Evolution from Primary Care Naturopathic Medicine to Teaching
Updated: Sep 6, 2022
Looking back over 50 years of being in love with the healing wisdom of naturopathic medicine, I am able to see how my life and clinical practice has been guided through a series of revelations and punctuated with thousands of hours of study, practice and teaching patients the art of empowered self-healing.
My first exposure to naturopathic medicine was through a book given to me in 1969 by a fellow ski bum in Aspen, Colorado. It was a revelation of our power to prevent and heal disease, in this case, through nutrition and fasting. (Rational Fasting and Mucus-less Diet Healing System by Professor Arnold Ehret.)
This book immediately opened my eyes to our power to prevent and heal illness by the ways we eat. It ignited passion in me immediately. I changed my eating and that very morning and I began a fast. It lasted approximately 12 hours. I was too hungry to continue. This experience of fasting gave me a taste of the challenges of being without food and I knew I was going to need more than grit. I came up against the reality that I was unable to control my appetite and unable to change my lifelong habits of eating quickly and with willpower alone. I came up against my own addiction. I also came up against how my community and relationships supported that addiction.
Nutrition education was strongly included in my traditional naturopathic practice right from the start. I was the first naturopathic doctor in Colorado and saw all manner of illness, engaging in the beautiful work of a traditional naturopathic doctor. In the early days of this work, I grew herbal remedy plants, used rest, hydrotherapy and the variety of treatments available to heal illness.
Eventually I began to experiment with relying on behavioral change and choosing to reduce or forego the use of medicines and therapies. When I began my practice I considered it possible that all illness could be healed through nutrition. I appreciated only slightly the healing power of movement, thinking and relating even though I was practicing these skills daily. However, I was challenged to effectively teach this to my patients. I made audio recordings, wrote handout and engaged in intense breakthrough counseling with patients. Gradually, one step at a time, I increasingly emphasized teaching and decreased my use of medicines and therapies. I offered classes and courses, created handouts, sold books, employed newly emerging technologies and worked with patients with all manner of disease with every variety of outside stressors. It didn't matter what the illness or life situation, every single patient fully engaged in self-healing experienced benefit if not outright health.
Today I see the sine qua non of behavioral change is self-mastery. It took time to realize that wise, loving behavior is not brought about by will power enforced by criticism and shame. The power of embodying kindness and truthfulness emerged in the last 20 years and revolutionized my teaching.
I am so very grateful for the patients in those early days of employing this dynamic approach to self-healing and for every single person who has engaged in this work with me.
The Physician Heal Thyself training is the culmination of 45 years of clinical practice, patient interaction, and training doctors with one purpose in mind: to educate and guide people in the art of self-healing.
For the last ten years or so, it has been my dream to put together these teachings in a manner that would benefit other doctors..knowing so well how it could enhance their medicine. In the last part of my career as a doctor and educator, I humbly offer this work to you, another healer.