the Koran to me and said: "Read. Here is a health basics tutorial on how to live, to keep the joy of life, peace, balance and a healthy body.” Indeed, there is even a description of how a person has to wash his feet, his hands on how to breathe, communicate with his children and other relatives and how to pass on their positive thinking and lifestyle. I am not promoting the religion, I am just saying that everyone in this book can find what he is looking for.
– But in recent times, many have been looking for negative aspects, and negative public opinion prevails.
– You know, these aspects come from people who have never read the Koran. The same applies to those who speak unfavourably about the Bible. I would say that all those religious books that are directed towards the pursuit of light and positivity are good. All these systems are good if they direct a person to seek light, spread love to people that surround him.
– What do you think about the modern lifestyle and mental health of the millennials? What mistakes, emerging problems, or even positive aspects do you see?
– There are a very large numbers of people who have become part of the system and lead a limited life in a "box" whose aspirations are just a career, money and they forget that there is a different existence when they can only enjoy simple being as well as appreciate the nature. However, I do not condemn such a life because it is the choice of every person. You can orient yourself to the light, you can focus on darkness. I'm not saying darkness is bad, because without it, there would never be a reflection of light – and this is who we are.
– True, but again, the question arises as to where does such a disharmonious orientation lead?
– I'll share my example. One of the projects we are contributing to in co-operation with the Monaco psychosensoric pedagogy organisation is aid for children and young people, the generation whose focus is on aspirations that are not related to true values of life. They are trying to separate themselves from today's physical environment and move into a virtual space. That's why there are many children who live on the phone or computer because they feel there safer, more real.
– Why are you saying they can feel insecure in physical reality?
– Just see what topics are in the media, turn on the commercial channel. Do you become more joyful? So you get a big spark of news that provokes fear, sadness and the like.
– But you will not avoid it on the Internet either.
– You can escape by selecting information online without reading everything in a row.
– Well, the media can be one of the aspects that make you feel unsafe in physical reality. And what else could be?
– The media is just an information channel. It’s more important what is behind it, financing it and having the interest of sowing fears or instability in people. Again, I do not say that the media is just evil, you just need to know how to choose.
– “Zen Tranquillity” – the product that has attracted my attention on “BoSwiss” blog. It is written that it helps to protect you from stress, one of the modern age’s major causes of disease. Can a stressful personal or professional life be relieved by aromatherapy? Or do people need to change their lifestyle and environment first? Tell us more about the effects of aromatherapy.
– Yes, in terms of what we do, it is exactly right. “Zen Tranquillity” encompasses aromatherapy and phytotherapy. However, all of these products are an ancillary remedy, part of the system which we are building and succeeding. Our products are a very small part of this system. But it is necessary. Why? If you are sitting very deep in the bottom of the well, that you do not even see the light at the top, you need to give a stimulus that if you start trying to climb that well, you may find light and warmth at the top. These auxiliary aromatherapeutic, phytotherapeutic products are designed to encourage a person to move upwards.
If you are sitting very deep in the bottom of the well, that you do not even see the light at the top, you need to give a stimulus that if you start trying to climb that well, you may find light and warmth at the top.
– I have found an interesting description of the same product "Zen Tranquillity": "It is helpful in stabilising emotions, calming and relaxing, thereby helping reduce overthinking, and overflow of thoughts, to improve sleep and quality of life." Sounds like a salvation for many of today's people leading a modern life. How can scents and flavours affect the flow of thoughts? What are the active ingredients of this product that create this miracle?
– Overthinking is the scourge of the current generation. Their whole life is directed towards pursuing some kind of activity and result. They forget that there are humans, that they still have a body, that they still have their own soul, and that from time to time they should simply be in solitude. Apart from aromatherapy, there are many other great tools to help you stay in the moment. For example, meditation. And this product you are asking about is somehow helping to enter the state that is similar to meditation. The active ingredients of this product include plant extracts that have been known for millennia, and we have taken some of the recipes from the monastery situated in the Provence mountains. These ingredients were used to reduce overthinking and calm down the monks.
– “BoSwiss” website claims that your products are 100% plant-based.
– Not only plant-based, they are prepared using wild plants. We are not even trying to write that they are organic or natural, because this is another level. Cultivated, artificially grown plants will have a completely different effect. And we work with extracts derived from wild plants.
– Who supplies them?
– It’s with the assistance of the same French association of aromatherapy, phytotherapy and gemotherapy, as its base includes laboratories that evaluate the cleanliness of the plant information system.
– “BoSwiss” page says that these 100% plant-based products could help people achieve their life goals, that your patients face similar problems... Maybe you can specify what life goals you have in mind? What are the most common problems of your customers?
– The emergence of these products was mainly related to the needs of the people we were in contact with in Monaco. Maybe a lot of people think that wealthy Monegasques live happily, but it turns out that it’s the opposite. They live in constant tension and fear to lose what they already have. That is what causes various inconveniences to them. As to how to achieve our goals, I can give an example of how our central nervous system works. Imagine a computer that has many large-scale applications running at the same time that run simultaneously and try to achieve something. In such a process, the computer either breaks down itself or at least gets stuck, or the actions that are being attempted on that computer become ineffective. If you overload your mental instrument at the same time with too many different things and over-generating thoughts, efficiency and the ability to achieve a result decrease. If you are able to remove at least part of the unnecessary flow of thoughts and concentrate on the essential one, the process becomes more effective. The use of our products makes people more effective in their activities, which allows them to make fairer decisions that improve their quality of life in every sense.
Maybe a lot of people think that wealthy Monegasques live happily, but it turns out that it’s the opposite. They live in constant tension and fear to lose what they already have.
– Does that mean peace comes to life?
– I am not talking about the relaxation or suppression evoked by drugs. I am talking about how to naturally remove the tensions associated with fears. If you want a person to effectively achieve a result, the main thing he needs to do is get rid of the fears. If you look at all those prominent people who have achieved something on a global scale, most of them are the ones who got out, as I say, out of the box and got rid of the fears.
– Or maybe sometimes they can't get rid of it? Maybe some people passionately go through life despite their fears?
– Maybe it's ignorance. If you reach that limit when you realise that you want to change something and start looking for the ways, sooner or later you will get answers to how to get there. But first of all you will understand that you have to get rid of the fears. And all the fears begin with one main fear – fear of dying. It is important to understand what we are doing in this life, how it is happening and what the structure of being on this earth is.
– In terms of being, what do you think is the meaning of life, whether you need to look for it at all and whether it is a sign of bad mental health not to see it?
– The main meaning of life is simply to rejoice that you exist. This is already a big deal. And if you understand it and master it, everything else comes to life.
– How does holistic medicine raise awareness of modern people when choosing a healthier lifestyle? After all, a lot of them give in to the so-called organic products marketing tricks, or sacrifice sleep at the gym in the early hours and naively believe they are making an effort for a healthy diet. Sometimes it seems that the rhythm of modern urban life, when everyone wants to be a hero in all spheres of it, has nothing to do with healthy living. How to distinguish a real healthy lifestyle from a pseudo-healthy lifestyle?
– First you need to understand what you are doing here, who you are. Only then you realise what you are composed of. And it is not just a physical body, but the informational part as well. You must pay attention to more than just the physical body improvement. While this is important, it is not the main goal. You have to seek not only the purity of the physical body, but also the purity of your thoughts, your perception of life.
– What is your attitude towards perfectionism?
– All aspirations that are not focused on the pursuit of your inner harmony, but on other things, sooner or later turn into lessons, which others call diseases. These diseases stop you and give you the chance to think about where you are and why. When a person gets a very serious lesson and has to deal with a question of life and death, he usually discovers the true values and even begins to pursue them. Such people tend to learn the difficult lessons. Whereas those who believe that magic medicine can save them without internal effort, face the “delete” button – their life is removed from this game. Our presence here is a lesson through which we gain valuable experience.
– Perfectionism in the modern world is celebrated, but at the same time it is a scourge that can lead to the fall out of the game. Unrealistic raise of the standards and inability to understand one’s limitations have cost lives to many people.
– A human-being is already perfect. All religions (I mention them again because they entail long-written wisdom) talk about the same thing: a human is the image of God, and God is perfect in the understanding of all. Hence, a person is perfect in oneself. In order to become perfect, one should simply seek to be himself, to be human.
In order to become perfect, one should simply seek to be himself, to be human.
– Developed countries are still learning to talk publicly about mental health, for many years it has been taboo. The progress is also supported by “Heads Together”, an organisation founded by the Royal British Family, which aims to combat the stigmatisation of mental health. Prince William has said that it is necessary to do everything that people with mental health problems stop feeling they need to hide. How do you think society could encourage people not to close up inside and solve their internal problems by seeking help?
– Regarding mental health, at a young age, I had a conversation with psychiatrist Dainius Pūras, who at the time expressed the following idea: "There is a big question about who is healthy here and who is ill.” However, I look at it a little differently. I would say that mental health is a reflection of the balance between positive and negative thoughts in the society. The greater the number of negative thoughts and fears in society, the more the mental health problems deteriorate. The amount of fear in developed countries is high, the tension is huge, the flow of positive thoughts is small, the negative is huge. Again, this is influenced by the media. If a person lives in an environment that is dominated by negative, fear-based information, it is very likely that his attitude towards the environment will become inadequate, aggressive or self-aggressive. There is one way to improve the mental health of society: to encourage the creation and dissemination of positive thoughts, to minimise the risk of fear. Switzerland is an example where there is a minimal amount of negative thoughts, fears are removed as much as possible and a lot of positivity is created, which strengthens the country economically. Without fear, people can concentrate on achieving common goals, building their own and the country’s welfare.
– Consequently, the decisions of the state should first of all give a sense of security in order to enable people not to hide?
– Returning to the population of Monaco, their main problem, as I said, is fear. However, the positive environment helps to maintain balance in their lives. It helps to avoid lessons that could be called mental illnesses. Of course, they have many psychological problems, but they still require minimal help. And when a lot of aggression, anger and fears are generated in the global environment, for example, it is constantly said that you will be attacked, occupied, mental health is negatively affected. Is it surprising that young people are trying to escape such a country? Meanwhile, in Switzerland, you will not see much of military equipment or even policemen. This is an example of a country that makes decisions to remain independent but does not demonstrate aggression and force. They strengthen the country through the motivation of their people.
– What advice would you give to people who are quietly fighting with their inner demons, sometimes even wearing bright positive masks, are involved in the race of successful individuals and constantly asking themselves: “What will others say about my inner fractures?
– Those people who are afraid to admit they have the consequences of negativity, i. mental disorders just don't trust current doctors. Earlier, the only way out was to consult the priest. They do not trust them at this time. The trouble is that those people with whom they could go and consult do not exist. It is unlikely that a person with mental difficulties will go to talk to a neighbour or a friend. He will probably close himself and the problem will deepen further. Alienation, the loss of trust in one another has led to people's tendency to survive spiritual suffering by hiding. However, you do not have to suffer in silence. Instead, you should gain more courage and look for reliable people between relatives, priests or professional doctors.
– In your opinion, at what level is Lithuanian society in terms of mental health?
– It is best to see people's faces on the streets of Lithuania and compare to people's faces in other countries. What difference would you see? Are those people happy and smiling? This is one indicator. The second is the information disseminated by the media and its quantity that promotes either optimistic or pessimistic attitude of the person. The authorities who make decisions in Lithuania could do more to encourage creativity and efficiency of people’s activities.
– And regarding the attitude towards individual mental health, is modern society ready to stop stigmatising it and to start speaking of such problems freely?
– People don't really understand what these mental disorders are and how they emerge. Every one of those people who are moving in the wrong direction in their lives is under the same threat of experiencing it all. Lack of knowledge leads to stigmatisation. If it was taken into account in the education system, the schools could teach about the structure of the human being, the essence of his life, and where the disruptions that he might have come from, I think then that generation would grow up knowing, understanding, sympathising and helping others.
– Let me remind that holistic medicine says that a person should solve problems himself, all power lies within him and he should be able to handle it all by himself…
– Holism says that all work has to be done by the person himself, but there should also be a so-called direction indicator, who would show the path, which would lead out of the harmful situation.
– Does holistic medicine evaluate the power of a cultural, social environment? After all, in human nature, many cultural beliefs are programmed by which he unconsciously defines his “self” but at the same time believes that life is controlled by free will. And culture is human, very human, and its defects can often ruin the spiritual balance of an individual, cause anxiety and low self-esteem.
– As I mentioned, according to the holistic approach, a person consists of a physical body and an information field. Because all of us together form a common information field, its influence on you is just as strong. Of course, the sociocultural environment influences the information field of an individual, including the level of clarity and positivity of one’s thoughts.
– Can natural resources sufficiently improve that information field? Or maybe in some cases you simply have to change the harmful environment instead of blowing against the wind?
– Of course, it is necessary to get out of the damaging environment and start a healthier lifestyle, but in order to make such a decision, you need a stimulus or feeling that it may be different. And the techniques of naturopathy, including aromatherapy, can help to pull away from the bottom of the well and encourage you to climb up.